Brazil is going to be home to a lot of world events over the next few years. Rio de Janeiro will host the 2016 Olympics during August, with the 2016 Summer Paralympics one month later. Earlier, 2013 will see Brazil host the Confederations Cup, run by FIFA (the International Federation of Association Football) followed by the football World Cup Finals in 2014.
June 2012 will see the Rio+20 event. That is the name of the United Nations conference on Sustainable Development, and if you attend, you might witness the next stage of a world decision on defining the next pathway to a safer, yet more equitable, much cleaner, greener and more prosperous world for all.
Twenty years on
Going back twenty years ago to the 1992 Earth Summit, countries around the world adopted an agreement called Agenda 21. This was a blueprint to reconsider economic growth and to advance social equity, while guaranteeing protection for the environment.
Agenda 21 tried to focus on nine different groups:
- Children and youth
- Indigenous people
- Local authorities
- Workers and trade unions
- Business and industry
- The scientific and technical community
Twenty years later the United Nations is collecting governments and international institutions with major groups who believe they have a say in the world’s future. The idea is to agree a whole range of intelligent measures to collectively reduce world poverty and at the same time promote good jobs. They wish to present ideas for clean energy combining with a more sustainable and fair way to use resources effectively.
The organisers are trying to stop the world from thinking as we currently do on green issues and start a new set of ideas to take the world forward for the next twenty years and more.
Why is Rio+20 required?
With the world recently seeing the seven billion population number arrive, they know that the figure is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050. An incredible 1.4 billion live on less than US$1.25 or less a day. Some 1.5 billion do not have electricity and 2.5 billion don’t have a toilet. One billion go hungry each and every day.
Estimates suggest that one third of known species will be extinct if the world doesn’t slow down greenhouse emissions.
Poverty and environmental destruction need to be tackled now, rather than waiting until it really is too late. The cost of solving these issues will rise considerably the later they are acted upon.
The idea of a global meeting will be to pool ideas to ensure the world can act together to secure the common future.
What are the solutions?
Many solutions to major issues are already known. They involve changing to greener economies coupled with spotlighting the end of poverty. The oceans must be protected from too much fishing and in particular, the destruction of marine ecosystems. The oceans also need to be considered in the known issues of climate change. The cities must become more efficient and easier to live in.
Public transport and mostly the general public’s use of better vehicles equipped for the future and not using the earth’s resources, needs to match renewable energy sources. The world knows how to reduce carbon emissions and at the same time lower both indoor and outdoor pollution; we just have to do it.
Rio+20 will show many examples of continued successes. In Canada, Ecologo – the North American environmental certification mark – has seen the promotion of thousands of products that meet all the meticulous environmental standards.
What’s happening in Rio?
There will be thousands of people attending the conference at the end of May 2012 and into the start of June 2012. The Preparatory Committee for the conference and the actual conference take place in June 2012.
There will be many side events and exhibitions together with presentations, fairs and press releases from partners trying to place their messages.
Along with the many unofficial discussions, the official meetings will cover two specific areas:
- How to build a green economy to achieve sustainable development and lift people out of poverty, including support for developing countries that will allow them to find a green path for development
- How to improve international coordination for sustainable development. Governments are expected to adopt clear and focused practical measures for implementing sustainable development, based on the many examples of success seen over the last 20 years.
Anyone can participate in some way or another. Visit the Rio+20 website to find out more.