High-level Symposium on UNCSD Held in Beijing

Flag of China9 September 2011: The High-level Symposium on the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) took place from 8-9 September 2011 in Beijing, China. It was co-organized by the Government of the People's Republic of China and the UNCSD Secretariat.

The Symposium aimed to facilitate in-depth discussions among government officials, experts and representatives from the UN system and Major Groups on both the objective and the two themes of Rio+20, with a view to formulating concrete proposals as a contribution to preparations for the Conference.

The 200 participants included representatives from 33 countries and 13 international organizations, among them: Sha Zukang, UNCSD Secretary-General; Jorge Martín Arturo Argüello, Chair of Group of 77 and China (G-77/China) and Permanent Representative of Argentina to the UN; Markus Ederer, head of EU Delegation to China and Mongolia; and Maurice Strong, Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED).

In a panel discussion on new and emerging issues, participants emphasized five in particular for "priority attention": energy access, security, and sustainability; food security and sustainable agriculture; water scarcity and sound water management; improved resilience and disaster preparedness; and land and soil degradation and sustainable land management. In a session on the institutional framework for sustainable development (IFSD), participants highlighted that reforms to sustainable governance governance should be guided by a set of principles, including: agreement on core problems to be addressed; form should follow function and substance; any reform should not only improve the integration of the three pillars of sustainable development, but restore the balance among these pillars; enhance transparency; and embrace complexity by simplifying administration, implementation and compliance arrangements.

The concept paper and background note, co-Chairs' reports of two sessions (on green economy and IFSD) and two panel discussions (on new and emerging issues and on securing renewed political commitment), and selected statements and presentations made during the symposium, are available online. [Webpage of High-level Symposium] [DESA News Story]