The Basics of Rio+20


Nov 20, 2013 (4 years and 7 months ago)


The Basics of Rio+20

The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,

from 20 to 22 June 2012, is an important step in international efforts towards achieving sustainable
development globally

It will mark the 20th anniversary of the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio
de Janeiro (the Earth Summit), and the 10th anniversary of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable
Development in Johannesburg.

The 1992 and 2002 summits were
headline international events and drivers of the sustainable
development agenda.

Rio+20 presents an opportunity to re
direct and re

energise political commitment to the three
dimensions of sustainable development: economic growth, social improvement and

Australia welcomes the opportunity to share our expertise and to contribute to regional and global
initiatives for a sustainable future.

The purpose of Rio+20

The conference aims to secure renewed political commitment for
sustainable development, assess
progress and gaps in implementation of outcomes of previous summits, and to address new and
emerging challenges.

Rio+20 will focus on two themes: (a) a green economy in the context of sustainable development and
poverty era
dication; and (b) the institutional framework for sustainable development.

Rio+20 glossary
of significant issues

Agenda 21

Agenda 21, an outcome of the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 supported by 178 governments, is a
comprehensive blueprint of global,
national and local action by organisations, governments, and
major groups covering every area in which humans directly affect the environment. The number 21
refers to an agenda for the 21st century.

Blue economy

A blue economy is one in which our ocean ec
osystems bring economic and social benefits that are
efficient, equitable and sustainable. Used wisely, our ocean resources can help address poverty, food
security, sustainable livelihoods and conservation.

Food security

Food security refers to the availa
bility and accessibility of food. It is essential that measures to boost
food security are environmentally sustainable.


May 2010


March 2011


June 2012


January 2011


December 2011


March 2012

Rio+20 Conference

22 June 2012

Green economy

A green economy is generally seen as a means to achieve sustainable development; green economy
and sustainable developmen
t share the central idea of considering the effects of our actions on the
environment, economy and society. In its simplest expression, a green economy can be thought of as
one which is low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive


Framework for Sustainable


The institutional framework for sustainable development covers a spectrum of formal and less formal
bodies that are involved in sustainable development policymaking or implementation activities. An
effective instituti
onal framework is key to the implementation of sustainable development at all levels.
It is expected that the Conference will further strengthen the institutional framework, enhance the
integration of the three pillars of sustainable development, and stren
gthen the environmental pillar

Sustainable development

The UN defines sustainable development as a holistic, equitable and far
sighted approach to
making at all levels. It emphasises not just strong economic performance but
intragenerational an
d intergenerational equity. It rests on integration and a balanced consideration of
social, economic and environmental goals and objectives in both public and private decision

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

It has been proposed that a key outcome of the Rio+20 process could be agreement to develop
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Discussions on this proposal are ongoing. Some key
themes are that the SDGs could: build upon and complement the Millennium De
velopment Goals;
integrate environmental, economic and social aspects of sustainable development; and apply to all
countries but allow countries to choose their own paths to contribute to achieving the goals.

Zero draft

The ‘zero draft’ is the first draft

of the Rio+20 outcomes document, comprised of preliminary
recommendations submitted by UN Member States and interested non
government organisations.
The sections of the zero draft are renewing political commitment; green economy in the context of
ble development and poverty eradication; institutional framework for sustainable
development; and framework for action and follow

Preparatory process

The road to Rio+20 started in May 2010 with a series of preparatory and intersessional

leading up to the conference in June 2012.

Secretariat of the United Nations Conference on
Sustainable Development, Rio+20

Bureau for the Preparatory Process of the

UN Conference on Sustainable Development

How can I keep informed?

Information on Rio+20 is available at: and

Contact us at

1 UNEP, 2011, Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication

A Synthesis for
Policy Makers,