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Rio Dialogues Part I: WHY Should I Even Care?

by Elischia Fludd

rio20In the big lead up to Rio+20, the community concerned about sustainable development is all a-buzz. There is talk of PrepCom, side-events and dialogues at the Rio+20 conference. Despite all the momentum, critics note that the level of civil society input lacks luster. There must be more than the same networks of people talking about the significance of sustainable development. There must be more done than presenting pie-in-the-sky ideologies as staples for resolving world challenges. If reasonable to implement, action oriented plans are the overarching goals of Rio+20, then all sectors of society should be consulted to make the achievement of these overarching goals our shared reality.

What's ado about Rio+20? Allow me to break down the mystery: the U.N. Conference is the largest platform that will gather world Heads of State together with civil society, public and private sectors, the scientific community and even special interest groups in Rio de Janeiro to make a resolution for the future of our planet. By future, I mean the standards for how to interact within our communities, build a thriving global economy and have more responsible use of environmental resources. To grasp the scope of Rio+20, let us examine the significance of the abbreviations for the U.N. Conference for Sustainable Development:
Rio = abbreviation for Rio de Janeiro, the capital city of the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and the location where the conference will be held.
+20 = the amount of years since the original U.N. Earth Summit discussed sustainable development and forged blueprints for what we should do as an international community in 1992.

Since 1992, increased strain on the Earth, people and economy have intensified. With 7 billion people crowding our planet and finite resources, it is a no-brainer that we should ensure a viable system that we all can implement to make smarter, healthier choices about what we collectively consume and waste. Clearly, creating a better world system requires the leverage of an international body, and this is where the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (UNCSD or CSD) creates a beacon of hope. The UNCSD coordinates the international process currently in use to establish a renewed blueprint for sustainability.
For the first time in U.N. history, the process is widely open to all sectors of civil society in an attempt to foster a realistic medium to address world challenges. The U.N. and its individual member-states are generally aware of our deteriorating planet and some of the man-made blunders that are causing them. However, member-states cannot be solely relied upon to create solutions that do not further cause harm to people, the planet and the world economy. The role for creating solutions that are adaptable world-wide rests on all of our shoulders.

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