Summary report, 13–22 June 2012

Rio Conventions Pavilion at Rio+20

The Rio Conventions Pavilion (RCP or the Pavilion) was convened in parallel with the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD or Rio+20) from 13-22 June 2012, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Pavilion aimed to raise awareness and share information about best practices and scientific findings on the co-benefits to be realized from implementing the three Rio Conventions: the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD); and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

Sponsored by the Rio Conventions Secretariats and a number of partners, the programme at the Pavilion focused on daily themes, with the opening day addressing “The Roads from Rio - 20 years of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB).” Other themes included: Africa Day, and Indigenous and Local Communities Day; Ecosystem-Based Adaptation Day; Oceans Day; Land Day and Global Observance of the World Day to Combat Desertification; Business Day; Financing Sustainable Development Day; Gender Mainstreaming Day; the 20th Anniversary of the Rio Conventions; and Cities Day.


The RCP was established as a way of exploring the synergies and opportunities to improve implementation of the three Rio Conventions - the UNCCD, the UNFCCC and the CBD. The Pavilion was launched to raise awareness, and share best practices and scientific findings. Focusing on cross-cutting themes, the Pavilion aims to address the common objective among the three Rio Conventions - to support sustainable development and help achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), in particular through the identification of synergies and co-benefits for implementation of the UNCCD, UNFCCC and CBD. This brief history will provide an overview of the Rio Conventions and the Pavilion.

UNCCD: In 1992, the UN General Assembly, as requested by the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED or Rio Earth Summit), adopted resolution 47/188 calling for the establishment of an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for the elaboration of a convention to combat desertification in those countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa (INCD). The INCD met five times between May 1993 and June 1994 and drafted the UNCCD and four regional implementation annexes for Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Northern Mediterranean. A fifth annex, for Central and Eastern Europe, was adopted during the fourth Conference of the Parties (COP 4) in December 2000.

Pending the UNCCD’s entry into force, the INCD met six times between January 1995 and August 1997 to hear progress reports on urgent actions for Africa and interim measures in other regions, and to prepare for COP 1. The UNCCD was adopted on 17 June 1994, and entered into force on 26 December 1996. Currently, it has 194 parties.

UNFCCC: The international political response to climate change began with the adoption of the UNFCCC in on 9 May 1992. The UNFCCC was opened for signature at the Rio Earth Summit. The UNFCCC sets out a framework for action aimed at stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases to avoid “dangerous anthropogenic interference” with the climate system. The UNFCCC entered into force on 21 March 1994, and now has 195 parties. In December 1997, delegates at COP 3 in Kyoto, Japan, agreed to a Protocol to the UNFCCC that commits industrialized countries and countries in transition to a market economy to achieve emission targets. These countries, known under the UNFCCC as Annex I parties, agreed to reduce their overall emissions of six greenhouse gases by an average of 5.2% below 1990 levels between 2008-2012 (the first commitment period), with specific targets varying from country to country. The Kyoto Protocol entered into force on 16 February 2005, and now has 193 parties.

CBD: The CBD was adopted on 22 May 1992, and entered into force on 29 December 1993. The CBD was opened for signature at the Rio Earth Summit. There are currently 193 parties to the Convention, which aims to promote the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources. The COP is the governing body of the Convention.

The CBD includes the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, which was adopted 29 January 2000 and entered into force on 11 September 2003, with 163 parties. The Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol, adopted on 15 October 2010, has not yet entered into force. The Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-Sharing was adopted on 29 October 2010, and will enter into force 90 days after its 50th ratification. The Nagoya Protocol aims to establish greater legal certainty for users and providers of genetic resources and help ensure benefit-sharing in particular covering traditional knowledge.

1ST RIO CONVENTIONS PAVILION: The first RCP was launched at CBD COP 10, held from 19-29 October 2010, in Nagoya, Japan. The Pavilion was organized around daily themes, including: linkages between biodiversity, climate change and sustainable land management; the role of protected areas in climate change; indigenous peoples and local communities; forest biodiversity; water, ecosystems and climate change; land day; economics of ecosystems and biodiversity; ecosystem-based approaches for adaptation; and promoting synergies for sustainable development and poverty reduction.

2ND RIO CONVENTIONS PAVILION: The second RCP was convened in parallel with UNFCCC COP 16, which took place from 29 November - 10 December 2010, in Cancun, Mexico. The Pavilion focused on the themes: linking biodiversity, climate change and sustainable land management; the role of protected areas in climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies; indigenous peoples and local communities; forest biodiversity; water, ecosystems and climate change; marine, coastal and island biodiversity; ecosystem-based approaches for adaptation; promoting synergies for sustainable development and poverty reduction; and linking biodiversity, climate change and sustainable land management through finance.

3RD RIO CONVENTIONS PAVILION: The third RCP took place parallel to UNCCD COP 10, held from 10-20 October 2012, in Changwon, the Republic of Korea. The main themes of the Pavilion included: cities and sustainable land management; sustainable forest management and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD+); ecosystem-based approaches to climate change; sustainable land and water management; food security and combating hunger; gender; engaging indigenous peoples and local communities; poverty reduction; and synergies for the implementation of the Rio Conventions.

4TH RIO CONVENTIONS PAVILION: The fourth RCP took place in parallel with UNFCCC COP 17, held from 29 November - 8 December 2011, in Durban, South Africa. Main themes of RCP 4 included: indigenous peoples and local communities; gender; ecosystem-based adaptation; business, economics and synergies; and REDD+.


The thematic days of the RCP are summarized below including: The Roads from Rio - 20 years of the ENB; Africa Day, and Indigenous and Local Communities Day; Ecosystem-Based Adaptation Day; Oceans Day; Land Day and Global Observance of the World Day to Combat Desertification; Business Day; Financing Sustainable Development Day; Gender Mainstreaming Day; 20th Anniversary of the Rio Conventions; and Cities Day.


On Wednesday, 13 June 2012, David Ainsworth, CBD Secretariat, introduced the panel celebrating the 20th anniversary of the ENB. Langston James “Kimo” Goree, Vice President and UN Liaison, International Institute for Sustainable Development Reporting Services (IISD-RS), highlighted the founding of the ENB in the run-up to the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 and the coverage of negotiations since that time, noting that IISD-RS now covers about 70 meetings annually. He discussed ENB’s core principles including: the provision of neutral information to strengthen policy formulation; access to information for all parties to help “level the information playing field;” and timely provision of quality information to counteract political spin.

Pamela Chasek, ENB Executive Editor, IISD-RS, and co-editor of “The Roads from Rio: Lessons Learned from Twenty Years of Multilateral Environmental Negotiations,” introduced the book, which traces processes covered by ENB since 1992. She observed that the emerging narrative is likely to involve devising strategies to increase policy coherence between competing interests to effectively tackle the trade-offs that underpin the integration of the three pillars of sustainable development. She concluded that by building on lessons learned so far, Rio+20 could help bring forward the multilateral environmental agreement (MEA) discourse by offering greater “policy space and political will” to integrate environmental issues with development and trade imperatives.

Peter Doran, ENB Team Member, IISD-RS, said any analysis of Rio+20 must address whether it has realized its objectives, including securing renewed political commitment for sustainable development and addressing gaps in the implementation of the outcomes from previous summits, such as Agenda 21. He underscored the challenge the event faces in making meaningful connections between sustainable development and underlying causes of political and economic instability, and increasing social inclusion and equality in the economic system.

In the ensuing discussion several speakers commended the ENB team for providing critical reflection and analysis of the broader trends. Chasek noted reduced capacity to deal with the interrelated nature of the challenges that they set out to address and emphasized the role of independent MEA secretariats and visionary leaders in bridging this growing gap. Remarking that the initiative from these meetings is increasingly coming from side events, Goree stressed the need to feed innovative solutions back into the main negotiations.


On 14 June, the RCP convened for Africa Day, and Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities Day. The event consisted of three panel sessions, including: economic valuation of land (EVL) - an approach to advance sustainable development in the context of a green economy; facilitating green growth in Africa - perspectives from the African Development Bank (AfDB); and the contribution of traditional knowledge to climate mitigation and adaptation.

EVL - AN APPROACH TO ADVANCE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN THE CONTEXT OF A GREEN ECONOMY: Co-chaired by Aly Abou-Sabaa, AfDB, and Simone Quatrini, The Global Mechanism, the session was moderated by John Soussan, Offering Sustainable Land-Use Options (OSLO) Consortium. The session addressed issues including investing in sustainable land management (SLM), valuing ecosystem services and SLM in Africa.

On investing in SLM, Quatrini noted increases in foreign direct investment in land acquisition as “a potential catalyst for the African green revolution,” explaining the OSLO Consortium seeks to unlock responsible investment by providing incentives and safeguards to investors. Soussan highlighted the economic case for investing in SLM.

William Ehlers, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), described GEF’s investments over the last two decades through the Land Degradation Focal Area as a major catalyst of innovation in SLM, leveraging an additional US$ 2 billion in co-financing. He highlighted this strategy explicitly links SLM and human well-being, establishing a foundation for improving the livelihoods of millions of rural people.

Timo Busch, ETH Zurich, observed that the growing interest in ecosystem services among large institutional investors and a rising number of socially-responsible investors provide important opportunities for investing in sustainability. He suggested that valuation processes explore appropriate policy incentives for longer-term investments.

On valuing ecosystem services, Soussan emphasized the need for policymakers to incorporate the full value of land resources and the wide range of ecosystems values that they generate into national accounting systems. Underlining that the notion of valuing ecosystem services is relatively new, Abou-Sabaa called for a gradual approach in introducing the concept to ensure buy-in from key stakeholders.

Andrew Seidl, IUCN, spoke on IUCN’s recent experience in economic valuation and development, highlighting a global level assessment linked to the CBD Target 15 that found a US$ 84 billion annual net benefit of forest landscape restoration. Seidl highlighted assessment challenges, including: inadequate local technical and human capacity; methodological issues; and political considerations.

On SLM in Africa, Abou-Sabaa noted that Africa has no choice but to manage its natural resources sustainably and build resilience to the increased incidence of droughts and floods, and desertification. Elijah Phiri, University of Zambia, presented a case study of economic land valuation in Zambia. Noting that the economic value of ecosystem services in the forestry and wetlands sectors is estimated at US$ 240 million, Phiri emphasized that failure to address rapid land degradation can have negative economic affects.

On gender and equality interlinkages, panelists responded to questions with Soussan and Abou-Sabaa acknowledging the need to increase inclusiveness in development.

FACILITATING GREEN GROWTH IN AFRICA - PERSPECTIVES FROM THE AfDB: Daniel Makokera, CEO, Pamuzinda Productions, South Africa, introduced the panel. This session addressed a number of issues, including: a vision of green growth; green growth in Africa; reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD); and political will.

On vision of green growth, Kate Raworth, Oxfam, stressed that national level analysis must include assessment of the social foundations, such as meeting human rights to resources like food, water and jobs. She stated that all countries are developing nations, because no country yet lives in the safe green economic space. Frank Sperling, AfDB, defined green growth as a transformative and iterative process towards more sustainable development pathways.

Anthony Okon Nyong, AfDB, stressed that green growth should be a priority for all countries. Noting that some of the misconceptions around the concept arise from a narrow interpretation of the green economy as an “anti-growth” development trajectory, Sperling emphasized the need for each country to map its own green growth path. Raworth explained an inclusive and sustainable development course would allow low-income countries to focus on poverty alleviation while avoiding being locked into unsustainable pathways.

On green growth in Africa, Sperling noted that priorities for the African continent include: addressing the infrastructure deficit; sustainable management of natural resources; enhancing resilience to natural disasters; and food security. Highlighting initiatives by Japan, Junya Nakano, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan, remarked that green growth offers additional opportunities for leapfrogging Africa’s development challenges while avoiding the negative social and environmental impacts of economic growth.

On political will, Sperling noted that meeting needs in Africa requires strong political leadership, an enabling regulatory environment, multi-stakeholder engagement, a focus on the quality of growth, and adequate financing of the upfront investments required in this transition. Okon Nyong emphasized that AfDB also finances public goods and development projects that may not recover all costs as required by private sector investments.

Raworth called for “an injection of creativity” and stressed that leadership on green growth should be taken by developed countries whose traditional economic growth model has neither solved poverty nor been sustainable. Okon Nyong lauded the Brazilian government for its leadership and engagement in South-South cooperation with the AfDB.

On REDD,responding to a question about REDD’s role in African green growth, Sperling emphasized the need for capacity building to up-scale African project proposals to meet performance-based criteria that can attract investments in REDD at a comparable level to Brazil and Indonesia.

THE CONTRIBUTION OF TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE TO CLIMATE MITIGATION AND ADAPTATION: This session, moderated by Johnson Cerda, Conservation International, addressed indigenous peoples participation in international processes, supporting indigenous knowledge in the Kaingang territory, Brazil, and means of conserving traditional knowledge.

