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Follow-up Rio+20

Rio+20 is the short name for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development that took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 2012, twenty years after the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio where countries adopted Agenda 21 - a blueprint to rethink economic growth, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection.

Rio +20 brought together governments, international institutions and major groups to agree on a range of measures that can reduce poverty while promoting decent jobs, clean energy and a more sustainable and fair use of resources. One of the main outcomes of the conference, laid out in the document The Future We Want, was to launch a process to develop a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) beyond 2015.


These goals should be action-oriented, concise and easy to communicate, limited in number, aspirational, global in nature and universally applicable to all countries, while taking into account different national realities. They should address in a balanced way all three dimensions of sustainable development and be coherent with and integrated into the UN development agenda beyond 2015 and the review of the Millennium Development Goals.


In order to establish an inclusive and transparent intergovernmental process to develop the SDGs, a 30-member Open Working Group (OWG) was established with the task to prepare proposals. Eurostat took part to one of the OWG's sessions, namely the informal meeting on measuring progress of 17 December 2013. The purpose of the meeting was to understand how statistics can support the OWG in its task of designing and proposing SDGs and targets and to ensure a policy dialogue between policy-makers and statisticians in order to ensure the measurability of goals and targets.


(Part 1) Informal meeting on measuring progress, Open working group on Sustainable Development

(Part 2) Informal meeting on measuring progress, Open working group on Sustainable Development


Eurostat has also contributed to the work of the UN Statistical Division and the Friends of the Chair Group (FOC) on broader measures of progress, established in 2013 to closely monitor the on-going debate to ensure that a robust statistical measurement approach is incorporated from the onset in preparations for the post-2015 agenda. UNSD and FOC provided the OWG with Statistical notes examining the main policy issues, the conceptual and methodological tools, existing and new indicators and data requirements.


The final report of the OWG is one of the major inputs to the development of the post-2015 development agenda (see all actors involved. The final phase of the intergovernmental work will culminate in a UN summit at head of state and government level in September 2015 for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda.

For the overall contribution of the European Commission to the Rio+20 Conference please visit:

European Commission Environment       European Commission EuropeAid

Figures for the future - 20 years of sustainable development in Europe? A guide for citizens Figures for the future - 20 years of sustainable development in Europe? A guide for citizens

One of the objectives of Rio+20 is to assess the progress to date. That is why in this publication Eurostat provides analysis of trends of sustainable development indicators (SDIs) combined with an interesting story. It is a guide to the EU SDIs and the trends they show. It communicates statistical figures as seen through the eyes of fictional 17-year-old student Anne. Anne aims to find answers to many questions that relate to our everyday life and our future. These questions are answered while Anne is giving her presentation at a Model UN conference. Through her analysis and discussions the reader is enabled to use statistics when drawing a conclusion about the assessment of progress towards sustainable development.

Presentation on sustainable development indicators (slides of the publication):
This presentation is also available in 22 of the EU official languages, see below.

Last update 10.07.2014