Official opening day at RIO+20 with solid EU presence

Rio + 20 Summit officially started yesterday, June 20, in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) with the presence of the Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, United Nations Secretary‐General Ban Ki‐moon, astronauts and cosmonauts, and youth to open one of the most important global conferences for a sustainable future organized by the UN.

UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon, recognized that “the old model for economic development and social advancement is broken, Rio+20 has given us a unique chance to set it right, to create a new model, to set a new course that truly balances the imperatives of robust growth and economic development with the social and environmental dimensions of sustainable prosperity and human well-being”.

EU was represented by President Barroso and Connie Hedegaard, Commissioner for Climate Action,  Dacian Cioloş, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, and Janez Potočnik, Commissioner for Environment. President Barroso stressed three aspects on which attendants to RIO+20 should focus their efforts to deliver concrete results: an enabling environment of domestic policies that is designed to be self-sustaining; providing the right financing instruments, and the research know-how and technology diffusion.

EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik stated in a joint declaration with the Danish Environment Minister and current chair of the European Environment Council, Ida Auken: “We recognize that Rio is just the beginning and a range of activities have to be followed through at international level” remarking the significance of the commitments to be made previously, during and after the RIO+20 summit.

Other key stakeholders’ opinions as those represented by Steffan Nilsson, President of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), regret that the agreement lacks ambitious and action-oriented decisions, claiming that “The road from Rio is as important as the road to Rio”.

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