European Union and its Member States
- Date submitted: 1 Nov 2011
- Stakeholder type: Political Groups
- Submission Document: Download
- Additional Document:
UNITED NATIONS CONFERENCE ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
(RIO + 20)
Rio de Janeiro, 4-6 June 2012
Contribution by the European Union and its Member States
to the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs
I. GENERAL INTRODUCTION
The European Union (EU) and its Member States consider that the United Nations
Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), to be held in Rio de Janeiro on
4-6 June 2012, offers a unique opportunity for our mutually interdependent world to secure
renewed political commitment to sustainable development at all levels. The Conference will
also provide an opportunity to assess the progress made to date, identify remaining
implementation gaps and address new and emerging challenges since the UN Conference on
Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and the World Summit on
Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002.
The EU and its Member States are putting forward the present contribution in response to the
invitation from the Second Preparatory Committee of Rio+20 to provide inputs and
contributions in writing by 1 November 2011 for inclusion in a compilation document to
serve as a basis for the preparation of the "zero draft" of the outcome document. Our
contribution focuses on the two main themes of Rio+20, i.e. green economy in the context of
sustainable development and poverty eradication (GESDPE) and the institutional framework
for sustainable development (IFSD), as means of achieving the objectives of the Conference.
While some progress has been made in advancing sustainable development over the last
decades, around 1.4 billion people, mostly in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, still live in
extreme poverty and one sixth of the world?s population is undernourished. Unsustainable
economic growth has increased the stress on the earth's limited natural resources and on the
carrying capacity of ecosystems, with 60% of the world's natural resources already being
used unsustainably or at their limit. Many environmental problems have not been solved and
have become more acute, and economic, social and environmental problems are closely
Rio+20 should include democratic development and respect for human rights to achieve
sustainable development at every level and recognize democracy, the rule of law,
transparency and accountability as means of meeting social, economic and environmental
challenges, as well as the importance of gender equality and the vital role that women have in
achieving sustainable development.
Rio+20 should focus on strengthening the coherence and enhancing the linkages between the
environmental, economic and social dimensions of sustainable development and contribute to
the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 and of other
relevant internationally agreed goals in the context of major UN conferences, in particular
Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation. In this context, the two themes of
Rio+20 offer promising ways to tackle remaining challenges.
Rio+20 should accelerate and broaden the world-wide transition towards a green economy
that promotes sustainable development and contributes to poverty eradication around the
world. The EU and its Member States consider that a green economy offers win-win
opportunities to all countries, regardless of the structure of their economy and their level of
development. Green economy is more than the sum of existing commitments: it has the
potential to lead us to a new development paradigm and a new business model where growth,
development and environment are seen as mutually reinforcing each other. Increasing
resource efficiency, promoting sustainable consumption and production patterns, tackling
climate change, protecting biodiversity, combating desertification, reducing pollution as well
as using and managing natural resources and ecosystems in a sustainable and socially
responsible manner are both requirements and key vehicles in ensuring a just transition to a
The EU and its Member States consider that strengthening international environmental
governance is central to the pursuance of sustainable development, and that the necessary
reform of the IFSD also requires a bottom-up perspective, drawing on lessons learned at all
The EU and its Member States support a forward-looking and focused political document
capable of giving renewed impetus to sustainable development. In order to do that, Rio+20
needs to agree on a shared vision for change, able to deliver results within agreed time frames.
The EU and its Member States consider that the agreed political document should be
supported by operational outcomes that should include a green economy roadmap with
specific goals, objectives and actions at international level as well as a package of reforms
which includes transforming the UNEP into a specialized UN agency for the environment,
leading to a strengthened international environmental governance (IEG) as part of a more
balanced and effective IFSD.
In spite of implementation efforts by governments and non-State actors in all countries,
implementation barriers such as low political priority for integrated decision-making, missing
or conflicting targets and measures or insufficient coordination between ministries still
remain. In order to address implementation gaps, we need to promote integrated strategies,
public interest, awareness and participation, good governance and coordination and
cooperation mechanisms between government departments and between government, local
government, civil society and the private sector. The key role of the private sector in the
transition to sustainable development needs to be recognized and made full use of.
The experience and solutions found among the largest generation of young people in history
will be important for Rio+20. The EU and its Member States therefore consider the
involvement of young people as agents for change vital for a successful outcome of Rio+20
and for the continued implementation process.
With a view to strengthening intergovernmental action, we propose to build a new alliance
with stakeholders through their enhanced participation in the decision-making,
implementation and follow-up of Rio+20 outcome, as well as by launching sustainable
development initiatives, networks and innovative partnerships at all levels.
We acknowledge that funding for the implementation of sustainable development policies and
actions will have to come from a variety of sources, both public and private. A joint approach
by traditional donors, emerging economies, international financial institutions (IFIs) and the
private sector is needed, addressing the 'silo' approach to channellng funds and ensuring a
more effective identification and use of existing resoures, as well as mobilisation of available
and innovative sources of finance.
The EU and its Member States remain strongly committed to playing an active and
constructive role in the preparatory process of Rio+20 with a view to contributing to a
II. GREEN ECONOMY IN THE CONTEXT OF SUSTAINABLE
DEVELOPMENT AND POVERTY ERADICATION
1. A just transition to a green economy will speed up the implementation of existing
sustainable development commitments and help address the implementation gaps, while
being fully committed to respect for human rights and gender equality and contributing
significantly to eradicating poverty. It will improve environmental justice and reduce
inequalities, environmental scarcities and the stress on ecosystems by investing in and
preserving natural capital, securing sustainable and efficient use of resources and
addressing social concerns, while maintaining competitiveness. Democracy,
transparency, good governance and accountability are essential means of meeting social,
economic and environmental challenges and protecting people's right to live in a healthy
environment, in dignity, and free from hunger and from fear of violence, oppression and
injustice. A sustainable, green economy will provide goods and services to all and
supports access to food, energy and sanitation for all. Education for sustainable
development, including awareness-raising and consumer information, is of primary
importance in changing behavioural patterns.
2. The transition to a green economy has great potential to promote long-term sustainable
growth, create decent jobs and hence eradicate poverty, focussing on inclusiveness and
avoiding equity gaps. The need for a just transition to a sustainable system of production
and consumption that results in lower pressures on natural resources and the
environment while improving the quality of life, prosperity and social well-being is now
widely recognised. This requires that economic development be oriented to remain
within the regenerative and absorptive capacity of the planet and contribute to
eradicating poverty by shifting consumption and production patterns onto a sustainable
path. Various green-economy tools and defining necessary measures will help all
stakeholders to implement the policies and actions needed to achieve sustainable
development. The transition to a green economy will be a global challenge, which both
developed countries and developing countries should embark on with ambitious national
and international action. A commitment to open markets is important. The
transformation to a green economy should not be used to introduce new trade barriers.
3. To strengthen the linkages between social and economic areas, strategies at all levels
should address all sectors in a horizontal way with a view to benefiting from crosssectoral
policy coherence while maintaining competitiveness. To this end, framework
conditions should be established, primarily at national and sub-national level, making
use of policies and actions able to establish favourable regulatory frameworks and a
level playing field for green markets such as fiscal incentives, emissions trading, gradual
elimination of subsidies that have considerable negative effects on the environment and
are incompatible with sustainable development, green public procurement, the
promotion of eco-innovation and clean technology, green entrepreneurship, knowledgebuilding
schemes, etc. Social policies to reconcile social goals with economic policies
are also necessary. These initiatives should build on good governance, a dynamic and
innovative private sector, efficient regulation, reduced bureaucracy and market
instruments. Ratification of the relevant ILO conventions is of utmost importance to
ensure that growth is not only economically and ecologically sustainable, but also fair,
just and equitable, taking into account social issues and contributing to poverty
4. The EU and its Member States emphasise the importance of improving resource
efficiency and sustainable material management through full implementation of lifecycle
assessment and of management of Low Carbon Development Strategies as agreed
in Cancun. It is important to reflect environmental externalities in prices for resources
and services and apply negative incentives with regard to negative external costs and
diseconomies, and to encourage activities with positive external effects.
