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Press Releases, 19/06/2012 | Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

Sustainable Development Summit about to start in Brazil


Press Release 151/2012
19 June 2012

The UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on 20-22 June. The Conference will focus on two themes: green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, and the institutional framework for sustainable development.

Rio+20 is the most important UN conference of the year. Head of the Finnish delegation, Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja estimates that the humankind has a few decades, at the most, to turn the current trend into ecologically, socially and economically sustainable development.

”Population growth is a key challenge. The world population has tripled over my lifetime from 2.3 billion to seven billion and still continues to grow.” According to Tuomioja, Rio can give hope if only the political will is strong enough.

"This generation lives like there's no tomorrow – and we leave a massive bill to the future generations and the environment of our shared planet. Rio is an opportunity to finally turn the tide,” says Minister of the Environment Ville Niinistö, also attending the meeting.

New conventions will not be negotiated in Rio. Instead, the goal is to prepare a political declaration as a guideline to the future activities of states and international organisations. The conference will also initiate a process for creating a set of global objectives and indicators for sustainable development. Measurable common objectives to all countries are necessary for actual progress of sustainable development.

”Many developing countries feel that the industrial countries have not kept the promises they have made in the past. Therefore it is critical to succeed in building bridges and trust between developing and industrial countries in Rio. Without trust there will be no future for international conventions and sustainable development, says Minister for International Development Heidi Hautala.

Finland advocates water and alternative indicators of wellbeing

Water is one of Finland's spearhead themes in Rio+20, and Finland aims to push setting up a new global objective for water. Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Jari Koskinen believes that sustainable use of renewable natural resources and global food security are strongly intertwined.

"Water has a key role in sustainable development with regard to eradication of poverty, health, food security, land use, forests and ecosystems. It is also essential to highlight the opportunities of resource economy, such as sustainable use of forests, as a part of green bio-based economy, given that resource economy is important in many developing countries.

Finland will promote alternative indicators of wellbeing to the traditional Gross Domestic Product, because the GDP does not measure, for instance, the state of the environment or distribution of income. With regard to renewing the UN organisation, Finland supports re-establishing UNEP as a UN Specialized Agency.

The Rio+20 Earth Summit is a follow-up to the environmental and development conference organized in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. In the context of the Summit, the Heads of the Delegation will have bilateral meetings in support of the Finnish candidacy to the UN Security Council.

Further information: Information Officer Pasi Nokelainen, Foreign Ministry, tel. +358 50 339 5860 or +55 21 9372 5731, firstname.lastname@formin.fi and pasi.e.nokelainen@gmail.com. Nokelainen will join the Delegation in Rio on 19 June (12:00 p.m. Finnish time) - 22 June (9:00 p.m. Finnish time).

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