International Francophone Organization Holds Workshop on Sustainable Development Information

7 February 2012: Participants at the workshop on "System partnerships for information on sustainable development" discussed existing francophone initiatives for the sharing of information related to sustainable development, and the challenges they face, and suggested additions to the zero draft of the Outcome Document for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20).

The workshop was organized by the International Francophone Organization, and took place in Saint-Etienne, France, on 6 February 2012. Workshop participants noted the development, over the past 15 years, of various francophone initiatives for the distribution, sharing and exchange of information and knowledge on sustainable development. They heard presentations on existing initiatives on information for sustainable development, including: Médiaterre; Agora21; Africa Adapt; the FACE project (in French: Jointly facing climate change); and the CLIC project (in French: Connecting the local and international contents). It was noted that these initiatives are facing increasing challenges, including: a lack of permanent financial support; problems of legitimacy and validity of the information; difficulties in accessing open data; lack of participative governance; and the need for a constant evolution to take into account new needs and technological advances.

In light of the identified challenges, participants drafted suggested additions and amendments to the UNCSD zero draft, related to: the creation of an international, multilingual platform for the sharing of knowledge; building an information society that is open, inclusive and transparent; and building capacity of all stakeholders in international negotiations related to the environment or sustainable development, including through the distribution of information, preparatory documents and follow-up in all UN languages. Finally, two partnership initiatives were proposed: consolidating existing distribution platforms on the themes of Agenda 21 and emerging themes; and developing a francophone ontology of sustainable development.

This workshop preceded the "Francophone Forum in Preparation for Rio+20," which took place in Lyon, France, from 8-9 February 2012, also organized by the International Francophone Organization. [IISD RS Sources]