Is anyone listening?


By far the most passionate and provoking speech at the plenary this past evening was given by the president of Uruguay.  While most other heads of state echoed routine statements about their support for sustainable development, a green economy, poverty eradication, and how impressed they were with the outcomes of the conference, President Jose Mujica spoke to his colleagues, not at them, and raised questions that none of the other participants were willing to voice.

President Mujica noted that while poverty eradication and sustainable development are laudable goals, we are constrained by the processes of production and consumption that we have created for ourselves.  That if we all aim for a type of lifestyle that only a small portion of the global population can sustain, and if…

Arriving in Rio de Janeiro on Monday June 11th at midnight was very exciting. I knew that soon the entire world would have its eyes on this city following the U.N Conference on Sustainable Development – Rio+20. Few cars were on the streets as I left the airport and the highway was wide and nicely paved reminding me of the roads leaving JFK in New York.

Soon however instead of heading to the beautifully developed and famous regions of Copacabana, Ipanema, or Leblon I found  myself heading west towards a neighborhood called Engenho Novo in the heart of the city. I had arranged with a family friend to stay with them prior to the actual summit so that I can experience Rio from a local perspective.

In the…

Governors and Major Groups of Legal Amazon Made a Commitment to Implement New Policy

14:00, 21-06-2012, Brazil


The Forum of the Governor of the Amazon Region and the Representatives of the Major Groups delivered the outcome document of  the Sustainable Development Encounter of the Brazilian Amazon Region at Rio+20 conference.

Governors of Legal Amazon (Amazon states) prepared a letter for the Rio+20 high level plenary to propose implementation mechanisms for new forest policy. Among hundreds of proposals that have been proposed so far, the governors of Amazon States finally came to a conclusion after stakeholder consultation process.

The majority of the groups mentioned here are those Acknowledged by the UN, namely: Industry and Business, Children and Youth, Farmers, Indigenous Peoples, Local Governments, NGOs, Scientific and Technological Community, Women, Workers and Trade Unions, as well as the new group established for the…

Highlights: Please refer to the UN-General Assembly

The agreed document has 6 sections, 49 pages and 238 paragraphs containing the colossal work of negotiators done in 3 intersessionals, 3 preparatory committees, 1 special informal/informal negotiation week. As well as incommensurable hours gone to negotiate over four different negotiation texts released by the secretariat of the conference or by the Brazilian presidents, as the last version was.

Staying updated


The greatest place to get extra information about the latest status on the negotiations might not be the plenary room at Rio Centro. I’ll share some comments I’ve picked up from fellow FESers and from my own experience.

Place #1 The shuttle from the hotel to Rio Centro. Ok I admit that turning your neck over your shoulders might not be the right etiquette at an international conference, but when you are searching for information, you need to improvise as much as you can. It just turns out that the hour and a half ride could turn out to be a great time investment.

Place #2 The press conferences and media rooms. It is here where the international media shows their expertise and share all the…

I’m Naazia, the TF for the Environmental Diplomacy Practicum, and I’ve been in Rio as a member of the Marshall Islands delegation observing and keeping tabs on the negotiations since June 13. It’s been a long ride to get here: I worked on Rio issues for the small island states (SIDS) through last summer and fall, and it’s been a bit disheartening watching the text get progressively weaker and weaker. Last summer, SIDS had a long list of items that we attempted to include – our own submissions were a good 20 pages. We chose to engage by submitting these items to the G77 and entrusting them to negotiate them for us in the larger setting, which meant they had to go through two sets of consensus to make it…

Parting advice at CIFOR 8th Roundtable on Forests

I will be moving to Indonesia in August to undertake a yearlong fellowship, and so today I thought it would be a good idea to attend the Center for International Forestry Research’s 8th Roundtable on Forests today in order to introduce myself to my new neighbors on Java.

Imagine my surprise when, after an afternoon of refreshingly candid presentations, outgoing Executive Director Frances Seymour closed the session by announcing this would be her last turn at the microphone as the head of CIFOR and she wanted to offer advice to the audience.

Her advice was to encourage all the young women in the audience to aspire to leadership positions in the forestry world, joining the likes of Wangari Maathai and Elinor Ostrom, bringing perspectives to the table…