DESA, UNDP Publish Synthesis of National Reports on Rio+20

RIO+20December 2012: The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) have released a synthesis report based on national reports prepared for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20). The report highlights a gap between sustainable development commitments and implementation of sustainable development policies and programs around the world.

The synthesis report is based on 60 national reports that emerged from 72 national consultations held across all regions to build a consensus on Rio+20 objectives and themes. The consultations were organized by DESA and UNDP.

On governance, the report notes progress on institutional frameworks for sustainable development, alongside bottlenecks and challenges in implementation that stem from coherence, inclusion and integration challenges. Good governance and political will are also absent in many national efforts, according to the report. On the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the report finds that many countries have mainstreamed the Goals into national planning processes and development plans, and they report progress in reducing levels of absolute poverty and hunger, but limited progress on other MDGs.

On green economy, the report notes a lack of clarity on the concept of a green economy and concern about perceived risks, including aid conditionalities and trade barriers. As a result, few countries have developed green economy plans and strategies, although national reports describe initiatives that contribute to the green economy, including agriculture, energy, fishing and forestry projects. The report recommends clarifying green economy tools and methodologies.

On water, many countries recommend integrated water resources management (IWRM) to address conflicting water uses, including for agriculture, drinking water, ecosystem services, flood control, hydropower and irrigation.

On energy, countries describe challenges, including ensuring energy supply and adopting renewable energy, including growing interest in geothermal, solar energy and wind power.

The national reports recommend promoting sustainable development in five ways: strengthening institutions and governance systems and building capacities for collaboration and coordination at all levels; "unpacking" and operationalizing the green economy; reinforcing connections between the MDGs and the sustainable development agenda; engaging stakeholders; and measuring development progress. [Publication: Synthesis of National Reports for Rio+20] [National Reports]