What is Rio+20?

Emma Puka-Beals

Rio+20, an international summit organized by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), will take place in Rio de Janeiro on June 20th-22nd, 2012. It will mark the 20th anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in which countries adopted Agenda 21, a document that framed sustainable development through the pillars of economic growth, social equity and environmental protection. In June, thousands of participants representing governments and sections of civil society will meet in Rio to discuss two themes: (a) a “green economy” in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication; and (b) the institutional framework for sustainable development. Participating governments are expected to adopt a clear and focused outcome document based on implementing sustainable development worldwide.

The UNCSD is a unique component of the United Nations in that it is mandated to include the participation of civil society, while traditionally only government representatives are allowed access to UN negotiations. Civil society is represented through nine Major Groups: Business and Industry, Children, Farmers, Indigenous Peoples, Local authorities, NGOs, the Scientific and Technological Community, Women, and Workers and Trade Unions.

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