UN Sustainable Development Conference 2012

In Rio de Janeiro in 2012, 20 years after the Earth Summit of 1992, the UN Member States resolved to prepare goals of a sustainable development agenda for the period after 2015 based on the current Millennium Development Goals. Delegates decided that all three dimensions of sustainable development (social, economic and environmental) are meant to be treated equally in the new development agenda. The concept of a sustainable “Green Economy” was first recognized as an important instrument in sustainable economic activity.

The High-Level Political Forum for Sustainable Development first met in September 2013. The Forum is meant to give pioneering impetus to the strategic discussion on sustainable development by involving higher level political actors. Discussion focuses on all three dimensions of sustainability and includes State as well as non-State actors. Another important element of the Forum’s work is the effective supervision of the implementation of existing commitments in the area of sustainable development. The next meeting is scheduled for July 2014.

A Working Group on Sustainable Development, made up of representatives from UN Member States, began its work in March 2013. With input from significant stakeholders and experts, the group is supposed to submit its recommendation concerning the establishment of a system of sustainable development goals by September 2014. The Working Group will first take stock of fundamental topics such as poverty reduction, food security, employment for all, health and population dynamics. Negotiations on the concrete set of goals will begin in spring 2014. Germany, represented by the State Minister of the Federal Foreign Office, shares a seat in the Working Group with France and Switzerland. The meetings are open to representatives from civil society and other interest groups.

Finally, a 30 member Group of Experts began its work on financing sustainable development in August 2013. Its task lies with developing recommendations on mobilizing financial resources to fund the post-2015 development agenda. The committee is meant to analyze fundamental financial needs and the effectiveness of existing financial mechanisms in addressing those needs. It would also investigate how financial resources are mobilized and how efficiently they are used. Lastly, the existing institutional framework would be examined and recommendations for improvement made. The report from this Group of Experts is expected in August 2014. Germany is represented by Dr. Norbert Kloppenburg, member of the board of KfW, Germany’s Development Bank.