Getting ready for Rio+20 – The Nine Major Groups (Part 2)

Sustainable development cannot be achieved by government action alone. It requires the participation of all sectors of societies. At the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, a document called Agenda 21 was released that, among other things, formalized groups whose contribution is crucial to making sustainable development a reality. Since then, these nine groups have represented the voice of their respective constituencies within UN meetings, including all subsequent Earth Summits.

With Rio+20 fast approaching, here is a brief overview of some of the activities that the different groups have planned (for more on Business and Industry, check out an earlier blog).

  • NGOs:  Because this is such a big group, a matrix has been developed of the wide range Rio+20 priority areas (24 in total), and facilitators have been assigned to each. Each of these groups also has events organised throughout June in Rio. NGOs are coordinating a lot of their projects and statements online through a variety of platforms, including NGORIOplus20 and a Ning site called Rio+20 NGO. The overall group is coordinated by CIVICUS, Northern Alliance for Sustainability and Consumers International.
  • Women: The women’s major group statement (which has been signed by a wide range of groups internationally online) focuses on gender equality in all spheres in our society, respect for human rights and social justice, and environmental conservation and protection of human health. During the Summit, the Good Practice Award will be given out by members of the Network of Women Ministers and Leaders for the Environment. UN Women has been collecting the views and gender perspectives on sustainability and what that means for women around the world through the Rio+20 gender survey, which will be shared at the Summit. The group is coordinated by Women in Europe for a Common Future and Voices of African Mothers. You can also follow their activities by twitter (@Women_Rio20).

Getting ready for Rio+20 – The Nine Major Groups (Part 1)

Sustainable development cannot be achieved by government action alone. It requires the participation of all sectors of societies. At the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, a document called Agenda 21 was released that, among other things, formalized groups whose contribution is crucial to making sustainable development a reality. Since then, these nine groups have represented the voice of their respective constituencies within UN meetings, including all subsequent Earth Summits.

Each of the nine major groups (Business and Industry, Children and Youth, Farmers, Indigenous Peoples, Women, Local Authorities, NGOs, Workers and Trade Unions and the Scientific and Technological Community) has submitted position papers leading up to the Summit as well as commented on drafts of the prospective outcome document. These documents are all available via the websites below. The groups will be involved in a wide range of side events, workshops, presentations, exhibitions, etc., including the People’s Summit, and, of course, the official events of Rio+20.

With Rio+20 fast approaching, here is a brief overview of some of the activities that the different groups have planned (for more on Business and Industry, check out an earlier blog).

  • Children and Youth: Youth comprise nearly 30 per cent of the world’s population, which means that their involvement in environmental and development decision-making is critical. Youth are always very active in the Summits, and many official government delegations send a youth representative. Youth from around the world will come together at the Conference of Youth for Rio+20 (aka Youth Blast), taking place from 7-12 June in Rio. The group is coordinated by Rio+twenties.
  • Farmers: Since agriculture occupies one third of the land surface of the Earth and is a central activity for much of the world’s population, farmers play a crucial role in sustainable development. Their calls for action include increasing the proportion of overseas development assistance focused on agriculture and rural development, increasing support for participatory approaches to farmer to farmer training, developing new approaches to reward farmers for ecosystem services, and securing land tenure for rural women (to see the full list read their statement online). The group is coordinated by La Via Campesina – International Peasant Movement.

Management Education and Rio + 20 (Part 1)

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.

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