As Rio+20 approaches the UN is moving into full swing to prepare for the upcoming UN Conference on Sustainable Development, to be held in Rio de Janeiro from 20-22 June. Dan Shepard, from DPI’s Strategic Communications Division, talks about the work being done on the communications side in preparation for the conference.
“The goal of our campaign for the conference is to start a global conversation on the future we want”, Mr. Shepard explained.
“When we talk about sustainability, we are not only talking about the environment, but also about economics and quality of life.”
The logo for the conference captures these three elements. Red symbolizes the social aspect of sustainability, blue symbolizes the economic steps to be taken to move forward, and green symbolizes a sustainable environment. And they all come together in a circle, representing the world.
The Global Conversation
The starting point for the global conversation is a document entitled “The Future We Want,” also known as the “Zero” document. In inside circles, zero signifies “the starting point” of negotiations. In June, Member States will meet to discuss the two underlying themes set out in the document: the green economy and the tools that will be needed to implement sustainable development at the international level.
Among the issues that the Conference will be addressing are food security, access to clean drinking water, protection of the oceans, job creation and quality of life, and sustainable cities. All of these topics require renewable energy sources.
DPI’s Strategic Communications Division is working closely with the Rio+20 Secretariat on the campaign, which was launched last November.
“One idea is to have people send in ideas, and then have these ideas fed into an exhibit that will help us visualize what sustainable development looks like," said Mr. Shepard. “We want people to have a say in the future they want”.
This exhibit could be on display at the conference, and could then move from city to city afterwards.
When asked what UN staff members could do to support the initiative, Mr. Shepard explained that staff members could start by being more responsible consumers. “We are all consumers,” he said, “and we should make smart choices about how we consume”.
For example, conserving energy is not only about conservation, but about saving money. "Sustainability is not about deprivation, but about getting more for less, because less is more".
Staff could also incorporate the brand “The Future We Want” into their day to day activities to promote the conference. Staff could insert the words "The Future We Want" into e-mail trailers, and could speak out about the issues being discussed at the conference.
Useful Links: Rio+20 The Future We Want