Rio+20 is a conference about implementation, and an important part of that is making and delivering commitments. All participants at Rio+20 were therefore encouraged to make voluntary commitments to deliver concrete results for sustainable development. Commitments were invited from various stakeholders businesses, other Major Group organizations, associations, academic institutions, philanthropic organizations, UN entities, partnerships involving more than one stakeholder, and Member States.
Rio+20 was attended by some 100 Heads of State and government, along with thousands of representatives from non-governmental organizations, the private sector and civil society, all seeking to help shape new policies to promote global prosperity, reduce poverty and advance social equity and environmental protection.
A total of 712 wide-ranging commitments to sustainable development have been made at Rio+20. These include commitment by multilateral development banks to invest $175 billion in sustainable transport in the next decade, Finalnd’s commitment to contribute to achieving access to sanitation for people in least developed countries by providing an additional one million euro annual contribution in 2012-2015, joint commitment to empower 5,000 women entrepreneurs in green economy businesses in Africa and many others. These commitments translate to $513 billion in funding for several issues, including energy, food security, access to drinking water and management of the oceans, among others.
A key element of the Conference has been its outcome document, entitled “The Future We Want” and agreed on by Member States. The outcome document calls for a wide range of actions, such as beginning the process to establish sustainable development goals; detailing how the green economy can be used as a tool to achieve sustainable development; strengthening the UN Environment Programme (UNEP); promoting corporate sustainability reporting measures; taking steps to go beyond gross domestic product to assess the well-being of a country; developing a strategy for sustainable development financing; and, adopting a framework for tackling sustainable consumption and production.
The document also focuses on improving gender equity; recognizing the importance of voluntary commitments on sustainable development; and stressing the need to engage civil society and incorporate science into policy; among other points.