Rio+20 is the short name for United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. This conference will take place in Rio de Janeiro on 20-22 June 2012.  This is not the first time that Rio de Janeiro hosted a Conference with the main topic of sustainability and environmental concerns.  

In 1992, Rio de Janeiro hosted the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. Several  documents resulted from the 1992 conference: Agenda 21, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, the Statement of Forest Principles, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.

Nevertheless, international society continues to face environmental and social problems which the Convention of 1992 addressed.   A number of the agreements have lacked effective international implementation. .

The 2012 Rio Conference aims to bring a new and updated way through which these problems could be resolved or addressed.  Its main focus is on two themes: a) a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication and b) the institutional framework for sustainable development.

Sustainable development emphasizes a holistic, equitable and far-sighted approach to decision-making at all levels. It emphasizes not just strong economic performance but intra-generational and intergenerational equity. It rests on integration and a balanced consideration of social, economic and environmental goals and objectives in both public and private decision-making.

The concept of green economy focuses primarily on the intersection between environment and economy. This recalls the 1992 Rio Conference: the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development.

The need to strengthen the Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development has been recognized as an overarching goal for institutions at the national, regional and international levels. Within this,  enhancing integration of sustainable development in the activities of all relevant United Nations agencies, programmes and funds, as well as the international financial institutions, is considered important.

Rio+20 seeks to address seven critical issues:

  • Jobs ( with the promotion of green jobs inserted in a green economy),
  • Energy (improving efficiency and increase use of renewable sources),
  • Cities (continuing to thrive and grow, while improving resource use and reducing pollution and poverty),
  • Food ( focused on the eradication of hunger and poverty eradication),
  • Water (counteracting  the tendency of water scarcity, poor water quality and inadequate sanitation),
  • Oceans (managing this essential global resource as a key feature of a sustainable future) and
  • Disasters (planning ahead and staying alert against natural disasters).

Rio+20 has being organized by a joint endeavor of the entire UN System.

The Rio+20 Secretariat is housed in the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs and headed by Conference Secretary-General Sha Zukang, who is supported by two Executive Coordinators: Elizabeth Thompson (former Minister of Environment of Barbados) and Ambassador Brice Lalonde (Former Minister of Environment of France). The preparatory process is led by an 11-member Bureau composed of UN Ambassadors from all regions of the world. The host country, Brazil, is leading the logistical preparations on the ground.

Participants at Rio+20 will represent governments, the private sector, Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs).

The last session of the Preparatory Committee for the Conference and the actual conference are planned for June 2012.

A number of related meetings are also scheduled for Rio in June, as well as events, exhibitions, presentations, fairs and announcements by a wide range of partners between the official events.

It is anticipated that governments will adopt measures to facilitate the implementation of sustainable policies in their countries, based on knowledge gained in recent decades.

How can you participate?

The official site provides the opportunities sharing ideas, comments, and photographs  related to sustainable development.

For more information about the event, please see the official website:

In addition, blogs, brochures and updated news about the event and development are available.

The imbedded hyperlinks above, in order:


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