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Ministry Statements and Speeches 2012

Adoption Of General Assembly Resolution A/66/L.56: The Future We Want (Rio+20 Outcome Document)

Statement by HE Jim McLay, Permanent Representative, New Zealand Permanent Mission to the United Nations, 27 July 2012

New Zealand welcomes this consensus resolution.

The Rio +20 Outcome Document was the product of hours, days and weeks of work by states, major groups and the Secretariat, both here and in Rio de Janeiro; and we pay tribute to all that effort.  We express particular appreciation to the Preparatory Committee co-chairs, Ambassadors Kim of the Republic of Korea, and Ashe of Antigua and Barbuda, for their work; and, of course, to Brazil which brought together the final text in a form we could all accept. 

That was no easy task.  Achieving consensus on such a complex document, even before the High Level Meeting, was positive, not only for the conference, but also demonstrated that multilateral processes can and do work. 

New Zealand was pleased that many of its priority areas were reflected in the final text.  The paragraphs on oceans and fisheries represent real progress; and we hope the proposed Sustainable Development Goals will include one on oceans, reflecting their critical role in the health of the planet. 

We welcome the decision to hold the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States in 2014, hopefully in our own Pacific region.  We were also pleased with the reference to fossil fuel subsidy reform, even though it’s not as strong as we originally proposed; we see subsidy reform as important to free up the resources needed for financing sustainable development. 

There were, of course, some aspects about which we were less happy, including the lack of a reference to agricultural subsidy reform, and to reproductive rights. 

But, let me be clear:  Overall, New Zealand regards Rio+20 as a success; and we’ll say that as often and as loudly as might be necessary. 

Mr President:  This Outcome Document is, of course, not the end; it’s very much a work programme for the next few years, as it establishes ambitious processes and timetables, not least on institutional reform.  In seizing the opportunities presented by Rio, we must keep to the forefront the certain knowledge that, in this 21st century, the only viable development is sustainable development - development that integrates all three dimensions, economic, social and environmental. 

Rio was also a landmark for private sector involvement.  Indeed, this was one of the most participatory conferences in history - assisted by new technologies, which particularly helped engage young people whose future we were discussing.  Sustainable development is not just a matter for states; the private sector, NGOs and other stakeholders can make important contributions, and all must be part of the processes going forward. 

Overall, Mr President, the road from Rio will be as challenging as was the road to Rio; and New Zealand will willingly play its part in the work that lies ahead. 

Finally, Mr President, we express sadness that it wasn't possible for two very small Pacific countries, the Cook Islands and Niue, to attend this critically sustainable development important summit, as they had done in Rio in 1992 and Johannesburg in 2002.  I won't rehearse, again, the reasons for that; suffice to say, the whole Pacific Family, of which they are an integral part, regrets their exclusion and hopes it never happens again.  After all, Mr President, when it comes to sustainable development, "He waka eke noa” – “We are all in this canoe together”.

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Page last updated: Wednesday, 09 January 2013 14:49 NZDT