Agreement for the final outcome document of the UN Summit on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) was reached in Rio de Janeiro on 19 June. After arduous negotiations, the proposal for the Summit’s decisions presented by Brazil, the host country, was approved unanimously by the preparatory session before the High-level phase proper had begun.
The Rio Conference themes are the green economy in the context of poverty eradication, and enhancing the international institutional framework for sustainable development. The final outcome document is a political declaration guiding the future activities of states and international organisations.
“Achieving results in a process of this kind is welcome, as this is not always the case in similar situations. The anticipated result, however, leaves the real meaning open, it is determined by how strongly and genuinely various parties are committed to the good intentions of the final outcome document,” said Minister for Foreign Affairs Erkki Tuomioja.
“With regard to recognition of the carrying capacity of nature, the document is clearly inadequate although progress was made for example in protecting the seas. For the first time the green economy, however, found its way into documents adopted jointly by the international community. Adoption of the sustainable consumption and production programme and the setting of sustainable development objectives by separate preparation in 2015 are the most substantial achievements,” said Minister of the Environment Ville Niinistö.
Finland’s top projects in the Rio+20 process were water and alternative indicators of well-being.
“On the positive side, the meeting reaffirmed previous commitments to clean water and sanitation as human rights. The entries on women and equality, on the other hand, left much to be desired, especially with regard to sexual and reproductive health rights,” said Minister for International Development Heidi Hautala.
“Also, as advocated by Finland, indicators of well-being complementing the gross domestic product are included in the final outcome document and the political will to take these ideas into practice seems to be forming,” she added.
Of Finland’s objectives for the Rio Summit, the conversion of the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP, into an environment organisation coordinating international environmental policy did not materialise although UNEP’s role was strengthened.
The Rio+20 Summit is a follow-up to the environmental and development conference held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The High-level phase of the conference takes place from 20 to 22 June.
Additional information: Information Officer Pasi Nokelainen, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, tel. +358 50 339 5860 or +55 21 9372 5731, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Nokelainen is on site in Rio until 22 June (9:00 pm Finnish time). The time difference to Rio is -6 hours