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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

U.S. Center Brochure: Programs of Events: June 15 - 22, 2012

Data Sheet
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
June 8, 2012


Welcome to the U.S. Center

The U.S. Department of State is organizing and hosting a U.S. Center at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio+20, as a venue to engage in an ongoing conversation with the delegates and stakeholders at Rio+20, and with virtual audiences around the world. The Center will highlight successful sustainable development programs and initiatives, underscoring strong actions the U.S. private and public sectors are taking to secure a sustainable future for people around the world and our planet. This initiative is made possible by input and support from multiple U.S. government agencies, academic institutions, non-governmental organizations, private sector entities, and other stakeholders.

U.S. Center events will take place in the Meeting Room and Demo Room, located in the Athletes´ Park of Barra da Tijuca.

In the Meeting Room, visitors can learn more about U.S. sustainable development programs and participate in detailed discussions on key issues. U.S. and international partners will headline a series of panels throughout the conference. Meeting Room event details begin on page 6.

The Demo Room, located next door to the Meeting Room, provides a space to showcase social media and other connection technologies that are improving human welfare through environmental management, social advances, and economic growth. Full details for scheduled Demo Room events begin on page 24.

The U.S. Center will be open daily from June 15th–22nd from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm Most programs will be webcast live on UStream. Also join us on Twitter (#USRio20) and many other social media platforms. See page 5 for further details.

NOTE: Event timing and participation is subject to change. Updated schedules will be available at the U.S. Center, and will be prominently posted throughout the conference.


Be part of the conversation on sustainable development! U.S. Center programs will be accessible worldwide by CO.NX, the digital diplomacy team within the Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP) at the U.S. Department of State. Global audiences can watch U.S. Center events by going to Sign into the social stream with your Facebook or Twitter account to submit your questions and comments.

CO.NX deploys connective technologies such as streaming video, multimedia webchats, video conferencing and social networks to engage foreign audiences. CO.NX facilitates conversations that would never take place otherwise and delivers those conversations to the world. To learn more about CO.NX or about upcoming programs

Meeting Room Program Schedule

Friday, June 15

11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Event: Capturing the Sun! Solar Energy R&D Can Transform Us

Primary Sponsor: U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Event Summary: The U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, with several of its partners, supports and promotes a worldwide transformational science and technology cooperation framework in solar energy R&D. Our goal is to accelerate clean solar electricity, solar fuel production, and solar thermal energy for wide-scale market technology readiness and rapid technology transfer by uniting the creativity and innovation strengths of the world’s R&D community. We emphasize fundamental science and transformational research spanning the development of new concepts, materials, devices and processes through collaborative integration of theory, fabrication and measurement. This event will (1) present key R&D challenges, (2) highlight examples of collaboration, including a recent consortium between the U.S. and India, as well as emerging consortia with Brazil, the Middle East and North African countries, and (3) include technology demonstrations.

12:30 – 2:00 pm

Event: Sustainability Knows No Borders and Nations

Primary Sponsor: University of Pennsylvania

Graduate students from the Master of Environmental Studies of the University of Pennsylvania will present and discuss their experiences participating in educational projects run by the University of Pennsylvania in Developing Countries. The main mission of these students is to teach sustainable practices that people around the world can use during their everyday life in order to improve their living conditions without depleting and destroying the environment. The sustainable use of water resources and energy is a core objective of their efforts, while the inclusion of women and members of all social classes is crucial for the success and the durability of these sustainable practices. The students will also analyze the correlation between adequate education and the nexus of Food-Water-Energy, and describe how the University of Pennsylvania campus is becoming more sustainable.

