Rio outcome postpones action

Press release – for immediate release

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 21 June 2012 – Heads of States are still delivering their statements, but the outcome document of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development 2012 will not be changed before the Summit closes on Friday evening. Governments are busily engaged in making the agreement sound like a good step forward, but scientists, civil society and business are heavily disappointed by the lack of concrete outcomes.

“They tell us it is a big step forward to agree a series of processes on reform of global institutions and define Sustainable Development Goals but have wasted the two years of Rio preparatory talks that could have delivered this. Time is ticking, civil society is pushing for change, and the only thing sustained by governments is the continuation of discussions” says Catherine Pearce, Manager Future Justice of the World Future Council.

One of the very tangible challenges in Rio is the short-termism in the discussions of costs of social equity and environmental restoration and a clinging onto the old, clearly unsustainable economic growth paradigm. “To break this deadlock we need mechanisms expressing the long-term social and environmental costs of our decisions today and highlighting the fact that many “costs” are actually investments in future risk prevention” Maja Göpel, Director Future Justice of the World Future Council points out.

One important Rio outcome in this context is the continued work on beyond-GDP measurements that include an intergenerational dimension. “Yet, once again, the institution that would actively deliver this information into policy-making processes, a High Commissioner for Future Generations, was erased from the final text. We are left with a report on how to take the needs of future generations into account – due out in two years. This will clearly not deliver “The Future We Want.”

Agreed Text:

86. We decide to launch an intergovernmental and open, transparent and inclusive negotiation process under the General Assembly to define the high level forum’s format and organizational aspects with the aim of convening the first high level forum at the beginning of the 68th session of the General Assembly. We will also consider the need for promoting intergenerational solidarity for the achievement of sustainable development, taking into account the needs of future generations, including by inviting the Secretary General to present a report on this issue.

Media Contacts

World Future Council

Dr. Maja Goepel, Director Future Justice
Phone: +55 (21) 8056 6849

Catherine Pearce
Campaign Manager Future Justice
Phone: +55 (21) 8056 6849

The World Future Council

The World Future Council brings the interests of future generations to the centre of policy-making. Its 50 eminent members from around the globe have already successfully promoted change. The Council addresses challenges to our common future and provides decision makers with effective policy solutions. The World Future Council is registered as a charitable foundation in Hamburg, Germany.