We know the problems, we know the solutions – how do we make Rio+20 count?

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Thursday, 14 June, 2012

When I finally got on the plane to Rio de Janeiro, via Sao Paulo – while noticing the many beautiful passengers travelling to Rio with me! – I paused for a minute. I mentally looked back to this time back in 1992, asking myself: ‘how did we get here?’ What went wrong and how do we correct the mistakes? How do we avoid coming back here for a Rio+40?

I was barely eight years old in 1992. And what was agreed then, as part of Agenda 21, has not been implemented in most cases.

I also thought about all the hard work that has been invested in this process. From my participation at the African Regional preparatory conference in Addis Ababa last October to the many intercessionals and informal meetings I followed in New York. I have worked through the Major Group of Youth and Children as well as the Women Major Group to make my voice heard, and demand more proactive leadership from the heads of governments participating in this process.

So when I arrive in Rio I hope to feel momentum in the streets, in the negotiating rooms and in the media, with people saying “the time is now”.

This is the most important event that will define my future and that of my peers around the world. We will inherit the outcome, whatever governments decide in Rio.

We, the youth, are watching.

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