The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has been contributing to the EU's preparatory work for the UN Rio+20 Summit on Sustainable Development, to strengthen the European and global civil society involvement in the transition towards sustainable societies. European organised civil society calls on world leaders to make concrete commitments to advance global sustainable development and eradicate poverty. The EESC believes that the involvement of economic and social civil society players is vital in defining and carrying out actions that will transform our economies and lifestyles into sustainable, greener ones.
In its key messages to the Rio Conference, the Committee calls on world leaders to commit to a concrete action plan to:
- promote an inclusive, green economy and reduce inequalities;
- eradicate poverty and secure access to food, water and energy for everyone;
- achieve distributional and inter-generational equity;
- establish a green economy roadmap, with clear and measurable goals;
- build up a robust global institutional framework for sustainable development; and
- improve effective civil society involvement in the transition to sustainable societies.
On the sidelines of the UN Conference, the Committee will be organising several events in Rio de Janeiro, two of which will take place on 19 June. In the “What is at stake at Rio+20? Recommendations from Brazilian and EU civil society” Round Table with the Brazilian Council for Economic and Social Development (CDES) the two bodies will adopt common recommendations addressed to the Rio+20 Conference.
The “EU-BRICS Dialogue for Sustainable Development” will feature a debate with the EESC's counterparts in the BRICS countries, exploring shared views on the issue of sustainable development. It will be attended by EU Commissioner Potocnik and the UN Coordinator for Rio+20 Brice Lalonde.
The main event will be held on 21 June, chaired by EESC President Staffan Nilsson and attended by the European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and the Danish Minister for Development Cooperation Christian Friis Bach representing the EU Council presidency. "Civil society taking global responsibility" will consist of a debate on concrete experiences and civil society participation models in sustainable development, from the local to the global level.
Over the past year, the EESC has been working on formulating a set of messages to world leaders ahead of the UN Rio+20 Summit. This has been done through wide-ranging consultation at European level and in close collaboration with the main global partners, including civil society representatives in Brazil, China, Russia, India, South Africa (BRICS) and the ACP region. Based on this intensive civil-society dialogue, the EESC is now making its contribution to the EU's position on Rio+20.