Last round of negotiations on Rio+20 – Contact your respective national delegation


The last round of negotiations in New York for the Rio Summit open up today with a new draft text on the table produced by the Co-Chairs (Antigua and Barbuda – Latin American and the Caribbean Group, Republic of Korea- Asian Group) following the main structure of the draft negotiated until now.

With estimations of less than 5% agreed text after the last negotiation round that ended on 4 May the two coming weeks will be crucial for the agreements in Rio. Experienced negotiators estimate that if results are to be achieved important progress needs to be made on agreeing with the text on the table.  


The Co-Chairs text contains important messages related to local and regional governments and their role in the international agenda. With over 80 pages and somewhat 400 paragraphs, the two coming weeks should produce a text half the length of the existing one with some 70% of the text in agreement.


The current text under negotiations contains positive advancements for local and regional governments. It acknowledges their role both in the thematic chapters and in the general ones. It mentions sub-national governance as key to sustainability acknowledges the importance of universal service provision and maintains 4 important paragraphs on Cities.


UCLG invites members to share with their respective national government the need to keep in the text the paragraphs specified above. Please feel free to use theattached model letter.


Below a summary of some of the key issues worth highlighting:  

Cities dedicated paragraphs in Section V Framework for Action and Follow up. Part A (pages 38 to 40):


The text acknowledges:


  • That if planned and developed soundly cities can promote economically productive, socially cohesive, and environmentally sustainable societies.


  • The importance of increasing the number of metropolitan regions cities and towns implementing sustainability policies.


  • The role of municipal government in the definition of sustainable policies as well as the importance of partnerships among cities.


  • The reaffirmed role of UN-Habitat and the need to mobilize resources for capacity building of sustainable cities is in the text.


  • The need for a holistic approach to urban development and human settlements


Chapter I Common Vision (Section C page 8)


  • Important references are also made to local and sub-national levels of governance when talking about involvement of Major Groups emphasizing the key role of all levels of government.


  • Paragraph 36 refers to political participation at all levels and to the importance of planning.


Chapter IV Institutional Framework for sustainable development


  • Paragraph 69 (page 18) recognizes that effective governance al local sub-national, national, regional and global levels is critical for advancing sustainable development.


  • Paragraph 93 and 95 emphasize the importance of planning at all levels with explicit mention of sub-national and local levels and stressing the need of sharing information and data at regional, national, sub-nation and local level.


Chapter V Framework for Action and Follow up


  • Universal service provision and in particular access to water and sustainable mobility are strongly acknowledged in the text.


Chapter VI Means of Implementation

  • Section A recognizes the importance of creating financial mechanisms also accessible to sub-national and local authorities.


At this stage of negotiations, efforts must aim at maintaining the text above as it is unlikely that important amendments will be done.


Nevertheless, as culture is not properly recognized as important pillar of sustainable development, we would like to include the concept of cultural diversity as follows:


SDG 5. We also recognize that the goals should address and be focused on priority areas for the achievement of sustainable development including, inter alia, energy, water, food security, oceans and sustainable consumption and production as well as cross-cutting issues like equity and social inclusion, rule of law and good governance, [cultural diversity,]gender equality and women’s empowerment.


Further important issues


The text remains unclear about the International Governance architecture, it calls for a strong ECOSOC directly responsible to the General Assembly. It calls for a strong UNEP (with universal membership) and it calls for the creation for a High-Level Political Forum. The idea of an International Council is also still in the text. Clarification will be needed in the relations between the above.


The role of women and the need to create mechanisms for consultation with the youth are clearly taken up in the document.

The Sustainable Development Goals as set out in Section B of Chapter VI are now suggested to be fully based on the United Nations Development Agenda beyond 2015 and building on the MDGs. The document calls for inclusive country driven processes.

Delegations have informed UCLG that the main tasks of member states will be now to limit the length of the text by not including new text. Negotiators will therefore focus on the parts that they want to delete or maintain.


The UCLG World Secretariat remains at your disposal should you need support in contacting your national delegation or require any further clarification.


Please be also aware that we are undertaking a joint communication effort with members and partners in social networks to draw attention to the issues related to cities and sustainable urban development before and during the conference:


Tweet #citieswewant to share your vision for a sustainable urban world


Please click on the links below to access the following documents:


Ø  Model letter to be sent to national governments



Ø  Text to be kept in the negotiating text