Lawrence J. Gumbiner
Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs
Initial discussions on the zero draft of outcome document
NewYork City
December 16, 2011

UNCSD preparatory process
Dec. 16, 2011

Thank you, chair.

The United States is pleased to have the opportunity to add a few additional points on our vision for the Rio+20 zero draft and address format and content of the conference outcome.

  • First, the global community should re-energize action on sustainable development through a concise, political statement that focuses on high-level messages. As many have underscored, it should speak to the millions of average citizens not steeped in international negotiation language but tremendously interested in how we can all work together to pursue a sustainable future. .The zero draft should identify areas where there is broad agreement on key issues rather than including a lengthy enumeration of every issue included in submissions. The zero draft should provide a political statement no more than five pages long. We do not see the need for chapters in a concise political document.
  • Second, countries and stakeholders should develop voluntary, non-negotiated, efforts that can be compiled into a “compendium of commitments.” This will allow all stakeholders, including private sector and NGOs, to bring forward their commitments to achieve sustainable development. This provides the pragmatic, forward leaning review the global community expects. This will help focus implementation on priority issues, with approaches that are tailored to regional needs and meet the particular challenges of groups such as women and youth in a more targeted way.
  • Third, we should consider the document in the context of the entire Rio outcomes. These outcomes will, and should, be about much more than just the documentation. the Rio +20 Conference itself needs to be inclusive — of mayors, CEOs, heads of universities, and heads of NGOs.

The Rio+20 outcome is the sum of these parts, and success measured not by the number of words or subheadings but by the ability to inspire this generation to achieve sustainability. We concur with the intervention by Australia that the document need not replicate the conferences or summits of the past, but should be forward leaning and endeavor to build upon past efforts and look at new ways to achieve sustainability in the 21st century.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.