publication

The Future We Want: The Legal Outcomes of Rio+20

Andra Syvanan • 17-11-2012
Syvanan, Andra, et.al. 2012. The Future We Want: The Legal Outcomes of Rio+20. Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL)
The Future We Want: The Legal Outcomes of Rio+20

The purpose of this document is to summarize some of the main legal areas of consensus outlined in “The Future We Want.”

The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), also known as Rio+20, took place from 20-22 June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Rio+20 was the successor to the 1992 Earth Conference, where both the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biological Diversity were opened for signing. Rio+20 was preceded by over one year of negotiations. The outcome document, entitled “The Future We Want,” was signed by 191 states, and outlined a plan that, inter alia, sets sustainable development goals and other measures to improve food security, provide more effective ocean management, and promote the transition to a global green economy. “The Future We Want” was endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly on 24 July 2012.

As a compromise document, “The Future We Want” was criticized by a number of stakeholders for numerous issues including its lack specific or novel commitments, weak leadership, “business as usual” approach, or lack of  reference to women’s reproductive rights. Nonetheless, states did succeed in agreeing to over 300 paragraphs of text related to sustainable development, which could be of great significance in guiding the direction of global sustainable development in the years to come. The outcome document reveals zones of consensus between states in which international endeavours could be particularly effective.  

“The Future We Want” is structured around the two main negotiation themes of Rio+20. The themes include the green economy in the context of  sustainable development and poverty eradication, as well as the institutional framework for sustainable development. The outcome document also addresses renewing the political commitment for sustainable development, and attempts to emphasize some concrete measures through a framework for action and follow-up.  

The purpose of this document is to summarize some of the main legal areas of consensus outlined in “The Future We Want.” This report outlines the recommendations under the umbrella of sustainable development and the rule of law relating to, inter alia, human rights, sustainable development, democracy, climate change, state sovereignty, gender equality, desertification, sanitation and forest and oceans management. 

Full article is available as pdf here.

Tags: environmental law,Post-Rio+20 Assessments