On November 22, 2011, the Human Impacts Institute’s Tara DePorte spoke at the United Nations’ launch of its campaign for Rio+20: “The Future We Want,” which aims to coordinate a global conversation about the world’s future. It will take place through on- and offline formats, by way of video submissions, photos, and essays, and is designed to spark interest and hope in advance of next years Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development.
The proceedings featured two panels of speakers. First, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, and the Secretary General for Rio+20, Sha Zukang, were joined by Brazil’s permanent representative to the United Nations Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, in a discussion of the conference itself. Ban Ki Moon iterated that “sustainable development is a top priority,” as a paradigm for work on many of the world’s problems, and that “opportunities like Rio+20 do not come often.” The opportunity is to shape the future, as he explained, toward one in which “everyone has access to the food they need, to an education… to the energy that is required to develop [within] a vibrant, job-rich, green economy.” However, as Sha Zukang noted, this future is one that “we all have to come together to build.”
The second panel focused on the campaign for the conference, and featured Kiyo Akasaka, UN Undersecretary for Communications and Public Information, Bill Becker, Co-Director of the Future We Want Project, Ella Tamafur, youth activist and African Regional Focal Point for the Road to Rio+20, Eduardo Fischer, founder of a sustainability forum in Brazil known as Sustainability SWU (Starts with You), and the Founder and Executive Director of the Human Impacts Institute, Tara DePorte. The conversation centered on communicating the potential of the conference and sustainable development in general, to “make it real to people,” as Kiyo Akasaka noted, and on developing political will, support, and momentum going into the conference.
The unveiling of this campaign takes place while in Durban, South Africa, the COP17 climate talks have begun with limited expectations. Barring an unexpected positive outcome from that conference, Rio+20 may be the world’s best hope for a transformational and landmark global environment and sustainability governance agreement within the foreseeable future. The road to Rio+20 is now entering the final stretch. Check out the MobilizeUS! homepage for information on how to learn more and get involved in making Rio+20 a success next year.
To watch a video of the panel discussions, visit this link. Also click the following for more information on Rio+20 and “The Future We Want” campaign.
By Alex White, Human Impacts Institute Director of Outreach and Advocacy