RIO+20 - Conference on Sustainable Development

The highlight of the international environmental policy year in 2012 was the conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in June: Rio +20. Twenty years after the first summit on the Environment and Development in Rio, where the conventions to combat climate change, protect biodiversity and address desertification saw the light of day, ministers and negotiators from all over the world gathered to discuss the future of our planet. This resulted in a substantial vision statement: The Future We Want.

The D2.4 service mainly focuses on the environmental pillar of this future vision while never losing sight of the other two sustainable development pillars: social justice and a prosperous economy.

Rio+20 must be viewed as a starting point for various processes that must lead to a world that develops in a more sustainable manner. The chair of the conference, Brazil, obtained agreement on the recognition of a green economy as a common challenge and as a means of achieving sustainable development. Actions for greening the economy, specified in the RIO+20 vision statement, are voluntary and must be able to be integrated in the national context and priorities. Furthermore, a process was launched to establish Sustainable Development Goals. From 2015 these must form the global frame of reference for development, environmental and socio-economic agendas. According to the Directorate-General for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid (DGD), the review of the Millennium Development Goals that expire in 2015 and the SDG process must also result in the same frame of reference.

An important result of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), one of the DGD’s multilateral partner organisations, was the agreement between UN Member States to reinforce the UNEP by establishing universal membership and ratifying the UNEP’s normative role in the UN system.

A noteworthy initiative on the margins of the Rio+20 is Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon’s Sustainable Energy for All programme. SEA4All has a threefold objective: universal access to modern energy services by 2030, doubling global energy efficiency, and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix. The Belgian Government has contributed an additional EUR 10 million for achieving these goals via the existing programmes for renewable energy of the West African Development Bank and the Fond de développement de l’électrification (Electrification Development Fund).