From Rio+20 to the SDGs

What is Rio +20?

In June 2012, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development Rio +20 took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This Conference gathered world leaders, along with thousands of participants from governments, the private sector, NGOs and other groups, in order to shape how to reduce poverty, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection on an ever more crowded planet to get to the future we want. Themes of the Conference included (a) a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication and (b) the institutional framework for sustainable development. The Conference concluded with an outcome document entitled ‘The Future We Want’.

What is the post 2015 UN Development Agenda?

2015 is the expiry date for the 8 Millennium Development Goals MDGs. The MDGs galvanised unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world’s poorest. In the outcome document of the 2010 MDG Summit, UN Member States requested the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to initiate annual reporting on the activities, consultations and analytical work that needs to take place to inform the inter-governmental debate on the post-2015 UN development agenda.

Among several ground breaking decisions at Rio +20, Member States decided to launch a process to develop a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which build upon the MDGs and converge with the post 2015 development agenda. The SDGs address global environmental management, protect the oceans, improve food security, and promote a “green economy”. Climate change and anti-poverty are inextricably linked.

Engagement of non-state actors in the post 2015 process

Agenda 21, the outcome of the the first Rio conference in 1992 (also known as UNCED) established the concept of nine Major Groups to represent the voices of non-stake actors. Agenda 21 defines these Major Groups as: Women, Children and Youth, Farmers, Indigenous Peoples, NGOs, Trade Unions, Local Authorities, Science and Technology, Business and Industry.

nrg4SD engagement towards the Post 2015 development agenda

nrg4SD participated in Rio +20 as one of the Organising Partner (OP) of the Local Authorities Major Group (LAMG) alongside ICLEI Local Cities for Sustainability and UCLG United Cities and Local Governments. nrg4SD continued its work during the negotiation of the SDGs and targets.

The UN Conference on Sustainable Development – Rio+20 outcome document, The Future We Want– § 248, decided to establish a participatory process to develop a set of SDGs to be approved by the General Assembly.  The Open Working Group (OWG) was established to carry on the task,  to develop a first diagnosis of this process, identifying potential themes and the challenges SDGs would face ahead. Concluded this initial step, OWG would later on enter a “decision-making” phase, with meetings to discuss and craft a set of SDGs. In the OWG discussions, many experts and stakeholders participated, and nrg4SD followed the debate in its capacity as organizing partner of the Local Authorities Major Groups. Besides, it also contributed to the process mainly through two important international initiatives that develop technical input and positions on the role local and subnational governments can play in SDGs (Communitas Coalition for Sustainable Cities and Regions in the New UN Development Agenda or the Global Taskforce (GTF) of Local & Regional Governments).

For more information about nrg4SD work on SDGs, please access this page.

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