Sustainability Progress, 20 years to date – How well?!

I feel very privileged to attend this year’s Earth Summit! I had a close mentor that was part of the Nigerian delegation in 1992, and I can still remember the global momentum that was unleashed at the time as the world sought to aspire for sustainability.

In retrospect however, I am also critical of what has or has not happened in the last 20 years and what may or may not happen in the next 20 years.

In this year’s summit, I will work with NRDC to gauge country delegations level of commitments. I will also observe the role and impact of other major groups and Brazil; to note their sense of urgency to act and to set a legacy for the next 20 years.

There is a now famous Rio+20 phrase – ” The future we want” – used by different groups including civil society, countries, women, youth, children and infants; to highlight their specific positions on global sustainable development. After following the last 2 intersessional meetings leading to Rio+20 and in view of the multi-faceted demands and stakes in each groups position, I only hope that the cumulative “future(s) we want” will result in tangible action-oriented sustainable development that goes beyond the outcome document! Whether it be regarding the Green Economy, Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development or addressing new and emerging issues.

This is hoping of course that positions do not leave action to others. For example, “the future we want from others” will not steer action and commitment to achieve sustainable development. Instead we need the notion of the “future we want to partner with others”. The latter position will fast track consensus in the areas of current disagreement because it is time to make tangible progress in increments that are less than 20 years!

Expect closing thoughts on my observation of the summit after the outcome document is finalized. . .