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European Commission

Janez Potočnik

European Commissioner for Environment

The way forward in implementing the expected outcomes of the conference

Roundtable of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development

Rio de Janeiro, 21 June 2012

Madame Chair,

Ladies and gentlemen,

I think that the intergovernmental process that has us brought us the Rio outcome has left some satisfied and some disappointed.

From the perspective of the EU we arrived at an outcome that we can work with, although a number of our ambitions were not fully achieved. I suspect similar views are held by many of us.

We have all worked hard over the past months and days to arrive at common ground. Our interaction, our sense of solidarity and commitment, also gives me confidence that our Rio declaration is not an ending but a new beginning, for all of us, upon which we can build.

So now we must look to the future of that beginning.

Let us cast our vision to the years ahead on the kinds of actions and implementation measures we have now agreed to undertake. How should these be implemented, in more specific terms?

Clearly there are many fronts on which we can advance.

We have succeeded in developing a strong basis for a human centred agenda, based on human rights, greater equality, and greater public participation. Our paths of implementation range from the green economy, institutional reform, the framework of action in a number of areas, sustainable development goals, means of implementation, and the involvement of business and finance and communities.

In the coming years all these avenues will have to be further explored and defined, and implemented.

Given the limited time, I want to focus on just three of these.

First, on the Green economy, Rio+20 now gives us an opportunity - for those who want to - to develop green economy policies as a common undertaking. The European Union is an active supporter of an inclusive green economy: an economy that creates opportunities for business, creating jobs and long lasting livelihoods in a way that also preserves and maintains our environment, whilst at the same time upholding a range of social conditions.

The second area I want to touch upon are the sustainable development goals. Our Rio text gives us the opportunity to establish goals that could have a long term impact on the future path of humanity. Rio has decided to set up a working group to further develop specifications on how to do this. The European Union is deeply engaged to further this agenda, and to ensure its coherence and integration with the post 2015 development agenda.

Thirdly and finally, means of implementation is important. We have agreed to establish a sustainable development finance strategy. We believe that such a strategy has to start developing financing architectures that combine current development aid with private investments and also brings in a range of international financial institutions. We have to gather together all the potential financial resources of all of potential contributors in the most effective way. We also have the opportunity to take further the important agenda of developing indicators beyond GDP.

Ladies and gentlemen, Rio20 has given us the opportunity of arriving at a crucial point at which we have reached a common agreement, and upon which we now have to work on together in the years to come, in order to ensure we achieve sustainable development and the eradication of poverty.

I will work with determination on all of these areas, and I am convinced that by working together through sincere engagement, trust building and focussing on concrete implementation, we can obtain the future we want.

Thank you.


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