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Presentation to the UNEP Stakeholder Forum

Partnerships with major groups and stakeholders towards Rio+20

What are the expectations from the Rio+20 Conference

As some of you know stakeholder forum has been working on Rio+20 since President Lulas speech in September 2007.

In broadest terms Rio+20 should refocus the global, national and local economies to support sustainable development and poverty eradication and create a governance system that supports this.

The last twenty years have been characterized by lost opportunities that are now coming back to haunt us. Broken promises and wasted years… perhaps people thought we had longer.

It was great to hear Lisa Jackson earlier. Head of EPA under a Democratic President.

But for a moment I would like to take us back to the end of Rio and part of  the concluding comments by Buff Bolhan, US Assistant Secretary of State,  June 1992, under the first President Bush

“There is no question that developing countries and countries in transition must have new resources” he declared. “I would like to make it absolutely clear that the United States is committed to working with other industrial countries to mobilize new and additional resources for a new partnership.”

This is in part why we left Rio in 1992 with great hopes for the future, with Agenda 21 an action plan for the 21st century, two conventions to address the future challenges in climate and biodiversity and a desertification convention to be agreed within two years of Rio.


Meanwhile between 1992 and 1997 aid fell from $60 billion to $48 billion It did not get back to Rio levels until Joberg in 2002. A lost ten years. I am not saying that good things didn’t happen in those years and there are some wonderful examples the 7000 local agenda 21s, the setting of a target at Kyoto,the Cartagena protocol and the POPs and PICs conventions.

So in the run up to 2012

We must be bold,

We must be clear and

We must be loud

So that our politicians can hear enough is enough.

What would make a good outcome from 2012?

On governance clearly a resolution of the International Environmental Governance debate.

As an organization SF have supported the call for a strong voice for the environment and that should be upgrading UNEP to a specialized agency. We would favor a strong environmental agency similar to WTO with a committee structure on biodiversity, atmosphere, chemicals, water and land with dispute resolution mechanism between WTO and a WEO and ILO. UNEPs role here is to help facilitate this discussion on the way to Rio+20

In the area of sustainable development governance

The Commission on Sustainable Development should be elevated to the level of the Human Rights Council a council of the UN General Assembly to deal with new and emerging issues like Food Security, Climate Security, Water Security.

The role of monitoring the implementation of RiO+20 should be a high level segment of EcoSoc... a session that should be designed with the full participation of stakeholders at the table not speaking at the end of a session. UNEP should provide the environmental input to this.

 At the national level every country should have a Sustainable Development Council.  A place where all stakeholders can work with their government to take forward the outcome from Rio+20 as a partnership for sustainable development.

On march the 6th in New York will be a joint conference by UNEP and SF on governance and to help this a number of papers have been commissioned through the Sustainable Development Governance Network and will be peer group reviewed by this Network.

To help address the green economy and the challenges of sustainable development we need some more international regulation:

Either a global Principle 10 Convention dealing with Access to information, participation and environmental justice or a set of region conventions

The problems with the Banks shows the need for strong global regulation perhaps a convention based on ISO 26000 agreed last year.

What is ISO 26000 By looking at an organization’s behavior, the ISO 26000 Standard evaluates to what extent it transparently and ethically:

•Contributes to sustainable development, including the health and welfare of society

•Takes into account the needs and expectations of stakeholders

•Is compliant with applicable laws and consistent with international norms

•Integrates and implements these behaviors throughout the organization


It’s a good place to start building a framework convention. We must be able to trust our industry as we move to a green economy and the experience of the banks shows the need for strong regulation.

Finally on the legal side the need for a real look at the possibility of a Precautionary Principle Convention to deal with geo engineering, nano technology etc.

As the world gets more complicated we need a body that can ensure that we don’t see experiments done that could have lasting impacts without governments and society agreeing to go in that direction.

On the review of previous commitments that Michele Candotti mentioned in his presentation. Stakeholder Forum will table a paper on previous commitments at the prepcom which we hope will help stakeholders in their national assessments.

On the green economy

Rio+20 could give us a mini agenda 21 looking at the relevant sectors of the green economy such as

energy, agriculture, land management, urbanization, fisheries, biodiversity with clear global goals in each which can feed into any new MDGs that would be agreed in 2015 would be an important and vital contribution.

There is a huge challenge we have for Rio+20 particularly in getting the political buy in in other government ministries such as economic and development but we must try.  The work that UNEP has done in the area of the green economy is to be commended. BUT if Rio+20 is to have significant impact then the active involvement of the IFIs and UNDP at the highest level is vital.

Stakeholder Forum with the Earth Charter and Bioregional will be tabling a paper on green economy principles at the Prepcom in March as we believe that a set of principles will help the discussion on the green economy.

To end I leave you with the challenge of Martin Luther King


“over the bleached bones of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words. Too late.”

 Let that not be us.





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