Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Mary Robinson: “What do celibate men know about the lives, health and the decisions of poor women?"

by Aoife O'Grady

In an interview with Brazilian paper 'O Globo', former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, has criticised the Vatican's stance on the reproductive rights of women, asking the question “What do celibate men know about the lives, health and the decisions of poor women?” Ms. Robinson was referring to the Vatican's alleged influence in the removal of reference to women's reproductive rights from the outcome document at Rio+20, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development which concluded on Friday.

Rio+20: Cities bring sustainability to sub-national level

by Lidija Grozdanić

Few urban settlements outside the South American continent exhibit such visible thirst for space as Brazil’s Cidade Meravilhosa. The vortex of mixtures and co-existing extremes, permeating all aspects of Rio de Janeiro’s life, creates an urban continuity glued together by a single unifying force – the desire to live in the city. Clinging to steep hill slopes, burdened by poverty and inadequate infrastructure,  informal settlements are pulsating tentacles of the urbanscape, reminding the Rio+20 participants of the urgency of addressing sustainable urbanization issues.

Monday, 25 June 2012

UN calls for new means of measuring sustainable wealth

by Peter Bjerregaard

It makes little sense to talk about growth if it’s not sustainable. That’s why the United Nations called for a new index at the Rio+20 Summit that seeks to change the way prosperity is measured.

Friday, 22 June 2012

The Sustainability of “Feminine” Thinking : Women Leaders' Summit on the Future Women Want

Prominent women leaders, gathered at the Rio+20 side event on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, have branded the predominant women empowerment mechanisms, operating mainly through aid programs, as anachronistic. Refusing to be seen as yet another vulnerable group, women insist on being part of the decision-making process. 

By Lidija Grozdanić

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Ecological resilience: a life insurance policy for communities

by Peter Bjerregaard

What is the Green Economy really? That was the key question posed by UNEP here in Rio this week when experts and policy makers met in the UNEP Pavilion for a discussion on the link between research and policy during the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).

Final stage of Rio+20 negotiations: Between failure and balance

by Lidija Grozdanić 

Weak vocabulary marks the final stage of the Rio+20 negotiations. Expressions like “acknowledge”, “agree upon strengthening” and “reaffirm” reverberated across the corridors of Riocentro Convention Center on 19 June. Representatives of the 193 participating countries agreed on the latest version of the document, finally approving it at the plenary session. According to
 Nikhil Chandavarkar, the head of communications for Rio +20, the outcome document is a well balanced text, but one that still fails to address several pressing issues.

The principles put forward during the 1992 Earth Summit, and the means of implementation of these principles which include technology transfer, financing and capacity-building for developing countries were reaffirmed, leaving the big issues essentially unresolved.

The much anticipated concretization of Sustainable Development Goals has resulted in informal agreements, establishing them as a concept to be integrated in a post 2015 agenda.

The matter of upgrading of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) into a United Nations Environment Organization (UNEO) fell short of the initial ambitions, with an overall agreement on elevating its status and augmenting future funding.

Though unlikely to happen, as the countries have already expressed their positions, the heads of states and governments who arrived today in Rio for the official part of the conference reserve the right to change the final document.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Youth representatives protest Rio+20 plenary

Representatives of the youth and children major stakeholder group held a demonstration earlier this week to protest what they perceive as an exclusion of future generations from the sustainable development discussions in Rio.

by Mati Kalwill