First look at possible Rio+20 outcome document

    The launch of "Rio+20: The Future We Want," a campaign that enables people around the world to contributo to discussions on sustainability. Photo by: Eskinder Debebe / UN

    A draft of the proposed outcome document for the U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development has been released. And it includes a proposal to draft new global targets past the 2015 deadline of the U.N. Millennium Development Goals.

    This “zero draft” is the first look at what countries will be asked to endorse at the conference, which will be held June 20-22 in Brazil. The contents of the document, however, could change in the lead up to the summit — as experience from similar international meetings suggest.

    The draft calls for support for a set of “Sustainable Development Goals,” which it says should complement and strengthen the MDGs in a post-2015 development agenda. Proposed priority sectors include food security and sustainable agriculture, energy for all, sustainable cities, green jobs, and disaster risk reduction. The exact contents of the goals will be announced by 2015.

    The draft’s plan for improving overall coordination of sustainable development-related efforts is more concrete. It seeks either to strengthen the U.N. Environment Program by increasing its financial base or to establish a new U.N. specialized agency based on UNEP. This new agency is to have “stable, adequate and predictable financial contributions” and will be “on equal footing with other UN specialized agencies.”

    Other points of action included in the draft are a proposal to appoint an “ombudsperson or high commissioner” for sustainable development, a “substantial increase” in donor financing for sustainable development efforts, and a call for the creation of an “international knowledge-sharing platform” that will help countries design and implement green economy strategies. 

    None of these actions, however, are legally binding. As per the draft, countries will not be legally obligated to meet specific environment-related targets. Instead, countries are encouraged to develop their own strategies for achieving green economies.

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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.