What is it?
Rio+20, formally known as the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, is the first and biggest Earth Summit in 20 years (since Rio in 1992). Starting this week, thousands of participants will come together to discuss how we can move toward a more equitable world; balancing economic growth with environmental protection.
The formal summit will be held from 20-22 June in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and a ‘People’s Summit’ from 15-23 June.
Representatives from more than 190 countries will participate in the formal session. It is estimated that an additional 50,000 participants- everyone from grassroots organizations, NGOs, the private sector and individuals will take part in side events and the People’s Summit.
Is another massive world conference really necessary?
In short… yes. Over the past 20 years, the world’s environment has continued to deteriorate. Demand for natural resources is up; the earth’s capacity for supplying the demand is less; one in seven people go hungry every day. We need to change our consumption patterns and how we’re interacting with the environment if we are going to be able to cope with a growing population.
What are the main issues?
In preparation for Rio+20, seven key areas have been highlighted as needing priority attention:
What does it hope to achieve?
The main aim is to start a process which will ensure that by 2015, the international community will agree on a set of global sustainable development goals.
Oxfam, along with other international humanitarian, development, social justice, environmental and workers’ organizations have come together to jointly call on governments to make these minimum set of commitments.
What are the areas of tension..? (in other words, will s*** hit the fan?)
The main areas of tension lie between developed and developing countries- how to share the burden of issues such as food security and the effects of climate change, and what issue trumps the other- should protecting the environment should be emphasised over reducing poverty?
How can I stay in the loop?
The Guardian are providing regular and ‘tell it like it is’ updates on Rio+20, which are actually quite interesting. Oxfam International Youth Partnerships also have 15 young leaders representing the views of youth from around the world (represent!). Check out daily updates from the delegates in Rio and read our take of the summit after Rio+20 on the 3things website.