UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20)

From June 19-June 22, 2012, the United States joins delegations from around the world at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Rio de Janeiro, to mark the 20th anniversary of the historic Earth Summit.

Through a week of negotiations, as well as numerous side events, Rio+20 will showcase the efforts of governments, business, and civil society to achieve sustainable development and green economic growth.

USAID, under Deputy Administrator Don Steinberg's leadership, has been deeply engaged throughout the lead-up to Rio+20. Through its rich history of work on the ground, USAID is uniquely positioned to see both the complex interconnectedness, and the essential nature of each of the three pillars of Sustainable Development: economic, social, and environmental.

During the meeting, USAID will host a series of events focused on key lessons and issues from our work in Sustainable Development: from new partnerships - in avoiding deforestation and in clean energy, to acknowledging the key role of youth and women in shaping effective development, to demographic trends that we can harness to positively shape the future of development.


USAID Events at the US Center

Sustainable Supply Chains: A Public-Private Partnership to Reduce Deforestation

US Center, Tuesday June 19, 2 pm.

Deforestation is a practice causing significant environmental and economic harm globally. Governments, the private sector, and civil society share the twin goals of sustainable economic development and reducing deforestation.  Individually, we have mobilized significant resources to address these challenges; however, we recognize that in partnership, much more can be achieved.

The United States Government is hosting this event in order to focus attention on the critical issue of how to reduce deforestation through sustainable supply chains, and how to invest in low-emission economic development in the developing world. This event invites key private sector partners to help raise the bar for sustainable economic growth. With robust engagement from each of these partners, we can improve yields and efficiency while conserving forests and ecosystems; monitor deforestation and forest health; create market signals that are consistent with incentivizing sustainable production and supply of commodities; and improve governance and enforcement.  The event will host a number of high-level government officials from State and USAID, as well as private sector partners.

Speakers:

  • Don Steinberg, USAID Deputy Administrator
  • Paul Polman, CEO and Excutive Director, Unilever
  • Maura O’Neill, USAID Senior Counselor and Chief Innovation Officer
  • Jeff Seabright, VP for Environment and Water Resources, Coca-Cola Company
  • Todd Stern, Special Envoy on Climate Change, Department of State.
  • Nestle representative (TBC)
  • Kris Balderston, Special Representative for Global Partnerships, Office of the Secretary of State.

YOUth Ask the Questions: The Power of the Youth Voice for Sustainable Development 

US Center, Wednesday June 20, 11:30 am.

The United States recognizes that youth are in the forefront of global progress and social change, and utilize social media more than any demographic to engage and be heard. The US Agency for International Development (USAID) will soon adopt its first ever policy on Youth In Development which recognizes young people as key actors and leaders in driving peace and sustainable prosperity in their communities.  To capitalize on young people’s insights and enthusiasm, USAID will host a live conversation and Twitterview for young journalists and activists with its Deputy Administrator, Donald Steinberg.

Speakers:

  • Don Steinberg,USAID  Deputy Administrator
  • Genevieve Maricle, moderator, USAID Environment and Climate Change Policy Advisor

Making Population Matter: Reaping the Demographic Dividend for Sustainable Development

US Center, Thursday, June 21, 3:30 pm

The Demographic Dividend is an opportunity that arises when a country transitions from high to low rates of fertility and child and infant mortality. This transition creates a generation that is significantly larger than the generations immediately preceding and following it.  As this cohort enters working age, they have the ability to enter into productive economic activities and invest savings at relatively high rates, thus spurring heightened economic growth.  This growth depends however, on the right enabling policy environment.

Favorable demographics do not guarantee increased economic growth. For example, while a number of countries in East Asia realized increased growth from 1965 to 1990 through a combination of demography and policy, a period often referred to as the region’s “economic miracle”, many other countries missed their opportunities during the same time period, despite favorable demographics, in large part due to poor governance and weak policies. Sub-Saharan Africa’s ability to capitalize on its upcoming demographic promise is currently the source of much discussion.

