Read in: French

Summary report, 22–24 April 2013

Asian and Pacific Regional Implementation Meeting on Rio+20 Outcomes

The Asian and Pacific Regional Implementation Meeting (RIM) on Rio+20 Outcomes took place from 22-24 April 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand. The meeting was convened by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), and is one in a series of meetings organized by the UN Regional Commissions to discuss follow up on the outcomes of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD or Rio+20) outcomes and the post-2015 development agenda. The Asia and Pacific RIM provided a regional perspective to the follow up on the Rio+20 outcomes, such as the establishment of a high-level political forum (HLPF) to replace the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), and the elaboration of sustainable development goals (SDGs) by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) Open Working Group on SDGs (OWG).

Approximately 180 representatives of governments, civil society, business and international organizations participated in the meeting. A number of side events were also held on: sustainable development of Asia-Pacific small island developing states (SIDS); the SymbioCity approach to sustainable urbanization and multi-level governance in Asia; a nongovernmental organization (NGO) perspective on linking Rio+20 outcomes to the post-2015 development agenda; the 10-Year Framework of Programmes (10YFP) on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP); and solutions to sustainable development challenges for Asia and the Pacific.

The Asia-Pacific region is seen as the most diverse region of those covered by the UN Regional Economic Commissions. The region includes developed, developing, middle-income and least developed countries, mountain and land-locked countries and small island states, as well as linguistic, political, religious, cultural and ethnic diversity. Many commented on this diversity in their interventions, and the need for taking into account differing national circumstances when developing the SDGs and the post-2015 development agenda.

While the Asia-Pacific RIM provided a regional perspective for the post-Rio+20 processes, including the OWG and the establishment of the HLPF, high-level representatives were seemingly absent in Bangkok. Some suggested that the New York-based discussions to shape the HLPF and SDGs were being prioritized as the main venue for discussions on sustainable development. Some talk on the sidelines reflected strong views that regional discussions or contributions should not in any way prejudge the direction those negotiations take. Others felt that statements coming from the region could be a useful contribution to the global processes in reiterating some of the positions of countries in the region.

In general, delegates welcomed the establishment of the HLPF and urged its integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development on an equal footing, while cautioning that this institution must learn from the experiences of the CSD, and avoid its shortcomings. Many stressed it should not become another “talk shop.” On SDGs and the post-2015 development agenda, delegates strongly supported universally applicable goals that take account of differing stages of development, maintaining a focus on poverty eradication, and giving equal weight to all three dimensions of sustainable development. Many delegates presented their national actions and strategies to support green growth, and some commented on the fact that the Asia-Pacific region is taking the lead in developing and adopting such strategies, although others indicated that what exactly “green growth” is remains unclear. What is clear is that countries are concerned about the “right to development” and that anything imposed from the outside or what they see as attempts to infringe on this right would not be welcome. Delegates overwhelmingly welcomed the Rio+20 outcome of establishing an expert committee on a sustainable development financing strategy, noting this will be critical for countries to be able to implement any SDGs and a post-2015 development agenda.

Stark divergences were expressed regarding inclusion of some issues, such as peace and security, human rights and climate change, in the post-2015 development agenda discussions, with some also cautioning against duplicating the work being undertaken in other fora. The Russian Federation, for example, opposed inclusion of human security, while civil society, in particular, made an emotional plea for its inclusion. Likewise, climate change sparked much debate, in and out of the conference room. The most vulnerable countries in particular, such as SIDS, supported strong recognition of the issue, while others, such as India, cited negotiations in other fora as a justification for not discussing climate change in the post-2015 development agenda context.

Pacific SIDS played a prominent role in the RIM through substantial interventions in plenary and a well-attended side event that addressed: the sustainable development of Pacific SIDS and issues relating to effective management of ocean resources; and preparations for the Third International Conference on SIDS, to be held in Apia, Samoa, in 2014. Civil society also played a very active role in the discussions, with all nine Major Groups given ample time to speak, and many calling for stronger stakeholder participation arrangements in the HLPF. Some countries lauded the level of participation of civil society and hoped that this level of participation could be replicated in the ongoing negotiations in New York and in the HLPF.

Most agreed the meeting was useful in articulating and better understanding each other’s views, although some observers commented that Rio+20 follow up would continue to be governed by current national problems and crises. What role the Regional Commissions, specifically ESCAP in this case, will have in the post-2015 development agenda remains to be seen as negotiations on the various Rio+20 outcomes continue at the global level.


Stockholm Conference: The UN Conference on the Human Environment was held in Stockholm, Sweden, from 5-16 June 1972, and produced three major sets of decisions: one, the Stockholm Declaration; two, the Stockholm Action Plan, containing 109 recommendations on international measures against environmental degradation for governments and international organizations; and three, a group of five resolutions calling for a ban on testing nuclear weapons, creating an international environmental databank, addressing actions linked to development and the environment, creating an environment fund, and establishing the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as the central node for global environmental cooperation and treaty making.

Brundtland Commission: In 1983, the UNGA established an independent commission to formulate a long-term agenda for action. Over the next three years, the World Commission on Environment and Development—more commonly known as the Brundtland Commission, named for its Chair, Gro Harlem Brundtland—held public hearings and studied the issues. Its report, Our Common Future, which was published in 1987, stressed the need for development strategies in all countries that recognized the limits of the global ecosystem’s ability to regenerate and absorb waste products. The Commission emphasized the link between economic development, security and environmental issues, and identified poverty eradication as a necessary and fundamental requirement for environmentally sustainable development.

UN Conference on Environment and Development: The UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), also known as the Earth Summit, was held from 3-14 June 1992 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and was attended by over 100 Heads of State and Government, representatives from 178 countries and some 17,000 participants. The principal outputs of UNCED were the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, Agenda 21 (a 40-chapter programme of action) and the Statement of Forest Principles. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biological Diversity were also opened for signature during the Earth Summit. Agenda 21 called for the creation of a Commission on Sustainable Development as a functional commission of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), to ensure effective follow-up of UNCED, enhance international cooperation, and examine progress in implementing Agenda 21 at the local, national, regional and international levels.

UNGASS-19: The 19th Special Session of the UNGA for the Overall Review and Appraisal of Agenda 21 (23-27 June 1997, New York) adopted the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 (A/ RES/S-19/2) and assessed progress since UNCED.

World Summit on Sustainable Development: The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) met from 26 August - 4 September 2002, in Johannesburg, South Africa. Its goal, according to UNGA resolution 55/199, was to hold a 10-year review of UNCED at the summit level to reinvigorate the global commitment to sustainable development. The WSSD gathered over 21,000 participants from 191 governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, the private sector, civil society, academia and the scientific community. The WSSD negotiated and adopted two main documents: the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI); and the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development.

The JPOI is designed as a framework for action to implement the commitments agreed at UNCED and includes chapters on poverty eradication, consumption and production, the natural resource base, health, SIDS, Africa, other regional initiatives, means of implementation (MoI) and the institutional framework.

United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20): The third and final meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20), pre-conference informal consultations facilitated by the host country, and the UNCSD convened back-to-back in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 13-22 June 2012. During the ten days in Rio, government delegations concluded negotiations on the Rio outcome document, titled The Future We Want. Representatives from 191 UN member states and observers, including 79 Heads of State or Government, addressed the general debate, and approximately 44,000 people attended the official meetings, a Rio+20 Partnerships Forum, Sustainable Development Dialogues, SD-Learning and an estimated 500 side events.

