The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) will take place from 20 to 22 June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as an opportunity to recapture the vision of the original Rio conference of 1992 and reposition national and international policy-making on a more aggressive course toward sustainable development – understood as the marriage of economic, social and environmental concerns into a single integrated policy approach.
In spite of some progress in certain areas, the scorecard of Agenda 21, as the landmark Rio agreement was called, is fundamentally negative: a growing population is living well beyond the world’s resources; and fundamental questions of equity and social justice both within countries and between developed and developing countries remain as urgent as ever.
Looking for a whole new paradigm that might assist countries in re-thinking their policies for sustainability, the UNCSD will galvanize the global community around the theme of the green economy. It will also seek to establish the foundation of a new institutional framework for sustainable development which, among other things, may require the creation of new global entities and decision-making bodies.
As part of its contribution to the UNCSD, the IPU sought the input of its own member parliaments and presented this in the form of a briefing note to the Chairs of the preparatory process in New York. The IPU also lobbied government negotiators to have clear language on the role of parliaments in advancing sustainable development policies in the outcome document that is expected to emerge from the conference, entitled “The Future We Want”. Some of our recommendations drew from a major report released early this year by the UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel on Global Sustainability, entitled “Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A future worth choosing” (see particularly Recommendation 43 on the role of parliaments).
Given that many members of parliament are expected to join their national delegations to the UNCSD, the IPU is also organizing a Briefing as an opportunity for members to come together for a collective assessment of the new international agreement and a reflection on their role in carrying it forward. In particular, the Briefing will review:
The Briefing will take place just before the opening of the Conference on 20 June, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., in Room T-10,
- the extent to which the new international agreement acknowledges a clear role for parliaments;
- the substantive content of the new agreement and whether this constitutes a decisive step forward;
- key provisions of the agreement, particularly those that may relate to the establishment of new sustainable development goals or the constitution of a new international framework for sustainable development.
at the Rio Centro (the main venue of the Conference).
For more details about the format, content and participation modalities of the Briefing, please refer to the Information Note.