Maximizing the dividend requires social and economic policies that reinforce equality, equitability, and opportunity across the entire population. In order to reap a potential demographic dividend, countries must accelerate reductions in child mortality, increase access to family planning, ensure strong education, especially of girls and women, and institute sound fiscal and labor policies to create the conditions in which working-age citizens can enter a productive workforce. Lessons from the experiences in East Asia and Latin America should inform the decisions of policy-makers in Sub-Saharan Africa.   This panel will highlight such lessons.

Speakers:

  • Don Steinberg, USAID Deputy Administrator
  • Dr. Eliya Msiyaphazi Zulu, Executive Director of African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP)
  • Peggy Clark, VP of Policy Programs and Executive Director, Aspen Global Health and Development, Aspen Institute
  • Cassio Turra, VP for Brazilian Association of Population Studies and Associate Professor of Demography at UFMG.

Women and Natural Resources

US Center, Thursday, June 21, 5 pm.

It is critical to good governance to understand women‘s distinct roles in natural resource management, but very often a heavy burden of domestic and economic responsibilities as well as socio-cultural factors limit their participation in community activities.  This limitation has kept women politically and culturally marginalized from decision making structures that affect their access to the very resources upon which they depend. However, decades of programming to improve gender equality in natural resource management has proven that increasing the effective engagement of women in decision making and leadership leads to improved and sustainable results. 

Through a combination of multimedia and panel discussion, this session will identify gender-based constraints and opportunities as well as strategies for addressing them at community, national, and international policy levels.  It will present a common framework with which to organize  strategies for engaging women as change agents in fisheries, forestry, food security and health.

Speakers:

  • Don Steinberg, USAID Deputy Administrator.
  • Jeanette Gurung, Executive Director, Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management.
  • Alice Madden, With Chair, University of Colorado.
  • Kerri-Ann Jones, Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental Affairs

A live video stream of this event is available for viewing at ustream.tv/conx.

Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge for Development

US Center, Friday, June 22, 11 am

Increasing clean energy access for agricultural development is critical to meeting growing food requirements around the world, and to support climate-resilient low emissions sustainable development.  In the spirit of the United Nations International Year of Sustainable Energy Access for All, USAID and its partners (Sida and Duke Energy) are launching Powering Agriculture:  An Energy Grand Challenge for Development, a multi-year initiative focused on increasing food security and driving economic growth in the developing world through effective, scalable, clean energy solutions for farmers. This Grand Challenge is the third developed by USAID (Saving Lives at Birth and All Children Reading were the first and second respectively) under an umbrella program that works to apply science, technology and innovation to measurable and solvable problems in development.  This interactive, multi-media event will host a number of high-level government and private sector partners, as they focus attention on this critical issue.

Speakers:

  • Don Steinberg, USAID Deputy Administrator
  • Gunilla Carlsson, Minister for International Development Cooperation (or alternate from Swedish delegation)
  • Jonathan Pershing, Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Change, US State Department (tbc)
  • Jim Rogers, CEO Duke Energy (or alternate, by video).
  • Kurt Lonsway, Division Manger for Energy and Environment Department, African Development Bank (or alternate, tbc)
  • Kathleen Rogers, Preisdent, Earth Day Network.
  • Ali Mohammed, Kenya Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources (tbc)

YOUth Ask the Questions: The Power of the Youth Voice for Sustainable Development US Center

Wednesday June 20, 11:30 am (BRT). Join the Twitter chat on #rio20youthusaid

The United States recognizes that youth are in the forefront of global progress and social change, and utilize social media more than any demographic to engage and be heard. The US Agency for International Development (USAID) will soon adopt its first ever policy on Youth In Development which recognizes young people as key actors and leaders in driving peace and sustainable prosperity in their communities. To capitalize on young people’s insights and enthusiasm, USAID will host a live conversation and Twitterview for young journalists and activists with its Deputy Administrator, Donald Steinberg.

Speakers:

  • Don Steinberg,USAID Deputy Administrator
  • Genevieve Maricle, moderator, USAID Environment and Climate Change Policy Advisor
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Last updated: August 17, 2012

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