United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
  • Date submitted: 1 Nov 2011
  • Stakeholder type: United Nations & Other IGOs
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This document was prepared as the UNIDO response to the request by the Second Preparatory Committee for Rio+20 to all Member States and relevant UN system organizations ?to provide their inputs and contributions in writing by 1 November 2011 for inclusion in a compilation document to serve as basis for the preparation of zero draft of the outcome document.?

The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development 2012, also referred to as Rio+20, will be held in Rio de Janeiro on June 4-6, 2012, twenty years after the Rio ?Earth Summit? 1992. Despite the many commendable efforts of the past two decades, and the widespread acceptance of the concept of sustainable development as a convergence of the three pillars of economic, social and environmental sustainability, its implementation remains elusive.

It is clear that, in order to give renewed momentum to sustainable development, a new framework for action is needed. The time has come for a different approach that is geared towards the delivery of results and is based on prioritizing an ambitious agenda and building international cooperation around concrete initiatives that are supported by clearly articulated quantitative targets, policies and best practices tools, relevant institutions and adequate financing and mechanisms to monitor and report overall progress.

UNIDO believes that Rio+20 offers a unique opportunity for the launch of firm initiatives underpinned by measurable targets and objectives that will demonstrate renewed commitment to concrete action aimed at achieving tangible progress in the next two decades. There is an opportunity for the world to be well on its way to a fundamental transformation of its energy and industrial systems by 2030, allowing developing countries ? many of them growing rapidly and at large scale ? to leapfrog conventional options and move directly to cleaner energy alternatives and greener industrial processes and products, which will enhance economic and social development.

UNIDO?s key contribution to Rio+20 is built around two major themes, which are Sustainable Energy for All and Green Industry.

As part of its mandate and thematic priorities, UNIDO is contributing to the preparatory process and will support the implementation of the Rio+20 outcomes with a particular focus on tangible actions and initiatives enabling the global transition to green economy through greening industrialization and building green industries in developing countries and economies in transition.

UNIDO believes that the Rio+20 Conference should take stock of the positive developments as well as the implementation gaps over the past two decades, and initiate the adoption of sustainable development goals incorporating concrete targets and milestones that will lay strong foundations for the post-2015 development agenda. These goals should be based on a new development paradigm that integrates the three pillars of sustainability ? economic, environmental and social ? and provides a framework for achieving inclusive, resource-efficient economic growth.

In this framework, UNIDO is committed to ensure that the three objectives (energy access, energy efficiency and renewable energy) that support the goal of the universal access to energy by 2030 are fully reflected in the proceedings and the outcomes of the Conference.

Sustainable development cannot be achieved without sustainable industrial development. The contemporary industrial history is full of examples of the transformation of poor, inward-looking economies to higher levels economic development and growth through industrialization. Industrialization is the vehicle for widespread structural change, job creation and income generation, and therefore the means to improve the quality of life of ordinary people and combat poverty. However, in the past the economic miracles of industrialization have been achieved mostly using the traditional growth method, which is highly resource-intensive. This model of growth is no longer sustainable.

In response to the most pressing global challenges that demand urgent action and will have to be addressed in Rio, a key policy development has been the acknowledgement of resource-efficiency as a policy framework for the transition to low-carbon development and for setting up sectoral priorities, particularly in the energy and industrial sectors.

UNIDO?s response to these challenges is the Green Industry Initiative. This sectoral approach to the operationalization of Green Economy aims at building national capacities for accelerating the growth of the industrial sector in developing countries within the appropriate policy frameworks that supports the progressive decoupling1 of natural resource use from industrialization. It provides a platform for fostering the positive role of industry in achieving sustainable development.

With less than four years remaining until 2015, it is clear that the Rio+20 Conference will serve as a defining moment for the international debate on the establishment of an overarching post-MDG global framework for development. UNIDO believes that such a future-looking framework should be built around clearly articulated goals and targets for improvements in resource efficiency and resource productivity in key economic sectors and services, such as energy, industry, transport, and the management of natural resources, waste and water. Their implementation should be driven by flagship initiatives, supported by implementation mechanisms based on improved metrics for measuring and reporting process. Clearly UN agencies have a key role to play in developing the necessary analytical work and providing implementation support.

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