The biggest United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development ever was held in Brazil on 20-22 June 2012 Print
News Waterfall - News Waterfall #2
Tuesday, 03 July 2012 13:38

The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) was organized in pursuance of General Assembly Resolution 64/236 (A/RES/64/236), and took place in Brazil on 20-22 June 2012 to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), in Rio de Janeiro, and the 10th anniversary of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg.

Over nine days (13 to 22 June), thousands of events were held in the lead-up to and during Rio+20, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, throughout Rio de Janeiro, including more than 500 official and side events at the Riocentro Convention Center, where the conference was held. Rio+20 was the biggest UN conference ever held, with broad participation of leaders from Government, business and civil society, as well as UN officials, academics, journalists and the general public.

Before and during the Conference more than $513 billion were mobilized in commitments for sustainable development, including in the areas of energy, transport, green economy, disaster reduction, desertification, water, forests and agriculture. 692 voluntary commitments for sustainable development were registered by governments, business, civil society groups, universities and others. For example Global Environment Facility issued Statement of Commitments Stemming from Rio+20 Earth Summit in which GEF commits to sound management of world's largest public fund for environment; swift action to implement Rio directives; increased recipient country access to funds and involvement of women, indigenous peoples.

An outcome document of the Conference “The future we want” ( is based on a Zero Draft document (released by the UN in January 2012 after considering thousands of submissions).

Below you will find a table regarding water issues as reflected in Zero Draft and the outcome document of the UN Conference “The future we want”.

Zero Draft, Water

“The future we want”, Water and Sanitation

67. We underline the importance of the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights. Furthermore, we highlight the critical importance of water resources for sustainable development, including poverty and hunger eradication, public health, food security, hydropower, agriculture and rural development.

119. We recognize that water is at the core of sustainable development as it is closely linked to a number of key global challenges. We therefore reiterate the importance of integrating water in sustainable development and underline the critical importance of water and sanitation within the three dimensions of sustainable development.

68. We recognize the necessity of setting goals for wastewater management, including reducing water pollution from households, industrial and agricultural sources and promoting water efficiency, wastewater treatment and the use of wastewater as a resource, particularly in expanding urban areas.

120. We reaffirm the commitments made in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation and Millennium Declaration regarding halving by 2015 the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation and the development of integrated water resource management and water efficiency plans, ensuring sustainable water use. We commit to the progressive realization of access to safe and affordable drinking water and basic sanitation for all, as necessary for poverty eradication and to protect human health, and to significantly

improve the implementation of integrated water resource management at all levels as appropriate. In this regard, we reiterate these commitments in particular for developing countries through the mobilization of resources from all sources, capacity building and technology transfer.

69. We renew our commitment made in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI) regarding the development and implementation of integrated water resources management and water efficiency plans. We reaffirm our commitment to the 2005-2015 International Decade for Action “Water for Life”. We encourage cooperation initiatives for water resources management in particular through capacity development, exchange of experiences, best practices and lessons learned, as well as sharing appropriate environmentally sound technologies and know-how.

121. We reaffirm our commitments regarding the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, to be progressively realized for our populations with full respect for national sovereignty. We also highlight our commitment to the 2005-2015 International Decade for Action “Water for Life.”

122. We recognize the key role that ecosystems play in maintaining water quantity and quality and support actions within the respective national boundaries to protect and sustainably manage these ecosystems.

123. We underline the need to adopt measures to address floods, droughts, and water scarcity, addressing the balance between water supply and demand including where appropriate non-conventional water resources, and to mobilize financial resources and investment in infrastructure for water and sanitation services, in accordance with national priorities.

124. We stress the need to adopt measures to significantly reduce water pollution and increase water quality, significantly improve wastewater treatment, and water efficiency and reduce water losses. In order to achieve this end we stress the need for international assistance and cooperation.

The outcomes from the RIO+20 will be more fully reported in the coming issues of Waterfall news.

In this issue please read the Women’s Major Group Final Statement on the Outcomes of Rio+20 ( in which they state that the Women’s Major Group (WMG), representing 200 civil society women’s organizations from all around the world, is greatly disappointed in the results of the Rio+20 conference. WMG believes that the governments of the world have failed both women and future generations.