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EcoMotion In Rio
June 20 – 22 marked the official dates for “Rio+20,” the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. It drew to Brazil world leaders, NGOs, the private sector, academics, and many others passionate about saving the Earth. Some denounced the conference and its lack of results, but for many others, Rio+20 was a milestone on the historic path to global sustainability. It’s been 20 years since the “Earth Summit” in Rio. Its Agenda 21 result included the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development which recognized the rights of all nations to development, while expressing “the urgency of deep change” in terms of resource use. The Declaration included Forest Principles and a convention on Biological Diversity. It also established the Framework Convention on Climate Change, which led to the Kyoto Protocol, its GHG reduction rules later adopted in Marrakesh in 2001. This year, Rio+20, over 20,000 delegates came from 190 countries, the largest U.N. conference ever. Fifty-seven heads of state were in attendance, as were 8 vice presidents, 31 heads of government, and 9 deputy prime ministers. There were 498 events over 9 days leading up to and culminating in the conference. Dozens of spin-off events were posted on huge electronic boards in the convention center. In the end, $513 million dollars was “mobilized in commitments” by nations and others for energy, green transport, agriculture, water, green economies, etc. Another 692 “voluntary commitments” were made by governments, civil society groups, universities, and others. An outcome document called “The Future We Want” was signed, albeit absent binding mandates. For many, like EcoMotion’s Campus Services Director Sierra Flanigan, the conference was seminal.