What, specifically, do you expect from next month’s Rio+20 UN conference on sustainable development, the CEO of WWF-UK was asked this week.
David Nussbaum’s reply was telling, in that it said little about agreements or decisions.
The conference could, he said, affect the way people think about the international debate on development, in terms of tone and priorities; it could be a focus for announcements – for example, from individual governments or companies; and it could be a forum for the promulgation and development of ideas, such as the concept of “natural capital”.
The most specific of his possible outcomes was that the meeting could play a role in planning for the future, especially in establishing a framework for the successor to the Millennium Development Goals.
He was certainly right on Rio+20 as a focus for announcements, for between now and the end of the meeting on 22 June, there will be a stream of reports, statements, media releases, briefings, videos in which various NGOs, corporations, governments, international organisations and academics explain how their own particular interests are of crucial importance to sustainable development.
And WWF got off to an early start with the release of its own, excellent, Living Planet Report 2012 – Special Edition, On the road to Rio+20.
If Nussbaum didn’t exactly raise expectations about the likelihood of significant conference decisions, he was unequivocal about the need for them: “Rio+20 is an opportunity for the world to get serious about sustainable development. We still haven’t done that.”blog comments powered by Disqus