The Rio+20 summit is taking place right now and has less than 48 hours left. World leaders have come together to focus on how to end to poverty in a sustainable way. At the moment, with many crises and conﬂicts around the world – the euro crisis and the continued developments of the Arab spring – long standing problems such as poverty and climate change can be easily overlooked. But they must not be.
That is why it is vital that the Rio conference makes an impact to try and shape the course of history by initiating positive and ambitious targets to end poverty.
Governments and development organisations have been able to look at ʻThe Future We Wantʼ (the main publication from the summit). Many have been frustrated that it shows no new targets, timetables or aims for the future. The conference has merely conﬁrmed and reiterated the existing goals that were set twenty years ago at the first Rio Earth Summit.
Having said this, some development has still taken place. For example Nick Clegg (Deputy Prime Minister) is in Rio (because David Cameron did not attend) and has put forward the initiative that certain companies should now have to report their greenhouse gas emissions annually. Another positive step is that actual goals are being set up around sustainable development (this hasn’t happened properly before) which will help to raise the proﬁle of sustainability, making it a higher priority. So there are some positive outcomes, but it is simply still not enough.
Maybe then the most encouraging outcome of the conference is that it helps to keep these issues at the front of the minds of the 100 world leaders who attended. Hopefully combining this with enough pressure from people like us, by taking action and encouraging them to be proactive will enable more change to occur. Yet without real commitments, the well-intentioned thoughts and words of many world leaders are not of much use to the many in poverty today.
If you want to find out more about the success or otherwise of the Rio+20 summit, then post your questions on the Guardian website and experts, including Laura Taylor and Serguem Jessui Machado da Silva from Tearfund, will respond in a live webchat on Fri 22 June.
Charlie Brown is 19, and studying Law at Exeter university.