Decisions by Topic: Institutional framework for sustainable development
The Future We Want - Rio+20
[Arabic] [Chinese] [English] [French] [Russian] [Spanish] United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20
A/RES/66/288 - Institutional framework for sustainable development

A. Strengthening the three dimensions of sustainable development

75. We underscore the importance of a strengthened institutional framework for sustainable development which responds coherently and effectively to current and future challenges and efficiently bridges gaps in the implementation of the sustainable development agenda. The institutional framework for sustainable development should integrate the three dimensions of sustainable development in a balanced manner and enhance implementation by, inter alia, strengthening coherence, coordination, avoiding duplication of efforts and reviewing progress in implementing sustainable development. We also reaffirm that the framework should be inclusive, transparent and effective and that it should find common solutions related to global challenges to sustainable development.

76. We recognize that effective governance at the local, subnational, national, regional and global levels representing the voices and interests of all is critical for advancing sustainable development. The strengthening and reform of the institutional framework should not be an end in itself, but a means to achieve sustainable development. We recognize that an improved and more effective institutional framework for sustainable development at the international level should be consistent with the Rio Principles, build on Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation and its objectives on the institutional framework for sustainable development, contribute to the implementation of our commitments in the outcomes of United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social, environmental and related fields and take into account national priorities and the development strategies and priorities of developing countries. We therefore resolve to strengthen the institutional framework for sustainable development, which will, inter alia:

(a) Promote the balanced integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development;

(b) Be based on an action- and result-oriented approach giving due regard to all relevant cross-cutting issues with the aim to contribute to the implementation of sustainable development;

(c) Underscore the importance of interlinkages among key issues and challenges and the need for a systematic approach to them at all relevant levels;

(d) Enhance coherence, reduce fragmentation and overlap and increase effectiveness, efficiency and transparency, while reinforcing coordination and cooperation;

(e) Promote full and effective participation of all countries in decision-making processes;

(f) Engage high-level political leaders, provide policy guidance and identify specific actions to promote effective implementation of sustainable development, including through voluntary sharing of experiences and lessons learned;

(g) Promote the science-policy interface through inclusive, evidence-based and transparent scientific assessments, as well as access to reliable, relevant and timely data in areas related to the three dimensions of sustainable development, building on existing mechanisms, as appropriate; in this regard, strengthen participation of all countries in international sustainable development processes and capacity-building especially for developing countries, including in conducting their own monitoring and assessments;

(h) Enhance the participation and effective engagement of civil society and other relevant stakeholders in the relevant international forums and in this regard promote transparency and broad public participation and partnerships to implement sustainable development;

(i) Promote the review and stocktaking of progress in the implementation of all sustainable development commitments, including commitments related to means of implementation.

B. Strengthening intergovernmental arrangements for sustainable development

77. We acknowledge the vital importance of an inclusive, transparent, reformed, strengthened and effective multilateral system in order to better address the urgent global challenges of sustainable development today, recognizing the universality and central role of the United Nations and reaffirming our commitment to promote and strengthen the effectiveness and efficiency of the United Nations system.

78. We underscore the need to strengthen United Nations system-wide coherence and coordination, while ensuring appropriate accountability to Member States, by, inter alia, enhancing coherence in reporting and reinforcing cooperative efforts under existing inter-agency mechanisms and strategies to advance the integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development within the United Nations system, including through exchange of information among its agencies, funds and programmes, and also with the international financial institutions and other relevant organizations such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), within their respective mandates.

79. We emphasize the need for an improved and more effective institutional framework for sustainable development which should be guided by the specific functions required and mandates involved; address the shortcomings of the current system; take into account all relevant implications; promote synergies and coherence; seek to avoid duplication and eliminate unnecessary overlaps within the United Nations system; and reduce administrative burdens and build on existing arrangements.

General Assembly

80. We reaffirm the role and authority of the General Assembly on global matters of concern to the international community, as set out in the Charter.

81. We further reaffirm the central position of the General Assembly as the chief deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the United Nations. In this regard, we call for the Assembly to further integrate sustainable development as a key element of the overarching framework for United Nations activities and adequately address sustainable development in its agenda setting, including through periodic high-level dialogues.

Economic and Social Council

82. We reaffirm that the Economic and Social Council is a principal body for policy review, policy dialogue and recommendations on issues of economic and social development and for the follow-up to the Millennium Development Goals and is a central mechanism for the coordination of the United Nations system and supervision of the subsidiary bodies of the Council, in particular its functional commissions, and for promoting the implementation of Agenda 21 by strengthening system-wide coherence and coordination. We also reaffirm the major role the Council plays in the overall coordination of funds, programmes and specialized agencies, ensuring coherence among them and avoiding duplication of mandates and activities.

83. We commit to strengthen the Economic and Social Council within its mandate under the Charter, as a principal organ in the integrated and coordinated follow-up of the outcomes of all major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social, environmental and related fields, and recognize its key role in achieving a balanced integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development. We look forward to the review of the implementation of General Assembly resolution 61/16 on the strengthening of the Economic and Social Council.

