The environment law expert shed light on the post Rio+20 agenda.
On Monday Jim Leape, Director General of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) International Secretariat gave a lecture entitled "Sustainable Development: The Agenda After Rio+20" to a full auditorium, with a large proportion of Institute students in attendance reflecting the wide interest in environmental issues at the Insititute.
Mr Leape reflected on the outcomes of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in June this year. Rio+20 was expected to forge a solid framework of global environmental governance. In emphasising the few commitments agreed upon, Mr Leape acknowledged that it is extremely challenging to have 193 member countries reach consensus. He summarised what actions are needed to maintain and increase natural capital, including biodiversity, and how this also protects and promotes the livelihoods of some of the poorest people on earth.
While the outcome of Rio+20 was disappointing, Mr Leape elaborated on how action was happening on other levels, by coalitions of the committed, including examples of neighbouring countries making new agreements to work together to protect their common natural resources, with support from WWF. Concerning the role of business, Mr Leape cited the creation of Consumer Goods Forum, a pact aimed to have some of the largest companies in the world pledge to adopt sustainable methods for using natural resources. He also indicated the importance of different types of stakeholders to work together to make change happen. Finally he stressed the importance of the consumer by changing their consumption habits.
Before the event, Jim Leape met with the Institute's Centre for International Environmental Studies (CIES) faculty and research assistants to learn about ongoing research projects. The research centre develops political, legal and economic discourse on problems related to the global environment. It is dedicated to the better understanding of the social, economic and political facets of global problems related to the environment. It is led by André Hoffmann Chair in Environmental Economics Professor Tim Swanson.
Professor Jorge Viñuales of the CIES, co-organised an official civil society side-event during the Rio+20 conference.