5. International action should be promoted and existing commitments reaffirmed in key
sectors such as water, food and agriculture, fisheries, forestry, energy, the marine
environment and chemicals, as well as in areas relating to the sustainable management
and restoration of natural resources and ecosystem services and the sustainable
management of waste along with both climate-change mitigation and adaptation
processes. The aim is to foster favourable framework conditions for sustainable
development, preserving and - where necessary - restoring natural capital and securing
the functions of ecosystems, hence ensuring benefit to all and contributing to poverty
eradication, social development and environmental integrity.
6. Special efforts are needed to enable poor people to participate in, contribute to, and
benefit from economic development. People who live in conditions of poverty and social
exclusion are more directly dependent on (local) natural resources and ecosystem
services. As key actors they should have a vital role in a green economy which promotes
decent work with effective respect for fundamental principles, rights at work, social
development, full freely chosen and productive employment for both women and men
and combats child labour and forced labour by taking into account the implementation of
the International Labour Standards and the ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a fair
Globalization with a view to integrating social development through global sustainable
development. Improved water resource management and access to safe food, water,
sustainable and affordable energy, shelter, basic sanitation, education, infrastructure,
health and jobs with decent working conditions for the poor are central issues for
sustainable development, as these are fundamental rights for everyone. In this regard, the
vital role of women in achieving sustainable development needs to be underlined.
b. A key role of the private sector
7. Through (fair) trade, investment, public-private partnerships and research and
innovation, the private sector and civil society play key roles in delivering green growth
and promoting sustainable consumption and production, inter alia through corporate
social responsibility and technology diffusion. Private sector activities involving
promoting and adopting a sustainable business model in their supply chain and including
environmental and social concerns in their investment decisions, will make a concrete
contribution to a green economy roadmap. The OECD Guidelines for Multinational
Enterprises and the global framework for social responsibility, the Guiding Principles on
Business and Human Rights, the Global Compact 10 Principles, the ISO 26000 standard
on social responsibility and the Global Reporting Initiative are important tools in this
respect that should be recalled and used in the Rio follow-up by the private sector.
Further opening up markets for sustainably produced goods and services would boost
trade in key technologies. The prospects of a global market, rather than regional or local
markets, would also strengthen incentives for firms to invest in R&D.
c. Proposals for operational outcomes: elements of a green economy roadmap
8. In order to give renewed impetus to sustainable development, Rio+20 needs to agree on
a shared vision for change that can help to put the world on track towards sustainable
development and is able to deliver results within agreed time frames. The main
operational outcomes of Rio+20 should include a green economy roadmap with
deadlines for specific goals, objectives and actions at the international level as a
significant contribution to sustainable development and poverty eradication.
9. For the green economy roadmap, the EU proposes a number of actions as outlined in this
document. This includes a capacity development scheme for voluntary country-specific
and, where appropriate, region and sector-specific actions and a limited number of crosscutting
and thematic international actions that contribute to a green economy in the
context of sustainable development and poverty eradication in a specific area.
10. At Rio+20, the acknowledgement and encouragement of voluntary national
commitments and actions by State actors as well as stakeholders to achieve a green
economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication should also
take place as to ensure a bottom-up approach and the shaping of innovative partnerships.
11. The proposals made are not meant to be final proposals; they should rather be considered
as a contribution to the international dialogue on the outcomes of the Rio+20
conference. The EU and its Member States are interested in sharing and exchanging
ideas and look forward to further suggestions on the outcomes of the conference.
d. Proposals for cross-cutting actions
Measuring progress - models and indicators
12. Further develop and strengthen indicators complementing GDP that integrate
economic, social and environmental dimensions in a balanced manner.
? Such an approach should include the selection of headline indicators reflecting
several aspects of sustainable development (e.g. a ?dashboard? of indicators).
? Indicators for sustainable development which have been elaborated since 1992
should be revised and validated through a participatory process of peer review and
public discussion including different stakeholders. Specific indicators could be used
in conjunction with goals, if these were to be decided at Rio+20. To implement work
on indicators, support needs to be given to the on-going UN process of establishing
13. Provide global outlook and assessments on energy, water, food and other resource
areas, based on a partnership of international and UN organisations.
? The aim is to publish a new World Resources Outlook [by 2015], akin to the first
IPCC report and building on other relevant reports. This would consider the links
between natural resources and climate change, and help assess global, national and
sub-national needs for the green economy in the context of sustainable development
and poverty eradication. Such a partnership should build on and extend the work of
the UNEP Resource Panel.
14. To accelerate and broaden the world-wide transition to a green economy that promotes
sustainable development and contributes to poverty eradication, goals may be developed
and set at different levels. Such goals would require measurable and steerable indicators.
For the further development of sustainable development indicators, existing initiatives
should be analyzed and built upon. Indicators should be developed in keeping with the
commitments made by the international community in Agenda 21 and the JPoI.
15. Aiming at a set of indicators is in line with ongoing initiatives. The commitment of CBD
Parties in Nagoya in 2010 to incorporate the value of biological diversity into national
accounting and reporting systems provides an impetus and rationale for actions aimed at
better integration of natural resources and ecosystem services into planning and povertyeradication
strategies. In addition, extensive international work has been conducted in
recent years on measuring progress and wellbeing, including the deliberations by the
OECD, Stiglitz Commission and many others.
16. Any new metrics need to add empirically sound value to the ongoing discussion and
should be proportionate, reasonable and affordable and take into account existing work
and data availability. To assure compatibility, differentiated benchmarks should be
developed at international level according to countries' development priorities.
Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP)
17. Establish a 10-Year Framework of Programmes on SCP (10YFP), as elaborated in
the negotiations in the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development,
based on Agenda 21, the Rio Declaration and the Johannesburg Plan of
18. SCP patterns are key driving forces in achieving a just transition to green economies
worldwide in a context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, and in
promoting competitive, inclusive economies delivering full and productive employment
and decent work for all and fostering efficient social protection systems.
19. The Johannesburg Plan of Implementation called for the development of a 10 YFP in
support of regional and national initiatives to accelerate the shift towards SCP in order to
promote social and economic development within the carrying capacity of ecosystems.
20. Current unsustainable patterns of consumption and production put a heavy stress on
ecosystems and on critical life-support systems, and impact on the quality of life and
21. Since Rio, substantial efforts have been made by governments and major groups to
promote SCP patterns in all countries, and a number of developed countries have been
taking the lead in accordance with the principle of ?common but differentiated
responsibilities? (CBDR). All these efforts have created new economic opportunities in
both developed and developing countries which can be drawn upon.
22. The 2010/2011 CSD cycle highlighted the readiness of the international community to
take action to accelerate this shift and to establish this 10YFP.
Capacity development scheme
23. Establish a capacity development scheme - with input from the UN system,
International Financial Institutions, bilateral and multilateral donors and the
private sector - to provide country-specific advice, and, where appropriate, region
and sector-specific advice to all interested countries on the transformation to a
green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication
and to assist them in accessing available funds
- In the spirit of the bottom-up approach, it would be up to the interested
countries themselves to specify the policy areas to focus on, based on their
national priorities and institutional arrangements and respecting national
- This capacity-development scheme would rely on enhanced coordination
between existing structures and a more efficient, better-coordinated use of
existing resources. The task of improving coordination between existing
structures would be mandated to those reformed and strengthened IFSD
structures decided on at Rio+20.
