By Emily Nosse-Leirer - Rio+20 Agents of Change Delegate
Youth envision what we can do next together
It has already been three months since SustainUS arrived in Rio de Janeiro to participate in the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), and we’re still learning from the experiences we had there. We came to the conference with high hopes for the negotiations. The outcome of the conference didn't fulfill all our desires and work still needs to be done by governments and their representatives before the policies address all the global challenges covered at the conference.
At the conference, we were able to sit in on negotiations that covered the range of issues that combine to form sustainable development, we met with the lead negotiators of the United States and many other countries, we spoke at events that occurred alongside the negotiations, and we worked with young people from around the world to advocate for a strong outcome. Rio+20 wasn't an end to the international dialogue on sustainable development and we will make every effort to be present for all the further discussions of the topics. Although there is still a long way to go to resolve the issues covered at Rio+20, there is one thing that is certain: we emerged from the conference energized by the enthusiasm of the young people and other activists who traveled to Brazil from all over the world.
As members of SustainUS, we are passionate about issues that range from climate change to reproductive rights, and from alternative economic systems to water rights. Meeting other young people and activists and discussing how we could work together to better the world reminded us of our power as a group. We will continue to maintain and develop the partnerships we built in Rio, partnerships we would not have made without traveling there. We are incredibly grateful to our donors for helping us travel to Rio+20 to participate in global politics and for all the new relationships we formed there that will last much longer than the three weeks we spent in Brazil.
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