CEC member Ivana Savić, Organising Partner for the Rio+20 Major Group for Children and Youth, shares her perspective on the event.
Rio+20- To be or not to be stranded by the “Future We Want”
Action is the foundational key to all success.
Rio+20 beyond any doubt represents a milestone in sustainable development. In addition to that, it is the biggest UN conference ever organised that introduced innovations, especially in terms of participation of civil society in intergovernmental processes by providing an opportunity to contribute to the Rio+20 outcome document and Rio Dialogues. In spite of that, many would argue that the Rio+20 failed, failed to fulfil its aim and objectives and to be ambitious. However, the failure of the Rio+20 is highly debatable for at least three reasons. First and foremost, the success of the Conference cannot be solely measured by the outcome document, that is indeed the first and most tangible result, but the document itself does not bring needed change. Secondly, the Conference was highly attended by the high-level people and decision makers from the governments, international organisations and civil society, which indicates the commitment and contribution to sustainable development. Thirdly, it is still too early to make conclusions, as the real results will be visible in the years to come.
From a youth perspective, Rio+20 was fairly successful. Young people had been involved in the process from the beginning and made a significant contribution to it, both in terms of policy and action. Just before the start of the Conference, the Major Group for Children and Youth (MGCY) together with the Brazilian government organised the Youth Blast – Conference of Youth for Rio+20 that was the official youth preparatory event aimed at empowering young people to effectively participate through the MGCY in the Rio+20. The focus of the event was to build capacities in youth, strategize for Rio+20 and initiate planning process for building the post Rio agenda. The event attended more than 2000 youth from about 120 countries, so as governments’, and UN’s officials. During the days of the Conference, the focus of the youth was threefold- to influence the outcome document, to organise actions at the Conference and to build partnerships. In addition, many governments expressed their interest in supporting and working with youth for sustainable development. Overall, Rio+20 was a valuable learning experience with a great potential to infuse new energy and initiate mobilisation and action for making sustainable development a reality. Now it is time to move forward decisively with action and not to be deterred.