For Media

Hotels for Press
Accommodation levels in Rio de Janeiro are anticipated to be at full occupancy during the conference. While it is not the responsibility of the United Nations to procure accommodation for the media, it should be noted that the Brazilian national organizing committee for Rio+20 has committed to blocking a minimum of 500 hotel rooms in Rio de Janeiro for media covering the conference. Costs must be covered by the media. For more details, visit: http://www.rio20.gov.br For information regarding room availability please contact: Terramar Travel Agency

Emails: reservas2@terramar.tur.br or reservas4@terramar.tur.br or reservas8@terramar.tur.br

Tel: (+55+21) 35120067 or (+55+11) 30142042 or (+55+19) 35145600

Media representatives must present their approval letter and copy rio20.hoteis@itamaraty.gov.br when requesting their accommodations.

Information

The Challenge of the JLG: Putting the Ecological Pieces Back Together
The Joint Liaison Group (JLG), an informal advisory body comprising the Executive Secretaries of the Rio Conventions as well as officers of the Conventions? scientific subsidiary bodies and members of the secretariats, certainly has its hands full.

The Rio Conventions ? the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) ? came to life in 1992 at the infamous ?Earth Summit? in Rio de Janeiro. Addressing a broad array of environmental concerns through the establishment of common objectives for countries to pursue for a more balanced and sustainable approach to environmental management, the Rio Conventions were a radical advancement at the time. They pursued three main themes: climate change, biodiversity loss, and desertification.

Soil fertility depends in large part upon the available nutrients, which include basic elemental compounds such as nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. An industrial process known as ?Haber-Bosch? radically broke down this limitation on crop yields by allowing farmers to take nitrogen out of the atmosphere and use it to make synthetic ammonia. While this process was by no means organic or sustainable to the soil?s delicate balance of nutrients, it did revolutionize industrial agriculture in the twentieth century and presented a new view of interdependent processes where atmospheric nitrogen can be relevant to develop fertilizer, which in turn affects plant growth and ultimately changes soil content and soil fertility.

So which Rio Convention should be focused on the Haber-Bosch process ? and, more broadly, soil fertility issues in general? The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has echoed this in recent months by establishing the Ecosystem Management Programme (EMP). The EMP promotes the mainstreaming of the ecosystem approach, which ?calls for the holistic management of land, water, sea and living resources to promote their conservation and sustainable use.

Here enters the JLG. The JLG is, in some ways, attempting to reunify the Rio Conventions under an integrated and holistic ecosystem approach whereby environmental and ecological processes occur in a web of interlinked and interdependent processes. The JLG identified five guiding principles at its eleventh meeting, three of which demonstrate the mismatch of the structure to the objective.

There is another possibility ? albeit a radical notion ? which could better position the Rio Conventions to collectively achieve their objectives in a unified manner. By rejecting a reductionist ?issues-based approach? and instead coalescing around a systems-based approach, the Rio Conventions could collectively pool their financial, administrative and knowledge resources in such a way as to do more with less. By combining secretariat functions at one location ? Bonn, Germany, where the UNFCCC and UNCCD are already based ? significant cost savings could be realized.

In terms of implementation, this systems-based approach would go even further to eliminate overlap and independent ?modus operandi?. By actually combining the Rio Conventions into a supra-convention ? a so-called ?Convention on Environmental Management? ? no longer would ecosystems-based concerns like forests, soils, and atmosphere need to be separately addressed as isolated parts of a whole.

Indeed, more concerning than the challenges to a Convention on Environmental Management would seem to be the fact that in ten years, the JLG members ? and the national agencies implementing the conventions ? still don?t know what the group is supposed to be doing. Surely there must be a better way.
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