Twenty years on from the Earth Summit, Rio+20 will bring together a very large majority of the world’s heads of state and government and be an important moment for making progress on tackling the economic and climate crises.
At the summit, France will put the case for a new development model which gives a full role to a social, solidarity-based economy and includes social and ethical objectives in wealth creation, as well as a necessary environmental and energy transition.
Three sets of dates
1. a preparatory committee meeting (13-15 June), 2. dialogue days with civil society on particular topics (16-19 June), 3. the summit (20-22 June)
Other themes also hold an important place in the summit:
With an eye to reaching a global compromise in favour of growth policies geared to the long term, Rio+20 will also have to come up with the instruments vital for monitoring them. Innovative financing will be necessary in order to fulfil the sustainable development agenda.
Rio could finally give the United Nations a strengthened institutional framework for sustainable development through the creation, inter alia, of a United Nations environment organization so that, 20 years after the Earth Summit, sustainable development finally becomes a reality for everyone.
Lastly, France’s pavilion at Rio, located at the heart of the national pavilions area, near Riocentro [exhibition and convention centre], will be the hub for French participation. It will host press conferences, forums, TV debates, and discussion workshops on the theme of “innovation, cities and sustainable territories”. This pavilion is run jointly by the state and Club France Rio+20, a Comité 21 [French environment and sustainable development committee] body, with the support of public- and private-sector partners.
What are France and the European Union championing at Rio+20?
The European Union (EU) and France would like ambitious results at Rio+20 and have progressed in a coordinated way to identify the following joint priorities:
1 – stronger international environmental governance: The European Union (EU) and France support changing the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) into a United Nations specialist agency based in Nairobi. This agency would have genuine political authority and stable resources and could spearhead the international environment agenda.
2 – stronger international governance of sustainable development as a whole, in order to improve relations between its environmental, social and economic pillars.
3 – an international “road map” for an inclusive, green economy: For France and the European Union, Rio+20 must be able, through concrete, swift action, to establish an economy which combines growth, social progress and a response to environmental challenges.
Finally, the issue of means of implementation (bringing together financing including Official Development Assistance, technology transfers, help for capacity-building etc.) will be a major, tough debate at Rio+20. Official Development Assistance will go on playing a central role, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable countries, but will not be able to finance all the action necessary to tackle the great global challenges.
Rio+20 will mark a milestone in identifying broader, more tailored means of implemention: domestic resources, private funding, South-South and “triangular” cooperation etc. In this context, the issue of innovative financing will be crucial and France will play a major role in it.