Countdown To Rio

Check back with Circle of Blue for the latest news and reports in the lead-up to, during, and after the Rio+20 conference. Make sure to stay tuned during the conference, as well, as we will be continuing our coverage through June 27.

UPDATED: Wednesday, June 27, 2012
‘Green Economy’ Emerges in Costa Rica

Implementing a global ‘green economy’ was one of two overarching goals for Rio+20. In today’s edition of “The Stream,” Circle of Blue news correspondent Codi Yeager-Kozacek links to a Guardian article that shows the beginnings of this in Costa Rica:

“The Guardian explores how Costa Rica has implemented a green economy, which places a monetary value on ecosystem services, to protect resources like forests and water.” –Circle of Blue, The Stream

UPDATED: Tuesday, June 26, 2012
A Message of Hope, Despite Governmental Inaction

Today in The Stream, Circle of Blue reporter Nadya Ivanova shares an empowering analysis of Rio+20 by George Monbiot:

“Tough verdict on Rio+20 from author George Monbiot: governments have given up on the planet, he writes for the Guardian.” –Circle of Blue, The Stream

UPDATED: Friday, June 22, 2012
Secretary Clinton Announces “Six Signature Initiatives”

The U.S. Water Partnership and five other collaborative sustainability projects make up the list.

As Rio+20 came to a close on Friday, the U.S. government pitched six strategies it has recently devised to promote environmental and economic sustainability.

The U.S. Water Partnership (USWP) topped the list. Since Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton originally announced the USWP during this year’s World Water Day (March 22, 2012), the group has dedicated more than half a billion dollars in financial and in-kind resources toward solving global water issues.

Business Wire published a release about the USWP on Wednesday.

Rio+20 sustainable development six signature initiatives Hillary Rodham Clinton US Water Partnership USWP Global Environment & Technology Foundation Solid Waste Partnership Deforestation JIUS natural resources

Image courtesy of
The U.S. Water Partnership is an alliance of 41 entities with the goal of funding solutions to global water issues.

Similar to Friends of Rio, the USWP contains members from various sectors of civil society. It is housed within the Global Environment & Technology Foundation, a nonprofit that advocates for sustainability through collaboration.

Hillary Clinton addressed the UN plenary meeting at Rio+20 Friday, presenting the six initiatives the U.S. government developed. A post today on Economic Development detailed the various partnerships. Like the USWP, some of these are already in the works:

  • Solid Waste Partnership: designed to reduce methane and black carbon pollutants from municipal solid waste
  • Reducing Deforestation through Sustainable Supply Chains Partnership: between the U.S. Government and the companies of the Consumer Goods Forum
  • U.S.-Brazil Joint Initiative on Urban Sustainability (JIUS): linking cities and large-scale investors and with the aim of sustainable infrastructure investment, private-public cooperation, and job creation.
  • U.S.-Africa Clean Energy Finance Initiative: to support clean energy investments in Africa and other developing countries.

Finally, Secretary Clinton spoke of plans involving women worldwide — prompting them to work more closely with natural resources, including in fisheries, food security, forestry, and health. (View the full text of Secretary Clinton’s speech here, or watch the video.)

UPDATED: Friday, June 22, 2012
Friends of Rio+20 Step Forward and Speak Out

Rio+20 has brought together not only governments, but also NGOs and businesses, to discuss issues of sustainable development.

Among the emerging trends alongside the Rio+20 Earth Summit is the rise of “multi-stakeholder coalitions” pushing to affect change. One group of major CEOs, organizational leaders, and scientists has branded itself the “Friends of Rio+20.” They are advising government leaders to heed their advice as talks and plans for sustainable development continue.

The goal? An allied approach to affect short- and long-term concrete change. They believe government action alone is not enough – especially in developing countries. In a sense, coalition building is a means of organizing the often vaguely termed “civil society” into a more unified team with common initiatives.

Representatives include members of Coca-Cola, the Red Cross, Unilever, WWF, and more.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has been behind the Friends of Rio+20. The goal of the group is to make transparent decisions and to work directly with government, rather than being a secondary body. The hope is that, by bringing such a varied group together, the Friends will be able to produce creative and rapid solutions to world issues.

