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Capacity Building Workshop for Major Groups and other Stakeholders on the Road to Rio+20 Negotiating Process

Friday, 10 February 2012
In preparation for the Rio+20 Conference in June 2012,  the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) organizes a series of preparatory meetings in order to promote diverse and effective participation of all major groups at all stages of the global negotiating process concerning sustainable development. This process started in November 2011 and its latest event is the Capacity Building Workshop for Major Groups and other Stakeholders which was co-hosted by UN DESA and the Stakeholder Forum and took place on 24 January 2012 in New York with the active participation of more than 200 members representing a wide range of societal actors.

Ms Chantal Line Carpentier, Coordinator for the Major Groups Programme in UN DESA, opened the discussion giving a detailed presentation of the logistics of registration and the format for Rio+20 side events. Representing the Stakeholder Forum, Mr. Jan-Gustav Strandenaes analyzed the potential of substantial participation of Major Groups in the upcoming process, and Mr. Farooq Ulla presented a stakeholder analysis of proposals studied from both the zero draft of the outcome document, as well as the massive compilation document that was composed of more than 600 policy papers submitted by Major Groups, Member States, political groups, Intergovernmental Organizations and other UN system entities.

The capacity building workshop was followed by a “Global Civil Society Workshop on the Zero Draft,” organized by IBON International, (an international division of the IBON Foundation Inc.) One of the key issues discussed in this workshop was the ways in which the engagement from the global South could be encouraged and reinforced. In addition, an informal meeting of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) took place at UN Headquarters (25 to 27 January 2012) to hold initial discussions on the zero draft of the Rio+20 outcome document. Indicative of the rising importance of the public participants’ influence on the negotiating process is the fact that more than 200 delegates from Major Groups participated in the meeting and stakeholder consultations were held alongside the informal-informal governmental negotiating sessions.

As underscored by Mr. Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and Rio+20 Conference Secretary-General, “Our major groups partners have been active participants in the preparatory process. They have spoken out candidly, and have inspired us with their enthusiasm, hope and ideas. We welcome their contributions, including their submissions to the compilation document.”


As defined in Agenda 21, “the Major Groups” include women, children and youth, indigenous peoples, non-governmental organizations, local authorities, workers and trade unions, business and industry, the scientific and technological community, and farmers. In addition, the UN General Assembly resolution A/RES/64/236, which refers to the organization of a conference on sustainable development in 2012 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Rio Earth Summit, also “encourages the active participation of all major groups, as identified in Agenda 21 and further elaborated in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation and decisions taken at the eleventh session of the Commission, at all stages of the preparatory process, in accordance with the rules and procedures of the Commission as well as its established practices related to the participation and engagement of major groups (Para 21)”.

Sources: UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), Rio +20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development Major Groups Regional and other Capacity Building Workshops
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