Rio+20: 5 key takeaways

Here are some of the promising developments and bigger disappointments of the Rio+20 global sustainability conference, which ends today.

A stepping stone, not a failure

The Guardian has been running a live blog on the Rio+20, and one of its posts offers a “positive” view of what has been accomplished, perhaps the best summary of why the world should feel hopeful after the conference wraps up today.

Oliver Greenfield, of the Green Economy Coalition, says the conference has not been a turning point, but a stepping stone, and definitely not a complete failure. "Rio+20 is it a failure or a success? One thousand NGOs, institutions, and individuals have signed a petition calling it "The Future We Don't Want" – citing failures on removing fossil fuel subsidies, failure to protect oceans, failures to address women's reproduction health. Against this groundswell it is difficult for any civil society to say anything different,” he writes.

But, he adds,"We have a mandate, albeit weak, for many of the things we wanted. We have commitment to the sustainable development goals, to strengthening UNEP [The United Nations Environmental Program], to encourage corporate sustainability reporting, develop beyond GDP, adopt the 10 year program on sustainable consumption and production, some signals on energy, and the bolstering of science in policy making. At first reading this is probably graded a C-, but it is definitely not a F.”

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