United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20)


The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (also known as Rio+20) took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on 20-22 June 2012 to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), in Rio de Janeiro, and the 10th anniversary of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg. It was envisaged to be a Conference at the highest possible level, including Heads of State and Government or other representatives. The Conference resulted in a focused political document.


The objective of the Conference was to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assess the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development, and address new and emerging challenges. The Conference focused on two themes: (a) a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication; and (b) the institutional framework for sustainable development.

SIDS preparatory meetings

SIDS held a series of consultations in preparation for global negotiations for Rio+20:

SIDS Regional Preparatory Meeting, Caribbean Sub-Region

20 Jun 2011 – 20 Jun 2011
Georgetown, Guyana
The Regional Preparatory Meeting for Caribbean sub-region took place in Georgetown, Guyana on 20 June. The meeting was hosted by the Government of Guyana and opened by Guyanese Minister of Agriculture. It was attended by delegates from 10 Caribbean member States, some NY-based delegates representing AOSIS, UN agencies and regional organizations, totaling over 50 participants. more information

SIDS Regional Preparatory Meeting, Pacific Region

22 Jul 2011 – 22 Jul 2011
Apia, Samoa
The Regional Preparatory Meeting took place in Apia, Samoa, on 21-22 July, and was organized in conjunction with the Pacific Island Forum Economic Ministers’ Meeting (FEMM). more information

SIDS Regional Preparatory Meeting, AIMS Region

7 Jul 2011 – 8 Jul 2011
Victoria, Seychelles
The second SIDS sub-regional preparatory meeting for next year’s United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), was held at the ministerial level in the AIMS region in Mahé, Seychelles, on 7-8 July 2011. In addition to Ministers, other participants were representatives from Governments in the AIMS region, the Indian Ocean Commission, UN system organizations, Commonwealth Secretariat and Major Groups. The meeting was co-organized by the DESA SIDS Unit and the UNDP office covering Seychelles, in close cooperation with the Government of the Republic of Seychelles. more information

An inter-regional meeting to take stock of the aforementioned sub-regional meetings was held in New York on 1 September 2011. An article discussing this meeting is also available via the SIDS Policy & Practice site. Read the article here

SIDS Official Inputs to the Rio+20 Process

Member States, political groups, the UN System and IGOs, and Major Groups were asked to submit their inputs to the Rio+20 Compilation document by 1 November 2011. The full list of submissions can be found on the Rio+20 site. Here are the submissions provided by SIDS and relevant organizations:

Political Groups

Group of 77 and China
Pacific Islands Forum

Pacific Small Island Developing States

Caribbean Community (CARICOM

Member States

Dominican Republic




UN System and Intergovernmental Organizations

Inter-Agency Consultative Group for SIDS

Additionally, SIDS are mentioned in a number of submissions, which can conveniently be accessed here.

SIDS and the Rio+20 Outcome Document

In addition to covering global issues of particular relevance for SIDS, such as oceans, renewable energy, climate change, and biodiversity, the zero draft of the outcome document for Rio+20 includes several specific references to SIDS.

The section on SIDS

Below are excerpts from the Outcome Document

178. We reaffirm that small island developing States remain a special case for sustainable development in view of their unique and particular vulnerabilities, including their small size, remoteness, narrow resource and export base, and exposure to global environmental challenges and external economic shocks, including to a large range of impacts from climate change and potentially more frequent and intense natural disasters. We note with concern that the outcome of the five-year review of the Mauritius Strategy concluded that small island developing States have made less progress than most other groupings, or even regressed, in economic terms, especially in terms of poverty reduction and debt sustainability. Sea-level rise and other adverse impacts of climate change continue to pose a significant risk to small island developing States and their efforts to achieve sustainable development, and for many represent the gravest of threats to their survival and viability, including for some through the loss of territory. We also remain concerned that, while small island developing States have progressed in the areas of gender, health, education and the environment, their overall progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals has been uneven.

179. We call for continued and enhanced efforts to assist small island developing States in implementing the Barbados Programme of Action and the Mauritius Strategy. We also call for a strengthening of United Nations System support to small island developing States in keeping with the multiple ongoing and emerging challenges faced by these States in achieving sustainable development.

180. Building on the Barbados Programme of Action and the Mauritius Strategy, we call for the convening in 2014 of a third international conference on small island developing States, recognizing the importance of coordinated, balanced and integrated actions to address the sustainable development challenges facing small island developing States, and we invite the General Assembly at its sixty-seventh session to determine the modalities of the conference.

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