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Seizing the Opportunity in Rio

2012 June 19

By Scott Fulton

Olá!  A few days ago, I arrived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the United Nation’s Conference on Sustainable Development (a.k.a. “Rio+20”).   I’m excited and humbled to be a part of this milestone event, which marks the 20th anniversary of the first UN Earth Summit.  Rio+20 offers an important opportunity to consider anew the global challenge of sustainable development and to provide guidance and inspiration for the path ahead.  While I’m here in Rio, in addition to attending Rio+20 itself, I’ll be participating in many satellite events designed to make the most of this opportunity.  Just a few examples:

  • On June 16, I participated  in the Rio+20 Colloquium on Environmental Law & Justice, a panel discussion of the Role of Courts in Environmental Compliance and Enforcement over at the Supreme Court;
  • Over the next few days, I will attend the World Congress on Justice, Governance and Law for Environmental Sustainability in Mangaratiba. This meeting of judges, prosecutors and auditors from around the world immediately precedes the Rio+20 Conference.
  • On Thursday, June 21, I will participate in a meeting led by the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development, “Rio+20, CCICED +20, Sharing the Achievements, Embracing the Future.” This promises to be an interesting opportunity for an exchange of ideas with our colleagues in China.

On June 16, I was also given the opportunity to moderate the Environmental Governance and Social Inclusion program at the U.S. Center in Athletes Park.  It was a successful and lively discussion with an extremely well qualified panel and an engaged audience. Some of the issues we touched on included:

  • Key features of effective systems for environmental governance at the national level, such as access to environmental information, public participation, law reform, and implementation and accountability mechanisms including robust enforcement systems;
  • The critical importance of efforts to engage vulnerable communities to promote social inclusion and environmental justice; and
  • Steps we can take to enhance cooperation, coordination and collaboration on strengthening environmental governance in countries around the world.

I think these concepts are integral to the notion of sustainability. After all, when we talk about Environmental Governance we are talking about the very real building blocks of a governance system that can make all the difference in the world—the difference between the concept of environmental protection expressed as written law and the reality of cleaner air and water, healthier people, and a secure a future where these benefits can be sustained for future generations.

And when we talk about environmental justice we are talking about the kind of social inclusion that allows us to reach an end state where no one’s environmental health is compromised because of his or her race, national origin or income level, and all have equal access both to the environmental decision-making process and to a healthy environment in which to live, learn and work.

To read more about environmental governance, click here: http://inece.org/resource/foundation/

About the author:  Scott Fulton is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s General Counsel.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

3 Responses leave one →
  1. Joe myrick permalink
    June 19, 2012

    It is to bad for our nation Scott that you cannot realize that what you are participating in with so much enthusiasm, is not what it seems. Why in the world would you want a one world government ran by criminals? Why can’t you see that it takes criminal acts & massive deception for global governance to take place? Who will be the king of the mountain? A Muslim caliphate led by the Muslim Brotherhood after they take all of the middle east, Chinese Communist’s, A risen Soviet Union, or a once allied group of nations like France, England & the US? What will be the fate of those of us who are not willing to be live in an Agenda 21 environment? I am thinking that we will be killed off either by drone assault by our own military, or by euginics. I see Germany rising once more, except this time it is a world wide effort by a very large group, who cannot see the bigger picture, while being so caught up in the picture being sold them to sell to others.

  2. June 20, 2012

    The Good Force be with you!

    Well done, Scott! I believe Rio 2012 is a success!

    Live forever and prosper!

  3. June 20, 2012

    I plan on reading all your posts from the Rio conference Scott, but know that you had less than an auspicious debut by starting your post out with a Spanish word (i.e. Olá) when the national language of Brazil is Portuguese.

    I’m just saying.

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