Rio +20

ICLEI Rio +20

News and events archive

Vote for the Rio+20 Sustainable Development Dialogues!

10 June 2012

The SDD already begun online with an open and inclusive online platform for discussion of the 10 topics by everyone interested – see The top 10 recommendations from the online platform will be discussed at the live dialogues. Each live dialogue session will choose about three top recommendations which will be brought forward into the Rio+20 high-level round tables.

At the online platform, the 100 most supported recommendations for sustainable development from the Rio+20 online Dialogues (10 recommendations per topic) are now accessible to the public at We encourage you to visit the site now and vote for the recommendations that you consider to be the most important! Your votes will inform which recommendations for sustainable development are presented to the heads of state at the Rio+20 Conference in Rio de Janeiro at the end of June. Please tell your colleagues, friends, family, networks and community to visit and “Vote for the Future We Want.” But be quick, voting closes June 15th 2012.

10,000+ participants from 206 countries took part in the lively discussions in 10 Dialogues that generated 843 recommendations, garnering 11842 indications of support.


Rio+20 Webinar a big Success!

31 May 2012

The webinar held 30 May 2012 with Brice Lalonde, Executive Coordinator UN Rio+20, and Staffan Tillander, Swedish Ambassador for Rio+20 and Co-Chair of the Friends of Sustainable Cities group, proved to be very successful! Participants were able to ask burning questions and a great discussion took place.

If you did not have time to participate, you can listen to a recording here.

The webinar:

  • Introduced Rio+20 and the current situation
  • Discussed how the negotiations are going
  • Explained the relationship between Rio+20 and Local Authorities
  • Answered any questions you might have


Special Session of the UN General Assembly on Rio+20

25 May 2012

The UN General Assembly held a special session on Rio+20 on 23.5.12 debating Rio+20 with many high-level panelists on how to achieve a successful outcome out of the conference.  The official report states that "throughout the day-long debate, experts and diplomats alike urged agreement on an outcome that was “ambitious” but “concise”, and which addressed a range of concerns, including decent jobs, energy, sustainable cities, food security and sustainable agriculture, water, and oceans."  

The official report can be found here.  If you would like to read the Major Groups statement, please go here.

UN Secretary-General in the New York Times

23 May 2012

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon commented today in an op-ed in the New York Times on Rio+20 and "The Future We Want".   He discusses Rio+20, the outcomes expected and even says: "Our cities must be made more liveable — places we inhabit in greater harmony with nature".

Read the full story here.

Rio+20 Bureau and UN Member States convene a dialogue with Major Groups

April 30, 2012



In a meeting during the final preparatory meetings in New York, co-chaired by ICLEI's Susanne Salz and Ambassador Kim, Co-Chair of the Bureau, the Rio+20 Bureau and UN Member States met with the nine Major groups to exchange views just 52 days ahead of Rio+20.

Major Groups delivered a joint message urging for support with accommodation in Rio as well as calling for more active participation and speaking rights as laid out in the UN General Assembly resolution.

The dialogue was divided into three thematic clusters convened by three Major Groups each:

(A) Innovation in the context of Rio+20 by the Scientific and Technological Community, Business and Industry, and Local Authorities Major Groups,

(B) Ambitious and just Transitions to the Future we Want By the Women, Indigenous Peoples, and Workers and Trade Unions Major Groups, and

(C) Human Rights and Governance in the context of Rio+20 by the Farmers, Children and Youth, and Non-Governmental Organizations Major Groups. Members of the Rio+20 Bureau and UN Member states answered questions and commented on the many issues raised by the Major Group delegates.

The EU and Brazil were particularly active among the national delegations, while the Italian member of the Bureau was particularly supportive of the important role of Local Authorities.

Find out more about the ongoing negotiations at

Download the Local Authority Major Group intervention document here.

Local Government delegation meet UN Secretary General

April 25, 2012

On 23 April, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and UN-Habitat, with the support of Cities Alliance, brought together local and regional governments leaders and networks at a meeting in New York. They presented the key messages by Local and Regional Governments for Rio+20 to the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, United Nations officials and the Group of Friends of Sustainable Cities.
The document "Joint Messages of Local and Sub-national Governments", signed by ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, UCLG, Metropolis, C40, NRG4SD, FOGAR, with the support of the Ford Foundation and UN-Habitat, put forward eight recommendations to reach a sustainable urbanization, metropolization and regionalization.

For further information visit, read more at or read the speech by the UN Secretary General at  

Sustainable Development Dialogues Now Online

25 April 2012

The Government of Brazil is convening a Sustainable Development Dialogue series with the aim to bring together civil society, public and private sectors, the scientific community and academia to contribute ideas and suggestions on sustainable development. Conclusions and recommendations from the Dialogues will be conveyed directly to the heads of State and Government gathering in Rio June 20-22.  

These dialogues have already commenced online, and will culminate in a live event in Rio in the days prior to the UN Conference.  The online Rio+20 Sustainable Development Dialogues present a unique opportunity for civil society and non-state actors to contribute to the discussion and influence the process by sharing expertise and innovative recommendations for the historic Rio+20 Conference.

