At first it may look like a mathematical equation. But what really is Rio + 20? For those who are not familiar with this, the 2012 global UN Conference on Sustainable Development (known as “Rio+20”) is an event that happens only once every 20 years. During this conference, Governments, organisations and people from around the world come together to reaffirm their commitment to a sustainable future for our planet. In June 2012 Rio de Janeirowill be the place to be when it hosts the world’s governments to discuss the state of our planet.

The Rio+20 story started 20 years also in Rio when the first ‘Earth Summit’ took place – a ground-breaking meeting which put climate change and biodiversity on the global political agenda.

The 1992 Earth Summit set in motion some of the most important environmental policies that have profoundly impacted how we live within society today – both in the UK and globally. For example did you know that local sustainable action, such as the local council picking up your recycling every week, owes its very existence to the first Rio Earth Summit? So 20 years on, what is on the agenda for Rio+20?

The Rio+20 has three main objectives :

To assess progress on sustainable development since the Rio Earth Summit.
To reaffirm political commitment to it.
To address issues related to the future health of our planet.
But it’s going to be a tough challenge to track our progress over the last two decades, given that globally we are now using about 25% more natural resources than the planet can replace (and in the UK we are consuming three times our fair share of the planet’s natural resources!).

For more details on the Rio + 20 debate, please have a look at some of the websites dedicated to this:




4. Rio+20: Elders get help from Youngers

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