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VI Summit of the Americas Expresses Support for Rio+20

15 April 2012: Meeting at the VI Summit of the Americas, the Heads of State and Government of Western Hemisphere countries declared their support for participation at the High-Level Segment (HLS) of the June 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD or Rio+20).

In a brief communique issued at the end of the Summit, which convened in Cartagena, Colombia, 14-15 April 2012, the leaders reiterated "our commitment to ensure broad participation" in the HLS. The leaders also called for "action-oriented outcomes" from Rio+20 and recognized Rio+20 as "an invaluable opportunity to rethink the current models of development." They stressed the need to balance the three pillars of sustainable development (economic, social, environment), and the need to "ensure efforts to improve its institutional framework" to promote the national and international governance "needed to set out the implementation of sustainable development." The communique made no mention of green economy, one of the themes of Rio+20, due to a lack of consensus among hemispheric leaders on that issue.

The leaders also issued two communiques, one focused on combating transnational crime, the other on convening an International Conference of Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Heads of Specialized National Agencies on the Global Drug Problem. A general Summit declaration was not issued due to disagreements over several issues, including the participation of Cuba in hemispheric fora and Argentina's dispute with the UK over the Falkland/Malvina Islands.

However, a set of mandates was agreed, covering: integration of physical infrastructure in the Americas; poverty, inequality and inequity; disaster risk reduction (DRR) and management; access to and use of information and communication technologies (ICT); and citizen security and transnational organized crime. The Organization of American States (OAS) will be charged with follow-up regarding most of these Summit mandates.

For example, on infrastructure, the Summit mandates call for, among other things, promoting and/or optimizing electrical interconnection and fostering the development of renewable energy generation in the Americas, as well as encouraging the transfer of available technologies in energy under voluntary and mutually agreed terms, and the exchange of best practices.

On DRR, the mandates call for strengthening regional and subregional instruments and initiatives as well as cooperation and coordination mechanisms to generate synergies. They also mandate working with subregional, regional, and international financial institutions with the aim to strengthen financing mechanisms for adaptation to climate change, to improve strategies aimed at mitigation, recovery, rehabilitation, and reconstruction, with a view to reducing and managing disaster risk and strengthening the resilience of communities and nations that are vulnerable to or affected by disasters. [Summit of the Americas Communique on UNCSD] [Mandates arising from the Sixth Summit of the Americas]