The Friends of Rio+20 presented their two main goals, outlined on the WEF site, to the conference leaders:

• First, to commit to designing economies that put the world on a path to sustainable development, and to developing a clear set of ambitious, universal and equitable global goals for sustainable development fit for the post-2015 development landscape, while also creating the national and regional policies and frameworks needed to accelerate their delivery.

• Second, to enable multi-country and multistakeholder coalitions of willing and able actors (including interested national and sub-national governments) to undertake explicit sets of actions now and in the near term to help achieve these goals.

WEF’s site also hosts a document specifying the message of Friends of Rio.

Source: the Guardian, World Economic Forum

UPDATED: Thursday, June 21, 2012
Goals and Priorities for Rio+20 Released

The UN has finalized ‘The Future We Want,’ and the top picks from the Rio+20 Voter Dialogues are now available.

As a three-day series of talks at Rio+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, kicks off today, the full text of the conference’s primary document, titled The Future We Want, was released. The report, which has gone through a series of edits and negotiations throughout the past few months, is in its final draft form and will guide discussions through the end of the week.

A second set of ‘Future We Want’ priorities also appeared yesterday, but these were selected by the general public. Individuals with access to the Internet were allowed to vote for an unlimited number of “recommendations” as Rio+20 priorities. Voting concluded on Friday and results are now available. Panelists from the Sustainable Development Dialogues (June 16-19) have reviewed the list — which was narrowed from 100 to just 10 — taking into account the support that the various recommendations had received during platform discussions and according to the votes.

Now, the heads of state in Rio will take a look at this list.

Rio+20 Rio Earth Summit Voter Dialogues sustainable development recommendations Future We Want

Image courtesy of
The Rio Dialogues site shows the recommendations that garnered the most support in each of the 10 categories.

The voter dialogues outcomes, however, should be taken with a grain of salt, according to the site:

“The preliminary results presented here are not intended as a complete representation of the world’s opinion, but rather as a set of insights into the nature and distribution of public support for various proposed actions concerning sustainable development. They should be considered in light of certain biases inherent to the survey methodology.”

More than 10,000 participants originally pitched a total of 843 different recommendations for action under 10 categories. International leaders narrowed these down to 100, or 10 in each category. Although it may not be a representative sample or a comprehensive list, the results are a snapshot of present concerns, if not future goals.

UPDATED: Wednesday, June 20, 2012
In the News: Rio+20 Updates

The high-level United Nations conference in Rio de Janeiro has begun, and in today’s edition of The Stream, Circle of Blue news correspondent Codi Yeager-Kozacek dedicates an entire section to some new leading issues and statistics, as well as progress since the first summit in 1992:

Better farming practices must be a major focus as the world seeks a more sustainable economy, according to agricultural experts at the Rio+20 conference in Brazil, AlertNet reported. Agriculture is the world’s biggest user of water and land, and releases a large portion of global greenhouse gas emissions.

An interactive graphic from the Guardian, detailing global changes since the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, asks the question: Is the world getting better or worse?

In the absence of leadership from the world’s central governments, a group of 58 major cities around the globe are working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on their own, Bloomberg News reported. The cities account for 14 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.” –Circle of Blue, The Stream

UPDATED: Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Food vs. Fuel: IISD, GSI, and Nestlé Report on Biofuel Subsidies

A new report addresses the impacts of biofuel energy on food and water security.

Canada’s International Institute for Sustainable Development’s (IISD), along with its Global Subsidies Initiative (GSI), and Nestlé have just published a report titled State of Play on Biofuel Subsidies: Are policies ready to shift? The paper is now available, after being presented by Peter Brabeck-Letmathe — chairman of both Nestlé S.A. and the 2030 Water Resources Group — during a discussion panel this morning in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. It is a reference document for discussions at both the G20 and Rio+20 Summits.

= Rio+20 report biofuels subsides energy solar wind fossil Nestle IISD GSI

Infographic courtesy of IISD, GSI, and Nestlé

The issue of “food vs. fuel” is a major focus of the document. While subsidies are intended to curb climate change, bolster the renewable energy supply, and supplement rural incomes, the production of crops for energy rather than food presents concerns about future food security and the overall sustainability of biofuels.

