The document provided by the United States begins by expressing the desire to “to explore ways to better integrate the economic, social, and environmental dimensions of sustainable development”. With an emphasis on resource productivity and efficiency, the U.S. advocates the promotion of sustainable development. They also recognize that emerging economies are changing global institutions, and recognize the need for sustainable development to take hold in countries in all stages of development.
The document states that the Obama administration has “set a strong foundation and trajectory for enhancing sustainability and building a green economy at home and abroad,” and that the current Global Development Policy recognizes the promises of growth that accompany sustainable development.
AT RIO+20 – A Marketplace of Ideas
From the U.S. perspective, the global community should re-energize action through a concise, political statement. Conference participants should come with their own “compendium of commitments” that describes how they will undertake action.
There are 3 KEY MESSAGES that guide the U.S. approach for Rio+20:
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT: CLEAN ENERGY AND URBANIZATION
1) Clean Energy, New Infrastructure, and Access for All Energy : as a critical component of development, and essential that energy is commercially viable and environmentally sustainable.
THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT: ECOSYSTEM MANAGEMENT AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT
1) Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture: sustainable intensification will be required to meet the challenges of growing more food with limited resources. In order to increase yields, the document highlights the need of innovative agricultural technologies and improved understanding of agricultural systems.
The US. also supports the search for a multidimensional measure of wealth that goes beyond GDP and takes into account market externalities, such as depletion of resources or negative public health, by assessing natural capital.
THE INSTITUTIONAL ENVIRONMENT: MODERNIZING GLOBAL COOPERATION
1) Making New Connections: Linking Governments, Communities, and Businesses for Action
The U.S. underscores that today we have new means to stimulate action, with the rapid use of social media and connection technologies. They emphasize that the power of connectivity can transcend traditional institutions and help achieve more rapid action, and should be harnessed by countries.
Across these three main areas, the document also raises various points that can facilitate progress in one or more of the issues:
- More transparent and accessible governments, that enable innovative environments
- More engaged citizens and networks
- Use of incentive systems, i.e. in education, workforce, research
- Promoting innovative, open and competitive markets
- Enabling policies and regulatory frameworks
- Economic and fiscal instruments
- A commercial landscape that shows return on capital and attracts investment
- Improving access to information about best practices
- Increasing the use of connection technologies
- Expanding international knowledge hubs
- Respect for international obligations
- Increased international collaboration
- Focus on job creation in a green economy
Furthermore, the role of women and youth is seen as fundamental. The document expresses that young people have a great stake in what happens at Rio+20, and should play a powerful role, and highlight the importance of inclusion of women for economic growth. They advocate removing barriers that “have prevented youth and women from being full participants in the economy and unlocking their potential as drivers of economic growth.”
The documents ends on a high note, remarking that “Rio+20 marks a new foundation for engaging the global community and building the greener and more inclusive economies, smarter cities, and advanced institutions and networks that will define the future. The United States stands ready to collaborate, innovate, and realize the promise of sustainable development for the next 20 years and beyond.”
By Mariana Orozco, 2012 Human Impacts Institute Environmental Leadership Intern