- A coherent approach would be facilitated, taking into account, inter alia, the
MDGs Acceleration Framework and the ongoing work on poverty-reduction
strategies and national sustainable development strategies. The work on the
Low Carbon Development Strategies and Plans and national strategies for
mitigation and adaptation actions (NAMAs) will be an essential component of
this effort. Furthermore, green economy capacity development should go hand
in hand with efforts to foster good governance and anticorruption policy.
- In order to enable interested countries to choose from a menu of possible
actions and best practices, a toolbox or best-practice guide could be compiled,
providing information about appropriate legal, economic and other instruments
and policies designed to help all key actors accelerate the transition to a green
economy. This will also enable the sharing of national and regional experience
of green economy policies. Management of natural resources should build on
transparency and accountability, taking into consideration people in poverty
and marginalised groups.
- An ambitious but realistic timeframe for each country seeking advice would
help with implementation. For example, all interested countries should be
matched to the actors most appropriate to provide the country-specific advice
and should have received such advice by 20XX (date to be specified). The
essential implementation steps should be completed by 20XX (date to be
24. At present, the support provided by the UN system, International Financial Institutions,
bilateral and multilateral donors and the private sector is not sufficiently coordinated to
effectively accelerate the worldwide transition to a green economy in the context of
sustainable development and poverty eradication. A stronger, more efficient and betterintegrated
multilateral architecture for sustainable development is needed in order to
undertake this coordination effort, in line with what Delivering As One is promoting
within the UN. The scheme described above, implemented by reformed and
strengthened IFSD structures, would enable the UN system to deliver coordinated,
demand-driven advice effectively and thereby drive substantial change.
Research and scientific cooperation
25. Establish a mechanism for international research cooperation on major sustainable
The mechanism would aim to provide a robust knowledge base on sustainable
development issues, including the basis of measurement. It would provide regular
reporting based on the latest knowledge of the scientific community. The mechanism
would build on and work in synergy with existing scientific panels and bodies. Work
should start by 2013. In the longer term the mechanism could promote research and
innovation programmes in different sectors, jointly with the private sector and other
26. Strengthen the development and implementation of GEOSS to include sustainable
Starting in 2013, develop a long term strategy for the second implementation phase of
GEOSS (2015-2025) that would review and reinforce those elements relevant to
sustainable development and create linkages across GEOSS's social benefit areas.
27. Unprecedented levels of scientific and technological cooperation are needed to
overcome the major global challenges of the 21st century. Much information is
available, but it is fragmented, and there is a need for a mechanism to systematically
collect and process existing knowledge into authoritative and comprehensive reports on
key sustainable development and green economy issues. This knowledge should be
made freely available to the scientific community and policy makers, businesses and the
public at large.
28. GEOSS, Global Earth Observation System of Systems, was founded as a follow-up to
Rio+10. It is an example of how research cooperation has already substantially
progressed towards meeting the needs for long-term global information as a basis for
decision-making. GEOSS combines national, regional and global earth observation data
and infrastructures to build global datasets necessary to understand and predict the
functioning of the earth systems. In the future, there is an opportunity to channel
GEOSS information and data to support sustainable development decision making.
Innovative finance and subsidies
29. Launch an international process to promote the role of innovative and private
instruments of finance, including by highlighting their importance in areas such as
climate change and biodiversity, and stress the role of the Leading Group on
Innovative Financing for Development.
30. Ensure commitments to gradually eliminate subsidies that have considerable
negative effects on the environment and are incompatible with sustainable
development, complemented with measures to protect poor and vulnerable groups,
inter alia by expansion of existing G20 and APEC commitments regarding the
rationalization and phasing out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies in the medium
term to all UN Member States and timely implementation of the strategic goal and
targets on subsidies harmful to biodiversity set out in ?The Strategic Plan for
Biodiversity 2011-2020? decided in Nagoya 2010.
31. Innovative instruments of finance are likely to play a far more prominent role in
international financing for development in the near future. In December 2010
UN Resolution A/RES/65/146 was adopted; it stressed that innovative mechanisms of
financing can make a positive contribution in assisting developing countries to mobilise
additional resources for development on a stable, predictable and voluntary basis.
32. In the area of climate change, emissions-trading schemes or levies on international
aviation and maritime transport are examples of pricing carbon emissions. The Report of
the Secretary-General's High-level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing (UN
AGF) and the G-20 report on mobilizing climate finance may be flagged as a reference
in this respect. In the area of biodiversity, innovative financial mechanisms also have an
important role to play, as is reflected in CBD COP 10 decisions for instance.
33. A recent study by the OECD found that removing consumer subsidies for energy over
the next decade would reduce global greenhouse gases emissions by over 10 per cent in
e. Proposals for actions in specific areas
34. Strengthen the implementation of internationally agreed goals for water and
sanitation and expand commitments and initiatives addressing the following main
- Renewing the commitment made at the Rio+10 Conference to the
development and implementation of Integrated Water Resources Management
at national level and for joint management of transboundary waters.
- Continuing commitment and support to accelerate access to sanitation and safe
drinking water for all (MDG7) within reasonable timeframes, as well as other
- Proposing a new commitment to reduce water pollution from households,
industrial and agricultural sources and promote water efficiency and the use of
wastewater as a resource, particularly in expanding urban and peri-urban areas.
- Building on international partnerships on water and sanitation (such as the EU
water initiative) and reinforcing the involvement of economic actors as well as
participation of stakeholders, including people in poverty, marginalized groups
and in particular women, who play a central role in water management at local
- Scaling up investments and developing innovative financing mechanisms in
the areas of water resources and ecosystems, sanitation infrastructure, water
policy reform, prevention of water-related risks due to global changes, and the
uptake of relevant new technologies to improve resource efficiency.
35. Promote international initiatives and partnerships to better address the
"water/energy/food security nexus", involving economic actors and promoting
appropriate goals and concrete initiatives to foster action. This could create
synergies with other initiatives such as the ?Sustainable Energy for all? initiative or
the ?Global Soil Partnership?.
36. By 2030, in a business-as-usual scenario, humanity's demand for water could outstrip
supply by as much as 40 percent. This could cause increasing public health costs and
could hinder economic development, lead to social and geopolitical tensions and cause
lasting environmental damage. The world lags seriously behind in meeting the MDG
target for sanitation. Water and sanitation are also closely linked to all other MDGs
especially in poverty and hunger reduction and access to energy and health, all of which
require water and the development of the water sector.
37. Pressures on natural resources are challenging the effectiveness of conventional planning
and decision-making. Trying to meet demand through single-sector approaches in
response to what are inherently interlinked processes limits our ability to provide basic
water, food and energy services to the poorest. New approaches are needed to address
inter-dependencies across the water, energy and food sectors.
Food and Agriculture
38. Promote investments in food security by improving access to local and global
agri-food markets for (small-scale) farmers, with special attention to women (e.g.
by establishing a scheme).
39. Establish schemes that expand public-private partnerships and facilitate multistakeholder
and certification initiatives to promote sustainable, climate-smart and
high-productive agriculture and agri-food chains and markets.
40. Strengthen cooperation of International Organizations dealing with the issue of
food security and support, inter alia implementation of the 2004 Voluntary
Guidelines to Support the Progressive Realization of the Right to Adequate Food in
the Context of National Food Security.
41. Promote the implementation of the planned Voluntary Guidelines for the
Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of
National Food Security under the FAO Committee on World Security.
42. Today, over one billion people live in hunger and 2 billion people have a chronic lack of
nutrient-rich food. The world population will grow to 9 billion people by 2050 and food
consumption patterns in emerging economies are changing fast. According to the FAO,
food production and productivity have to increase by about 50% or more on the existing
land area. The efforts must focus on enlarging the sustainable agricultural production
capacity and increasing the quality of food.