2:00 – 3:30 pm
Event: Managing Fisheries Sustainably: Challenges, Opportunities, and Future Directions

Primary Sponsor: U.S. Department of State and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association

Event Summary: Oceans are critical to sustaining life on Earth, and fish resources are needed to ensure global food security and economic growth. Despite collaborative international efforts to maintain healthy fish stocks, many fish species continue to decline and are threatened by overcapacity of the world’s fishing fleets, overfishing, and illegal fishing. Addressing these challenges will require significant actions by States working both individually and cooperatively with other stakeholders. Building upon sound scientific foundations and ecosystem-based management, governments, industry and civil society must renew their commitments to long-term sustainable fisheries through Rio+20 and beyond.

Experts will address current initiatives taken at local, national and international levels, and discuss what else must be done to achieve sustainable fisheries management. The panel will examine the transformative steps being taken through regional fisheries bodies and by individual States, the role of science, examples of joint industry-NGO collaboration in implementing these new management measures, and the importance of cross-sectoral cooperation.

3:30 – 5:00 pm
Event: Mobilizing Knowledge for Agriculture: Extension Advisory Services

Primary Sponsor: U.S. Department of Agriculture

Event Summary: This session will showcase a pluralistic approach to developing extension capacity that includes government partnerships with NGOs and the private sector, and the use of more participatory approaches that provide feedback to scientists and increase institutional support. Extension translates research into practice and readies it for adoption. Advances in communication technologies present opportunities for enhancing access to vital information about markets and weather, for building the institutional capacity of extension, and for sharing knowledge among stakeholders. This session calls upon the world’s research and extension institutions to share their vast stores of knowledge to meet this millennial agriculture challenge.

5:00 – 6:30 pm
Event: Urban Sustainability Indicators and the Challenges of Sustainable Development Policy in America

Primary Sponsor: Shell Center for Sustainability, Rice University

Event Summary: Presenters from different cities across the United States will discuss their use of a variety of approaches to implement sustainable development, through the use of urban sustainability indicators. Participants at this session will have an opportunity to learn best practices for constructing, displaying, and implementing urban sustainability indicators. They will also gain insight into ways to affect public policy through findings from the urban sustainability indicators.

Saturday, June 16

12:30 – 2:00 pm
Event: Broad-based Agricultural Innovation for Sustainable Productivity Growth

Primary Sponsor: U.S. Department of Agriculture

Event Summary: The key to improving global food security while being good stewards of our natural and human resources lies in innovation. Innovative production technologies and techniques can reduce inputs, increase profitability, and decrease adverse environmental impacts and resource demands from farms, ranches, and catches from wild fisheries. A range of innovations will be needed to meet the growing consumption needs of the global population and to make agriculture more resource efficient, including in the areas of: biotechnology, crop improvement, integrated pest management, agro-forestry and other ecologically-based management systems, reduction of post-harvest loss, cost-effective risk management, and efficiency-improving market mechanisms. This panel will examine some of the most groundbreaking innovations for sustainable agricultural productivity growth in order to highlight the breadth of innovative possibilities.

2:00 – 3:30 pm
Event: Environmental Governance and Social Inclusion

Primary Sponsor: U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Event Summary: The 20th Anniversary of the Rio Earth Summit comes shortly after the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA has served as a model for the development of environmental protection agencies throughout the world. This panel will highlight lessons learned over these 40 years, including recent governance innovations both in the United States and other countries. U.S. lessons learned will be complemented by strategies and innovations from other countries, such as enhancements to public participation in environmental decision-making in South America, and the use of environmental tribunals and other legal reform efforts in Indonesia, as well as private sector sustainability initiatives.

This panel will also discuss new approaches to ensuring that the benefits of environmental protection are enjoyed by communities around the world, and that they are actively engaged in decision-making processes. People should be able to live in healthy communities, share in the benefits of environmental protection programs, and have a voice in environmental decision-making. Inclusion of the poor and historically marginalized communities is critical for sustainable development.

3:30 – 5:00 pm

Event: High Stakes on the High Seas: Sustainable Management of Global Tuna Fisheries Event

Primary Sponsor: The Global Environment Facility (GEF)

Event Summary: This event will highlight the unprecedented cooperation between non-government organizations, industry leaders, technical and scientific international organizations, and national government agencies in the recently approved Global Environment Facility (GEF)-sponsored global tuna fisheries project.

