Meeting in Rio Will Promote an Exchange of Ideas on Sustainability

On the cusp of Rio+20, this year’s top sustainability meeting, the International Institute for Environment
and Development
and several other organizations will be hosting an information-sharing event on June 16 and 17 in Rio de Janeiro. The event is called Fair ideas, and it’s designed as a platform for anyone involved in making the world more sustainable and socially responsible, from researchers to practitioners.

20 years ago, the original Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro catalyzed efforts for a sustainable planet, although the world took a different course than intended. Economic power has shifted, corporate influence has grown and political will has faded. Therefore, a concentrated effort to put the world on a track to sustainability is required.

“There is a real need to take stock of what we have learnt and to examine how this can be most usefully applied to new contexts,” IIED said. The organization says it believes in two imperatives: the reduction of global resource consumption, including by the world’s poor majority; strengthening of local accountability and agency, recognizing that better livelihoods and environments critically depend on effective local governance and organisations.

The four main themes to be discussed at Fair ideas will be Shaping Sustainable Development Goals, (pointing to practical ways in which the goals could work for specific countries and sectors), Urbanisation That Improves Lives (to identify examples of good practice and share ideas for promoting wider change), Business Models for Sustainability (to highlight examples that break the mould from a range of sectors, which can be replicated and learnt from), and Transforming Economic Systems for People and Planet (to showcase experiences in transforming systems to both reduce ecological footprints and more equitably distribute benefits).

The two-day event will take place between the final preparatory negotiations and the summit itself. The organizers will take its key conclusions into the summit itself, and follow up discussions there. IIED expects more than 2,000 people over the course of the two days. Amongst the organizations that have already confirmed their presence at Fair ideas are the International Institute for Sustainable Development, Development Alternatives, the DELiVER coalition, Costa Rican and Nepalese governments, the STEPS Centre, the Stockholm Resilience Centre, the Poverty Environment
Partnership and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies. Brazilian organizations include Instituto Ethos, Vitae Civilis and Fundação Amazonas Sustentável, as well as the PUC.

Fair ideas will comprise a mix of plenary sessions, panel discussions, seminars, workshops and networking events focused on the four key themes. IIED also plans a strong media presence and will work closely with leading sustainable development journalists from around the world in the run-up to, and at, the event. To register go here.

Image credit: IIED