I’m sure you have all read about the recent Durban and Rio conferences this past month, and the different perspectives on the numerous side events and meetings we were all able to attend. The role of health is crucial in both the Conference of Parties climate debate, as well as The Rio Earth Summit on Sustainable Development. In Durban, humanitarian aid organizations and non-governmental health organizations have a prominent role. The Red Cross chaired the humanitarian council this year, to tackle these issues and integrate human health impacts into the roll of climate change. There is clear science and research from the IPCC and other independent and university affiliations about the strong correlation between health and climate change, ranging from the rising seas, increasing natural disasters, and correlation to infectious…

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…

In June of 2012, heads of state, business leaders, and civil society will converge in Rio de Janeiro for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (also known as the Earth Summit, or Rio + 20). This meeting will mark the twentieth anniversary of the 1992 Earth Summit, which galvanized a generation of environmental activists. This meeting was the birthplace of the UNFCCC, and many partnerships were forged and promises made. Rio + 20 will be an occasion to reflect of the accomplishments and failures of the environmental movement in the past two decades, and to forge ahead with innovative solutions and partnerships for the next twenty years. Young people, especially, have a large stake in the outcome of this meeting. After all, it is us who will have to…

As I sat working Saturday evening 10:00EST (5AM Durban time), this e-mail came in over the YaleDurban listerv from Sébastien Jodin, Trudeau Scholar & SSHRC Fellow at FES.
I forwarded it around at the time, but was waiting for his approval to post.  It provides a good recap of the Durban deal.
“COP-17 in Durban has just ended with the adoption of decisions under both the UNFCCC and the KP. Progress was made on a number of issues, with the main highlights being as follows:
-an amendment to the Kyoto Protocol for a second commitment period for some states from 2013 to 2017, with many issues to be resolved on the transition between commitment periods;
-the operationalisation of the green climate fund; and
-the launch of an Ad Hoc Working Group

Dr. Hussein Farah is the Director General of the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD) based in Nairobi, Kenya.  It is an inter-governmental organization with 18 member states that provides geo-information for environment and resources management in eastern Africa.

Dr. Farah has a PhD in Water Resources Surveys from the University of Wageningen and the International Institute for Aerospace Surveys and Earth Sciences in The Netherlands.  He also holds a master’s in geography from the University of Waterloo, Canada and bachelor’s of science in surveying and photogrammerty from the University of Nairobi.  He has extensive experience in land surveying and mapping for environmental management.  Dr. Farah has lead the RCMRD for six years.

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