On indigenous peoples participation in international processes, Cerda said Conservation International has started a fellowship programme to encourage the study of traditional knowledge in specific indigenous communities and how it could contribute to multilateral negotiations.

Jennifer Rubis, UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), announced the book launch of “Weathering Uncertainty: Climate Change Assessment and Adaptation,” and explained that the Climate Frontlines promotes traditional knowledge in climate adaptation working at the science and policy level. She noted the recognition of indigenous peoples’ knowledge in several texts including the UNFCCC and the CBD.

On indigenous knowledge in the Kaingang territory, Diana Nascimento, Conservation International Fellow, noted that illegal logging and exploitation by outsiders present challenges to traditional indigenous management practices and are harming the Kaingang area, which she characterized as “an island of biodiversity floating in a sea of monocultures.” She said the objective of her study was to develop appropriate methodologies in consultation with local communities.

On conserving traditional knowledge, Nascimento highlighted the important role of intergenerational transfer of knowledge, in particular as outside cultural influences creep in, and noted the goal of “rescuing” traditional stories and knowledge to preserve them for future generations. Rubis explained that moving beyond recognition towards respect for indigenous traditional knowledge would require a conceptualization of traditional knowledge on the same footing as science, giving them equal inputs and looking at complementary areas that can benefit communities.

Jadder Lewis, Center for the Indigenous Peoples Autonomy and Development, Nicaragua, lamented the many misconceptions at the heart of mainstream approaches to supporting traditional knowledge. He noted ignorance about how indigenous social institutions work and the assumption that they want to “conserve nature for the sake of it” has resulted in an overemphasis of the protected area approach, which often exacerbates the marginalization of indigenous communities and increases poverty.

In the ensuing discussion, panelists emphasized the need to strengthen learning alliances between indigenous and academic communities and noted the opportunities that South-South cooperation offers for scaling up good practices.


On 15 June, the RCP convened for Ecosystem-Based Adaptation Day. The event included four panel sessions on: ecosystem-based approaches (EBA) to adaptation - best practice; EVL - an approach to advance sustainable development in the context of a green economy; the Bonn Challenge - restoring 150 million hectares of degraded landscapes by 2020; and coastal climate change solutions - from principles to practice.

ECOSYSTEM-BASED APPROACHES TO ADAPTATION - BEST PRACTICE: Kate Brown, Global Island Partnership, introduced the panel. This session addressed the value of EBA, implementation of EBA and EBA pilot projects.

On the value of EBA,Veronica Lo, CBD Secretariat, noted EBA’s advantages, including contributions to: climate change adaptation, generating societal benefits such as greater accessibility to the rural poor than “traditional” infrastructure and engineering actions; climate change mitigation, by conserving carbon stocks and reducing emissions from ecosystem degradation and loss; and biodiversity conservation, by enhancing carbon sequestration. Jacqueline Alder, UN Environment Programme (UNEP), emphasized that EBA should be: clear and context specific; measureable; embedded in existing policies; and considered against alternative options.

Robert Nasi, Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), highlighted a meta-analysis of the contribution of agroforestry and forest systems to EBA. He noted lack of consensus on the impacts of forests in meso-level ecosystems, such as watersheds, coasts or urban environments, as well as on regional climates.

On implementation of EBA, Lo emphasized the need for defining objectives as well as evaluating the effectiveness of adaptation activities. Alder presented on decision support frameworks as a tool for planning EBA for governments, including: setting the adaptation context; selecting appropriate options for adaptation; and designing for change and adaptive implementation.

Nasi noted that better science is critical for managing inevitable trade-offs between EBA and hard engineering solutions, for example assuring a regular base flow through construction of dam often means less total water. Jaime Webbe, CBD Secretariat, pointed out that EBA is very project specific and that CBD has provided a database with over 600 case studies to encourage sharing of best practices and innovative experiences from different EBA projects.

On EBA pilot projects, Alder discussed a pilot project at Lami Town, Fiji, where a cost-benefit analysis showed that ecosystem maintenance yields the highest benefit per dollar spent on implementation compared to engineering actions. Didier Dogley, Special Advisor to the Minister of Environment and Energy, the Seychelles, presented on a project, supported by the Adaptation Fund, which aims to enhance resilience of coastal ecosystems. He highlighted the main components of the project as reducing invasive species, restoring wetlands, regulating water flow in rivers, protecting the coastline from wave erosion, and monitoring and capacity building.

Sefanaia Nawadra, Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, presented a case study on ecosystem-based management in Fiji. Nawadra noted decisions to optimize adaptation measures led to integrated planning and rehabilitation of degraded areas and soft coastal adaptation measures, while incorporating traditional practices and knowledge.

EVL - AN APPROACH TO ADVANCE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN THE CONTEXT OF A GREEN ECONOMY: This interactive question and answer session, facilitated by Ed King, Climate Change TV, addressed the importance of valuing land, investing in SLM and ways forward.

On the importance of valuing land, John Soussan, OSLO Consortium, observed that deriving the full economic value of land is a prerequisite for SLM. Simone Quatrini, The Global Mechanism, added that important ecosystem functions are not captured by current measures of returns on investment and the aim is to unveil hidden values to provide the right decision-making tools to producers and investors. Yuki Hori, UNCCD Secretariat, noted SLM is about achieving zero-net land degradation. Highlighting lessons from the Zambia study, Elija Phiri, University of Zambia, said the EVL methodology has helped to clarify the real value of various land uses.

On investment in SLM, Quatrini noted that global investments in SLM currently account for less than 1% of Official Development Assistance. Emphasizing huge potential for growth due to growing interest in green investments, he underscored the need for supportive policy environments for investors.

Soussan discussed making the case for investments in SLM and providing specific policy recommendations in Cambodia by demonstrating the value of protecting primary rainforests through measuring, inter alia, the value of ecosystem and biodiversity services. He emphasized that linking protection of areas to hydropower schemes serves not only investors’ interests in the longevity of their infrastructure investments but also benefits local people by protecting their livelihoods from outside pressures.

Quatrini observed an increased appetite in capital markets for SLM projects as public awareness has led investors and corporations to seek to align themselves with the values of their customers. He explained the diverse options available to different investors, including banks and insurance companies, allow for investments in: SLM activities; water management; sustainable agricultural production; and the energy, construction and ecotourism sectors.

On ways forward, Soussan pointed out that investments by local communities, such as terrace systems in mountainous regions or pastoral land management in drylands, are often unaccounted for. He stressed that a key question should be how to sustain and improve traditional livelihood systems. Hori added that land users need incentives to change unsustainable practices.

Soussan then highlighted land tenure issues and linking investors to producers. Quatrini underscored a three-pronged approach aimed at generating solid metrics to capture hidden values, improving science-policy linkages and boosting the confidence of the business community to invest in SLM.

THE BONN CHALLENGE - RESTORING 150 MILLION HECTARES OF DEGRADED LANDSCAPES BY 2020: Moderated by Daniel Shaw, IUCN, the session highlighted the Bonn Challenge to restore degraded lands. This session addressed the basic principles of land restoration, financing restoration, the Mata Atlântica Restoration Pact (PACTO) case study and mobilizing action on the ground.

On principles of land restoration, Carol Saint-Laurent, IUCN, explained basic principles about the forest and landscape restoration approach, including: balancing local needs with national and global priorities; restoring entire landscapes, not just individual sites, and restoring functionality and ecosystems; and engaging local people and other stakeholders. Illustrating the potential for global forest restoration, she pointed out that a quarter of global land forest has been deforested and another quarter has been degraded. Mario Boccucci, UNEP, said the carbon sequestration benefits of restoring degraded lands is the “icing on the cake” to the main benefits of restoring the provision of ecosystem services.

On financing restoration, Boccucci said the public sector must address barriers to private sector investment to scale up resources to the level required. Boccucci said the REDD regime can facilitate public sector funding through the Green Climate Fund, reducing entry barriers for the private sector. He highlighted the transition to a green economy as an opportunity to address the challenges degraded lands and the food security.

On PACTO, Clayton Ferreira Lino, Mata Atlântica Biosphere Reserve, Brazil, emphasized the value of multi-stakeholder participation in forest restoration. Lino highlighted the need to connect payments for agricultural services to conservation and carbon sequestration and the need for incentives for landowners to comply with the Brazilian forest code.

On the Bonn Challenge, the session concluded with a short film on “,” an online initiative by IUCN and Airbus to rally public support for the Bonn Challenge. Responding to a question on how to mobilize smallholders in the initiative, Saint-Laurent highlighted the role of producer associations in raising awareness and generating scale. With regard to the role of the private sector, panelists noted the diversity of the private sector saying drivers for participating in landscape restoration may include securing access to new markets, developing new kinds of forest products, spreading risk, and philanthropic or corporate social responsibility motivations. The role of the state in stimulating market demand through forestry policies, as well as social programmes, was also highlighted.

COASTAL CLIMATE CHANGE SOLUTIONS - FROM PRINCIPLES TO PRACTICE: This session was facilitated by Jacqueline Alder, UNEP, and addressed the benefits of EBA, an EBA decision support framework, next steps and several case studies.

On the benefits of EBA, Lynne Zeitlin Hale, The Nature Conservancy, emphasized that meeting multiple management objectives including community-, economic- and ecological-system vulnerability requires adaptation plans that minimize losses to human and natural communities. Hale said an important co-benefit of these protective ecosystem services is, inter alia, maintenance of fisheries as important food sources and thus livelihoods. Underscoring the cost effectiveness of EBA solutions, she suggested that creating a dialogue between biologists and engineers could help implement a natural infrastructure engineering approach.

On an EBA decision support framework, Alder highlighted some operational challenges faced including: lack of robust information on EBA options compared to “traditional” technologies; unclear definitions, objectives and indicators of success; the need to extend EBA capacity building expertise to support on-the-ground decision making at the project level; and limited financing to establish baselines and regular monitoring activities.

On next steps for EBA, Alder highlighted introducing pilot projects in a variety of ecosystem and decision contexts and developing a training package to support national adaptation programmes of action and national adaptation plan implementation in developing countries. Hale emphasized socioeconomic analysis to define the protection potential of natural infrastructure, including: erosion resistance; storm defense; vertical accretion through sediment capture; and biomass accretion. On engaging stakeholders, Hale and Nelson Andrade Colmenares, UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme, noted efforts to involve the engineering and tourism sectors as well as municipal and local governments.

Presenting case studies, Colmenares, speaking on initiatives in the Caribbean, described development of an integrated approach to enhance implementation of the Cartagena Convention and its Protocols, inter alia through strengthening marine protected area (MPA) staff and introducing better practices and alternative livelihood options for fishing communities. Among the remaining challenges, he highlighted the need for more meaningful engagement of the business sector and wider application of ecosystem-based management, outside MPAs.

Ahmed Senhoury, IUCN, presented on achieving climate change mitigation outcomes from coastal ecosystem management in the West African region. Among the opportunities he noted: carbon sequestration through reforestation; avoiding greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; as well as capturing and storing CO2 from industrial sources. Senhoury said developing countries face several challenges, including limited access to appropriate technologies and financial mechanisms.


On 16 June, the RCP convened for Oceans Day. The event consisted of seven panels, a lunch celebrating 10 years of the Global Ocean Forum (GOF) and the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and a closing session presenting the outcomes of Oceans Day to the Rio+20 process. Panel sessions included: renewing our political commitments - perspectives on Rio+20; scaling up integrated governance of the oceans; the living ocean - enhancing fisheries for food security, social and economic benefits; small island developing states (SIDS) and oceans - building resilience, enhancing social and economic benefits; climate change and ocean acidification; toward the blue economy and society - perspectives, experiences and initiatives; and moving forward.

Oceans Day was co-chaired by Biliana Cicin-Sain, President, GOF, Tuiloma Neroni Slade, Secretary General, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, and Wendy Watson-Wright, UNESCO-Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC).

RENEWING OUR POLITICAL COMMITMENTS - PERSPECTIVES ON RIO+20: The panel was co-chaired by Veerle Vandeweerd, UN Development Programme (UNDP), and Gustavo Fonseca, GEF. The event addressed a vision for the future, Rio+20 outcomes and actions on the ground.

On a vision for the future, Biliana Cicin-Sain, GOF, encouraged participating stakeholders to reflect on what has or has not been achieved in meeting major ocean-related sustainable development commitments and to rekindle political will to implement new and old commitments.

Tuiloma Neroni Slade, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, underscored that in planning for sustainability the oceans must be attended to. Wendy Watson-Wright, UNESCO-IOC, reminded nations that oceans protection is not only an environmental issue, but also an economic and social priority.

On Rio+20 outcomes, Vandeweerd said the oceans section in the draft Rio outcome document is strong and called on the ocean community to strengthen it even further. Karl Falkenberg, Director-General for Environment, European Commission, observed that the relatively clean language on oceans at Rio+20 offers hope for strong international commitment on this issue. He emphasized that achieving ocean sub-targets will require an integrated approach, addressing land-based sources of marine pollution and making progress on the management of the high seas.

