The European Commission has adopted a Communication preparing the ground for the EU’s position at the Rio+20 UN Sustainable Development Conference, which will be held in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012. The Communication outlines objectives and specific actions on the two inter-linked themes of the Conference- enabling the transition to a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, and ensuring better governance for sustainable development.
The Communication maps out the ‘what, how and who’ of a transition to a green economy, proposing specific actions that could be implemented at the international, national and regional levels. The key themes are:
1. Investing in key resources and natural capital (‘what’): these are: water, renewable energy, marine resources, biodiversity and ecosystem services, sustainable agriculture, forests, waste and recycling. These areas underpin millions of livelihoods and can help alleviate poverty. They could become areas for future economic growth and global markets.
2. Combining market and regulatory instruments (‘how’): eco-taxes, removing environmentally harmful subsidies, mobilising public and private financial resources, investing in skills and green jobs. Indicators that reflect a wider sense of progress (both environmental and social), and that can work alongside GDP, need to be developed.
3. Improving governance and encouraging private sector involvement (‘who’): reinforcing and streamlining the existing international governance structures (for example by upgrading the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)). The much greater involvement and engagement of businesses and civil society is also essential.
The Communication lays the basis for further dialogue between the Commission, Council and Parliament, civil society, business, and countries in the lead up to Rio+20. A consolidated EU position needs to be submitted to the UN by 1st November 2011.
On the basis of this Communication, the Commission will work together with Council and Parliament to build a consistent EU position that will contribute to an ambitious Rio+20 outcome with concrete policies and actions for greening the economy