Rio+20 by the Numbers: Sparking Action

June 29, 2012 BY Aaron Sherinian


Last week, Rio+20 focused the world’s attention on sustainable development.  Issues ranging from expanding access to energy to protecting the oceans to improving health care led the global conversation.

While much of the attention surrounding the conference has focused on the outcome document – which is important and should be examined – we can’t measure Rio+20’s success based solely on text.  After all, documents alone don’t produce change – change comes from people taking action.

By shining a spotlight on sustainable development and bringing all the key players together –government, industry, civil society, and global citizens – the United Nations set the stage for action.  Here is a look at some important numbers coming out of Rio+20:

  • Governments, businesses, civil society organizations, and others made nearly 700 voluntary commitments for sustainable development.
  • More than $500 billion in funding was pledged for sustainable development.
  • The dialogue around sustainable development highlighted clean cookstoves as a solution to a persistent problem that affects nearly 3 billion people worldwide.
  • Family planning was raised as part of the debate at Rio+20. Currently, more than 200 million women around the world who want to time and space their pregnancies lack access to quality family planning services.
  • Tens of thousands of people participated in Rio – and millions more participated through social media.
  • Rio+Social, a forum about the nexus between technological innovation, social media, and sustainable development, was one of the world’s top 10 topics of conversation in social media on the day it was held. People throughout the globe joined the conversation.

Rio+20 sparked change, but we have more work to do.  The world’s sustainable development challenges are large in number and in scope.  They won’t be solved by one conference alone; they will be solved by each of us taking action on our own, with each other, and with the UN to build a better future.  As Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “Rio+20 is not an end but a beginning.”

Visit the Sustainable Energy for All website to learn more about the initiative and to get involved.  Check out the conversation on social media here.


POSTED IN: Social Good, Get Involved, Global Issues, United Nations

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