Report from UNEP’s Rio+20 Civil Society Consultations

The UNEP Regional Office for North America (UNEP RONA) meeting, “Rio+20 Civil Society Consultations,” took place on 13-14 October 2011. This meeting offered an opportunity for civil society to provide input to the 12th Special Session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum, which will focus on the main themes of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) taking place 4-6 June 2012.

The meeting brought together individuals from the United States and Canada, as well as all aspects of civil society. INECE’s Managing Director, Mr. Ken Markowitz, spoke briefly to the group about the importance of good governance and how this will be a major focus of the agenda at Rio+20. Mr. Markowitz then introduced Justice Antonio Herman Benjamin, who joined the meeting via video conferencing. Justice Benjamin highlighted the two main pillars of the Rio+20 agenda, governance and the green economy. He then focused on the third pillar, emerging issues, which consists of the issue of the regression of environmental policies and legislation and the issue of compliance and enforcement.

Following Justice Benjamin’s speech, the group broke into smaller working groups and discussed how Rio+20 could focus on international and domestic issues as well as the transition to a green economy. The outcomes of this meeting were summarized in a comprehensive list of “key messages,” among which the importance of national governance, accountability, and enforcement were highlighted.

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