Donors to push for governance talks in Rio+20

Reta Jo Lewis, the U.S. special representative for global intergovernmental affairs. Photo by: Eric Bridiers / U.S. Mission Geneva / CC BY

Governance is a likely buzzword at the upcoming U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development, with at least the United States and the U.N. Development Program pushing the issue to the spotlight.

Good government as a key element to achieving sustainable development will be the “fundamental message” of the United States at the international conference, according to Reta Jo Lewis, the U.S. special representative for global intergovernmental affairs.

Speaking at a roundtable discussion with Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development mayors and ministers, Lewis noted that open and transparent governance is necessary to ensure “that the achievements in building a sustainable future will be long-lasting.” Governments should create more channels for robust public participation, better engage their citizens, build new networks and forge more public-private partnership, Lewis said. The official also identified innovation and urbanization among talking points the United States will pursue at the Brazil conference.

UNDP Administrator Helen Clark delivered a similar message on governance at a conference in Singapore: “Active, effective, honest, and fair governance at all levels” is crucial to achieving development results.

Clark argued that without this kind of governance, it will be difficult for countries to achieve development results, and equitable and sustainable development. Good governance is also needed to merge the Millennium Development Goals with the sustainable development agenda — an objective Clark says should be included in Rio+20.

“Rio +20 offers an opportunity to strengthen international governance for sustainable development. It could establish a mechanism to evaluate and review progress,” Clark said, proposing the option to create a Sustainable Development Council.

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.