Ana Prates, Ministry of Environment, Brazil, recalled that the UNCED strengthened national, regional and international cooperation on oceans. She suggested that Rio+20 should similarly highlight the need for protection of the high seas.

On actions on the ground, Wang Hong, State Oceanic Administration, China, highlighted his country’s efforts in promoting a sustainable marine economy by, inter alia: establishing 125 MPAs; upgrading traditional industries; and strengthening capacities in marine science and technologies.

Fonseca highlighted several pilot programmes to test new models for MPAs and transboundary management of marine resources.

Noting slow progress in meeting targets to protect marine biodiversity as reported in the 3rd Global Biodiversity Outlook, CBD Executive Secretary Braulio de Ferreira Souza Dias provided an overview of new regional and global partnerships to meet the marine and coastal biodiversity-related Aichi Targets.

SCALING UP INTEGRATED GOVERNANCE OF THE OCEANS: This panel was co-chaired by Andrew Hudson, UNDP and Coordinator, UN-Oceans, and Awni Behnam, International Ocean Institute. The session addressed global, regional and national governance.

On global governance, Serguei Tarassenko, UN Division for Ocean Affairs and Law of the Sea, commented on the 30th anniversary of the UNCLOS, which he said remains “a model of international cooperation.”

Speaking in his personal capacity, Johán Williams, Director General, Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs, Norway, stressed the need to develop and agree on global minimum standards to protect and regenerate marine resources while meeting the needs of food security and the transition to a green economy.

Lasse Gustavsson, WWF, drew attention to the responsibility inherent in the right to access resources beyond national jurisdiction, and stressed the need for new integrative approaches to fishing, deep-sea mining and other maritime activities.

Kristina Gjerde, IUCN, called for agreement at Rio+20 to negotiate an implementing agreement under UNCLOS on biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ), saying a legal mandate for ecosystem-based management on the high seas should have effective enforcement capacity and incorporate modern management practices and principles, such as MPAs, the precautionary principle and ongoing monitoring.

On regional governance, Hashali Hamukuaya, Executive Secretary, Benguela Current Commission, highlighted progress in the sustainable management of the marine ecosystem, which covers Angola, Namibia and South Africa, and singled out the development of a five-module monitoring framework and ecosystem information system as a key achievement.

Terashima presented on Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA). Noting that PEMSEA is on track to meet most of its targets with regard to policy formulation, he identified the key challenge as mainstreaming regional strategies into national programmes and their implementation.

Christophe Lefebvre, French Marine Protected Areas Agency, encouraged the establishment of a MPA Protocol to the Regional Seas Conventions, and explained that in order to realize global MPAs we must overcome: knowledge and information gaps; lack of political and social commitments; limited financial resources; and weak legislation and mechanisms.

On national governance, Hiroshi Terashima, Ocean Policy Research Foundation, Japan, advocated sharing and learning from leading national initiatives on oceans and described establishment in Japan of institutional arrangements and government mechanisms for implementation of ocean policy.

THE LIVING OCEAN - ENHANCING FISHERIES FOR FOOD SECURITY, SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC BENEFITS: This session was chaired by Árni Mathiesen, UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), addressing the themes: commitments; food security and livelihoods; policy measures; and national and regional fisheries management initiatives.

On commitments, Rachel Kyte, Vice President, Sustainable Development Network, World Bank, announced the launch of the Global Partnership for Oceans, a multi-stakeholder initiative that currently brings together 82 partners. She welcomed the opportunity to leverage the Bank’s US$ 1.6 billion oceans portfolio by up-scaling best practices in establishing new sustainable livelihoods for communities that depend on coastal and marine resources.

Nicholas Watts, Commonwealth Human Ecology Council, United Kingdom, emphasized the importance of social science knowledge to fisheries policy and science diplomacy to get policy in line with science. He called for establishing a Commonwealth Coalition for Sustainable Fisheries at Rio+20.

On food security and livelihoods, Mathiesen cited a joint World Bank/FAO study that found improved fisheries management could generate an additional US$ 40 million for poor fishing communities. On future supply and demand, Mathiesen stated that the projected 20 million tonne gap could be bridged if the current expansion rate in the agricultural sector is maintained.

Sebastian Mathew, International Collective in Support of Fishworkers, India, recommended a human rights approach to sustainable fisheries as vital for food security and rural employment and thus key for the survival of fisheries livelihoods and indigenous communities.

On policy measures, Russell Smith, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, US, noted the US has recently “turned the corner” in preventing over-fishing and emphasized the ongoing need to: develop science for efficient fisheries management; ensure sufficient capacity in both developed and developing countries to collect, analyze and interpret data; and provide guidance to fisheries for sustainable management.

Su’a Tanielu, Director-General, Pacific Island Forum Fisheries Agency, Solomon Islands, urged an ecosystem, rights-based and precautionary approach to sustainable ocean and fisheries management, and called for global commitments that are well financed and implemented through regional coordination.

On national and regional fisheries management, Flavio Bezerra da Silva, Secretary of Fisheries Planning and Regulation, Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Brazil, provided an overview of sustainable fisheries management in Brazil and some policy priorities for improved information sharing and regional cooperation under the Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem Project.

Juan Carlos Ordóñez, Vice Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Honduras, highlighted the Tegucigalpa Protocol and noted regional efforts to develop a joint plan of action for the responsible management of migratory fish resources in the Caribbean Sea to progressively expand the regulatory frameworks in force.

SIDS AND OCEANS - BUILDING RESILIENCE, ENHANCING SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC BENEFITS: Oceans Day Co-Chair Tuiloma Neroni Slade introduced the panel noting that Chapter 17 of Agenda 21, dealing with ocean, seas and coastal areas, acknowledges the special case for SIDS and that SIDS also received recognition at the 2002 Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development. The session addressed issues related to SIDS in the Pacific and Caribbean.

On the Pacific, Cama Tuiloma, Ambassador to Brazil, Fiji, said that as an island nation, Fiji recognizes that the ocean both separates and binds them. He said they do not see themselves as small island states but as “large ocean states.”

Noting that the Pacific is the last great ocean not yet to be overfished, Amanda Ellis, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, New Zealand, urged all fisheries stakeholders to contribute to the goals of the Pacific Islands Forum, which aims to: pool resources for sustainable management of oceanic resources; coordinate monitoring of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; and ensure policy coherence at the national and regional level.

Russell Howorth, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, discussed the importance of the precautionary principle for the sustainable exploitation of deep sea floor resources to expand economic opportunities in the region.

On the Caribbean,Travis Sinckler, Ministry of Environment, Barbados, highlighted that the Caribbean Sea is a critical resource, providing ecosystem services that contribute to poverty reduction. On the fisheries industry within a green economy, he emphasized challenges and opportunities, including: conservation of marine resources; coordination among economic sectors within an EBA model; and collaboration from local to international levels for managing transboundary marine resources.

CLIMATE CHANGE AND OCEAN ACIDIFICATION: This session was co-chaired by Wendy Watson-Wright, UNESCO-IOC, and Isabelle Picco, Permanent Representative to the UN, Monaco. This session addressed commitments, challenges and solutions.

On commitments, Picco highlighted her country’s initiatives to advance scientific research, knowledge sharing and international collaboration to address ocean acidification. Watson-Wright announced the launch of a new initiative by the International Atomic Energy Agency to enhance global research collaboration on ocean acidification. Welcoming the initiative, which will be based in Monaco, Picco emphasized that with 61% of world gross national product derived from coastlines, the importance of data sharing cannot be over-emphasized.

On challenges, Ronald Jumeau, Ambassador for Climate Change and SIDS Issues, Seychelles, stressed that even if current targets are attained, 160 million people will be affected by rising sea levels. He reiterated that “there is no management measure for ocean warming and acidification, the only way is to reduce emissions.”

Focusing on human adaptation measures, Lynne Hale, The Nature Conservancy, expressed concern that public adaptation funding flows mostly to hard infrastructure solutions, potentially harming coastal communities and ignoring the potential of natural systems to provide effective protection and reduce vulnerabilities.

On solutions, Carol Turley, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, UK, called for collaborative global action on rapid and substantial cuts to CO2 emissions, requiring international planning and financing for adaptation and explained that ocean acidification needs to be addressed internationally as it is relevant to food security and sustainability.

Nguyen Chu Hoi, Hanoi University of Science, Vietnam, called for additional investment, collective action and political commitment to accelerate climate change adaptation.

TOWARD THE BLUE ECONOMY AND SOCIETY - PERSPECTIVES, EXPERIENCES AND INITIATIVES: This session was co-chaired by Mary Barton-Dock, World Bank, and Karin Sjolin-Frudd, International Maritime Organization (IMO), with Sjolin-Frudd welcoming panelists. This session addressed a number of themes: green economy; marine pollution; economic uses of oceans; and Rio+20 outcomes.

On green economy, Ibrahim Thiaw, UNEP, discussed: the potential for a green economy approach in oceans; exploring job creation opportunities in the labor-intensive marine renewable energy sector; and using less destructive methods in the fisheries sector. He drew attention to the unique “tragedy of the commons” challenge faced by governments due to limited property or tenure rights existing for oceans.

Milton Asmus, Forum do Mar, Brazil, stressed a paradigm shift for a blue economy that entails abdicating individual desires for the global good. He described existing stakeholder movements that are using intensive dialogue at the interpersonal and institutional level to catalyze and scale up behavioral change.

On marine pollution, Vincent Sweeney, Coordinator, Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA), UNEP, drew attention to land-based sources of marine litter and spoke about coordinated international efforts to reduce these through waste management actions and ecosystem protection programmes within the GPA.

Doug Woodring, Ocean Recovery Alliance, and Leila Monroe, Natural Resources Defense Council, noted serious consequences of plastic in marine litter for marine life, for coastal economies, for the food chain and thus human health, and pointed to the plastic disclosure project as a systemic solution getting at the source of plastic litter.

On economic uses of oceans, Andrew Hudson, UNDP, introduced the publication “Catalyzing Ocean Finance,” which reviews methodologies to reform ocean policies and put enabling environments in place, including financial flows.

Paul Holthus, Executive Director, World Ocean Council, spoke on industry perspectives, noting increased economic uses of ocean resources. He said without involving the private sector to develop, drive and deliver solutions, there is no hope of achieving oceans targets.

Arthur Bogason, President, National Association of Small Boat Owners, Iceland, challenged the “negative” portrayal of the fishing industry in scientific studies and fisheries policy, calling for the delinking of small-scale and industrial fisheries and better definition of the rights of fishing communities in international and national legislation.

On Rio+20 outcomes, Philippe Vallete, Co-President, World Ocean Network, presented a vision for advancing public ocean stewardship and “the blue society,” and a voluntary Rio+20 commitment to promote the blue society.

David Tongue, International Chamber of Shipping, invited Rio+20 to draw lessons from and support the regulatory framework provided by the IMO, which he said has served the oceans well and is a “model of efficiency” in enforcing complex regulations.

MOVING FORWARD: The closing session of Oceans Day was co-chaired by Watson-Wright, Slade and Cicin-Sain. Paula Caballero, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Colombia, noted the North-South divide as well as an artificial division between environment and social development in the negotiations that is impeding action. She said this could be overcome by illustrating the many inter-linkages between Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on oceans, food security, sustainable agriculture, water and sanitation, and livelihood security.

Isabella Lövin, Member of the European Parliament, emphasized the need to mobilize the political will to protect the oceans, but expressed disappointment about the failure to take action by world leaders. She called for new global mechanisms for accountability to save the oceans and ensure intergenerational justice.

Charlotte Cawthorne, Prince’s Charities UK, announced the “Fisheries in Transition” report as part of Prince Charles’ International Sustainability Unit, aimed at contributing his neutral convening power to the work on sustainable fisheries management, which faces barriers such as lack of data and finance, and perverse subsidies.

Following a two-minute video containing messages from the Yeosu Expo 2012, South Korea, Cicin-Sain presented the Co-Chair’s Statement of the Oceans Day at Rio+20 summarizing key outcomes of the discussions and the twelve voluntary commitments, including establishment of the GPO and establishment of the International Atomic Energy Agency center to study ocean acidification, announced by various stakeholder platforms to Elizabeth Thompson, Executive Coordinator for the Rio+20 Conference. Highlighting tangible steps towards the blue economy, Cicin-Sain called for additional efforts to create an enabling institutional framework for delivering on the commitments made.

Thompson welcomed the Oceans Day outcomes, noting that “for those of us who have lived on islands, no one has to tell us that urgent action is needed.” Underlining the shared responsibility for delivering a concrete outcome in Rio and beyond, she urged participants to “keep pressing negotiators to do the right thing,” and to maintain the momentum post-Rio+20 by starting a national dialogue to follow up these issues.