Participants at Rio+20 were encouraged to make voluntary commitments for actions to implement the conference’s goals, with financial commitments from governments, the private sector, civil society and other groups. The Future We Want calls for the UNGA to take decisions on, inter alia: designating a body to operationalize the 10YFP; identifying the format and organizational aspects of the HLPF, which is to replace the CSD; strengthening UNEP; constituting an OWG on SDGs to be agreed by the UNGA; establishing an intergovernmental process under the UNGA to prepare a report proposing options on an effective sustainable development financing strategy; and considering a set of recommendations from the Secretary-General for a facilitation mechanism that promotes the development, transfer and dissemination of clean and environmentally sound technologies.

In addition, the UNGA is called on to take a decision in two years on the development of an international instrument under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea regarding marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction. The UN Statistical Commission is called on to launch a programme of work on broader measures to complement gross domestic product (GDP), and the UN system is encouraged, as appropriate, to support best practice and facilitate action for the integration of sustainability reporting.

The text also includes language on trade-distorting subsidies, fisheries and fossil fuel subsidies. On SIDS, the text calls for continued and enhanced efforts to assist SIDS in implementing the Barbados Programme of Action (BPOA) and the Mauritius Strategy for Implementation (MSI), and for strengthened UN system support to SIDS to address ongoing and emerging challenges. It also calls for the Third International Conference on SIDS to be held in 2014.

UNGA-67: The 67th session of the UNGA adopted a resolution on the implementation of Agenda 21 and the outcomes of Rio+20 (A/RES/67/203), which outlines the negotiation process for the creation of the HLPF, and recommends that the CSD hold a “short and procedural” final session following the conclusion of negotiations on the HLPF. The text also calls for the OWG to report to the UNGA at its 68th session and to report regularly, taking into account the convening of the first HLPF, and the special event in 2013 to follow up on efforts made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

African Regional Implementation Meeting: The African RIM took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 19-21 November 2012, together with the Eighth Session of the Committee on Food Security and Sustainable Development, and adopted an outcome document, which made recommendations on: arrangements for the HLPF; SDGs, including Africa’s priorities, such as poverty eradication, food security and desertification; and MoI. One of the recommendations called for the African RIM to be elevated to a high-level regional forum to ensure effective engagement of African countries in the HLPF.

Conference on Sustainable Development in Latin America and the Caribbean: Follow-up to the Development Agenda beyond 2015 and Rio+20: This meeting took place in Bogotá, Colombia, from 7-9 March 2013, and was preceded by a Caribbean Forum on 5-6 March 2013 to discuss issues of importance to the subregion. The Caribbean Forum adopted guidelines on how to continue working towards development in the subregion, which also aimed to contribute to an agenda for the Third International Conference on SIDS in 2014. The Conference on Sustainable Development in Latin America and the Caribbean provided space for delegates to express regional priorities for the post-2015 development agenda, including addressing: inequality; SCP; broader measures for assessing sustainable development, including those related to health, education, environment and wellbeing; and new ways of financing, beyond traditional official development assistance (ODA).

First Session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals: The first formal meeting of the OWG took place from 14-15 March 2013 at UN Headquarters in New York. Participants shared initial views on both the process and substance of the SDG framework, and suggested priority issues to include in the goals. The main areas emphasized were: eradication of poverty and hunger; employment and decent jobs; SCP; gender equality and empowerment of women; access to and good management of the essentials of human wellbeing, such as food, water, health and energy; and MoI. Delegates outlined views on integrating SDGs into the post-2015 development agenda, and maintaining focus on MDG implementation.

Economic Commission for Europe Discussion of Sustainable Development and the Follow-Up to Rio+20: This meeting took place in Geneva, Switzerland, on Tuesday, 9 April 2013. Although the UNECE decided not to hold a formal post-Rio+20 RIM, the discussion was seen as an important contribution to the implementation of Rio+20 decisions in the UNECE context. Participants from governments, UN agencies, Major Groups and other stakeholders discussed the relevance of the Rio+20 outcomes for the UNECE’s work, and suggested ways the Commission can contribute to formulating SDGs and the new governance mechanisms, such as the HLPF.

Two panel discussions addressed: “The future of sustainability: from transition to transformation;” and “Sustainable development governance: regional implications and perspectives for the post-Rio+20 institutional set up.” Delegates generally agreed that the discussions were useful for: defining regional priorities in the post-Rio+20 period, as well as areas where the UNECE can assure results within its mandate and resources; and understanding the positions of countries and stakeholders in the region at a time when discussions on SDGs and the HLPF are taking shape in New York. A set of Chair’s summaries of the panel discussions was issued at the end of the meeting.

Second Session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals: The second OWG convened from 17-19 April 2013 at UN Headquarters in New York. Delegates addressed conceptualizing SDGs and the SDG process, poverty eradication and the OWG’s Programme of Work (PoW) for 2013-2014.

On conceptual issues, delegates discussed: how to make the goals universally applicable but still meaningful to the specific circumstances of countries; the SDG relationship to, and key lessons from, the MDGs; and poverty eradication. On universality, two main options were discussed: a common set of goals coupled with the adoption of differentiated targets and/or timelines calibrated to development levels and national circumstances; or a common set of goals with multiple targets and indicators comprising either a dashboard or menu from which countries could choose to prioritize when devising their own development agenda, in keeping with their development levels and national circumstances. Delegates seemed to favor the idea of a global dashboard, although some countries expressed concern with having too many targets and indicators.

Discussions on poverty eradication focused mainly on: whether it should be an overarching target for all SDGs or a stand-alone goal; and how the multi-dimensional aspects of poverty can be captured in the new set of goals. Most agreed on the need to move beyond traditional income-based poverty measures.

A divergence of views emanated from the PoW discussions, particularly with the proposed clustering of some issues, such as energy and climate change, whereby developing countries felt that the SDGs should focus on the developmental aspects of energy and access to energy for the poor, and that the discussion should take place in the context of sustained and inclusive growth. Many asked for MoI to be discussed as cross cutting, rather than in a separate session.


ESCAP Executive Secretary Noeleen Heyzer opened the Asian-Pacific RIM (RIM) on Rio+20 Outcomes and invited delegates’ advice on how to bring together the processes for SDGs and the post-2015 development agenda. She said that regional frameworks can complement and facilitate the translation of sustainable development policies into concrete actions at the national level.

Young-Woo Park, Regional Director, UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ROAP), highlighted Rio+20 outcomes, including affirmation of green economy and SCP, as well as the recent UNGA decision to establish a UN Environment Assembly. He mentioned follow-up actions by UNEP, including its “Think, Eat, Save” campaign to reduce food waste and losses, the Partnership for Action on the Green Economy, and global thematic discussions on environmental sustainability. He called for more engagement with the private sector and markets.

Daniele Ponzi, Asian Development Bank (ADB), discussed a joint report on “Green Growth, Resources and Resilience,” launched by UNEP, ADB and ESCAP, and the ADB document “Environment Operational Directions for 2013-2020” that recommends: shifting to sustainable, low-carbon infrastructure; investing in natural capital; strengthening environmental governance and management capacity; and responding to climate change imperatives. He noted the region was a global leader in green investment, and emphasized generation and exchange of development knowledge, and regional knowledge platforms as key for strengthened regional cooperation.

