Rio + 20: European Union Consolidated Position
November 5, 2011  //  By:   //  Blog Post, Featured  //  No Comment

On November 1st, the European Union (EU) and its Member States submitted to the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, their contribution to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) that will be held in Rio de Janeiro, 4-6 June 2012.

In answering to the request of the Second Preparatory Committee of Rio+20 to provide inputs and contributions for the compilation of a “zero draft” of the outcome document of the Conference, the European Union affirms its political commitment to sustainable development at all levels and hopes for major progresses in facing existing and emerging challenges. The EU expects the Conference to reach very ambitious goals both from an institutional point of view as well as from a practical one. The institutional framework should be enhanced with an increased coherence of the linkages between the environmental, economic and social dimension of sustainable development as to guarantee the achievement of sustainable development through democratic development and respect for human rights.

The EU contribution is focused on the two main themes of the Conference: the development of a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication and the reform of the institutional framework for sustainable development (IFSD).

The European Union considers a priority the transition to a green economy both in developed and developing countries because it offers win-win opportunities to all countries. Switching to a green economy will allow a fresh nourishment for the worldwide economy as well as the implementation of existing sustainable development commitments, while respecting human rights, gender equality, contributing to eradicating poverty and improving environmental justice. The support to the green economy is also bolstered by concrete proposals for an operational outcomes of the Conference – a green economy roadmap – and by many proposal for cross cutting actions – from the adoption of models and indicators to measure progress, to international process to promote innovative and private instruments of finance, to actions in specific areas, like water or  biodiversity.

On the IFSD reform front, there is a need for a governance structure able to deliver sustainable development, green economy and eradication of poverty. In order to reach these goals the current governance arrangements in the environmental, economic and social have to be strengthened and better coordinated. However the position of the EU and its Member States on the reform options suggested during the preparatory process for Rio+20 remains open to further debate on their financial, structural and legal implications. A more detailed proposal, developed since 2005, is put forward regarding the international environmental governance: it should be reinforced through 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.

Final remarks are proposed about the relevance of a multiple levels approach – from regional, to national, subnational and local authorities – and the role of non state actors to successfully strength the sustainable development governance.

The full contribution is available for downloading at:

About the Author :

Cecilia Nardelli joined the GEG team in August 2011 working as a research associate for the legal aspects of the international environmental governance reform project. Cecilia has an Italian Law degree and she graduated from Boston College in 2011 with an LLM focused on International and Environmental Law.

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