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Welcome - 24 Aug 2010
It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the on-line community engaged with preparing for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development to be held in Rio de Janeiro in 2012. The 2012 Conference, also known as Rio+20, is one of the most important on the UN agenda. The Secretary-General ranks sustainable development as a top priority. I am honored that he has designated me Conference Secretary-General for Rio + 20.
Preparations for Rio+20 are taking place against the backdrop of multiple crises. The financial turmoil and its aftermath continue to reverberate throughout the world economy. Food insecurity, as well as lack of access to modern energy services, along with volatility in energy prices, continues to loom large in the lives of millions of vulnerable people. On a global scale, climate change, land degradation, loss of biodiversity, and water shortages, are some of the cross-border challenges threatening prospects for long-term growth and sustainable livelihoods.
The sad truth is that despite two centuries of spectacular growth on our planet, we have failed to eradicate the scourge of poverty. Five million infants still die every year of preventable diseases. Two billion people live in poverty, many lacking access to basic services like health and primary education. If we continue on our current path we will bequeath material and environmental poverty, not prosperity, to our children and grandchildren.
Our stopgap solutions in response to these crises, with short-term timeframes and sector-based approaches, can no longer suffice in tackling the multiple crises. Only sustainable development, with its inherent emphasis on inter-linkages to address social, economic and environmental challenges in a balanced and integrated manner, can provide long-term and durable solutions to the crises.
Our only recourse is to pay urgent attention to sustainable development. Yet, indicators show that support for sustainable development has waned in recent years. The General Assembly decided to convene the Rio+20 Conference, not as a commemorative event, but to renew political commitment to sustainable development, to identify gaps in implementation and to address new and emerging challenges. There has never been a more urgent time to drive political will and action to make our societies more economically strong and socially and environmentally sustainable. We need to reinvigorate support here and now.
Work must begin immediately in order to ensure that the Conference meets the high expectations of a Member States, major groups, and, most importantly, the youth of our world.
How can you as members of the online community interested in the success of Rio + 20 - the friends of Rio +20- help us achieve these aims?
The Secretariat of the Conference welcomes your views on the themes of the Conference. The themes centre on building a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication and an institutional framework for sustainable development. Please share with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us here, your understanding of these themes and advise us on how best to address them. How do you understand the concept of a ?green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication?? Can this theme underpin a new development paradigm? How can countries develop tangible action plans for a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication? We want to hear from you.
In terms of an institutional framework, how can we, the international community, strengthen the global architecture on sustainable development? How can the UN Commission on Sustainable Development itself be strengthened? What do you see as the key ways that governments can prompt action at regional and national levels?
We need clear definitions and a common understanding of a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication and an institutional framework if Rio+20 is to succeed.