A high-impact initiative for Rio+20: A pledge to phase out fossil-fuel subsidies

By Peter Wooders, Michael Volpe, Kerryn Lang on August 18, 2011

While negotiating time is running short, the IISD believes that Rio+20—the next UN Conference on Sustainable Development, 4-6 June 2012—can be a success with the help of a few high-impact initiatives.

IISD is proposing a national pledge (PDF - 493 KB) for UN member countries to phase out fossil-fuel subsidies that undermine sustainable development as one of these high-impact initiatives. If adopted, it will contribute to both themes of the conference: subsidy reform frees up valuable fiscal resources that can be redirected to fund other sustainable development priorities, providing the opportunity to introduce more targeted measures to support low-income households, it reduces greenhouse gas emissions and helps incentivize investments in renewable energy.

IISD proposes that countries adopt a pledge to:

  1. Phase out fossil-fuel subsidies that undermine sustainable development.
  2. Assist other countries to phase out fossil-fuel subsidies that undermine sustainable development.


Implementation of the pledges would be considerably strengthened by the adoption of supporting measures. It is recommended that countries commit to providing: transparent, annual reporting and review; technical and financial assistance for developing countries; common research and analysis and Secretariat support.

The Global Subsidies Initiative is preparing a proposal for submission to the Rio+20 process. We invite other organisations to show their support by co-signing the submission. If you are interested, please contact: Kerryn Lang, +41 22 917 8920.

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IISD, 2011