The EESC’s events in Rio this week on the periphery of the UN Rio+20 conference - The EU-Brazil Round Table meeting chaired by EESC President Staffan Nilsson and the EU-BRICS civil society on the 19th of June, and the EESC side event on the 22nd of June - reflected the great level of commitment that civil society has towards sustainable development issues. The participants regretted that there was not the same level of commitment at the official Rio+20 negotiations.
Just before the heads of states and governments arrived in Rio for the summit, the EU and BRICS civil society representatives agreed on a list of messages covering six main areas: an inclusive green economy, eradicating poverty and access to food and energy for all, the social dimension of sustainable development, the development indicators complimentary to GDP, the inclusion of sustainable development goals in the Rio+20 outcome agreement, and involvement of multi-stakeholder advisory bodies in sustainable development plans at all levels.
The EESC has an on-going dialogue with civil society representations in other parts of the world, in particular from the BRICS countries, including the Brazilian CDES. Sustainable development and the Rio+20 conference were central issue on the agenda of the meetings in Rio on the 19th of June.
On the 21st of June, the EESC delegation discussed the topic of civil society participation based on experiences from global, regional, national and local levels at our side event which featured the participation of the EC President, José Manuel Barroso. Institutional approaches, such as civil society representation in UN bodies or national Economic and Social Councils was considered as well as the consultation rights of citizens and the access to information.
There was broad agreement during the debate that governments are the ones to set the framework for a change towards sustainable development and a green economy. However, governments alone will not achieve what they have agreed upon without the commitment of businesses, industry, workers’ organisations and all other civil society stakeholders.
After the Rio+20, the EESC will continue this dialogue with its counterparts from other world regions, in order to promote the concept of sustainability and in helping to implement the results of our work in Rio.