“The complexity of direct and indirect impacts of biofuels expansion on water use is comparable to those on land use. Some biofuel feedstocks, for instance sugar cane, require significant quantities of water, particularly in hot and changing climates. This means that, in countries already experiencing water stress, particularly China, India, and many African countries, development of biofuels will exert additional pressure on water systems, with feedback into global food markets.” –IISD and GSI, State of Play on Biofuel Subsidies: Are policies ready to shift?

In addition, the report explores the development of advanced biofuels and the impacts of the recent financial crisis on production and subsidization. At present, the United States spends $US 20 billion in subsidies for global biofuel production and consumption annually, according to the report.

UPDATED: Monday, June 18, 2012
News Organizations Report Bleak Outlook for Rio+20

Today in The Stream, Circle of Blue reporter Nadya Ivanova writes that some publications have noted a trend of cynical attitudes toward the UN Conference on Sustainable Development:

Expectations are running low days before the Rio+20 global summit on sustainable development, The Wall Street Journal says, but can a different approach focused on “bottom up” efforts, local solutions and smaller goals help gain momentum?

Meanwhile, the conference’s Brazilian host government has just released a new draft negotiating text for the meeting that confirms many previous commitments but weakens pledges on boosting access to water and energy, according to the BBC.” –Circle of Blue, The Stream

Heads of state will have to settle on the negotiating text by the start of the high-level conference, which begins Wednesday and lasts through the end of the week.

UPDATED: Monday, June 18, 2012
Campaign to #EndFossilFuelSubsidies Sweeps Twitter

Fossil fuel reduction is high on the list of Rio+20 Summit priorities — and Twitter trending topics.

Today, is coordinating a “Twitterstorm,” traceable by the hashtag #EndFossilFuelSubsidies, along with Avaaz, Greenpeace, the NRDC, WWF, and other NGOs and individuals.

Energy Theme at Rio
Though the message is in the hashtag, tweets aren’t the only medium through which it’s being shared with Rio+20 policymakers.
Last week, the NRDC launched a report measuring global renewable energy use and suggesting renewable targets by 2020 for the G20.
Additionally, the results of the Rio+20 Voter Dialogues, which closed Friday, showed that voters selected “Take concrete steps to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies” as their top pick in the “Sustainable Energy for All” category, making it one of the top 10 priorities selected.

At, the campaign provides a list of sample tweets for those passionate about the issue to post, and it even suggests a list of government leaders and celebrities to send tweets to, from Cristina Kirchner (@CFKArgentina) and Vladimir Putin (@KremlinRussia_E) to Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) and Michael Moore (@MMFlint).

#EndFossilFuelSubsidies Pelosi Twitter Rio fossil fuel subsidies twitterstorm

#EndFossilFuelSubsidies Ruffalo Twitter Rio fossil fuel subsidies twitterstorm

The site even gives the Twitter-less an “Intro to Twitter,” complete with a “vocab lesson”:

“A hashtag or # is just a symbol that the platform uses to track topics. If you include a hashtag in your tweet, your followers can click on it and see all the other tweets using the same hashtag.”

As of 3 p.m. (EST) on Monday, #EndFossilFuelSubsidies was the number three trending topic on Twitter. #G20 beat it out for number two, as the G20 Summit is happening in Los Cabos, Mexico, today and tomorrow.

#EndFossilFuelSubsidies Twitter Rio fossil fuel subsidies twitterstorm

The direct results of the Twitterstorm are yet to be seen, but, if nothing else, has mentioned the possibility of earning the Guinness World Record for most tweets on a single hashtag — teen popstar Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) currently holds the title.

UPDATED: Thursday, June 14, 2012
UNISDR Links Natural Disasters, Climate Change, Economic Instability, and More

Working to put disaster risk reduction toward the top of the agenda for Rio+20, with the ultimate goal of incorporating it into the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that members at the conference will establish.

Disaster risk was addressed in the 1992 conference’s Agenda21 document (Section 1, Chapter 7: Promoting Sustainable Human Settlement Development), as well as in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation 2002 (Section IV: Protecting and managing the natural resource base of economic and social development, Paragraph:37).

But the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) is hoping for more concrete action. Margareta Wahlström, the UN Secretary-General’s special representative for disaster risk reduction, addressed the need for disasters to be a priority. She explained that inaction throughout the past 20 years has resulted in large costs, both environmentally and financially, that may have been preventable.

