Long road to Rio

Published October 26, 2011

Rio+20 Global Youth Music Contest workshop participants.

Recently the term “sustainable development” struck me, during a preparatory workshop of Rio+20 Global Youth Music Contest in Austria which was centered on sustainable development. Sometimes I feel we are too hamstrung by the language of some big terms like that of sustainable development. We tend to be thoughtful people who easily engage in a philosophical debate beginning with the words.

The idea of sustainable development grew from numerous environmental movements in earlier decades. Summits such as the UN Earth Summit in Rio, Brazil, 1992, were major international meetings to bring sustainable development to the mainstream.However, the record on moving towards sustainability so far appears to have been quite poor.

The concept of sustainability means many different things to different people, and a large part of humanity around the world still live without access to basic necessities. The causes of poverty and of environmental degradation are inter-related suggesting that approaching sustainable development requires understanding the issues from many angles, not just say an environmentalist or economics perspective alone.

United Nations Agenda 21 is an action plan of the United Nations (UN) related to sustainable development and was an outcome of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992. It is a comprehensive blueprint of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organisations of the UN, governments, and major groups in every area in which humans directly affect the environment.

It acknowledges the important role children and youth could play to achieve sustainable development and encourages all stakeholders to facilitate their participation in international decision-making. Thus, a new generation of children and youth is seeking to encourage our world leaders with constructive ideas to agree on practical global solutions for sustainable development at the Rio+20 United Nations Conference for Sustainable Development to be held this year in June 2012 again in Brazil.

In this context  Rio+20 Global Youth Music Contest for young people is organised on the occasion to mark the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (Rio+20 Earth Summit) to be held in June 2012 in Brazil. This opportunity encourages youth to express their hopes, concerns and thoughts on future of our earth through the resonance of music as a powerful expression that incites commitment for sustainable development.

The contest will collect musical messages from global youth exploring global solutions for sustainable development and the winners will win a trip to Rio de Janeiro to attend the Rio+20 Earth Summit in June 2012 and make the voices of global youth heard through their music. The young people are also encouraged to translate the idea of sustainable development in the cultural/local contest.

It will be interesting to see how many young people from Pakistan participate in the contest and making it to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Pakistan is going through a tough period and we do have a lot to communicate to the global audience. Once again it’s been seen that music is an effective peace tool to connect people and build the bridges.

As Bono puts it “Music can change the world because it can change people.” With this hope let us make music and get our voices heard.

The author is a student of media studies, passionate and committed toward issues of human rights and social justice.

The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

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