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Rio+20: Leaders hope for “ambitious” outcome

The European Union heads of state and government underlined their “strong” support for an “ambitious” outcome at the Rio+20 UN conference on sustainable development, to be held on 20-22 June in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In conclusions adopted on 2 March, the European Council stressed the need for strong participation by the private sector and civil society at the conference and confirmed the EU’s expectations by identifying key principles that will guide the Union in its preparations. The environment ministers, who will meet in Brussels on 9 March, are expected to fine-tune this position and spell out the negotiating mandate in the form of Council conclusions.

“The conference should advance the global transition towards a ‘green’ economy,” state the leaders. To this end, it should promote environmental protection, contribute to poverty eradication and stimulate low carbon and resource-efficient growth. The Council also calls on the Rio+20 conference to work towards clear operational targets and concrete actions at national and international level within agreed timeframes. It would like to see progress in work on setting global and coherent post-2015 goals for sustainable development that also take account of the review process of the Millennium Development Goals.

On governance, the 27 confirm that they wish to see a strengthened global institutional framework for sustainable development that should include the upgrade of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) into a specialised UN agency.

By Anne Eckstein