The UNISDR produced an infographic that depicts the effects of natural disasters on the world’s population.

UNISDR disaster risk reduction Rio+20 Rio Earth Summit 1992

Image courtesy of UNISDR
The UNISDR has measured the worldwide impact of disasters on various levels.

On a related note, the Science and Development Network, based out of London, tweeted today about the connection between the rising global population and the occurrence of natural disasters. This is relevant to a statement released by the IAP today that proposed population regulation be a part of the Rio+20 agenda.

SciDevNet Science Development disasters population Rio Rio+20

Source: UNISDR

UPDATED: Thursday, June 14, 2012
Scientists Demand Action to Curb Population Growth and Consumption

105 institutions have contributed to a statement directed at Rio+20 policymakers.

The Global Network of Science Academies has released a new statement warning global leaders to set aside political and ethical sensitivity in the name of sustainability and preservation of the planet’s limited food, water, and energy resources, with an imperative to address over-population and over-consumption in developed and developing countries alike.

“Increasing population growth and unsustainable consumption together pose two of the greatest challenges facing the world. The global population is currently around 7 billion, and most projections suggest that it will probably lie between 8 billion and 11 billion by 2050. Most of this population increase will occur in low-income countries. Global consumption levels are at an all time high, largely because of the high per capita consumption of developed countries. At the same time, 1.3 billion people remain in absolute poverty, unable to meet even their basic needs.” –IAP statement on population and consumption (June 14, 2012)

The scientists suggested that leaders — who will discuss new models for solving economic, social, and environmental crises — should come to Rio+20 with a focus on actions that will reduce consumption in developed countries, while promoting family planning, improved health resources, and contraception in developing areas.

An April report launched by The Royal Society (one of the academies in the IAP network) was reflected in the statement:

Royal Society population consumption People and the Planet IAP statement

Image courtesy of The Royal Society
The Royal Society’s report, People of the Planet, inspired the IAP statement on population and consumption directed at Rio+20 policymakers.

“The relationship between population, consumption and the environment is not straightforward, as the natural environment and human socioeconomic systems are complex in their own right. The Earth’s capacity to meet human needs is finite, but how the limits are approached depends on lifestyle choices and associated consumption; these depend on what is used, and how, and what is regarded as essential for human wellbeing.” –The Royal Society, People and the Planet (April 2012)

The U.S. and the European Union have been vetoing a clause in the draft that proposes a “change to unsustainable consumption and production patterns,” according to the BBC. With less than a week until the three-day conference, a series of preparatory talks have not resolved disagreements regarding the language in the draft document.

Source: the BBC, the Guardian

UPDATED: Thursday, June 14, 2012
UN-Water To Lead Water Conversation at Rio+20

UN-Water has prepared a calendar, along with reports and interviews, in preparation for the conference’s Water Day on June 19.

“Recognizing Progress, Taking Action for the Future We Want” is the slogan for Water Day, to be held on June 19 by the branch of the United Nations that is dedicated to coordinating freshwater-related issues. The goal of the day is to refine UN-Water’s statement — as well as the succinct list of UN-Water deliverables created for Rio+20 — through a series of panel discussions. The day’s objectives are listed on the UN-Water site:

  • Demonstrate to the broad range of stakeholders, particularly decisionmakers, that some of the major challenges facing humanity today relate to water management; this will be based on findings of the major UN-Water reports.
  • Identify major water issues that connect with the themes of the Rio+20 Conference, particularly its link with the notion of ‘green economy.’
  • Focus on the means of implementation, especially the action areas where United Nations organizations and agencies can act together through UN-Water.

UN-Water Rio Rio+20 statement water

Image courtesy of UN-Water
UN-Water will revise their drafted water statement regarding the ‘green economy’ during the Rio+20 conference.

UN-Water also drafted a Status Report on the Application of Integrated Approaches to the Development, Management, and Use of Water Resources, specifically produced for Rio+20 to assist decisionmaking. The report is based on a global survey regarding the development, management, and use of water resources, and its full text will be released June 19.

In addition to these documents, UN-Water is leading up to the conference with a series of interviews, such as one with Alice M. Bouman-Dentener, the president of Women for Water Partnership. The following is a video interview with Dr. Joakim Harlin of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) regarding water as a focus of Rio+20.

