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UN Secretary-General at Rio+20
“If the outcome document is the foundation for the next stage of our journey to sustainable development, the commitments announced at Rio are the bricks and cement.
The world is watching and will hold us all accountable to the commitments made in Rio.”
The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20, was an action-oriented conference focusing on implementation of sustainable development.
This newsletter aims to highlight the work carried out by Member States, United Nations system, Major Groups and other relevant stakeholders in implementing sustainable development and leading the way to the Future We Want.
Once signed in, click “Voluntary initiative->Register” in the left side menu.
Rio+20, as well as earlier sustainable development conferences, have emphasized the importance of action-oriented voluntary initiatives to complement government-led action in realizing sustainable development. Over 700 new voluntary commitments were announced at the end of the Rio+20 Conference, estimated to amount to over half a trillion US dollars devoted to sustainable development in action. Additionally, 310 initiatives and policies related to green economy were collected by the Rio+20 Secretariat or uploaded directly into the database by member states, international organizations and major groups. These initiatives were in addition to the existing stock of 199 partnerships for sustainable development previously registered as voluntary initiatives since the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development.
The Rio+20 outcome document mandated (paragraph 283 of the Future We Want) the United Nations Secretariat to establish and maintain a comprehensive registry of voluntary initiatives, including those announced at the Rio+20 Conference, initiating a new bottom-up approach towards the advancement of sustainable development.
The Sustainable Development in Action-registry has been launched within the Rio+20 follow-up website, the Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform, at: http://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/index.php?menu=1348
The registry provides access to all voluntary initiatives that were announced at Rio+20, as well facilitates access to other registries and initiatives, such as the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) initiative, the United Nations Global Compact, the Higher Education Sustainability Initiative and the Every Woman Every Child initiative, as called for by the Rio+20 outcome document.
The UN Secretary-General Mr. Ban ki-Moon emphasized the importance of the many commitments made in Rio:
“If the outcome document is the foundation for the next stage of our journey to sustainable development, the commitments announced at Rio are the bricks and cement. This is a remarkable testament to bottom-up, grassroots commitment. The world is watching and will hold us all accountable to the commitments made in Rio.”
UN in Action - UN System follow-up to Rio+20
The organizations of the UN system play a critical role in implementing the Rio+20 outcome and advancing sustainable development goals.
It is more important than ever that they work together at the global, regional, sub-regional, and country levels. Cooperation helps to avoid duplication among agencies, ensures synergies, and ultimately enhances the support of the United Nations system to developing countries.
The United Nations Secretary-General, along with United Nations system organizations, developed a framework for the follow up to Rio+20 by the United Nations. The framework focuses on the mandates of Rio+20 specifically directed at the United Nations system, and serves as an accountability framework as well as a working tool to promote and monitor progress.
UN implementation Framework: http://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/unsystem.html
The framework may be browsed by Rio+20 outcome paragraph, by initiatives, by UN entity and by timeframe. UN registered entities can register new initiatives into the framework by signing in to My Account, and then clicking Voluntary initiatives->Register. Within the form, users are advised to specify which paragraph of the Rio+20 outcome document the imitative is in support of.
We describe “Action Networks” as action-oriented communities where stakeholders can collaborate and share information on certain sustainable development topics and campaigns. They are meant to catalyze actions among all stakeholders and their networks to implement concrete policies, plans, programmes, projects in support of the objectives of the network.
Action networks have different objectives and spur actions among a range of stakeholders on various issues:
The Secretary-General led initiative on Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) is about driving actions and mobilizing commitments to positively transform the world's energy systems.
United Nations Global Compact leads the way in calling for commitments among the private sector to take action in support of UN goals and issues.
The Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI) aims to get institutions of higher education to commit to teach sustainable development concepts, encourage research on sustainable development issues, greening their campuses, and support sustainability efforts in their communities.
The Every Woman Every Child initiative was launched by the Secretary-General at the MDG Summit in 2010 and aims to save the lives of 16 million women and children by the year 2015. It is an unprecedented global movement that mobilizes and intensifies international and national action by governments, multilaterals, the private sector and civil society to address the major health challenges facing women and children around the world.
Partnerships for Sustainable Development - at the World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg 2002, governments acknowledged the importance that voluntary multi-stakeholder initiatives play in complementing government led action in implementing globally agreed commitments.
Voluntary initiatives for Sustainable Development can be registered under any topic related action network linked to thematic areas highlighted by Rio+20, Agenda 21 and the Commission on Sustainable Development. A list of topics is available here: http://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/topics.html
All Stakeholders are welcome and encouraged to register voluntary initiatives within any topic and action network. By signing in, you may also share any relevant information on the action network page, such as relevant articles, news etc.
Featured action network: Sustainable Cities
Cities are hubs for ideas, commerce, culture, science, productivity, social development and much more. Cities can promote economically, socially and environmentally sustainable societies if we adopt a holistic approach to urban development that ensure universal access to basic services, housing and mobility. Urban planning, transport systems, water, sanitation, waste management, disaster risk reduction, access to information, education and capacity-building are all relevant issues to be addressed.
Visit and join action network on Sustainable Cities: http://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/index.php?menu=1510
In 2012, at Rio+20, all Stakeholders came together and showed the world the strength of voluntary actions.
In 2013, and beyond, as the UN Secretary-General pointed out in his closing remarks at Rio+20: “The world is watching and will hold us all accountable to the commitments made in Rio.”
Starting from January 2013, all Stakeholders will have the opportunity report on progress of their initiatives, through the Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform. Progress reports will be summarized with the aim to be included in a report on “Sustainable Development in action” for consideration by the high-level political forum – the inter-governmental body which will ultimately replace the Commission on Sustainable Development - at its first session in 2013.
More information will be communicated in January 2013.
United Nations Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform sustainabledevelopment.un.org
Copyright United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs