2012: Conference on Sustainable Development «Rio+20»


Forty years after the United Nations' Conference on the Human Environment took place in Stockholm, and twenty years after its Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, the international community wished to renew its political commitment to sustainable development, assess the progress to date and the gaps remaining in the implementation of the decisions made during previous conferences, and identify solutions to new challenges.

The main areas covered were the implementation of a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication as well as the reform of the institutional framework for sustainable development and the environment within the UN.

The outcomes of the conference are recorded in the final fifty-page document entitled "The Future We Want".

Main outcomes

  • A landmark decision has been taken in order to launch a process to define the sustainable development goals (Art. 245 et seq.).
  • The Rio document urges states to implement a green economy as an integral part of their sustainable development policy (Art. 56 et seq.).
  • A high-level political forum for sustainable development will be launched, replacing the current Commission on Sustainable Development (Art. 84).
  • The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) will be strengthened (Art. 88-90).

Furthermore, progress has been made on themes such as health, chemicals, waste management and natural/mountain disasters. Switzerland is actively involved in these fields.