For more information, please visit the online platform at  Alternatively, find an overview of the Sustainable Development Dialogues here, and instructions on how to join the platform here.

84 days to Rio+20: What will it achieve?

28 March 2012


On the road to Rio+20, the final sprint has begun.

UN Member States are intensely negotiating each paragraph of the proposed outcome document. It is impossible to predict whether Rio+20 will reach its potential to be a historic moment for the planet and humanity. We need cities and local governments to be engaged and contribute to making it a success. ICLEI's Susanne Salz was present in New York this past week to advocate for cities and open doors for the future.

Will the world agree on ambitious Sustainable Development Goals? Should we agree to move towards a global Green Economy? How should the global institutions be designed to ensure we can make these things happen? The countries of the world are still debating these issues. Many delegates agree that cities and Local Governments have an important role to play in achieving sustainable development. ICLEI and its members have been acting, and it is likely our efforts will be acknowledged and encouraged at Rio+20.

100 days to Rio+20 – get ready!

12 March 2012

100 days to go until the historic UN Rio+20 Summit. ICLEI, as a leading organization linking local governments to Rio+20, is gearing up with substantive contributions and exciting events.

For us, creating the “urban future we want” means:

•             Bending the trends: Rio+20 needs to be the turning point where current global trends such as population growth, urbanization, global warming and biodiversity loss are managed.

 •             Transitioning to a Green Urban Economy: With the world’s 100 largest cities contributing over 30% to global GDP, the Green Urban Economy is a crucial part of the global Green Economy.

 •             Empowering local government stakeholders: For sustainable development governance at a global level, all relevant stakeholders – including local governments – must play their part in policy-shaping and implementation.

ICLEI and its Members are advocating these key ideas and are actively involved in this ongoing debate.

Is your city ready for Rio+20? Here are 5 ways you can participate.

Recent news reports on Rio+20

12 March 2012

If you would like to find out more about Rio+20 in general, please read the article on Rio+20 by the Guardian newspaper here and a similar article on Rio+20 and the climate by the BBC here

The ICLEI COP17 Report

9 March 2012

The UN Climate Change Conference (“UNFCCC COP17/CMP7”) was held 28 November to 9 December 2011 in Durban, South Africa involving a series of events where the need for a new global climate regime was made urgent. ICLEI partook with a first ever Cities Day at the Rio Pavilion partnering with AFD and UN Habitat. The Cities Day included leaders from international cities exploring local issues arising from increased urbanization in the form of discussions and networking platforms. ICLEI staff also held expert speaking roles at various events throughout the conference. Through participating at many such conferences, ICLEI is continuously building on experience in regards to climate and biodiversity advocacy on the road to Rio+20. In this regard, the ICLEI report “Local governments at the UNFCCC COP17/CMP7” detailing the highlights and key outcomes of the conference is now available online. 

UNEP celebrates 40 year anniversary

22 February 2012

The Special Session XII of the  UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Governing Council took place in Nairobi from 20-22 February 2012, and was preceded by the Global Major Groups and Stakeholder Forum on 18-19 February 2012. ICLEI was the only local government network present and in its role as Local Authority Major Group Facilitating Partner raised issues of crucial importance to urban areas and local governments. Official statements delivered by the Major Groups are available here.

The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, held in Stockholm in 1972, was the first global UN conference on the environment, acknowledging that environmental issues are not just local or national, but in fact global. One crucial outcome of the conference was the creation of UNEP, which is celebrating its 40thanniversary this year ahead of Rio+20t.  At the conference, UNEP may be upgraded to a World Environment Organization.


Paper on Local Government Organizations in a strengthened UNEP

January 2012

In the context of Rio+20 and building on the "Governmental Stakeholder" outcome of COP16 in December 2010, ICLEI has further developed ideas for how Local Government Organizations (LGOs) could be involved in global sustainable development governance, in this case in a future strengthened version of UNEP.

The development of these ideas has now resulted in a paper entitled "Models for Local Government Organizations (LGOs) involvement in a strengthened UNEP". The paper was written by ICLEI, published by UNEP, and is available here.


Register now for Rio+20

January 2012

In December 2011 preliminary information for participants of the Rio+20 conference was released by the UN and the system for pre-registration was opened.

Organizations who are either in consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council (including those on the roster through the list of the Commission on Sustainable Development), or accredited to the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002, can pre-register their participants online. The deadline for pre-registration is May 20, 2012. Organizations not accredited in either way but interested in participating at Rio+20 may apply to the UN secretariat for accreditation by 20 February 2012.

We encourage all those interested in attending Rio+20 to pre-register by 20 May 2012 and, if applicable, to get accredited by 20 February 2012.

Pre-registration can be done via the Rio+20 website. The full text with the preliminary information for participants can be found here.



