This week, almost 50,000 people will be descending upon the city ofRio de Janeiro. No, the World Cup hasn’t come early and the Rio Olympics are still 4 years away. Instead, exactly 20 years after the historic 1992 Earth Summit, Rio will host the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). High-level negotiations will take place with the goal of producing a framework for achieving sustainable development for the planet. With 2200 events – not counting the unofficial ones – and an estimated 120 world leaders arriving, the city is buzzing with heated discussions on the green economy, energy and sustainable cities, to name a few.
Although the official conference will take place from June 20 to the 22, negotiations on The Future We Want (the draft of the outcome document which sums up the goals of Rio+20) actually began months ago. Member countries met, solicited comments from civil society and prepared the “Zero Draft” of The Future We Want. Last week, representatives from countries around the world came together for one final push to get the document ready for the heads of state to discuss. In an ominous replay ofCopenhagen, (the 2009 Climate Conference) the Committee’s work has stalled with about one third of the document agreed. The Zero Draft has now been handed off to Brazilian officials for last minute attempts at negotiated progress.
Although hope has not been abandoned for progress in the official negotiations, many are now turning to the innovative ideas coming out of the side events and hallway conversations, including many on sustainable cities and urban development. Follow howRio+20 evolves, here on the Green Blog.