Earth Summit in Rio

The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20) begins in three weeks (20-22 June) in Rio de Janeiro Brazil. As you may remember from a previous notice from the IBVM UN Office, this is a major world event in that its purpose is to develop mechanisms to ensure a sustainable future for the planet. Some people have already submitted their suggestions for our world: its people, animals and all other life forms, its water, air, earth and ecosystems. To learn more, consult the following websites www.futurewewant.org; www.roadtorioplus20.org (young people); www.un.org/es/sustainablefuture/conversation.asp (Spanish).

It is important to keep informed about this Conference, to speak about it and to let others know what is at stake. You will find Essential Information at http://www.vitaecivilis.org.br.The Rio+20 Conference will address two main topics, which have been the subject of intense debate by UN member states over the past few months.

  • The Transition to a Green Economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication
  • The Institutional Framework (governance tools) for ensuring sustainable development

Besides these topics seven critical issues are also being discussed: jobs, energy, cities, food, water, oceans and management of disasters.

As well as the official negotiations between countries, there will be hundreds of side-events. You will be interested to learn that one of these will feature a demonstration by Shweta Mirandi, a student from St Joseph’s College, conducted by the CJs, on how to save one megawatt of electricity a day.

After Rio+20 There is much talk about what needs to happen “After Rio” because that is when the hard work begins. It is hoped that by then we will have a clear vision that will guide Governments, the UN, NGOs and the private sector. We as members of civil society have a critical role to play, both in pressuring governments to implement decisions and in advancing our own initiatives. It is likely that a series of Sustainable Development Goals will be developed and merged with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that have been in operation since 2000.

We recall our commitment, as Mary Ward women and men, to the MDGs coming out of the last General Congregation (GC´06).

There will also be a People’s Forum in Rio, prior to the Conference, enabling participants to exchange ideas, network and develop strategies for moving words and aspirations into action. The role of civil society, as a power that can actually change our world, is obvious. So thousands of groups are now on the move! We are urged, therefore, to engage with the issues and promote responses that will sustain the Earth into the future.

Voluntary Commitments Another important part of Rio+20 is that of making and delivering commitments.To stress this aspect, the UN has invited all concerned citizens across the globe to make a specific commitment. Some of these have already been posted on the web.

Earlier this week, a group of former world leaders expressed dismay at the lack of a sense of urgency in the lead up to Rio+20, warning that the success – or failure – of Rio will have deep repercussions, define the aspirations of 3.5 billion young people, and shape the world we leave for future generations The Guardian 28 May 2012

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The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20)204.59 KB