EU Official Speaks Out on Lack of Rio+20 Progress

THE EU Commissioner for Environment, Janez Potocnik, has spoken out about the lack of progress in Rio+20 negotiations, highlighting the importance of sustainability.

Rio+20 will take place in Brazil on 20-22 June to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), in Rio de Janeiro, and the 10th anniversary of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg.

It is envisaged as a Conference at the highest possible level, including Heads of State and Government or other representatives. The Conference hopes to result in a focused political document. But Potocnik feels it is hampered before it begins, he said in a statement:

“I regret the lack of progress made during the additional negotiation period in New York. I had hoped that more actors would have spent the last weeks reflecting more urgently on the issues. 

“The EU has been fully engaged and will remain so. Nevertheless, it is clear that the New York discussions have run their course and further efforts will be needed in Rio. This is why we call for a strong engagement by all parties and notably the host country who will have a particular role in securing a success for the Conference.  Without that the chances of success in Rio will be limited

“There will be no added value for the Summit if we get entangled in procedures or just good intentions. We all need to wake up to the reality of the situation facing the world and to take concrete steps to deal with it. 

“Sustainable development and an inclusive green economy have a massive potential to turn the environmental challenges into economic opportunities and to reduce social inequities. But to go from potential to reality we need direction and tangible milestones. 
“Not only future generations will suffer from our inability to agree on actions needed to cope with the problems of finite resources, unsustainable development and mass poverty.  Let's not waste our chance to choose the kind of future we want – while we still can. “

Picture Island Nation of Kiribati Affected by Climate Change from UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Wednesday 6th June 2012

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