The project -- known as Sustainable Management of Tuna Fisheries and Biodiversity Conservation in the Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction -- is implemented by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in partnership with: the Tuna Regional Fishery Management Organizations and member countries, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), World Wildlife Fund, International Seafood Sustainability Foundation, and Bird Life International. The project addresses the dire situation of global tuna fisheries and associated biological diversity. This event will focus on the global tuna fishery situation; declining tuna stocks effect on developing countries and food security; the complexities of tuna conservation and the roles of management organizations; the role of business and industry in tuna conservation; and what this project is doing to address these issues.

5:00 – 6:30 pm
Event: What is Green Growth? A Global Perspective from Governors

Primary Sponsor: U.S. Department of State

Event Summary: Join Governors from around the world for a discussion on Green Growth, what it means to them, and how they strive to balance the need for economic growth and sustainability. This panel will be moderated by the Special Representative for Global Intergovernmental Affairs, Reta Jo Lewis. Governors are on the frontlines of economic development and the sustainable growth debate, and many have developed innovative approaches to address a complex set of challenges. In this context, a group of Governors will come together at the U.S. Center to talk about Green Growth and to share best practices on promoting energy efficiency, renewable energy, economic diversity, education, and employment in their states. They will discuss specific innovations that they have implemented in their states and share successes they have had in finding new solutions to regional problems.

Sunday, June 17

11:00 am – 12:30 pm

Event: The Innovators of Tomorrow

Primary Sponsor: Conrad Foundation, FIRST Lego League, and Intel Foundation

Event Summary: Innovative ideas and creative solutions often originate from young people around the world. This session will showcase several young innovators as they share their inventions, including a portable water filtration system that operates without electricity, a prosthetic hand device for a 3-year old girl born without fingers, and breakthroughs for cancer treatment.

Development of a vibrant and scientifically literate society depends on early and active engagement of the next generation of innovators. U.S.-based organizations, such as the FIRST Lego League, the Intel Science Technology Search, and the Conrad Foundation Spirit of Innovation Awards foster youth innovation through global science and technology competitions. These young students will demonstrate how these programs engage global youth in real-world science and technology challenges, and in so doing prepare them to become sustainable development leaders and the innovators of tomorrow.

12:30 – 2:00 pm
Event: International Partnerships: Indispensable Tools for Disaster Risk Reduction and Sustainable Development

Primary Sponsor: U.S. Department of State and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association

Event Summary: Disaster risk reduction is a fundamental element of sustainable development. Hydro-meteorological and geologic hazards threaten food security and human health, cause destruction and loss of life, and sever important business supply chains. No country is immune to disasters; however the vulnerability of communities to disasters is closely related to the level of social and economic development. This event will raise awareness of the fundamental importance of disaster risk reduction and resilience to sustainable social and economic development. Panelists will showcase research, programs, and activities -- often conducted through cooperation with international partners and through international organizations -- in all phases of the disaster management cycle (including prevention, prediction, response, and recovery). This event will emphasize the importance of international partnerships between U.S. stakeholders and other countries and international organizations, such as the World Meteorological Organization and the International Oceanographic Commission.

2:00 – 3:30 pm

Event: Making the Invisible, Visible: Advancing International Collaboration on Ocean Acidification Research

Primary Sponsor: U.S. Department of State and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association

Event Summary: Seawater chemistry is changing due to the ocean’s absorption of carbon dioxide. Ocean acidification is an emerging global issue with potentially serious impacts on the marine environment, marine biodiversity, and food security. This event will explore our current understanding of ocean acidification and its potential impacts, discuss opportunities for international collaboration and capacity building, and highlight the importance of ocean acidification research through an international observing network. Experts will also discuss and provide examples of how information on ocean acidification and its impacts is relevant to coastal and ocean resource management. Further, the panel will provide details about an upcoming international workshop on ocean acidification, and on recent commitments to establish an international ocean acidification coordination center.

