Later this afternoon the EESC’s plenary session held a thematic debate on the outcome of the Rio+ 20 Conference, bringing together as speakers the Committee’s own President, Staffan Nilsson, the European Commissioner for the Environment, Janez Potocnik, the President of the EESC’s sustainable development observatory, Hans-Joachim Wilms, the Director of the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations, Laurence Tubiana, and the rapporteur of the Liaison Group, Olivier Consolo (CONCORD). Wilms memorably described Rio as ‘not a meeting, but a location’. Overall, Tubiana argued, politicians had failed to give the right messages but civil society organisations were now mobilised. And so, as Nilsson argued, the challenge was now to ‘bring Rio home.’ Potocnik, acknowledging the disappointing results, still argued that it was better to have an agreement than no agreement at all: ‘It is still only a beginning, but we can build on it.’ All speakers drew encouragement from the fact the Europe had spoken with one voice. Potocnik insisted that ‘the power lies in our (European) hands. It depends on how strongly we continue to take this forward.’ As Consolo put it, civil society ‘must take its responsibilities.’  Altogether, it was an interesting and passionate debate.