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Environmental Governance and Managing the Earth

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Environmental Governance and Managing the Earth


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On the Road to Rio+20 - Proposals for a Citizen Project

The upcoming UN Summit on Sustainable Development is to be held in Rio de Janeiro in 2012, 20 years after the historic summit of 1992. According to its organizers, the summit’s objectives are: to secure renewed political commitment to sustainable development; to assess progress towards internationally agreed goals on sustainable development and to address new and emerging challenges. The Summit will also focus on two specific themes: a green economy in the context of poverty eradication and sustainable development, and an institutional framework for sustainable development. [1]

After 20 years of partial and insufficient successes on the one hand, and a geopolitical reconfiguration of the world on the other, with new factors such as terrorism and emerging powers, this document is an invitation to the launch of a citizen dynamics toward the awareness and feeling of a world community of actors starting their march toward Rio+20 and beyond, for the transition to a sustainable world.

This facilitation dynamics can become a citizen-based preparatory phase for the Rio+20 meeting.

Rio 92 laid out the fundamental facts of the problem perfectly, but it was only a step, albeit essential, in a long-term process that is still today in its very initial stages. From this point of view, Rio+20 is another step and it is important not see it, as was the case in Copenhagen, as a decisive moment for humankind, a sort of all-or-nothing situation where the future of the planet will be played out in a few days.

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Rio+20 will not be decisive. But the summit will constitute an important moment, at the very least as an exercise in education. We therefore need to remain ambitious for the overall project but modest in terms of the specific expectations that will be bred by the debates. Neither should we believe or expect that all the citizens of the world will suddenly agree. On the contrary: it is the disagreements that will determine the implementation of major projects.

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Ideally, the Summit should produce a pluricultural vision of the political and ethical foundations that will be able to transform the architecture of world governance and reinforce the feeling of belonging in a developing global community. It goes without saying that such a vision is also necessary to make significant progress on the various issues that will be on the floor in Rio 2012. Finally, it is imperative here that the stakeholders reflect the diversity of the participants. This implies that the participants actually participate. That they should not be relegated again, for the most part, to the position of powerless spectators.

In order to achieve this, Rio+20 needs to be prepared beforehand. The authors of this invitation are proposing, among others, to develop proposal papers, support meetings in the five continents, organize an international seminar in November 2011, and launch an interactive platform.



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