3 September 2012

SHARES Debate: ‘The Future We Want: The Long Road to Sustainable Development’

The SHARES Debates are organized by SHARES in cooperation with SPUI25, an academic centre of the University of Amsterdam, which develops connections between academics, students, alumni, and a larger public outside the university. SPUI25 holds regular lectures, debates and interviews aiming at reflecting on current events and engaging with a heterogenous audience.

Through this setting, SHARES will periodically provide discussions platforms where researchers and practitioners will exchange with a wide public. During this first debate, the results of the Rio+20 conference will be discussed through the topic: ‘The Future We Want: The Long Road to Sustainable Development’.

On 20-22 June 2012, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development took place in Rio de Janeiro (Rio+20). The participating states, including The Netherlands, signed a concluding declaration with the hopeful title ‘The Future We Want’. In this declaration, Heads of States and governments committed themselves to a future in which economic growth is linked with the protection of nature and the environment, and in which growth will be shared in a better way amongst the world population. But who is going to realise this desired future?

The past 20 years, since the former global conference took place in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, have not delivered much. Far-reaching commitments in the field of climate, biodiversity and poverty reduction stayed without result. During the Rio +20 Conference, all states, but also the private sector, recognized that they possess shared responsibilities to perform better in the coming 20 years. But what have they actually agreed to? Does the agreement reached at Rio provide a (better) basis for implementing the shared responsibility for sustainability in concrete action, and who will take the lead? Can it avoid that (as so often in cases of shared responsibility) the key players hide behind others, with the effect that in the end no change occurs? What was the role of The Netherlands at Rio+20, and what can we expect from The Netherlands at the start of the next 20 years?

This SHARES Debate will discuss these and other questions, and will reflect on what happened at Rio and on the road that starts from there.

The panel consist of

  • Kitty van der Heijden, Ambassador Sustainable Development with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Chairman of the Dutch Delegation at the negotiations on the road to Rio +20.
  • Louise Fresco, University Professor at the University of Amsterdam, and, as Chairman of the National Platform Rio +20, member of the Dutch Delegation in Rio de Janeiro.
  • Joyeeta Gupta, Professor of Climate Change Law and Policy at the VU University of Amsterdam, and co-author of the article published in Science about Rio +20 ‘Navigating the Anthropocene: Improving Earth System Governance’.
  • Chair: André Nollkaemper, Professor of Public International Law at the University of Amsterdam, Director of the SHARES project.


Note: This SHARES Debate will take place in Dutch.

Registration is mandatory through SPUI25.

Further questions can be addressed to Martine van Trigt (shares-fdr@uva.nl).


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