U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (center) flanked by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff (left) Secretary-General of the Conference Sha Zukang (right) during the opening session of the U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro. Photo by: Mark Garten / UN

It’s another busy day for participants of the U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Here’s some of what has transpired so far – from the forum itself to the various side event, briefings and press conferences by world leaders, civil society organizations, private companies and other organizations:

  • Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba offered up to $3 billion in aid to help developing countries make their economies greener. More details about the aid package will be available when it is formally announced in July.

  • Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard suggested the Rio+20 outcome document is not likely to “make some indelible mark on the world’s history from tomorrow on” but says it does “the spotlight on sustainable development … and oceans.”

  • African leaders agreed on the following priorities for Rio+20: agricultural productivity, food security, industrial development, sustainable tourism, water, climate change, hazardous waste, energy, gender equality, education, health and ecological degradation.

  • Egyptian Minister of State for Environmental Affairs Mustafa Hussein Kamel affirmed his country’s commitment to global efforts to promote sustainable development.

  • At a high-level side event, African public and private sector leaders — along with representatives of the region’s development partners — underlined the importance of promoting the use of renewable energy to achieving sustainable development.

  • The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation hosted a dinner designed to engage traders, food producers, consumers and policymakers in a dialogue on environmentally friendly farming and food security issues.

  • The African Development Bank and World Wildlife Fundreleased a joint report that calls for robust local and international investments in Africa’s natural capital.

  • Oxfam stressed the need for “strong and unequivocal political commitment” to assisting small-holder farmers and food producers around the globe.

  • At a Rio+20 panel discussion on demographic dividend, U.S. Agency for International Development Deputy Administrator Donald Steinberg talked about how increasing access to family planning and working to reduce child mortality could drive a country’s economic growth.

  • An opinion piece highlighting the missing element at Rio+20: The voice of the youth.

  • Eduardo Nunes, national director of World Vision Brazil, argued in an opinion piece for the Huffington Post that the “future” under discussion at Rio+20 should be seen from the perspective of child development for it to be successful. He said by focusing on children, the world can achieve “sustainable development.”

  • Four researchers presented a report encouraging countries to scale up 21 energy measures already being carried out by governments and private companies to solve the climate problem.

  • António Guterres urged the international community to agree on a set of “guiding principles” that would protect climate refugees, at a side event organized by the International Organization for Migration and the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

  • U.N. General Assembly President Nasir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser emphasized the need for development cooperation to go beyond aid.

  • David Victor, Charles Kennel and Veerabhadaran Ramanathan of The Daily Beast provided hints on U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s new plan to address the climate problem by dealing with pollutants — so-called “dark-soot particles” — and not just carbon dioxide.

  • Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao pledged 200 million yuan ($31 million) to help small island countries, least developed countries and African nations tackle climate change. He also pledged $6 million for a U.N. Environment Program fund, according to a separate report.

  • Rio+20’s outcome is crucial to Africa’s future, African Development Bank President Donald Kaberuka said. The bank, for its part, will focus on sustainable energy solutions and infrastructrure, and climate adaptation plans among others, he added.

  • Gillard is set to introduce her government’s new carbon tax scheme, for which she has received opposing views. She has received praise from the international community over the policy, but faces “strong domestic opposition” back home.

  • Christopher Michaelson, assistant professor of ethics and business law at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business, made the case as to why rich nations are being asked to do and give more in the climate debate.

  • Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urged developed nations to honor their commitments under the 1992 Rio Summit. Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff made the same call, asking them to fulfill their promises of financing sustainable development objectives.

  • A development economist argued that a responsible private sector is leading the way toward a sustainable future. She highlighted a few actions taken by the businesses to prove her point.

  • What are some of the good points and “not-so-good” points from the Rio+20 outcome document? IRIN identified a few.

Read more in our wrapup of Day 1 at Rio+20.

Jenny Lei Ravelo contributed to this report.

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.