Rio+20 The Youth Factor

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated during the High-level Meeting on Youth, “Young people can and must play a central role in bringing dynamic new ideas, fresh thinking and energy to the Rio+20 process.”

The UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Brazil in 2012 (more commonly known as Rio+20) represents another milestone in ongoing international efforts to accelerate progress towards achieving sustainable development globally. Rio +20 will take place in June, 2012; 20 years after the second UN Conference on Sustainable Development held in Rio in 1992. Major contributors to these movements are youth and the momentum they are building up within their countries is quite astonishing. The goal of the Earth Charter Initiative for Rio 2012 is to emphasize the need for a comprehensive ethical framework, articulating shared values and principles to inspire and guide different actors in the transition to a sustainable future. The aim is also to demonstrate the relevance of the Earth Charter to the objectives of the Rio+20 Conference.

The Earth Charter has recently partnered with Peace Child International, specifically to collaborate on the Road to Rio+20 global youth mobilization towards Rio+20 with the intent of:

1. Promoting the opportunities of Rio+20 in the Earth Charter network, in particular among its youth groups and leaders;

2. Promoting the Earth Charter, the values and principles for a sustainable future, and its activities in the Road to Rio+20.

More specifically, ECI and Peace Child International are collaborating on online activities such as an e-conference that is meant to bring together as many youths as possible to dialogue and discuss what issues and actions should be taken towards getting inter-governmental stakeholders to renew their commitments in regards to sustainability, poverty eradication and the importance of having a green economy.

Another important component of this e-conference however is to also ensure that youth are heard not only in a structured formal way, but also in a way that is open and engaging for youth to speak their minds and discuss what actions are already being done on a local level, and how we can ensure that they will carry on after the UNCSD comes to a close. Other ways ECI and Peace Child International will be collaborating is by promoting each other’s youth networks through various online tools such as Facebook, twitter, websites, etc. There is an especially high response and dialoging going on our Earth Charter Youth Facebook page about RIO+20 that will keep you up-to-date as we continue to make our way on the Road to Rio+20.