13 July 2012
Translating Rio+20 into action
The European Economic and Social Committee played a very active role in the run-up to the Rio+20 Conference, and during the conference itself, facilitating broad civil society dialogue and input. EESC president Staffan Nilsson is determined to push implementation of the UN conference results at EU level, and to give civil society a pivotal role in framing the Sustainable Development Goals.
Since Rio, the Economic and Social Committee has wasted no time: a series of follow-up events have been held over the past few weeks, in the conviction that, as Mr Nilsson has often remarked, "the road from Rio is at least as important as the road to Rio". The EESC intends to make Rio+20 the starting point for a new world economic order, based on sustainability.
The Committee recognises the limits of the Rio+20 agreement, but is convinced that the agreed text is a good basis for EU civil society and the institutions to work on practical ways in which our economies and societies can develop sustainably. The first task here is to start to frame the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
As Mr Nilsson said today at a European Policy Centre event in Brussels: "The EESC is ready to engage and to facilitate meaningful civil society involvement and input in framing the SDGs, just as we did in the run-up to Rio. At the same time, we want all the EU institutions to work together on the Rio+20 follow-up, so I suggest that an interinstitutional brainstorming workshop on the Rio+20 follow-up at EU level be organised in the autumn".
Janez Potočnik, EU Commissioner for Environment, welcomed the idea of a workshop of this kind and stressed at this week's EESC plenary session that "civil society and the private sector will play a fundamental role in delivering green growth and promoting sustainable consumption and production", adding that now is the time "to build on what has been agreed in Rio, and we are looking forward to the EESC's views on how this can best be done".
The EESC will continue to consult on a broad scale and involve civil society stakeholders in the Rio+20 follow-up and in sustainable development issues, through hearings, conferences and via its online platform "Go Sustainable, Be Responsible".
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