43. For the promotion of a high-production, sustainable agriculture, it is necessary that all
stakeholders in the agri-food chain cooperate to improve access to local and global
agri-food markets for farmers, with special attention to women. Business, primary
producers, governments, traders, retailers and consumers each have different
possibilities and responsibilities which need to be pooled in order to achieve sustainable
agriculture and food security. Multi-stakeholder initiatives are best practices which
facilitate sustainable agriculture through dialogue between the relevant stakeholders in
the agri-food chain. These initiatives promote more equitable investment contracts as
part of more sustainable business models. While the EU recognizes that private sector
involvement and investment (by small holders as well as large entities) are essential to
improve food security and support responsible investments, safeguards against
undesirable social and ecological impacts of investments are also necessary.
44. It is however important to bear in mind that, according to UNEP (2009), enough food for
10 billion people is already produced. The problem is that half of this food is spoiled or
thrown away as garbage. The raw material and food produced is thus harvested and
consumed in an inefficient way and distributed unequally. In addition to high-production
agri-food-chains it is important to give attention to more efficient and equal consumption
of food and raw materials.
45. Build on the Sustainable Energy for All initiative (SE4ALL) launched by the
Secretary-General, including its concrete goals
- Provide universal access to a basic minimum level of modern energy services
for both consumption and production uses by 2030.
- Pursue the SE4ALL goal of doubling the share of renewable energy in the global
energy mix by 2030 through promoting the development and use of renewable
energy sources and technologies in all countries.
- Increase efforts to improve energy efficiency at all levels with a view to doubling
the rate of improvement by 2030.
- Develop an accountability framework including timelines and benchmarks for
progress and for tracking the provision, delivery and results of stakeholder
46. Promote mechanisms for international dialogue and cooperation on developing and
exchanging sustainable energy technologies between countries and between the
public and the private sectors.
47. Energy services can provide crucial support to both social and economic development,
thereby strongly influencing developing countries' ability to achieve the Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs). For the 1.4 billion people without access to electricity and
the 2.7 billion people in the world without clean cooking facilities, electrification or the
availability of clean cooking fuels can reduce poverty, improve health conditions, and
increase standards of living.
48. The 2030 global targets proposed under the SE4ALL Initiative are likely to form the
basis of a new energy partnership between developed and developing countries.
However, more discussion is needed internationally on the definition of modern energy
services, as well as on the global CO2 emissions likely with such targets.
49. In this context, continued development and dissemination of sustainable energy
technologies has an important role to play, while at the same time fostering synergies
with international efforts and actions to combat climate change. Renewable energy and
energy efficiency have the potential to contribute to social and economic development,
ensure security of supply as well as to mitigate climate change and provide
environmental and health benefits
50. Existing mechanisms for technology transfer that could be further developed and
improved are for instance the new Technology Mechanism as decided in Cancun and
51. Promote progress on REDD+ and FLEGT initiatives at all levels.
52. Promote horizontal policy frameworks as well as market instruments that
effectively slow, halt and reverse deforestation and forest degradation and promote
the sustainable use and management of forests, as well as their conservation and
restoration. This should unleash the full potential of forests for sustainable
development and improve the resilience of forest ecosystems to environmental risks
and disasters. Initiatives under this heading would address the following key issues:
- Promote public-private partnerships and strengthen dialogue and information
flow between science and practice along the whole value chain. This would
focus on innovation in the field of new forest-based products and responsibility
for forest management that takes climate change, biodiversity and other global
challenges, (such as water scarcity, poverty, hunger, and employment) into
account. Step up efforts to address gaps in valuation of forest goods and
services and to mainstream forest values in national policy making processes.
- Ensure transparency of value chains and markets for bio-based forest products
and services through the enhanced use of certification systems and schemes for
improved market access and consumer acceptance.
- Promote benefits for people through setting up legal and policy frameworks for
the participation of forest rights holders groups and other stakeholders in
decision- making, and in the design of benefit sharing mechanisms.
53. Further develop the existing monitoring of the state of forests and harmonise
reporting on sustainable forest management, forest function and forest condition
for multipurpose usage with a focus on international reporting obligations by
relevant international conventions and agreements. Support efforts of the FAO and
GEOSS to strengthen and further develop remote sensing services for global forest
54. Forests provide a variety of goods and services that support human well-being and
poverty reduction, contribute to long-term social and economic development, and reduce
environmental risks and ecological scarcities. They provide income and subsistence to
hundreds of millions of people. Over 1.6 billion people depend on forest goods and
services for subsistence. Sustainable Forest Management is an essential dimension of the
green economy of many tropical countries, improving livelihoods and food security,
eradicating poverty and strengthening the resilience of forest ecosystems.
The Global Objectives on Forests, adopted at the UNFF session in 2006, should be
important guiding principles in partnerships that discourage deforestation and safeguard
forest ownership and user rights, especially for poor, forest-dependent communities and
indigenous populations. The UNEP Green Economy Report highlights the need for
further action on sustainable forest management, protected forests, payments for
ecosystem services (PES and REDD+), reducing deforestation, recreation, forest
certification, afforestation, agri-forestry and good governance and policy-making.
Soil and sustainable land management
55. Enhance and foster the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification
as a global policy and monitoring framework.
56. Promote partnerships and initiatives for the safeguarding of soil resources for
future generations such as the Global Soil Partnership (GSP) proposed by the
57. Promote scientific studies and initiatives aimed at raising wider awareness of
the global economic benefits of healthy and productive land and soil such as the
Economics on Land Degradation (ELD) Initiative.
58. The global dimension of soil degradation needs the be acknowledged internationally,
because protecting, restoring and managing soils has an effect on biodiversity,
forests, climate change, and thus the quality of soil can have an underlying influence
on the ability to achieve MDGs targets.
59. The policy response to date in many cases has been limited to national actions, by
laws on soils and national programmes and policies: the UNCCD is the only existing
normative framework for soil and sustainable land management, providing those
countries which are parties with a common instrument and a coordinated global
response to these issues.
60. The UNCCD recognizes the needs of the most vulnerable populations and the
poorest countries and can help find the tools to make land use in agriculture, energy
and forestry sustainable and to achieve food security.
61. The Global Soil Partnership has the objective of addressing soil and land degradation
at global level by improving global soil governance, soil data collection, validation,
reporting and monitoring; establishing guidelines and indicators, and promoting
targeted soil research. The ELD initiative aims to carry out a comprehensive
assessment of land degradation that looks at both the costs of failing to prevent
further land degradation and the economic benefits of addressing it through
sustainable land management policies.
Marine Environment ? oceans
62. Ensure a commitment by those UN Member States that have not yet done so to
become parties to UNCLOS.
63. Agree to launch the negotiation of a new implementing agreement under UNCLOS
for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity, in
particular addressing marine protected areas, environmental impact assessments
and the access to and benefits of sharing genetic resources in areas beyond national
64. Ensure a commitment to deliver and continue to support a more meaningful UN
Regular Process for global reporting and assessment of the state of the marine
environment, including socio-economic aspects.
65. Promote a holistic and integrated approach to the governance of oceans, seas and
coasts by all States including through the development of cross-sectoral policy tools.
Such an approach should include conservation and management measures and
address cumulative environmental impacts, in areas within and beyond national
jurisdiction, in a way that is coherent, compatible and without prejudice to the
rights and obligations of all States under UNCLOS.
66. Develop a global action plan to combat marine litter and pollution.
67. Recognize the significant economic, social and environmental contribution of coral
reefs to island and coastal States, including by promoting regional cooperation on
the model of the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI), and encouraging the
International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI).
68. Marine ecosystems are central to human well-being as a source of several important
ecosystem services and the sustainable management of oceans and seas, including
sustainable fisheries, is essential to achieve the goals of a "blue" economy in terms of
sustainable economic growth, poverty eradication and job creation with decent working
conditions. However, as economic activity increases in the oceans, pressures on coastal
and marine ecosystems also increase, thus calling for an integrated, eco-system based
management of human activities. An adequate prevention strategy is needed to counter
the vulnerability of coastal States to the negative impacts of incidents directly related to
maritime and coastal activities.