Nurlan Kapparov, Minister of Environmental Protection, Kazakhstan, and Chair of CSD-20, via video, discussed Kazakhstan’s transition to a green economy, highlighting the Green Bridge Partnership Programme. He noted upcoming contributions of Kazakhstan to the UN Secretary-General’s Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative, and constructive dialogue with Major Groups, highlighting the Civil Alliance with Kazakhstan initiative.

Kim Lee Choy, speaking for Youth and Children, stressed the need for access to clean and safe water for all, sustainable cities, and environmentally sound transportation. She urged immediate action to reach a greener and happier future.

ELECTION OF OFFICERS AND ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA: Vannak Chhun (Cambodia) was elected Chair; Ahmed Saleem (Maldives), Askar Tazhiyev (Kazakhstan), and Peseta Noumea Simi (Samoa) were elected Vice-Chairs; and Yuba Raj Bhusal (Nepal) was elected rapporteur.

Chair Chhun invited delegates to adopt the agenda (EDD/UNCSD/RIM/1). The Russian Federation reported that member states had agreed the Chair’s summary would be the outcome document for the meeting, and that all procedures should be incorporated into this document rather than in a separate meeting report. Delegates then adopted the agenda.

MAIN OUTCOMES OF RIO+20 AND IMPLICATIONS FOR ASIA AND THE PACIFIC AND MEETING OVERVIEW: Rae Kwon Chung, Director, Environment and Development Division, ESCAP, highlighted the main Rio+20 outcomes, and outlined issues for regional consideration, including: strengthening the institutional framework for sustainable development; identifying the region’s challenges and priorities to be addressed in SDGs; and financing mechanisms.


Nikhil Seth, Director, Division for Sustainable Development, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), presented lessons learned from the CSD, and discussed the HLPF and the OWG processes. On the HLPF, he noted that the CSD’s first 10 years were well supported with high-level representation, but that enthusiasm began to wane in later years due to: setting the agenda too far in advance, leading to a lack of flexibility; insufficient focus on implementation; focusing mainly on the environmental perspective; and lack of an outcome at some meetings. He highlighted the need for: fully engaging with the policy-making communities and the Regional Commissions; and strengthening the science-policy interface.

On SDGs, he noted “a great sense of excitement” and a much broader remit for SDGs, beyond the areas covered by the MDGs. He reported that the recent OWG had called for accelerating implementation of the MDGs and embedding the goals in a broader narrative, and a strong focus on poverty eradication through inclusive growth and provision of basic services. He outlined the OWG’s agenda over the coming months, which he said would culminate in a report to the 68th General Assembly.


This session on Monday morning was moderated by Kilaparti Ramakrishna, Director, ESCAP Subregional Office for East and Northeast Asia.

Panel Presentations: Ella Antonio, Earth Council, Asia Pacific, discussed the HLPF, urging strong coordination, integration and cohesion at all levels. She highlighted that space for civil society participation has grown substantially in size and improved in quality, but noted competition to gain access to this space and increased complexities with more actors needing to coordinate and cooperate. She urged: establishing platforms for interaction and cooperation among subregions and regions; and creating national-level multi-stakeholder bodies, mentioning the Philippine and German Councils for Sustainable Development as examples.

Lim Li Ching, Third World Network, said the HLPF should not be a “talk shop,” but rather a “CSD-plus,” building on CSD modalities regarding functions and decision making, and providing leadership and a catalyst for action, with all member states involved in drafting decisions. She: supported a strong, augmented secretariat; urged looking at other models to enhance civil society participation, such as the Civil Society Mechanism of the Committee on World Food Security under the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO); and said ESCAP could establish a process to further consult, engage and involve civil society at the regional and national levels.

Country Statements: Many countries emphasized the HLPF should ensure participation of representatives from all three dimensions of sustainable development. The Russian Federation said the HLPF should monitor progress achieved on SDGs, but not provide standardization or oversight of countries; suggested that ECOSOC play a leading role in the process; and opposed establishing any additional mechanisms. Thailand suggested ESCAP work with UNEP ROAP and other regional actors to provide input to the HLPF to ensure national and regional concerns are incorporated into global decision making.

China said the HLPF should: strike a balance between the three pillars; increase the voice of developing countries and help overcome the difficulties they face; ensure a smooth transition from the CSD; explore new working methodologies; and assimilate ideas from regional mechanisms, such as ESCAP.

Nepal emphasized the challenges faced by least developed and mountain countries and said the HLPF should facilitate their increased participation. Australia cautioned against duplicating work of existing entities, and said the HLPF should build on lessons learned from the CSD, but avoid replication, and not engage in negotiations, noting this was a shortcoming of the CSD.

The Philippines stressed the HLPF should strengthen partnerships to enhance feedback and address shortcomings of the CSD. She urged: strengthening monitoring and evaluation of activities and outputs; support for national and local actions; and mainstreaming existing institutions rather than creating new ones. Sri Lanka said: HLPF decisions should be universal, effective and binding; issues should be resolved at the regional level where possible; and the HLPF should address neglected areas, such as finance and technology, take the lead in implementing the SDGs, and convene on short notice to address crises.

Singapore urged high-level participation from all sectors, not just environment. Tuvalu said that while the HLPF should monitor global-level achievements, more in-depth monitoring should be undertaken at the regional and subregional levels, with ESCAP reporting results to the global level. He said that a common monitoring and reporting template, while based on the situation of individual countries, should be developed.

Major Group Statements: Women called on the UN Regional Commissions to: gather information from civil society organizations and conduct periodic reviews of progress on women’s empowerment; establish accountability mechanisms, such as budget reviews and shadow reports; and adopt the approach taken by the Human Rights Council’s Universal Peer Review mechanism.

Children and Youth called for youth participation in the HLPF, which they said should report directly to the UNGA. Indigenous Peoples proposed integrating a cultural dimension into sustainable development.

NGOs said civil society should be an equal partner on the HLPF, rather than only having a consultative role. Business and Industry urged governments to intensify collaboration with business. Workers and Trade Unions said that human rights are a sustainable development issue, and called for more social dialogue at the grassroots level.

The Scientific and Technological Community proposed duplicating some of the Human Rights Council arrangements, such as peer review of policy performance and Special Rapporteur appointments for fact-finding purposes, and supported improving access to information and justice. Farmers called for recognizing the voices of small farmers, women and the poor.


Rae Kwon Chung, ESCAP, moderated this session on Monday afternoon, prefacing the discussion with a presentation on the need to move away from a growth paradigm based on a “vicious cycle of exploiting human and natural capital, towards a “virtuous cycle” based on investing in human and natural capital.

Panel Presentations: Shamsul Alam, General Economics Division, Planning Commission, Bangladesh, proposed maintaining many of the current MDG indicators, and outlined six themes for grouping clusters of targets, with the intention of bringing together the post-2015 development agenda and SDGs. He explained the thematic clusters as: population, gender, education and health; economic growth, poverty, hunger and employment; environment, climate change, green economy, energy and disasters; governance and human rights; SCP patterns; and international cooperation for sustainable development.

John Egan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, New Zealand, said the MDGs failed to recognize the multiple dimensions of poverty, and that new goals should go “beyond minimums,” not just halving poverty but eliminating it.

Noeleen Nabulivou, Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era, noted agreement on the principles of universality and non-regression in the SDGs. She called for, inter alia: tackling the root causes of gender inequality; equitable access and distribution of resources; ending sexual and gender-based violence; guaranteeing reproductive rights for women; and addressing food security and volatility of food prices. She urged ESCAP to scale up efforts towards international data comparability, including cooperation with the UN Statistical Commission.

