The recent UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in June 2012 was an opportunityfor governments to discuss the global sustainable development agenda and agree on priorities and ways to address the challenges ahead. It was also an opportunity for different stakeholders to input and influence this agenda and pledge for future commitments for action. The Conference was also an important platform for businesses and investors. More than 1800 business leaders attended theConference and related events in Rio and hundreds of voluntary commitments (many measurableand time-bound) outside of the formal negotiating process were announced to support different international initiatives such as ‘Sustainable Energy for All’ or the UN Global Compact Water Mandate.
Rio+20 was also a key opportunity for the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Coalition. The Conference not only raised the profile of the sustainability reporting agenda as stipulated in paragraph 47, but became an important stage for a more visible and active role of progressive businesses and investors in sustainable development and the multilateral process. It also showed how the private sector and civil society can effectively work together towards a common goal.
The sustainability reporting agenda will develop through numerous post-Rio+20 work programmes, including the new Friends of Paragraph 47 governments’ group1. However, other important platforms for investors’ engagement could include work around the creation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Post 2015 Development Agenda. The SDG process has been launched as one of the primary Rio+20 outcomes, and the latter constitutes part of the ongoing process to define the successor framework to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), set to expire in 2015. These processes will engage governments, intergovernmental organisations and stakeholders globally and will be the basis for the agreement on the next sustainable development global goals, targets and indicators against which progress in these areas will be measured.
This briefing aims to inform the coalition about these new spaces for action and attempts to identify some areas for potential engagement from investors in the context of these processes. For this purpose we have collated information on these processes from a range of sources and conducted some informal conversations with staff members from relevant UN agencies and programmes.
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