Fulfilling the Rio+20 Promises: Reviewing Progress since the UN Conference on Sustainable Development

Stakeholder Forum and the National Resources Defence Council (NRDC) have released a new report entitled “Fulfilling the Rio+20 Promises: Reviewing Progress since the UN Conference on Sustainable Development “. It looks at the progress made against the negotiated and voluntary commitments which came out of Rio+20. It notes that the most progress has been made in strengthening international governance systems for sustainable development. It also calls for greater transparency and accountability in tracking the commitments made by member states, and highlights the central role of negotiated and voluntary actions when it comes to a new partnership for development.

Read extracts from the executive summary below:

“Setting the stage

For a new  global architecture For  sustainable development The June 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable  Development in Rio de Janeiro, also known as Rio+20,  brought together leaders from government, civil society, and  the private sector for the most participatory and socially  inclusive U.N. conference to date. Rio+20 built upon the  commitments made 20 years ago when world leaders  gathered to stimulate political will toward sustainable  development at the first Earth Summit, held in Rio in 1992.

Rio+20 resulted in the outcome document “The Future We  Want,” which laid out a number of negotiated commitments  intended to spur action toward sustainable development. In  addition, the Rio Summit mobilized more than 700 voluntary  commitments with an estimated valuation in excess of  US$500 billion. These commitments have now grown to  more than 1,400 with a value greater than US$600 billion—  or nearly 1 percent of global annual GDP.

Stakeholder Forum and the Natural Resources Defense  Council have partnered to conduct an initial review  of the progress made on key negotiated and voluntary  commitments made at Rio+20.

Globally negotiated agreements

While merely a year and a half has passed since Rio+20,  significant progress has been made on some of the key  negotiated outcomes. The formation of a set of Sustainable  Development Goals is now well underway—a process  that will play a critical role in shaping the U.N.’s vision for  sustainable development when the Millennium Development  Goals expire in 2015. A new, high-level political forum  for sustainable development has been established at the  U.N., and a process to develop an effective and ambitious  financing strategy for sustainable development has begun;  both initiatives will be crucial to the implementation of  the SDG framework. In addition to these landmark steps,  good progress has been seen in preparations for the Third  Conference on Small Island Developing States, to be held in  2014, and in efforts to develop broader measures of progress  on sustainable development that go beyond GDP. However,  the headway made on other commitments—such as those  relating to oceans and seas and the integration of the three  dimensions of sustainable development—has been much  less marked.

In terms of negotiated commitments, Rio+20 is perhaps  best seen as a starting point rather than an ending point  for action on sustainable development, with the true  impact of many commitments yet to be felt due to the long  implementation times required.”

Click here to access the full report.

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