Krishna Rao Pinninti, Rutgers University, proposed moving the international poverty line from US$1.25 a day to US$2 a day, noting the high proportion of people in the region with a relatively low standard of living. He recommended: addressing pockets of persistent poverty; using country-specific Multidimensional Poverty Indices; and relieving poverty among women and children. He called on governments to focus on: nationally appropriate institutional reform; effective stakeholder participation; mechanisms for openness, accountability and transparency; and rights-based inclusive development.

Country Statements: During the discussion, many countries emphasized that the SDGs should: be universal in nature, taking into account differing countries’ circumstances and stages of development; integrate and be based on the three pillars of sustainable development in an equal manner; and maintain poverty eradication as a foundation.

Bhutan noted her country’s people-centered approach to development and significant progress on gross national happiness.

Nepal said SDGs should embrace all the Rio Principles. Thailand stressed: SDGs should address major shortcomings of the MDGs; countries need to establish national goals; multi-stakeholder involvement; and collecting data for indicators at the local and national levels.

Japan said countries should aim for inclusive and shared growth. China said the process of developing the SDGs should be guided by the Rio Principles, including common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR).

Papua New Guinea supported engaging civil society in planning and implementation, and suggested ESCAP propose principles to help guide SDG implementation.

The Philippines emphasized: an accountability and feedback mechanism; alignment with national development frameworks; engaging civil society and the private sector; and optimizing natural resource use while maintaining a balanced ecology.

India said the development framework should not constrict development and, while some gains have been made, poverty still exists. He said simplicity accounted for the MDGs’ success, opposed overburdening the agenda, and stressed giving primacy to the right to development.

Indonesia said the multiple dimensions of poverty should be the starting point of discussions, and that poverty eradication can only be achieved through equitable development and strengthening global partnerships.

The Russian Federation opposed incorporating peace and security as a fourth pillar of sustainable development, and cautioned against prejudging the OWG outcomes.

Singapore cautioned against impeding development through adopting onerous targets, and supported coherence and coordination between the SDG processes and the post-2015 development agenda to avoid duplicating efforts.

Malaysia cautioned against diverting attention away from the MDGs, and supported integrating SDGs into the post-2015 development agenda, focusing on developing countries and eradicating inequality. He called for the SDGs to be based on CBDR and linked to effective MoI.

Viet Nam supported concrete indicators and measurable goals, and addressing the unique challenges and priorities of the region.

Major Group and Other Statements: Women supported a model that addresses the root causes of inequalities, emphasizing: control over resources and sustainable livelihoods; decent work and a living wage; peace and security based on justice; and sexual and reproductive rights.

Children and Youth urged synergy with the MDGs, inscribing voluntary commitments and focusing on environmental education. Indigenous Peoples urged: recognizing cultural and ethical values as an important element of sustainable development; and full and effective implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

NGOs highlighted CBDR, SDGs formulated through a bottom-up approach, and civil society involvement from formulation to implementation. Local Authorities called for comprehensive, transformative and simple goals, providing incentives to achieve goals, and capacity building for good governance.

Workers and Trade Unions urged changing unsustainable consumption and production patterns, and said social protection is essential for social justice. Business and Industry called for private sector support and training programmes, noting industry is essential for sustainable development.

The Scientific and Technological Community highlighted the influence of its constituency in implementing SDGs, noting there are six million engineers in India and 10 million in China. Farmers lamented that land grabbing and resource exploitation has occurred on the pretext of addressing hunger, and emphasized that a “food sovereignty” framework is about ecological democracy. The Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) called on countries to provide universal health coverage.


On Monday afternoon, Charles Arden-Clarke, Head of Unit and Acting Head of the 10YFP Secretariat, SCP Branch, UNEP, presented on progress made on the 10YFP, reminding countries to nominate national focal points. He reported that a UN interagency coordinating group on the 10YFP will meet in Paris next month for the first time, and that trust funds have been established for five programmes under the 10YFP on: consumer information; sustainable lifestyles and education; sustainable public procurement; sustainable buildings and construction; and sustainable tourism, including ecotourism. He also noted the presence of a Global SCP Clearinghouse, and highlighted existing regional initiatives relevant to SCP, including the SWITCH-Asia Programme to promote SCP in small and medium enterprises, the Asia Low Emissions Development Strategies Partnership and the “circular economy” in China. He encouraged countries to build on work accomplished through: undertaking sectoral approaches; making the business case for SCP; and cooperating on areas of interest, such as standards and labels for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).


On Monday afternoon, Daniele Ponzi, Asian Development Bank (ADB), presented on the ADB’s role in supporting “green growth,” preferring this term to “green economy.” He outlined the ADB “Environmental Operational Directions for 2013-2020,” which includes: raising US$8 trillion in investment for sustainable infrastructure in the region over the next decade; investing in natural capital through initiatives in the Coral Triangle, the “heart of Borneo” forests, the Greater Mekong Subregion, and the Himalayas; and strengthening environmental governance through institutions, compliance, enforcement, environmental safeguards systems, transparency, disclosure and accountability.


On Tuesday morning, Chair Chhun opened the meeting, and Masakazu Ichimura, ESCAP, moderated the session.

Panel Presentations: Tariq Banuri, University of Utah, and former Director of the UN Division for Sustainable Development, said that MoI has been a divisive issue for the CSD, and stressed the need for cooperation. He recommended that MoI should involve the normative, technical, operational and monitoring aspects of the UN system, and suggested that institutional models, such as the Green Climate Fund could be “leveraged” for sustainable development.

Feri Lumampao, Executive Director, Approtech Asia, called for engaging academia, women, and business and industry in technology needs and assessments, and including gender goals and indicators. She mentioned a project of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and Grameen Shakti, which is training women to install solar panels in Bangladesh, as a good example of capacity building.

Dino Vega, Indonesia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, looked forward to a “green race” of companies and governments working together to get ahead on green technology. He called for addressing the issue of tax havens and loopholes, and recognizing the true cost of human activities to the planet.

Chair Chhun presented on green growth in Cambodia, noting all ministries are involved in formulating and updating green growth policies and action plans, including those related to, inter alia, investment and job creation, education, social safety systems, cultural heritage and good governance. He said over 100 communities in protected areas are managing resources and protecting livelihoods through greenbelt programmes.

Keobang Keola, Ministry of Natural Resources, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, noted her country would graduate from the least developed country (LDC) category by 2020. She called for enabling LDCs to: scale up green economy activities and make progress on MDGs; and overcome challenges in accessing resources and technology on affordable terms. She supported: a regional support mechanism; promoting local community knowledge; identifying SCP criteria; resource efficiency policies; and scientific data and knowledge sharing.

Country Statements: Many countries welcomed the establishment of an expert committee on a sustainable development financing strategy. Nepal highlighted a mountain countries’ declaration, emanating from a 2011 global meeting of mountain countries, that encourages incorporating the special circumstances they face, particularly relating to the impacts of climate change, and supported centers of excellence for sustainable mountain development.

Thailand emphasized ESCAP’s role as a regional coordinating body in technology cooperation and transfer of environmentally-friendly technology, and called on member states to liberalize agriculture. China called for: developed countries to fulfill their ODA commitments; political will at all levels to mobilize more resources; strengthening South-South cooperation; and institutionalizing technology transfer.

