The Rio+20 Conference

At the Rio+20 Conference, world leaders, along with thousands of participants from governments, the private sector, NGOs and other groups, will come together to shape how we can reduce poverty, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection on an ever more crowded planet to get to the future we want.


The History of Sustainable Development in the United Nations

In 1972, the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment held in Stockholm brought the industrialized and developing nations together to delineate the ‘rights’ of the human family to a healthy and productive environment. The recognition to revitalize humanity’s connection with Nature, led to the creation of global institutions within the UN system.  more[...]  login_required

Commenting the Outcomes
  • Rio+ 20: A mirror of the new direction to global governance?

    Karen Rieckmann

    When you look at global media coverage or talk to NGOs, all seem to agree: The Rio+20 summit was a failure and a setback on the road to sustainable development. But was it really a failure? And do all agree? Karen Rieckmann analyses the feedback in the BRIC countries and comes to a more differentiated view of the summit outcomes.  more[...]

    The Author
    Karen Rieckmann
  • Five things we’ve learnt from Rio+20

    Tom Bigg, International Institute for Environment and Development

    While the outcomes from Rio +20 may not currently give grounds for much optimism, its value is likely to be in longer-term changes in attitudes and understanding.  more[...]

    The Author
    Tom Bigg, International Institute for Environment and Development 
  • Rio+20: Forests form important foundation for a green economy

    Duncan Macqueen, International Institute for Environment and Development

    Forests constitute the vast majority of what is green on planet earth. The quest for a green economy at Rio+20 excited the full spectrum of the forest community – from forest industries to local forest rights-holder groups. Both groups have something to offer – although it may be necessary to invest more in locally-controlled forestry if a fair green economy is to be achieved.  more[...]  login_required

    The Author
    Duncan Macqueen, International Institute for Environment and Development 

Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum

By United Nations Global Compact (UNGC)

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon accepted the full set of outcomes from the Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum, including a listing of more than 200 business commitments. The Forum brought together 2,700 business leaders, investors, academics, government officials, environmentalists, and grassroots activists.  more[...]  login_required


Road to Rio

Rio-Jean Jaques/Fotolia

Results and Observations from the Official and Civil Society Preparatory Processes

By Felix Dodds (Stakeholder Forum )

Stakeholders have been working on Rio+20 since the Group of 77 developing countries tabled the original resolution for the summit on November 4, 2008. To help in that process, the Stakeholder Forum launched the website on January 1, 2009.  more[...]  login_required

Rio+20 Logo

Institutional Challenges for a Green Economy

By Prof. Dr. Adil Najam (Lahore University of Management Sciences - LUMS), Dr Henrik Selin (Boston University)

What if the world could actualize its finest visions of a “green economy”? What sorts of institutions would we need to manage it? What sorts of institutional innovations will lead us to such a destination? Those are some of the questions that should be at the forefront of our thinking as we think about what Rio+20 can achieve.  more[...]  login_required


Two Decades of UN Earth Summits

By Judith Bomholt

The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) was a milestone in international environmental policy when it took place in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The main incentive for this conference was the Brundtland Report that had been published by the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) in 1987.  more[...]  login_required


The Rio+20 Topics

By Judith Bomholt

Twenty years after the first international Conference on Environment and Development was held there, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) has again taken place in Rio de Janeiro. Over 50,000 participants took part what is known as the Rio +20 Conference, including more than 100 world leaders and heads of government. This new conference should ensure continued political commitment to sustainable development, help to take stock of previous advances, and reveal the gaps in sustainability involvement.  more[...]  login_required

  • Maurice F. Strong

    Maurice F. Strong

    Experience has demonstrated that those countries that have been most successful in improving their environments are those, like Japan, that have been most efficient in managing their economies and reducing the energy, resources, and materials used to generate their GDPs. Rio+20 must provide for special measures to assist developing countries in the efficiency of their economies.  more[...]  login_required

    The Author
    Maurice F. Strong
  • Achim Steiner

    Achim Steiner, UNEP

    Rio+20 – as the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development has come to be known – provides an unprecedented opportunity for the world to transform the current economic paradigm into one that enhances human well-being while respecting planetary boundaries and environmental limits. This will require changes in the way we perceive progress, make financial decisions, and do business in order to ensure that social and environmental considerations are fully integrated into decision-making. As the driving forces of economic growth, business and industry will have a leading role to play.  more[...]  login_required

    The Author
    Achim Steiner, UNEP 
  • Georg Kell

    Georg Kell, United Nations Global Compact

    Never before in recent history has there been such widespread uncertainty about the future. Major developments are shaping our world, raising important questions about the proper role of business and the legitimacy of markets.  more[...]  login_required

    The Author
    Georg Kell, United Nations Global Compact 
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