Rio+20 – Cities Play Key Role in Sustainable Development

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Marion Boulicault
Research Associate at the Envionmental Law Institute

Cities are the cradle of innovation and discovery,” announced Professor Nick Robinson ofPaceUniversity’sSchoolofLaw, speaking at the Rio+20 Colloquium on Environmental Law & Justice. He emphasized the increasing importance of the urban environment in sustainable development.  By 2025, it is projected that 70% of the world population will be living in urban areas. As such, cities have truly been at the center of discussion at many events inRiothis week. 

At the official Dialogue on Sustainable Cities and Innovation on June 18, panelists and participants discussed and ultimately voted on language to include in the draft of The Future We Want. This language included statements on “using waste as a renewable energy source in urban environments,” the importance of “planning in advance for sustainability and quality of life in cities” and finally that “each head of state should identify a sustainable city to develop a network for knowledge sharing and innovation, [and] governments should channel resources to develop people-centered sustainable cities with timed and measurable goals in such a way that empowers local communities and promotes equality and accountability.”

If any of these statements make it through negotiation into the final outcome document, their implementation will require strong partnerships between the public and private sectors.

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