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Friends of Rio+20 Launch New Model to Help Governments Achieve Sustainable Development

Oliver Cann, Associate Director, Communications Department: Tel.: +41 22 869 1406; E-mail: oliver.cann4beee869e7@7c361b0a5weforum.org

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  • The Friends of Rio+20 is a coalition of 26 high-level business, scientific and civil society leaders convened by the World Economic Forum.
  • The group calls on governmental leaders at Rio+20 to take actions aimed at marshalling large-scale multistakeholder coalitions to help governments achieve sustainable development.
  • To download the message of the Friends of Rio+20, including over 30 practical examples of such coalitions, please visit http://wef.ch/rio20

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 20 June 2012 – Representatives of Friends of Rio+20, a coalition of global leaders from business, science and civil society, yesterday presented a joint message to the Co-Chairs of Rio+20, Izabella Teixeira, Minister of the Environment of Brazil, and Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, Minister of External Relations of Brazil. The group called on governments to take action to help accelerate progress towards global sustainable development.

The message, conveyed to government leaders gathered in Rio de Janeiro for the Rio+20 Summit, asks governments to take two specific actions:

-       Commit to designing economies that put the world on a path to sustainable development and to developing a clear set of ambitious, universal and equitable global goals

-       Invite multistakeholder, multi-country coalitions of willing and able actors to undertake sets of actions to help achieve these goals

At the heart of the Friends of Rio+20’s message is the belief that, with over 900 million people experiencing hunger, 1.4 billion lacking access to electricity and clean water and 600 million jobs needing to be created this decade, the magnitude and time sensitivity of these challenges require the international community to adopt a more practical, results-oriented approach to organizing progress.

The message explicitly encourages governments to enlist the support of a wider range of partners, not as a substitute for multilateral agreements or national plans, but as a way of translating their aspirations into additional action. By drawing more fully on the resources and expertise available in the business, civil society and academic communities, evidence suggests Rio+20 can leave a lasting legacy of accelerated progress on sustainable development.

Commenting on the agreement, Josette Sheeran, Vice-Chairman of the World Economic Forum, said: The complex challenges of our time require bold, new solutions that unite all stakeholders in common purpose. This new model of multistakeholder coalition is critical in delivering sustainable development goals at scale. This is the most powerful way to develop and deliver a truly transformational agenda for change.”

Minister Patriota, receiving the message from Friends of Rio+20, said: “The size and urgency of the world's sustainable development challenges are so great that no one single government or international agency acting alone can solve them. A model based on strong leadership from international and national governments, supported by a variety of actors, represents the best way of harnessing the combined skills, creativity and resources available to us as we strive to make progress towards our goals.”

“To create the future we want, we will need real leadership from governments. We will also need to recognize the vast potential for action by coalitions of the committed – national governments, cities, companies and civil society groups who are ready to come together to make sustainable development a reality," said Jim Leape, Director-General, WWF International, World Wide Fund for Nature, Switzerland.

Notes to Editors

Twitter users: Please use the hashtag #WEF for all tweets about the event Rio+20 twitter: #friendsofrio


The World Economic Forum is an international institution committed to improving the state of the world through public-private cooperation in the spirit of global citizenship. It engages with business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

Incorporated as a not-for-profit foundation in 1971 and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the Forum is independent, impartial and not tied to any interests. It cooperates closely with all leading international organizations (www.weforum.org).

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