The Philippines supported: creating a sustainable development fund to enable countries to transition to a green economy; increasing the private sector’s role, and North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation; and mainstreaming SCP in development planning.

Australia said that access to finance and overcoming constraints for the poor are key concerns. Bhutan noted the importance of the CBDR principle, predictability and accountability, and highlighted the gross national happiness screening tool used in Bhutan.

Fiji said priority setting should be driven by countries, rather than by their development partners. He called for the ADB to consider appropriate modalities for SIDS, pointing out that substantial resources in his country have been diverted to emergency response, and away from the MDGs.

Major Group Statements: A Major Group representative, speaking for Farmers, Workers and Trade Unions, Children and Youth, and NGOs, welcomed the Rio+20 agreement to establish an intergovernmental process to facilitate a financing strategy. She called for technology transfer on concessional and preferential terms, and for MoI to be prominent in the HLPF’s work.

Women called for global macroeconomic structures to comply with human rights obligations. The Scientific and Technological Community proposed a new definition of sustainable development that mentions the earth’s life support systems.


On Tuesday morning, Peseta Noumea Simi, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Samoa, presented on sustainable development in Pacific SIDS. She underscored the HLPF should lead to tangible outcomes for SIDS. Reporting on a Pacific SIDS side event held the previous day, she emphasized, inter alia: effective management of ocean resources as a priority for Pacific SIDS; holding distant fishing nations accountable for using a global public good; the need to reflect the existing diversity among Pacific SIDS; the Pacific Oceanscape initiative; and a resolution drafted for submission to the 69th session of the ESCAP Commission.

Regarding preparations for the Third International Conference on SIDS, Simi called for new political commitment and identifying sustainable development priorities of SIDS for consideration and elaboration in the post-2015 UN development agenda. She highlighted: the upcoming regional preparatory conference from 10-12 July 2013 in Fiji; the importance of partnership with civil society; valuing natural capital in the context of a green economy; effective ocean governance; and applying a precautionary approach with respect to, inter alia, geoengineering.


India reiterated that CBDR and equity must form the bedrock of a new agenda with poverty eradication at its core; and said the new framework must be growth focused, simple, practical and implementable, and not overburdened with a “laundry list of the world’s problems.” He stressed focusing on the right to development, not on human rights and governance, and opposed bringing peace and security and climate change into the post-2015 development agenda, noting these are being addressed in other fora.

Thailand highlighted the establishment of a national sustainable development committee, and said ESCAP should strengthen collaboration with UNEP and subregional organizations in implementing the Bali Strategic Plan for Technology Support and Capacity Building.

Singapore suggested a thematic approach to SDGs, and taking into account lessons learned from the CSD. He highlighted the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint, which identifies national sustainable development targets up to 2030.

New Zealand cited the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation from the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, held in Busan, Republic of Korea, as a good model of cooperation, noting it is country-led, with light global monitoring, and is grounded in mutual accountability with term limits for officers.

Papua New Guinea requested ESCAP to work on country-specific initiatives in line with best practices in sustainable development.

Kazakhstan mentioned: the hosting of a meeting of Ministers of Trade of landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) in Astana in September 2012; a new agency for technology transfer within Central Asia; and exploring cooperation for an Asian Energy Highway.

Samoa recommended working through a subregional institutional partnership model, such as the Pacific Plan. The Russian Federation presented its activities in the energy sector, and invited participants to the Asia-Pacific Energy Forum, to be hosted in Vladivostok from 27-30 May 2013.

Viet Nam highlighted its green growth activities, including its National Green Growth Strategy, and steps towards hosting an ASEAN green growth center. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPR Korea) called for taking different levels of development into account, and eliminating unfair trade measures.

Australia supported: eliminating harmful fisheries subsidies; promoting biodiversity in the high seas; developing high-quality transport and urban infrastructure; and sustainable and socially inclusive targets under SDGs.

Noting his country has achieved five of the eight MDGs, the Maldives said sustaining those achievements is the real challenge. He discussed efforts by his country to be carbon neutral by 2020, lamented that GDP does not reflect worsening national debt, and called for: reforming aid strategies to emphasize sustainable policies; and prioritizing climate change adaptation in the new agenda.

Nepal emphasized a mountain ecosystem perspective and gender equality. Myanmar stressed the importance of a green economy to achieve sustainable development, and called for a facilitation mechanism that promotes the transfer of clean technologies.

Sri Lanka mentioned its national priorities of information and communication technologies, health and oceans, and proposed mainstreaming youth as key partners.

Afghanistan outlined a national process of transformation, including action for women’s empowerment, enhanced education for girls and job creation.

The Solomon Islands observed that climate change does not mean only natural disasters for SIDS, but also disempowerment due to threats to livelihoods, citing the problem of ocean acidification. He called on countries that have not signed the Rio Conventions or Kyoto Protocol to do so.

The Philippines called for more systematic engagement of the Regional Commissions through intersessional meetings and accountability mechanisms for implementation.

Indonesia called on developing countries to do more on climate change, saying that even if developed countries were to meet their commitments, it would not be enough, stating that “there is no breakthrough without thinking outside the box.”

Bangladesh highlighted its efforts to improve road connectivity with neighboring countries, and said that financial support for climate change management activities should be new and additional to ODA. Kiribati said the biggest obstacle for the Pacific is the lack of MoI. She expressed concern about the growing number of youth who are facing unemployment in Pacific SIDS, and highlighted the urgency for the HLPF to bring about “more action than talk.”

Uzbekistan discussed water as a critical transboundary resource, noting the ecological degradation of the Aral Sea. China called for researching special regional features, increasing regional cooperation, and selecting from the Rio+20 outcome document’s priority issues for the region.

Farmers called for control over arable land and resources, a farmer-responsive policy toward biodiversity, and strengthening the capacity of smallholder producers.

Indigenous Peoples called for: partnerships that go beyond aid; ecosystem and territorial management approaches that emphasize the interconnectedness of humanity and nature; equitable sharing of resources; and recognition of traditional knowledge.

Local Authorities discussed programmes related to low-carbon cities in Asia and the Pacific. The Scientific and Technological Community advocated capacity building for engineers to promote sustainable growth.

Women called for ending government policies that promote resource-intensive practices, which can be life threatening to workers and often forcibly evict women from homes. She said escalating fundamentalism and politicization of religion in the region has affected women’s ability to control their lives and bodies, and called for dedicated gender equality goals in the new development framework, as well as specific targets and indicators throughout.

Quoting the ILO’s Philadelphia Declaration, Workers and Trade Unions said “poverty anywhere is a danger to prosperity everywhere.” She underscored that human rights includes workers’ rights and discrimination threatens stability, and called for social protection and a financial transaction tax.

Children and Youth urged: inclusion of human rights, human security and climate change in the post-2015 development agenda; and an agenda that respects planetary boundaries and goes beyond GDP.

Business and Industry pointed to a mechanism in Bangladesh whereby new industries must be based in part on use of renewables. He stressed, inter alia: incorporating costs of externalities, ecosystem services and water into the marketplace; and dissemination of information to local chambers of commerce through the ESCAP Business Advisory Council.

NGOs emphasized, inter alia: the principles of solidarity and “do no harm;” the polluter pays and precautionary principles; and Principle 10 (access to information, public participation and access to justice). He called for an implementation mechanism with strong accountability for the private sector to ensure respect for human rights and environmental regulations.

