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The UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) has released a Common Statement on the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) highlighting that sustainable development is a top priority and that Rio+20 should renew the commitment to address imbalances, and agree on priorities and means of implementing outcomes.

31 October 2011: The UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) has issued a common statement on the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20), following the CEB’s biannual meeting and retreat. The inter-agency statement was submitted for the UNCSD Compilation Document ahead of its 1 November 2011 deadline, and serves as a “chapeau” for the individual contributions submitted by each agency.

The position was developed at the initiative of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, within the framework of the CEB’s High-level Committee on Programmes (HLCP), which is chaired by Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

The common position affirms that sustainable development is a top priority for the respective organizations represented on the CEB, and reaffirms the continuing validity of the principles in the 1992 Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and of Agenda 21. It also recommits to a renewed system-wide effort to support these principles’ realization.

The statement laments that the world has not made the expected progress towards goals laid out by the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED, or Rio Earth Summit) and other conferences, and that increasing disparities and inequalities have accompanied progress toward the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

According to the statement, the UNCSD must address the means of implementing outcomes, through the provision of resources for technological transformation and capacity-building, among others. On green economy, the common statement indicates that economic policies must avoid trade protectionism and negative impacts, especially on the poor and vulnerable groups.

On IFSD, the statement notes that institutional reform is “unquestionably needed” at all levels to integrate the dimensions of sustainable development, and improve effectiveness in implementation. The CEB expresses its intention to review and improve system-wide coordination policies and joint programmes, and encourages Rio+20 to consider structural changes as well as strengthening institutions and mandates.

The common statement suggests that priority issues warranting particular attention at Rio+20 include: energy, water, oceans, green jobs, sustainable cities, sustainable agriculture and food security, disaster risk reduction (DRR), and investing in health, education, youth, gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Finally, the statement expresses support for additional possible outcomes of the UNCSD, such as: supporting the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative; laying the foundation for the post-2015 development agenda; making progress toward sustainable development goals (SDGs); and employing a “new generation of metrics” to measure progress.

During the meeting, in addition to the UNCSD-focused retreat, the Board: received reports from each of its three high-level committees – the HLCP, the High-level Committee on Management (HLCM), and the UN Development Group (UNDG); held a discussion on human rights and development, led by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay; heard a briefing on the social protection floor; held a private meeting during which the heads of organizations provided briefings on the economic and financial situation, and the Secretary-General provided a briefing on political developments; and reviewed a draft of a forthcoming study on fairer, greener, more sustainable globalization.

The CEB Secretariat is expected to brief States on the meeting in the near future. [CEB Press Release] [Website of CEB] [IISD RS Sources]

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