From the 13th to 22 June 2012, the United Nations had a conference themed on Sustainable development. The RIO+20 summit resulted in a collection of documents tagged The Future We Want, and it looked towards sustainable development as the new future. This resulted in 2 goals, establishing a green economy and eradicating poverty through an institutional framework. This summit improved upon the millennium development goals and formed a new set of Sustainable Development Goals.
The summit’s backstory
The RIO+20 summit was the 3rd international summit to be held with its focus on sustainable development. The conference’s backstory steams from the need to build a bridge between the environment and economic goals. Held in Brazil, Rio De Janeiro is now referred to as RIO 2012 or Earth Summit 2012. This summit came 20 years after the last summit on environment and development in 1992 (United Nations Conference on Environment and Development UNCED), also took place in the same city. It also marked the 10th anniversary of the 2002 world summit on sustainable development.
The summit and its goals
The summit lasted ten days and welcomed over 192 UN members, 57 state heads and 31 government heads, private sector companies and groups. The conference had three critical reasons for holding.
- To determine the progress of previous sustainable development commitments and finding new ways to bridge failing gaps.
- To ascertain the commitment and drive-by political authorities on sustainable development.
- To analyze and note new and challenging issues arising.
The summit’s primary theme was how to build a green economy with the goals of achieving sustainably developed countries. The summit looked into ways of using sustainable development to tackle poverty. It also requested the aid of developed countries thriving in sustainable development to assist developing and underdeveloped countries on the green economy oath. Finally, the summit discussed building an institutional framework where member states could coordinate and explore potential and useful sustainable development.
The result of the summit
- A Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) was formed by member states founded upon the existing Millennium Development Goals.
- Over 700 voluntary commitments were made.
- Several new partnerships between organizations and businesses were established.
- A guideline on sustainable development was formed called the green economy policies.
- Governing bodies present built an intergovernmental institution under the General Assembly’s management to analyses and strategies solutions and answers for sustainable development financing.
- More attention was agreed to be given to the United Nations Environment Program.
- A high-level political forum was formed for the sake of the theme.
- The summit also talked about food security, cities, oceans, energy and more, all under sustainable development.
- With the United Nations Statistical Commission’s aid alongside other entities and organizations, a program was established to measure and rate each member country’s level of advancement. This formation aimed to answer challenges each country faced while using it as a basis of analysis for future decision-making.
- A ten-year framework was also formed to manage and keep track of all member countries sustainable consumption and production systems.
The future we want
The future we want is the conclusion summation and agreement by all member states, organizations and entities on the sustainable development summit. The document began with the short introduction calling on the uniform acceptance of all present. It read “We the Heads of State and Government and high-level representatives”, having met at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 20 to 22 June 2012, with the full participation of civil society, renew our commitment to sustainable development and to ensuring the promotion of an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable future for our planet and present and future generations.”
The document was revised and rewritten three times, all of which were done before the summit began. The first draft came out in January of that year and was only released after discussions between member states. These discussions and negotiations had been going on since May of 2010. After that, yet another version came out in April of that year after a new set of discussions was finished.
The document focused on the SDGs and efforts to be made to promote sustainable development further. One of the paper’s notable parts was the decision to look into other options from GDP for wealth creation in environmental and social factors.