Twenty years after the first "Earth Summit", Rio+20 brought together governments, civil society and the private sector to take stock of the past twenty years and work to lay a foundation for a future of prosperity, peace and sustainability.
Much has changed since the first "Rio" Earth Summit in 1992.
As CI’s Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, vice president and senior advisor for global policy and former environment and energy minister for Costa Rica, writes:
“We’ve added 1.5 billion people to the global population and seen the rise of developing economies throughout the Southern Hemisphere. Technology and globalization have allowed us to bridge cultures and offered new opportunities for people to support their families and enter the middle class.
But all of this growth comes with a price.”
So, how do we grow or produce essential goods and services like food, or minerals, or energy, without undermining that natural capital (the inventory of the world’s natural assets)? We must develop smarter.
The summit's two main themes — green economies and sustainable development — were of crucial importance to the business community.
LEARN MORE: How businesses are banking on natural capital by CI's Jennifer Morris
While the official sessions at the U. N. Conference on Sustainable Development — known as Rio+20 —failed to produce a binding agreement on sustainable development, the delegation from CI returned to their home offices invigorated from the energy and positive conversations that happened on the fringes.
More than 6,000 side events
— on topics ranging from indigenous rights to energy efficiency to agricultural development — took center stage at Rio+20. These events helped connect groups from across the globe, allowing them to exchange ideas and discuss future collaborations.