As there is a degree of opposition regarding certain issues to be discussed at the upcoming sustainable development conference in Rio de Janeiro, the EU will be facing a challenge in achieving its goals. According to an article published by EurActiv, the EU aims to make a green economy based on sustainable growth one of its pillars, as well as further empower the UN Environment Programme and other UN agencies regarding the supervision and enforcement of treaties.
Concerns have been already expressed by African leaders over European aims to seek binding targets on sustainable development, and it is believed that the U.S. would oppose to an expanded role for UN agencies.
Accordingly, Karl Falkenberg, the European Commission’s chief of the Environmental Directorate, told MEPs of the Intergroup on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development that the EU has to show that the green economy roadmap “is not just a European concept adapted to the realities in Europe, but that it is the only sustainable way forward to help developing countries grow and lift their populations out of poverty”.
Lack of consensus on these and other issues have frightened stakeholders. Antonio Vigilante, director of the UN Development Programme’s Brussels office, has warned of the overwhelming consequences of Rio not meeting expectations: “Rio is not an environment conference, it’s not a conference to save nature. It’s a conference to save to save human beings. It’s a conference that has to combine the two most pressing challenges of our times – equity and sustainability – and the one cannot be sacrificed for the other”.