Twenty years after Brazil hosted the first international summit on sustainable development, the rising-star South American nation is playing host to the United Nation's conference once again. The so-called Rio+20 summit, which began on June 20, is the culmination of literally decades of environmental policy, projects, and new thinking about the way that humans exist on the planet. "It is...in everyone's interest that all countries, not just some or even most of them, advance towards sustainable development," summit Secretary General Sha Zukang reminded audiences in his opening remarks on Wednesday. "This is one planet—with one common future."
Today is the 64th anniversary of United Nations peacekeeping. In missions throughout Africa, Asia, and around the world, more than 121,000 blue helmets patrol the streets, help countries rebuild infrastructure, and maintain the rule of law. It’s hard to imagine Liberia without peacekeepers.
As we commemorate UN Earth Day this year, our planet is in something of a bind. Over the last century, the global population has, overall, grown vastly wealthier as our societies and technologies have developed at breakneck speed. But that development has come at a cost; we are beginning to onerously tax the environment in which we live. Meanwhile, the world has hardly reached a point where everyone is well off. An estimated 3 billion people—or just under half the world's population—live on less than $2.50 a day.