On the Road to Rio+20 – Preparations for Rio+20 in French and Arab speaking Africa

Six women’s organisations in French and Arab speaking Africa organised awareness raising workshops and consultations on their specific needs and views for the Rio+20 Sustainable Development Summit and translated Women’s major group position papers into Arabic and French.nised pre-meetings on how to prepare for the Rio+20 Conference in June 2012.

Despite a rapid economic growth during the past 50 years and (inter)national efforts to integrate environmental focus and gender mainstreaming in the policy making of African states, there still are many issues to be considered at local and regional levels. WECF has therefore co-organised regional preparatory meetings regarding equitable and environmentally sustainable development in Chad, Senegal and Tunesia in February and March, 2012.

Following international negotiations on Rio+20 in the previous years, the African meetings were aimed at raising awareness about the concept of sustainable development and the issues which will be addressed at the UN Conference in Brazil, between 13 and 22 of June, 2012. In addition, the objectives of conferences were to allow civil-society women from Arab and French speaking developing countries:

  1. to fully participate in the global women’s preparation for Rio+20 to assure that the global women major group benefits from the input and experience
  2. to bring the women’s policy statement for Rio+20 to the attention of policy makers in their countries, as well as to peers and press.

During the meetings, participants worked jointly to identify women’s priorities in “greening” the economy and proposed modules and practical solutions on how to improve sustainable development policies both in urban and remote rural areas of Tunisia, Chad and Senegal. Regional preparatory conferences were therefore successful in creating a dialogue between women from civil society and representatives of international institutions and NGOs.

Sascha Gabizon, WECF’s executive director, is chairing the Women’s Major Group, one of the nine overarching groups through which civil society can participate in the official Rio+20 process. WECF and Voices of African Mothers coordinate all activities closely with the Women’s Rio+20 Steering Committee.

For further information on women’s priorities for sustainable development for Rio+20, you can consult the website of the Women Major Group, created first as WomenRio20 website.

The project was funded by German GIZ and UNEP