69. UNCLOS is the legal framework regulating all human activities in the oceans but some
States are still not parties to this Convention. A new implementing agreement for
UNCLOS is necessary to operationalize the provisions in UNCLOS with regard to the
conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national
jurisdiction, in particular questions on marine genetic resources, marine protected areas
and environmental impact assessments. There is also a need to take forward the Regular
Process for global reporting and assessment of the state of the marine environment,
which was agreed on at the WSSD and is now being gradually implemented by the UN
system. Ensuring the sustainable management of the oceans, seas and coasts requires
reinforced application of an ecosystem-based approach supported by adequate tools to
work across different sectoral policies affecting the oceans, seas and coasts. The
increasing threats of marine pollution and litter require a global answer.
70. Coral reefs are essential to Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and several coastal
countries. They provide direct economic benefits (fisheries, tourism, biodiversity),
contribute to natural-disaster protection, sustainable coastal management, and are a rich
and unique ecosystem, directly threatened by climate change, with high social and
cultural value. Regional cooperation on the basis of the Regional Seas Convention is the
relevant level for promoting best governance and mobilizing resources and commitments
by State and non-State actors as shown by CTI. Created in 1994, ICRI is recognized
(UNGA 2010 resolution on coral reefs) as the leading international initiative on coral
reefs advocacy, uniting both developed and developing countries which are co-chairing
71. Confirm existing commitments and step up all actions envisaged under
paragraph 31 of the JPOI to achieve sustainable fisheries in particular the
universal adoption of the UN Fish Stocks Agreement (UNFSA). This includes:
restoring and maintaining stocks at levels that can produce Maximum Sustainable Yield,
ratification of the UN Fish Stocks Agreement, adoption and implementation of modern
fisheries management principles such as the ecosystem and precautionary approaches as
well as the need to improve scientific knowledge in order to base measures on the best
available science, improved cooperation between States including through effective
Regional Fisheries Management Organisations and other Regional Conventions, the
reduction of fishing overcapacity and the reduction of significant adverse impacts on
threatened species and vulnerable ecosystems.
72. Eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing by developing a
common approach to combat it and by adopting and implementing effective tools
including through the ratification of the FAO Agreement on Port State Measures
Agreement and other relevant international agreements.
73. Despite targets previously agreed at Johannesburg and the adoption of measures by
States and Regional Fisheries Management Bodies, the status of global fish stocks as
reported by the FAO has continued to deteriorate. IUU fishing accounts for a large
portion of the catch for some species and contributes to the failure of management and
conservation measures. It penalises fishermen who play by the rules by giving an unfair
advantage to those who ignore rules. The FAO Agreement complements the duties of
flag States to ensure that their vessels do not participate in IUU fishing, and aims to
block the movement of IUU-caught fish into ports and onto national and international
markets. Currently, together with the EU, only three States have ratified the FAO
Agreement, which requires 25 parties to the Agreement for entry into force.
Biodiversity conservation and sustainable use: Investing in natural capital for a Green
74. Strengthen the mainstreaming of biodiversity and ecosystem services in policies
and decision-making processes at international, regional and national levels,
including through promoting the valuation of biodiversity and ecosystem services
in the economy and encourage investments in natural capital through appropriate
incentives and policies which support a sustainable and equitable use of biological
diversity and ecosystems. The aim is to protect and enhance biodiversity and
75. Establish in this context an International Partnership amongst governments,
international organisations, NGOs, financial actors and private companies to share
and promote best practices relating to 'Investing in Natural Capital'. Initiatives
under this heading would address the following key issues:
- measuring natural capital (statistics and trends, indicators, research and
development, valuation of ecosystem services);
- integrating physical and monetary natural capital values in accounting and reporting
systems at national and international level (e.g. System of Environmental and
Economic Accounting (SEEA), ecosystem accounting, economic and social
progress reports, accounting and reporting rules for businesses);
- promoting incentives and policies to encourage investment in natural capital
(market-based instruments and innovative financing instruments for ecosystem
protection and restoration, promoting business models that integrate risks and
opportunities relating to biodiversity and ecosystem services).
76. The study on the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) has demonstrated
the strong links between the protection and enhancement of biodiversity and ecosystems
on the one hand and economic opportunities and poverty alleviation on the other.
Healthy ecosystems provide materials vital to rural livelihoods and increase the
resilience of communities to climate change as well as to water and food insecurity.
Progress in this area requires the valuation of biodiversity and ecosystem services and
the integration of these values into policies, decision-making and economic processes.
Currently, the value of natural capital is not fully reflected either in statistics and
accounts or in markets and policies. Opportunities for investing in natural capital are not
seized, even when they could provide prosperity and jobs with decent working
77. There are a number of national and international initiatives relating to the specific
individual steps needed to promote investment in natural capital including TEEB and the
World Bank's "Wealth Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services" (WAVES).
Specific activities to be undertaken under IPBES may also be of relevance in this context.
A new impetus in Rio+20 would help to advance and synthesise these initiatives and
promote best practices in developed and developing countries.
78. Strengthening and building on the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals
Management (SAICM), to step up efforts towards a more robust, coherent,
effective and efficient international regime for chemicals throughout their lifecycle.
Taking into account increasing and shifting global production and use of chemicals as
well as trade in products containing chemicals, the WSSD commitments on chemical
management should be strengthened, and their implementation better monitored, in order
to reflect the developing knowledge base as well as new policy approaches recognising
the need for greater transparency and industry responsibility. Further international
efforts should build on and strengthen the multi-sector, multi-stakeholder dimension of
SAICM, and further develop and broaden ongoing efforts to increase coordination and
cooperation within the chemicals and waste cluster, ensuring that hazardous substances
that have been identified as being of global concern can be addressed rapidly through
agreed processes. Sustainable and adequate long-term funding will be important. In this
connection, the EU and its Member States will give consideration to UNEP's
forthcoming proposals on financing to assist developing countries with sound chemical
and waste management and seeks an integrated approach that combines nationally
mainstreaming such management, including in national development strategies,
involving the private sector and providing external support for the incremental costs of
achieving global environmental benefits.
79. Further develop and broaden ongoing efforts to increase synergies and
coordination and cooperation within the chemicals cluster and the waste cluster.
80. Compared to the ambitions established at the WSSD, progress has been uneven and
insufficient, making it likely that the WSSD chemicals target will be missed.
Information on chemical hazards remains incomplete and scattered, and the international
81. Many developing countries have a chronic lack of capacity for sound management of
chemicals. Unsound management of chemicals throughout their lifecycle can lead to the
contamination of air, water and soil, leading to increased human exposure and associated
risks to health and the ability to work and make a living. Chemical pollution also
negatively affects the natural resource base which is fundamental to economic
development. Chemical management is closely related to waste handling, since reuse
and recycling become difficult if products contain hazardous chemicals.
Sustainable management of materials and waste
82. Foster the development of policy and planning instruments enhancing resource
efficiency and encouraging waste prevention, minimisation, reuse and recycling,
based on the polluter-pays principle and extended producer responsibility (e.g.
take-back schemes, fee systems), enabling better resource allocation and improved
conditions for the poor.
83. Improve the quality and reliability of waste-related data and indicators for better
inventories, monitoring, implementation, policy development and general access to
84. Promote public - private partnerships aiming to enhance capacity and technology
for environmentally sound waste management, based on international standards, as
well as to mobilize financial resources and investment, while ensuring coherence
and avoiding duplication with already existing partnerships and other relevant
work at international level.
