The UN Rio+20 Earth Summit ended Friday without a consensus on sustainable development goals, and instead with a draft agreement that lacked specifics and measurable targets.
Countries agreed to the draft text of the Future We Want , a document crafted ahead of the summit, which acknowledges the need to establish sustainable development goals that link economic growth, environmental protection and social inclusion.
Delegates of the countries in attendance also committed to encourage corporate sustainability reporting, adopt a program on sustainable consumption and production and phase down factory-made hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs.
Critics have called the three-day conference a failure that fell far short of the landmark accords signed at the 1992 summit. The World Wildlife Fund vowed to continue to press for defined sustainable development goals, fossil fuel subsidy reform, a stronger UN Environment Program and improved governance of the world’s oceans.
Still, countries made numerous commitments separate from the main negotiations.
The Maldives said all 1,192 of its islands will become a marine reserve by 2017; the UK government announced a mandate that will force companies listed on the London Stock Exchange’s main market to publish full details of their greenhouse gas emissions; and Mozambique president Armando Guebaza outlined a national plan to apply green economy principles to the development of cities, agriculture and energy sources.
Manufacturing, energy, financial and insurance companies took action as well.
Eight of the world’s biggest development banks announced a $175 billion initiative to promote buses, trains and cycle lanes, a commitment that marks a fundamental shift from roads to public transportation; CEOs from 45 major companies including PepsiCo, The Coca-Cola Company and Royal Dutch Shell agreed to set targets on their own water efficiency and wastewater management; and the US government formed a partnership with 400 companies that belong to the Consumer Goods Forum, to support the forum’s pledge to achieve zero net deforestation in its supply chains by 2020.
The National Resources Defense Council launched an interactive aggregation tool called the Cloud of Commitments to help track Rio+20 commitment registries, platforms, event and announcements.
Photo of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon at the Rio+20 summit from the UN