At 2:30 am on Tuesday morning, the Brazilian delegation announced that the text had been finalized and would be presented in the coming hours. At midday, the plenary agreed on the text ad ref and we have now passed it on to our leaders for the forthcoming UNCSD. While it may not be the first chapter in the “Future We Want,” the document coming out of Rio this week could serve as a significant and necessary prologue for the sustainable development agenda going forward.

The text places the concern for people at the heart of the development agenda, with sustainable poverty eradication being the overarching theme, and provides an overview of development progress, failures, and emerging challenges since the first Rio Conference 20 years ago. It leaves, however, many of the ambitious and action-oriented elements discussed over the past months to be decided subsequent to our time here in Rio. As a result, it is the outcome of these future decisions and UN mechanisms which will ultimately result in the substantive actions necessary to achieve the “Future We Want;” it is these outcomes which will ultimately determine the success or failure of Rio+20.

The ability of sustainable development goals to effectuate progress in both developed and developing countries, of institutions to effectively provide necessary support to member states in their development efforts, and of national governments to fulfill past commitments and incorporate sustainable development practices into their national policies will all be crucial indicators as to whether we have risen to the current global challenges or have further burdened future generations with our failure to act.