Take part in this Monday (September 24, 2012) meeting Special Ministerial Meeting at the United Nations via social media with the theme of “Building the Future We Want” hosted by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). ECOSOC has launched a global online forum where audiences can ask questions of Government officials from around the world on the steps needed to address challenges on sustainable development issues. The Meeting is a follow up and will focus on making progress on the issues discussed at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Brazil this last June 2012.
Sources of economic growth to the ongoing debate of stimulus vs. austerity to environmentally sustainable economic development are part of a broad range of discussions that are likely to evolve. Selected questions from the Forum will be posed to the participants/experts. The discussion will be broadcast live from the UN. The Forum, which is being conducted through various social media platforms, seeks to provide people with the opportunity to be part of ECOSOC’s debate
Around 100 Heads of State and government, along with thousands of representatives from non-governmental organizations, the private sector and civil society attended Rio+20, all seeking to help shape new policies to promote global prosperity, reduce poverty and advance social equity and environmental protection.The event’s outcome Document, entitled “The Future We Want”, called for a wide range of actions, including beginning the process to establish sustainable development goals; detailing how the green economy can be used as a tool to achieve sustainable development; strengthening the UN Environment Programme (UNEP); promoting corporate sustainability reporting measures; taking steps to go beyond gross domestic product to assess the well-being of a country; developing a strategy for sustainable development financing; and, adopting a framework for tackling sustainable consumption and production. The Document also focuses on improving gender equity; recognizing the importance of voluntary commitments on sustainable development; and stressing the need to engage civil society and incorporate science into policy; among other points.
The expectations for Rio+20 were high, See Film Report: “Rio+20-Future You Want”, (although perhaps recent precedent may have indicated otherwise). Many had hoped for more advanced and concrete outcomes of Rio+20. In my view it fell short in a multi-year trend of disappointments on actions related to multilateralism on the environment. Read: “Rio+20 Failure or Success”. Perhaps in this light the UNSG is pressing with our activism to raise the probability of concrete outcomes. “In Rio, governments renewed and strengthened political commitment to sustainable development. They provided a foundation for building the future we want. We need an agenda that is concrete, action-oriented and focused on poverty eradication, inclusive economic and social development, environmental sustainability and peace and security for all.”