ICLEI Secretary General Konrad Otto-Zimmermann on the role of Local Government Organizations in a strenghtened UNEP

January 2012

ICLEI's Secretary General Konrad Otto-Zimmermann has made a contribution to UNEP's "Perspectives on Rio+20". In it he puts forward the argument that Local Government Organizations (LGOs) have an important role to play in a new and strenghtened UNEP.

LGOs are close to the people, experience many environmental problems first hand, and, importantly, also have the capacity to act. This ability to move from words to action is of great salience in a world needing concrete results in the quest for sustainable development and it therefore needs to be taken seriously in a new UNEP. 

The full text can be found here.


French local authorities are ready for Rio

October 2011

In October 2011 leading French local authority networks have published a joint position for the Rio+20 Conference. The local leaders reiterate their commitment to sustainable development, referring to the success of the Local Agenda 21 movement and citing documents such as the 1994 Aalborg Charter and the 2010 Declaration of Dunkirk, and call for coherent multi-level governance framework, indispensable to move further.

The French local authorities call upon the international community to implement measures that will eradicate poverty and reduce social inequalities, manage energy and other natural resources with moderation, guarantee ecological balance in terms of climate change and biodiversity, as well as build a system of social protection that supports all people. The declaration highlights a number of steps to be taken in order to make this vision a reality, including the decision to provide groups of local authorities with the status of intergovernmental organization in the framework of the United Nations and the development of global regulatory mechanisms in the fields of finance, currency, trade and taxation.

To read full version click here (French/English)



Cities gain recognition in Rio+20 preparations

30 November 2011

In the latest edition of "Rio+20 Making it Happen", the UN's bi-weekly Rio+20 news letter, cities and the importance of having them as an integral part of global sustainability efforts, are prominently featured. This is an indicator of the ever stronger recognition in UN circles that urban areas need to be at the forefront of sustainable development. Here you will find the full text.

Another sign that the relevance of cities is gaining ground was the speech given by Maurice Strong to the UN General Assembly in October 2011. Maurice Strong was Secretary General of the 1992 Earth Summit and said among other things in his speech that:

"[t]he cities are at the very foundation of environmental governance as the main sources of environmental problems as well as their solutions. I would urge Rio + 20 to give their key role recognition and a strong voice in policy and implementation"

The full speech can be found here.

A third significant development in this regard is that the UN now has a separate, comprehensive section about cities on its Rio+20: The Future We Want website. For more information about this, please click here.



ICLEI submission to the Rio+20 zero draft

31 October 2011

In response to the invitation from the UNSCD Bureau, the UN Member States, Major Groups and UN system organizations submitted their input to what will become the zero draft of the Rio+20 outcome document. ICLEI submission is centered around the following key policy messages:

  • Bend the trends: Rio+20 needs to be the turning point where current global trends such as population growth, urbanization, global warming and biodiversity loss are managed. By looking at the long-term trends we can see the full effects of current behavioral practices which can help us identify problems, needs, and opportunities. If we want a sustainable world in 2050, what do we need to do now in order to transform the trends accordingly?
  • Green Urban Economy: The world’s 100 largest cities contribute over 30% to global GDP, and urbanization projections indicate that cities will continue to grow in importance over the coming decades. A green urban economy is therefore an indispensable part of a green global economy.
  • Local government stakeholders: For sustainable development governance at the global level, all relevant stakeholders – including local governments – must play their part in policy-shaping and implementation

For full text, click here.


Rio+20 Secretary-General invites mayors to come forward with their initiatives

28 June 2011

Addressing the National Press Club in Washington (USA) on 28 June 2011, Rio+20 Secretary-General Sha Zukang explained why Rio+20 is not “just another UN conference” and why everyone should care about its outcome. 

Praising cities as concentrations of human energy and creativity, Mr. Sha Zukang invited world’s mayors and local authorities to Rio, adding: “Bring your concrete initiatives to scale up and build on the valuable work you’ve been doing”. Rio+20 Secretary-General pointed to United States as excellent example of “trickle up” policy making, with states and cities leading on policy innovation and on innovative financing for green investments. He also emphasized the significance of ICLEI’s work and those of similar organizations, engaging local governments in sustainable development action.

Summarizing his hopes for the upcoming conference, Mr. Sha Zukang said: “Rio+20 must register a triple plus: a plus on political commitment, a plus on partnership and a plus in action on the ground”. ICLEI, together with its partners and local governments worldwide, is committed to contribute to turning these hopes into reality.

The event was co-hosted by ICLEI US and the US Green Business Council. Read the full speech here.


Informed Cities Forum 2011

Rio+20, local performance and the role of research
26-27 October 2011, Naples (Italy)

Durban Local Government Covention: adapting to a changing climate - towards COP17/CMP7

The Convention is strategically timed to take place during the UNFCCC COP17/CMP7 taking place later this year in Durban, South Africa. 
2-4 December 2011, eThekwini City Hall, Durban (South Africa)

Rio+20 Kongress - nachhaltig vor Ort!

The congress is being held in conjunction with the German annual convention 'Netzwerk21', now in its fifth year.
7-9 December 2011, Hannover (Germany)

Fondation Charles Léopold Mayer