Rio+20, 20 - 22 June 2012
Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

UNEP Discussion Papers on Environmental Sustainability and the Post-2015 Agenda

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UNEP Post-2015 Discussion Paper 1: Summary for Decision Makers

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MDGs Outcome Document adopted by world leaders on 25 September 2013

World leaders at the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20) reaffirmed their commitment to sustainable development which embraces economic progress, social development, and environmental protection for the benefit of all. One of the principal outcomes of Rio +20 was the call to produce a set of universally applicable sustainable development goals (SDGs) that balance the environmental, social and economic dimensions of sustainable development.  Furthermore, there has been an overwhelming call through the Global Thematic Consultations, for environmental sustainability to be at the heart of the post-2015 agenda, which not only fully integrates the three dimensions of sustainable development but also embraces equality, human rights and resilience to achieve multiple benefits for poverty eradication and human well-being, while respecting the earth’s resources and needs of future generations.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment.

UNEP is preparing a series of discussion papers in consultation with diverse stakeholders, to contribute to ongoing efforts to strengthen integrated implementation of the three dimensions of sustainable development. This work is also relevant to ongoing intergovernmental processes on the post-2015 agenda and sustainable development goals (SDGs).

The Discussion Paper 1: Embedding the Environment in Sustainable Development Goals, provides the latest scientific advice and guidance on how environmental sustainability can be integrated in SDGs. The paper highlights an integrated approach to goal-setting. The objective is to stimulate dialogue on integrated SDGs, and to stress the interlinkages of sustainable development, rather than to propose specific goals.

In addition to preparing the Discussion Papers, UNEP is an active member of a UN Technical Support Team (UNTST) supporting the General Assembly’s Open Working Group on SDGs. UNEP is also contributing to the UNDG MDG Task Force and UN team on the post-2015 agenda, as well as providing input to the preparation of OWG issues briefs, and also UNDG national and global thematic consultations on the post-2015 agenda.

Comments on Discussion Paper 1: Embedding the Environment in Sustainable Development Goals, and subsequent discussion papers should be sent to (