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19 Jun 12

Side Event at Rio+20

Sustainable Development Goals – From “Silo Thinking” towards an Integrated Approach

Insights from the European Report on Development

The Rio+20 Conference is leading a new agenda around Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), combining economic, social and environmental targets. Poor countries and the poorest people within them need growth and access to natural resources for human development – which will require socioeconomic targets. Increased pressures on the planet’s natural resources will require environmental targets.

Time & Place

19 June 2012, 1.30-3pm, Rio Centro, Room T-6


The discussion on the SDGs should provide the opportunity to not only look at each resource individually, but also take account of the extensive linkages between resources such as water, energy and land (the “WEL nexus”).

The European Report on Development (ERD) “Confronting scarcity: Managing water, energy and land for inclusive and sustainable growth” suggests an ambitious integrated approach, which would embrace this nexus, avoiding perverse solutions and stimulating innovation.

This high-level panel will provide the opportunity to discuss how such integrated thinking could inform the development of the SDGs.

Related Resources


Confronting scarcity: Managing water, energy and land for inclusive and sustainable growth

Presentation on the ERD 2011/12 by Dirk Willem te Velde and Imme Scholz, given at the UNCSD (Rio+20) on 19 June 2012

Press Release

Sustainable Development Goals: From “silo thinking” towards an integrated approach

Yesterday, the European Commission and the Government of the United Kingdom organised a side-event at the Rio+20 Conference to present the European Report on Development (ERD) 2011/2012 and discuss its findings in the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals. Following the launch of the report in Brussels in May, a number of other events have been organised throughout Europe to present and debate its findings on national level, involving civil society, governments and media. The series of events led to the Rio+20 Conference.

European Development Report 2011-2012

“How to get the future we want”

Interview with Dirk Willem te Velde, team leader for drafting of the ERD 2011/12

European Development Report 2011-2012

Effective natural resource management for inclusive and sustainable growth in the context of increased scarcity and climate change: what role for the public and private sector?

This project undertakes the preparation of an the European Report on Development (ERD) 2012 researching this issue with the objective of presenting a report on effective natural resources management for sustainable and inclusive growth in the run up to the next RIO+20 Earth Summit in 2012.

Related News

European Report on Development 2011-2012

Launched in Brussels on 16 May 2012, the 2012 European Report on Development (ERD) highlights predicted increases in the scarcity of natural resources – with demand for water and energy expected to rise by 40% and demand for food by 50% before we reach 2030.

Related Media Coverage

12 Jun 12

ERD Blog

Water, energy and land are headline issues in the run-up to Rio+20. The 2012 European Report on Development (ERD), which has its UK launch at DFID on 11 June, and a launch in Berlin on 14 June, puts the knotty problem of increasing scarcity and interconnections between these resources centre-stage: the Water, Energy and Land (WEL) nexus. There are still hopes that outcomes from Rio will bridge between environmental and developmental agendas, for example by agreeing a mandate to set Sustainable Development Goals. Such big ideas will need to be backed up by other radical rethinks in the way we approach our environment, societies and economies.

Further Reading

23 May 12

World Bank Group identifies six key issues and key messages for Rio+20

25 Aug 14

China’s rapidly growing economy is very quickly testing the limits of its resource constraints. While China is home to a quarter of the world’s population, it is endowed with disproportionately less arable land, oil and water. By Julian L. Wong.

16 Jun 11

Second meeting of the German Advisory Group on 17 May 2011 in Bonn

NEXUS in the Media

30 May 12


The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have become a contentious proposal among Member States that are currently negotiating the outcome document for Rio+20. Member States and the international community are looking for the successors of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which will expire in 2015. The current framework helped the international community to rally behind a common understanding of poverty eradication, and it provided targets and indicators to guide policy decisions. However, the MDGs overemphasised economic poverty and gave limited attention to the structural causes of poverty or to sustainable development.

30 Jul 15

The Conversation

The UN’s Open Working Group has been crafting a comprehensive package of goals and targets that can drive global efforts towards a sustainable and poverty-free world by 2030.

22 Mar 12


Every single global environmental challenge encompasses a high level of complexity. Land degradation and desertification are no exception. Their solution must be sought in a range of disciplines: geology, microbiology, agriculture and many others. This is a massive task in itself, but the need for an additional joined-up approach across thematic borders is becoming more and more apparent, because so many issues are interrelated. Silo thinking will not lead to any overarching progress in the long term.

18 Jun 12

People’s Daily Online

Management of water resources needs “substantial improvement and actual reform in many countries,” and an integrated management is significant for “the most valuable natural resources,” Olcay Unver from the UNESCO’s water assessment program told Xinhua. “There has been some improvement over the the past decade or so, but we would very much like to see this expedited mostly by national government,” the director of UENSCO Program Office for Global Water Assessment said in a recent interview.


  • IFPRI International Food Policy Research Institute
  • WEF World Economic Forum
  • WWF World Wide Fund for Nature

Bonn2011 Nexus Conference – in the context of Bonn Perspectives

  • Bonn Perspectives

initiated by

  • BONN
  • BMZ

funded by

  • European Regional Development Fund EFRE
  • NRW Ministerin fr Bundesangelegenheiten, Europa und Medien des Landes Nordrhein-Westphalen