Ban Ki Moon’s (and others) Expectations for Rio+20

On May 29th, U.N. General Secretary Ban ki Moon gave an encouraging speech in the context of the last set of Informal-Informals that took place before Rio+20. He reminded the world how Rio+20 is a once in a generation opportunity and how it is the beginning of a new process to change paradigms for a dynamic, fair, and sustainable development. Secretary General called all countries to put all their efforts on working on a concise outcome document that can meet the Planet’s expectations because this time work is a shared responsibility and a shared opportunity.

He presented his perspective on what the outcome of the conference should be:

  1. Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). This process might be one of the most important deliverables if they manage to integrate the three dimensions of sustainable development and are based on common paths for the Planet.
  2. Institutional framework. An effective body must support SDGs and their progress. this body should have high-level political engagement, and give space to civil society, local authorities and the private sector to contribute to knowledge and expertise.
  3. Mechanisms to create decent jobs, social protection to poor and vulnerable people, and support healthy environment. The name and tag do not matter but the real importance is for economies and people to benefit, now and int he future.
  4. Sectoral issues. Tangible outcomes must come out, always recognizing interdependence among topics. The 26 areas that are being considered must be prioritized.
  5. Finance, tech transfer and capacity building. Member States must follow past commitments and be be empowered to participate fully in a sustainable development context.
  6. Stakeholders. It is necessary to have commitments from all stakeholders are follow up on them. Also, concrete outcomes will only be accomplished if partnerships are strengthened.

This speech injected optimism and strength to the delegations and great advance was achieved by June 2nd.  A few weeks later and after The Prep Com has taken place there are still a few paragraphs that are not agreed ad ref, which means they are unresolved. Substantive results are yet to be figured out in the upcoming days. You can feel a polarized environment: while their is some expectation from the inside -negotiators-, energy is starting to decline outside. From my perspective, great things can be achieved but nor here. Whatever the official outcome is, it is our duty to start building upon it.The time is now, the urgency is great, and the opportunity has come. Perhaps Rio+20 is the real enhancer that stakeholders need to outline new sustainability paradigms.