On 17 June, the RCP convened for Land Day and to celebrate World Day to Combat Desertification. The event commenced with a high-level round table on what sustainable land and soil management can do to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Panels addressed: towards a zero net land and soil degradation world; the Global Soil Partnership; and the economics of land degradation. The day concluded with observance of World Day to Combat Desertification and a Land for Life Award reception.

The Land for Life Award was presented to Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods (SOIL), Haiti, in a ceremony headlined by UNCCD Drylands Ambassador and Miss Universe Leila Lopes. SOIL works in some of the poorest areas of Haiti to promote an integrated approach to the issues of inadequate sanitation, declining soil fertility and extensive erosion.

what sustainable land and soil management can do to achieve the MDGs: Land Day commenced with two high-level opening statements from Paulo Cabral, Ministry of Environment, Brazil, and UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja.

Cabral provided an overview of ongoing efforts to implement Brazil’s National Action Programme to combat land degradation, underlining the need for innovative and integrated approaches to advance the sustainable use of natural resources, poverty alleviation and social inclusion.

UNCCD Executive Secretary Gnacadja enumerated achievements of the UNCCD, highlighting mobilizing the scientific community to develop impact indicators to measure drought, land degradation and desertification, and developing a robust monitoring framework that is delivering policy-relevant recommendations to UNCCD decision-making bodies. He stressed capitalizing on success stories to help bridge the science, policy and practice gap. He called on Rio+20 to “provide a common goal and target to guide action,” by adopting the target of zero net land degradation.

Don Koo Lee, Minister, Korea Forest Service, Republic of Korea, chaired the high-level panel and welcomed the discussion, underscoring that sustainable land and soil management “is crucial” to achieve the MDGs. The session was moderated by Martin Frick, Ambassador to the UN, Germany. The panel addressed issues including scope of the problem and addressing the challenge.

On the scope of the problem, Jan McAlpine, Director, UN Forum on Forests, said “soil is like blood in our veins - without it nothing on the planet will survive.” Jochen Flasbarth, President, German Federal Environment Agency, noted that soil is still inappropriately seen as a domestic issue, when 12 million hectares of soil are lost globally every year. Alexander Mueller, FAO, and Timo Makela, Directorate-General for the Environment (DG-Environment), emphasized that soil degradation is not just a problem for developing countries.

Kanayo Nwanze, President, International Fund for Agricultural Development, warned against viewing small local farmers, herders and foresters as contributors to land degradation, and instead called for seeing them as the greatest managers of land and biodiversity.

On addressing the challenge, McAlpine countered pessimism about Rio+20 and the medias’ focus on failures over the last 20 years with optimism that cross-sectorial and cross-institutional dialogues on soil management are occurring. CBD Executive Secretary Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias noted close links between the UNCCD and CBD, by asserting that half of the targets in the CBD 10-year strategy touch on SLM. Makela highlighted EU efforts towards a strong Rio+20 outcome on SLM and its links to access to finance and markets for smallholders.

Flasbarth highlighted the need to provide scientific advise to politicians and improve regulation at the global scale. Emphasizing that soil and climate are closely interlinked, Mannava Sivakumar, World Meteorological Organization, highlighted initiatives to provide farmers with up-to-date meteorological information to enhance land management.

Nwanze said empowering local farmers, herders and foresters through access to technology and finance will move them towards improved sustainable land use and livelihoods. Mueller welcomed alliances between scientists, governments, NGOs and farmers to provide sustainable alternatives and improve soil management. CBD Executive Secretary Dias called for increased attention to biodiversity conservation on farms.

During discussions, participants highlighted, inter alia: linking grassroots and higher-level actions; the need for a clear signal from Rio+20 on the centrality of SLM to the three pillars of sustainable development; removing subsidies that undermine sustainable land use; recognizing links between land and sea pollution; and enhancing institutional collaboration.

TOWARD A ZERO NET LAND AND SOIL DEGRADATION WORLD: This panel was moderated by Jochen Flasbarth. The panel discussed: existing programmes to reduce land degradation; policy measures to reduce land degradation; and global action toward a zero net land degradation world.

On existing programmes, Don Koo Lee, Minister, Korea Forest Service, Republic of Korea, shared the Republic of Korea’s success in reversing land degradation, underscoring the importance of leadership and prevention. Antonio Magalhães, Chair, UNCCD Committee on Science and Technology (CST), highlighted ongoing work to explore the feasibility of a UNCCD science-policy platform to harness and disseminate knowledge on drylands issues.

Dennis Garrity, UNCCD Drylands Ambassador, recommended implementing national and local regeneration measures and moving towards climate smart agriculture systems, highlighting ongoing programmes in Malawi and Zambia. Veerle Vandeweerd, UNDP, noted that the sustainable development challenge is particularly acute in drylands, home of the “forgotten billion.” She said the UNDP Integrated Drylands Development programme aims to support developing countries to move from policy to implementation by mainstreaming drylands development into national development programmes. Garrity noted efforts by the CST to develop robust indicators at different scales and that countries would be encouraged to adapt global targets to their own contexts.

On policy measures, Magalhães assured policy makers that achieving land degradation neutrality is about fostering sustainable management, not restricting the use of natural resources.

Craig Hanson, World Resources Institute, noted that regeneration through increasing total plant growth is only one of many alternative solutions to land degradation.

Ben Boer, Wuhan University, agreed with taking an integrated approach, including science, economics, policy and institutional frameworks both at the global and local level, suggesting integrating law in addition. One participant stressed that research and development should respond to the needs of local communities. Other speakers highlighted the need for secure land tenure and investing in long-term capacity building for SLM.

On global action, Lee emphasized that setting global targets for zero net land degradation will require the inclusion of all stakeholders in collaborative and innovative partnerships to ensure that policies, practices and mechanisms are implemented. Boer advocated a zero net land degradation protocol under the UNCCD, with enabling instruments such as finance and a set of guidelines for national implementation. Participants highlighted the need for clear indicators to monitor zero net land degradation.

GLOBAL SOIL PARTNERSHIP: This session was moderated by Luca Marmo, DG-Environment, European Commission. The session addressed issues including: case studies; the Global Soil Partnership; and policy considerations.

Presenting case studies, Manuel Gerardo Pedro Pulgar-Vidal Otálora, Minister of Environment, Peru, said the Peruvian government has established a national programme to combat desertification and soil degradation. Discussant Moises Quispe, Asociacion Nacional de Productores Ecologicos del Peru, presented sustainable farming practices used in Peru, including crop rotation, organic farming, soil conservation and restoration.

Carlos Clérici, Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries, Uruguay, and Eugenio González Aguiló, Center for Information on Natural Resources, Chile, presented on government initiatives to combat soil erosion in their respective countries. Clérici and Aguiló described how national research and development programmes demonstrate good soil management practices and are backed by incentives and legal enforcement for upscaling and sustainability.

Alexander Mueller, FAO, noted findings from Somalia where an average of 100 tons per hectare of topsoil is lost annually, while formation of 2-2.5 cm of topsoil takes 1000 years.

On the Global Soil Partnership, Diana Wall, Colorado State University, US, highlighted the work of the Global Soil Biodiversity Partnership, which aims to codify and disseminate available scientific knowledge on soil biodiversity to foster sustainable management of soil biodiversity and ecosystem services. Mueller presented the Global Soil Partnership, which includes several regional soil partnerships developed in response to the urgent need of a transition to SLM. Discussant Luca Montanarella, Joint Research Centre, European Commission, welcomed the Global Soil Partnership, which, with a focus on food security, serves as a platform and identifies synergies between the Rio Conventions and brings together regional, national and local initiatives.

On policy considerations, Otálora stressed the value of indigenous peoples’ knowledge for land management and underscored the importance of this issue at Rio+20 because “healthy soils sustain lives.” Mueller underscored that action should improve: soil data, knowledge and research; increase awareness and investment in soil management; and establish adequate, compatible and coordinated soil policies.

Responding to participants’ views, the panel embraced the idea of soil as “natural capital” from which environmental services can be generated, and thereby moving away from the view that soil is merely a “resource to be exploited.” On new technologies, Wall called for applying holistic thinking to the introduction of new technologies in agricultural systems.

THE ECONOMICS OF LAND DEGRADATION: This panel was moderated by Sergio Zelaya, UNCCD Secretariat. The panel addressed issues, including: the UNCCD; finance and the business sector; the business sector and land degradation; and agricultural systems.

On UNCCD, Blessing Manale, Department of Environmental Affairs, South Africa, noted the UNCCD provides a framework for harmonizing national policies, underscoring the growing recognition of the need for “business as unusual” approaches that link agricultural finance with community empowerment, employment generation and land productivity. Montanarella highlighted the European Commission’s contribution to economic assessments of soil and land management, through initiatives such as the World Atlas on Desertification and Regional Soil Atlases, which communicate the importance of reversing land degradation.

On the finance and business sector, Kook Hyun Moon, Chair, SLM Business Forum, stated that environmental issues cannot be solved by government and civil society alone, calling for inclusion of the business sector to address land degradation to reverse that trend and develop innovative technology.

Ibrahim Thiaw, UNEP, preferred the term “economics of arid lands” since it does not connote that things are not going well in drylands. Noting that while drylands face constraints, such as droughts, he emphasized that dryland ecology compatible investments can help arid lands transition to a green economy. Montanarella stressed accounting for the full value of soil services and involving upstream and downstream users in finding solutions. Moon suggested using advertising to promote social messages and enhancing ownership and innovation along the entire business value chain.

On agricultural systems, Andre Leu, President, International Foundation for Organic Agriculture Movements, discussed how organic agricultural systems recycle organic matter, which absorbs extra water from rain events. Julien Dominic Publio Dias, Cervejaria Grupo Petropolis, Brazil, stressed balancing the rising demand for food, water and energy, and ensuring environmental sustainability.

Following reports by moderators of the three panel sessions, UNCCD Executive Secretary Gnacadja summarized key messages to Rio+20. He noted the day’s discussions had highlighted that while zero net land degradation is an ambitious target, it is timely and achievable. He emphasized that this target would empower the UNCCD to monitor “our land and soil in drylands” and to encourage all stakeholders to move away from business as usual towards “business as unusual.”


On 18 June, the RCP convened for Business Day. The event consisted of high-level opening remarks and panels on: business and the Conventions from Rio to Rio+20; towards a green economy; and bringing industry into the green economy through sustainability, and research and technology. The event concluded with panels and presentations on the Natural Capital Declaration (NCD).

OPENING REMARKS: Welcoming the 20th birthday of the Rio “triplets,” UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres remarked that at their birth in 1992, there was less awareness of three fundamental truths: business needs to be part of the solution; the need for action would become urgent; and meeting sustainable development goals was possible.

Pointing to increasing demands for food, energy and water associated with population growth, UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja called for a change in the way land and soil are valued and managed, and underscored the need for proactive and creative business innovation.

Peter Bakker, President, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), stressed that business increasingly sees itself as a driver for sustainable development. He urged Rio+20 negotiators not to weaken language requiring businesses to report on their sustainability contributions.

Olajobi Makinwa, UN Global Compact, underscored that partnerships between all stakeholders, including science, cities, civil society, government, investors and business, are key.

BUSINESS AND THE CONVENTIONS FROM RIO TO RIO+20: This session was moderated by Carlos Busquets, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). Bjorn Stigson, former president, WBCSD, stressed that creating a sustainable world requires a combination of market solutions and regulation, he highlighted success stories at three levels: public-private cooperation; sector initiatives to develop clean technologies and services; and regional and international collaboration to develop management and reporting systems.

Jeff Seabright, Coca-Cola, underscored business should be viewed not as an obstruction to sustainable development, but an engine of innovation and agent of change. He underscored opportunities going forward, including inter alia: reducing resource use in supply and value chains; and broader engagement with government and civil society.

Kook Hyun Moon, President, New Paradigm Institute, spoke on the roles of the private sector in sustainable development, including: acknowledging that ever-worsening land degradation is a major threat; creating a business forum to promote collaboration among the Rio Conventions and the private sector; and developing practical targets towards “a land degradation neutral world.”

Thierry Nowaczyk, Airbus, highlighted ongoing aviation industry efforts to improve fuel efficiency and achieve carbon neutral growth. He noted a “perfect flight” operated by Airbus and Air Canada from Toronto to Mexico City that day with the goal of cutting CO2 emissions by more than 40%.

Bambi Semroc, Conservation International, drew on her organization’s collaboration with Starbucks to illustrate the evolution of NGO-private sector collaboration over the last 20 years. She highlighted the establishment of the International Center for Environmental Leadership in Business to develop tools to facilitate up-scaling within sustainable demand and supply networks. Semroc highlighted efforts to move beyond the “low hanging fruit” of certification and supply chains to deepen engagement across broader networks of stakeholders.

During discussion, Stigson welcomed collaboration with CBD stakeholders, noting much must be done within the UNFCCC process to ensure the business community “sits in the same room to discuss the same issues.” Seabright stressed the need to finding better ways to raise consumer awareness about sustainability.

