Within the context of the upcoming United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development Rio + 20, the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) recently presented the executive summary of its report “Roads from Rio+20: Pathways to achieve global sustainability goals by 2050”. The full report will be published on May 30, 2012.
The objective of this report is to analyze possible pathways to achieving a set of internationally agreed-upon sustainable development goals in the areas of food, land, biodiversity, energy, and climate. The focus of the report is the results of the 1992 Earth Summit, how interpretations of the results have changed over time, and how they should be used at the upcoming negotiations in Rio. The report also shows the strategies and efforts that may be required to meet the sustainable development goals, possible paths along which they could be achieved, and policy prescriptions.
As the report argues: since 1992, the world has gone through fundamental changes. The lack of progress in the 1992 agenda, the global economic downturn, and the complexity of multilateral governance all represent fundamental challenges that have significance for the achievement of the sustainable development goals. However, despite the difficult context for progress, the sustainability goals require dedicated and timely action.
Considering this, the report also analyzes the main trends in consumption patterns in order to establish new paths to meet the sustainability objectives. The upcoming Rio+20 meeting reflects the potential to achieve these goals. However, it is still unclear how to establish a governance regime to facilitate the sustainability goals. The report suggests a pragmatic governance approach consisting of a shared vision for 2050, short-term targets, and strong policy actions by governments that build on the strength of civil society and business.
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