3:30 - 5:00 pm

Event: Valuing Ecosystems Services

Primary Sponsor: The Nature Conservancy

Over the course of five years, scientists from The Nature Conservancy and Dow will work together at three pilot sites in North America, Latin America, and the Asia Pacific to implement and refine models that support a corporate decision-making model which takes account of and respects natural resource availability. We are choosing sites at a variety of locations around the world. Each site will serve as a “living laboratory”— a place where we will validate and test our methods and models so they can inform sustainable business decisions at Dow and influence similar decision-making and best practices of other companies. This collaboration is an example of how companies and organizations from different sectors can collaborate to effect real world change. Ideally, this pilot project will help to develop a model for how companies can incorporate a respect for the value of nature into their decision-making, and increase investment in protecting the planet’s natural systems.

5:00 – 6:30 pm
Event: Promoting Clean-Tech Innovation for Low-Carbon Growth

Primary Sponsor: Global Environment Facility (GEF) and Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES)

Event Summary: Opportunities for clean-tech innovations are growing, driven by policy changes, market shifts, and continued growth in energy and resource consumption, particularly in developing regions of the world. The next 20 years will be critical for the development, demonstration and deployment of clean technologies that can support climate mitigation and adaptation, energy security, resource efficiency, job creation, and competitiveness. This panel will feature recent projects and lessons learned in promoting low-carbon and clean-tech innovation and entrepreneurship in both established multinational companies and start-ups. Business leaders from Dupont, Johnson Control and Clean Tech Open will discuss the drivers and strategies for developing solutions that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, while at the same time realizing improved efficiency, enhanced performance, and competitive advantages in a global marketplace. Innovation experts from business and government such as Brazil and India will describe efforts that can be taken to recognize and support innovation and entrepreneurship in their countries, including mentoring programs and incubation for aspiring innovators and small-medium enterprises.

Monday, June 18

11:00 am – 12:30 pm

Event: International Business Green Economies Dialogue: Getting Green Growth Policies Right

Primary Sponsor: United States Council for International Business

Event Summary: This event will present observations from the five Green Economies Dialogues held in 2011 and 2012. Panelists will focus on the main policy steps under negotiation at Rio+20 to encourage green growth, and will recommend further actions in those critical areas by business and policymakers.

The previous International Business Green Economies Dialogues underscored that policies and actions to promote a greener economy require partnerships and involvement of many sectors: governments, consumers and business. These dialogues found that for economic growth to be sustainable and green, it must fit with national circumstances and priorities in developed and developing countries, work within the globalized marketplace, become ingrained in the bottom lines of businesses and governments, and enable and stimulate technological innovation.

12:30 – 2:00 pm
Event: Citizen Engagement + Geodesign = Sustainable + Resilient Ecocities

Primary Sponsor: Ecocity Builders, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and MyCoe

Event Summary: When confronting large-scale and complex humanitarian emergencies and natural disasters, 21st century cities face two interlinked challenges: maintaining sustainability and demonstrating resilience. Techniques that employ increased citizen involvement, geodesign, and up to date geospatial technology and information can contribute to cities better addressing these challenges through development of workable solutions.

An interactive session, with the audience collaborating on design and problem solving, will illustrate how ecocity principles, geospatial mapping, and geodesign techniques can lead to quantifiable benefits to cities and citizens, often reducing or eliminating the need for more expensive urban infrastructure fixes. The workshop will show how next generation web technologies, cloud computing, geographic information systems (GIS) and large-scale knowledge-bases can multiply and amplify ecocity design benefits. By increasing citizen participation and developing a new public infrastructure, the result will be a robust, dynamic network of urban interventions that benefit the health and well-being of all citizens.