High-level political forum

84. We decide to establish a universal intergovernmental high-level political forum, building on the strengths, experiences, resources and inclusive participation modalities of the Commission on Sustainable Development, and subsequently replacing the Commission. The high-level political forum shall follow up on the implementation of sustainable development and should avoid overlap with existing structures, bodies and entities in a cost-effective manner.

85. The high-level forum could:

(a) Provide political leadership, guidance and recommendations for sustainable development;

(b) Enhance integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development in a holistic and cross-sectoral manner at all levels;

(c) Provide a dynamic platform for regular dialogue, and for stocktaking and agenda setting to advance sustainable development;

(d) Have a focused, dynamic and action-oriented agenda, ensuring the appropriate consideration of new and emerging sustainable development challenges;

(e) Follow up and review progress in the implementation of sustainable development commitments contained in Agenda 21, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, the Barbados Programme of Action, the Mauritius Strategy and the outcome of the present Conference and, as appropriate, relevant outcomes of other United Nations summits and conferences, including the outcome of the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries, as well as their respective means of implementation;

(f) Encourage high-level system-wide participation of United Nations agencies, funds and programmes and invite to participate, as appropriate, other relevant multilateral financial and trade institutions and treaty bodies, within their respective mandates and in accordance with United Nations rules and provisions;

(g) Improve cooperation and coordination within the United Nations system on sustainable development programmes and policies;

(h) Promote transparency and implementation through further enhancing the consultative role and participation of major groups and other relevant stakeholders at the international level in order to better make use of their expertise, while retaining the intergovernmental nature of discussions;

(i) Promote the sharing of best practices and experiences relating to the implementation of sustainable development and, on a voluntary basis, facilitate sharing of experiences, including successes, challenges and lessons learned;

(j) Promote system-wide coherence and coordination of sustainable development policies;

(k) Strengthen the science-policy interface through review of documentation bringing together dispersed information and assessments, including in the form of a global sustainable development report, building on existing assessments;

(l) Enhance evidence-based decision-making at all levels and contribute to strengthening ongoing efforts of capacity-building for data collection and analysis in developing countries.

86. We decide to launch an intergovernmental and open, transparent and inclusive negotiation process under the General Assembly to define the format and organizational aspects of the high-level forum with the aim of convening the first high-level forum at the beginning of the sixty-eighth session of the Assembly. We will also consider the need for promoting intergenerational solidarity for the achievement of sustainable development, taking into account the needs of future generations, including by inviting the Secretary-General to present a report on this issue.

C. Environmental pillar in the context of sustainable development

87. We reaffirm the need to strengthen international environmental governance within the context of the institutional framework for sustainable development, in order to promote a balanced integration of the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development as well as coordination within the United Nations system.

88. We are committed to strengthening the role of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment. We reaffirm resolution 2997 (XXVII) of 15 December 1972 which established UNEP and other relevant resolutions that reinforce its mandate, as well as the 1997 Nairobi Declaration on the Role and Mandate of UNEP and the 2000 Malmö Ministerial Declaration. In this regard, we invite the General Assembly, at its sixty-seventh session, to adopt a resolution strengthening and upgrading UNEP in the following manner:

(a) Establish universal membership in the Governing Council of UNEP, as well as other measures to strengthen its governance as well its responsiveness and accountability to Member States;

(b) Have secure, stable, adequate and increased financial resources from the regular budget of the United Nations and voluntary contributions to fulfil its mandate;

(c) Enhance the voice of UNEP and its ability to fulfil its coordination mandate within the United Nations system by strengthening UNEP engagement in key United Nations coordination bodies and empowering UNEP to lead efforts to formulate United Nations system-wide strategies on the environment;

(d) Promote a strong science-policy interface, building on existing international instruments, assessments, panels and information networks, including the Global Environment Outlook, as one of the processes aimed at bringing together information and assessment to support informed decision-making;

(e) Disseminate and share evidence-based environmental information and raise public awareness on critical as well as emerging environmental issues;

(f) Provide capacity-building to countries, as well as support and facilitate access to technology;

(g) Progressively consolidate headquarters functions in Nairobi, as well as strengthen its regional presence, in order to assist countries, upon request, in the implementation of their national environmental policies, collaborating closely with other relevant entities of the United Nations system;

(h) Ensure the active participation of all relevant stakeholders drawing on best practices and models from relevant multilateral institutions and exploring new mechanisms to promote transparency and the effective engagement of civil society.

89. We recognize the significant contributions to sustainable development made by the multilateral environmental agreements. We acknowledge the work already undertaken to enhance synergies among the three conventions in the chemicals and waste cluster (the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants). We encourage parties to multilateral environmental agreements to consider further measures, in these and other clusters, as appropriate, to promote policy coherence at all relevant levels, improve efficiency, reduce unnecessary overlap and duplication, and enhance coordination and cooperation among the multilateral environmental agreements, including the three Rio conventions, as well as with the United Nations system in the field.

