Outcomes Of Next Month's Rio+20 Summit Will Have 'Deep Repercussions' For Future Generations

In this post in the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog,” Gro Harlem Brundtland and Fernando Henrique Cardoso, both of whom are involved in Elders+Youngers, an inter-generational dialogue on the future of the planet initiated by the Elders, a group of eminent global leaders working together for peace and human rights, comment on a “lack of urgency in the run-up to the Rio+20 summit next month,” writing, “The meeting provides a historic opportunity to chart a sustainable future for the world,” but “at the moment, there is a real chance the opportunity will be thrown away.”

“Everything we have heard suggests that agreement on how to forge progress remains well out of reach,” they continue, adding, “The gulf is so large that diplomats, meeting this week at the U.N.’s New York headquarters with the aim of producing an action plan for world leaders to sign in Rio, had to plead for this extra week of negotiations.” They write, “The [meeting] agenda is broad, but we believe there are several areas where attention should be focused,” including “setting of sustainable development goals that address the economic, social and environmental dimensions of development in a comprehensive manner”; “find[ing] ways to ensure sustainable development stays at the top of the global agenda”; garnering “stronger backing for the U.N. secretary general’s sustainable energy for all initiative,” which would have “a major impact not just on climate change and tackling poverty but also health”; and making “faster progress towards gender equality.” They conclude, “The success — or failure — of Rio will have deep repercussions, define the aspirations of 3.5 billion young people, and shape the world we leave for future generations” (5/28).

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