In preparation for UNEP’S Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environmental Forum that will be held in February 2012, over 30 North American civil society representatives developed recommendations to UNEP for the Rio+20 Earth Summit to be held in June of 2012.
In their final document, invited North American representatives of civil society organizations compiled their own thoughts on what needs to be done in Rio+20 on among other things the key theme of 'green economy' which are summarized below:
With yet another focus on the urgency of implementation, which resonates with many other groups, they call for a reaffirmation of the commitment that has already been achieved, including Agenda 21. Rio+20 is an opportunity for concrete goals, and governments should leave with concrete to-do lists of steps that prioritize Sustainable Development, establishing goals with clear timelines, measurements and assessment process.
The North American Group also feel that there is a greater need for civil society to participate with input and expertise, with a strong voice for all stakeholders. They call for a review and expansion of the current major groups. They emphasize the vital role of women on the road to sustainable development, as well as support for young people to gain skills that will drive a transition to a Green Economy, with an emphasis on an integrated environmental education.
Sustainable Consumption and Production is highlighted as an essential transition that must be achieved, as well as the elimination perverse subsidies across all sectors of the economy, and instead incentivize sustainable behaviors by rewarding private sector efforts. Specific to the Region, US and Canada call for a North American Sustainable Consumption and Production Framework, which includes a review process and support mechanisms for implementation, as well as a Regional Framework on Sustainable Development.
They also echo the message that GDP is not an accurate measurement of well being, and must be replaced. They support the Financial Transaction Tax to help build a protection system for the most vulnerable. In terms of sharing know-how, the North American region advocated a clearinghouse of best practices, to ensure the transfer of knowledge about sustainable development, and would help all countries to implement such programs at all levels without being undermined by property rights or patent laws.