Looking ahead to the UN Conference in Rio: the Forum on Global Issues
State Secretary Braun at the 29th Forum on Global Issues
In just over a month, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) will take place in Rio de Janeiro. That prompted the Federal Foreign Office to bring together representatives from the world of politics and civil society as well as the business and academic communities to discuss the state of the negotiations and possible courses of action. The 29th Forum on Global Issues held at the Federal Foreign Office on 16 May focused on the question: “Can institutions concerned with sustainability and greening of the economy be successfully restructured?”.
At the opening of the conference, State Secretary Harald Braun stated that Rio+20 presented not only a great opportunity but also a great challenge for the international community. “We don’t have much time left to make the right decisions,” he said. He added that the UN Conference in Rio had to send the message that the international community was ready to act.
Rio+20 will take place in Rio de Janeiro from 20 to 22 June, 20 years after the first Rio Earth Summit, regarded as a key milestone in international environment policy. At that conference, for example, the Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biodiversity as well as the Convention to Combat Desertification were adopted.
Creating more efficient structures
State Secretary Braun stated that the decisions made in 1992 had had a crucial impact on the international debate on environment policy. However, he continued, many of the decisions made at that time had still not been adequately implemented. Braun called for this year’s conference to be used to make the UN institutions in the sphere of sustainable development more efficient. He said that the German Government was advocating structural reform and calling, for example, for the establishment of a sustainability council at the United Nations. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) would also have to become stronger. One of the goals which Germany and its European partners would be pursuing at Rio+20 would therefore be the upgrading of UNEP to a UN specialized agency.
Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker, the Co-Chair of the UNEP International Resource Panel was quite sceptical about what could be achieved at Rio+20. He stated that at present there was absolutely no consensus among the participating states on the outcome of the negotiations. “All substantive issues are still unresolved,” von Weizsäcker said. “We are facing a crossroads and we have to do everything we can to ensure that Rio+20 achieves concrete results.”
Launched by the Federal Foreign Office in 1999, the Forum on Global Issues deals with a broad spectrum of global challenges and brings together state and non-state actors in international politics in Germany to exchange views.
Last updated 16.05.2012