Rio+20: United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development
The Rio Earth Summit in 1992 was to become a milestone in sustainable development: Much has happened since then. Many developing countries have undergone strong economic growth which at the same time has resulted in depletion of natural resources and ecosystem degradation. In fact, countries have used a dominant economic growth model based on the increasing GDP above all else throughout these years. While this approach has improved incomes, it has also been accompanied by significant and potentially irreversible social, environmental and economic costs.
The coming UN Conference on sustainable development, known as the Rio+20 Earth Summit, will be held from 20-22 June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. - The Conference stands out as a key opportunity for all UN member countries to review their political commitment to the sustainable development agenda, to assess progress and gaps in implementation of sustainable development, as well as to agree on new targets and timeline to tackle the resource pressure that will be critical to our wellbeing in the coming years. The intention is to reach these objectives by concentrating the discussion on two main themes:
- The green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication
- Improving the institutional framework.
In this context, the Asia Pacific region with more than half of the world's population and two thirds of the world's poor has a major interest in sustainable development. Its rapid economic growth and its rapidly growing share of global scientific research place the region in a good position to achieve this.
In Cambodia, in a two day conference from 27 to 28 March, the National Dialogue “Towards Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD)” has helped to build a better understanding in terms of opportunities and challenges for the country to move towards sustainable development. This multi-stakeholder consultation has led to the launching of a National Report which assesses Cambodia’s progress on sustainable development since 1992. In this sense, the outcome from the plenary and group discussions highlights the following areas which need priority attention from Cambodian institutions:
- Cooperation between line ministries in forestry, land management, water resources, energy and other natural sectors needs further strengthening to effectively manage natural resources in order to contribute to green growth development and sustainable development.
- Existing sectoral planning process and approaches need to be improved to make them less fragmented, more integrated and more coherent.
- The National Green Growth Committee will facilitate the mainstreaming of sustainable development into existing mechanisms.
- The promotion of managed access to energy, water resources, infrastructure and better consumption and conservation of natural resources.
- Future growth possibilities need to center on human resource development, agricultural development, tourism diversification, existing and new industries, sustainable land and forest management, preserving cultural diversity, etc.
- Local communities play a vital role in sustainable livelihood management so as to face the diverse challenges of climate change.
The Rio+20 Earth Summit will contribute to impose sustainable development as a global model of development. All in all, Rio+20 is an opportunity not to be missed.