Day 8 at CSD-19

The day of the official opening in the General Assembly Hall. Always impressive.

Some good speakers, including Dr. Jeffrey Sachs who highlighted the global ethics crisis. His speech was very strong, focusing on the influence of the strong oil lobby (especially in the US). Unfortunately he didn’t really explore the concept of this ethics crisis further. But he mentioned that what the world needs is a technological road map, global carbon taxation, strong regional cooperation (he praised the EU), and a global knowledge network. It’ll be worthwhile to see the webcast again of his speech.

The Baha’i International Community had organized a side event on Making the invisible visible: Values and the transition to SCP in collaboration with Consumers International, The One Earth Initiative, and the Partnership for Education and Research about Responsible Living (PERL). Its speakers focused on the values hidden behind our consumption and production behaviour. It was pretty amazing how each presentation linked very neatly into the next.

We then had our BIC briefing and in the evening I attended an event organized by the Major Group for Children & Youth on ‘Youth, Social Media, the Arts, and Rio+20’. Some very inspiring ideas out there. Definitely worthwhile checking out these initiatives: WE CAN, Rio+Twenties, Road to Rio and Greenbiz, Inspire Change (a performing arts initiatve from all UN regions, directed by Kiara Worth), Alas de Rio, Feather Project and the Human Impacts Institute.

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Day 7 at CSD-19

Today’s most interesting event was a side event hosted by the UN Programme on Youth (UNPY) and the Major Group for Children and Youth will host a side event on Youth Participation: guarding the needs of current and future generations, in the context of the Commission on Sustainable Development and the International Year of Youth.

All speakers spoke without notes (always nice, but very rare at the UN). They talked about the importance of Youth involvement in CSD and Rio+20, discussed how to include children in the whole process, explained the responsibilities of being a youth delegate on a government delegation, and made a plea for raising awareness about Rio+20.

I guess the latter will be my job when I get back to the UK.

Oh, and those negotiations? All going painfully slow. The ‘average’ speed seems to be dealing with 3 paragraphs ( including subparagraphs) in about 3 h. They’ve got a long, long way to go yet…….

Day 3 at CSD-19

It was pouring down with rain, so I ended up at the UN with wet shoes and feet for the day. Not pleasant, but it was the first rain I saw in nearly 6 weeks (England has been very dry).

The NGO information meeting was followed by a meeting of the Women’s Major Group which was also attended by Chantal Line (the UN liaison for Major Groups). I then headed out to the BIC office for a meeting on RIO+20 – what does the BIC want to focus on contents-wise and what process we need for effective participation of the Baha’i community. All very exciting and it’s very nice to be involved intthese kind of brainstorming/consultation sessions. Slowly ideas and focus points (such as ‘participation’, ‘elimination of the extremes of wealth & poverty’, and spiritual qualities needed for good governance) are becoming clearer.

The afternoon was spent in sessions on Sustainable Consumption & Production. It’s hard not to get frustrated when you hear countries say: “We’ve been thinking about this and would like to revert back to the original language and keep that.” So, what was the point about adding all those amendements (remember the 7 types of brackets?) and then go back to the original? Guess, I better practice a bit more detachment and patience!

I only realised today that the building works that were opposite the UN for the past 2 years have finished. That is where the new building of the US embassy to the UN is! I’ve walked past it without realising until today when I started to wonder why there were so many metal fences put out along 1st Avenue. Well, Obama is in town today and I guess he’ll visit the embassy. So, I bet security will be very tight today, although I don’t think he’s coming to the UN.