When the UN convened the first Earth Summit in Rio in 1992, technology played a minor role in the task of setting global development agendas. Twenty years later, the situation is completely different. Digital and social media have proved that they have a potentially crucial role to play in sustainable global development. On the 22nd of April which was the United Nations designated International Mother Earth Day, the United Nations Information Center (UNIC) - Colombo in collaboration with the youth group “Youth for Greener Sri Lanka Platform”, organized a workshop on “using digital and social media to address sustainable development”. The workshops highlighted how today, modern technology and social media have the power to transform the world and use technology as a force.
Youth as a powerful tool
Attending Earth Day celebrations, the Secretary to the Ministry of Environment said that the youth are a powerful tool in creating awareness on risk issues and that the Ministry believes in mobilizing the youth in these efforts. UNIC, Colombo, supported by UNDP Energy & Environment, promotes Youth efforts in “National Road to Rio+20 campaigns in Sri Lanka.
One Day on Earth
Following the successful conclusion of the workshop, the documentary film “One Day on the Earth” was screened followed by the music video, ‘Make it Green Again’. This was a historic feat as the film was screened in over 160 countries around the world, on the same day. One Day on Earth is a grassroots film project that, once a year, captures the human experience in every country on earth on the same day. This feature-length documentary film premiers on Earth Day, April 22, 2012 and -- screened in over 160 countries around the world. It showcases the work of many UN partners and over 19,000 volunteer filmmakers– novice and professional –and sets a world record: the first movie to feature footage from every country in the world on the same day. The movie starts with the birth of a newborn in UK and encapsulates rare footage from all over the world giving a unique opportunity to see our world and the issues we face through a new lens. The footage links the crises, which confront the world today; from increasing population, consumption, waste production, environmental degradation and water shortage faced every day. The documentary visualizes diminishing resources and the message that it's is, after all a shared planet. (The video is available for public distribution at UNIC. Tel: 2580791).
The Global Community will meet in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012 to define a plan for the “ future we want “ in terms of sustainable development. Rio+20 is a part of a process of global awareness that led to calls for action. The 3 main objectives of the Rio+20 Conference are: securing renewed political commitment to sustainable development, assessing the progress and implementation gaps in meeting already agreed commitments, and addressing new and emerging challenges. The ocean is one of seven critical issues identified, with jobs, energy, cities, food, water, and disasters.
The preparation for Rio+20 is an on-going country-led process coordinated by the United Nations over two years, including 3 rounds of Preparatory Committee Meetings, Intercessional Meetings and ‘Informal-informal’ Consultations. The resulting inputs were compiled to serve as a basis for the zero draft of the Rio+20 outcome document.
We cannot afford failure. The security and sustainability of life on Earth depends on our success. As Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said, “Rio+20 is a once-in-a generation opportunity that all of us must seize, driving at the interrelations such that solutions to one problem translate into progress on all.”. If our actions at Rio+20 are too little, it will surely be too late.