UNCSD Opens in Rio de Janeiro
20 June 2012: The UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) opened on Wednesday, 20 June 2012, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Following the election of officers, adoption of the agenda and other organizational agenda items, delegates proceeded to conduct a general debate. Over 50 Heads of State and Government, Vice-Presidents, ministers and Heads of delegation addressed the meeting on its first day. The high-level participants also took part in a roundtable discussion. In addition, the Rio+20 Partnerships Forum opened, SD-Learning at Rio+20 continued, numerous side events convened and multiple events took place throughout Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
A number of the speakers discussed commitments their countries would undertake. Mohamed Waheed, President of the Republic of Maldives, said Maldives will become the first country to be a marine reserve, and recalled that it has one of the world's most ambitious carbon neutrality targets. Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, Nepal, said he wanted to raise the sustainable mountain development agenda at Rio and has launched the Mountain Initiative to highlight mountain issues at the global level. Prime Minister Freundel Jerome Stuart, Barbados, highlighted his country's commitment to increase renewable energy as a share of all energy consumption to 29%, and to reduce electricity consumption using energy efficiency measures by 22% by 2029.
Lee Myung-bak, President, Republic of Korea, announced the signing ceremony the same day in Rio to formalize the Global Green Growth Institute launched in Seoul two years ago, pledging to provide official development assistance (ODA) for green growth, including support for energy-efficient power generation, renewable energy, energy storage systems, green buildings and infrastructure development.
Mwai Kibaki, President of the Republic of Kenya, pledged to provide additional support facilities for the expanded membership of the UNEP Governing Council. Ollanta Humala Tasso, President of the Republic of Peru, announced that Peru will implement the principle of prior informed consent (PIC), as contained in the International Labour Organization (ILO) Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention 169 with regard to the use of biodiversity.
Wen Jiabao, Premier, China, pledged: funding to UNEP for projects and activities for developing country capacity building; help for training environmental managers; building a global network for technological cooperation to promote best practices; and funding to help African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries to tackle climate change. José Manuel Durão Barroso, European Commission (EC) President, announced the EC would mobilize 400 million Euros to support sustainable energy projects, particularly welcoming the UN Secretary-General's SE4All initiative. Koichiro Gemba, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Japan, announced a Future City initiative to construct cities all over the world with state-of-the-art sustainable technologies, a Green Cooperation Volunteers initiative for technical cooperation, funding for a three-year programme of disaster risk reduction (DRR), and several conferences.
The three-day meeting will conclude on 22 June. [IISD RS Earth Negotiations Bulletin Coverage]