FAO recommended incentives for integrating SCP into food systems. He urged delegates to adopt a set of six principles for reforming the world food system, including: protecting people’s rights and livelihoods; and voluntary guidelines on responsible governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests.

The UN Development Programme stressed that delivering on Rio+20 means “getting the poverty-environment nexus right,” stating the two have remained separate for too long and identifying this as a “make-or-break issue” for the post-2015 development agenda.


On Tuesday afternoon, delegates discussed the outcome of the meeting. In response to a question from the Maldives, the Secretariat explained that the purpose of the RIM was to produce a regional perspective on follow-up to Rio+20, and to communicate this to the global processes. He recalled the guidance of member states that the meeting’s outcome would be a Chair’s summary, and advised delegates that the draft would be available Wednesday morning for participants to consider and propose revisions, if necessary.

The Secretariat explained the nature of the Chair’s summary would be a compilation of the divergent views expressed during the meeting. Noting that it would not be a consensus document, he sought guidance from member states as to whether the summary should be “adopted,” “endorsed” or have no status.

The Maldives expressed concern that not all viewpoints would be captured in a summary, and the Secretariat said that delegates could propose additional language. Chair Chhun urged delegates to work towards convergence, adding that developed countries and the African region have been able to agree on common language. Bhutan asked about the modality for informing the HLPF and OWG of the meeting’s outcomes, and the Secretariat said the outcome would be conveyed through DESA.

On Wednesday morning, the Chair’s summary was distributed for delegates to review and consult on prior to the afternoon plenary session.

In the afternoon plenary session, delegates discussed the Chair’s summary and what action, if any, should be taken on it. Chair Chhun reiterated that the meeting’s outcome is intended to contribute to global sustainable development processes, but stressed the Chair’s summary is not a negotiated text.

Bhutan, supported by New Zealand, suggested removing brackets from paragraphs on: adopting the Chair’s summary as a reflection of views, experiences, achievements and challenges of countries in the region, which were expressed during the meeting; and the Chair’s summary as a contribution to the SDG process and other relevant global processes. She also sought clarification on the means of transmitting the meeting’s outcome to the relevant global processes. The Secretariat said it would undertake this role, and encouraged member states to refer to the Chair’s summary when their respective delegations attend international meetings.

The Philippines called for a stronger statement on how the results of this meeting will be elevated to a higher level, fearing the meeting could end up as nothing more than a “debating club” whose results would be “shelved.” She also called for reference to implementation of previous commitments and agreements.

Kiribati proposed inserting “sustainable” before “development” throughout the document, for example with reference to “the right to development.” Bhutan questioned the appropriateness of introducing “sustainable” in reference to the “right to development.”

New Zealand said the document should reflect points made during the meeting by Indonesia and Kiribati regarding common responsibility for action.

On institutional framework for sustainable development, Australia, supported by the Philippines, called for stronger language reflecting that the HLPF should: build on lessons learned from the CSD; and truly reflect the three pillars of sustainable development, and not repeat what is done in other fora.

On ESCAP’s role, UNDP proposed a reference to links between global- and country-level actions, including the role of the UN Resident Coordinator system to ensure UN coordination at the country level.

On SDGs and the post-2015 development agenda, China asked for more prominent placement of the subparagraph on guiding principles, and of references to the principles of sovereignty and CBDR. On relationships between the SDGs and the post-2015 development agenda, the Russian Federation requested deleting reference to “peace and human security.” Australia asked for language emphasizing civil society participation in sustainable development mechanisms.

Regarding a subparagraph on broad strategies, the Maldives asked for a reference to environmental justice. China said that country statements did not specify that human rights and human wellbeing should be at the core of the framework, and instead proposed language on maintaining inclusive development through paying attention to gender equity and social justice, with an emphasis on human wellbeing.

On priorities relating to SDGs and the post-2015 agenda, the Maldives asked to reflect the impacts of climate change as one of the most critical challenges to development in the region. China proposed reordering the priorities, with economy-related issues first, followed by human-centered issues, which she proposed renaming “social or social development” issues.

On implementation approaches, the Maldives proposed language reflecting the need for a recipient-driven approach taking into account national priorities and ownership. UNDP called for clarification in the text that its role is to help countries access financing, rather than to manage financing mechanisms.

On ESCAP’s role, UNDP proposed revising the text to reflect concerns expressed about ESCAP’s primary role as supporting SDG implementation.

On means of implementation and sustainable development financing, the Maldives proposed language stating that: growth in national debt in SIDS and LDCs was highlighted as an impediment to mobilizing resources for sustainable development; and debt relief arrangements for developing countries, particularly LDCs and SIDS, were stressed. Australia proposed language reflecting that sustainable development depends on sustainable long-term financial flows, including, but not limited to, ODA. On difficulties in mobilizing domestic resources, Nepal added reference to LDCs and LLDCs. On technology transfer, the Maldives asked for language stating that intellectual property rights (IPR) were highlighted as an obstacle in the region for use of environmentally sound technologies.

On national priorities, implementation of regional arrangements, areas for regional collaboration and the role of ESCAP, as well as government initiatives and relevant strategies, the Maldives added language on his country’s efforts to phase out hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), achieve carbon neutrality by 2020 and make the entire nation a biosphere reserve by 2017. Australia elaborated on its National Urban Policy, noting it promotes an integrated approach to sustainable planning of cities and urban settlements. Cambodia requested inserting a reference to his government’s adoption of a 2013-2020 national green growth strategy.

On key challenges noted by governments, and in relation to the impacts of climate change, Bangladesh proposed specific reference to impacts experienced in his country, including more frequent and severe floods, and salinity intrusion. On recommendations regarding ESCAP’s role, Kiribati called on ESCAP to focus on helping countries at the national level before reaching out to global processes.

In a Major Group statement, NGOs, also speaking for Women, Farmers, Workers and Trade Unions, Indigenous Peoples, and Children and Youth, expressed regret that countries had not set a regional implementation plan regarding the Rio+20 outcomes. She called for: grounding SDGs in a human rights approach; recognizing indigenous peoples’ rights as set out in UNDRIP; and recognizing people’s security as integral to sustainable development. She welcomed the reference to women’s rights in the Chair’s summary.

She called for reference to: concerns expressed regarding the current IPR regime; and the sustainable development financing strategy and technology facilitation mechanism to promote the transfer of environmentally sound technologies. She stressed the importance of the polluter pays principle; welcomed recognition of food sovereignty and agrarian reform, cautioning that it must be farmer-centered; and called on governments to support small-scale farming. She urged delegates to “be bold” and “adopt” the Chair’s summary.

Responding to the concern expressed by Major Groups on IPRs, UNAIDS noted that the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights should ensure flexibility and contribute to achieving a healthy population, which is necessary for sustainable development.

On action to be taken regarding the Chair’s summary, the Russian Federation argued that the Chair’s summary should not be “adopted” or “endorsed,” but could be “released with the consent of all participants.” DPR Korea and Japan supported the Russian Federation’s proposal. Thailand proposed using a word other than “released.” Australia and Bhutan expressed concern with the term “release” and wondered who the document would be “released” to. Iran opposed adopting the Chair’s summary.

The Secretariat explained that in order to release any document, it must first be adopted, and that it does not have to be a negotiated document to be adopted. He said that adopting the document would provide a linkage between the document and the meeting.

