Maurice Strong Outlines Potential Rio+20 Outcomes

UNEP11 June 2012: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has published a column authored by Maurice Strong, senior adviser to the Secretary-General of Rio+20, and Secretary-General of the 1992 Earth Summit, on the potential outcomes of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20).

In his statement, Strong underscores the need for Rio+20 to raise the status of UNEP to that of a specialized agency, potentially leading to the establishment of a World Environment Organization. Strong also calls on Rio+20 to endorse and be grounded by the Earth Charter, calling for a radical revolution of the current economic system. He also notes that Rio+20 must reinforce the focus on biodiversity to which this Decade on Biodiversity is devoted, spurring the implementation of measures to protect biological resources.

Strong also stresses that "no issue is more important to the future of humanity than climate change," lamenting the diminished political will to act cooperatively and decisively on the matter. He warns that failure to act against climate change could cause the collapse of the world economy, which would paradoxically lead to the needed reductions in global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. He identifies the inadequacy of the current economic system as the cause of both the environmental and climate change crises, and of the economic and financial crises. Strong therefore stresses the need for Rio+20 to reinforce international efforts to "reach agreement and renewal" of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its implementation. Strong also calls for the concept of shared but differentiated responsibilities to be "strongly reinforced" at Rio+20. [UNEP Press Release]