Rio+20 agrees to step up efforts in meeting the Millennium Development Goals
PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma is back from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he attended the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) on 20-22 June 2012. The Rio+20 negotiations discussed and assessed progress and implementation gaps of the outcomes of major summits on sustainable development. The main focus of the conference was on two key themes, the green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication as well as institutional arrangements for sustainable development.
Other issues that were included is; energy, the green economy, financing for development and an array of environment, oceans and seas, water, poverty eradication, sustainable cities as well as sustainable consumption.
Key achievements that were central to South Africa’s negotiating position include: • A commitment to establish a set of Sustainable Development Goals that should be coherent with the United Nations Development Agenda beyond 2015 • Establishment of an intergovernmental process under the UN General Assembly to assess financing needs, consider effectiveness, consistency and synergies of existing financial instruments with the view of developing an effective sustainable development financing strategy to facilitate mobilisation of resources. The outcome of Rio + 20 affirmed that green economy policies can be undertaken by interested parties, based on their national sustainable development strategies to advance their transition to sustainable development and that developing countries choosing to undertake this route will need the necessary technical and technological support.
On institutional arrangements, Rio+20 advanced negotiations spanning more than a decade by agreeing to strengthen the United Nations Environment Programme and to establish an intergovernmental high level forum for sustainable development. Furthermore, the conference called for financial institutions to integrate sustainable development programmes into their programmes and planning, agreed to establish a process leading to an international financing mechanism by 2014.