Side events get underway in Rio

June 19, 2012

Main talks kick off in Brazil on Tuesday, June 19th

As of June 13, several side events and learning courses have been taking place at Rio+20 in Brazil. What follows are brief overviews of some events that were completed just recently.

Beyond 2015

STATE OF NATURE: Brazil's Amazon basin is one of the world's truly vital ecosystems. Photo: iStock
"Beyond 2015" was a side event that took place on June 14, and was organized by Cafod UK and SEED Institute Kenya. Beyond 2015 is a global civil society campaign pushing for a strong and legitimate successor framework for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The campaign basically unites two primary advocacy goals, namely: ensuring that a global, over-arching thematic framework succeeds for MDGs that reflect the campaign's policy positions; and, ensuring that the process is participatory, inclusive and responsive to those directly affected by poverty and injustice. Beyond 2015 brings together 316 organisations from 75 countries around the world.

Systems of Environment and Economy Accounting

The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs organized a side event titled "SEEA-Systems of Environment and Economy Accounting", held on June 15. SEEA represents an information system that combines economic and environmental data within one system. This helps to provide trends and indicators for decision makers, managers and research institutes. National statistics have been introduced to better integrate the environmental indicators.

In addition to SEEA, a range of sub-systems have been developed or are in the planning state, such as: SEEA Waters, SEEA Forestry, SEEA Energy, SEEA Material Flow and SEEA Agriculture. At this point, effectiveness is limited to the current sets of data. Nonetheless, its application should help countries in assessing their progress made along the path towards achieving sustainable development.

One Living Planet

The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs teamed up with Bio Regions (UK) to host "One Living Planet", a side event held on June 15. This initiative offers a methodology to help families, communities and businesses to reduce their ecological footprints. It covers ten different aspects of environmental, social and economic sustainability, such as: zero carbon emissions, zero waste, sustainable transport, sustainable materials, local and sustainable food, sustainable waters, wildlife and land use, culture and heritage, equity and local economy, and health and happiness.

Biodiversity and the Future We Want

Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Secretary General of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CDB), presented his organisation's new strategy for biodiversity projection for the period 2011-2020. The strategy contains 20 indicators interlinked with numerous health, economic and social factors. Dias, speaking at a June 15 side event, claimed that biodiversity is deteriorating despite such efforts, noting that more has been lost in the past 50 years than in all preceding human history. And the pressures are increasing.

Dias outlined some of the main future challenges, such as: developing links and addressing biodiversity loss to poverty eradication; linking biodiversity loss to water-related issues and changes in climate; link marginalised and indigenous populations to natural resources that are managed sustainably; and develop sustainable development goals that focus on biodiversity.