UPDATED: Wednesday, June 13, 2012
NRDC, UNEP, and REN21 Measure Renewable Energy Use and Investment

NRDC predicts G20 will produce less than 4 percent from renewables by 2015 and 6 percent by 2020, up from only 2.6 percent currently and 0.86 percent in 2002. Additionally, sister reports from United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and REN21 (Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century, based in Paris, France) also address the Sustainable Energy for All initiative, identifying challenges and developments toward investments in renewable energy over time.

As the Rio+20 conference approaches, evidence that both the EU and developing countries have been taking steps to increase their renewable energy sources is available in a new report by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), which is based out of New York. It tracks changes in renewable energy use since the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa.

“Since 2002, the G20 countries have more than tripled the amount of their electricity produced from wind, solar, geothermal, tidal, and wave power. Despite this growth, the share of electricity from these sources is still a small portion of their overall electricity mix — 2.6 percent for the G20 as a whole.” –NRDC, Delivering On Renewable Energy Around The World: How Do Key Countries Stack Up?

According to the report, the G20 countries are expected to produce less than 4 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2015 and less than 6 percent by 2020, based on current trends. One of the goals for Rio+20, however, is to conceive a plan that will boost total world electricity production via renewable resources to 15 percent by 2020.

The NRDC report features scorecard tables, holding governments accountable for their progress in clean energy investment and production, especially since the G20 nations accounted for more than 80 percent of the world’s energy consumption in 2010.

electricity NRDC renewable resources energy Rio+20 report G20

Infographic © Amanda Northrop / Circle of Blue
The NRDC report contains statistics and predictions about renewable energy use in G20 countries.

Globally, a record $US 257 billion was invested in 2011, according to the UNEP Global Trends Report, which was written using data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

“This sends a strong signal of opportunity to world leaders and delegates meeting later this month at the Rio+20 summit: namely that transforming sustainable development from patchy progress to a reality for seven billion people is achievable when existing technologies are combined with inspiring policies and decisive leadership.” –Achim Steiner, UN under-secretary general and UNEP executive director

CNN summarizes some of the stats from the UNEP report in an interactive infographic, organized by region, technology, and sector. Likewise, the REN21 Global Status Report is supplemented by an interactive map that breaks down investments by country.

Source: Blue and Green Tomorrow

UPDATED: Wednesday, June 13, 2012
UN Global Compact Report Identifies Water Risks in High-conflict Areas

The United Nations Global Compact and the Pacific Institute will present their joint report on June 18 at 2 p.m. at a session of the Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum.

The report, titled Water as a Causality of Conflict: Threats to Business and Society in High-Risk Areas, focuses on the ways in which various conflict and high-risk situations can impact water systems and resources directly – and how these situations may affect business operations and society, through planning, construction, operation, and management.

water conflict United Nations Global Compact CEO Water Mandate high risk

Image courtesy of UN Global Compact/Pacific Institute
The United Nations Global Compact and the Pacific Institute will present their joint report at the Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum.

“Companies and their investors must consider a range of social and environmental factors when operating in conflict-affected and high-risk areas. Issues such as armed hostilities, human rights abuses, labor difficulties, and corruption can pose serious threats to business operations and society. In light of these threats, in 2010, the UN Global Compact and Principles for Responsible Investing (PRI) jointly developed guidance (consistent with the Global Compact ten principles) to assist companies in implementing responsible business practices in these high-risk areas. Thus far, however, these efforts have not specifically considered water’s unique role in conflict and how impacts on water systems can affect business operations.” –UN Global Compact, Water as a Causality of Conflict: Threats to Business and Society in High-Risk Areas

The new research, which also incorporates the work of the UN Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate, details the effects on natural resources, physical infrastructure, human resources, and socio-political and financial systems, using anecdotal evidence from countries such as Liberia, New Guinea, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, and Peru.

UPDATED: Wednesday, June 13, 2012
HSBC Report Links Water and Economic Growth

With a focus on rivers.

As the Sustainable Development Dialogues approach and voters weigh in on the most important recommendations for improvement (see the article below from yesterday), the main themes of Rio+20 begin to emerge and intertwine. Water itself is a focus area, and a new report published yesterday by London-based HSBC analyzes the connections between water and the economy. The report emphasizes the need for improving not only access to water resources, but also their efficient use.

