Following Rio+20, our work on science and technology for development continues. On this page:
A new paper, co-authored by the STEPS Centre, Stockholm Resilience Centre and Tellus Institute calls for a radical new approach to innovation, connecting global and grassroots innovation. The paper was published in Ecology and Society and discussed at a major panel debate in Rio on 16 June.
STEPS Centre director Melissa Leach was a High-level Participant in the High-level Dialogue on Global Sustainability: Tipping the scales towards sustainability – The Future We Choose, organised by the Stockholm Resilience Centre, Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Global Sustainability (GSP) Fundaçao Brasileira para o Desenvolvimento Sustentável and The Elders.
Based on key messages developed at the previous Nobel Laureates Symposia and the GSP report, the dialogues in Rio resulted in a declaration, The Future We Choose, consisting of a science-based message on global sustainability being presented to decision-makers, civil society and the media. This declaration highlights the importance of a science-based approach to sustainable development and the need for policy and decision-makers to acknowledge science if the world chooses a more sustainable path.
During the closed High-Level Dialogue on 17 June Melissa made contributions for the Declaration alongside others including Tarja Halonen and Jim Leape. Melissa contributed ideas around innovation and the importance of direction, distribution and diversity.
The declaration was then presented formally to the Executive Co-ordinator of Rio+20, Brice Lalonde, in an open dialogue session in RioCentro, and discussed publicly in a day-long session on 18 June at which speakers included Gro Harlem Brundtland, Rajendra Pachauri, several nobel laureates, and a debate involving youth representatives. A representative from the High-Level Panel will be present at each of four roundtable discussions during the Rio+20 summit itself to feed in key messages from the declaration.
Experts, publications and resources from STEPS, IDS, SPRU and University of Sussex aligned to the two themes and seven critical issues identified by the UN for Rio+20.
Rio+20 – science, politics and environment
- Q. and A.: The Dark Side to ‘Green’ Transactions by Joanna M. Foster, New York Times (20 June 2012)
- Homegrown solutions ‘crucial to sustainable development’ by Ochieng Ogodo, Scidev.net (18 June 2012)
- Science and politics at Rio and beyond by Melissa Leach and Adrian Ely, Outreach magazine (14 July 2012)
- Environmental goals affect local population by Jonathan Witteman, De Volkskrant, (13 June 2012) English translation, pdf / Milieudoel treft lokale bevolking original article in Dutch, pdf
- Single-track sustainability ‘solutions’ threaten people and planet 14 June 2012
- Green grabs: the dark side of the green economy 14 June 2012
- Zero draft: The STEPS Centre contributed to the Rio+20 zero draft outcome document.
- Green Economy Coalition: The STEPS Centre is a member of the Green Economy Coalition, a diverse set of organisations who recognise that our economy is failing to deliver either environmental sustainability or social equity. We have contributed to the GEC’s inputs to the Rio+20 process.
- Rio Dialogues: IDS/STEPS co-convened the Rio Dialogues space on ‘sustainable development for fighting poverty’. Adrian Ely presented the final report in Rio on 16 June (pdf 479kb) and wrote about his reflections on the process on the STEPS blog.
- Sustainable Business: Sustainable Business in India: challenges for Rio+20 We organised a conference with IIMB and Infosys in India to discuss sustainable business futures
- Podcast: Where next for sustainable development after Rio+20? Melissa Leach and Matthew Lockwood interviewed for this IDS podcast (July 2012)
- Melissa Leach explains the STEPS Centre pathways approach for the ESRC’s Rio+20 and the social sciences project. Watch the video
- Water Grabs – a special issue of Water Alternatives: Water grabbing? Focus on the (re)appropriation of finite water resources Guest editors: Lyla Mehta (STEPS water and sanitation convenor), Gert Jan Veldwisch and Jennifer Franco
- Planet Under Pressure (26-29 March): STEPS convened and took part in a variety of sessions at this London conference, being seen as a major stepping stone to Rio. See more about our activities at Planet Under Pressure.
- Debate in Brighton: Who’s going to save the planet? (17 May): We organised a public debate with the Institute of Development Studies as part of the Brighton Fringe Festival, with a panel of experts including Caroline Lucas MP. Event details: Who’s going to save the planet?
“Green grabbing” – the rapidly-growing appropriation of land and resources in the name of “green” biofuels, carbon offsetting schemes, conservation efforts and eco-tourism initiatives – is forcing people from their homelands and increasing poverty, new STEPS research published ahead of Rio+20 has found.
- STEPS work on Green Grabs
- Special issue of the Journal of Peasant Studies
- Media coverage: Environmental goals affect local population Jonathan Witteman, De Volkskrant, (13 June 2012) English translation, pdf / Milieudoel treft lokale bevolking original article in Dutch, pdf
- Interviews with Transnational Institute Green grabs | Water grabbing
STEPS Rio+20 Diary – for full details see STEPS Centre Rio info sheet
Post Rio+ STEPS has been represented at the following events:
- After Rio+20: Moving Beyond 2015, part of the ‘Campaign for a Global Citizen’s Movement for Sustainable Development’ Ramapo College of New Jersey, US. 15 – 19 October 2012
- Post-Rio multi-stakeholder strategy meeting, organized by UNEP in partnership with UNDESA, Stakeholder Forum and The Green Economy Coalition. 20-12 October 2012
- Meeting to discuss the post-2015 agenda convened by The Independent Research Forum, an international group of think tanks bridging the SDG and MDG agendas which is holding a two day meeting convened by IIED. 17-18 October 2012
- UNESCO International Symposium on Accelerating Innovation in Developing Countries at World Innovation Forum 2012
- STEPS-hosted panel at Globelics 2012, on ‘post-crisis STI policies for a green and fair economy’ involving some manifesto partners
- OECD event 6th Conference on Micro Evidence on Innovation in Developing Economies (MEIDE) focussing on the post-Rio+20 grassroots/ hybrid innovation paper being written for Environment and Planning C (see publications below)
All our news, views and updates on Rio+20 on the STEPS Centre blog including:
- Adrian Ely, STEPS Centre head of impact and engagement, blogs from Rio on harnessing diversity across the global innovation system: a key challenge post-Rio+20
- Adrian Ely blogs from Rio in opening up sustainable development decision-making at the UN – reflections on the Rio Dialogues process
We’re asking people – practitioners, activists, academics, journalists, business people – to tell us what sustainable development issue they want to see addressed at the Rio+20 Earth Summit in June. Professor Bina Agarwal, journalist Fred Pearce and Oxfam’s Phil Bloomer among those giving us their one big hope for Rio+20. Contribute your own hopes for Rio+20 by commenting on our blog or by getting in touch.