Rio + 20: Discussion and comments on the zero draft

Last updated: 1/25/2012 // This statement to the preparatory committee for the Rio 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development was delivered by Ms. Aud Lise Norheim, Deputy Director General in the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on the 25th of January 2012. She underlined the importance of heightening the ambitions of the confernce to ensure an innovative and action-oriented outcome.


The first Rio-conference was a milestone in global sustainable development. Our ambition for Rio+20 should be no less. If we at Rio were to adopt the draft as it stands today, the world would soon forget what was decided there. This will not give us the future we want. We need higher ambitions and a more innovative and action-oriented outcome. Sustainable Development Goals could become a key instrument to focus our commitment and galvanize action.

Make no mistake, Rio+20 can provide us with the policy shifts we need. We think the following five drivers for change will be crucial;

• We must ensure full gender equality and empowerment of women
• We must  ensure new innovative financing and unleash the capacity of the private sector
• We must ensure sustainable energy for all
• We must value natural capital - ecosystems are part of every development equation
• We must ensure food and nutrition security

First, enabling women to participate fully and equally in the economy and decision making is crucial for sustainable development. This needs to be fully recognized in the outcome document.

Second, a green, inclusive economy will require supportive policies, new partnerships and incentives that encourage sustainable choices. The draft is too focused on ODA and public budgets.  The relevance of Rio depends on our ability to include the private sector and innovative financing mechanisms.

Third, Norway is pleased to see that the zero draft builds on the Sustainable Energy for All initiative launched by the Secretary-General. However, with the suggested solutions for financing we are sure to fall short of reaching its objectives.  Rio should adopt policy recommendations built on best practices of how sustainable energy could become accessible for all.
Fourth, the critical role of ecosystems for sustainable development and human well-being needs to become more prominent throughout the document. The value of natural capital must be an essential part of economic and political decision making. Initiatives such as REDD+ demonstrates how natural capital can be valued.

Fifth, food and nutrition security is paramount for poverty eradication and demands a broader approach than what is currently in the outcome document. Fisheries are one obvious component that is missing.


Tangible results in these five areas will make Rio +20 a milestone by affirming the political commitment to the “Future we want”.

Thank you, Chair

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