Reflections on the Race to Rio - March newsletter


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Our monthly newsletter that brings you the latest on the development of the Rio+20 Earth Summit in June in Brazil. Topics range from political will, green economy, and to innovative approaches to sustainable development. Hot titles this month include "Rio+20: Social media countdown to UN sustainable development forum kicks off" "More than 110 heads of state, government to take part in UN sustainable development conference" "Sustainable development needs IT-style ‘revolution’ – Figueres" and more awesome videos introducing Rio+20.

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Reflections on the Race to Rio - March newsletter

  1. 1. REFLECTIONS ON RACE TO RIO March 19, 2012 Newsletter Web Twitter @NRDCRio With fewer than one hundred days before the start of Rio+20, there are reasons to be hopeful and con- cerned about prospects for this next Earth Summit. The United Nations just announced that 110 heads of state/government have already confirmed plans to come to Rio on June 20-22 for the high-level segment ofUpcoming Events at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called Rio+20 “a once-in-a-generation opportunity,” as the UN undertook a coordinated social media blitz on the themethe Rio+20 prepara- of #FutureWeWant, which generated millions of impressions. The Rio+20 secretariat launched an onlinetory meeting registry for non-globally negotiated commitments, indicating progress towards the vision of a different kind of summit with a focus on action and accountability. On International Women’s Day (March 8th),Join NRDC and partners in the advocates and policy experts turn the attention on how Rio+20 could help bring women into the cleanfollowing side events at the 2nd Inter- energy economy and drive sustainable development.sessional meeting of Rio+20. On Monday 19th, officials, diplomats, and civil society representatives will begin to arrive in New York forMeeting the Challenge of ten days of Rio+20 preparatory meetings. There will be informal negotiations on what would become theCommunicating Rio+20: outcome document of Rio+20. With all the suggested additions and alternatives, the draft document hasEngaging the Global now ballooned from 19 pages to more than 160. Do we really need to spend thousands of hours negotiatingPublic in the Transformation yet another long plan of action? A more valuable alternative would be to draft a brief political statement thatto a Sustainable our leaders might actually read before they adopted it and that might actually capture the attention of a newFuture generation. Or, the negotiators could concentrate instead on a handful of key matters, which might make aMarch 27, 1:15-2:45pm, Room real difference in the international community’s capacity to address the huge sustainability challenges. KeyTBA, tasks might include establishing sustainable development goals, strengthening UNEP, and creating new ar-UN Headquarters, New York rangements to protect the high seas.A panel of leading creative art-ists and talents, producers, me- Right now, it is an open question whether Rio+20 will be a success ordia figures, and communica- not. In our view, the conference must create a real sense of urgencytions and social media about the need for a rapid transformation to an equitable green econ-experts will explore the omy and real hope that our leaders are acting now to do so. This Earth Summit will be a major test of the relevance and effectiveness ofchallenges and opportunities of the United Nations in our globalized, networked world. As we havecommunicating about Rio+20 said before, Rio+20 is too big to fail. For more information and signtoday. up to updates, visit and follow us on twitter at @NRDCRio.A Global Call to End PlasticPollutionMarch 27th, 6:15-7:45 pm,ECOSOC Chamber, Recent NRDC BlogsUN Headquarters, New YorkHow can Rio+20 injectmomentum to end plastic’ de- Join a New Video Competition: What climate & energy actions would you demand of world leadersstructive pollution of world’s at the 2012 Earth Summit? NRDC is partnering with other organizations to launch a new competition – “Win a Date with His-oceans? Join a panel of interna- tory”. This is your chance to let world leader’s know exactly what you want them to do at the 2012 Earthtional and Hollywood activists, Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Share with your friends and children between the ages of 13-30. Thecity official, UN expert and best speaker goes to Rio to deliver the message.ambassador. Doing More with Less: Why America Can Lead the World toward Sustainable Cities The “smartphone” transition is already happening in many American cities. America should follow these examples and take the lead toward global sustainable development at the Earth Summit in June. More blogs at
  2. 2. Nick Clegg said he would “help prevent the UK Global Highlight playing catch-up on clean technology.” 100 Days Countdown to Rio Brazil wants Rio+20 to stipulate targets(ANBA)Upcoming Events Rio+20: Social media countdown to UN sustainable Top Brazilian negotiator: Rio+20 will be more about action [commitments by key countries, companies, development forum kicks off (UN)at the Rio+20 pre- In celebrating the 100-day mark, global stakeholders and civil societies] than legislation[new treaties]."paratory meeting and UN system partners launched an online social media campaign by tweeting #futurewewant in order Kenyan grassroots women to champion sustainable to “reach an ever-growing number of people about development (Africa Science News) the importance of the conference and the need to take Women leaders across 47 counties have resolved toThe Sustainable and Just action now,” said Secrtary General of Rio+20 Sha mobilize their grassroots counterparts to lobby forCity: Strategies for Zukang. greater inclusion in processes that promote sustainableImplementation development in Kenya, including attending the RioMarch 20, Tue, 1:15–2:45pm, Summit.ECOSOC Chamber, UN Head- Rio+20 voluntary commitments online registryquarters, New York launched on the UNCSD website (UNCSD)The panel features six excep- Rio+20 is a conference about implementation, and an Stars turn out for Global Green USA’s 9th annual pretional leaders in the field, important part of that is making and delivering com- -Oscar party (Global Green USA)including two ambassadors, a mitments. The UN organizer has launched the online Many of the celebrity attendees signed a letter callingleading private sector executive, registry to invite