Held in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012, the Rio+20 Conference resulted in important conceptual, institutional, and operational outcomes that will have a direct impact in the context of the post-2015 development agenda.
Conceptually, the conference created a new narrative of sustainable development, overcoming some limitations while reinforcing others. It also rekindled countries’ political commitment to sustainable development, at least in rhetoric.
Institutionally, the event created a new platform for integrating economic prosperity, social inclusion, and environmental stewardship through the reorganization of relevant UN structures.
Operationally, it stimulated a slew of voluntary commitments from governments and other actors, with pledges exceeding $513 billion. Countries also agreed to create a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that will guide action in the coming decades.
There are high hopes that the SDGs will surpass previous international mechanisms for coordinating efforts to advance sustainable development. According to the Rio+20 outcome documents, the goals will be both comprehensive, meaning that they will be drafted in the context of all three dimensions of sustainable development, and universal, meaning that they will be applicable to all countries. However, governments and scholars are currently grappling with the existence of two parallel processes within the United Nations – a review of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and a generative process for a post-2015 agenda, and political negotiations for the development of SDGs. The conceptual, institutional, and operational challenges and opportunities inherent to this scenario at at the heart of the GEG project’s research in this area.
Our team has contributed to the discussions on the future of post-2015 governance with the following articles:
Ivanova, M. (2014) Assessing the Outcomes of Rio+20. In Worldwatch Institute. State of the World Report 2014: Governing for Sustainability. Click here to access the chapter.
Ivanova, M., Escobar-Pemberthy, N. (2013)Quest for Sustainable Development: The Power and Perils of Global Development Goals. Click here to access the article.
For questions and inquiries, please contact the Project Manager Natalia Escobar-Pemberthy at firstname.lastname@example.org.