According to a March report commissioned by UNICEF and WHO, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation decreased by one-half between 1990 and 2010. But the ultimate goal — universal access — is far from reality. Teaming up with Frontier Economics, the HSBC report predicts economic costs and gains associated with various levels of improvement up to the year 2050, foreseeing trade-offs for the installation of new technologies and infrastructure within these nations.

UNICEF WHO Rio+20 water report March 2012

Image courtesy of UNICEF and WHO
A March 2012 report commissioned by UNICEF and WHO paved the way for future Rio+20 preparatory documents.

“Providing universal access to water for all poorly serviced populations worldwide will cost at least $US 175 billion, assuming the use of low cost technologies. An additional US$ 550 billion would be required to provide universal access to sanitation services. Employing technologies such as piped water and sewage connections would more than double those capital costs. While the initial investments required are large, the lifetime of water and sanitation infrastructure of about 35 years, if properly maintained, ensures that the cumulated benefits from the investment pay off.” – UNICEF and WHO, Progress on Drinking Water and Saniation: 2012 Update

The report also accentuates the importance 10 major river basins worldwide, among them the Dabube, Ganges, Hai, Huai He, Indus, Krishna, Niger, Nile, Yangtze (Chang Jiang), and Yellow River (Huang He). Circle of Blue reported about this part of the report in The Stream today:

“The world’s ten most populous river basins, most of them in China and India, are expected to produce 25 percent of the globe’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2050, according to a study by Frontier Economics, Reuters reported. Water scarcity, however, could jeopardize economic growth.” –Circle of Blue, The Stream

HSBC has launched the HSBC Water Program, a commitment to disbursing $US 100 million over five years to WaterAid, EarthWatch, and WWF to tackle and raise awareness about water problems.

UPDATED: Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Negotiating Text Outlines Focus of Rio+20 Discussions

Tomorrow is the first day of Rio+20 events, and the deadline for the final draft of the negotiating text is just a week away. Today in The Stream, Circle of Blue news correspondent Brett Walton links to the primary text in its current form, as well as an analysis of its content:

“The Guardian received a leaked copy of the draft negotiating text for the Rio +20 conference on sustainable development. Only about 20 percent of the document’s language has been settled, and critics of the process fear a weak agreement or even no agreement could be reached.

Water is part of the draft text, but it is not being integrated with other prominent sectors such as energy, according to an IPS News interview with a researcher from the Stockholm International Water Institute.” —Circle of Blue, The Stream

Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Voting On 100 Recommendations

There are less than four days left to vote for Rio+20 priorities in water, food, energy, and sustainable development.

More than 20,000 government, organization, and business leaders from across the globe will descend on Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this week for Rio+20, what is billed as the world’s most important gathering to date on global environmental issues.

The conference is a follow-up to the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, which also took place in Rio and resulted in Agenda21, a comprehensive document detailing sustainable development goals for members of the United Nations, as well as the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, which served to reaffirm the goals that had been laid out in Agenda21.

Two decades after the first conference, Rio+20 is the next phase in the process of refining these sustainable development goals and developing concrete means of implementation. While early reports are lowering expectations for this historic conference, participation has been ongoing for months in anticipation of this event that begins with Sustainable Development Dialogues tomorrow and concludes Friday, June 22.

Since late May, more than 10,000 participants from 206 countries have generated more than 40,000 comments in an online voting site aimed at shaping the conference’s conversations and nudging government and business officials toward desired goals and initiatives. This has translated to 843 recommendations for action under 10 categories (listed below), which international leaders have boiled down to 100 recommendations — or 10 in each category — for combating the world’s most vexing challenges in water, food, energy, and other areas.

During the Rio+20 Dialogues, held June 16 through June 19, key players worldwide will analyze voting results and select 30 of these 100 possible recommendations to present to government officials during the conference, which takes place June 20 through 22.

Participants may vote an unlimited number of recommendations under each of the 10 categories. So far, citizens of more than 140 countries have voted, and voting is open to the public through June 14.

You can submit a ballot here. See below for ballot topics and recommendations.

