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Monday, 26 September 2011

EESC: Rio+ 20: make-or-break moment for a new economic order

Rio+20 must rise to the challenge of paving the way for a new economic order, where sustainability and not just GDP is a key concept, argued the European Economic and Social Committee during a debate with Janez Potočnik, the EU Commissioner for the Environment, and Ricardo Neiva Tavares, Head of the Mission of Brazil to the EU. The Commissioner made it clear that the Rio+20 could not succeed without the constructive input of civil society.

EESC president Staffan Nilsson assured the Commissioner that the Committee, as a representative of European organised civil society, was ready to take on this challenge. He reminded the Commissioner that the EESC would continue intense and wide-ranging dialogue with civil society in the EU and throughout the world concerning the expectations for the conference. Broad consultations with various stakeholders were needed given the cross-cutting role of sustainable development, which required the coordination of environmental, economic and social policies. […]

Mr Potočnik then focused on the EU Rio+20 Conference, and on the role that the EU could play at global level. He explained that Europe's Resource Efficiency Roadmap can be seen as the European Union's approach to the green economy and cleaning up in front of its own door. The Rio+20 Conference next year is a unique opportunity to push the global green economy agenda.

The EESC presented Mr Potočnik with two opinions, which will feed into the EU's overall position on the Rio+20 conference. Hans-Joachim Wilms (Employees' Group, Germany), the rapporteur of one of the opinions, said that ,the Heads of State needed to agree upon common sustainability goals at the Rio+20 Conference to guide the necessary shift to a green economy with a strong focus on social inclusion and environmental viability.

Source: European Economic and Social Committee