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Rio +20: United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development

Towards a global green economy and better governance

Twenty years after the first "Earth Summit", Heads of State and Government will attend the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD or "Rio+20"), which will take place in June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro. The UN Conference on Sustainable Development is a unique opportunity for the world, and the EU, to commit further to sustainable development, environmental protection, and improved global governance. It could mark the start of global transition to a green economy.

However, it must not simply result in statements of good intent – tangible actions are needed to ensure that Rio+20 will be a major milestone in enabling the transition to the green economy and better governance. All countries and players have to work together to make sure that the outcomes of Rio+20 can meet our global challenges. A sustainability mindset is needed across the board, whether to save the economy, our jobs and livelihoods or the environment. Together, we need to ensure concrete, effective action that can have real impact across the world.

A major outcome for Rio+20 would be a Global Roadmap towards a Green Economy, with measurable deliverables and agreed timeframes. This would ensure all future policies are developed coherently and in a way that transforms the global economy into a sustainable growth model. A growth model that ensures quality of life for the highest number of people within the planet's ecological limits. Or in other words, prosperity for more has to be achieved without tipping us over into misery for all.

Main documents

Council conclusions, 9 March 2012

Council conclusions, 2 March 2012

Communication from the Commission on Rio+20: Rio+20: towards the green economy and better governance

Contribution by the European Union and its Member States to the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs


Speeches of Commissioner Potočnik

The way forward in implementing the expected outcomes of the conference, Roundtable of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development", Rio de Janeiro, 21/06/2012

Our natural capital is endangered. Launch by the world bank of initiative on natural capital accounting in the context of the ongoing Rio+20 conference, Rio de Janeiro, 20 June 2012

The green economy – our survival strategy. Address to the media ahead of the upcoming UN Conference on Sustainable Development Rio+20, Brussels, 13 June 2012

Rio +20: Oceans, land, water, fisheries. Sessions on Rio +20 during the Informal Ministerial Roundtable on Climate Change, Brussels, 7-8 May 2012

Rio+20 – Building on the pillars of life, development and poverty eradication, Meeting of the Committee of Infrastructure and Environment of the Dutch Parliament, The Hague, 11 April 2012

"Resource efficiency is not a choice, it is inevitable", OECD Ministerial Meeting of the Environment Policy Committee, Brussels, 30 March 2012

Rio+20 - Making sure the future we want is the future we get, Workshop on Rio+20 high level conference – debate on green economy, Rio de Janeiro, 16 March 2012

"Making sure the future we want is the future we get", Speech by Commissioner Janez POTOČNIK, 12th Special Session of the Governing Council / Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GC/GMEF), Nairobi, 21 February 2012

''Sustainable Consumption and Production as a Vehicle for Green Growth'', Seminar on the results of SWITCH-Asia and its applicability to other regions in the world, Brussels, 8 February 2012

''Go sustainable, be responsible! European civil society on the road to Rio+20'', Conference at the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), Brussels, 7 February 2012

''EU objectives for Rio+20'', Committee of Regions Plenary session, Brussels, 15 December 2011

"Rio+20 must succeed and Europe will play its part", Inaugural Session of the Ministerial Dialogue on Green Economy and Inclusive Growth, New Delhi, 3 October 2011

''The 2012 UN conference on sustainable development (Rio+20): preparatory work by the European Union'', European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) Plenary Debate, Brussels, 22 September 2011

"No sustainable development without better governance and a green economy", EU High level side event at CSD-19, "Leveraging financial resources for the green economy", New York, 11 May 2011

''Towards a global transition to a green economy'', Official opening of the Commission on Sustainable Development -19 Ministerial Segment, New York, 11 May 2011

''Towards the Green Economy'', 26th UNEP Governing Council – Global Ministerial Environment Forum, Nairobi (Kenya), 22 February 2011

Press releases and statements

23/06/2012: Statement by Commissioner Janez Potocnik on behalf of the EU and its Member States on the adoption of the outcome of the Rio Conference. Read more (MEMO/12/482)...

19/06/2012: Joint statement by Janez Potočnik and Ida Auken on the Rio+20 Declaration. Read more (MEMO/12/461)...

19/06/2012: Rio+20: Joint press conference by Janez POTOČNIK and Ida AUKEN, Danish Minister for Environment. See more...

17/06/2012: Rio+20 Statement. See more...

16/06/2012: Rio+20 Statement. See more...

15/06/2012: Rio+20 Statement. See more...

03/06/2012: Statement by Janez Potocnik on lack of progress in Rio+20 negotiations. Read more (MEMO/12/404)...

23/04/2012: Global Outlook Report looks at worldwide efforts in promoting Sustainable Consumption and Production. Read more (IP/12/390)

09/03/2012: Statement by Commissioner Potočnik following Environment Council Conclusions on Rio +20. Read more (MEMO/12/177).

Statement by Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik following the 12th UNEP Governing Council

Towards a global green economy and better governance – the Commission presents policy orientations for the Rio+20 Conference

For more information please see DG Environment website and UN Conference on Sustainable Development website.