The outcome document also focuses on improving gender equity; recognizing the importance of voluntary commitments on sustainable development; and stressing the need to engage civil society and incorporate science into policy; among other points.
“We think the text contains a lot of action, and if this action is implemented, and if follow-up measures are taken, it will indeed make a tremendous difference in generating positive global change,” Rio+20’s Secretary-General, Sha Zukang, said after the conclusion of the outcome document negotiations on Tuesday.
In addition to the outcome document, there have been nearly 500 voluntary commitments on sustainable development activities by civil society groups, businesses, governments and universities. The UN’s Global Compact initiative, which concluded its Corporate Sustainability Forum on Tuesday, announced more than 200 commitments to sustainable development by businesses.
Speaking at Rio+20’s ceremonial opening, on Wednesday afternoon, Secretary-General Ban thanked Brazil for hosting the Conference, and expanded on the opportunity it presented to the world.
“We recognize that the old model for economic development and social advancement is broken,” he said. “Rio+20 has given us a unique chance to set it right, to create a new model, to set a new course that truly balances the imperatives of robust growth and economic development with the social and environmental dimensions of sustainable prosperity and human well-being.”
“But, we need to keep our eyes on the prize. We need to act with vision and commitment, commitment and vision in the largest sense,” the UN chief added. “Let us not forget the scarcest resource of all: Time. We are running out of time. We no longer have the luxury to defer difficult decisions. We have a common responsibility to act in common cause, to set aside narrow national interests in the name of the global public good and the betterment of all.”