Cupula dos povos

By Jaimini Parekh and Jessica Gordon

The Peoples’ Summit, Copula dos Povos, welcomed both conference attendees and the public. Unlike Rio Centro, where the negotiations took place, tents with hand painted signs and activist videos welcomed us. Organizations presented pamphlets on their work.
The scene was far more festive than the official negotiations. No one was rushing any where, and the largest line was for the photo booth. Live music greeted participants, both on the official stage and on sidewalks. Vendors lined their jewels and tools on sheets and blankets. A big tented enclosure was the most official congregating area, with plastic deck chairs as seating. Two screens projected a man giving a speech in Spanish. The street lamps glowed off the bay in Praia de Flamengo as twightlight…

Ban Ki-Moon, PM Bhattarai (Nepal), Belgium and Turkey

From the very beginning of my internship I was made clear that Nepal had two clear agendas for Rio+20. First, Nepal being the chair of LDC coordination committee would be highlight and emphasize the challenges of Least Developed Countries in the Rio+20 outcome document and second, building partnerships for Mountain Initiative. Both were crucial for Nepal for its own country and for the countries it was speaking on behalf of. The number of LDCs has increased from 24 to 48 in the last three decades and only three of them have graduated out of their LDCs status.  The plight of LDCs range from socio-economic, political and environmental and needs great efforts from both LDCs and their development partners. LDCs goals and development agenda has been enshrined in the Istanbul Program…

Ken Gillingham's Solar Panel Project

Earlier this month, Ken Gillingham’s paper on “Peer Effects in the Diffusion of Solar Photovolactic Panels” was accepted at Marketing Science, which is often considered the top journal in marketing. There are some interesting results regarding how one’s neighbors influence the decision to install a solar panel, and I thought you might be interested in seeing some of the exciting interdisciplinary work going on here in action.  Gillingham joined the F&ES faculty as an Assistant Professor of Economics during the summer of 2011, and his research interests include environmental and energy economics, transportation economics, econometrics, and energy and climate policy modeling. He covers some very relevant and interesting issues that you may not immediately think of as residing within F&ES, and…

Communiqué from Exile in the Athlete's Arena

My official accreditation ran out on June 19th (long story), barring me access to Riocentro. SO for the past three days, I have been seeking my fortunes in the Athlete’s Arena across the street (What can I say? The U.N. has no mercy for those who get their paperwork wrong).

This seemed a miserable fate initially, but my fears of exclusion were entirely in error. After three days of wandering the arena, I have seen speeches up-close from U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, UNFF Director Jan McAlpine, and indigenous leaders from the Amazon.

There are also tanks…

President of Marshall Islands at Plenary Opening

plenary opening day 2

I was really fortunate to participate in the plenary opening meeting yesterday afternoon, on behalf of the Marshall Islands (RMI), which I interned at their permanent mission in New York over the past semester. As I sat there with three ministers of the RMI (foreign affairs, environment and transportation), senior advisor of climate change and two escorts behind the president, Mr. Christopher Loeak, it struck me that this is a once-in-a-life-time experience: to be able to assist one of the most vulnerable small island states on a national, regional, and now international level.

plenary opening day 2

The RMI…

While there are lots of side events going on in Rio Centro and the Athletes Park across the street, there have also been numerous events spread across the city.  The International Institute for Environment and Development (iied) organized a conference called Fair Ideas: sharing solutions for a sustainable planet which brought together scholars, practitioners and business leaders around the whole range of sustainable development issues being discussed at the conference.

The opening plenary included the heads and representatives from UNEP, IUCN, iied, the Stockholm Resilience Centre and Oxfam which provided a window into the current vision of major development organizations.  It also demonstrated the dominance of economics within the conversations in Rio.   The head of IIED, Camilla Toulmin called for a new evaluation method other than GDP, one that…