“Vote for the Future You Want” — Ballot Topics and Recommendations
I. Sustainable Energy for All

  1. Take concrete steps to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies.
  2. Create incentives to encourage work from home.
  3. Give ambitious tax incentives for the acquisition of energy-efficient products.
  4. Incentivize the construction of energy efficient buildings and revamp existing ones.
  5. Establish ambitious targets for moving towards renewable energy.
  6. Enforce regulations requiring energy-saving features on all new automobiles.
  7. Educate people about energy efficiency.
  8. Encourage the use of bicycles.
  9. Promote the use of sustainable energy and energy access as a public health policy.
  10. Require “eco-labels” on products with clear information about the product’s energy efficiency.

II. Oceans

  1. Create global ocean governance mechanisms to preserve biodiversity and genetic resources in a scenario of growing nationalization of the marine environment.
  2. Promote the creation of Marine Protected Areas designed and co-managed by artisanal fishers as a suitable tool to ensure marine governance and the sustainability of fisheries resources worldwide.
  3. Monitor and promote international coordinated research on ocean acidification and its effects on marine life and ecosystems.
  4. Launch a global agreement to save high seas marine biodiversity.
  5. Fishery management should be ecosystem-based, making allowance for the needs of all components of the ecosystem, including predators.
  6. Develop a global network of international marine protected areas.
  7. Protect the Oceans by adopting a Charter of Universal Responsibilities at the United Nations.
  8. Fishery management procedures should be agreed among stakeholders whenever possible, with management measures agreed in advance under realistic scenarios of future ecological and fishery conditions for several years.
  9. Expand and implement international institutional arrangements to protect the marine environment from land-based activities.
  10. Avoid ocean pollution by plastics through education and community collaboration.

III. Food & Nutrition Security

  1. Government programs to protect the environment should integrate food and nutrition security policies.
  2. Plan in advance for demographic changes.
  3. Promote integrated planning and greater cross-system coherence across the global food security agenda, based on closer coordination between the food, energy, water and environmental policy sectors.
  4. Promote food systems that are sustainable and contribute to improvement of health.
  5. Promote alternative crops for tobacco monoculture to ensure health, food sovereignty and decent jobs.
  6. Promote collaboration between Government and the private sector to encourage more equitable and sustainable consumer choices.
  7. Eliminate misery and poverty-rooted malnutrition.
  8. Establish programs to anticipate and prevent food security challenges related to climate change and natural disasters.
  9. Promote engagement of the private sector in policymaking related to sustainable food systems.
  10. Develop policies to encourage sustainable production of food supplies directed to both producers and consumers.

IV. Unemployment, Decent Work, & Migrations

  1. Establish a mechanism under the United Nations, similar in function to the World Trade Organization, to negotiate a lowering of barriers to immigration and to allocate environmental migrants equitably among countries able to receive them.
  2. Improve human capital by promoting access to health, including reproductive health, investment in education and empowerment of women.
  3. Compel national governments to respect the human rights of migrants in Temporary Foreign Worker programs.
  4. Put education in the core of the Sustainable Development Goals agenda.
  5. Advance women’s empowerment principles as a way to advance the sustainable development agenda.
  6. Create a strategy for jobs and employment leveraging the green economy for investment, training and retraining for employability.
  7. Ensure all jobs and workplaces meet minimum safety and health standards.
  8. Include care for aging populations in the international framework for sustainable development.
  9. Set national goals for green jobs based on assessments in terms of current and potential value, gender dimension, working conditions and other aspects of the decent work agenda.
  10. Governments to commit to a Social Protection and Decent Work for all goal by 2030, including access to health, unemployment, ill health, maternity, child protection and disabled people.

V. Forests

  1. Invest in locally controlled forestry; promoting resource rights, organization, business capacity and fair deals for local people.
  2. Restore 150 million hectares of deforested and degraded lands by 2020.
  3. Governments should support agroforestry as a promising alternative to balance the need for food and fuelwood whilst reducing pressure on natural forests.
  4. Organize a UN Commission to mobilize the necessary public and private finance to implement REDD+ actions globally.
  5. Restore Forestland and Mangrove Zones.
  6. Protect language diversity to preserve traditional knowledge and support biodiversity conservation.
  7. Value forest carbon from forest plantations in the context of the green economy.
  8. Promote science, technology, innovation and traditional knowledge in order to face forests main challenge: how to turn them productive without destroying them.
  9. Support common framework conditions for forest certification and include it in the Rio+20 framework of action.
  10. Entrench the principles, inclusion, transparency and accountability of local peoples in forest governance.