The Philippines, Australia, Samoa, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Fiji, Nepal, Viet Nam and the Maldives supported adopting the Chair’s summary. The Maldives cautioned against becoming “victims of terminology.”

As an alternative, the Russian Federation suggested that the RIM “recognize” the Chair’s summary as a reflection of the views, experiences, achievements and challenges of countries in the region expressed during the meeting. Uzbekistan supported this proposal. DPR Korea suggested attaching the summary to the report of the meeting.

Following informal consultations, Chair Chhun proposed that instead of adopting the Chair’s summary, delegates would adopt the report of the meeting, with the Chair’s summary annexed to the report, and delegates agreed. A summary of the SIDS side event is also annexed to the meeting’s report. The meeting was adjourned at 5:12 pm.


The Chair’s Summary, which is annexed to the report of the meeting, is divided into two sections: “Main outcomes of Rio+20: Regional perspectives on global processes” and “Rio+20 follow up: National priorities, implementation of regional arrangements, areas for regional collaboration and the role of ESCAP.” It includes various issues raised by participants during the discussions and is not a negotiated document.

MAIN OUTCOMES OF RIO+20: REGIONAL PERSPECTIVES ON GLOBAL PROCESSES: This section includes subsections on: institutional framework for sustainable development; SDGs and the UN post-2015 development agenda; MoI; and the Third International Conference on SIDS.

The subsection on institutional framework for sustainable development highlights the need for: coherence and integration; value added in the HLPF’s role; respecting the Rio Principles, in particular the principle of CBDR; and stakeholder engagement.

This subsection discusses:

  • the functioning of the HLPF, including that it be inclusive and increase the participation of developing countries, including LDCs and SIDS, in decision-making;
  • ECOSOC’s role as a primary institutional mechanism for sustainable development; and
  • ESCAP’s role, including that it lead regional preparatory processes for HLPF sessions in close collaboration with UNEP ROAP and others.

The subsection on SDGs and the UN Post-2015 Development Agenda highlights the need for: poverty reduction based on a sustainable and equitable development agenda; strengthened global and regional partnerships; recognition of the right to development, and the principles of sovereignty and CBDR; and a flexible and adaptable framework.

The summary includes subparagraphs on:

  • the relationships between the post-2015 development agenda and the SDGs, including that the SDGS should be an integral part of the development agenda and that there should be one universal framework;
  • guiding principles and the basis for the SDGs, including that the SDGs be simple, practicable, measurable and coherently integrate and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development so as to address the gaps between the MDG agenda and sustainable development;
  • broad strategies, including one that emphasizes growth and prioritizing the right to development for developing countries, inclusive development, and integrating and balancing the three pillars;
  • approaches to developing the SDGs, including support for the OWG’s work, and an open, participatory, transparent and intergovernmental process based on consensus;
  • priorities in relation to the SDGs and the post-2015 development agenda, including human-centered/social development issues, economy-related issues, ecosystems management/environmental sustainability issues, cross-cutting issues, and transformative issues, such as the need for a new development paradigm;
  • implementation approaches, such as capacity building, support for reporting and building on data management, and stakeholder participation in data collection; and
  • ESCAP’s role, including facilitating the establishment of national, subregional and regional platforms on SDG development.

The subsection on MoI addresses the need for: technology transfer; regional and international cooperation; appropriate and accessible technology and finance; trade opportunities; and considering a wide range of financing options in addition to ODA. The MoI section includes subparagraphs on:

  • sustainable development financing, which addresses the need for, inter alia: collective efforts to address sustainable development; increased mobilization of domestic resources for sustainable development; and long-term development finance, as well as a range of financing options; and
  • technology transfer, including: the need for capacity building in relation to technology transfer, environmentally sound technologies and their transfer, and strengthening South-South cooperation to complement rather than replace North-South cooperation; and that ESCAP facilitate cooperation among members to develop technical cooperation for the transfer of environmentally sound technologies.

The subsection on the Third International Conference on SIDS discusses a side event titled “Sustainable Development of Asia-Pacific SIDS: Oceans of Opportunity” held on 22 April 2013, which: highlighted that sustainable and equitable management of ocean resources can support poverty reduction in SIDS; and contributed to a draft resolution for consideration by the 69th Commission Session of ESCAP and for discussions at the Pacific Preparatory Meeting to be held 10-12 July 2013 in Fiji in advance of the Third International Conference on SIDS.


  • specific government initiatives and relevant strategies;
  • key challenges identified by governments, including: the impact of resource-based industries; environmental, social and economic vulnerability, particularly climate change impacts; access to clean energy; financial vulnerability, as a result of relying on GDP as a measure of progress; gender discrimination; and food insecurity related to the water/food/energy nexus;
  • solutions identified by governments, such as: decision making that includes civil society and relies on better indicators of progress; public-private partnerships; mainstreaming of SCP policies; enhancing education, skills and technical knowledge; community-based, integrated approaches to management; formulating a unique regional strategy; and identifying priority sectors for the region; and
  • recommendations regarding ESCAP’s role, including: convening regional forums on Rio+20 follow up; supporting the coordination of global processes on the post-2015 development agenda at the regional level; supporting consultation mechanisms on reviewing priority areas; a strengthened role in facilitating discussions with all regional actors; supporting country-specific initiatives; and, together with ADB and UNEP, strengthening the work on measuring progress beyond GDP.


This summary is annexed to the report of the meeting, and outlines discussions that took place during the side event, held on 22 April 2013, on opportunities for sustainable development in oceans and seas, and preparations for the Third International Conference on SIDS.

The summary states that participants at the side event:

  • expressed concern over whether the HLPF would lead to tangible outcomes for SIDS;
  • proposed shifting the focus away from the vulnerability of SIDS, to opportunities for SIDS in forging the post-2015 development agenda and in managing oceans;
  • suggested that SIDS are “large ocean developing states” and should regulate the use of oceanic resources in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), so that distant fishing nations are held accountable for using this global public good; and
  • supported effective ocean governance, including through strengthening UNCLOS, and the need for a precautionary approach on issues, such as ocean fertilization, sea bed mining and geoengineering.
Participants at the side event also recommended:
  • taking into account the needs and context of each country, as Pacific SIDS are not homogenous;
  • adopting new and effective modalities for cooperation that go beyond traditional relationships with development partners; identifying priority issues that benefit all countries in the Pacific region;
  • partnership with civil society, expanding South-South cooperation, and going beyond the traditional relationship with donors;
  • recognizing that sacrifices must be made in balancing the development objectives with the principles of sustainable development; and
  • using models that value natural assets.

During the side event, the Secretariat reported on objectives of the Third International Conference on SIDS, including: assessing performance regarding the BPOA and MSI and related processes and identifying lessons and remaining gaps; seeking new political commitment to address the special needs and vulnerabilities of SIDS and identifying practical action for further effective implementation of the BPOA and MSI; and identifying priorities for the sustainable development of SIDS for consideration and elaboration in the post-2015 development agenda.

The summary notes: that a draft resolution will be submitted to the 69th session of the ESCAP Commission by the Solomon Islands and Kiribati on the ocean economy and how this can contribute to sustainable development; and that preparations are underway for the Third International Conference on SIDS in the Pacific region, with Fiji hosting the Pacific Preparatory Meeting on 10-12 July 2013.


