News and events
A selection of news and event announcements, relevant to those interested in local sustainability worldwide in the context of Rio+20.
Are we there yet? Rio+20 summit concludes today
22 June 2012
In a matter of hours, the historic Rio+20 summit will conclude with a scope of agreements and hundreds of voluntary commitments. Susanne Salz, youth representative and head of the Secretary General's office at ICLEI, shares her personal view on what we can expect from the Rio+20 outcomes.
I think that it is noteworthy that we have a pretty much agreed outcome already. We had expected that this would be a last minute deal going late into the night. But on 19th the Brazilian negotiators came up with a text and it was accepted by all countries. What does that document do? My overall summary is that it does a little bit. It is not a failure but it is not the success that it needed to be and what the young people of the world needed it to be .
The document contains some seeds with potentially large effects, like encouraging sustainability reporting by companies across the world, improving the UN institutions working for sustainable development, and setting up a global registry of voluntary commitment. The paragraphs sustainable cities and local governments are strong. There is more reference to stakeholder participation than ever before, Hopefully all these provisions will lead to meaningful action.
Yet, with those clauses, has Rio+20 done what the world needs? No it has not. That is possibly the worst outcome of all: neither real failure, nor real success. Because if this summit succeeded it could have saved the world. If it had spectacularly failed then we would have know that the system needs major overhaul.we could have started looking into what we could have done differently and start to make big changes. But this outcome? all this does is make us continue to muddle through - never really failing but never really succeeding either.
Rio+20 launches: global leaders come together to enhance sustainable development
21 June 2012
The much anticipated United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20, launches today in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). The conference, running from 20 – 22 June, sees participants from governments, the private sector, NGOs and other groups gather to shape how we can reduce poverty, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection on an ever more crowded planet.
A text outlining a vision for sustainable development has been finalised titled “The Future We Want”, which will be adopted at the conference. At the end of Rio+20 governments are expected to commit to clear and focused practical measures for implementing sustainable development. Rio+20 is concentrating primarily on two themes: a green economy in the context of sustainable development poverty eradication; and the institutional framework for sustainable development. The seven priority areas for the conference are decent jobs, energy, sustainable cities, food security and sustainable agriculture, water, oceans and disaster readiness.
ICLEI has already sent a strong message to the conference, urging parties at Rio+20 to recognise that local governments are particularly effective drivers of sustainable development as incubators of innovation, agents of change, and the sphere of government closest to the people. As well as recognition, ICLEI is asking that local governmental stakeholders be given increased representation and influence in international development cooperation processes and considered within international legal frameworks for sustainability.
For a full list of meetings and events related to Rio+20, including regional preparatory meetings, click here.