28 Jun 2012

Rio+20: where it should lead


 The Rio+20 Earth Summit, coming during a prolonged global economic downturn, served as a rare opportunity to reconnect with our hopes for the world. It initialises a chance to think beyond the acute phase of the financial crisis to consider how we want to embed sustainable development and stability into the decision making of governments, businesses, and civil society. The RSPB (BirdLife in the UK) and Green Alliance have asked leaders from politics, business, NGOs, economics, science and the youth movement, including the UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg who was head of the UK delegation at the summit, to give their views in a collection of essays, Rio+20: where it should lead. Although progress has been made since 1992, sustainable development has not gained the traction those at the original summit would have hoped. The authors give opinions about why this is, the lessons we have learned and where we go next. Taken together they make a powerful case for sustainable development being at the centre of any new settlement that emerges from the current economic crisis.  The full list of essays is as follows – What’s changed since Rio 92? - Tony Juniper, sustainability and environment adviser Three UK priorities - Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP, deputy prime minister New economics for a new world - Ian Johnson, The Club of Rome The climate challenge - Sir Brian Hoskins and Alistair McVicar, Grantham Institute for Climate Change A time for action - Paul Polman, Unilever Planetary and social boundaries: a compass for the voyage ahead? - Barbara Stocking, Oxfam An equitable green economy: a southern perspective on a global challenge - Tara Rao, FairGreenSolutions From Rio+20 to Rio+40: what needs to happen in the next 20 years - Matt Williams, Isobel Tarr and Sarah Arnold, UKYCC