SUSTAINABLE INNOVATION: Bernhard Kiep, New Holland Agriculture, Valentina Lira, Concha y Toro Winery, Chile, and Iris Flacco, Energy Department, Region of Abruzzo, Italy, and Alessandra Santini, Region of Abruzzo, highlighted their organizations steps to reduce the environmental impacts of their activities through the development of new farming equipment, dematerialization and development of sustainable energy plans.

TOWARDS THE GREEN ECONOMY: Thomas Lovejoy, GEF, moderated this panel. The session addressed a number of themes, including regulatory frameworks and valuation techniques. Richard Spencer, Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales, noted that the growing realization that the planets’ resource limits are being approached is an important driver for change and highlighted the role of accountants in making the case for changing current production and consumption patterns.

On regulatory frameworks, Malcolm Preston, Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC), stressed regulatory frameworks on sustainable development need to adopt the three principles of transparency, longevity and consistency, to be business-friendly.

On how to scale up accounting for externalities, Jochen Zeitz, Puma, called for committed leadership in developing reporting frameworks and communicating positive messages to bring regulators and the public on board.

On valuation techniques, Richard Spencer, Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales, noted breaking down boundaries around competition and to develop common valuation techniques as important for public-private partnerships. Pavan Sukhdev, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB), UNEP, stressed that ecosystem services need to become part of the “thinking framework” of stakeholders, which requires common standards and methodologies cutting across sectors.

Zeitz underscored that what is not measured cannot be managed, noting monitoring Puma’s environmental impact and footprint was the first step in becoming a sector leader in sustainability. He identified defining the measurement criteria to provide goal benchmarks as important, allowing information to flow into decision-making at all levels, including: product design; raw material sourcing; and production.

Marcelo Cardoso, Natura, and Spencer stressed that the discussions at Rio+20 offer business a real opportunity to create a common agenda on sustainable practices.

BRINGING INDUSTRY INTO THE GREEN ECONOMY: This session consisted of two breakout groups on sustainability, and research and technology.

Sustainability: The breakout group was moderated by Joppe Cramwinckel, WBCSD. Panelists were: Paul Artaxo, University of Sao Paulo; Jeroen Douglas, Solidaridad Latin America; Alfredo Cabral, Vertica Business Consultancy; Kelly Goodejohn, Starbucks; Fred Zülli, Mibelle Biochemistry Group, Switzerland; Bernado Roehrs, Agroamerica, Guatemala; and Rodrigo Somogyi, Ecofratas, Brazil.

Following an overview of their companies’ contribution to sustainability, panelists highlighted a number of challenges in achieving scale. Noting that the business case for sustainability is clear, several speakers pointed out the difficulty of mainstreaming good practices beyond the leading brands, which is partly due to the difficulty of “selling” positive stories and convincing shareholders and management to “take leap of faiths” to invest in sustainability. Other issues raised covered: the need to disseminate practical strategies for taking this agenda further; how to get consumers to care about sustainability; and greater efficiency by governments in regulating sustainability issues. One speaker called for shifting the focus of labeling initiatives to “naming and shaming” unsustainable products and companies.

Research and Technology: Gerard Bos, IUCN, introduced the breakout group. Guillermo Calleja Pardo, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Spain, called for linking business with higher education institutions to create “knowledge ecosystems.” Jürgen Leibbrandt, CODELCO, discussed sustainable development in the copper industry. Alexis Valqui, National Metrology Institute (PTB), Germany, highlighted that PTB provides access and methodological support for developing country companies to receive green label certification. Arthur Lavieri, Suzlon, noted the rapid increases in wind power efficiency in helping emerging economies moving towards a green economy.

Jasmin Eymery, General Electric Brazil, underscored GE’s role in improving energy efficiency. Alexandre Parker, Volvo, presented the company’s efforts to develop hybrid buses for bus rapid transport systems. Niall Dunne, BT Brazil, stressed that overcoming systemic failures of the current economic growth model requires: empowering individuals; collective action; and changing production and consumption patterns.

Outcomes: Reporting back Cramwinckel spoke on common themes, noting open debate about the hurdles to sustainability and that positive outcomes are possible. He highlighted that by working together the business community can contribute to sustainable development.

Bos reported on recommendations for negotiators, saying participants agreed on the need to move hand-in-hand with the international community and civil society, and noted calls for a carbon market that works and for not forgetting the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit.

NATURAL CAPITAL DECLARATION - ROADMAP TO ACCOUNT FOR NATURE: Mario Monzoni, Centre for Sustainability Studies at FGV, opened the panel stressing that unless natural capital is considered in risk management and environmental services and externalities brought into financial decision-making, financial capital will continue to be allocated based on risks and returns. The panel launched the Natural Capital Declaration (NCD), and discussed accounting for nature in four steps and natural capital in the big picture.

On the NCD, Richard Burrett, Earth Capital Partners and UNEP FI Co-Chair, observed that the NCD was born out of the need to explore the relationship between natural and financial capital, drawing attention to why biodiversity and the materiality of natural capital is important for business.

Kookie Habtegaber, NCD Coordinator, said the NCD is a finance-led initiative to account for and embed natural capital within investment, banking and loan decisions. She said the 39 signatories to date have committed to the declaration at the CEO level to get maximum commitment.

Presenting the NCD road map, Andrew Mitchell, Global Canopy Programme, said the main steps in the natural capital accounting approach entailed: embedding natural capital considerations into financial products and services; reporting and disclosure of an organization’s natural capital; and accounting for natural capital in the organization’s accounts and decision-making. He said six regional meetings would be organized over the next 18 months to solicit feedback and commitment of stakeholders to the NCD.

On accounting for nature in four steps, Alan McGill, PwC, Martin Turner, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, Paul Simpson, Carbon Disclosure Project, and Paul Druckman, International Integrated Reporting Council, called for business to educate better, value better, incentivize change and evolve to use more robust business models. They noted the importance of financial capital for business, but said that ignoring natural, social and human capital risks losing their primary audience, investors. However, they underscored that the NCD helps inform investors about natural capital.

On natural capital in the big picture, Rosemary Bissett, National Australia Bank, a signatory to the NCD, noted that as an agri-bank, her organization understands the link between financial risk and natural capital. Andrew Hobday, Mars Incorporated, suggested that not all natural capital needs to be measured, proposing a focus on carbon, water and land. Noting that governments also need to account for natural capital in GDP, Mary Barton-Dock, World Bank, announced a 50-50 initiative aimed at signing on 100 banks and governments to natural capital accounting at Rio+20.

In closing, Jennifer Morris, Vice President, Ecosystem Finance Division, Conservation International, underscored that the financial sector can help companies move from a corporate social responsibility approach to internalizing natural capital accounting in their DNA.


On 19 June, the RCP convened for Financing Sustainable Development Day. The event consisted of two sessions on natural capital solutions - protected areas meeting global environmental challenges, and investing in natural capital in Africa, Asia and Latin America - partnerships, policies and investments. The day concluded with a pre-launch reception for Mozambique’s Green Economy Roadmap.

NATURAL CAPITAL SOLUTIONS - PROTECTED AREAS MEETING GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGES: Introducing the session, Nik Lopoukhine, Chair, IUCN/World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), said the aim of the discussions was to demonstrate that if well located and managed, Protected Areas (PAs) offer long term opportunities to address the challenges of sustainability and contribute to the green economy. Following introductory remarks, panels discussed PAs - natural solutions to global challenges and the role of PAs law in achieving natural solutions.

Welcoming participants, Kathy MacKinnon, Vice-Chair, IUCN/WCPA, provided an overview of progress towards achieving Aichi Biodiversity Target 11 on expanding PAs. She noted that while progress has been made, much more needs to be done to make a compelling case for the contribution of PAs and other natural ecosystems to adaptation and sustainable development. On how to scale up action, she emphasized a three-pronged strategy aimed at protecting, connecting and restoring PAs, and mainstreaming them into infrastructure projects, adaptation strategies and development planning.

On financing, she stressed that the annual cost of expanding PAs of US$ 23 billion dollars could be generated through: improved natural capital accounting; leveraging GEF funding; and supporting the PA approach in the climate funds and REDD+ mechanisms.

Protected Areas - Natural Solutions to Global Challenges: This panel session presented case studies and addressed implementation and the IUCN World Parks Congress (WPC).

Presenting case studies, Trajano Quinhões, Head, Protected Areas Program for Amazonia, Brazil, spoke of challenges and benefits of the Amazon PA programme, which includes the largest river in the world and diverse landscapes important for carbon storage, and ecosystem and biodiversity protection. Quinhões emphasized the importance of investment for creating and managing conservation units.

Yildiray Lise, UNDP, presented a case study of the Küre Mountains National Park, a UNDP/GEF supported project to enhance forest PA management. He noted that the project was one of the first in the world to apply the PA Benefit Assessment Tool, which facilitated valuation of ecosystem services and expansion of the multifunctional planning and monitoring approach to the buffer zone around the forest. Lise said the approach would be replicated in other ecosystem hotspots in the country.

Paul Grimes, Secretary, Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Populations and Communities, Australia, announced the recent creation of a major network of MPAs in Australia, covering more than a third of Commonwealth waters to form the largest network of marine reserves in the world.

On implementation, CBD Executive Secretary Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias emphasized “implementation, implementation and implementation” as his main priority. He called for parties at CBD COP 11 to agree on targets for resources and additional mobilization of funds, critical for capacity building and implementation. He stressed the need to: expand new and improve existing PAs; promote MPAs, noting ongoing negotiations on protection of BBNJ; recognize and support PAs on indigenous lands and under private ownership; and integrate the PAs agenda with that of food security and sustainable agriculture.

On the IUCN WPC, Grimes and Poul Engberg-Pedersen, Deputy Director General, IUCN, announced the upcoming IUCN WPC in Sidney, Australia, with Engberg-Pedersen noting the WPC will focus on: how to invest in management of community and area based PAs; interaction of PAs with global development challenges, including climate change mitigation; food security; and disaster management.

Role of Protected Areas Law in Achieving Natural Solutions: This session was chaired by Nik Lopoukhine, Chair, IUCN/WCPA, and discussed case studies, conservation commitments and indigenous peoples.

Presenting case studies, Olivier Chassot, WCPA, described the San Juan-La Selva Biological Corridor connecting PAs in Chile and other countries in the region as the most advanced connectivity initiative in Latin America, noting it offers practical tools for linking biodiversity conservation, climate change responses and SLM. He characterized the main success factors as: the establishment of strong links between civil society, academic communities and local authorities; a transparent and inclusive partnership approach; clear guidelines for local governments on how to establish and implement regulatory frameworks; and financial incentives for landowners to protect their forests.

Puri Canals, President, MedPAN, presented work on the Mediterranean PAs involving 21 countries and 200 marine protected and coastal areas aiming to: increase management efficiency; monitor and collect data on climate change impacts on Mediterranean biodiversity; and develop strategies to adapt to, mitigate and counter negative climate change effects to maximize ecosystem services.

Nik Sekhran, UNDP, reported findings from Namibia where climate change impacts, including increasing water scarcity and drought, are expected to make existing environmental variability more acute.

Julia Miranda Londoño, Director, Parques Nacionales Naturales, Colombia, highlighted a range of ecosystem services benefits provided by Colombian PAs, including provision of fresh water supplies, hydropower generation, carbon storage, ecotourism and preserving the cultural heritage. Londoño described several ongoing research projects to monitor the contribution of PAs to climate change resilience.

On conservation commitments, Russell Mittermeier, President, Conservation International, provided an overview of conservation commitments around the world, stressing that the Aichi Biodiversity Targets do not go far enough, and said there is need to send a stronger message that ecosystem protection is a fundamental component in the transition to a green economy. He welcomed the creation of the Global Partnership for Oceans, noting it will help to maintain momentum for the expansion and management of MPAs.

During discussions regarding the contribution of the private sector, panelists highlighted a number of best practices, ranging from incentive schemes for biodiversity protection on private land to provision of basic services for neighboring communities.

On indigenous peoples,Taghi Farvar, Center for Sustainable Development, emphasized empowering indigenous peoples and local communities currently threatened by expropriation, forced eviction and destructive practices of “development,” and helping them recognize their capacity and rights to conserve and govern their territories in line with their culture. He noted indigenous peoples have conserved nature, secured livelihoods and protected the world’s “jewels of biodiversity” for thousands of years.

In the ensuing discussion, participants highlighted the need to enhance the legal rights of Indigenous Peoples and Community Conserved Areas and Territories and called for this issue to be a core theme at the 2014 World Parks Congress in Sydney.

INVESTING IN NATURAL CAPITAL IN AFRICA, ASIA AND LATIN AMERICA - PARTNERSHIPS, POLICIES AND INVESTMENTS: Following opening statements, this session convened panels addressing natural capital partnerships, and promoting investments to sustain natural capital and support transitions to green economies.