2:00 – 3:30 pm
Event: Aligning Public Finance to Leverage Private Capital Investment: The U.S.-Africa Clean Energy Finance Initiative (US-ACEF initiative)

Primary Sponsor: U.S. Department of State, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency

Event Summary: This event will announce the launch of the U.S.-Africa Clean Energy Finance initiative (US-ACEF). It’s an innovative, collaborative financing mechanism developed by the State Department, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA). The initiative aligns existing U.S. government resources in new ways to catalyze significant private sector investment, primarily focused on clean energy projects in underserved regions, especially Africa.

By combining small State Department grants, USTDA’s project planning expertise, and OPIC’s financing and risk mitigation tools, the US-ACEF initiative will generate hundreds of millions of dollars of additional U.S. support for clean energy investment in regions with significant energy challenges.

3:30 – 5:00 pm

Event: The Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas: Facilitating Cooperation for Sustainable Development

Primary Sponsor: Partners of the Americas and U.S. Department of State

Event Summary: Partners of the Americas is an international network that promotes social and economic development in the Americas through leadership, voluntary service, and development programs. The event will highlight ongoing multi-sector cooperation under the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA) initiative to address the intertwined challenges of energy security and climate change. Four distinguished Senior ECPA Fellows from a range of disciplines, along with U.S. Department of State officials, will highlight examples of collaboration among civil society, the private sector, and governments are collaborating on ECPA initiatives. The panelists will also discuss best practices in adaptation, urban planning, and clean energy. ECPA success stories can be applied in other regions, and new partners can become involved in existing ECPA projects.

5:00 – 6:30 pm

Event: The Clean Energy Solutions Center: Your First Stop for Policy Resources and Free Expert Advice

Primary Sponsor: U.S. Department of Energy

Event Summary: This event will bring together policymakers, the private sector, international organizations, and others to discuss how the Clean Energy Solutions Center can assist governments around the world with the design and implementation of clean energy policies and programs.

Participants will learn about Solutions Center resources and have the opportunity to identify priority clean energy policy topics, request personalized policy assistance, or join policy networks. Please visit the Solutions Center.

Tuesday, June 19

11:00 am – 12:30 pm

Event: Global Forest Watch 2.0

Primary Sponsor: World Resources Institute, Imazon, and Google

Event Summary: WRI, Imazon, Google and other partners are developing a new forest monitoring system that will bring together technology, transparency, and human networks to mobilize more effective and sustainable forest conservation and management. It combines a novel alert system, complementary satellite data and systems, WRI and partner maps, mobile technology, and a networked world to create never-before-possible transparency. Global Forest Watch 2.0 will be simple to use: no training required, free for all users, and data will be shareable. It will connect to local partners, allowing access to project analysis and include automated near-real-time alert maps showing the location of new clearing every 16 days. Boundaries of parks, indigenous territories, logging, mining, and agro-industry concessions, and forest carbon maps will be included. It is designed to help governments better enforce forest protection laws, to help NGOs identify forest clearing quickly, and to enable suppliers of commodities to demonstrate their supply chains are “deforestation free.”

12:30 – 2:00 pm
Event: Geography and Spatial Technologies: Empowering Sustainable Futures

Primary Sponsor: U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of State

Event Summary: Since 1992 and the first Rio Earth Summit, advances in geospatial and space-based technologies (GIS, remote sensing, and GPS), have led to new geographic concepts, thinking, and visualization. Together with web-based knowledge platforms and social media, these technologies have increased access to information and empowered diverse stakeholders, including youth, to imagine sustainable futures. This event will showcase partnerships, as well as technologies invented by the United States and shared with the world. The event will showcase for example, American Association of Geographer’s “My Community, Our Earth,” a public-private partnership empowering youth around the world to respond to sustainable development challenges in their communities; USDA’s programs and products creating communities around food security and sustainable agriculture; earth observation satellites and the 40th anniversary of Landsat; and major private sector contributions, such as the Change Matters portal (, a cloud-based geospatial application for multi-temporal comparisons of Landsat images made freely available by Esri, a private company that pioneered the development of GIS.