90. We stress the need for the continuation of a regular review of the state of the Earth?s changing environment and its impact on human well-being and, in this regard, we welcome such initiatives as the Global Environment Outlook process aimed at bringing together environmental information and assessments and building national and regional capacity to support informed decision-making.

D. International financial institutions and United Nations operational activities

91. We recognize that sustainable development should be given due consideration by the programmes, funds and specialized agencies of the United Nations system and other relevant entities such as international financial institutions and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, in accordance with their respective existing mandates. In this regard, we invite them to further enhance mainstreaming of sustainable development in their respective mandates, programmes, strategies and decision-making processes, in support of the efforts of all countries, in particular developing countries, in the achievement of sustainable development.

92. We reaffirm the importance of broadening and strengthening the participation of developing countries in international economic decision-making and norm-setting, and in this regard, take note of recent important decisions on reform of the governance structures, quotas and voting rights of the Bretton Woods institutions, better reflecting current realities and enhancing the voice and participation of developing countries, and reiterate the importance of the reform of the governance of those institutions in order to deliver more effective, credible, accountable and legitimate institutions.

93. We call for the further mainstreaming of the three dimensions of sustainable development throughout the United Nations system, and request the Secretary-General to report to the General Assembly, through the Economic and Social Council, on the progress made in this regard. We also call for and recognize the importance of the strengthening of policy coordination within key structures of the Secretariat of the United Nations so as to ensure system-wide coherence in support of sustainable development, while ensuring accountability to Member States.

94. We invite the governing bodies of the funds, programmes and specialized agencies of the United Nations development system to consider appropriate measures for integrating the social, economic and environmental dimensions across the operational activities of the United Nations system. We also emphasize that increasing the financial contributions to the United Nations development system is key to achieving the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals, and in this regard we recognize the mutually reinforcing links among increased effectiveness, efficiency and coherence of the United Nations development system, achieving concrete results in assisting developing countries in eradicating poverty and achieving sustained economic growth and sustainable development.

95. We emphasize the need to strengthen operational activities for development of the United Nations system in the field that are well aligned with national sustainable development priorities of developing countries. In this regard, we emphasize that the fundamental characteristics and principles of United Nations operational activities set forth in the relevant General Assembly resolutions provide the overarching framework for all matters pertaining to the United Nations development assistance operations in the field. We recognize the importance of strengthening United Nations system coordination. We look forward to receiving the outcome of the independent evaluation of the Delivering as one initiative.

96. We call on the United Nations system to improve the management of facilities and operations, by taking into account sustainable development practices, building on existing efforts and promoting cost effectiveness, and in accordance with legislative frameworks, including financial rules and regulations, while maintaining accountability to Member States.

E. Regional, national, subnational and local levels

97. We acknowledge the importance of the regional dimension of sustainable development. Regional frameworks can complement and facilitate effective translation of sustainable development policies into concrete action at the national level.

98. We encourage regional, national, subnational and local authorities as appropriate to develop and utilize sustainable development strategies as key instruments for guiding decision-making and implementation of sustainable development at all levels, and in this regard we recognize that integrated social, economic and environmental data and information, as well as effective analysis and assessment of implementation, is important in decision-making processes.

99. We encourage action at the regional, national, subnational and local levels to promote access to information, public participation and access to justice in environmental matters, as appropriate.

100. We emphasize that regional and subregional organizations, including the United Nations regional commissions and their subregional offices, have a significant role to play in promoting a balanced integration of the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development in their respective regions. We underscore the need to support these institutions, including through the United Nations system, in the effective operationalization and implementation of sustainable development, and to facilitate institutional coherence and harmonization of relevant development policies, plans and programmes. In this regard, we urge these institutions to prioritize sustainable development through, inter alia, more efficient and effective capacity-building, development and implementation of regional agreements and arrangements as appropriate, and exchange of information, best practices and lessons learned. We also welcome regional and cross-regional initiatives for sustainable development. We furthermore recognize the need to ensure effective linkage among global, regional, subregional and national processes to advance sustainable development. We encourage the enhancement of the United Nations regional commissions and their subregional offices in their respective capacities to support Member States in implementing sustainable development.

101. We underline the need for more coherent and integrated planning and decision-making at the national, subnational and local levels as appropriate and, to this end, we call on countries to strengthen national, subnational and/or local institutions or relevant multi-stakeholder bodies and processes, as appropriate, dealing with sustainable development, including to coordinate on matters of sustainable development and to enable effective integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development.

102. We welcome regional and cross-regional initiatives for sustainable development, such as the Green Bridge Partnership Programme, which is voluntary and open for participation by all partners.

103. We underscore the need to ensure long-term political commitment to sustainable development taking into account national circumstances and priorities and, in this regard, we encourage all countries to undertake the necessary actions and measures to achieve sustainable development.

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