Jim Leape, Director General, WWF, opened the session saying natural capital is about charting a course to sustainable development. He noted the increasing strain humans are putting on ecological systems, while highlighting options to address these issues by bringing natural capital into the development equation.

Bindu Lohani, Vice President, Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development, Asian Development Bank (ADB), emphasized that Asia needs to move to a new inclusive, green and knowledge-based growth model. He stressed that the region’s unique population conditions require regionally-specific developments in these sectors.

Natural Capital Partnerships: This panel was chaired by Juan Pablo Bonilla, Chief Advisor to the Executive Vice President, Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), \addressed the transition to a green economy and presented case studies.

On the transition to a green economy, Alcinda Antonio de Abreu, Minister for the Coordination of Environment Affairs, Mozambique, underscored the importance of natural capital for sustainable development and the transition to a green economy. Terezya Huvisa, Minister of State, Vice President’s Office of the Environment, Tanzania, highlighted the importance of national natural capital assessments, including on carbon storage, water supply, and biodiversity sources to enable investments in natural capital and green partnership initiatives to achieve food and water security.

Presenting case studies, Antonio de Abreu highlighted a recent sub-regional conference with Kenya and Tanzania that aimed to develop a common road map to a green economy and to collaborate on the integration of the Strategic Environmental Assessment into future green economy planning processes.

Kuntoro Mangusubroto, Minister, Presidential Working Unit on Monitoring and Controlling Development, Indonesia, discussed the involvement of regional governments and communities in taking a practical approach to promote sustainable development and protect Indonesia’s vast biological and indigenous diversity. He stressed the importance of sharing experiences and lessons from various forest projects to understand how a green economy can work to achieve sustainable development.

Daniel Chacon, Coordinator of Advisors to the Director General, CONAGUA, Mexico, presented a new joint initiative with the IADB and WWF to create water reserves for the environment as a climate change adaptation measure. Noting this approach recognizes the environment as a legitimate water user, he said the project has conducted feasibility studies in 728 basins and identified 19 priority basins for further action. He said the project would further explore the possibility of initiating transboundary environmental water reserves in collaboration with the US.

Promoting Investments to Sustain Natural Capital and Support Transitions to Green Economies: The panel discussion was facilitated by Jim Leape, WWF International, and addressed national efforts, the role of international financial institutions (IFIs), and national capital accounting.

On national and regional efforts, Shen Guofang, China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development, described China’s efforts to reverse deforestation, noting the country had invested more than RMB 300 billion in the past six years alone. He said that forest cover was set to double to 24% by 2030.

Javed Mir, ADB, noted that connectivity is an important element for a green economy. He discussed strategic choices made in the Greater Mekong sub-region, including: taking a sustainable development approach; employing a top-down governance framework for guidance and a bottom-up approach to empower communities; and implementing a business model focused on improving competitiveness, connectivity and communities.

On how to convince political leaders to invest in natural capital, Aiuba Cuereneia, Minister for Planning and Development, Mozambique, stressed that this is not a new concept, but noted the need for more work to mainstream natural capital accounting in planning processes. Observing that “seeing is believing,” Mir noted the value of good pilot programmes in bringing political leaders on board.

On IFIs, Cuereneia stressed that African Development Bank (AfDB) support not only provides money, but also capacity building, which is critical for ensuring sustainability. Nicole Glineur, GEF, underscored instrumental partnerships between governments and international financial institutions, and the private sector and civil society organizations without which “there is no future.”

Juan Pablo Bonilla, IADB, underscored working with planning and finance ministers to raise awareness on the importance of biodiversity in national capital accounting. He stressed that national funding is essential in “working from local to global” to demonstrate what works and leverage international support.

On the private sector, Leape and Bonilla emphasized that assurances are best sought at the national level. Leape advised businesses to proceed on the basis of the “self-evident business proposition that the future belongs to those companies that move forward on the sustainability agenda.”

In closing remarks, Simon Mizrahi, AfDB, highlighted some lessons from practice. He noted that development practitioners, “do not measure success by the money spent but by the lasting changes brought to people’s lives.” He emphasized that the development sector’s understanding of what this means is changing rapidly to integrate the ecological infrastructure and the values it provides.


On 20 June, the RCP convened for Gender Mainstreaming Day and a high-level event on the Economics of Sustainable Development. The event consisted of sessions on: mainstreaming gender in the three Rio Conventions - progress to date and way forward; linking research, policy and practice for gender-responsive action in forestry; political leadership and gender, and stakeholders panel; and a celebration of women’s leadership in sustainable development.

MAINSTREAMING GENDER IN THE THREE RIO CONVENTIONS - PROGRESS TO DATE AND WAY FORWARD: Executive Director of UN Women Michelle Bachelet opened Gender Mainstreaming Day, noting that the UNCCD and the CBD recognized the importance of gender issues and participation at all levels from the onset, while the UNFCCC has moved from “gender blindness” to increased awareness and inclusion of gender-sensitive policies. The panel addressed gender mainstreaming under the Rio Conventions.

UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja said efforts to achieve zero net land degradation must recognize women’s contribution to land stewardship and knowledge dissemination. He outlined ongoing initiatives to strengthen gender mainstreaming in national implementation programmes, including extending resources from the UNDP small grants programme to scale up women’s involvement and a special prize for women as agents of change in land restoration.

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres noted some progress made under the UNFCCC, and emphasized that beyond addressing the vulnerability of women the UNFCCC Secretariat seeks to increase awareness of women as “agents of change” in their role as the link between food, water and energy issues on the ground.

Jaime Webb, CBD Secretariat, noted Target 14 of the CBD Strategic Plan for 2020 takes account of the needs of women, indigenous communities, and the poor and vulnerable in conservation programmes. She called for improved collaboration between the three Conventions to enhance awareness at the national level and for including the experiences of women in developed countries to demonstrate that the need for gender mainstreaming is a universal issue.

Lorena Aguilar, IUCN, noted successes and challenges in bringing a human face to the environmental sector where gender mainstreaming and implementation remains fragmented despite increased inclusions in Conventions’ texts and plans of action.

Ann Marie Sloth Carlsen, UNDP, noted the catalytic role of gender equality in advancing all the other MDGs. Underscoring that “size matters,” she outlined UNDP’s contribution to gender mainstreaming, including inter alia, capacity-building alliances to integrate gender considerations in global climate policy.

Margaret Groff, CFO, Itaipu Binacional, spoke about the company’s gender equality actions to stimulate leadership and entrepreneurship.

POLITICAL LEADERSHIP AND GENDER, AND STAKEHOLDERS PANEL: Robert Nasi, CIFOR, introduced the panel. The panel discussed gender mainstreaming projects followed by discussions of gender and forests.

Anne Larson, CIFOR, discussed a project on Gender, Tenure and Community Forests in Uganda and Nicaragua, saying the project seeks to increase understanding of obstacles to participation in decision-making at all levels and promote advisory committees for multi-stakeholder dialogues.

Anne Marie Tiani, CIFOR, elaborated on the application of the adaptive collaborative management (ACM) methodology in western Cameroon, explaining that the participatory action research approach helped to amplify the “voice” of vulnerable women and address their livelihood needs through sustainable forest management. She noted that while ACM addresses power asymmetries it requires intensive facilitation and long-term engagement that is not easily aligned to short-term donor projects.

Moira Moeliono, CIFOR, presented on gender equity in Vietnam, in the context of REDD+, finding no evidence of effective collaboration between local authorities and women, pointing to the need for: capacity building; empowerment of formal and informal women representatives: and adapting benefit-sharing mechanisms to local culture.

During discussions, participants highlighted the close links between gender inequality and culture, noting that transforming gender relations is a slow and incremental process. Cautioning that a focus on the moral or equity aspects of gender can be counterproductive, several speakers stressed the need to communicate the benefits to the whole community of enhancing women’s skills and economic empowerment. Moeliono highlighted experience in Indonesia where women have taken advantage of equity legislation to certify their rights to land and prevent appropriation from male relatives to illustrate the importance of creating an enabling environment at the national level.

On the role of researchers, Tiani stressed that while they can help raise awareness, “it is not our place to tell women they have a problem.” She noted the role of the ACM methodology is to help women analyze their situation and support them in implementing the solutions. Noting that foresters can introduce their own gender constructs, one speaker stressed the need to raise awareness among development facilitators about the risk of inadvertently introducing new gender norms.

CELEBRATION OF WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP IN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Convened in remembrance of Marie Aminata Khan of the CBD Secretariat, moderator Lorena Aguilar, IUCN, said the President Award would be presented in honor of those leading the way towards gender equity and women’s empowerment. This session presented awards for leadership on gender issues and included a keynote speech by President Tarja Halonen, Finland.

President Tarja Halonen, Finland, highlighted the importance of women empowerment and full participation, adding that she finds it astonishing that it took humanity so long to realize it needs both men and women - just like a bird needs two wings to fly. She stressed that the transition towards a green economy is necessary to achieve sustainable development as “economic growth is needed for poverty eradication, but it has to contain the social dimension and respect the boundaries of our planet.”

Aguilar then saluted President Halonen for her visionary and pioneering leadership and presented her with the President Award. Awards were also presented to: Deputy Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Rejoice Mabudafhasi, South Africa, and Satu Hassi, Member of the European Parliament for Vision; Benjamin Karmorh, UNFCCC National Focal Point, Liberia, and the Arab League of States for Leadership; Maria José Ortiz, WEDO, for Advocacy; and Feri Lumapao, Aprotech Asia, for Sustainable Solutions.

CBD Executive Secretary Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias then remembered the legacy of Marie Aminata Khan of the CBD Secretariat, highlighting her dedication to mainstreaming gender into the CBD. He said her passion inspired all at the CBD to mainstream gender into their daily work.

THE ECONOMICS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Introducing the session, Caroline Spelman, Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, United Kingdom, welcomed the early agreement reached on the Rio+20 outcome, calling for focusing on the practicalities of arriving at the future we want. The session presented the key messages of several studies and visions for achieving the “future we want.”

Presenting study outcomes,Pavan Sukhdev, TEEB study leader, noted that the core message of the TEEB study is the strong link between the economic invisibility of nature and the sustainable development challenges we face today. Underscoring that “there cannot be a paradigm of development that begins by destroying the livelihoods of the poor,” he stressed that measures to promote sustainable agricultural practices and restore ecosystems are critical for poverty reduction and building resilience of the poor.

Synthesizing the key messages from the paper “Environmental and Development Challenges: the Imperative to Act,” Robert Watson, former IPCC Chair and Blue Planet Laureate, stressed an integrated approach to climate change mitigation and adaptation. Noting that any sustainable solution includes putting a price on carbon and accelerating research and development of sustainable technologies, he underlined the need for political will at all levels to bring this about.

On visions for the “future we want,” Jeffrey Sachs, Director, Earth Institute and Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General, emphasized that the challenges we face are unprecedented and complex, noting that organic farming methods cannot meet global food needs, nor can today’s renewable energy technologies address the energy deficit. Stressing that UNCSD produced three farsighted treaties “but didn’t turn the needle on any of the three issues,” he expressed hope that Rio+20 would generate a set of simple messages to mobilize the world’s citizens to demand change.

In a vibrant discussion, participants raised numerous issues on how to transition to a more sustainable development path at time of global economic recession and political paralysis. Emphasizing that while not likely to meet all their targets, the MDGs have still been critical in mobilizing action, Sachs underscored that if well communicated, non-binding SDGs are likely to be more effective than a legal document in rallying action. However, Watson noted that a mix of legally binding agreements and voluntary action will be needed, with Spelman adding that policy can make it easier for citizens “to do the right thing.”

While acknowledging that sustainable technologies are expensive, Sukhdev noted where there is an absence of cheaper alternatives, microfinance can be effective in scaling up adoption of new technologies, citing solar energy uptake in Bangladesh. Sachs underscored the need for additional financial resources for developing countries, while Watson called for funds spent on perverse subsidies to be redirected to inclusive and sustainable development. Spelman noted the need to make a compelling case to finance ministers on the costs of inaction.

Concluding, Spelman underlined the need for new and courageous leaders that understand what is at stake for present and future generations and expressed the hope that Rio+20 will embody this spirit and send out a call for action.


On 21 June, the RCP convened to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Rio Conventions. The event consisted of the launch of the pilot partnership on national implementation of synergies among the Rio Conventions, two panels on why the three Rio Conventions are critical to achieving poverty eradication and how the UN system can better integrate environment within the development framework, and a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Rio Conventions.

LAUNCH OF THE PILOT PARTNERSHIP ON NATIONAL IMPLEMENTATION OF SYNERGIES AMONG THE RIO CONVENTIONS: Jaime Webbe, CBD Secretariat, introduced the panel, which launched the Pilot Partnership on National Implementation of Synergies Among the Conventions, discussing the partnership pilot projects.

Launching the pilot partnership, Gustavo Fonseca, GEF, thanked the CBD for taking leadership and pushing the GEF in the direction of a synergetic approach among the Rio Conventions. He highlighted several examples illustrating what is happening on the ground to achieve the objectives of the three Rio Conventions, fostering improved natural resource management and global environmental benefits through joint designs of GEF funded projects, including in Jamaica and Guatemala.

