The future we want

“Sustainable development is not a luxury, it is an imperative,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at the launch of the UN campaign for Rio+20 on 22 November featuring a global conversation on the future we want. The campaign aims at engaging people to contribute ideas for new visions of a sustainable future.

“Opportunities like Rio+20 do not come along often,” the Secretary-General further stated. “The Rio+20 conference offers us a unique chance to discuss the challenges which we face and the solutions we can pursue…. It’s a chance to visualize and plan for the future we want.”

The new campaign, Rio+20: The Future We Want, was launched to promote next June’s Rio+20 conference and the need for sustainable development by engaging people in a global conversation on the kind of communities they would like to live in twenty years from now.

The campaign will work through public participation to envision how societies in all parts of the world can build a future that promotes prosperity and improves people’s quality of life without further degrading our planet’s natural environment.

It aims to encourage people everywhere to engage in a global conversation that will be collected and melded into visions of the future to be exhibited in Rio de Janeiro at the conference. Rio+20 will bring together world leaders and thousands of participants representing all sectors of society, including academia, agriculture, business and industry, indigenous peoples, mayors and local authorities, non-governmental organizations, trade unions, women and youth.

“Rio+20 is our best chance to define pathways to a sustainable future,” said Rio+20 Secretary-General and DESA’s Under-Secretary-General Sha Zukang. “World leaders, along with thousands of participants from the private sector, NGOs and other groups, will come together to shape how we can reduce poverty, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection on an ever more crowded planet.”

Mr. Sha also said that focusing on building green economies is especially important now, as the world faces a global economic crisis. “The green economy can help accelerate progress towards sustainable development and poverty eradication and re-orient public and private decision-making so that it reflects, and respects, natural capital.”

The UN also unveiled its new website – – linking the Rio+20 Conference and The Future We Want project. The website also serves as a platform for informing the public about several key sustainable development issues, including cities, disasters, energy, food, jobs, oceans and water. A wide range of actions and results on these key issues will be presented at Rio+20.

“With today’s launch of Rio+20: The Future We Want, we are launching a global conversation about our future. Through this conversation, we are looking to engage people everywhere on what this future should look like, and what we need to do to realize this vision,” said Kiyo Akasaka, UN Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information.

“We need to do more to take sustainable development out of the realm of the abstract and make it real to people. We need to show, now more than ever, that it is possible to have development that generates prosperity for everyone and an improved quality of life while protecting our natural environment.”

For the campaign, the UN is working with a non-governmental organization, The Future We Want, to develop the exhibit for Rio. Through electronic and non-electronic formats, especially for those without Internet access, the project asks everyone to join the global conversation and voice their ideas for a better future. The online contributions, together with people’s videos, photos, letters, essays and drawings offering different perspectives on a sustainable future, will form the basis on the exhibit.

The Conference will take place in Rio de Janeiro on 20-22 June 2012.

For more information:

The future we want global conversation:

Rio+20 Conference:

Rio+20: The Future We Want video:

Webcast from the campaign launch: