WRI staff with expertise in a variety of sustainable development areas will be on hand to inform the negotiations during Rio+20 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. WRI staff will share their expertise in business, climate, energy, food, forests, governance, transportation and more. Contact Michael Oko for all interview requests, firstname.lastname@example.org. Michael in Rio: +1 (202) 246-9269.
| Manish Bapna
Interim President (Executive Vice President and Managing Director)
Expertise: Sustainable Development, Poverty Eradication, Sustainable Cities
Expertise: Sustainable Transport and Sustainable Cities
|Lalanath de Silva
Director, The Access Initiative
Expertise: International Governance, Principle 10
|Wee Kean Fong
Senior Associate, Greenhouse Gas Protocol
Expertise: City greenhouse gas accounting, Low-carbon city planning
Senior Associate, Institutions and Governance Program
Expertise: International Governance, Principle 10
Director, People & Ecosystems Program
Expertise: Forests, Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture, Ecosystem Services
Director, Ecosystems and Development
Expertise: Green Economy, Sustainable Development Goals, Poverty Eradication
Chief Operating Officer, EMBARQ
Expertise: Sustainable Transport, Sustainable Cities
Director, Climate and Energy Program
Expertise: International Climate, Energy
Director, Global Forest Initiative
Expertise: Forests and Biodiversity, Land Use
Senior Economist, People and Ecosystems Program
Expertise: Green Economy, Sustainable Development Goals
Senior Advisor, Brazil
Expertise: Corporate sustainability, Sustainable consumption, International and Brazilian environmental law
Acting Program Director, Equity, Poverty and Environment Initiative
Expertise: Land Tenure & Property Rights
We can’t talk about sustainable development without talking about sustainable transport. It affects everything—from poverty to pollution, from public health to climate change. The Rio+20 Conference presents an opportunity for us to re-think the way we move in cities. Decision-makers—including national governments and multi-lateral development banks—can take the lead on policies that encourage people to avoid unnecessary travel through better integration of land use and transportation planning; shift to more environmentally friendly modes, such as public transport, cycling, and walking; and improve vehicle and fuel technology for better energy efficiency. The outcomes from Rio+20 will provide a framework to ensure that we improve quality of life in cities for future generations.
Rio+20 is a chance for governments to reaffirm commitment to sustainable development and the governance reforms that work for them. WRI would like to see Rio+20 give a mandate for a global convention to strengthen the public’s rights of access to information, public participation, and access to justice. These essential rights would greatly strengthen the average citizen’s ability to protect the environment and their livelihoods.
— Lalanath de Silva, Director, The Access Initiative
Brazil as the host of the conference has the opportunity to lead the approval of the Sustainable Development Goals, an urgent step needed towards a better future and a safer planet. As the safeguard of the largest remaining forest in the world, Brazil is expected to show leadership in the combat against climate change and reversion of habitat and species destruction. Action is needed now!
— Rachel Biderman,Senior Adviser to WRI in Brazil
Across Africa, poor rural people are losing their land and natural resources—assets that they depend on for their livelihoods and well-being. Strong property rights help people protect their land from loss of access and expropriation. They also create incentives for sound land and environmental management because landholders are confident they will reap the benefits from those investments.
Despite the importance of secure tenure to sustainable development and poverty reduction, land rights figure only once in the March draft of The Future We Want, the principle outcome document for Rio+20. This one mention – “avoid creating food and water insecurities and limiting access to land, particularly for the poor” – has already been opposed by several developed nations.
Rio+20 provides nations with an opportunity to come together as a global community to recognize the role of secure tenure in poverty reduction and promote strong property rights over land and natural resources. Without such attentions, it will be difficult to achieve sustainable development
— Peter Veit, Acting Program Director/Project Manager for the Equity, Poverty and Environment Initiative
Twenty years ago, thousands of people, driven by a common understanding of the threats and opportunities we face, came together in Rio and resolved to start a host of new sustainable development initiatives. Among other successes, many of those efforts have helped drive the renewable energy boom we see in countries like Denmark and Germany. WRI’s Open Climate Network will soon launch a report showing what has worked to advance wind and solar energy in key economies and the benefits such technologies bring.
My hope is that Rio+20 – by again convening business, civil society, governments, and other stakeholders around a common challenge – will drive greater ambition around the world to tackle some of our most pressing sustainability problems. My further hope is that formal negotiations on items like the green economy, transparency in decision-making (Principle 10), and sustainable development goals are successful and support greater implementation of green strategies and policies worldwide. Although climate change is not formally on the Rio+20 agenda, many of the discussions will have a direct impact on how fast the world addresses this critical threat.
— Jennifer Morgan, Director, Climate and Energy Program
The Rio+20 conference is not just an opportunity to reform the international agenda. It really is the chance for a number of governments to make credible commitments to improve international cooperation and domestic governance while enhancing access rights—that is, the right to information, public participation, and access to redress and remedy.
Perhaps most exciting, a regional convention for Latin America and the Caribbean that would enhance citizens’ rights of access is a desirable outcome. WRI, as the leader of the Access Initiative, has been working tirelessly to educate delegates on policy solutions. At the national level, TAI partners have been requesting government commitments and pushing for global and regional conventions on access rights through the “Three Demands Campaign.” We hope to see governments step forward using these as the basis for their commitments.
— Joseph Foti, Senior Associate, Institutions and Governance Program
Urbanization not only poses great challenges, but enormous opportunity. At the international level, institutions can collaborate on policy and finance to link climate change, public health, road safety, and economic development with transport—a key driver of sustainable development. Countries like India, Brazil, and China are well-poised to lead this transformation. Gatherings like Rio+20 provide the perfect platform for the cooperation necessary for scaling up transport solutions worldwide.
As Rio+20 takes a fresh look at the sustainability agenda, one key element revolves around cities and urban development. As centers of demand for goods and services as well as significant producers of wastes and pollutants, cities are major contributors to global greenhouse gas emissions. Their environmental impacts spread far beyond their geographic boundaries. In recent years, cities around the world have taken proactive actions to become more sustainable, including by addressing their greenhouse gas emissions. To effectively manage these emissions, cities must first be able to accurately measure them. To that end, WRI’s Greenhouse Gas Protocol team is working with partners to develop an international standard to help cities measure and manage their greenhouse gases in a comprehensive and consistent manner. We will highlight this effort, among others, at the Rio+20 conference.