85. Sustainable management of materials and waste is expected to generate substantial
economic, environmental and social benefits, which include natural resource and energy
saving, creation of new businesses and jobs, biological treatment such as digestion or
compost production supporting agriculture, energy production from non-recyclable
waste, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, contributions to equity and poverty
eradication. Sustainable recycling requires improved information on the presence of
chemicals in products during the entire life cycle in order to enable risk management and
for the consumers to choose greener products and a more sustainable lifestyle. Improved
health, avoidance of health costs, avoidance of water and soil contamination, and the
consequent cost of alternative water supply and of soil remediation are also important
benefits. Greening the waste sector implies: avoidance of waste through sustainable
community practices; the eco-conception and the minimisation of waste generation
through the lifecycle approach; design for recycling remanufacturing, reuse or recycling
of waste into usable products, then recovery of materials and energy from nonrecyclable
waste; treating any remaining unusable waste in an environmentally friendly
or in the least damaging way; and integrating informal waste collection and recycling
into formal, better-regulated systems, following environmental guidance, labourprotection
measures, as well as the recognition of women?s needs and roles in ?green
job? creation programmes. It is essential to move towards a recycling society, that
productively uses what is now discarded, through environmentally sound effective and
efficient management of waste.
Sustainable urban development
86. Mobilise a renewed process at local level in order to ensure that urban development
is sustainable by integrating in the work of the whole UN system the agenda for
sustainable urban development as well as the good practices, lessons learned and
partnerships implemented by cities.
87. Promote an integrated and holistic approach to building sustainable cities
88. Support the scaling up of successful experiences as a means to achieve sustainable
development and eradicate poverty globally.
89. It has been reported that cities accommodate more than half of the world?s population
and that they are experiencing rapid spatial expansion leading to the emergence of megacities,
mega-urban regions and increasing spatial and social fragmentation, poverty and
inequality. Furthermore, globalization, climate change, rising urban insecurity and
crime, increasing destruction of human settlements by disasters and conflicts of natural
or human origin, and rising informality within cities all pose major challenges that
should be the object of renewed global attention.
90. A just transition to a green economy therefore cannot be achieved without a strong
involvement of cities. They have several means of action arising from their
responsibilities in the fields of urban governance, transport, city planning and social
services. Cities create added value (wealth) and increase investment capacity, which is
essential for changing production processes.
91. Urban governance is key for an effective response to local needs but also for solutions to
social, economic and environmental concerns at the global level.
92. The setting up of partnerships between local officials and economic actors optimizes
funding and makes it possible to better use the opportunities offered by the action plans
to combat climate change with a view to economic development and social concerns.
III. INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK FOR SUSTAINABLE
Introduction / background
1. Governance structures are crucial in helping to deliver sustainable development, green
our economies and eradicate poverty. However, current arrangements for
Sustainable Development Governance are not effectively responding to the
challenges before us.
2. Despite the commonly recognized inter-linkages between poverty, natural resource use
and ecosystem degradation, fragmentation, lack of co-ordination between UN agencies
and the international financial institutions (IFIs), and silo-type responses still occur . At
the same time, effective mechanisms for monitoring or ensuring implementation of
agreed commitments need to be enhanced. Current governance arrangements are very
complex but nevertheless often lack coherence. Over the last 4 decades, well over one
hundred multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) have been concluded and
around 50 UN bodies have the environment as part of their remit. They are also
resource- heavy: it was estimated by the UN Joint Inspection Unit that the cost of the
International Environmental Governance (IEG) system in 2006 was $US 1.6bn.
3. Against this background, it is clear that governance arrangements in all three
pillars of sustainable development need to be strengthened, better coordinated and
made more coherent. We need to ensure that the economic, social and
environmental dimensions work closely together. The Rio+20 Conference provides
a unique opportunity for forward- looking IFSD discussions contributing to better
implementation and greater integration of sustainable development at all levels
and in all countries.
4. The recent economic and financial crisis offers an opportunity for global collective
rethinking to facilitate a transition to a green economy, including improving institutional
tools to accelerate the implementation of sustainable development.
5. The EU and its Member States have identified the following broader considerations
and key functions we expect to see reflected in and performed by an improved
institutional framework for sustainable development post Rio+20 and which are
relevant for consideration at all levels. Improvements are needed in
- political leadership and direction; high-level visibility and political clout for
sustainable development topics
- coherence and co-ordination, by taking a systemic approach to interlinked issues
with environment, social and economic impacts, such as food security, climate
change, unemployment, social protection, competitiveness etc; and an
interdisciplinary approach to policy analysis, i.e. by applying balanced and
coherent assessment techniques, by ensuring that reports on cross-cutting issues
are produced collaboratively and presented by institutions jointly; and through
support of joint efforts in areas such as outreach and consultation,
- effectiveness and efficiency, i.e. build on existing institutions, improve synergies
between existing processes, avoid duplication, eliminate unnecessary overlaps,
maximize effective use of financial resources, reduce administrative burdens,
avoid proliferation of sub-groups and meetings etc;
- transparency and accountability i.e. strengthen the co-operation and communication
between institutions and stakeholders.
- participation, i.e. ensure better utilization of the expertise and resources of all
stakeholders including non-state actors (from civil society and the private sector)
and especially women;
- flexibility and risk management, i.e. improved capacity for quick responsiveness and
evidence-based analysis? especially in light of newly emerging issues and in
periods of crisis.
- decision-making through an efficient mix of regulatory and market-based
- scientific evidence base through more integrated and inter-disciplinary scientific
research and reports.
- progress monitoring and review i.e. clear goals and objective setting, capacity
transfer, knowledge building etc.
6. It will be important, as a general principle, that the options that are being put forward
are practical and take into account financial, structural and legal implications.
New arrangements should make clear improvements upon existing arrangements,
enable more efficient use of existing resources and funds, and be able to promote
work on sustainable development metrics.
7. Implementation should be streamlined into the various options for reform, in
particular by facilitating the implementation of national and sub-national sustainable
development policies and strategies through policy exchange or peer reviews to promote
implementation of national strategies for sustainable development, as well as practical
and action-oriented guidance and advice and capacity building by the UN System and
by bilateral, and multilateral donors. The role of business and civil society in the
implementation phase is key, and can be promoted by establishing partnerships and
8. There is a strong functional link between IFSD and the other theme of Rio+20 ?a
Green Economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty
eradication". In addition to effective rules and regulations, and adherence to them ,
properly functioning global markets also need effective multilateral institutions. The
strengthening of international governance structures for sustainable development will
help the transition to a green economy. Long-term economic resilience is dependent on
sustainable use of natural resources. We need to reflect on which UN agencies and
bodies could best support, and by what means , the transition towards a green economy
in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication in compliance with
the framework of UN reform.
Global Sustainable Development Governance
9. Reinforcing the architecture for sustainable development governance at the global level
will require, in particular, strengthening of and better co-ordination and
coherence between the UN organizations responsible for sustainable development
in order to ensure better linkages between the three pillars and to improve
implementation of existing commitments. This will also require reinforcing and
mainstreaming environmental issues in a balanced manner.
10. During the preparatory process for Rio+20 a number of reform options have been
suggested. These include, inter alia, reform of the United Nations General Assembly,
the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the Commission on Sustainable
Development (CSD) and the possible establishment of a Sustainable Development
Council. The position of the EU and its Member States on all these reform options
remains open and we welcome the views of others on how to best achieve an
ambitious outcome for IFSD at Rio+20. The outcome of the joint Executive
Committee on Economic and Social Affairs (EC-ESA) study on IFSD will serve as an
important source of information for comparing the various options, for assessing
possible interrelatedness and interdependence between options and for evaluating the
extent to which options would fulfil the required functions.
11. Governance aspects of the economic and social pillars of sustainable development must
be taken into account as well. There is a need to ensure strong involvement in and
coherence between the activities of the International Financial Institutions,
especially the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund, the regional
development banks, G20, and the World Trade Organization in regulating global trade.
12. Initial/preliminary considerations by the EU and its Member States on some of the
options put forward for global sustainable development governance reforms are set out
below. These options are not mutually exclusive and could be pursued as a
combination of options.
