Speech at the workshop on the outcome of Rio+20

11 Jul 2012

Speaker: Ms. Setsuko Yamazaki, UNDP Country Director    
Date:       11 July 2012
Event:      Workshop on the outcome of Rio+20

Your Excellency Vice Minister Nguyen The Phuong;
Distinguished participants from central and local agencies;
Colleagues from the international community;
Ladies and Gentlemen;

Three weeks after the Rio+20 conference, I am pleased to have the opportunity to address this workshop on the outcomes of the conference, and to present two reports on sustainable development in Viet Nam. With the forthcoming adoption of Viet Nam’s own Green Growth Strategy, our discussions today on global and national sustainable development efforts are very timely, and I would like to thank the Ministry of Planning and Investment for organising the event. 

Rio+20 concluded after more than a year of complex and intense negotiations. While the final outcome document does not meet all the prior expectations and does not include many concrete actions, UN member states importantly renewed their commitment to sustainable development. The outcome document provides a firm foundation for furthering social, economic and environmental well-being and progress was achieved on several fronts. I would like to highlight four important outcomes.

First of all, Rio+20 agreed on a process to formulate a new set of universal sustainable development goals – also known as the SDGs. The goals should address all three dimensions of sustainable development – that is economic, social and environmental issues – and will help to drive action in this area. The SDGs will be critical to define the post-2015 development agenda, which is when the current MDGs – the Millennium Development Goals – expire.

Second, Rio+20 reaffirmed the important role of the United Nations system. It was decided to establish an intergovernmental high-level political forum to replace the UN Commission on Sustainable Development and the role of UNEP, the UN’s Environment Programme, was strengthened.

Thirdly, Rio+20 brought together tens of thousands of people from governments, civil society and the private sector, with many more taking part in the discussions through social media. More than 700 concrete commitments, worth hundreds of billions of dollars, were made by governments, multilateral development banks, the private sector and civil society.

Fourthly, there was agreement that a ‘green economy’ is an important tool for achieving sustainable development. The outcome document stresses the role of communication technologies, finance, technology and capacity building, as well as the importance of government leadership in building a green economy. The document further highlights the important role of cooperatives, micro-enterprises and public-private partnerships.

Importantly, the conference also demonstrated strong support for the UN Secretary-General’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative. The critical role that energy plays in the development process is recognized; as well as the need to ensure access to sustainable energy for all, improve energy efficiency, increase the share of renewable energy and remove disincentives to energy efficiency.

Viet Nam is doing comparatively well in this area, with for example almost all households being able to access electricity. In addition, the Green Growth Strategy is expected to enable cleaner production, greener consumption and the growth of renewable energy.

You will shortly hear more analysis of the Rio+20 outcomes, as well as reflections and experiences of the Vietnamese delegates and other participants. You will also hear about some of the successes and lessons learnt on sustainable development over the past 20 years in Viet Nam. Successes were achieved in many fields, including energy, agriculture, urban planning, production and consumption.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

There are still many challenges to achieving sustainable development in Viet Nam. We need to continue to reduce poverty, improve access to clean water and sanitation, and limit the growth of emissions from the use of fossil fuels. The Rio+20 outcomes help us to think globally and act locally to secure a sustainable future.

The UN in Viet Nam, through its One Plan for 2012-2016, will continue to focus on supporting the Government and people of Viet Nam to achieve inclusive, equitable and sustainable growth. Among other things, the UN will support the development of people-centred, green and evidence-based socio-economic policies, protection of the environment and an efficient use of natural resources. This will also involve the participation of the private sector and local communities, because as we saw so clearly at Rio, all stakeholders need to be engaged if we are to build a sustainable future – the future we want.  

I wish you fruitful discussions. Thank you very much!