For Media

Hotels for Press
Accommodation levels in Rio de Janeiro are anticipated to be at full occupancy during the conference. While it is not the responsibility of the United Nations to procure accommodation for the media, it should be noted that the Brazilian national organizing committee for Rio+20 has committed to blocking a minimum of 500 hotel rooms in Rio de Janeiro for media covering the conference. Costs must be covered by the media. For more details, visit: http://www.rio20.gov.br For information regarding room availability please contact: Terramar Travel Agency

Emails: reservas2@terramar.tur.br or reservas4@terramar.tur.br or reservas8@terramar.tur.br

Tel: (+55+21) 35120067 or (+55+11) 30142042 or (+55+19) 35145600

Media representatives must present their approval letter and copy rio20.hoteis@itamaraty.gov.br when requesting their accommodations.

Information

World Congress to play key environmental role
Come June 2012, a highly significant event will take place in Brazil. Under the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Congress on Justice, Governance and Law for Environmental Sustainability (World Congress) will be organised to support the Rio +20, so called because it will be held 20 years after the first Earth Summit in Rio in 1992.?

The World Congress will bring together attorney-generals, prosecutors, auditor-generals, chief justices and senior judges, as well as parliamentarians from around the world. They will deliberate on a host of legal issues relating to environmental sustainability and sustainable development. The outcome of the World Congress is potentially far reaching. Countries take differing approaches to energy use and apply different environmental standards. Understandably so, since the process is hostage to individual commercial interests and is highly politicised.

But our environment is not just about individual actions - it is about collective actions. The well-being and sustainability of our Earth is in the collective interest of all nations. This has long been recognised. The 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm formally declared that the environment, 'the natural and the man-made' was 'essential to the well being of mankind, to the enjoyment of basic human rights, and to the right of life itself'.

The Earth Summit addressed the production of toxic components, poisonous waste, alternative sources of energy to replace fossil fuels, reduction of vehicle emissions, congestion, and the health problems caused by polluted air and smog and the growing scarcity of water. What followed was the establishment and execution of hundreds of multilateral environmental agreements. But although ambitious in intent, these agreements fell sadly well short when it came to implementation.One problem was that countries lacked the capacity to deal with environmental issues. Without the requisite skills or infrastructure, governance and law, attempts at reform and enforcement for the benefit of an environmental cause are doomed to fail; there will be more talk than action.

The need for the reform of international environmental governance has been widely debated. There have also been broader institutional reforms: The enhancement of the UNEP, establishing a new umbrella organisation for sustainable development, reforming the United Nations Economic and Social Council and the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, enhancing institutional reforms and streamlining existing structures.

But for full scale action at an international level, we will need to start nationally. The wheel must first turn within nations, each of which must play its own part in safeguarding the environment. Only then can actions be coordinated across nations, and only then can there be any hope for compliance with aspects of environmental law. Compliance is a key element. Unless laws are subscribed to internationally, and enforced, sustainable development will remain but a dream.

The upcoming World Congress in Brazil is therefore one of the most crucial events for decades to come, if not for the next century.
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