2:00 – 3:30 pm
Event: Greening the Supply Chain: A Public-Private Partnership to Reduce Deforestation

Primary Sponsor: U.S. Agency for International Development and Department of State

Event Summary: Deforestation causes significant environmental and economic harm globally. Governments, the private sector, and civil society share the twin goals of sustainable economic development and reducing deforestation. Individually, we have mobilized significant resources to address these challenges; however, we recognize that in partnership, much more can be achieved.

This event will focus attention on the critical issue of how to reduce deforestation through sustainable supply chains, and include senior USG representatives from USAID and the Department of State, as well as from the private sector, to discuss creative ways for us to better meet this challenge through new and strengthened partnerships between governments, the private sector, and the NGO community.

3:30 – 5:00 pm

Event: LEDS Global Partnership: Enhancing Global Collaboration on Low Emissions Development

Primary Sponsor: U.S. Department of State

Event Summary: The Low Emission Development Strategies Global Partnership (LEDS GP) was founded to advance community collaboration on ways to promote low emission development around the globe. The goals of the LEDS GP are to build a connected global network of partners and resources, explore best practices and learn from the experiences of others working to develop and implement LEDS, and enhance cooperation and coordination on LEDS globally.

This side event will highlight the work of the LEDS GP and outline the future direction and vision for the Partnership. It will also highlight case studies of the various approaches countries are taking to develop and implement low emission development strategies. The LEDS GP is open to all interested participants and this event will provide information regarding how to get involved.

5:00 – 6:30 pm
Event: Cities: Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Primary Sponsor: U.S. Department of State

Event Summary: Join Nancy Sutley, Chairwoman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality and former Deputy Mayor for Energy and Environment in Los Angeles, and Mayors from the United States such as Patrick Hays from Little Rock, Arkansas and Jean Quan from Oakland, California to talk about sustainability where it matters most, in the city. This panel will explore the challenges that cities face in an increasingly urbanized world. With over half the world’s population living in cities, Mayors confront issues related to sustainability on a practical level every day, and make decisions daily that impact the environment and their citizens. From the mega-city to the smallest hamlets, cities and towns across the globe are tackling similar problems and searching for solutions. The panelists will discuss how their cities are confronting these challenges and what they can learn from each other’s successes.

Wednesday, June 20

11:00 am – 12:30 pm

Event: Bridging Space to Village: Through the SERVIR Regional Visualization and Monitoring System

Primary Sponsor: U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Event Summary: U.S. government agencies have led the way in the application of space-based technologies to sustainable development solutions. An example of this is the SERVIR program, led by USAID, NASA, in cooperation with international partners. SERVIR provides a wide range of information from earth observations and predictive models to support decision makers in Central America, East Africa and the Himalayan region in Asia. Its web portals make available previously inaccessible geospatial information such as satellite data, mapping tools, and in-situ measurements for improved monitoring of air quality, extreme weather, biodiversity, changes in land cover, flooded areas, and potential forest fire hot spots. Since 2005, SERVIR has produced timely assessments of over 35 natural disasters in Central America, East Africa and Pakistan. This event will showcase SERVIR international partners from the Regional Center for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD) in Kenya, and the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in Nepal.

12:30 – 2:00 pm
Event: Re-Investing in Our Communities: The U.S.-Brazil Joint Initiative on Urban Sustainability

Primary Sponsor: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Event Summary: Join the U.S. and Brazil as we showcase the Joint Initiative on Urban Sustainability (JIUS). This keynote event will highlight this innovative bilateral initiative and launch the JIUS platform, which will link cities around the world to large-scale investors and catalyze new public-private partnerships to invest in sustainable infrastructure, especially for underserved communities. It is an opportunity for interested parties, whether local and national government, NGOs, or business, can participate and further sustainable development in their communities.