Responding to participants’ questions on leveraging GEF funding, Fonseca noted a synergetic approach helps to leverage support from other donors. He informed participants that GEF has developed a separate funding window to encourage countries to “go the extra mile” in developing and implementing more complex and integrated programmes.

Presenting pilot projects, Luiz Gonzalez, Coordinator, Drought and Desertification, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Guatemala, highlighted experience in implementing an integrated approach to achieve multiple environmental benefits utilizing the GEF5/STAR fund. He stressed that a process-oriented approach focused on deriving maximum benefits for rural communities is the best way to strengthen land and forest management and biodiversity conservation and enhance ecosystem resilience to climate change. Gonzalez noted it is necessary to bring all stakeholders around the table in order to “fit all the pieces together.”

Anthony Lecern, Minister in Charge of Sustainable Development, New Caledonia, France, welcomed an integrated initiative addressing the objectives of all three Rio Conventions, stressing New Caledonia’s exceptional biodiversity in its fauna, flora and marine areas that requires management and protection from threats such as fires, evasive species, urban developments, over exploitation of resources and climate change.

LAUNCH OF MOZAMBIQUE’S GREEN ECONOMY ROADMAP: Jim Leape, Director General, WWF, applauded President Armando Emilio Guebuza’s leadership in developing Mozambique’s Green Economy Roadmap. Donald Kaberuka, President, AfDB, applauded President Guebuza’s outstanding leadership, noting Mozambique has joined the ranks of countries that are redefining the growth process from an African perspective.

Alcinda Antonio de Abreu, Minister for the Coordination of Environmental Affairs, Mozambique, welcomed the collaboration with Kenya and Tanzania on a sub-regional initiative to promote the green economy, and AfDB’s commitment “to move with us to realize our dream for a greener, ever more beautiful and prosperous Mozambique.”

President Armando Emilio Guebuza, Mozambique, emphasized the world stands at a crossroad and needs creative thinking to address the needs of the planet. Unveiling Mozambique’s Green Economy Roadmap, he emphasized “working together to save the earth and its biodiversity, is an ethical duty and a moral obligation.”

WHY THE THREE RIO CONVENTIONS ARE CRITICAL TO ACHIEVING POVERTY ERADICATION: Introducing the session, Moderator David Nabarro, Office of the UN Secretary General, said the panel would explore synergies between issues that are key to the wellbeing of the people and resources of our planet. The panel highlighted progress to date and ways to move forward.

On progress to date, conveying a message from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, CBD Executive Secretary Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias highlighted findings from the UNEP GEO-5 study showing that only 4 out of 90 critical targets agreed at the UNCED in 1992 have shown significant progress.

On ways to move forward,noting the sustainable development agenda is gaining traction among governments, private sector and civil society, CBD Executive Secretary Dias called for increased ambition and synergetic implementation to fully realize the potential of the three Rio Conventions.

Acknowledging the Rio Conventions have received failing grades on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reducing biodiversity loss and reversing desertification, Dennis Garrity, UNCCD Drylands Ambassador, said implementation must be thought about differently. He stressed: mobilizing and inspiring people with success stories; capturing the energies of local movements; and engaging people in institutional processes by defining simple SDGs.

Responding to questions, Garrity noted that some of the Conventions’ objectives are undermined by economic and political interests, and underlined linking environmental objectives to economic benefits.

CBD Executive Secretary Dias noted the Rio Conventions Pavilion’s role in promoting this shift to an integrated mainstreaming approach to implementation by avoiding confine sustainable development issues to the environmental sector.

Ralph Payet, Minister of Environment and Energy, the Seychelles, stressed the three conventions “can move from fail to pass,” calling for: emulating the success of multilateral mechanisms such as the Montreal Protocol; moving away from a dependence on fossil fuels; and “converting all this complexity into simple targets.”

Margaret Chan, Director General, WHO, noted that Rio Principle 1 “living a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature” is still inspiring and relevant today, highlighting various environmental impacts of climate change, loss of biodiversity and desertification on human health. She underlined close work between WHO and CBD to ensure that indigenous knowledge and biological materials are shared fairly and equitably.

Uriel Safriel, Center for Environmental Conventions of the Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Israel, recalled the spirit of Rio Principle 4 he called for a new economic paradigm focused on the concept of “protecting the planet to feed the world.”

HOW THE UN SYSTEM CAN BETTER INTEGRATE ENVIRONMENT WITHIN THE DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK: This panel provided an opportunity for stakeholders and representatives of the UN system to reflect on the 20th anniversary of the Rio Conventions.

For the private sector, Claude Fromageot, Yves Rocher Foundation, underscored the UN’s role in providing clear “rules of the game,” and creating a platform for exchange on authoritative multidisciplinary scientific and policy research.

For research institutes, Oded Grajew, Ethos Institute, Brazil, challenged the UN System to “practice what they preach,” by adopting the Global Compact principles. He called for a restructuring of the UN system to facilitate integrated approaches to the three pillars of sustainable development.

For civil society, Patrick Caron, CIRAD, called for new metrics, information systems and governance frameworks to respond to the need for collaborative and multidisciplinary approaches, and addressing knowledge asymmetries between developed and developing countries. Yoshiko Nakano, OISCA International, highlighted her organization’s work with children and youth and civil society organizations in Asia, “to lay a solid foundation for a sustainable society.”

For scientific advisory boards, Robert Watson, IPBES, called for all UN agencies to work together, with the help of scientific advisory boards, to overcome market and governance failures as they cover all issues of sustainable development, including by measuring “the true wealth of nations” including natural, economic, social and human capital to be captured by electronic knowledge systems.

For indigenous peoples, Taghi Farvar, Union of Indigenous Nomadic Tribes of Iran, highlighted that indigenous peoples have excelled in the preservation, sustainable use and restoration of biodiversity through their customary laws. He and Anne Nuorgam, Saami Council, called for respecting indigenous peoples’ rights to free, prior and informed consent to development projects in their territories and ensuring their meaningful engagement and participation in decision-making.

For the UN system, outlining the main achievements of the Rio+20 outcome document, Nikhil Chandavarkar, UN DESA, praised Brazil’s leadership, welcoming the agreement reached on: a new institutional framework for sustainable development; the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production; a stronger mandate for UNEP; and the coordination body for the Rio Conventions. He noted that the “crown jewels” are the SDGs, which have clarified the post-2015 development agenda by moving from MDGs to a focus on global challenges.

Chikako Takase, UN Center for Regional Development, welcomed the SDGs as an achievement of Rio+20 to build upon, “putting us to work translating research into policies.”

Herado Muñoz, UNDP, called for: better indicators to measure progress; promoting equitable, efficient and integrated policies and people’s rights, choices and dignity; achieving the MDGs and SDGs; integrating science, poverty and environment.

Noting that while the Rio+20 outcome falls short of expectations, no one today can ignore issues of sustainability, Carlos Lopes, UN Institute for Training and Research, challenged the Rio Conventions to offer new models for opening up access to multilateral negotiation processes as a first step towards transforming the development paradigm.

CELEBRATION OF THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE RIO CONVENTIONS: Moderator Gustavo Fonseca, GEF, noted that the Rio Conventions, “the three sisters, the triplets, were born in 1992 and have now reached adulthood” and introduced the panel.

Hiroyuki Nagahama, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary, Japan, emphasized that coordination of the Rio Conventions is crucial for sustainable development. He expressed hope that the adoption of the message “living in harmony with nature” and the commitments by the international community to join efforts to achieve the global targets for biodiversity conservation will be a landmark outcome of Rio+20 for future governments.

Yoo Young Sook, Minister of Environment, Korea, noted her country’s appreciation of the value of the Rio Conventions, highlighting Korea’s hosting of UNCCD and CBD COPs. She called for building the future we want by making the conventions “three stars giving light to the world.”

Don Koo Lee, Minister, Korea Forest Service, presented a joint statement signed by the Executive Secretaries of the Rio Conventions to Francisco Gaetani, Deputy Minister of the Environment, Brazil.

UNCCD Executive Secretary, Luc Gnacadja, shared his dream that the world will realize the goal of a land degradation neutral world in the next 20 years. CBD Executive Secretary Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias emphasized that despite the challenging state of biodiversity and that not all targets and goals have been met, progress should be celebrated, highlighting the role of the CBD in addressing conservation, sustainable use and benefit sharing, and emphasizing the importance of cooperation between the Conventions.

Achim Steiner, UNEP, congratulated UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres, UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja and CBD Executive Secretary Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias on the 20th birthday of their respective Conventions, joking “this is usually when you get in trouble in life,” he underscored their commitment to hard work on complex challenges and their “commitment to keeping these Conventions up and running.”

Edward Norton, UN Goodwill Ambassador for Biodiversity, commended the Rio Conventions for their application of sophisticated metrics to demonstrate the deep inter-linkages between natural systems and economic growth. Stressing that the challenge is to explain these complex ideas to ordinary people to ensure their buy in, he underscored the role of compelling case studies to illuminate the “new economics,” mentioning the TEEB Report as a good example of this.

Peter Kent, Minister of Environment, Canada, outlined his country’s continuing support to the Rio Conventions. Noting the world has changed significantly since 1992, he urged all stakeholders to overcome divisions and focus instead on actions that will make the biggest difference.

Fahad Al Attiya, Incoming UNFCCC COP 18 President, Qatar, noted his country is sending the message that the South is becoming more engaged in issues of sustainable development and is no longer a passive participant in the process, underlining Qatar’s commitment to employ only renewable energy for water desalination by 2024.

Izabella Teixeira, Minister of Environment, Brazil, emphasized the challenges to be considered in the coming years, noting 2015 as an important benchmark for the outcomes of the Rio+20, marking the end of the process to develop SDGs and the scientifically necessary peak of GHG emissions. Applauded by the audience, she called for a new treaty on oceans and improved outcomes on means of implementation, including new and additional funds.


On 22 June, the RCP convened for City Day. The event included three panel events on: local leadership driving global change; cities spurring change - tools and techniques for integrated urban planning; and a sustainable future for our children - the FRUSATO movement. A closing session addressed lessons learned and next steps following Rio+20.

LOCAL LEADERSHIP DRIVING GLOBAL CHANGE: Gino van Begin, Deputy Secretary General, ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, introduced the panel and highlighted the important role city and regional governments play in the implementation of sustainable development, noting they host 50% of the world’s increasing population and face infrastructure challenges and opportunities to: accommodate citizens with access to water, sanitation and waste management; ensure food security and mobility; and moving to regenerative resource and low carbon energy use models. Panelists addressed Rio+20 outcomes, visions for sustainable cities and action at the city level.

On Rio+20 outcomes, Mercedes Bresso, President, Committee of the Regions, welcomed cities’ recognition in the Rio+20 outcome but noted they should be treated distinctly from civil society, emphasizing their public governance role in implementing legislation. Silvio Barros, Mayor, City of Maringa, Brazil, highlighted that Rio+20 was, for most people in Rio, simply a disruption to their daily routine, calling for engagement and empowerment of regular average citizens to participate in sustainable management of their cities. Hélène Mandroux, Mayor, City of Montpellier, France, noted that the Rio+20 outcome has not fully satisfied all participants.

On visions for sustainable cities, Richard Register, Founder, EcoCity Builders, highlighted the efficiency of compact development calling for three-dimensional eco-cities that move toward the centers, noting this can be achieved through eco-city fractals achieving this on a building-by-building or neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis. He identified the need to set standards based on the ecological imperative.

Bresso stressed that by sharing best practices, cities and regional governments can be mainstreamed and “become stronger protagonists of the Rio Conventions.”

Carlito Merrs, Mayor, City of Joinville, Brazil, noted sustainability is about consolidating the needs of people and nature and stressed that “to defend nature is to defend life.” He proposed: making social equity the main instrument for sustainability; establishing global funds for investments in cities, particularly in the energy sector; and incentivizing local managers for good practices and promoting direct participation of local stakeholders.

Barros said one challenge cities face is to involve people in sustainable development since it is the responsibility of human beings in general rather than government specifically. He also called for bringing nature and biodiversity back into cities.

On local actions, Mandroux reported on initiatives in the city of Montpellier created in response to various challenges, including: development of eleven eco-districts for improved sustainable land use planning and management; a full scanning of city buildings to assess energy consumption reduction opportunities; involve all stakeholders to improve urban biodiversity used as tool to deal with water flood and drought issues; and engaging at the global level as advisory board member with the CBD.

CITIES SPURRING CHANGE - TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES FOR INTEGRATING URBAN PLANNING: Michael Schmitz, ICLEI USA, introduced the panel and noted challenges and opportunities to deliver on sustainable city development facing competing urban development goals.

