This is Part 1 of a series of blog posts leading up to the Rio+20 Sustainable Development Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on June 20-22. The full series is available here.
On June 20, 2012, one month from now, representatives from every country will convene in Rio de Janeiro for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. The meeting is taking place 20 years after the last Rio conference on environmental issues and thus is commonly referred to as Rio+20.
The last Rio meeting produced: a new institution to promote coordination between environment and development goals (the UN Commission on Sustainable Development), three major treaties (on Biodiversity, Climate Change, and Deforestation), a lengthy set of voluntary areas for action (Agenda 21), and billions in international funding for projects through the Global Environment Facility. Rio+20 lacks a lot of the bigIt was a . No treaties are on the table, no new institution will be created, any plan of action is likely to be broadly construed, and global funding for the environment is likely to augment current funding not significantly bolster it. Critics will latch onto these aspects and dismiss the conference as too small to fail. This blog wants to ask a different question: Can we win big by going small?
Lullaby of the Commons will be posting every day from now until the Rio+20 Conference starts with a series of reflections on this question. It aims neither to be optimistic (People are meeting, that is good no matter what!) nor pessimistic (If they aren’t talking about a treaty, it doesn’t mean anything). Instead it wants to honestly assess the possibilities of Rio+20 helping all of humanity in its highly important struggle to improve our relationship with the environment.
At stake is the next decade of international cooperation on environmental issues. International efforts have stalled for the past 5-10 years and fatigue, doubt, and even despair show signs of setting in and possibly bringing the whole system to a halt. And this couldn’t be at a worse time: We are in the tipping point zone on climate change, biodiversity loss, ocean degradation, fishery depletion, soil erosion, and a number of other issues. Response in the next decade is crucial.
One month until Rio. There are lots of resources, lullaby of the commons will keep you up to date with the issues and their importance to the overall project.