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UNA Women Looks to Create a More Sustainable World

Women Prepare for Rio+20

April 20, 2012|Verdena Lee, D.O.
At conferences around the world, both men and women are frequently asked, what do you do, is there time and reason enough to get to know you, and how can we contribute to one another's objectives? For women however, there is an underlying query: how did you get away from your responsibilities of family, children, hearth and home to work on this weighty project or to attend this conference? Usually, we find a quick way to appease the inquisitor--be it a man or a woman. But a deeper search begins as we attempt to answer those questions for ourselves.

As many women prepare to attend Rio+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on June 20-22, 2012, I hope that you will find the fortitude to meet these old familiar questions with new and creative answers like:

  • "I am here because I represent a significant number of the earth's population who will be affected by the decisions we make in this conference." Women make up just less than half of the Earth's population until the age of wisdom, 65. At that age, our sagacious stride takes us to nearly a third more than men on the planet. Having longer life spans, we certainly have more observations to recall of what worked in the past and what has not.1 Most cultures around the world look to their elders for counsel. This should not change at worldwide gatherings.
  • "I am here because I have a message to deliver from an important constituency of people who are seldom heard at conferences." Infant mortality, poverty, infectious diseases, food security, and access to clean water continue to affect women and girls differently even in regions of the world where statistics show improvement each year for men. And the reasons for discrepancies are not entirely clear or have not been investigated. What we choose to sustain must be for all or we fall short of the mission to move the world to a more viable future.
  • "I am here to advocate for policies that wait for the powers that be to direct viable attention to those objectives deemed important enough when the policy was adopted." In 1997, the UN General Assembly called progress on Agenda 21 "uneven." Before we create new goals, let us look at what current ideas on sustainability and development are working, and what components need our collective attention. Will new policies displace and redirect resources that are needed to accomplish what we have built so far? Are they, indeed, more efficient policies?

Under the leadership of Executive Coordinators of Rio+20, Ms. Elizabeth Thompson and Mr. Brice Lalonde, we have important work to do, and soon. UNA Women has a great legacy to uphold, a constituency that is waiting, and a passion to see the lives of all people improve in a green and more sustainable world.

1. http://www.indexmundi.com/world/demographics_profile.html

Verdena Lee is a member of UNA Women from the UNA-USA Columbus Chapter.

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