.. As the main deliberative organ of the UN, the UN General Assembly provides a
unique forum for multilateral discussion and political guidance at the highest level.
The main aim should be to ensure that sustainable development issues are
mainstreamed on its agenda, thereby effectively providing overall political
direction to the implementation and review of the UN?s sustainable development
work. Consideration could be given to the practice of scheduling high-level
meetings and thematic debates that are interactive and inclusive in nature as
important tools for facilitating in-depth discussion on current issues of critical
.. ECOSOC has a pivotal role to play in ensuring coherence, coordination and
implementation in the area of sustainable development through its mandate on 2
of the three pillars, high-level coordination with the UN specialized agencies,
funds and programmes, its link with the Bretton Woods Institutions and its
oversight role vis-à-vis the functional commissions. Different options could be
considered for strengthening the way it performs this function, including:
- Using the coordination segment of ECOSOC as an effective way of
strengthening integration, monitoring implementation of
decisions/resolutions on sustainable development, including those coming
from its functional commissions, as well as fostering coherence and
coordination across the UN system. The ECOSOC Spring meetings ?Special
high-level meeting of ECOSOC with the Bretton Woods institutions, the
World Trade Organization and the United Nations Conference on Trade and
Development? provides an opportunity to build upon for strengthening the
link with the Financial Institutions and the UN System Chief Executives
Board for Coordination (CEB);
- Using the ECOSOC operational activities segment to promote mainstreaming
of decisions/resolutions on sustainable development into programmes of UN
agencies and funds which would translate into concrete actions on the
- A possible revision of the roles and division of responsibilities of the
ECOSOC and the CSD as regards sustainable development.
.. 20 years after the Commission for Sustainable Development (CSD) was
created, there is broad agreement that the role of the CSD needs to be reviewed.
As it stands, CSD no longer delivers a satisfactory dialogue with the governing
bodies of implementing entities, is unable to support the incorporation of
decisions into UN country-level assistance frameworks, and lacks the authority for
an effective integration of the three pillars of sustainable development. Different
scenarios could be considered for improving the effectiveness, efficiency and
flexibility of activities currently performed by the CSD, including:
- Enhancing and strengthening the CSD by endowing it with a sharper, more
focused, balanced and responsive engagement with a more limited set of
issues, resulting in a more strategic and manageable approach, as well as an
enhanced implementation of its decisions.
- Reorienting its role by focusing on the part of its mandate in support of
sustainable development partnerships and dialogue and removing its
- Enhancing the review dimension of the CSD by facilitating voluntary peer
review mechanisms for progress monitoring using best practice and/or
establishing linkages with regional level peer review mechanisms.
- Abolishing the CSD, and transferring those functions that should be
continued to another organ within the UN system.
The establishment of a Sustainable Development Council under the UNGA
has been highlighted as a way to improve the UN?s work on Sustainable
Development. The key function of such a body could be to improve visibility of
Sustainable Development topics. However, considerations about the possible
establishment of a Sustainable Development Council must avoid any concrete or
potential overlap in the functions and mandates of existing organizations.
.. A Special Envoy or Representative could be the high-level voice and advocate
for sustainable development with various policy makers at the national level and
could promote an integrated approach in the UN system and at country level.
13. Another key aspect of a improved IFSD pertains to interagency improvements. Policy
coordination needs to be strengthened and the coordinating mechanisms such as the
CEB, the UN Development Group (UNDG), the Environmental Management Group
(EMG) and others made more effective in support of sustainable development. In order
to strengthen the integration of environmental issues into the activities of the various
UN organs, the EMG should become more closely linked to the CEB. This could be
ensured by, for example, integrating it into the CEB. In order to enhance ownership of
the EMG, a rotating chairmanship could be considered.
14. Fragmented support from the international system for national-level implementation
should be avoided. UN Country Teams need to improve their support for sustainable
development implementation at the national level. The delivery of services needs to
become more efficient and effective. Lessons learned from the ?System Wide
Coherence? exercise and ?Delivering as One (DaO)? as well as from cross-sectoral
approaches such as the ?Poverty and Environment Initiative? and UNAIDS can
provide valuable input for the discussions on IFSD. In this regard, the EU looks
forward to the results of the independent evaluation of the ?delivering as one? pilots, to
be presented in May 2012. The DaO model could be further developed to help
strengthen sustainable development at the national level. Organizations engaged in
practical implementation, as well as governments where the UN is present on the
ground, are encouraged to come forward with and articulate observations that may
advance the discussions on the IFSD.
International Environmental Governance (IEG)
15. Reinforcing the architecture for sustainable development governance at the global level
will also make it necessary to reinforce the environmental pillar in a balanced
16. Strengthening of IEG forms a crucial part of the strengthening of overall
sustainable development governance. The EU has been a keen supporter of the
growing consensus for strengthening the environmental pillar and supports the overall
conclusions on system-wide responses for strengthening IEG as debated within UNEP,
1. Science-policy interface
2. System-wide strategy for the environment,
3. Synergies between compatible MEAs
4. Global environmental policy making and finance
5. System-wide capacity building framework for the environment
6. Strategic engagement at the regional level.
17. Setting up system-wide responses would also entail creating activities that span all three
dimensions of sustainable development and would thus ground IEG within the wider
18. The EU and its Member States actively support the incremental improvements of
IEG that were identified in the Nairobi-Helsinki process and consider that they
should be rigorously implemented. Our views are set out more fully in paragraph
19. Furthermore, the EU and its Member States are convinced that, at the same
time, more ambitious and broader reform is necessary to respond to the
fundamental problems of the current system. A key outcome of Rio+20 should
therefore include the upgrading of UNEP into a Specialized Agency for the
Environment as part of the reform of IFSD, and our detailed views on this are set
out in paragraph 20 below.
19. With regard to synergies among compatible MEAs, the EU and its Member States
believe that the work on streamlining and reinforcing the MEA system needs to be
accelerated. While respecting the autonomy of different MEAs, there is much scope for
making their administration more effective through inter alia, coordination, cooperation
and avoidance of duplication ? thus creating a better platform for securing coherent and
focused political oversight and leadership, thereby freeing up resources for better
implementation and for promoting favourable conditions for green growth. Such
synergies could include cooperation and coherence with regard to financial aspects. If
the political will exists among Parties, the MEA system can be streamlined and
reinforced. Rio+20 may provide the momentum for all of us to commit to and kick-start
such reforms and strengthened synergies between MEA?s, for example:
.. The EU and its Member States welcome the work already undertaken to improve the
co-operation and co-ordination between the chemicals and waste cluster and
consider that more work in this area could be undertaken for, e.g., significant
steps towards further advancing cooperation and coordination between new and
existing instruments within the chemicals and waste cluster, where a future proof
governance structure and an integrated approach to financing options need to be
.. We also welcome further efforts for enhancing synergies between the biodiversityrelated
Conventions, international and regional agreements and other relevant
bodies, which, without prejudice to their specific objectives or mandates, and with
a view to, inter alia, considering joint activities and identifying areas for Partydriven
collaboration regarding biodiversity, climate change, land degradation and
ecosystem based approaches, would support the transition to a green economy.
.. We also note the need to strengthen coordination between the three ?Rio
Conventions? (the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the UN
Convention on Biological Diversity, and the UN Convention to Combat
Desertification) and promote joint activities for Party-driven collaboration on
ecosystem -based "win-win-win" solutions.
