The 18th session of the Forum of Environment Ministers of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) (FME 18) was held in Quito (Ecuador) between January 31st and February 3rd; its main purpose was to present a regional position towards the upcoming UN Conference on Sustainable Development Rio + 20.
Based on the elements presented by Brazil, the host country, representatives from 31 of the 33 regional countries debated on the main concept and issues to be addressed at Rio+20. Several countries raised their concerns about the influence of the green economy on regional integration agreements. Regarding the institutional framework for sustainable development, the participants called for a review of the roles and mandates of UN bodies in order them more efficient and capable of acting in a coordinated and cooperative manner. According to the FME 18, the inclusion of the environmental pillar of sustainable development should be strengthened through institutions that guarantee universal membership and sufficient technical, scientific, and financial capacity.
The session, which concluded with the Quito Declaration, called for the definition of a process to formulate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and suggested that this regional forum should create indicators to be used as input during the process. The region expects the Rio+20 Declaration to represent a renewed commitment to sustainable development and poverty eradication, including sensitive issues such as food security and agricultural development. The regional forum also expects Rio+20 to orient the efforts of the international community towards the construction of a more equitable new international economic order. Additionally, the governments of Bolivia and Ecuador proposed that Rio+20 should be used as a forum to discuss a universal declaration of the rights of nature as an “instrument to achieve good living”.
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