International trade is a key component of sustainable development. This brochure offers a set of messages on sustainable development and trade that may be pronounced at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (commonly known as Rio+20), which will take place in Brazil in June 2012.
The significance of Rio + 20 does not lie in any document but in the new direction provided to global governance, whose focus should be on patterns of natural resource use, and not just on natural capital, to ensure human well being.
It was June of 1992. The location was Rio de Janeiro. The occasion was the world conference on environment and development. A large number of people had come out on the streets. They were protesting the arrival of George Bush senior, the then president of the US. Just before coming to the conference, Bush had visited a local shopping centre, urging people to buy more so that the increased consumption could rescue his country from financial crisis. Protesters were angered by his statement that “the American lifestyle is not negotiable”.
Preparations for the Rio+20 United Nations conference on sustainable development have begun, but the first round of preparatory meetings did not address important issues such as sustainable resource use, production and consumption.