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International Issues

Rio+20: United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development


"Rio+20", the UN conference on sustainable development, was held in June 2012.   The conference aimed to secure renewed global political commitment for Sustainable Development. Rio+20 assessed progress made since Rio 1992 and Johannesburg 2002, and addressed implementation gaps and emerging challenges.

Rio+20 achieved advances in a number of areas:

  • It recognised that the inclusive green economy is an important instrument towards achieving sustainable development.
  • Commitments were made for action in key policy areas. This includes food security, land, sustainable agriculture, water, sustainable energy, oceans and fisheries, and sustainable consumption and production.
  • Rio decided to develop Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are to be universal goals, applicable to all countries, and to be developed alongside post 2015 development policy.
  • Means of Implementation and Financing for sustainable development.
  • Reform of the International Institutional Framework (strengthening of UNEP, and working to the establishment of High level Political Forum on sustainable development). 

Concerning SDGs, proposals made by the EU during Rio+20 are mentioned in the Commission proposal for the 7th Environmental Action Programme (annex, paragraph 100(a)).

A public consultation on Rio+20 follow-up was launched in the final quarter of 2012. The summarized findings of the consultation are presented in a report.

On 27 February 2013, the Commission adopted the Communication (COM(2013) 92 final) "A DECENT LIFE FOR ALL: Ending poverty and giving the world a sustainable future" The Communication proposes a common approach to the follow-up to Rio+20, and in particular the Sustainable Development Goals, and the review of the Millenium Development Goals. It suggests to work towards an overarching framework to address these issues post 2015. The Communication also underlines the need for actions towards an inclusive green economy, and sets out main current and forthcoming actions in the EU and internationally that contribute to the implementation of Rio+20.



UN web site on Rio+20

Rio+20 Outcome document:  The Future We Want