Thousands of citizen activists, including youth, participated in the Earth Summit of 1992. And several of those youth participants joined the Bandung Tunza conference as facilitators, offering advice, context and encouragement to Tunza delegates as they head down the Road to Rio.
‘The internet is a powerful tool that we didn’t have 20 years ago. But it’s now been used very effectively in the climate change movement and was fundamental to the Arab Spring, so encourage each other to use social media effectively. And remember not everyone will get to Rio+20, so within your group, make sure all regions of the world are represented to-gether with minorities and indigenous people.
‘One thing we did well as youth in the earlier Rio process was vigorous debate and discussion around the issues. So I encourage you to disagree, because through disagreement and dialogue you come to understanding.
‘It’s also important to understand and respect different strategies. There’s a time and place for speeches, meetings, planning, direct action. Some of you will be in non-governmental or national delegations, others will be outside activists. The important thing is solidarity. You’re in this together and speaking with one voice. We had solidarity at Rio’92: in spite of internal debates about strategies, we had a foundation of understanding.’
‘One of the things I wish we’d paid more attention to is what happened afterwards. Think about what happens after Rio+20, so that when you get a commitment from countries to work on new ideas, you can follow it up and ensure accountability. As far as civil society participation is concerned, in the UN it’s all about precedent. I encourage you to study the Global Fund for Tuberculosis and Malaria and UNAIDS, where civil society sits and makes decisions alongside government officials.’
‘The good news is that the green economy is growing even in this worldwide depression. Although markets deliver efficiencies, they were never designed to deliver justice, equity and ecological or socio-cultural harmony, so you have serious and difficult work to do. But young people already lead the forces of change – even if not always in the limelight. Big leaps in solutions come from below, from collective resistance. You are the catalysts of hope amongst your peers.’