20. The EU has over the years developed its thinking on IEG. The 2005 Council
Conclusions from EU Heads of State and Government support ?the establishment of a
UN agency for the environment, based on UNEP, with a revised and strengthened
mandate, supported by stable, adequate and predictable financial contributions and
operating on an equal footing with other UN specialized agencies. This agency, based
in Nairobi, would make it possible to develop the environmental dimension of
sustainable development in an integrated and consistent manner, and would
cooperate closely with multilateral agencies, each using its comparative advantages to
21. The EU view of a UN Specialised Agency for the environment is as follows:
Pursuant to Articles 57 and 63 of the UN charter, a Specialised Agency of the UN (a
?World Environment Organisation or ?United Nations Environment Organisation?)
would be established as the global body for the environment with its seat in Nairobi. It
would be based on the models of some of the existing, medium-sized UN specialised
agencies such as the International Labour Organization (ILO), the World
Meteorological Organization (WMO), or the World Intellectual Property Organization
It would be recognized as the leader on matters relevant to the environment and would
perform a coordination function with regard to other UN bodies. It would represent "the
UN voice for the Environment", and be a designated body with a strong mandate so that
the UN response to the outstanding issues in the area of environment reflects the size of
The added value of a Specialised Agency over an enhanced UNEP would be:
.. an adequate position within the UN system to fulfil the tasks that governments have,
in 1972, entrusted to a body too low in the UN family to exert its influence;.
.. better positioning to help developing countries reinforce capacity and environmental
Mandate and key functions of the Specialized Agency
The Specialised Agency would:
.. Be the designated agency of the United Nations system on environmental issues.
.. Have a clear policy advice and guidance function as well as authority on assessment
and early warning on the global environment.
.. Build strong links between science, policy and decision-making to support
evidence-based and coherent decision-making inside and outside the UN.
.. Offer specific capacity building and technical assistance to countries to assist in the
process of implementing international environmental norms, standards, guidelines,
or guidance. It would respect the principles of the Paris Declaration on Aid
Effectiveness and the Accra Agenda for Action, and be in line with the System-
Wide Coherence and "Delivering as One" initiatives. It would also have to fully
respect the Bali Strategic Plan (amended as necessary to take into consideration the
establishment of the Agency).This country support will pass via its regional centres
not own -country offices, and also through close institutional links with other UN
bodies that would make it possible to work through existing institutions in their
efforts to achieve compliance and enforcement of environmental law, taking into
account the specific needs of developing countries. Although not a resident agency,
an Agency would support UN Country Teams when developing the UN Country
Assessments and Development Assistance Frameworks.
.. Promote the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable
development within the UN system by building on efficient coordination
mechanisms within UN system , such as the strengthened EMG.
.. Identify and bring new and emerging global environmental issues to the political
agenda so as to be responsive to challenges as they arise. For example, it is not
enough to focus international action solely on climate change- related issues: swift
responses are also needed to problems such as loss of biodiversity, land degradation
and sound chemical and waste management, management of natural resources or
disaster -risk reduction.
.. Develop global, regional and thematic environmental outlooks and contribute to
environmental outlooks at the country level to support the transformation of
economies from the perspective of a sustainable development.
.. Disseminate environmental information worldwide, raise awareness and mobilize
public opinion on critical environmental issues. Achieve strong and visible
dialogue/advocacy on environmental issues involving major companies and the
business world at large.
.. Give guidance for better environmental performance by integrating normative
environmental policy into UN operational activities. In this context, provide
regional level technical and technological support to focal-points pursuant to MEAs.
.. Undertake efforts to improve efficiency and effectiveness of MEAs at national,
regional and international levels.
.. Enhance synergies among existing MEAs where this is feasible and desirable, as
one way of making implementation more efficient and effective. Contribute to
ensuring that any new MEAs are truly synergistic and future- proof instruments.
Facilitate the creation of synergies between the MEAs and other relevant
.. Provide support to MEA secretariats in technical, logistical and programmatic areas
in a synergetic way. A well-resourced and fully -equipped "environment house"
should be able to provide the professional services that Parties need to efficiently
.. Have a role in enhancing coherence and political oversight of global environmental
.. Ensure an open political decision-making process and enhance transparency through
the involvement of civil society and the private sector. Similarly, the matter of
giving citizens a more powerful voice at global level should be addressed:
reinforced governance structures are needed to make sure that the voice of citizens
is heard in international, national and local decision- making. There are several
ways to enable broad, innovative participation on the part of the various
stakeholders, and to move beyond the current model where civil society has limited,
unsatisfactory opportunities to participate.
.. Its funding basis needs to be ?adequate, predictable, and stable?. The Agency could
therefore work inter alia with assessed contributions as one of its funding sources
.. The widening of the funding basis to include other sources is essential.
.. No new funding structures would be set up as part of the creation of such an
.. The agency would play a role in the necessary efforts to dovetail financial streams
for the environment, including the GEF. It would continue to fulfil UNEP's existing
mandate to provide policy guidance, and cooperate with the COPs of the
Conventions which are the competent bodies for the financial mechanisms of the
Conventions. This will be part of a better realignment of the multilateral policy -
making and the international funding mechanisms.
.. The Agency would be created through the transformation or upgrading of UNEP -
so cost evolution can be followed and controlled gradually.
.. The Agency would moreover provide cost savings if the administrative and financial
functions for both some of the MEAs and the Agency are successfully streamlined.
Relation with the MEAs
.. Resolving in a mutually supportive and balanced way the relationship between the
Specialised Agency and the MEAs is central to resolving the issue of the creation of
.. The Agency would provide guidance and cooperate in this respect with the COPs of
.. The legal autonomy of the conventions would be fully respected.
.. Formulas would be worked out, without creating new structures, to closely associate
MEAs with the Agency, their high- level presence at the decision making bodies
being one example.
Multilevel SD governance: the role of regional, national, subnational and local
22. The strengthening of IFSD needs to be addressed across multiple levels of governance.
Regional, national, sub-national and local- level institutions are at the forefront when
it comes to dealing with the challenges and opportunities related to the implementation
of sustainable development. Promoting effective institutions and appropriate
framework conditions at these levels should be recognized as an indispensable
complement to efforts aimed at strengthening IFSD at global level. Taking into
account lessons learned, proposals should build further on the valuable work that is
already taking place, notably with regard to the implementation of sustainable
development policies and strategies (National Sustainable Development Strategies
(NSDS)), Poverty Reduction Strategies (PRS), Local Agenda 21), the work of local
governments and the work of intersectoral coordination structures.
23. Regional cooperation and South-South cooperation is a powerful tool for bridging
the gap between the global and national levels of sustainable development decisionmaking
and implementation. UN regional commissions have a role to play in facilitating
technical assistance, regional coordination, mobilizing financing and implementation.
24. Overarching sustainable development strategies are key instruments for the
implementation of sustainable development commitments at regional, national or subnational
level. Rio should provide incentives to countries or regions which already have
such strategies in place for updating the existing strategies and ensuring that all relevant
line ministries and stakeholders are involved in this process. Countries without national
sustainable development strategies or poverty reduction strategies in place could be
provided with the supportive measures (including mechanisms to secure public and
private funding) necessary for developing and implementing the strategies that will
allow them to tackle in a holistic manner the complex and interrelated economic,
financial, environmental, climate and social crises and challenges.
The role of non-state actors
25. One of the fundamental prerequisites for the achievement of sustainable development is
broad public participation in decision-making. The IFSD package, therefore, should
include measures that encourage and facilitate an active and meaningful involvement of
all major groups and stakeholders as central actors in both policy development and
implementation. Possible measures could include:
.. The promotion of dynamic partnerships and flexible alliances aimed at ensuring an
efficient and effective participation of major groups and stakeholders,
acknowledging in particular the role of business and the private sector, nongovernmental
organizations and trade unions.
.. Promoting and strengthening national Sustainable Development Councils (as set
out in Agenda 21) composed of stakeholders from the different major groups that
are active in pushing forward the sustainable development agenda. Integrative and
trans-disciplinary in nature, Sustainable Development Councils can be seen as a
model for efficient and effective multi-stakeholder involvement.
26. Similarly, reinforced governance structures are needed to make sure that the voice of
citizens is heard in international, national and local decision -making.