Monday 11 June 2012

The Future we want

That’s the coin phrase of the World’s biggest environment summit held in Rio de Janeiro this month. The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, is also known as Rio+20, is taking place twenty years after the first Earth Summit in Rio, 1992.

This monumental conference has strong historic significance for the planet. Twenty years ago over 30,000 participants including more than 100 of the World’s Leaders adopted ‘Agenda 21‘, the blueprint of global principles and targets for sustainable development.

This was also the birthplace of three global conventions - the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; the Convention on Biological Diversity; and the Convention to Combat Desertification [later expanded to include land degradation].

At the 10th anniversary of the first earth summit in 2002 another historical conference was held; the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.

Now 10 years later, at the 20th anniversary in 2012, world leaders will come together again with the private sector, NGO’s and other stakeholders, in Rio to help bring about a Future we want. In order to ensure the voice of the Pacific will be heard as we prepare for this Future, there are four key messages the region will be sharing to the world;

1. Our Ocean is a vital resource; we need to manage this area for our national and regional needs as well as on the behalf of the entire global community. We have a number of regional initiatives including the Pacific Plan, the Pacific Oceanscape and the Nauru Agreement where the region needs the support of the global community through funding, resources and cooperation.

2. The Pacific will reinforce the special case for Small Island Developing States.

3. Climate change and biodiversity conservation are key issues of regional concern. Rio+20 is an opportunity to not only reaffirm global commitment but to encourage our developed partners to meet the existing commitments under the respective conventions.

4. We need to ensure that the institutional framework agreed at Rio+20 adequately addresses the needs of SIDS and includes the strengthening of our regional and national institutions for sustainable development.

The 3rd Preparatory Meeting Committee Meeting UN Conference on Sustainable Development is hld 13 - 5 June, the Sustainable Development Dialogues are held on 16 - 19 June and the UNCSD is held 20 - 22 June.

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Pacific reports from the Rio+20

A Pacific team will be providing media coverage of the World’s biggest sustainable development conference, known as Rio+20, in Rio de Janeiro this month. Keeping Pacific communities informed about events and activities that unfold at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.

The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) is supported by the Pacific Media Assistance Scheme (PACMAS) for a new approach on sharing stories and news from different perspectives. This activity will help provide media coverage on the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20, as well as help develop the skills of young Pacific islanders that have proven potential.

Two experienced senior reporters from the Pacific, Ms. Makereta Komai, Editor of PACNEWS and Mr. Evan Wasuka of One Television Solomon Islands, will be providing regional coverage both in print and with video clips to be uploaded to the SPREP website available for download.

Two young Pacific islanders will also be providing news items from a different perspective as well as taking parts in events. A junior environmental advocate, Ms. Brianna Fruean at 14 years of age, will be participating in the ‘Youth blast’ and other events at Rio+20 and provide a daily journal and news items from a youth perspective. Ms. Kathleen Leewai, an intern at SPREP, will also be compiling news items for distribution, she is funded by both PACMAS and Conservation International Pacific Island Program.

A documentary will also be produced on the Rio+20 by the team.

“We’re really pleased with this support and guidance from PACMAS. Rio+20 is where environmental history will be created, it’s where the decisions will be made that will see actions trickle down to the community level over time ,” said Nanette Woonton, the Media and Public Relations Officer at SPREP.

“We’re trying for a new approach that will hopefully connect Pacific communities with what happens at this meeting, giving our Pacific youth a voice to share with all, along with our regular news items.”

The PACMAS Project Management Group and Programme Manager paid a courtesy visit to SPREP last month and with this initial project, intend to strengthen relations to help build the capacity of Pacific media to report on environmental issues.

PACMAS has provided guidance for SPREP with the Rio+20 media team in terms of selection, outcomes required as well as financially.

“Thank you PACMAS for making this possible,” said Woonton.

“This is an exciting project as the Rio+20 is the Forum where the world is to work together to help achieve a sustainable development and having this documented in media reports, a documentary and having a Pacific youth present who will help contribute to the Future we want, well as I said, it’s exciting. We are looking forward to it.”

There are two themes for the Conference; A green economy in the context of sustainable development poverty eradication; and the institutional framework for sustainable development.

The Pacific region will be hosting a side event in Rio – applying the green economy in a blue world. It will feature visionary and well-respected Pacific leaders and will focus on the reality of effectively managing the Pacific Ocean and the resources it has to offer.