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EU Council Adopts Conclusions on Rio+20 Follow-Up

25 October 2012: In a meeting on 25 October 2012, the EU Council adopted conclusions on follow-up to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20). The Council welcomed the registry of sustainable development commitments, as well as outcomes on: promoting sustainable patterns of consumption and production (SCP), a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, and the establishment of a High-Level Political Forum (HLPF).

On a green economy, the Council stressed the importance of private and public sector engagement, and underlined the urgent need for enhancing educational systems to provide necessary skills to pursue opportunities in a green economy, especially for youth and women. The Council also called on the UN Statistical Commission to launch a programme of work on broader measures of sustainable development progress than Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and called on the European Commission to issue a communication on “GDP and Beyond.”

On the HLPF, the Council stressed the need to avoid duplication with existing structures in its establishment. It said the Forum should serve as a dynamic platform for sustainable development, directly linked with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Looking forward to the adoption of a resolution by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on implementing the Rio+20 agreement to strengthen the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the Council highlighted that the outcome can contribute to ensuring that UNEP is the leading global environmental authority, noting that it considers this is a significant step toward upgrading UNEP into a specialized UN agency for the environment.

On the framework for action and follow-up, the Council stressed that the EU will take an active role in the UNGA to implement Rio+20 outcomes, by encouraging: a decision on developing an agreement under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ); adoption of a resolution on the modalities of the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to take place in 2014; and a decision on designating a UN Member State body to take necessary steps to operationalize the 10-Year Framework of Programmes (10YFP) on SCP.

In addition, the Council stressed: the need to enhance coherence and coordination with the post-2015/Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) process; and the importance of strong involvement by all stakeholders in the follow-up to the Conference and implementation of its outcomes. [EU Council Press Release] [Conclusions on Rio+20]