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Rio Conventions Pavilion Convenes for City Day

22 June 2012: The Rio Conventions Pavilion at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) convened for City Day, on 22 June 2012. The event included three panel events on: local leadership driving global change; cities spurring change - tools and techniques for integrated urban planning; and a sustainable future for our children - the FRUSATO movement. A closing session addressed lessons learned and next steps following Rio+20.

During the panel on local leadership, Gino van Begin, Deputy Secretary General, ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, highlighted the important role city and regional governments play in implementing sustainable development, noting they host 50% of the world's increasing population and face infrastructure challenges and opportunities to: accommodate citizens with access to water, sanitation and waste management; ensure food security and mobility; and move to regenerative resources and low-carbon energy use models.

The panel on cities spurring change included presentations from the cities of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Fortaleza, Brazil, as well as from a network of African cities. Pavan Sukhdev, study leader of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB), UN Environment Programme (UNEP), noted that most successful actions are community-based, stressing that public support for green creative initiatives is needed against vested interests that drive corruption.

On a sustainable future for our children, Ryokishi Hirono, Board of Directors, Organization for Industrial, Spiritual and Cultural Advancement (OISCA) International, stressed the need to change unsustainable lifestyles, in particular energy over-consumption, to unburden future generations. Neil Pratt, Secretariat of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), introduced the Green Wave for Biodiversity, a project designed to involve young people in the work of the Convention. Celebrated each year on International Biodiversity Day, the project encourages young people to plant trees and post images and stories online to create public awareness.

The Day also included the screening of a short film describing the Green Wave for Biodiversity project and its impact. Rajat Agrawal, Children Forest Programme, India, outlined what he has learnt from participating in the OISCA Green Wave Programme.

The Pavilion is a collaborative outreach activity of the Secretariats of the Rio Conventions (the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the CBD), the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and 25 other international, national and local partners. [IISD RS Coverage of City Day at Rio+20]