Tuesday, 15 May 2012

ANU Rio+20 Delegation briefing with Australian Government Rio Taskforce

Article that was published in Woroni - ANU Student Newspaper 15 April 2012

ANU Delegation to Rio+20 Meets with Australian Government Taskforce

By Julie Melrose – Vice President and Environmental Officer of PARSA, Director of the ANU Student Delegation to Rio+20

Seventeen students have recently been selected as delegates to represent ANU at Rio+20 – the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development being held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from 20 – 23 June 2012. The ANU delegates come from a range of different academic disciplines from both the undergraduate and postgraduate cohort.

On Thursday 12th April, the ANU delegation was given a private briefing by the Assistant Secretary from the Australian Government Rio+20 Taskforce from the Department of Environment and Water Resources, Christine Schweizer.

The briefing revealed that Australia has 8 priority areas that will be the focus of Australia’s negotiating leading up to and during Rio+20;

1. Oceans - Australia is leading the debate on the "Blue Economy";
2. Indigenous Issues - especially land and sea management;
3. Food Security

4. Mining and Sustainable Development –
5. Gender and Women’s Economic Empowerment
6. Disaster risk reduction
7. Sustainable Development Goals – a campaign being spearheaded by Colombia, Peru and Ecuador;
8. Desertification and land degradation.

The ANU delegates will be writing a research paper in the area of their interest to present at a student symposium planned for late May at the ANU before leaving for Brazil by the 17th June.

The ANU delegation are interested in engaging with other students interested in environmental policy and sustainable development leading up to Rio+20.

Email the delegation: ANU.Rio.20@gmail.com
Check out the delegation blog for delegate biographies and other info: http://anurio20.blogspot.com.au
Australia’s position:
Director of Delegation:
Julie.Melrose@anu.edu.au 0405 683 450 

1 comment:

  1. If we agree to “think globally”, it becomes evident that riveting attention on GROWTH could be a grave mistake because we are denying how economic and population growth in the communities in which we live cannot continue as it has until now. Each village's resources are being dissipated, each town's environment degraded and every city's fitness as place for our children to inhabit is being threatened. To proclaim something like, 'the meat of any community plan for the future is, of course, growth' fails to acknowledge that many villages, towns and cities are already ‘built out’, and also ‘filled in’ with people. If the quality of life we enjoy now is to be maintained for the children, then limits on economic and population growth will have to be set. By so doing, we choose to “act locally" and sustainably.

    More economic and population growth are no longer sustainable in many too many places on the surface of Earth because biological constraints and physical limitations are immutably imposed upon ever increasing human consumption, production and population activities of people in many communities where most of us reside. Inasmuch as the Earth is finite with frangible environs, there comes a point at which GROWTH is unsustainable. There is much work to done locally. But that effort cannot reasonably begin without sensibly limiting economic and population growth.

    To quote another source, “We face a wide-open opportunity to break with the old ways of doing the town’s business…..” That is a true statement. But the necessary “break with the old ways” of continous economic and population growth is not what is occurring. There is a call for a break with the old ways, but the required changes in behavior are not what is being proposed as we plan for the future. What is being proposed and continues to occur is more of the same, old business-as-usual overconsumption, overproduction and overpopulation activities, the very activities that appear to be growing unsustainbly. More business-as-usual could soon become patently unsustainable, both locally and globally. A finite planet with the size, composition and environs of the Earth and a community with the boundaries, limited resources and wondrous climate of villages, towns and cities where we live may not be able to sustain much longer the economic and population growth that is occurring on our watch. Perhaps necessary changes away from UNSUSTAINABLE GROWTH and toward sustainable lifestyles and right-sized corporate enterprises are in the offing.

    Think globally while there is still time and act locally before it is too late for human action to make any difference in the clear and presently dangerous course of unfolding human-induced ecological events, both in our planetary home and in our villages, towns and cities.

    Steven Earl Salmony