This June will see representatives from governments, the UN, major groups, business and a range of international organisations come together in Rio e Janeiro, Brazil for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, better known as the Rio+20 Earth Summit. The management education and business communities will be playing an active part in this historic event. In preparation for this summit, here are 10 things you need to know.
1. The first Earth Summit, the Conference on Environment and Development, took place in Brazil in 1992. The 10th anniversary World Summit on Sustainable Development, took place in 2002 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The 20th anniversary Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio+20 will take place June 20-22, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is envisaged as a conference at the highest possible level, including Heads of State and Government, and will result in a focused political document.
2. The aim of Rio+20 is to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assess the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development, and address new and emerging challenges. The conference will focus on two main themes: a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication and the institutional framework for sustainable development. For more information about the summit and why it is being convened, read the Rio+20 Brochure-The Future We Want.
3. The Rio+20 conference will address seven critical issues: jobs (trade, green jobs and social inclusion), energy, cities, food, water, oceans, and disasters. To learn more about these critical issues and other themes, you can read the issue briefs prepared for the event.
4. At the first Earth Summit in 1992, there was a realization that sustainable development could not become a reality without the active participation of stakeholders. Agenda 21 formalized nine groups that include Business and Industry, Children and Youth, Farmers, Indigenous Peoples, Local Authorities, NGOs, Scientific and Technological Community, Women and Workers and Trade Unions. Each has been contributing to the process, and their position papers can be accessed online.
5. The private sector plays a crucial role in moving sustainable development forward. Over 2,000 participants from business are expected to attend the Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum: Innovation and Collaboration for the Future We Want, which will take place on 15-18 June 2012 in Rio. This event will inform the proceedings and outcomes of the Rio+20 high-level meetings. For more information on the business contribution, read their input to the preparatory process, Corporate Sustainability Leadership: A Framework for Action at Rio+20 and Beyond.