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News Rio+20 reconfirms cities and regions role in the future of sustainable development

Rio showed just how cities and regions are our future. We welcome that at the very least sustainable development and the green economy has been placed at the top of the political agenda, and local and regional authorities formally recognised as being a major contributor to creating a sustainable future. The Conference offered the ideal opportunity to forge new partnerships. Indeed, the Committee of the Region's signed an agreement with the United Nations Environment Programme to promote sustainable cities and regions from Europe but also other continents at a global level. We will continue to engage cities and regions, encouraging them to becoming more sustainable. In fact tomorrow we will find out which city will be the "European Green Capital 2014", demonstrating that Rio is not the end of our work, but only the beginning.

We therefore call upon our colleagues in the European Institutions to show their political will, provide the support we need and start to engage us even more within decision-making on sustainable development. With this in mind we propose a Five Point Action Plan on Sustainable Development that will form the basis of our work in the short-term term and be something to build on for the future:

  • Call for the CoR to be part of the EU task force responsible for the implementation of the Rio+20 goals;
  • Advocate to ensure that local and regional authorities are clearly represented within the global environmental governance (UN);
  • Take forward the agreement signed with the UNEP which will reinforce synergies and contribute to the implementation of Multilateral Environmental Agreements and the Rio+20 Declaration, including the promotion of the Covenant of Mayors and other EU initiatives;
  • Work towards a global network and set a global playing field between the European schemes (Covenant of Mayors, European Green Capitals) and similar ones available in other parts of the world;
  • Offer the experience of the Covenant of Mayors to the United Nations Secretary General's initiative "Sustainable Energy for All" and its targets for 2030.

So for some Rio+20 was full of disappointments, for cities and regions it is - and must be - full of opportunities. Quite simply, if our leaders can’t give the future we want, then cities and regions must take the lead.

Contact information David French
Phone: +32 (2) 282 2535
News type Inbrief
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News date 20/07/2012
Working language(s) AFRIKAANS