GSBI at Rio+20: The future we want

Tomorrow GSBI Leadership Dr. Diana Wall and Dr. Kelly Ramirez will be heading down to the Rio +20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. They will be meeting up with Dr. Luca Montanarella to participate in the GSBI organized side event- ‘Towards a Truly Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative’. This side event was organized by Dr. Heitor Coutinho and Dr. George Brown of Embrapa. The goals of GSBI at Rio+20 is to promote GSBI scientific activities, including a Global Soil Biodiversity Assessment, and help establish the role of GSBI alongside the Convention on Biological Diversity and other global environmental agreements.

What is Rio+20: The Rio+20 conference is a gathering of world leaders and participants- totalling up to 65,000 people - working to identify the path forward for Earth’s Sustainable Development through reducing poverty, increasing equality and promoting environmental protection. Rio+20 represents the 20 years that have passed since the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio. At this meeting 20 years ago a goal was set to restructure how governments think about economic growth and improve the quality of life for all, with specific attention being paid to social equality and environmental protection. While progress has been made, more can be done. To reach these goals, the conference has 2 main themes: 1. How to build a green economy to achieve sustainable development and lift people out of poverty? and 2. How to improve international coordination for sustainable development? These themes will be supported by 7 priority areas: decent jobs, energy, sustainable cities, food security and sustainable agriculture, water, oceans and disaster readiness.

While the actual negotiations and conference partnerships will occur June 20-22, there are a huge number of side events occurring prior to this main event. Over 500 side events will work to present focused commitments, summarizing how each specific side event will contribute to sustainable development.

Why should the GSBI be present: The GSBI has organized a side event at Rio+20 in order to bring greater awareness to the importance of soil biodiversity to ecosystem services, including: food, fiber, fuel, energy, primary productivity, disease mitigation and soil security. The Earth’s soils are living, dynamic interfaces that are supported by millions of microbial and animal species. Yet, despite the numerous benefits soil biodiversity delivers, it is often left out of policy decision. Attending Rio+20 is just one of many actions the GSBI is taking to ensure soil biodiversity is incorporated into environmental policy agendas.

Additional info: The GSBI will have presenters in the 'World Day to Combat Desertification Global Observance Event: Securing Healthy Soils and Stopping Land Degradation' session, a full schedule can be found on our website.

If you are following the Rio+20 events from home, please also check our website for regular updates on these side events and others, and follow our twitter updates @theGSBI.

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