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Editor's Note: Defining the Outcome 

Issue #178 | 4 November 2011

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By: Lynn Wagner, Ph.D., Group Director, SDG Knowledge, IISD <>

Following the 1 November deadline for submissions to the compilation document for the draft outcome from the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20), the focus of many is now on the possible outcomes from the June 2012 event.

Input from UN member States, negotiating coalitions, Major Groups, UN agencies and international organizations, and regional preparatory meetings that took place before the 1 November 2011 deadline – for Africa, Arab States, the Asia and Pacific region, and Latin America and the Caribbean – will be incorporated in the compilation document. The preparatory meeting for Europe convenes after the deadline, from 1-2 December 2011 – look for IISD RS coverage of that event and any discussion on how delegates will seek to incorporate their deliberations into the UNCSD outcome deliberations. And watch for IISD RS coverage of the UNCSD deliberations during the second intersessional meeting in December, the initial discussions of the “zero draft” document in January, and the “informal informal” negotiations on the document from February-April 2011, as negotiators move from the brainstorming stage to seeking to narrow down the options and identifying the tradeoffs necessary to develop an agreed outcome text.

A number of other possible outcomes from UNCSD also are being proposed by various actors. The “common statement” developed by the UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination, which was developed to serve as a common “chapeau” for the individual contributions submitted by each UN agency, highlights several of the possible outcomes under consideration, including: supporting the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative; laying the foundation for the post-2015 development agenda; making progress toward sustainable development goals (SDGs); and employing “new generation of metrics” to measure progress.

On the SE4ALL initiative, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has just formally launched his High-level Group on Sustainable Energy for All and the related SE4ALL initiative, for which he has set three broad goals for 2030: ensuring universal access to modern energy services; doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and doubling the share of renewables in the global energy mix. We will continue to follow events related to this and other possible outcomes from the UNCSD, modalities of the Conference, and news on possible date changes for the June 2012 event, as they develop.