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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Rio +20: Be part of the change you want to see in the world

Last week I got an invitation from the Brazilian Government to participate as a panelist for the 'Oceans' theme in the Rio+20 Sustainable Development Dialogues. As you can imagine, I was super psyched and my first reaction was to dance around like a Leprechaun. Realising that that was not going to help the world in any way I then composed myself and decided it was my duty to engage as many people as I possibly could in the discussions. This is why I reach out to all of you. 
Rio+20 is so called because it marks the twentieth anniversary of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (Rio-92) and is all about defining the sustainable development agenda for the coming decades.The Dialogues take place in the four days before the main summit and bring together representatives from Civil Society to debate key topics related to sustainable development in the absence of Governments and the UN. The recommendations that come out of this will be conveyed directly the Heads of State and Government present at the summit. I feel very honoured to be invited particularly because these are issues that I feel very strongly about.  
I know that the issue of sustainable development is something many of us encounter in our work and daily lives. Its a concept we all wrestle with at some level. While I will be trying to tackle the issue of sustainable development in relation to the ocean, there are nine other themes that will be discussed and debated. They are:
(1) Sustainable development for fighting poverty; 
(2) Sustainable development as an answer to the economic and financial crises; 
(3) Unemployment, decent work and migrations; 
(4) The economics of sustainable development, including sustainable patterns of production and consumption; 
(5) Forests; 
(6) Food and nutrition security; 
(7) Sustainable energy for all; 
(8) Water; 
(9) Sustainable cities and innovation. 
The seven critical issues listed include:
Jobs, cities, oceans, water, energy, food and disasters. 
(There are issue briefs on the website that outline things like international commitments, challenges, gaps etc. They give you an idea of what direction the discussions will be taking.) 
Every day we hear stories about how the voice of people can make a difference. All I ask, is that you get involved and share your valuable insights. Its pretty simple:
- Explore the website
- Participate in the online debates .  (The debates will be broadcast live through the UN website)
- Join 'the Future We Want' global conversation and share your visions and solutions for the planet (and check out other people's dreams and solutions while you are at it)

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