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RIO+20: UN AND PARTNERS HOLD GLOBAL ONLINE FORUM ON SUSTAINABILITY

We at Ethical Markets are Happy to see our Friends at UN agencies coming
together online!, Hazel Henderson, Editor

RIO+20: UN AND PARTNERS HOLD GLOBAL ONLINE FORUM ON SUSTAINABILITY ISSUES
New York, Jun 19 2012 5:05PM
People from all over the world today took part in an all-day online forum
discussing how technology and social media can be used to achieve progress
on the economic, environmental and social issues at the heart of the United
Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), taking place in Rio
de Janeiro, Brazil.

Through Rio+ Social, UN senior officials, members of the social media
community, and civil society and private sector representatives were able to
hold a direct dialogue with a global online audience on how technology ? and
online platforms in particular ? can help citizens come up with solutions
and innovations on sustainable development issues.

?Back in 1992, we used snail mail and faxes. There was no Facebook, no
Twitter, no Tumblr,? Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told Rio+Social
participants in a video
message, alluding to
the first Earth Summit, held twenty years ago.

?Now, people around the world can connect like never before. We can learn
from each other. We can push for action, and we can challenge leaders to
live up to their words. That is what Rio+ Social is all about,? Mr. Ban
added.

Rio+20 follows on from the Earth Summit in 1992, also held in Rio de
Janeiro, during which countries adopted Agenda 21 ? a blueprint to rethink
economic growth, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection.

The Rio+Social event takes place before the start of the high-level meeting
of Rio+20, from 20-22 June. The meeting is expected to bring together over
100 heads of state and government, along with thousands of parliamentarians,
mayors, UN officials, chief executive officers and civil society leaders to
shape new policies to promote prosperity, reduce poverty and advance social
equity and environmental protection.

Among the UN officials who took part in the event were the UN Development
Programme (UNDP) Administrator, Helen Clark; the UN High Commissioner on
Human Rights, Navi Pillay; the Executive Director of the UN Children?s Fund
(UNICEF), Anthony Lake: and the Executive Director of the UN Entity for
Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), Michelle Bachelet.

Throughout the event, individuals watching online could take part by asking
questions and adding comments to the live discussions.

The event was organized by the UN Foundation; Mashable, the social media
blog, and 92nd Street Y, a New York-based civil society organization, to
help amplify awareness on the issues being discussed at Rio+20 this week,
such energy, health, food security and access to water.

?This is a remarkable gathering of 21st century thinkers, intellectuals and
groups from around the world and should be very, very helpful for getting
the message of sustainability all around the world,? said the President of
the UN Foundation, Tim Wirth, in an interview. ?It will help spread the word
about Rio+20 and most importantly spread the word about sustainable
development and put it on the top of the agenda for countries all around the
world.?

Other participants included the chairman of the Virgin Group, Richard
Branson; a French aquatic filmmaker, Fabien Cousteau; and two members of the
American rock band Linkin Park, Mike Shinoda and Dave Farrell.

In an interview, the founder of Mashable, Pete Cashmore, emphasized the
importance of establishing links between the technology and the development
communities.

?We are here in Rio to talk about how we can bring social media into
sustainability issues,? Mr. Cashmore said. ?How we can bring bloggers in,
and how can we can make it more accessible. This is really a key thing,
because you have people talking about the big problems of the world, but how
can you give them a voice and make a difference??

?People have realized that revolutions happen around the world powered by
social media,? Mr. Cashmore added. ?Political and power structures are being
upturned, so I think people are beginning to see that social media can drive
a change in action and not just create buzz.?
________________
For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

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