With unprecedented participation from people hailing from all corners of the globe, thousands of events were held in the lead-up to and during Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development, including more than 500 official and side events at the Riocentro Convention Center, where the conference was held.

Below are some vital stats about the biggest UN conference ever held and the actions taken to make it sustainable.

Flags at Rio+20


  • More than $513 billion was mobilized in commitments for sustainable development, including in the areas of energy, transport, green economy, disaster reduction, desertification, water, forests and agriculture.
  • 692 voluntary commitments for sustainable development were registered by governments, business, civil society groups, universities and others.

 Participants at Riocentro

  • The total number of participants was 45,381.
  • Delegations participated from 188 countries and three observers.
  • Over 100 Heads of State and Government attended, along with around 12,000 delegates.
  • 9,856 NGOs and Major Groups participated.
  • 4,075 media representatives attended.
  • About 5,000 people worked at Riocentro daily.


  • 1,500 people volunteered, including young people, selected from of technical schools, Rio de Janeiropublic school students, university students, and professionals from across Brazil.
  • Around 700 young people from vulnerable communities were selected.
  • 5 per cent of volunteers were people with disabilities.
Online participation 
  • Since the Secretary-General launched the online global conversation on the Future We Want last November, well over 50 million people have joined in on social media platforms.
  • On Twitter alone — in English — the #RioPlus20 hashtag has been seen over 1 billion times.
  • In addition to posts in the six UN official languages, the campaign reached over 1 million people on Facebook in Portuguese.


  • Rio+20 was the first major UN conference to carry out a “PaperSmart” programme to cut paper use, with a web platform built for sharing all conference documents so they could be downloaded anytime.
  • Paper consumption was less than one million sheets of paper – a reduction of close to 20 million sheets.
  • The PaperSmart model has also helped to provide access to materials for the hearing and visually impaired, such as making documents available to be read via Braille, a common system that allows the visually impaired to read and write, and offering sign language interpretation for main meetings.
  • 161 totems (electronic information points) were installed in major hotels, airports and other locations around the city with information on the event, tips for tourism in the city, transport options, the Conference agenda, maps and other information services, all in Portuguese, English and Spanish.

Rio+20 participant using a totem

Riocentro Event Space

The total area of Riocentro 571,000 m² which was home to:

  • 205 km of fiber optic cable network
  • Wireless Internet access for up to 32,000 concurrent users
  • 8 km of telephone cables
  • More than 5,000 ICT assets (computers, network equipment)
  • Network capacity equivalent to a city of 120,000 inhabitants
  • Shared infrastructure of 600 workstations
  • 17 restaurants in the food court
  • 36 X-ray portals

 Travel and transport

  • To encourage use of alternate fuels, a fleet of cars for official use had dual fuel (or bi-fuel) engines,  and other official vehicles were powered by biodiesel and gasoline mixed with ethanol.
  • A fleet of cars was provided by Renault-Nissan Electric Vehicles to transfer small groups of UN staff to and from the conference centre.
  • Spaces at Riocentro were equipped with bike racks.
  • To help offset air travel emissions of accredited delegates a digital tool was created allowing participants to calculate greenhouse gas emissions from air travel and purchase certified emission reductions to compensate for them

    Hybrid bus at RioCentro


  • The power generators for Riocentro ran on fuel that is 20 percent biodiesel.
  • Event suppliers were encouraged to be energy efficient and utilize alternative fuels whenever possible.


  • According to the Brazilian Association of Hotels inRio de Janeiro, the occupancy rate of hotels was 95 percent during the nine days before and during the conference.

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