Last week, I joined thousands of people from around the world for the opening of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Rio+20 -- the short name for the conference -- takes place twenty years after the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio and will focus on two themes: (a) a green economy in the context of sustainable development poverty eradication; and (b) the institutional framework for sustainable development.
On June 13, President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil kicked off the conference, where she called on "all countries of the world to commit" to reaching an accord that addresses serious environmental and social woes. While world leaders and stakeholders groups are busy negotiating, the public also has the opportunity to become involved and learn more about issues of sustainable development ranging from technology and innovation to governance and partnership initiatives at Athlete's Park, a venue where governments, businesses, and organizations are hosting a variety of side events.
These side events allow visitors to get a snapshot of how various sectors of society are becoming more sustainable and provides them with a unique opportunity to have face time with innovators who are developing sustainable products; researchers who are making new discoveries; and stakeholder groups such as women and youth whose lives are being transformed by the implementation of new policies and technological developments. The knowledge sharing, networking, and collaboration that is taking place among the various groups at the conference is an inspiration to us all and a testament of the shear number of people who are invested in this issue.
On June 15, I helped open the doors of the U.S. Center at Rio+20 to the public. Throughout this week, guests to the Center will have the opportunity to learn how U.S. society is advancing sustainable development initiatives through 45 live webchat programs with experts from the government, civil society, and private sector. All of these programs will be available online and accessible to people worldwide, with 11 of them being featured events with a social media component.
People all around the world are already addressing the sustainability issues before them and are blazing a trail as they design a more sustainable world, and a better future for us all.
What is your vision for a sustainable future?
Lynette Evans serves as a Program Officer in the Bureau of International Information Programs.