Bringing the Ocean Back Into the Earth Summit

  • January 07, 2011

The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) will take place in Brazil in 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 is being convened under United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution 64/236.

The objective of the Conference will be to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assessing the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development and addressing new and emerging challenges.

The two foci of the Conference will be (a) a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication (GESDPE) and (b) the institutional framework for sustainable development (IFSD). The Conference is to result in a focused political document, and both the Conference and the preparatory process are to carry out an overall appraisal of the implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation. They are to ensure the balanced integration of economic development, social development and environmental protection, as interdependent and mutually reinforcing components of sustainable development. Participation of all major groups is encouraged.

UNCED and WSSD are both remembered as Earth Summit 1 and Earth Summit 2 respectively; it is likely that UNCSD will be remembered as Earth Summit 3. With 70% of the Earth covered by the ocean, and given the importance of the ocean as the life support system of Planet Earth, now is the time for UNCSD to pay due attention to the needs of the ocean, and to the hundreds of millions of people who depend on healthy ocean ecosystems for their very survival.