all participants at Rio+20 to make on President Obama to attend the Earth Summit anda technology social entrepre- non-globally negotiated commitments to deliver con- bring a comprehensive action plan for the health of allneur, a pioneering academic, and crete results for sustainable development. Americans, the environment and people around thea prominent practitioner in world. Anyone can add their name to the letter bysustainable cities. visiting Political Will More than 110 heads of state, government to UK MPs urge PM to attend Rio+20 summit (BBC)A Roadmap for Ocean Sus- take part in UN sustainable development confer- MP Joan Walley: "At a time when environmental debttainability ence (Xinhua) needs to be as high on the agenda as economic debt...March 22, Thu, 1:15-2:45pm, UN:"The level of attendance is amongst the highest se when we have this one opportunity for the interna-Room 7, UN Headquarters, en for this kind of event." tional community to frame new priorities, to work outNew York how we each individually and collectively engage withGovernments, companies, and this, we need the UK Prime Minister actively shaping UK deputy PM will attend Rio Earth Summitcivil society groups should come the new agenda.”to Rio prepared to take tangible (Guardian)steps towards restoring thehealth of our planets oceans.Network Reception: On theRoad to RioMarch 26, Mon, 6:00-8:00pm,Ford Foundation, 320 East 43rdSt, New YorkJoin Ford Foundation for anetworking reception and meetother influential leaders who Green Economy Nicholas Stern on Rio+20: New economic measure to tackle climate change will be debated in Rio talksshare a commitment to a just Green economy seeks to maintain growth threat-and sustainable future. ened by disasters (Eurasia Review) (E&E subscription might be required) Does the world have to wait for a major environ- Politicians, scientists, businesspeople, academics, mental disaster to realize that environmental degrada- economists & environmental groups are among a tion costs more than modern comforts? Lessons from loose coalition forming to push for a radically new phasing out fossil fuel subsidies in some countries measure of the costs of economic growth to help esti- suggest a less costly way to correct the serious market mate the looming risks posed by climate change. failures. U.S. Department of Labor tells women it’s time to India needs green muscle at Rio+20 (Forbes India) get green jobs (Energy Boom) India needs to strengthen institutional and financial Secretary Hilda Solis holds a different vision for support from the government and the industry to America, one in which the country creates good jobs develop its own green economy muscle. for everyone.
  3. 3. Rio+20 invideos Rural women: the missing, strong link for sustainable development (Trust Law)We’d like to share with you some of At Rio we have a moment of opportunity to ensure that rural women are an international development prior-the captivating video productions aimed ity and that policies and measures translate into real, on-the-ground progress for rural introducing and mobilizing differentaudience about Rio+20. Pass them on Strengthening the business case for gender equality, nearly 400 CEOs commit to women’s empower-to your friends and families to learn ment principles (Just Means)more about Rio+20. Stressing the vital link between women’s economic empowerment and sustainable development in the con- text of Rio+20, Ban Ki-moon stated we can’t achieve sustainability – at a corporate or a global level – with-Rio +20: A Date With History(in the Making) (GCCA) out empowering the world’s women.What if we could pose a ques-tion to young people all over the Innovative Technologies and Structuresworld: "If you had two minutes to Figueres: Sustainable development needs IT-style ‘revolution’tell the worlds leaders what kind (Environmental Finance, subscription might be required)of future you want, what would The sustainable development revolution we need is the kind that occurred around information technology inyou say?" After all, no one has a the past 20 years, said UN climate chief. It would be impossible to meet our current challenges “without anmore important stake in the out- unprecedented level of cooperation between the public, the private and the civil society sectors.”come of Rio +20 than the under-30s that will inherit this planet? Business to play a big role in green economy at next Rio conference (Financial Times, subscription might be required) Some industry experts lay out the promises and challenges of ensuring that at Rio businesses will be required to report on their social and environmental impacts, which has become an expectation in the market. Investors: Rio+20 should refine integrated reporting proposal (Environmental Finance, subscription might be required) Investors have welcomed a proposal to make companies report on their environmental and social impacts. But a common, clearer platform and standards are needed.An introduction of Rio+20 forchildren and youth What is the Rio+20 Earth Summit?(Rio+Twenties)Brought by the youth-led NGO In June, the Brazilian government expects some 150 presidents and prime ministers to join 50,000 leaders andRio+Twenties, the video intro-duces children and youth to the citizens in Rio de Janeiro for the Rio+20 Earth Summit, commemorating the 20th anniversary of the historicworld of Rio+20 and why it mat- Earth Summit in 1992. It is anticipated that countries, corporations and communities will make promisesters to them. there to take action on clean energy, green economy jobs, oceans, cities and other key areas. About the Natural Resources Defense Council The Natural Resources Defense Council is a non-profit environmental advocacy organization with more than 1.3 million members and online activists. Since the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm, NRDC has actively engaged in a range of international sustainability issues. Our current prioritiesRio+20: Reflecting on the past, include green economy and jobs, climate change and energy, oceans, and toxics. In the 1990s, NRDC organ-understanding the present and ized Earth Summit Watch to report on the implementation of commitments made at the 1992 Earth Summit.gazing to the future (The Regen- For more information about the newsletter and our campaign, please contact Yiting Wang: Project)This is the first of a video seriesthat aims to create a roadmap forRio+20 by asking sustainability SEND ME UPDATES ABOUT RIO+20 ATpioneers to reflect on the last 20 WWW.RACE2RIO.ORGyears and look forward to thenext. TWITTER: @NRDCRIO