2nd Asia-Pacific Water Summit (APWS) and Technical Workshops: The 2nd Asia-Pacific Water Summit (APWS) will convene in Chiang Mai, Thailand, from 19-20 May on the theme “Water Security and Water-Related Disaster Challenges: Leadership and Commitment,” and is being organized by the Thai Government in collaboration with the Asia-Pacific Water Forum. It will take place in parallel with Technical Workshops and Exhibitions, from 16-20 May. The Summit aims to promote dialogue and facilitate regional cooperation on water security in Asia and the Pacific, with the participation of public and private sectors, technical experts, academics and civil society groups. dates: 16-20 May 2013 location: Chiang Mai, Thailand contact: Department of Water Resources, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Thailand phone: +66 (0) 2298 6604 fax: +66 (0) 2298 6604 email: www:

UNGA Thematic Debate: Climate Change, Green Energy and Water Sustainability: The 67th Session of the UNGA will host a thematic debate on climate change, green energy and water sustainability. date: 16 May 2013 location: UN Headquarters, New York www:

The Asian and Pacific Energy Forum (APEF 2013): ESCAP is convening the Asian and Pacific Energy Forum (APEF 2013) to promote regional cooperation for enhanced energy security and the sustainable use of energy. APEF 2013 is the first ministerial conference of its kind in the Asia-Pacific region on energy. It is expected that a Ministerial Declaration and Regional Plan of Action will be agreed, addressing energy issues from access, efficiency and renewables to connectivity and trade, within the overall context of sustainable development and in connection with the UN Secretary-General’s global initiative, SE4ALL. dates: 27-30 May 2013 location: Vladivostok, Russian Federation contact: APEF 2013 email: www:

Third Session of the Open Working Group on SDGS: This OWG session is expected to address food security and nutrition, sustainable agriculture, desertification, land degradation, and measuring and assessing progress in achieving sustainable development. dates: 22-24 May 2013 location: UN Headquarters, New York contact: UN Division for Sustainable Development phone: +1-212-963- 8102 fax: +1-212-963-4260 email: www:

Arab Regional Implementation Meeting on Rio+20 Outcomes: The Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) is convening the West Asia RIM, which will to provide a platform for, inter alia, deliberating on the main outcomes of Rio+20 and their implications for the sustainable development agenda in the Arab region, and preparing an outcome document to serve as the region’s collective input for the HLPF, among other matters. The outcomes, findings and recommendations from this meeting will be reflected in a final meeting report, aiming to ensure an Arab regional contribution to Rio+20 follow-up. dates: 29-30 May 2013 location: Dubai, UAE contacts: Reem Nejdawi or Rita Wehbé, ESCWA Secretariat phone: + 961-1-978 578 or +961-1-978- 513 fax: +961-1-981-510/511/512 emails: or www:

International Labour Conference: The 102nd session of this conference is organized by the ILO, and will include the presentation of a paper and general discussion on “Sustainable development, decent work, and green jobs.” dates: 5-20 June 2013 location: Geneva, Switzerland contact: Official Relations Branch, ILO phone: +41-22-799-8944 fax: +41-22-799-7732 email: www:

High-Level Conference of Middle-Income Countries: The conference aims to create a platform for knowledge exchange among middle-income countries, develop a joint action plan and declaration feeding into discussions of the post-2015 development agenda, and facilitate network governance structures for knowledge sharing. The conference will be hosted and organized by the Government of Costa Rica and facilitated by the UN Industrial Development Organization initiative, Networks for Prosperity. Preparatory meetings will be held in Geneva, Vienna, New York and Washington DC, including a 7 May 2013 Open Dialogue on Financing for Sustainable Economic Development in New York. dates: 12-14 June 2013 location: San José, Costa Rica contact: UNIDO Conference Secretariat phone: +43-1-260-26-3542 fax: +43-1-263-6809 email: www:

Fourth Session of the Open Working Group on SDGS: This OWG session is expected to address integrating water into sustainable development, sanitation, and health and population. dates: 17-19 June 2013 location: UN Headquarters, New York contact: UN Division for Sustainable Development phone: +1-212-963- 8102 fax: +1-212-963-4260 email: www:

Third International SIDS Conference - Pacific Subregional Preparatory Meeting: The regional preparatory meeting for the Pacific will convene to develop inputs for the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), to be held in September 2014. dates: 10-12 July 2013 location: Suva, Fiji www:

Third International SIDS Conference - AIMS Subregional Preparatory Meeting: The preparatory meeting for the Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and South China Sea Subregion will convene to develop inputs for the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), to be held in September 2014. dates: 17-19 July 2013 location: Victoria, Seychelles www:

20th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development: The 20th and final session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD 20) will take place back-to-back with the first meeting of the HLPF, which is expected to convene in September. date: 2 September 2013 (tentative) location: UN Headquarters, New York contact: UN Division for Sustainable Development phone: +1-212-963-8102 fax:+1-212-963-4260 email: www:

UNGA Special Event to Follow up Efforts made towards Achieving the MDGs: The UNGA will hold this one-day event during the 68th session of the UNGA in September. This will represent an occasion for leaders to identify actions to complete the MDG process and to provide guidance on priorities. date: 25 September 2013 location: UN Headquarters, New York contact: Saijin Zhang phone: +1-212-963-2336 (General Assembly Affairs), +1-212-963-7172 (Protocol and Liaison) fax: +1-212-963-1921 www:

First Annual Sustainable Development Implementation Forum: The UN Office for Sustainable Development will host the first annual Sustainable Development Implementation Forum (SDIF). The SDIF aims to serve as a global platform for sharing best practices in formulating and implementing sustainable development programmes, reviewing evidence of impact, and charting new and improved pathways for sustainable development implementation. The programme of the annual SDIF also will include topics related to: scaling up implementation; finding effective solutions to address implementation constraints and challenges; examining emerging issues in the context of planning and implementation; promoting the science-policy-practice interface to ensure the transition towards sustainability; and promoting and facilitating partnerships, as well as building communities of practice. dates: 28-31 October 2013 location: Incheon, Republic of Korea contact: SDIF Secretariat, UNOSD phone: +82-32-822-9088 fax: +82-32-822-9089 email: www:

CITYNET General Congress 2013: Members of this regional network of local authorities in the Asia-Pacific region will meet to discuss urban sustainability activities, set priorities and shape the work of the network over the next four years. dates: 4-6 November 2013 location: Seoul, Republic of Korea contact: CITYNET Secretariat phone: +82-2-2133-5272 email: www:

Fifth Session of the UN General Assembly Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals: The agenda for the fifth session of the Open Working Group is to be confirmed dates: 25-27 November 2013 location: UN Headquarters, New York contact: UN Division for Sustainable Development phone: +1-212-963-8102 fax: +1-212-963-4260 email:

Sixth Session of the UN General Assembly Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals: The agenda for the sixth session of the Open Working Group is to be confirmed dates: 9-13 December 2013 location: UN Headquarters, New York contact: UN Division for Sustainable Development phone: +1-212-963-8102 fax: +1-212-963-4260 email: www:

Seventh Session of the UN General Assembly Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals: The agenda for the seventh session of the Open Working Group is to be confirmed. dates: 6-10 January 2014 location: UN Headquarters, New York contact: UN Division for Sustainable Development phone: +1-212-963-8102 fax: +1-212-963-4260 email: www:

Eighth Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals: The agenda for the eighth session of the UNGA Open Working Group is to be confirmed. dates: 3-7 February 2014 location: UN Headquarters, New York contact: UN Division for Sustainable Development phone: +1-212-963-8102 fax: +1-212-963-4260 email: www:

Further information