Ban Ki Moon: Rio+20 was a success and leaves a concrete and lasting legacy

By RTCC staff

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has hit back at critics of the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development by claiming it was a ‘success’.

The summit ended last week amid scenes of anger from Greenpeace, WWF and civil society groups, while 130 activists walked out of the talks in protest at what they said was a lack of action.

But speaking in New York on Thursday Mr Ban praised civil society, and said Rio+20 had been an “important victory for multilateralism after months of difficult negotiations”.

“The Rio+20 outcome document – The Future We Want – provides a firm foundation to build on, so that all of us can move toward the greater sustainability,” he said.

“The first important point is that it renewed and strengthened political commitment to sustainable development.

“Second, Member States agreed to launch a process to establish universal sustainable development goals that will be an integral part of the post-2015 development framework.

“Third, the document emphasises the importance of partnerships.”

The Secretary General stressed that developing a new environmental framework was not just the responsibility of governments or the UN, but also of civil society and the private sector.

And he highlighted two initiatives he felt show the summit was a success – the Sustainable Energy for All by 2030, and Zero Hunger Challenge – a plan aimed at reducing food insecurity across the planet.

The President of the General Assembly, Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, called on Member States to respect their commitments made in relation to Rio+20 “so that they can guide our future actions.”

“Implementation is imperative if we are to attain the future we want,” he said. “Now that the summit is over, the real work begins, and we all have our parts to play for ultimate success.”

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