A little less than a month from the Rio+20 Earth Summit, we met SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT Senior Vice President of Sustainable Development, Thomas Perianu.
Why is this summit called Rio+20?
Since 1972, Heads of State have been meeting every 10 years to define the type of development that is sustainable at a global level. These conferences, also called Earth Summits, illustrate the desire to consider the environment in discussing growth. The first Summit was held in Stockholm in 1972, the second in Nairobi in 1982, the third in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the fourth and most recent in Johannesburg in 2002. The next one will again be in Rio de Janeiro, in 2012. Hence the name Rio+20.
What can we expect from it?
This year two major topics will be discussed and negotiated in Rio:
- Green growth. The issue today is how to contribute to growth that is more protective of the environment and inclusive, that addresses the issue of reducing poverty, and involves all stakeholders in the decision-making.
- Negotiating the creation of a body that could serve as the World Environment Organisation in the same way as we have the World Trade Organisation. Today, environmental protection issues are handled by more than 500 treaties and agreements. Standardising decision-making into a uniform process could lead to greater efficiency.
What is SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT’s contribution to this Summit?
The negotiators in Rio are governments. Nonetheless, a certain number of stakeholders known as “major groups” have been invited to the debate. Companies' participation is highly valued because they represent the solutions that will be implemented for green growth. Local authorities, who are also our customers, are very involved. They are the ones who will need to find funding to implement tomorrow's solutions on the ground. SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT has pulled out all stops to offer its expertise in water and waste in drafting wording to serve as the basis of negotiations in Rio. We sent contributions to the United Nations to express our views, specifically to explain that controlled management of the water and waste cycles are prerequisites for implementing green growth.