Pavan Sukhdev, TEEB Study Leader, noted this is an urban age with cities generating economic growth as they are magnets of human capital. He provided examples of sustainable city development from Manaus, diversifying its economy from predominantly exploitive sectors, to Singapore, creating a city biodiversity index. Referring to findings in the UNEP “Green Economy Report,” he highlighted the need to view cities as organisms and to reduce their high energy and carbon footprints.

Javier Corcuera, Environmental Protection Agency, City of Buenos Aires, Argentina, emphasized that most megacities face similar problems of inequity in terms of access of citizens to core areas, attractions, high standard of goods and culture, and energy, waste, and mobility challenges. Given the urgency presented by increased pollution, energy demand and the degradation of green spaces in cities, he stressed the need to garner good practices and experiences from others rather than reinventing the wheel.

Sithole Mbanga, CEO, South African Cities Network, underscored the importance of partnerships in order for sustainable development to take place. He called for the international negotiation processes to create frameworks and tools to allow local governments to function while providing the flexibility to allow for local particularities and challenges. He emphasized that no amount of national or international commitment will achieve sustainable development without empowering local governments to transform society.

Arthur Lavieri, provided examples of win-win solutions to some of the challenges faced by cities including population inflows and energy consumption. He explained that the migration of poor people into cities can be prevented by investing in green energy projects such as solar and wind in poor rural areas where agriculture fails to support local communities. He highlighted that micro-generation of energy in city households allows for: bringing in the population as part of the solution giving them something to engage; and providing enough clean energy to recharge electric busses, cars and trains during low energy consumption times throughout the night.

Aleenar Adalberto reported on the social, economic and environmental challenges faced in Fortaleza in North East Brazil, including its high poverty rate, and stressed the need to engage citizens, private enterprises, NGOs, and universities to increase and protect urban ecological services technological based solutions and through a democratic management.

Arlindo Phillipi Júnior, University of Sao Paolo, Brazil, highlighted the role of high education and universities in producing qualified human capital for local governments. He noted the role of post-graduate research in studying issues such as urban violence and social inclusion, and integration of environmental considerations into urban management, to develop innovative policy solutions to achieve better results.

Richard Frigola, Agua de Barcelona, Brazil, described a new philosophy for water and sanitation provision that adapts systems to identify location specific solutions. He classified areas of added value as a network of knowledge to identify best solutions and respect for the reality of the local authority.

Mark Batty, OCEANA, stated that the costs of water and energy provision in growing cities leads naturally to the recognition of the need for cities to no longer to be ecological service takers but ecological services providers. He highlighted opportunities for reusing resources and resource recovery in water, waste and energy sectors through redesigning local energy, waste and water management.

In discussions, Sukhdev noted most successful actions are community based, stressing that public support for green creative initiatives is needed against vested interest that drives corruption. Regarding private sector engagement, he said “stakeholder capitalism” is needed in which corporations produce positive externalities such as building social and human capital.

A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE FOR OUR CHILDREN - THE FURUSATO MOVEMENT: Ryokishi Hirono, Board of Directors, Organization for Industrial, Spiritual and Cultural Advancement (OISCA) International, facilitated and introduced the panel, stressing the need to change unsustainable lifestyles in particular energy overconsumption to unburden future generations.

Yasuaki Nagaishi, Secretary General, OISCA International, presented OISCA International’s activities for sustainable and resilient community building, employing “an holistic approach emphasizing the interconnectedness of ecological integrity, agriculture and human spirit.” He reported on coastal forest restoration projects in tsunami-affected areas of Japan and Indonesia, highlighting the necessity of multi-stakeholder involvement.

Ritu Prashad, Secretary General, OISCA North India, outlined the goals and activities of the Children Forest Programme that has been implemented in 1000 schools across six states in the region. Noting the project is a first step towards establishing community forests worldwide, she said the establishment of model schools and publication of a handbook for teachers will help ensure sustainability of the project.

Noting that since 1992 globalization has exacerbated poverty and inequity around the world, Yoshiko Nakano, President, OISCA Japan, called for restoring harmony between humanity and nature.

Neil Pratt, CBD Secretariat, expressed appreciation of OISCA Foundation’s work with children and youth and introduced the Green Wave for Biodiversity, a project designed to involve young people in the work of the Convention. Celebrated each year on International Biodiversity Day, the project encourages school children and young people to plant trees and post images and stories online to create public awareness.

Thereafter, a short film describing the Green Wave for Biodiversity project and its impact was screened. Rajat Agrawal, Children Forest Programme, India, outlined what he has learnt from participating in the OISCA Green Wave Programme.


With the refrains of “Happy birthday, dear Rio Conventions…” fading after the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Rio Conventions—the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)—it is an appropriate time to reflect on the Rio Conventions Pavilion’s (the Pavilion) programme for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD or Rio+20), and the relationship between the three Conventions and the Rio+20 process and outcomes. This brief analysis will focus in particular on the place of the Rio Conventions in the global sustainable development framework and how the outcomes of Rio+20 and the Pavilion position the Conventions for the continued implementation of their respective mandates for sustainable development.


There was a palpable sense of anticipation as Mozambique’s President Armando Guebuza arrived to present his country’s Green Economy Roadmap at the Pavilion on Thursday, 21 June. For the Mozambican delegation, there was a clear sense of pride that their country is managing its newly discovered oil and gas wealth to chart a socially inclusive and ecologically responsible growth path. Similarly, underlying the praise for the country’s leadership by the directors of the WWF and the African Development Bank, major partners in developing the roadmap, was a sense of achievement at being able to share a positive story of development cooperation that might inspire other countries to embark on a similar trajectory. When contrasted against negotiators’ slow progress in agreeing to a definition of the green economy, let alone specifying targets that countries should work towards, this concrete example underscored the common view that “we know what to do and should just get on with the job.”

In a word, this is exactly what the Rio Conventions Pavilion was established to do. In comparison to the Rio+20 negotiations, the active engagement of participants at more than 40 thematic sessions—particularly evident during the Oceans and Business days—provided ample proof that all is not lost and that “business as unusual”—a favored phrase at the Pavilion—is helping to advance the sustainable development agenda where it really matters, such a concrete example presented by China on how it is implementing integrated marine sustainable management and development through capacity building.

While some participants commented that the physical distance between the negotiations taking place at RioCentro and the Pavilion at the Athlete’s Park symbolized a growing gap between policy and practice, there was also an appreciation that Athlete’s Park offered space for deeper reflection on Rio+20’s theme, “the future we want.” That the Pavilion was fulfilling its role as an “incubator for innovative ideas” was also apparent as illustrated in a comment by a private sector participant who said he had not stepped foot inside RioCentro because of the relevance of the Pavilion to the ongoing sustainability initiatives by his company and the partnerships he was forming.


Despite all this goodwill, there was still a ways to go in realizing the central objective of the Pavilion, which is to enhance synergies for the Rio Conventions to deliver as one. As became clear during the Pavilion discussions on post-Rio+20 scenarios, “new metrics, information systems and governance frameworks are needed,” to address the interrelated challenges of environmental, social and economic development in a holistic way. This points to a fundamental gap in the science-policy-practice interface in the transition to sustainability. While all three Conventions have adopted decisions calling for enhanced collaboration between their subsidiary scientific and technical bodies, it is challenging to gather sound data, let alone synthesize it into coherent messages for policy.

Despite this, there was clear momentum building up at the Pavilion to implement GDP+ metrics to measure prosperity and wellbeing. During Business Day, for example, a number of private sector players announced initiatives to develop voluntary corporate sustainability reporting to incorporate environmental externalities. One such initiative, the Natural Capital Declaration, had already been endorsed by 39 finance-sector corporations and it received a boost when the World Bank reported that it would secure an additional 100 business and government signatories during Rio+20. UNEP, UNDP and others highlighted new cost-benefit analysis tools designed to empower decision makers to take account of ecosystem services in development programmes, such as UNEP’s, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) initiative.

At the implementation level, numerous case studies were presented during the Pavilion that offered elements of a practical way out of the political impasse across the street. On Means of Implementation, for instance, the announcement of numerous voluntary commitments and public-private partnerships, backed up by new or additional financing revealed the readiness of key stakeholders to walk the talk. The GEF, for example, announced an add-on initiative to leverage existing sector-oriented funds to support more synergetic approaches.


The organization of the Rio Conventions Pavilion itself, demonstrates that achieving true synergies across sectors is challenging. The modular format of the meeting—10 self-contained thematic days—does not favor broader cross-sectoral collaboration. However during the Pavilion the Secretariats seemed to acknowledge the need to address this apparent “silo mentality” for instance by launching a joint road map for 2012-2014 to assist the three them in harmonizing their actions on gender mainstreaming. A joint discussion paper by the World Health Organization and the three Rio Convention Secretariats highlighted at the meeting underscored the confluence between new health risks and global environmental changes and demonstrated the need to build even longer bridges to link the conventions to other priority areas addressed at Rio+20.

The strength of the Pavilion is that it provides real examples of momentum from the ground. This was shown by the well-received presentation of the Guatemalan Ministry of Environment, which successfully utilized GEF seed funding to implement a poverty reduction programme that generates multiple environmental benefits by integrating land and forest management and strengthening ecosystem resilience to climate change. Guatemala’s pragmatic approach could offer some creative alternatives for forging closer links across the conventions’ national and regional action programmes.

In short, the Pavilion concept is contributing to advancing the Conventions’ implementation agenda. This Pavilion generated numerous concrete initiatives and additional commitments that specifically address some of the sticking points in the negotiations. In the words of one speaker, “seeing is believing.” As such, the outcome could be crucial in informing the post-Rio sustainable development agenda.

Ultimately, the real agenda of the Pavilion was to mobilize and inspire people with success stories, capture their energies and engage them in the institutional process of defining new targets for achieving a balance between people and planet and furthering the dialogue on enhancing synergies. The legacy of the Rio Conventions Pavilion at Rio+20 will be the extent to which these embers ignite a flame that inspires a movement that uses the present knowledge to build the future we want.


IUCN World Conservation Congress 2012: The Congress theme will be Nature+, a slogan that captures the fundamental importance of nature and its inherent link to every aspect of people’s lives. The Congress will explore many of the most pressing environmental and development challenges from this perspective and how strong and resilient nature is intricately linked to solving these issues, including Nature+climate, nature+livelihoods, nature+energy and nature+economics.  dates: 6-15 September 2012  venue: International Convention Center  location: Jeju, Republic of Korea  contact: Enrique Lahmann  phone: +41 22 999 0336  fax: +41 22 9990002  e-mail:  www:

Biosafety Protocol COP/MOP 6: The sixth meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties (COP/MOP 6) to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety is organized by the CBD Secretariat. The provisional agenda includes: report of the compliance committee; operation and activities of the Biosafety Clearing-House; matters related to the financial mechanism and resources; cooperation with other organizations, conventions and initiatives; and report of the Executive Secretary.  dates: 1-5 October 2012  location: Hyderabad, India  contact: CBD Secretariat  phone: +1 514 288 2220  fax: +1 514 288 6588  e-mail:  www:

CBD COP 11: The 11th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 11) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is organized by the CBD Secretariat. The High Level Segment will be held from 17-19 October 2012. The provisional agenda includes consideration of: the status of the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits arising from their Utilization; implementation of the Strategic Plan 2011-2020 and progress towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets; issues related to financial resources and the financial mechanism; issues related to cooperation, outreach and the UN Decade on Biodiversity; operations of the Convention; Article 8(j) and related provisions; an in-depth review of the programme of work on island biodiversity; ways and means to support ecosystem restoration; marine and coastal biodiversity; biodiversity and climate change; and other substantive issues arising from COP 10 decisions.  dates: 8-19 October 2012  location: Hyderabad, India  contact: CBD Secretariat  phone: +1 514 288 2220  fax: +1 514 288 6588  e-mail:  www:

UNFCCC COP 18: The 18th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 18) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the eighth session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP/MOP 8), among other associated meetings, are scheduled to take place in Doha, Qatar.  dates: 26 November - 7 December 2012  location: Doha, Qatar  contact: UNFCCC Secretariat  phone: +49-228-815-1000  fax: +49-228-815-1999  e-mail:  www:

The Rio Conventions Pavilion Bulletin is a publication of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) <>, publishers of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin © <>. This issue was written and edited by Beate Antonich, Wangu Mwangi and Anna Schulz. The Digital Editor is Brad Vincelette. The Editor is Robynne Boyd <>. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI <>. IISD can be contacted at 161 Portage Avenue East, 6th Floor, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 0Y4, Canada; tel: +1-204-958-7700; fax: +1-204-958-7710. The opinions expressed in the Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD. Excerpts from the Bulletin may be used in other publications with appropriate academic citation. Electronic versions of the Bulletin are sent to e-mail distribution lists (in HTML and PDF format) and can be found on the Linkages WWW-server at <>. For information on the Bulletin, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <>, +1-646-536-7556 or 300 East 56th St., 11D, New York, New York 10022, USA.