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Press Release

The EU's Assembly of Regional and Local Representatives


Brussels, 28 June 2012

Rio+20 reconfirms cities and regions role in the future of sustainable development

Joint statement by the Committee of the Region's delegation to Rio+20 - President Bresso, Illmar Reepalu (SE/PES), and Michel Lebrun (BE/EPP) at the occasion of the ENVE meeting

28 June 2012

Whilst appreciating the challenging task faced by those involved in the negotiations, it is undeniable that the Rio Conference failed to live up to expectations and set out the necessary roadmap needed to ensure the protection of our planet. Yet the opportunity missed by world leaders to agree a vision for our precious earth, was an opportunity gained for our world’s cities and regions.

Rio showed just how cities and regions are our future. We welcome that at the very least sustainable development and the green economy has been placed at the top of the political agenda, and local and regional authorities formally recognised as being a major contributor to creating a sustainable future. The Conference offered the ideal opportunity to forge new partnerships. Indeed, the Committee of the Region's signed an agreement with the United Nations Environment Programme to promote sustainable cities and regions from Europe but also other continents at a global level. We will continue to engage cities and regions, encouraging them to becoming more sustainable. In fact tomorrow we will find out which city will be the "European Green Capital 2014", demonstrating that Rio is not the end of our work, but only the beginning.

We therefore call upon our colleagues in the European Institutions to show their political will, provide the support we need and start to engage us even more within decision-making on sustainable development. With this in mind we propose a Five Point Action Plan on Sustainable Development that will form the basis of our work in the short-term term and be something to build on for the future:

    • Call for the CoR to be part of the EU task force responsible for the implementation of the Rio+20 goals;

    • Advocate to ensure that local and regional authorities are clearly represented within the global environmental governance (UN);

    • Take forward the agreement signed with the UNEP which will reinforce synergies and contribute to the implementation of Multilateral Environmental Agreements and the Rio+20 Declaration, including the promotion of the Covenant of Mayors and other EU initiatives;

    • Work towards a global network and set a global playing field between the European schemes (Covenant of Mayors, European Green Capitals) and similar ones available in other parts of the world;

    • Offer the experience of the Covenant of Mayors to the United Nations Secretary General's initiative "Sustainable Energy for All" and its targets for 2030.

So for some Rio+20 was full of disappointments, for cities and regions it is - and must be - full of opportunities. Quite simply, if our leaders can’t give the future we want, then cities and regions must take the lead.

More information on the Committee of the Regions in Rio.

Visit the CoR's website:

The Committee of the Regions

The Committee of the Regions is the EU's assembly of regional and local representatives. The mission of its 344 members from all 27 EU Member States is to involve regional and local authorities and the communities they represent in the EU's decision-making process and to inform them about EU policies. The European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council are obliged to consult the Committee in policy areas affecting regions and cities. It can appeal to the EU Court of Justice if its rights are infringed or it believes that an EU law violates the subsidiarity principle or fails to respect regional or local powers.

For more information, please contact:

David French

Tel. +32 (2) 282 2535

To read previous press releases, click here.

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