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European Parliament Makes Recommendations for EU Position at Rio+20

29 September 2011: The European Parliament has adopted a resolution on developing a common EU position ahead of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20), outlining its views on the concept of the green economy and desired outcomes of the Conference.

On green economy, the Parliament emphasizes that: discussions on the green economy should not divert attention from the need to empower citizens and promote good environmental governance beyond institutional arrangements; a "green economy" should be understood as the entire economy functioning within the limits of sustainability in respect to biodiversity, maintaining ecosystem services, climate protection and use of natural resources; new and emerging challenges, such as the scarcity of resources and its role in conflicts, should be addressed; the fair and equitable access to, and distribution of, resources for present and future generations is a crucial precondition for development and poverty eradication; natural capital accounting processes should be established and integrated into economic accounting structures and political decision-making processes; the energy sector should be radically changed to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency and also to ensure universal access to energy for the poor; and the transition towards a green economy in the context of poverty eradication should link environmental protection and human rights.

The Parliament thus calls on the Commission and the Council to ensure that Rio+20 results in: tangible actions and accountable targets, including a green economy roadmap; the launch of negotiations on international legal instruments for the control of land-based marine pollution, sustainable management and assessment of human activities in marine areas beyond national jurisdiction, and the conservation of marine biodiversity in those areas; guarantees for participative forest governance, fair and equitable benefit-sharing and the conservation and sustainable use of forests globally; the launch of coordinated actions for identifying and phasing out all environmentally harmful subsidies by 2020; an alternative model to measure growth and welfare beyond Gross Domestic Product (GDP), taking account of climate change, biodiversity, resource efficiency and social inclusion; and the establishment of a more robust and coherent international regime for governing the use of chemicals and hazardous substances, calling for EU legislation on REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals) to be used as a model.

The Parliament also stresses that: the design of a REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks) instrument under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) should ensure respect for, and contribute to, overall forest protection objectives and targets, including respect for human rights and the relevant provisions of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD); the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) should be transformed into a UN Specialized Agency with a dedicated panel of scientists to be modelled after the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); and an international environmental court or an international ombudsman with mediation powers should be created.

The resolution has been issued in anticipation of the meeting of environmental ministers of the EU on 11 October 2011, when they are expected to adopt their conclusions on the EU negotiating position for Rio+20. [The Resolution]