Spring 2011 Newsletter– Twenty years after the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where WEDO founders and supporters ensured women were at the table to help integrate gender equality principles into the sustainable development framework, it is time to take up the task once again. At Rio+20 in June 2012, the world community will come together to discuss the next several decades of sustainable development. Momentum is building. Governments and civil society alike are reviewing past successes and failures and making recommendations for future action. The preparatory process is well underway – and WEDO has been very busy.

As part of the Women’s Major Group Rio+20 Steering Committee, WEDO is working closely with women’s groups from all around the world and honing its positions with a range of partners. In all areas of discussion, WEDO works to ensure a focus on women’s leadership, full participation, equality and benefit-sharing.

Many issues on the road to Rio are contentious – in particular the notion of a green economy, which is one of the two key themes. Officially titled “green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication”, the theme has sparked intense debate. Some fear that ‘green economy’ will replace the three pillars of sustainable development (environment, society and economy) with an even greater focus on the economic aspect, particularly because there is not yet an agreed definition of what a ‘green economy’ is. Together with the Women’s Major Group, WEDO is exploring how women relate to the concept of ‘green economy’ – and, more importantly perhaps, how women might already be leading such a notion. Women are leaders in innovative economic activities– in agriculture, energy, forestry, waste management, water and more – but WEDO is cautious about championing a term that might take necessary emphasis away from the interlinked pillars of the sustainable development framework, especially as the social dimension has been so long neglected.

WEDO is also thinking about international sustainable development governance, the second key theme of Rio+20, and what mechanisms are necessary from a women’s perspective and to ensure gender equality, including financing, sustainable development goals, indicators that go beyond measuring GDP, and accountability measures.

We are interested in hearing from you as we continue forging our path and formulating our positions! Send your ideas, comments, concerns and recommendations that should be included in the women’s planning and positions for Rio+20 to rio2012@wedo.org!

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Women and girls around the world are demanding and creating systemic change and a sustainable future for all. We need collective power to attain a just future – we need you.