On 1 September 2011, UNEP organized a global consultation on the theme “Engaging with Major Groups and Stakeholders on Rio 2012: The Role of Civil Society in Shaping the Sustainable Development Agenda for the 21st Century“. The meeting attracted around 200 participants from across the globe and took place in Bonn in Germany, with administrative and financial support from Women in Europe for a Common Future.
The UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio 2012 will become a massive Sustainability Summit if multiple actors get involved in building the momentum. UNEP makes an effort to actively contribute to the preparatory process in close collaboration with Major Groups (NGOs, women, children & youth, indigenous peoples, farmers, science & technology, workers & trade unions, business & industry, and local authorities) and other stakeholders. All groups bring a diversity of perspectives, knowledge, expertise, resources, and advocacy skills to promote environmental priorities and obligations, and play a central role in addressing the global challenges on the Rio 2012 agenda.
The consultations in Bonn focused on the two main themes for Rio 2012: the institutional framework for sustainable development with special focus on international environmental governance reform, and the transition to a green economy. Panelists assessed the global ambitions for Rio 2012, recognizing that positive outcomes are far from guaranteed, but still possible and absolutely necessary. Mixed moods in the room turned into a determined positive atmosphere when participants agreed that we are not letting the sustainability vision down, but raising to the challenge of committed and serious work that will bring about a successful Sustainability Summit.
On 2 September, the next step in UNEP’s consultation series was the “Regional Consultation Meeting for Europe in preparation for the 12th Special Session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum“. The UNEP Governing Council is scheduled to take place in Nairobi, Kenya 20-22 February 2012, and provides a major milestone on the road to the Sustainability Summit, as it will be the biggest gathering of environmental ministers before the conference in Rio 4-6 June 2012. In preparation for the Governing Council, UNEP is hosting regional consultations for Major Groups and Stakeholders in Africa, Asia & the Pacific, West Asia, North America, and Latin America & the Caribbean, in addition to the European meeting that welcomed observers from all over the world.