IDS on the road to Rio+20

4 April 2012

The IDS-coordinated STEPS Centre is participating in the Rio+20 process in a variety of ways. Two decades after the original groundbreaking Earth Summit in Rio – which put social and environmental issues such as climate change and biological diversity on the global political agenda – the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development is seen as a chance to renew political commitment for sustainable development and a green economy.

The STEPS Centre believes there are several fundamentally important issues at stake: that meeting the interlinked global challenges of poverty reduction, social justice and environmental sustainability are the great moral and political imperatives of our age. And that science, technology and innovation of many kinds have essential roles to play in achieving these goals.

Researchers at the STEPS Centre are working on several initiatives to try and bring thier research findings and perspectives to the Rio+20 process as well as looking beyond Rio to the future. The STEPS Centre will be at Rio in June and updates about their activities will be posted on our Rio+20 webpage, on the STEPS Centre website and STEPS blog.

Activities at Rio+20, June 2012

  • 13-15 June
    STEPS Centre researcher Adrian Smith will speak about grassroots innovations for sustainable development at a workshop organised by the Global Research Forum on Sustainable Production and Consumption. The workshop will take place at the Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing. Details to follow soon.
  • 15 June
    IDS Fellow and STEPS Centre Director, Melissa Leach, will speak at the 4S (Society for Social Studies of Science) event, which is part of the a major five-day Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Development being held prior to the Rio+20 conference. As part of this engagement the STEPS Centre will be contributing to the Future Earth initiative. More details to follow.
  • 16 June
    The STEPS Centre and Stockholm Resilience Centre are jointly convening a session entitled 'transforming Innovation for Sustainability' within the two-day IIED 'Fair Ideas' event. Speakers include: Glauco Arbix (Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology), Lidia Brito (UNESCO), Melissa Leach (STEPS Centre), Johan Rockstrom (Stockholm Resilience Centre), and Kevin Urama (African Technology Policy Studies Network). More details to follow.
  • 16 to 19 June: STEPS Centre researcher Adrian Smith will present a paper on grassroots innovation for development at the International Society of Ecological Economists conference whose topic in Rio is Challenges and Contributions to a Green Economy. More details to follow.

Activities in the run up to Rio


STEPS Centre members have been writing a series of articles about Rio+20 for the Guardian's Global Development site:

Video: Hopes for Rio+20

We're asking people - practitioners, activists, academics, journalists, business people – to tell us what sustainable development issue they want to see addressed at the Rio+20 Earth Summit in June. So far we have collected responses at events including World Water Forum and Planet Under Pressure with Professor Bina Agarwal, journalist Fred Pearce and Oxfam's Phil Bloomer among those giving us their one big hope for Rio+20. Here are a selection of the responses. You can also contribute your own messages for Rio+20 by commenting on the STEPS Centre blog or by getting in touch.