Friday, 4 February 2011

Sha Zukang is blogging - let's see what he has to say!

2011 – A Critical Year in the Preparation of Rio+20

As this is my first blog in 2011, I would like to begin by wishing everyone a Happy New Year.

I also wish to be very clear: 2011 will be a critical year in the preparation of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio+20.

We begin the year with the first Intersessional meeting, which takes place next week, providing a much needed opportunity for Member States, UN system organizations and Major Groups to have a broad and constructive dialogue on the objectives and themes of the Conference, and to identify critical elements.

Indeed, following the PrepCom of last May, this is the first global preparatory meeting dedicated to the preparation of Rio+20. It will build on regional and expert group meetings organized last year.

In this space I want to share a few personal thoughts on the preparatory work that lies ahead.

Since the start of the preparatory process, much attention has focused on the question of a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication. As I highlighted last October in my speech at the Expert Group meeting held in Geneva, concerns remain over the impact of a green economy transition on macroeconomic management, on sustainable livelihoods and on trade.

At the same time, experience also shows that, managed properly, a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication can be an effective tool to speed up implementation.

At the Intersessional next week, further elaboration on the benefits, success factors, risks and challenges in relation to a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, will help define a forward-looking strategy for implementation.

While questions have arisen with regard to a green economy, there have also been discussions on the institutional framework for sustainable development. Though a key part of the discussion has been on international environmental governance, other issues such as strengthening national and local capacities for sustainable development, implementation, monitoring and accountability, as well as governance of economic and social pillars, have also attracted increasing attention.

To facilitate discussion on these and related issues, the Secretariat has prepared a Synthesis Report, drawing on the replies to the questionnaire circulated last October. A Report of the Secretary-General on the objectives and themes of the Conference is also available online. The two reports should be read together.

In addition to the two themes, member States have had preliminary discussions on new and emerging challenges, such as climate change, land degradation, loss of diversity, food insecurity, lack of access to modern energy services, lack of preparedness for natural disasters, urbanization, etc. Further elaboration on these challenges and on how to address them at next week’s Intersessional will undoubtedly help advance the preparations for the Conference.

If the Interessional meeting can help participants reach common ground on the issues outlined above, the second PrepCom will be better prepared to focus on those critical elements of an action-oriented, forward-looking outcome of the Conference, which will help launch our world on a trajectory towards global sustainability in the 21st century.

Looking at the timelines ahead, we will have an intervening period of approximately eight months between the end of the PrepCom II and the start of the second Intersessional, scheduled for November 2011.

I am confident that the PrepCom will come to a decision on how to utilize the intervening period to enhance the preparatory processes at the national, regional and global levels.

An intergovernmental outcome that is encapsulated in a focused political document will guide action on sustainable development for decades to come. And, complemented by voluntary commitments, such as multi-stakeholder partnership initiatives launched in the lead-up to or at Rio+20, it will add further momentum to implementation after the Conference.

In this regard, I invite colleagues and friends who are following the preparation of Rio+20 to share with the dedicated secretariat your ideas, proposals and recommendations on what innovative, concrete and effective actions and initiatives can emerge from Rio+20.

Thank you.

1 comment:

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