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It is only 8  days to the start of the Rio+20 UN Conference, where world leaders, along with thousands of participants from governments, the private sector, NGOs and other groups, will come together to shape how we can reduce poverty, advance social equility and ensure environmental protection to get to the future we want. The high level UN conference will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 20-22 June 2012, to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), which was also held in Rio de Janeiro. The official launching of the conference took place a week ago, on 5th June 2012, during World Environment Day (WED), which is celebrated on June 5th each year since 1972, to highlight awareness of the environment and promote political attention and action.

In a statement on 6th June 2012, UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, invited people to participate in an online voting platform for "the future we want," the latest stage in the Rio+20 Dialogues. From over 10,000 ideas submitted via the Dialogues' online platform, 100 recommendations were consolidated, in 10 areas. The votes, which are open until the 15th June, i.e. 5 days before the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) begins, will determine the recommendations to be presented to leaders at the Conference.

The Rio+20 Dialogues platform is a social networking initiative of the Government of Brazil and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and which Ban Ki-moon points out is intended to link civil society and the official proceedings of the UNCSD. He expressed satisfaction that people across the world used the platform to come up with recommendations in each of the critical areas identified for the Dialogues: water, oceans, food, energy, forests, employment, cities, poverty, economic crises, and sustainable consumption and production.

The recommendations include: protect language diversity to preserve traditional knowledge and support biodiversity conservation; create a tax on international financial transactions; launch a global agreement to save high seas marine biodiversity; restrict tobacco farming; include care for aging populations in the international framework for sustainable development; incentivize the construction of energy efficient buildings; ensure universal health coverage; and design urban spaces to account for empowerment of local communities.

There are 10 topics of the Sustainable Development Dialogues, or Rio+20 Dialogues, based on the critical areas listed above and each topic contains 10 recommendations. All we have to do to vote is to click the arrow on the right of a bar to expand and collapse topics, and vote by clicking on the check to the left of a recommendation. You may vote for as many recommendations and in as many topics as you wish. When you are done, submit your votes at the bottom of the page! Please follow the link below to vote. You can vote until the 15th June.

Link to voting website

Link to UNDP press release

Link to statement by UN Secretary General

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