As part of our United Nations Liaison Program, the Human Impacts Institute will be working with global partners to prepare for the 2012 Rio+20 Conference–the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (UNCSD)–as official members of the UNCSD Education Caucus, Women’s Caucus, and partners of the Youth and NGO Caucus. Stay tuned for updates on policy briefs, community engagement opportunities, and other resources.
Join the Community Conversation! How are you going to increase the political will of your representatives for Rio+20?
According to the United Nations, the stated objective of the Rio+20 Conference (Rio)—called the “Earth Summit” by stakeholder groups—is to “secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assess the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development, and address new and emerging challenges”. The Conference is scheduled to take place from the 4th until the 6th of June, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, and will bring delegates from around the world to follow-up on the progress of environmental sustainability twenty years after the 1992 Earth Summit (United Nations Conference on Environmental and Development). The 2012 date will also mark the 10th anniversary of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), which was held in Johannesburg, South Africa.
At a March 8th, 2011, meeting co-sponsored by the US Citizens Network for Sustainable Development (CitNet)–Making a Transition to a Green Economy– U.S. and Canadian representatives were invited to consult in developing strategies for the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio. As an active participant in the discussion, the Human Impacts Institute noted a combined desire to increase the political will of U.S. delegates, however, no concrete action was taken.
Jeffrey Barber, representative of CitNet remarked that the focus of Rio is on renewed political committment to sustainability and emphasized that, particularly in the U.S., a time for a National Strategy on Environmental Sustainability is now. A former U.S. Delegate to the WSSD, focused on the collaborative needs in preparing for Rio, saying that it is up to us to energize and excite Americans on sustainability. Jacob Scherr of theNatural Resources Defense Council commented that the U.S. is still developing it’s views to shape the approach to the Rio process and that they expect that the dialogue in the policy arena will be on developing a multi-sector, action agenda. He also called for a bi-national agenda, where the U.S. and Canada work together in the preparatory process.
As a follow-up to this preparatory meeting, the Human Impacts Institute is committed to building political will for Rio in the U.S. and increasing the representation of stakeholder groups in the process. As a first step, we will be outreaching to major U.S. environmental organizations in a call to join forces in advocating for major U.S. presence at Rio+20. In the upcoming months, we will be focusing our efforts on:
Developing mechanisms for promoting cross-sector collaboration in preparation for Rio;
Increasing political will in the U.S. for sustainability and Rio leadership with leading U.S. environmental organizations;
Ensuring greater inclusion of women and youth in decision-making processes at all levels of government through participation in the UNCSD Women and Youth Caucus;
Focus on education policy transformations through participation in the UNCSD Education Caucus;
Facilitating stakeholder participation in forming the next wave of environmental sustainability;
Re-confiming the role of NGOs in environmental sustainability through participation in the UNCSD NGO caucus; and
Developing creative outreach methods for communicating policy development, outcomes, opinions, and impacts.
Please, stay tuned for updates on the Human Impacts Institute’s countdown to Rio+20.