Les villes dans l'Europe de 2020: accroître la durabilité dès maintenant! Local Governments for Sustainability and Rio+20

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The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) will be held on the 20-22 June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro. Rio+20 marks the twentieth anniversary of the Earth Summit in 1992 and aims to re-invigorate political commitment and action towards implementing sustainable development. The conference will focus on two important contemporary issues: how to create a truly green economy, and how to improve the international institutional framework for sustainable development. ICLEI, in its role as the local government group organizing partner is strongly involved in the preparatory phase. This briefing sheet provides a comprehensive overview of the conference, it’s objectives and importance.


Increasing engagement


Ever since the 1992 Earth Summit, stakeholders from civil society have played an increasing role in international negotiations at the UN. There are now 3,400 NGOs with consultative status to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the broadest level of engagement NGOs can achieve. The WSSD in Johannesburg in 2002 saw the direct interaction of non-state actors with national representatives, rather than in parallel forums, a set-up which is also requested for Rio+20.


ICLEI, in its role as ‘Local Authority Major Group Organizing Partner’, has helped ensure a constant local government presence at UNCSD annual meetings. At each meeting ICLEI makes the case for increased local government recognition.


Local Governments


While local governments have been active in calling for greater inclusion of stakeholders in the UN, they have also been calling for greater recognition of their special status as governmental institutions. This special status was recognized for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) at the 16th Conference of the Parties (COP16) in Cancun in December 2010, where local governments were described as “governmental stakeholders” for the first time.


The pathway to Rio


Preparations for Rio+20 are underway. A series of preparatory meetings of vaying degrees of formality have begun and will run until June 2012. More have been added following concerns that not enough time had been allowed for discussions. In these meetings, named “preparatory committee meetings”, “intersessionals”, and “informal informals”, planning and early decision-making for Rio+20 will be conducted. This will include the preparations of a draft text, the initial deadline for which is the 1st November.


ICLEI will continue to bring local government suggestions, concerns and solutions to the table throughout this process, and urges local governments to get involved by contributing to this process through ICLEI, and stimulating debate in their localities. A dedicated website has been set-up at where members can add their name to our Local Action Counter- a registry of cities taking action to build sustainability.


Details of the initiative