Rio+20, 20 - 22 June 2012
Rio De Janeiro, Brazil


UNEP Side Events Highlights June 14th

The second day of negotiations on the Rio+20 draft outcome document ended with ongoing discussions on the Green Economy, and an institutional framework for sustainable development. 

A number of consultations also convened during the day, along with approximately 30 side events. UNEP related side events included:
Eye on Earth: Eye on Environmental Education, Siemens Event on Energy Efficiency, Driving innovation towards a Green Economy: Lessons Learned and Recommendations from the Field in Asia and the Pacific, Greening the Blue World: Green Economy Approach for Oceans, Coasts and SIDS, Wasted Opportunity? Getting More out of Waste in a Green Economy and Progress and Barriers for Meeting Environmental Goals.

The Eye on Earth side event addressed the issue of environmental education from a number of different aspects. The need to address environmental and sustainability science in Africa was emphasized as a major priority task, as well as need to increase sustainability science in Africa through building new institutions, strengthening existing educational institutes and fast-tracking certain activities such as building capacity to stimulate environmental research. The role of technology to support transformative education was also highlighted. 

The Environmental Atlas of Abu Dhabi Emirate showcased that interactive environmental atlases with an education component can reach wide learning audiences. Recommendations included a sustainability science initiative for Africa in defining an African component of a global Eye on Environmental Education initiative, as well the exploration establishment of centres of excellence for East, West, South and Central Africa. In addition, platforms for sharing environmental education resources were seen as having potential application at the local and global levels. 

The event on Driving Innovations towards a Green Economy provided an opportunity to share concrete evidence collected through case studies on how stakeholders pursuing innovative approaches to achieving sustainable development could contribute to the transition towards a green economy. The side event included a presentation of the APFED Showcase Programme, which is hosted by the Global Environmental Strategies (IGES). Panelists presented several case studies from Bangladesh on public participation, access to information, access to environmental justice; from Singapore on corporate social responsibility; from Indonesia on micro-hydro power generation at the community level; from Papua New Guinea on deforestation; and from the Asian Development Bank and its work across the region. The event highlighted that alternative livelihoods and other income generating methods are a key to sustainable resource management, as they are incentives that can prompt change in behaviors. However, up-scaling and replicating such pilot activities remain a challenge. 

At the Greening the Blue World side event, the Green Economy was defined, making the case for applying the Green Economy approach for oceans, highlighting the challenges in transitioning to a Green Economy and inviting the audience to consider the challenges and how to address the challenges. This was followed by 3 specific aspects - nitrogen enrichment of coastal areas, fisheries and transport where the presenters provided some examples of the GE in practice and what are some challenges for that sector. There was some discussion about some sectors being small and dominated by a few key players (such as the transport sector where there are few shipping companies that control the industry,) whereas the fisheries sector has many stakeholders where no one wants to give up access to the resource, or their share of the catch. 

At the third meeting of the Preparatory Committee "splinter” groups continued negotiations on the addressing: means of implementation and sustainable development goals (SDGs); sustainable consumption and production (SCP), water and climate change; oceans; gender, education, health, cities, transport and mining; poverty, food security, biodiversity, mountains and forests; green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication; Sections I and II; distaster risk reduction and jobs; the institutional framework for sustainable development (IFSD).