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New Inquiry: Preparations for Rio+20: The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development

7 July 2011

The Environmental Audit Committee, chaired by Joan Walley MP, has today launched an inquiry into the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development to be held in Rio de Janeiro on 4-6 June 2012 . The inquiry will examine the preparedness of the UK Government for Rio+20, along with the actions it should be taking to help make the Conference a success.

 The Committee is interested in receiving written evidence that looks at:

  • the issues which should be urgently addressed at Rio, and any that it should avoid;
  • the extent to which greening the economy can help eradicate poverty, including the tensions between growth and prosperity in the context of sustainable development;
  • the institutional frameworks (at international, regional, national and local levels) required to deliver a “green economy” and a more sustainable future for all, now and into the future;
  •  the objectives and roles the UK Government should assume in order to drive ambition in the run-up to the Conference and at Rio, including its part in the EU preparations and negotiations;
  • the ideal outcomes from Rio+20, and how any agreements should be subsequently monitored;
  • the potential risks to the ideal outcomes being achieved, and any lessons that should be learnt from previous conferences.

The Committee invites organisations and members of the public to submit written evidence, setting out their views on these issues. More wide ranging responses are also welcome. Submissions should be sent to the Committee by Friday 26 August 2011. Guidance on preparing submissions is set out below.


The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) – also known as Rio+20 and/or the Earth Summit 2012 – will take place in Rio de Janeiro on 4-6 June 2012 to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), and the 10th anniversary of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg.

The published objectives of Rio+20 are:

  • to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development
  • assess the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development
  • address new and emerging challenges

 Rio+20 will focus on two themes:

  1. a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication
  2. the institutional framework for sustainable development

Please note

Each submission should ideally:

  • Be no more than 3,000 words in length;
  • Begin with a short summary in bullet point form;
  • Have numbered paragraphs; and
  • Be in Word format with as little use of colour or logos as possible.

 A copy of the submission should be sent by e-mail to and marked ‘Preparations for Rio+20’. An additional paper copy should be sent to:

Clerk of the Committee, Environmental Audit Committee, House of Commons, 7 Millbank, London SW1P 3JA

It would be helpful, for Data Protection purposes, if individuals submitting written evidence send their contact details separately in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Please supply a postal address so a copy of the Committee’s report can be sent to you upon publication.

A guide for written submissions to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website at:

Please also note that:

  • Material published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed memorandum, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.
  • Memoranda submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organisation submitting it is specifically authorised.
  • Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.
  • Select Committees are unable to investigate individual cases.