United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development Rio+20 | Asian Development Bank

United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development Rio+20

Article | 20 June 2012

ADB is a key supporter of many of the issues underpinning the Rio+20 conference, including the development of the Sustainable Development Goals; the encouragement of green growth, energy access, sustainable infrastructure; the promotion of green cities; and the preservation of Asia's critical ecosystems.

On June 20-22, during the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro or Rio+20, government representatives, business leaders, and officials from non-governmental organizations face the challenge of keeping the world focused on the basic ideas behind the Millennium Development Goals while embracing the environmental issues that are threatening societies.

ADB is actively participating in the conference to draw attention to key issues facing the Asia-Pacific region and to share experiences, challenges and opportunities for the region to transition towards more inclusive and environmentally sustainable forms of growth.

The United Nations Secretary-General has set out a clear vision for a post-2015 development agenda built upon sustainable development - economic growth that is socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable. ADB is closely aligned with this effort through its long-term planning document, Strategy 2020.

The conference is expected to produce a basic outline for the formulation of a set of global Sustainable Development Goals that will galvanize future global development efforts.

In May 2012, ADB hosted a workshop, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Asia-Pacific Perspectives for the Post-2015 Development Agenda, that helped leaders in the region prepare for Rio+20.

ADB's work in the region encompasses many of the themes and priorities that make up the basis of the discussions at Rio+20.

Encouraging green growth

Through its Strategy 2020, ADB is working to change the development context of the Asia-Pacific region to achieve environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive growth. This is designed to give developing countries better opportunities for dealing with an uncertain and resource-constrained future. ADB does this through a wide range of projects and programs that support developing member countries to make much needed investments, while strengthening policies, knowledge and capacities. In 2011, ADB approved about $7 billion in financing for projects supporting environmental sustainability.

In the area of knowledge development, ADB with its partners the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, and the United Nations Environment Programme - recently prepared the report Green Growth, Resources and Resilience - Environmental Sustainability in Asia and the Pacific. The report helped policymakers prepare for Rio+20.

Supporting sustainable infrastructure and transport

The Asia-Pacific region is in desperate need of improved infrastructure. As much as $8 trillion will be needed in the next decade for housing, transport, energy, water, sanitation and for developing climate-resilient communities. A shift to sustainable infrastructure development is expected to lead to more inclusive green development.

Promoting green cities

ADB's Draft Urban Operational Plan is promoting green cities in the region. ADB and the governments of Germany, Sweden, Spain, Austria, and the People's Republic of China have joined forces to establish the Cities Development Initiative for Asia. As of June 2011, the initiative had engaged 44 cities in 13 countries and established an investment pipeline of about $6.5 billion. ADB's Urban Financing Partnership Facility - set up with the Government of Sweden - provides further support to urban environmental infrastructure projects.

Providing energy for all

In line with the United Nation's Energy for All Initiative, ADB supports an Energy for All Initiative in the Asian region with the goal of increasing access to modern forms of energy for 100 million people by 2015. Under the program, lending to support energy access has grown from $120 million to over $600 million.

Preserving Asia's natural capital

ADB supports regional cooperation for the management of large-scale ecosystems in some of the most biologically diverse places on earth. This includes supporting important programs such as the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security; the Heart of Borneo Initiative; and the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Core Environment Program and Biodiversity Initiative. These programs seek to conserve biodiversity, while securing food, water and livelihoods for local people, as well as increase their resilience to climate change.