UN DPI/NGO The Road to Rio
Anusha Santhirasthipam, International Assistant Programme Director reports
L-R: Anusha Santhirasthipam, Alice Wells, International President, Hilary Ratcliffe, International Programme Director and Kathy Kaaf, President SI Europe at the UN DPI/NGO Conference in Bonn, September 2011.
The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development 2012 will take place in Rio de Janeiro, from 2--22nd June 2012
What Soroptimist International (SI) clubs can do to transform adversity to opportunity.
our planet is sinking deeper into an unprecedented triple blow - an environmental, energy and financial crisis. The UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012 is crucially significant and is not meant to be another high level United Nations “talk fest”. The world’s leaders and most dynamic
20 years after the Rio Earth Summit,
and best practices, and to work towards meaningful solutions to alleviate the hardship and socio-economic inequities faced by women and girls in rural communities. At the UN DPI/NGO Conference
President Alice and our SI team were ever vigilant of gender perspectives on all pertinent issues under discussion. We spread out the SI team of 12 (including 6 representatives from SI Unions of Germany and Austria) to attend targeted workshop sessions and pro-actively engaged in workshop outcomes. We ensured that the official declaration
NGOs will gather to discuss some of the biggest challenges facing the planet today. The objective of the Conference is to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assess the progress to date and address new and emerging challenges. It is a historical opportunity to take stock of valuable lessons over the past 2 decades, examine technologies and best practices, agree on actions that ACTUALLY DO eradicate hunger and poverty, and save our planet. So what is SI’s role in all this and what can
an SI club, SI Union or member country do to help achieve lasting progress towards the continued sustainability of the planet and to ensure equitable, healthy and decent jobs and livelihood for women and girls?
Make an impact SI recently made significant contribution in
preparation for Rio+20 at the 64th Annual UN DPI/NGO Conference held in Bonn, Germany from 3-5th Sept 2011. SI used a multi-pronged approach
comprising consultation, networking and active workshop participation to get our salient messages across on the Conference floor and on official statements. The special UN Environmental
The Soroptimist International team at the UN DPI/NGO Conference in Bonn, September 2011
Our contribution included recognising and affirming the crucial role and special needs of women as primary producers of food and as vital decision-makers and purchasers of food.
Programme International Consultations prior to UN DPI/NGO were an excellent platform for both Dr. Alice Odingo, SI UNEP Representative and me to present gender-specific perspectives, share strategies learnt from our SI clubs’ grassroot projects
• We emphasised gender-specific education initiatives to ensure women and girls are properly trained and equipped for healthy and secure jobs in a “green economy”. • We called for gender-specific
Women’s Major Group for Rio+20. SI clubs are encouraged to engage in
awareness and advocacy activities with local mayors and municipalities, local community associations, farmers’ co-operative societies and national Government leaders to ensure sustainable development and women- friendly solutions.
into action, please visit the SI website or the UN website www.uncsd2012.org/rio20
TIS December 2011 Page 5 For more information before you swing
on the DPI/NGO conference theme, ‘Sustainable Societies, Responsive Citizens’ incorporated SI recommendations.
indicators to be used to measure sustainable development. • We supported calls for fair trade and sustainable lifestyles, especially responsible consumption and production of food.
• We championed the rights of women farmers to own land and have equitable access to clean water, seeds and fertiliser. This is crucial because in many countries, women produce close to 80 per cent of the food, but own 1 per cent of the land!
Since UN DPI/NGO we have taken follow up action to support a joint statement by the
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