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EC Unveils Policy Orientations for Rio+20, Green Economy Roadmap

EU flag20 June 2011: The European Commission adopted a Communication preparing the ground for the EU's position at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20). The Communication, titled “Rio+20: Towards the Green Economy and Better Governance,” referring to the two themes of the Conference, is expected to facilitate dialogue between EU institutions, civil society, businesses and countries in the lead up to Rio+20.

The Communication outlines objectives and specific actions on the two themes, in the following areas: investing in key resources and natural capital (water, renewable energy, marine resources, biodiversity and ecosystem services, sustainable agriculture, forests, waste and recycling); combining market and regulatory instruments (eco-taxes, removing environmentally harmful subsidies, mobilizing public and private financial resources, investing in skills and green jobs); improving governance (possibly upgrading the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) into a UN specialized agency); and encouraging private sector involvement .

The Communication points to a possible outcome for Rio+20 that includes: a broad political “rallying call” with shared, ambitious vision and goals; a set of specific actions at international, regional and national levels as a “green economy roadmap;” a toolbox of policy approaches and best-practice examples; and a mechanism to promote and monitor overall progress.

Within the "roadmap," actions towards a green economy could include: an international partnership on water; partnerships on energy access, energy security, renewables and energy efficiency; an implementing agreement to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on the protection of marine areas beyond national jurisdiction; a global action programme to combat marine litter and pollution; an international partnership on food commodities, including a global economic valuation of costs and benefits of improving land quality; a partnership on sustainable forest management; and a framework convention to ensure a coherent and more robust international regime on chemicals and hazardous substances, including criteria to identify chemicals of global concern and a framework for assessing substances.

On the basis of this Communication, the Commission will work with Council of EU environmental ministers and the European Parliament to build an EU position for the Rio+20 outcome, to be submitted to the UN by 1 November 2011. [EU Press Release] [Publication: Rio+20: Towards the Green Economy and Better Governance] [EU Website on Rio+20]