The 20 years following the original Rio conference in 1992 have not raised high hopes for the Rio process. Priorities have shifted back to business as usual, environmental goals, and the implementation of Agenda 21 are advancing too slowly, economic instabilities dominate the public discourse, and global climate negotiations are continually on the verge of collapse. However, we have not abandoned ship.
We are again going to Rio de Janeiro this year, and those of us who will be there--more than 110 Heads of State, negotiators, experts, and tens of thousands of civil society rep-resentatives--owe it to the rest of the world to deliver progress and restore the faith.
Sustainable development is more critical now than ever. We face increasing income inequalities within and between States. Over 1.4 billion people continue to live in extreme poverty while resource depletion and climate change impacts continue to threaten development. (1) As former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said, we face increasing "problems without passports"--global challenges that can only be addressed through concerted action. (2)
Rio+20 does not aim to produce as much as its predecessor in terms of outcome texts, but it does aim to rejuvenate old promises. First and foremost, it aims to renew global commitment to …