This is the final blog from Rio so I will briefly cover some key points from my last day as well as reviewing the experience of the 5 days.
The Ministerial team caught the morning flight, so I had the day prospecting for ideas and contacts - the highlights were:
So, some final thoughts on Rio+20 from the perspective of my personal objectives, Welsh Government objectives and outcomes of the Rio+20 negotiation process.
I had two key objectives – to get ideas to inform the Sustainable Development Bill and accelerate the green economy
My daily reports have highlighted many of the points made in respect of the Sustainable Development Bill and I am sure we will receive further input from the relationships established - there is a lot of work to do in shaping the final Bill, which must align to the global process established at Rio+20. Most importantly we must make sure that we do not close down options too early and be prepared to consider ideas not currently included in the Sustainable Development Bill proposals paper.
The Climate Group’s Clean Revolution initiative could provide the ideal focus for a campaign to accelerate the green economy. This will be dependent on the views of business partners, but I know that the CBI Wales are keen to consider opportunities. The Climate Group have committed their support to developing a Clean Revolution campaign in Wales so let’s see if we can get something in place before the end of the year.
My objectives obviously link to those of Welsh Government but Rio+20 also represented a key landmark in Welsh Government’s work with partners in regional and sub national governments through nrg4SD. For the first time the role of this tier of government was formally recognised in the final UN document, proving the basis for a collective voice and action in delivering the “The Future We Want”. Of course the timing was perfect for Welsh Government as the Sustainable Development Bill generated significant profile for Wales and provided a focal point for the raft of Ministerial bilateral meetings.
But let’s not kid ourselves we have no direct input into the negotiations and we are a learner with the ambition to be a leader - not the leading global force our rhetoric sometimes suggests! We can build the partnerships with other states and regions, particularly in Europe, to accelerate change, while we must also continue to build our contribution to international development through Wales for Africa.
So what of the outcomes of the whole Rio+20 process? Much has already been written on the subject but history will prove whether the text of the agreement signed at the event was an important milestone in the journey. This will depend on whether political leadership can give life to concepts which are outlined without any detailed, measurable commitments in the “Future We Want”. We all have a role to play in this collective challenge. Personally I left feeling overwhelmed but hugely encouraged by the range, scale and quality of collective actions being taken by governments, business and NGOs that featured in venues across the city.
I return with a lot of new ideas and contacts, and important relationships have been reinforced with colleagues like Sandor Fulop the Hungarian Commissioner for Sustainable Futures – we agreed to meet in 2 years time in Rio when Wales play Hungary in the World Cup!