The Nordic Council's Environment Committee sent two parliamentarians to Rio+20 to follow the negotiations and take part in seminars and discussions. They travel back with strong impressions and optimism but also some reservations about the results in Rio despite many excellent decisions.
"The resolutions arrived at under the heading "The Future We Want" highlight some of the issues we must resolve if we are to ensure our children and grandchildren the same opportunities for quality of life as we enjoy", says Anita Brodén in Rio.
The Nordic Council was represented at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio + 20, by Anita Brodén and Cecilie Tenfjord-Toftby, both Swedish MPs and members of Council's Nature and Environment Committee.
"It is extremely important that world leaders meet again to promote the work of sustainable development", said Anita Brodén.
"The resolutions arrived at under the heading "The Future We Want" highlight some of the issues we must resolve if we are to ensure our children and grandchildren the same opportunities for life and quality of life as we enjoy.
Anita Brodén, who contributed to the debate on gender equality with a speech at the seminar organised by the Nordic Council of Ministers in Rio de Janeiro in conjunction with the conference, is not satisfied, however, with how gender equality was treated in the final text from Rio.
"I believe that we cannot possibly achieve sustainable development if we do not guarantee gender equality. Experience shows that the skills and values that come with gender equality are a precondition for sustainable development. And it is time that the world community formally recognises this.
"Even though the results are not quite as clear as I had hoped, I am impressed that the UN, with contributions from so many of the world's leaders, is now formulating a vision for a green economy which will be a prerequisite for sustainable development", says Cecilie Tenfjord-Toftby.
"It is how the text in the final declaration is interpreted that will ultimately determine the actual outcome", she continued.
Cecilie Tenfjord-Toftby took part in a Nordic event about how the ideas behind New Nordic Food can form the basis for innovation and regional development and she emphasised that food production should be a part of the foundation of the green economies of the future.
"I note with satisfaction that it has been decided that the UN will develop new methods for the states to measure the results of economic activity. Methods that will better show whether growth is sustainable both ecologically and socially", she says.
"I could however have wished for a clearer statement on the settlement of subsidies to non-sustainable energy production, which I believe blocks a necessary shift in the world's energy supply."
It is a pleasant surprise that the final declaration contains several initiatives for the protection of marine resources.
"We estimate that the protection of marine resources will be a key focus in the UN's work in the coming years. It is important for the Nordic Region, especially in regard to the focus we in the Nordic Council have had on the Arctic seas", said both Anita Brodén and Cecilie Tenfjord-Toftby.
The final declaration highlights the work to develop a binding agreement on emissions of mercury.
This is an issue in which the Nordic countries have actively been actively involved for many years.
"It is very positive that the matter of mercury has been raised and I hope that this will help to promote the ongoing negotiations on a global mercury agreement, which started in Stockholm two years ago", concluded Anita Brodén.
Tryggvi Felixson, + 45 29692937
Cecilie Tenfjord-Toftby +46 702 880062
Anita Brodén +46 702 2021318