USRio+2.0 Focuses on Role of Connection Technologies for Sustainable Development

USRio+2.06 February 2012: Participants at “USRio+2.0” discussed innovative technologies to address global issues of health, the environment, agriculture and sustainable economic growth, as well as “innovation culture” and the role of governments and civil society in innovation. Highlights from the event will be shared during the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20).

Held from 2-4 February 2012, in Palo Alto, California, US, the event, titled “USRio+2.0: Bridging Connection Technologies and Sustainable Development,” was hosted by the US Department of State and Stanford University, as a key component of the US' preparations for UNCSD. The event was interactive, combining talks and panels with audience participation, through breakout sessions and a final “unconference” session. Panel sessions focused on: the innovation culture – four entrepreneurs' perspectives; framing the challenges – how connection technologies can support sustainable development; and developing country perspectives – the impact of connection technologies on sustainable development and financing considerations.

Sha Zukang, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, addressed the event and suggested that the increase in worldwide use of “connection technologies” such as the Internet, mobile telephones and text messages contributes to social equity, information access and education, and can help build a sustainable future.

Lisa Jackson, Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), suggested that it is possible “for the first time in human history” to meet the growing needs for energy, water, food, housing, transportation, sanitation and clean air, and economic opportunities to ensure global prosperity, in a sustainable manner. She noted that participants at Rio+20 will come “armed with a set of tools that were unheard of in 1992.” [UN Press Release] [Website of USRio+2.0, including video of each presentation]