VI. Sustainable Development for Fighting Poverty

  1. Ensure universal health coverage to achieve sustainable development.
  2. Promote the use and transfer of latest technology as a means to advance sustainable development.
  3. Consolidate the principle of non-regression as a key principle for environmental and social policies.
  4. Promote grassroots innovations to fight poverty and achieve sustainable – development.
  5. Enhance south-south (developing countries) cooperation in clean technology proliferation and development.
  6. Promote global education to eradicate poverty and to achieve sustainable development.
  7. Reduce poverty by promoting biocultural diversity, linguistic rights, intercultural dialogue and by means of a neutral international language.
  8. Ensure economic empowerment to promote self-reliance.
  9. Advance gender and sexual orientation rights as an instrument to promote sustainable development.
  10. Integrate social equity in the design and delivery of public health services and systems.

VII. Water

  1. Put water at the heart of future development goals.
  2. Expand and strengthen global mechanisms for the monitoring of water, sanitation and hygiene.
  3. Improve water and sanitation facilities to ensure the education of children.
  4. Promote sustainable water usage and health. People need access to sustainable water and hygiene to ensure the sustainable growth of a nation.
  5. Implement the right to water.
  6. Adopt more ambitious global policies to address the needs for water that is really safe and for sanitation.
  7. Strengthen solidarity financing mechanisms.
  8. Assert the importance of integrated water, energy and land-use planning and management at all scales.
  9. Build a common vision and adopt an action plan at the global level regarding wastewater management.
  10. Secure water supply by protecting biodiversity, ecosystems and water sources.

VIII.Sustainable Development as an Answer to the Economic and Financial Crises

  1. Promote Ecoservices Payment Mechanisms.
  2. Promote inequality reduction as a major goal in the agenda of international organizations.
  3. Create a tax on international financial transactions with a view to contributing to a Green Fund in charge of promoting decent jobs and clean technologies.
  4. Ban the use of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a measure for social progress.
  5. New institutions should be created to steward and manage the global commons and adopt commons-based economic models.
  6. Encourage businesses to adopt sustainability standards, such as the United Nations Global Compact principles.
  7. Promote collaboration across sectors and at the local level to address financial crises.
  8. Moving towards a green economy must become a strategic economic policy agenda for achieving sustainable development.
  9. Educate future leaders about sustainable development (PRME Initiative).
  10. Promote tax reforms that encourage environmental protection and benefits the poor.

IX. The Economics of Sustainable Development, including Sustainable Patterns of Production and Consumption

  1. Promote Sustainable Public Procurement worldwide as a catalyst for sustainable patterns.
  2. Phase out harmful subsidies and develop green tax schemes.
  3. Hold an international conference on global governance in 2013.
  4. Convene an United Nations commission to define Key Performance Indicators on natural capital that could be integrated into Gross Domestic Product accounting.
  5. Put a price-tag on natural resources, so that they are not economically invisible.
  6. Adopt carbon standards and use renewable resources as a means to stimulate and strengthen local economies.
  7. Use health related indexes to measure progress towards sustainable development.
  8. Promote a holistic approach to sustainable development, taking into account environmental, economic, political and social aspects.
  9. Include environmental damages in the Gross National Product (GNP) and complement it with measures of social development.
  10. Promote principles for a green and FAIR economy.

X. Sustainable Cities and Innovation

  1. Support the role of sustainable cities as an open laboratory for innovation towards sustainable development.
  2. The design of urban spaces should take into account the empowerment of local communities.
  3. Promote the active engagement of local communities to improve the physical and social environment in cities.
  4. Promote the use of waste as a renewable energy source in urban environments.
  5. Promote culture, diversity and creativity as a core element to build sustainable cities.
  6. Local governments should ensure energy-efficient delivery of services and promote sustainable consumption.
  7. Plan in advance for sustainability and quality of life in cities.
  8. Promote opportunities for direct dialogues among government, citizens, enterprises, NGOs, and schools.
  9. Promote global standards of sustainability for cities.
  10. Cities and schools should develop networks to learn and work together towards sustainable development.
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