Putting a voice to the future we want
Laura Spiers, a junior consultant with PwC’s sustainability and climate change team in the UK won a place with the PwC team in Rio. She provides a snapshot of what the voice of the leaders of tomorrow will be calling for at the UN Conference.
I spent the last few days at Youth Blast – the conference for the ‘Major Group of Children and Youth’ (MGCY) at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD). With young people from 122 countries I’ve been getting to grips with policy positions on the ‘Green Economy’, ‘Institutional Frameworks for Sustainable Development’ (IFSD) and ‘Rio+20 Objectives’ (basically everything else).
Achim Steiner (Executive Director of UNEP) dropped in unannounced to make the case in person for the upgrading of UNEP to a specialised agency like a UNEO or WEO (World Environment Organisation). In his words “Rio+20 is a World Economic Summit where equity and sustainability are the drivers of how we move forward”.
Despite having a vested interest in the future, children and youth have traditionally being one of the faintest voices. This conference presents an opportunity to formally strengthen the role of young people across the world. It was clear that speakers including the ex-Environment Minister of Brazil and UN Under-Secretary General considered it our responsibility to be more radical, demanding and innovative than most.
There’s no doubt that Rio+20 faces an uphill struggle to produce a successful outcome. Moving towards an economic system that values nature and strengthening the institutional frameworks that govern it won’t be easy. I came away thinking even more, that all our perspectives have the potential to feed into the final outcome. The louder the collective civil society voice whether young people, business and industry, indigenous people or NGOs, the more likely national delegations will have the authority and conviction to make a stand.
With just over a week until the high level negotiations, it’s now or never for the #FutureWeWant. Or to put it more bluntly, the future we need.