February 23, 2012

Trade unions on the move for Rio+20

With just 4 months to RIO+20 the ITUC is calling on all affiliates to mobilize for a more equitable, just and sustainable world. The world needs to start acting NOW towards a more sustainable future where neither workers nor the earth and its resources are being exploited.

What is Rio+20?

The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (so called Rio+20) will take place over three days, 20-22 June 2012. World Leaders are asked to ’revitalise commitments’ around sustainability and will discuss issues such as the green economy, the institutional framework for sustainable development as well as issues such as employment, food and energy among others. (more information on the process)

Rio+20 will be surrounded by multiple events (the People’s Summit, the Trade Union Assembly on Labour and Environment, etc). Trade unions proposals will be voiced by a large national and international trade union delegation.


Why is Rio+20 important to trade unions?

Rio+20 represents a major moment to ensure that our demands are heard by governments, to mobilise workers and trade unions around sustainable development and to work with others in building an alternative economic model that benefits the working people and protects the environment.

We are calling for jobs, green jobs and decent work. We want a guarantee for the social protection floor for all the worlds’ people with funding to kickstart or strength social protection in the poorest countries. We also want the greed of the financial sector to help pay for sustainability through a financial transaction tax - FTT.


Key demands

The trade unions have three key demands to the Rio Summit

Green & Decent Jobs

Social Protection Floor

Financial Transactions Tax

Here are the ITUC proposed amendments to the UN Zero Draft for Rio+20.

Other demands (on the principles for the green economy, workplace rights, taxation, etc) are available here.



The United Nations’ Conference on Sustainable Development - Rio+20 will focus on the green economy and the institutional framework for sustainability. It has broadened its agenda to cover other topics, such as social inclusion, energy, employment, etc. In order to make an impact, we will focus on three key dimensions:

- influencing the negotiations
- mobilising and defining the future trade union agenda through a Trade Union Assembly (11-12 June in Rio)
- working with alliance partners who share our ambitions for jobs, climate action and justice


What can you do?

Everyone has a role to play to make Rio+20 a success; no matter if you are a government, a labour leader, a community representative or an individual citizen.

If you are a union officer, please have a look at our first Rio+20 checklist, with everything we suggest you to do this month, including important logistical information!

We need to make sure that all governments are pushing the demands of the workers of the world - and you can help!


Take part in the week of Action

From 5-9 March 2012, the ITUC will organise a Lobby Week. We ask our affiliates to meet their government, ask them to support our proposals and report back on their responses.

Stay informed

Please nominate a contact person to receive key ITUC information on Rio+20 and get involved in the negotiations. Confirm their name to Anabella Rosemberg

Want more information on Rio, communications, logistics and trade union actions. see the original ITUC press release here .


News + See more

October 19, 2015

Civil society publishes review of national climate targets

Step-change needed to get a Paris Agreement that’s ambitious and fair

(Bonn, Germany, 19 October, 2015) – A review of country climate targets reflecting the twin pillars of science and equity has been released by civil society ahead of the UN climate conference in Paris.

September 25, 2015

Fighting toxic work

At the ICCM4 unions will launch a video and a publication on problems and solutions for occupational exposures to chemical hazards. 

September 17, 2015

Trade unions deliver demands for Paris Climate Agreement to French Foreign Minister/COP21 President

Laurent Fabius, the French Foreign Minister and incoming President of the UN climate talks COP21, addressed the Trade Union Climate Summit 80 days before the start of the climate talks in Paris.

Say it loud + See more

Sharan Burrow. ITUC SG

If you expose us, we'll expose you. A excellent article on chemical risks for workers on the occasion of International Workers Memorial Day, 28 of April. 

Resources + See more

Featured trade union action+ See more

United Steelworkers (USW) putting breast cancer out of work

In partnership with the BlueGreen Alliance (an alliance that unites the largest union and environmental organizations), the USW launched a campaign to Put Breast Cancer Out of Work. Through this initiative they aim to prevent breast cancer and other chronic diseases by promoting safer alternatives to the current use of dangerous chemicals.

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