Recap: From Rio+20 to 2015 Conference Outcomes
November 8, 2013  //  By:   //  Blog Post, Featured  //  No Comment

Jointly organized by the Governance, Environment, and Markets (GEM) Initiative at Yale University, and the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Rio+20 to 2015: A New Architecture for a Sustainable New World Conference at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies concluded on November 2nd, 2013. The conference, spanning two days, brought tight focus to the sustainability agenda as put forward by the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development as it moves forward towards important deadlines in 2015.

The conference brought together high-level and emerging leaders from academia, business, civil society government and IGOs to discuss the emerging architecture for a post-2015 development agenda. The first day of the conference, Friday November 1st, focused on the commitments and partnerships- otherwise known as PINCs (Partnerships, Initiatives, Networks, and Coalitions)- that emerged as one of the more significant outcomes of Rio+20. Early sessions looked at both the landscape of PINCs and frameworks for maximizing their effectiveness. Afternoon sessions also addressed sector-specific problems like cities, energy, forests, and oceans, while searching for synergies and larger lessons.

Saturday’s conversations moved away from Rio+20 outcomes and towards envisioning the new architecture for sustainable development that will emerge post-2015. Attendees were encouraged to literally illustrate visions for that architecture on chalkboards scattered around Kroon Hall. The various results resembled pyramids, spider webs, or planetary models. Separate sessions throughout the day focused on new architectures for climate, development, and modes for financing a new Green Economy.

Conversations in each session tended to float freely, rather than being tightly tethered to the topics of discussion. Audience participation was highly encouraged by many moderators, resulting in more of an open-ended discussion than present at most panel talks. As might be expected from a forum with such a diverse range of participants, firm consensus was rarely reached. In fact, productive argument was more the order of the day, centering on topics such as the appropriate scale of expectation in intergovernmental goal-setting, or how to honor commitments that are fading in currency. However, there remained general consensus on the urgency of the sustainable development agenda, and the need to collaborate in innovative solutions to tackle those problems.

The conference website, with the full agenda, speaker list, and background papers, can be found here.

About the Author :

Daniel Zaleznik is a Research Associate for the Center for Governance and Sustainability, and a Masters student in International Relations at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He graduated in 2008 from Vanderbilt University with his B.A. in Philosophy.

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