Environmental Audit Committee launches inquiry into the outcomes of the UN Rio+20 Earth Summit

17 July 2012

The Environmental Audit Committee is today launching a new inquiry into the outcomes of the UN Rio+20 Earth Summit in June, looking in particular at what actions and strategies the UK Government should now follow to take forward the concerns and commitments expressed in the Summit outcomes report

The Committee published two reports in the run up to the Summit and questioned the Secretary of State for the Environment on the Government’s approach a week before the Summit. It is now going to examine the role the UK Government played at the Summit and its plans to take forward the Rio agenda both in the UK and on the wider international stage.

Chair of the Environment Audit Committee, Joan Walley MP said:
“I was disappointed that the Prime Minister didn’t go to the Rio+20 Summit in June, to demonstrate the UK’s commitment to the changes needed to deliver a Green Economy and a sustainable future for the Planet.”

“The Summit didn’t deliver all of the fundamental  changes that were needed, and which many of us had hoped for. Nevertheless, the Summit did identify areas where action is urgently needed and in which the UK Government must play a leadership role. Above all, we in the UK must lead by example. Our inquiry will seek to identify how.”

The inquiry will specifically examine:

  • How well the Rio declaration — ‘The Future We Want’ — matched the actions that were needed.
  • The role played by the UK Government in the run up to, and during, the Summit.
  • What role the UK Government should now play internationally in taking forward the Rio agenda, including on the Sustainable Development Goals and through the Prime Minister’s co-chairmanship of the UN Secretary-General’s ‘High-level Panel of Eminent Persons to advise on planning for post-2015’.
  • How well the UK Government’s policies and initiatives match the commitments and calls-for-action set out in ‘The Future We Want’ declaration, the areas in which the Government has more to do, and where the Government’s priorities should lie.
  • What part greater informed public debate and wider engagement with the Rio issues needs to play.

The Committee invites organisations and members of the public to submit written evidence, setting out their views on these issues. More wide ranging responses are also welcome. Submissions should ideally be sent to the Committee by 28 August, although later submissions will also be accepted.

Further information

Media Information: Nick Davies  e-mail   020 7219 3297   / 07917488141

The Committee has previously produced two reports on Rio+20:

(i) Preparations for the Rio+20 Summit (October 2011) and (ii) The St Martin-in-the-Fields Seminar on the Rio+20 Agenda (May 2012)

(ii) Environmental Audit Committee publications

The transcript of the Committee’s hearing with Caroline Spelman MP, on 12 June, is at Environmental Audit Committee publications.

View information on the UN Summit.

View the Summit’s outcome declaration document, ‘The Future We Want’.

Guidance on preparing submissions is set out below.

For written submissions to the Committee, please note:

Each submission should ideally:

  • Begin with a short summary in bullet point form;
  • Have numbered paragraphs; and
  • Be in Word format with as little use of colour or logos as possible.

A copy of the submission should be sent by e-mail and marked ‘Outcomes of the Rio+20 Earth Summit’. An additional paper copy should be sent to:

Clerk of the Committee
Environmental Audit Committee
House of Commons, 7 Millbank
London, SW1P 3JA

It would be helpful, for Data Protection purposes, if individuals submitting written evidence send their contact details separately in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Please supply a postal address so a copy of the Committee’s report can be sent to you upon publication.

A guide for written submissions to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website at:

Guide for Witnesses to House of Commons Select Committees (PDF PDF 1.25 MB)

Please also note that:

  • Material published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed memorandum, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.
  • Memoranda submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organisation submitting it is specifically authorised.
  • Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.

Image: iStockphoto

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