Thursday, 9 February 2012

Re: EESC calls on world leaders to commit to a concrete action plan on the road to Rio

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From: PressEESC <>
Sender: Van Deursen Maite <>
Date: Thu, 9 Feb 2012 14:14:29 +0000
Subject: EESC calls on world leaders to commit to a concrete action plan on the road to Rio


No 06/2012

9 February 2012

EESC calls on world leaders to commit to a concrete action plan on the road to Rio

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) hosted a conference on sustainable development on 7 and 8 February. The outcome of the conference debates is a set of recommendations from European civil society to EU and global leaders, ahead of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio on 20-22 June 2012. One message prevailed: if we want Rio to be the turning point to sustainable development, political leaders have to scale up efforts to achieve clear commitments.


EESC president Staffan Nilsson explained that "the Rio+20 summit will not solve the world's problems overnight; however it will be able to harness the will to act and give new momentum to sustainable development". He urged political leaders to agree at the Rio+20 summit on additional measures to improve effective civil society involvement in reform processes and encouraged civil society to take global responsibility and continue pushing for a Rio+20 outcome capable of meeting the challenges the planet is facing. "Civil society's thinking and action for the Rio+20 summit are important because civil society can speak with one voice across EU Member States and other nations," added Mr Nilsson.


The two days featured many prominent speakers, including Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for the Environment, Andris Piebalgs, European Commissioner for Development, and Brice Lalonde, Executive Coordinator of the UN Rio+20 Conference.


Mr Lalonde praised the Committee for its work of channelling European civil society's requests and underlined EESC members' efforts to raise public awareness about sustainable development and climate change. He noted that the Rio de Janeiro summit represented an opportunity that humanity should not miss and added that it was very important "to develop a collective consciousness that can put pressure on the governments" that will sit at the table in Rio. Both Mr Potočnik and Mr Piebalgs thanked the Committee for its commitment and encouraged it to play an increasingly active role, given the importance of civil society in the implementation of the decisions that would be taken in Rio. Their views were shared by Nis Christensen from the Danish Ministry of Environment, representing the Danish EU Presidency.

Among the key messages in the conference conclusions, the EESC:


-          urges European negotiators to place much greater emphasis on the social dimension of sustainable development;

-          stresses that eradicating poverty and securing access to enough food, clean water and sustainable energy for all must be a top priority on the Rio+20 agenda;

-          calls on Member States to commit to sustainable development and reduce their resource consumption;

-          calls on political leaders to commit to a green economy roadmap, with clear goals and monitoring mechanisms;

-          calls for the creation of a new United Nations agency for the environment.


The conference "Go sustainable, be responsible – European civil society on the Road to Rio+20" is the latest in a series of initiatives that the EESC has pursued over the last few years in the field of sustainable development. This two-day event in Brussels brought together more than 300 representatives of institutions, businesses, unions and NGOs to discuss European civil society's recommendations to European and world leaders ahead of the Rio+20 Summit.

The full conference conclusions are available on the EESC website.


For further information, please contact:

Karin Füssl, Head of the EESC Press Unit

Tel.:+32 2 546 8722 

European Economic and Social Committee

Rue Belliard 99, 1040 Bruxelles, Belgium

Tel.: +32 2 546 9396 – Fax: +32 2 546 9764

E-mail: – Website:

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