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ECESA Plus and UNCSD Bureau Discuss Expected Outcomes

Rio+207 July 2011: The Bureau of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) met with the principals/representatives of ECESA Plus (the Executive Committee of Economic and Social Affairs (ECESA), plus the UN Development Group (UNDG) and Environment Management Group (EMG)) to discuss expected outcomes of the Conference.

Chairing the meeting on 7 July 2011, in Geneva, Switzerland, Ambassador Park In-kook, co-Chair of the UNCSD Bureau, asked for ideas on expected achievements at the UNCSD as well as ways to ensure sustained implementation of the agreed agenda, stressing the importance of implementation in the “post-Rio” period. Regarding expected outcomes, Park said the Conference should consider delivering both negotiated and non-negotiated outcomes, and noted that energy access and transition to renewable energy were critical for sustainable development and poverty eradication.

Sha Zukang, UNCSD Secretary-General, briefed participants about the status of preparations. He reiterated the suggestion of non-negotiated outcomes to advance implementation of sustainable development.

During the discussion on expected outcomes of the UNCSD, participants suggested that, inter alia: Gross Domestic Product (GDP has lost its appeal as an indicator, and measurements must factor in social and environmental costs of economic growth; three failures of the last decade should be addressed by the Conference -- failure to scale up implementation, failure to integrate the three pillars of sustainable development, and failure to distinguish between mainstream development and sustainable development; a strong multilateral trading system could address fears of “green protectionism;” there is a need to define the level of ambition on the discussion on the institutional framework for sustainable development (IFSD); and any IFSD reforms should include strengthening the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

Finally, Sha briefed participants on the status of preparation of the joint ECESA study on IFSD. He indicated that an outline has been created and a consultant has begun work on the study. He said that a separate study on the five options contained in the Nairobi-Helsinki Outcome will be a contribution to the overall IFSD study, and will be ready in September 2011. [Minutes of Bureau-ECESA Plus Meeting]