EU environment chief: Rio+20 was better than nothing

The EU’s environment chief has effectively admitted the Rio+20 summit last month was disappointing but stressed the agreement was better than nothing. In a speech in Brussels on Wednesday Janez […]

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By Vicky Ellis

The EU’s environment chief has effectively admitted the Rio+20 summit last month was disappointing but stressed the agreement was better than nothing.

In a speech in Brussels on Wednesday Janez Potočnik, the European Commissioner for Environment said: “Together with my colleagues in the Commission, I have been clear that we would have wanted more. For example, setting concrete timelines in order to underline the urgent need for action, and upgrading the institutions dealing with international environment issues. But the time for wish-lists is over. It is now time for action.

“After long negotiations, the EU and its Member States decided it is better to have this agreement, than no agreement at all.”

An “important” outcome of the agreement in Rio de Janeiro was the role of civil society in sustainable development, he said: “A long-lasting success of our commitments taken at Rio will be impossible without the whole-scale, constructive mobilisation of civil society.”

Sidestepping criticism levelled at the UN summit for the large corporate presence, Mr Potočnik welcomed the private sector’s involvement as “very encouraging”.