Rio +20 Sustainability Recommendations up for Vote

Let’s speculate. What sustainability messages would Sageboy want to send to world leaders at Rio? His wish list would be pretty simple.

  • Encourage the use of bicycles
  • Incentivize the construction of energy efficient buildings
  • Advance women’s empowerment as a way to advance sustainable development

Alas, Sageboy cannot vote and he will remain transfixed to the concrete walls of Sage Hall while over 40 F&ES students descend upon the Rio+20 Summit this week to raise their voices about which items on their sustainability wish lists they want to see become reality.

HOWEVER, you can vote on Sageboy’s recommendations and more online at: Rio+20 Dialogues: Vote for the Future you Want.

This voting campaign is part of the …

Measuring Progress at Rio and Beyond

At the US-Canada Citizens Summit for Sustainable Development March 24-25, I facilitated a group discussion on metrics and indicators for measuring progress toward sustainable development goals. Indicators and targets are mentioned throughout the “Zero Draft” document titled “The Future We Want,” a 19-page document that distills over 6,000 some pages of viewpoints from member states and major groups. This document has been serving as the basis for negotiations, and hopefully will be adopted as some sort of “outcome document” at the Earth Summit in Rio this June.

Ten years ago, the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) took place in Johannesburg, South Africa, marking the ten year anniversary of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. The WSSD differed from many previous U.N. conferences in that no new treaties or international institutions emerged from Johannesburg (although it did produce another plan of action). What was new at the WSSD was the encouragement and recognition of hundreds of commitments by governments, businesses and civil society organizations to engage in Partnerships for Sustainable Development.

The partnerships were voluntary multi-stakeholder initiatives intended to contribute to the implementation of Agenda 21- the “blueprint for sustainable development” adopted at Rio in 1992.  They addressed the full gamut of environmental, social, and economic issues that are embodied in the concept of sustainability. The term…

The 2nd Intersessional for the Rio+20 summit was the first UN intergovernmental conference that I have ever attended. I attended the Intersessional as part of NRDC’s team under the NGO – Major Groups sector. It was interesting to observe the different profiles of country representatives and their dispositions at the Intersessional. Sitting through both days, I observed that the general disposition in the room appeared to be ladened with weariness for rhetorics, there was no clear enthusiasm associated with change or the promise of change, rather there were mixed dispositions amongst country and civil society delegates. The general disposition of country delegates appeared to be a simple ‘tick in the box of attendance’ at the 2nd Intersessional for the Rio+20 summit. Even the brilliant comments, questions and commitments from countries or groups of countries…

It has been the 20 years since the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) where historic declarations and conventions were agreed up such as Agenda 21 – the blueprint for sustainable development, the Forest Principles, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).  We had established the the UN Commission on Sustainable Development and we had agreed acted upon the “Our Common Future” that was produced five years before in 1987. Twenty five years in the making during the recent Rio+20 intersession in NYC we were making some progress in articulating our common future which is still development for all without comprising our environment for future generations.

The discussion agenda at the intersession was focused on the zero draft – the outcome…

It was a great opportunity to work with NRDC through the course on ‘International Organizations and Conferences’. It enabled me gain deeper insights into Rio +20. Green economy and Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development are the main themes of the conference. Rio +20, the second earth summit being held after 20 years of the first earth summit, will determine the future of environmental governance and thereby the future of “Our” course of action!

As a part of Yale delegation, I attended the 2nd Intersessional meeting of Rio+20 in New York during 15-16 December 2011. The objective of the meeting was to discuss the structure and format of the zero draft of the outcome document. All the member states and other organizations submitted their inputs on zero draft by Nov…

Rio+20 is going to be held in 6 months; however, it is more likely that you’ve heard about Brazil’s upcoming World Cup and Olympics.  Rio +20 marks two decades since the landmark 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) conference in the same city that gathered 108 world leaders to discuss the green economy and sustainable development. Through Yale’s FES 850a International Organizations and Conferences course and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) I had a chance to attend a planning meeting for Rio+20, the Second Intersessional Meeting for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) in New York City on December 15-16, 2011.

I sat in on the US delegation’s briefing on Friday, December 16 with a diverse group of stakeholders. In attendance were…

While COP-17 is the negotiation about who should pay for climate change, Rio+20 will set the tone for sustainable development in the 21st century. Although Rio+20 is different from COP meetings in that it is intended to achieve a political agenda rather than a legally binding form, the two meetings are quite similar in essence.

Green Economy and Institutional Framework are supposed to be the two major topics for Rio next year, but last week in New York intersession, country delegates spent much more time on other topics than the two idealistic terms.

Different countries interpreted Rio+20 in dramatically different ways, although similar ways as they did in Durban. EU promoted a road map for green economy, doesn’t that sounds familiar? US emphasized civil society engagement, which corresponds…