The Future We Want

The UN's Role in Sustainable Development

February 16, 2012


Lawrence J. Gumbiner
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans, Environment and Science, U.S. Department of State


Melinda Kimble
Vice President, International Bioenergy Initiative, UN Foundation


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Read the full transcript of the call.


This month's call was held on Thursday, February 16, 2012 and featured Larry Gumbiner, Deputy Assistant Secretary of International Environmental and Scientific Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, and Melinda Kimble, Senior Vice President of the International Bioenergy Initiative at the United Nations Foundation. On the call, Larry and Melinda discussed the UN's role in sustainable development, including a recap of the most recent UN Climate Change Conference (Durban conference) and a preview of June's Rio+20 conference. After discussing the topics in detail, Larry and Melinda took questions from UNA members for roughly a half-hour.

Melinda began the call by previewing the upcoming Rio+20 conference and contrasted it with the Durban conference that was held in late 2011. She discussed what Durban "missed," including playing an overarching role in global agriculture and building resilience to climate impacts. She emphasized that within the environmental and economic sphere, engagement should be managed through treaties or conventions.

Larry pointed out that the Rio conference is much more development oriented, but stressed that it was not merely a gathering of environmentalists. The conference will bring together members of the private sector, governments, and civil society to explore global opportunities, realize the aspirations of the conference, and seize on key opportunities for stakeholders. Larry maintained that Rio is in many ways an environmental, economic, and social conference focused on how the world can realize growth opportunities. He also talked about the intense social nature of the conference, with organizations and individuals able to participate via webcasts and social networking sites such as Twitter. Larry wrapped his presentation by stressing that Rio was about commitments.

The question and answer session discussed the subjects of promoting sustainable mountain development, the role of the private sector in the conference, and the role of the individual before, during, and after the conference.

Labels: Advocacy

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