The President of Brazil has proposed new dates for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) in Rio 2012, with the rationale to ensure opportunity for participation at the highest possible level. Instead of 4-6 June, the new proposed dates for the Sustainability Summit is 20-22 June, with the last Preparatory Committee on 13-15 June. The UN Secretary-General is in support of the date change, but a final decision will be taken by the Bureau in the end of November.
The new dates are regarded as better for two reasons. First, the next G-20 Summit will take place in Mexico with the tentative dates 18-19 June 2012, which would make logistics easier for Heads of State and other high-level participants who would already be in the region. The second reason is that the previous dates coincide with the UK Royal Jubilee, which many leaders from the Commonwealth nations are set to attend. High-level attendance is critical for making Rio 2012 a Sustainability Summit with the global political weight it deserves.
Preparations are well proceeding with multiple actors involved. The 1 November deadline for submissions has passed, with over 500 submissions received into what will become the outcome document of UNCSD 2012. Some have been posted online and the rest will be made available in the coming days. Inputs will be discussed at the next UNCSD Intersessional in New York 15-16 December 2011.
The Secretary-General of UNCSD 2012, Sha Zukang, continues to refer to the Sustainability Summit as an “Implementation Conference”. In addition to the two main and overarching themes of Green Economy and Sustainable Development Governance, seven themes have so far emerged through the preparatory process: Agriculture and food security, Water, Oceans, Sustainable cities, Disaster preparedness and resilience, Energy (access, efficiency and renewables), and Jobs and social inclusion.