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Michael Davidson’s Blog

New Platform to Track the "Cloud of Commitments" from Rio+20 Earth Summit

Michael Davidson

Posted June 20, 2012 in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment, Solving Global Warming

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Ninety-eight heads of state and government are addressing the world from Rio de Janeiro over the next three days about how we are going to protect our planetary home for the next three generations and more. Will our leaders commit to take action now...while they are still in office...and while there is still time to avoid dangerous tipping points? Or will they embrace the general instead of the specific, lofty promises instead of concrete actions? This week, NRDC has launched the first-ever aggregation and tracking tool for these and many more commitments on sustainable development. We are calling it the Cloud of Commitments.

cloud-screenshot.jpg(screenshot on June 20 at 12:45pm)

The Cloud is a response to decades of efforts by the international community in negotiating scores of treaties, declarations, and plans of action to address global environmental sustainability challenges.  Now, there is a growing recognition that the proliferation of such globally negotiated goals has not been followed by concrete actions and results. At Rio, we need to encourage the diversity of partnerships that the world has to offer – “a potluck approach” – while at the same time being critical of how far they take us to meet global goals.

Government leaders have been joined here by representatives from the private sector, business and the NGO community – many of whom have come to take action not to engage in more debate. The Cloud has already collected over 100 of these commitments, and by week’s end we expect many more. We’ve identified a handful of important events where we expect commitments, and highlight current registries that work with commitment-makers and ensure accountability.

After a week of commitment announcements and three days remaining, Rio+20 can still live up to its promise as a “conference of implementation”. But following Rio is when the real work begins: to monitor, strengthen and expand the “Cloud”, so that this rare event of leadership is not lost.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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