The UN General Assembly called for effective preparations for the Rio conference at all levels in order to ensure high-quality inputs to the conference.

At the 17th African Union Summit held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea in June/July 2011, the AUC, UNEP, ECA, and the AfDB organized a high-level roundtable entitled “Mobilizing Africa’s leadership for an Effective Regional Preparatory Process for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20)”.

The Summit adopted a decision on Africa’s preparations for Rio+20, which commends partners for their commitment and initiatives to prepare Africa for Rio+ 20. In addition, the decision approves that Africa be represented by a spokesperson for the purpose of negotiating with one single voice at the international preparatory meetings for Rio+20 and mandates the Republic of Congo to coordinate at the political level, in consultation with Member States and with close collaboration with the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) and ECA.

The AUC and UNECA co-chair a High-level Steering Committee established for the effective coordination of the African Preparatory Process to Rio+20. This Committee is composed of representatives from the African Development Bank, the AUC, the Republic of Congo, UNECA, UNEP and UNDP with the Joint Secretariat of AUC, AfDB and UNECA serving as the Secretariat.

The Africa Regional Preparatory Conference for Rio+20 was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 20 to 25 October 2011. The Conference was organized by ECA jointly with the African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Development Bank (AfDB), among others.  

The main objective of the Preparatory Conference was to deliberate on the objective and themes of Rio+20 and other substantive matters of importance to Africa, with a view to arriving at a consensus on Africa’s key priorities and concerns to be reflected in the outcomes of Rio+20.

The main output of the Conference was the Africa Consensus Statement to Rio+20, adopted by the African Heads of State and Government in January 2012.  

The 18th Summit of the African Union Heads of State and Government stressed that  continued efforts are needed to ensure that Africa’s priorities and interests feature prominently in the Rio+20 outcomes.

Africa as a region therefore will organize a series of events in the lead up to Rio+20, during the Conference and the meetings preceding it, including the 3rd Preparatory Committee Meeting of UNCSD from 13 to 15 June, followed by the Four Days of Dialogue on Sustainable Development from 16 to 19 June, which will be organized by Brazil, the host country.

In accordance with the mandate delivered by the Assembly of the African Union, the Steering Committee of which will organize two Consultations and a Capacity Building Training Program for the African Negotiators to Rio+20 on the Africa common position and negotiation strategy.

The Bank considers Rio+20 an important opportunity to commit itself to helping countries eradicate poverty and reduce inequality, make growth inclusive and production and consumption more sustainable while combating climate change.

With the deadline of the MDGs fast approaching, the Bank sees Rio as an event to reinvigorate its global partnership for development and carry on with an ambitious post-2015 development agenda.


"For Africa and low income countries of the world, whose essential livelihood depends on nature, poverty and environment are two sides of the same coin."

Read more about what AfDB's President said at Rio+20