Sustaining the goal of living lightly on the earth

There can be few people today who are unaware of the  mounting crisis we are living through, as a worldwide community.

In recent years we have experienced a combination of a global financial emergency, a food crisis, volatile oil prices, accelerating ecosystem degradation and an increasing number of climate-induced extreme weather events.

These multiple and inter-related crises call into question the ability of a growing human population to live peacefully and sustainably on this planet, and demand the urgent attention of governments and citizens around the world.

For a small island such as Cyprus, vulnerable to droughts, desertification and over-pollution, among other environmental challenges, investing in sustainability is thus of obvious importance.

And of course, part of the Peace it Together network’s approach is to foster the opportunities and collect the data to tackle the island’s areas of concern in the context of peacebuilding.

One example of this can be seen in Cyprus 2015′s documentary: Sustainable Development in Cyprus, which looks at the challenges and opportunities in relation to issues of water, energy, construction and mobility.

For its own part, UNDP-ACT has enforced strict environmental impact guidelines on all its projects, and the environment is a recurring theme in all peacebuilding endeavours.

These include an island-wide water awareness campaign (a confidence-building measure arising from the ongoing reconciliation talks on the island), as well as research and advocacy on common approaches for both Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities towards sustainable development.

But the UN’s push towards protecting the environment and promoting an infrastructure of sustainability, is not just limited to Cyprus – it is taking place worldwide as a a very important event looms on the horizon: the Rio + 20 – the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.

The objectives of this gathering – also referred to as the Earth Summit 2012, and which takes place in Brazil over June 20-22 this year – are to:

secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assess the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development, and address new and emerging challenges

The Conference will focus on two themes: (a) a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication; and (b) the institutional framework for sustainable development.

This mammoth event that has been in the planning since December 2009, will be the fourth earth summit of its kind and represents another milestone in ongoing international efforts to accelerate progress towards achieving sustainable development globally.

It is envisaged as a conference at the highest possible level, drawing the participation of heads of state and government or other representatives, and culminating in a focused political document.

For more background on the Rio +20 conference, you can visit the links here and here. You can also like the summit’s facebook page here.

Oh, and if you’d like to send out your own ideas as to how to manage our common future in a sustainable and lasting way, you can post a message on the Rio +20 site here.

That’s all for this time, but as ever, Peace Exchange will be back with more good stuff soon. Until then, enjoy the weekend and… see you in the next post!

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