Norway supports the proposal that Rio+20 should develop a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as a complement to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The SDGs should incorporate the three pillars of sustainable development, balancing socio-economic growth with responsible environmental stewardship, and should apply to all countries.
Norway attaches particular importance to the issues of gender equality and the role of women in sustainable development. Norway seeks to play a leading role in efforts to put these issues on the international agenda and to help ensure that these perspectives are reflected in the outcome of the Rio+20 Conference.
Norway emphasises the importance of the following:
•Access to sustainable energy for all: Norway will work actively to ensure that the Rio+20 Conference reaches agreement on a set of common goals and measures to ensure access to energy for as many people as possible, produce more energy from renewable sources and use the energy that is already available more efficiently. Access to sustainable energy for all will require cooperation between private investors and the public sector.
•Food for all: One in seven people go hungry. Environmental degradation and climate change are contributing to failed harvests and food insecurity. In the Rio process, Norway will focus on how farmers can adapt to climate change and increase food production while protecting the natural environment surrounding their farms. Many people cannot afford to buy food and depend on growing their own. It is therefore also important to safeguard small-scale farmers’, particularly women’s, land rights.
•Putting a price on nature: We tend to take the services provided by nature, such as clean air and water, for granted. Norway is seeking to raise awareness of the fact that these services have economic value and that ecosystem degradation costs money. Methods should be developed for taking these values into account in political and economic decision-making. Norway’s Climate and Forest Initiative is one example of efforts that give forest ecosystem services a value in monetary terms and help to prevent deforestation and forest degradation.
UN efforts to promote sustainable development
In Norway’s view, there is a need to improve the organisation of UN efforts to promote sustainable development, i.e. the institutional framework for sustainable development.
•An effective forum for sustainable development: Norway will promote the establishment of a more effective intergovernmental body that can address issues related to the environment, the economy and social development as an integrated whole. The current intergovernmental forum for sustainable development, the Commission on Sustainable Development, has not functioned as intended.
•Coherent UN effort: Norway will use Rio+20 to promote coherence in the UN’s sustainable development efforts. A parallel to the “Delivering as one” initiative is needed at the global level.
•A stronger environmental organisation under the UN: In Norway’s view, priority should be given to strengthening the UN’s environmental efforts. More resources must be allocated to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and its governance needs to be more effective. The aim is a sound environmental organisation that enjoys broad support and is able to integrate environmental concerns into efforts to promote sustainable development and eradicate poverty.