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Rio+20 Issues Brief Reviews Science and Technology for Sustainable Development

RIO+20February 2012: The latest issue of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) Issues Briefs series, titled "Science and Technology for Sustainable Development," highlightes global trends in science and technology for sustainable development since the 1992 Earth Summit, and summarizes related UN debate, global commitments and their achievement in the past 20 years. 

The brief indicates that only four time-bound targets have been identified in the past, and overall delivery on these and related general technology commitments has not been encouraging.

It highlights the greater role of emerging economies in technology flows and transfer and notes calls by governments to accelerate clean technology change. The brief notes that, while increasing eco-efficiency of technology use has greatly reduced the amount of resources consumed and pollution produced, absolute amounts of consumption and pollution have continued to increase unsustainably. It also highlights that clean technology flows among emerging economies and from emerging economies to developed countries have grown faster. 

The brief offers an overview of the science and technology-related proposals for the outcome document from Rio+20, as contained in the official submissions of Member States, intergovernmental organizations, and Major Groups, and indicates that 15 of the 31 proposals are “new” suggestions, "in the sense that at present there are no agreed international commitments." The proposals are noted to be in the areas of policy environment, market incentives, global goals and targets. [Publication: Science and Technology for Sustainable Development]