At its spring 2011 session, CEB acknowledged the interlocking set of economic, social and environmental crises facing the world and the need for decisive action to accelerate sustainable development efforts. It recognized that the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) was a major opportunity for the United Nations system to lend its unified and coherent support to Member States in both organizing and delivering on the sustainable development agenda. The United Nations system is supporting the preparations for the Conference through various complementary inter-agency mechanisms to ensure maximum support to the mandates given by Member States.

The Secretary-General has set up and will chair a dedicated Principals Group to advise him on the contribution of the system on the two themes of Rio+20: the green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, and the institutional framework for sustainable development. The Group, which will focus on the interlinkages among the three pillars of sustainable development, will include the participation of the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and the Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization in their respective capacities as chairs of the Environment Management Group, the United Nations Development Group, the Executive Committee on Economic and Social Affairs and UN-Energy.