AC Alert for April 24, 2012 Preparing for the Summit - Road to Rio +20

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - 2:45pm

CONTENT: Newsletter

George HW Bush was President, Hurricane Andrew left a path of destruction from the Bahamas through Florida to Louisiana, and the Toronto Blue Jays won the World Series.

The year was 1992 -- time flies, doesn't it -- that's two decades ago!  And 1992 was the last time a UN Earth Summit was held. We saw a Rio+10 and now there will be a Rio+20 in June in the same city.  (As with this year’s coming summit, the 1992 event was held in Rio de Janeiro.)

 This year’s event is set to begin on June 20th and promises some lively discussion among the event’s participants:

“At the Rio+20 Conference, world leaders, along with thousands of participants from governments, and the private sector, will come together to shape how we can reduce poverty, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection on an ever more crowded planet to get to the future we want.

"It is envisaged as a Conference at the highest possible level, including Heads of State and Government or other representatives. The Conference will result in a focused political document, focusing on two themes:

(1) a green economy in the context of sustainable development poverty eradication; and
(2) the institutional framework for sustainable development.

"Preparations for Rio+20 have highlighted several areas which need priority attention: decent jobs, energy, sustainable cities, food security and sustainable agriculture, water, oceans and disaster readiness. Rio+20 is a joint endeavor of the entire UN System.” (Source: United Nations)

We are just two months away from the 2012 Earth Summit and change once again is in the air.  The 1992 Earth Summit, Rio 2012’s predecessor event, brought together many disparate parties in an attempt to change the way world governments and key stakeholders looked at economic activities (and economic development). 

The noble stated objective was to begin to change societal behavior so that the trends of wantonly destroying finite and precious natural resources and otherwise polluting our bright blue orb transiting around the sun would no longer be acceptable in both established and emerging economies.

Change did take place in various and incremental ways since the 1992 summit, and certainly public awareness of certain key issues – such as climate change and possible dramatic effects on societies – is far greater today than was the case 20 years ago.

How this will all play out in this year’s event remains to be seen, but there is no doubt that the 2012 Rio Earth Summit is becoming a Hot Topic.

The editors of Accountability Central devote an individual Hot Topic section to the summit, so that you can track breaking news, updates, commentary and opinion as this important event takes shape. Here are some recent excerpts from this hot topic section:

Environment Minister, Says Summit Needs Stronger Targets
(Source: Huffington Post) The Danish EU Presidency believes that ministers must back clear goals to clean up oceans, tackle water shortages and conserve resources if the 27-member bloc is to be a credible leader of global efforts to make the world more sustainable. The Rio 2012 summit has already been criticized as being too vague to achieve meaningfulness results.

Rio+20 should make sustainable land use a top priority
(Source: Environmental Using the severe droughts in Africa as an example, Luc Gnacadja of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification says world leaders must promote effective land use methods to mitigate drought. He believes the summit must make this a top priority.

Nigeria: Rio+20 and Country's Quest for Sustainable Development
(Source: All Africa) Nigeria, like most developing countries has begun series of activities that will facilitate its active participation in the 2012 Earth Summit. Nigeria's preparations include a three-day stakeholders meeting with participants from ministries, departments and agencies, civil societies and the media.

Brazil stresses need for world consensus at Rio+20 meet
(Source: AFP) Brazilian officials say that the upcoming Rio conference on sustainable development must yield a commitment to manage the world economy in a way that respects the environment and fights poverty.

Rio+20 Preparations Gather Steam Ahead of June Meet
(Source: International Center for Trade and Sustainable Development) The Rio+20 preparatory process continues to move forward, with delegates holding back-to-back meetings in New York over the past two weeks to negotiate over the outcome document for June’s UN Conference on Sustainable Development.

What's New for Rio +20?
(Source: Huffington Post) This article summarizes what has changed for the world since the first Earth Summit in Rio twenty years ago and what new challenges and opportunities will be on the table for this year’s meeting.

This is just a sampling of the information in our Alert. Go here for the full text of this alert, and more information on Sustainability, and other Accountability related topics.