2:00 – 3:30 pm

Event: Greening the Health Sector: Initiatives from the U.S. and Around the World

Primary Sponsor: Health Care Without Harm

Event Summary: Hospitals and health care systems are beginning to contribute substantively to a green economy in both developed and developing countries. This trend points to a major contribution that the health sector – which comprises between 8 and 10 percent of world GDP – can make to sustainable development.

Panelists will discuss several initiatives to “green” the health sector, including: efforts by some of the largest health care systems in the United States to reduce energy consumption, waste generation and chemical pollution while saving money; the National Health Service in England’s program to reduce its carbon footprint 80 percent by 2050; the World Health Organization’s efforts to show how the health care sector is well-positioned to “lead by example” in reducing its own greenhouse gas emissions; greening initiatives in the Brazilian health sector; and Health Care Without Harm’s work to link together many of these efforts in a Global Green and Healthy Hospitals Network.

3:30 – 5:00 pm

Event: Business Leading Investment, Innovation, and Results for Clean Energy

Primary Sponsor: Business Council for Sustainable Energy

Event Summary: In 2011, a record-breaking $260 billion was invested in clean energy globally. To bring sustainable development and the fight against climate change to scale, far more investment, innovation, and action are needed. This panel of business leaders from the United States will profile the enabling environments needed to deploy and develop clean energy solutions to fight energy poverty, grow local economies across the world, and reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. Companies will discuss the way they build their buildings to use energy efficiently, to deliver electricity from wind farms and distributed solar energy, and to maximize the power of information technologies in transforming the energy sector.

5:00 – 6:30 pm
Event: Global Launch: The U.S. Water Partnership

Primary Sponsor: U.S. Department of State

Event Summary: Join us as we celebrate the launch of a brand new public-private partnership that will harness U.S. resources to provide centralized access to America’s water knowledge. The United States is mobilizing its resources to address water challenges around the globe, especially in the developing world. U.S. Water Partnership members, including the Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautic and Space Administration, Ford Motor Company, Coca-Cola, USAID, World Resources Institute, Department of Energy, The Nature Conservancy, and others, will give live-streamed presentations about innovative technologies and governing approaches that are saving lives, greening cities, protecting eco-systems and getting more crop per drop.

Thursday, June 21

11:00 am – 12:30 pm

Event: Forum on Youth Sustainability Action

Primary Sponsor: White House Council on Environmental Quality

Event Summary: Join youth from around the world in a dynamic discussion about how young people can think globally and act locally to solve sustainability challenges. Senior U.S. Administration officials will set the stage for this dialogue, leading discussion on what youth are doing in the U.S. and internationally to foster sustainability, how youth can connect globally to advance their local contributions, and how post-Rio+20 young leaders can take the outcomes from the conference to mobilize wider participation by their peers. The event will showcase efforts by young people in the United States to promote sustainability and “create the future they want” and will feature winning videos produced for the Youth Sustainability Challenge.

12:30 – 2:00 pm
Event: Information & Communications Technology: The App Store for Sustainable Development

Primary Sponsor: Digital Energy and Sustainability Solutions Campaign

Event Summary: Information and communications technology (ICT) can help governments achieve their sustainable development goals. ICT-enabled innovations will be essential, and the ICT industry welcomes the opportunity to build upon the partnerships and dialogues initiated at US Rio+2.0 at Stanford University in February 2012. This panel will explore current activities, and engage the audience on additional ideas for how governments, civil society, and the private sector can best leverage the participatory and transformational powers of ICT. Featured will be a new partnership commitment between the Digital Energy and Sustainability Solutions Campaign (DESSC) and others – to be announced in Rio – within the framework of the Secretary General's Sustainable Energy for All initiative.

2:00 – 3:30 pm
Event: Resilience and Sustainability in the 21st Century: Examples from the Public and Private Sectors

Primary Sponsor: White House Council on Environmental Quality

Event Summary: As the world’s population grows and attendant pressures on communities and natural resources increase creating significant social, economic, and environmental risks – developed and developing nations alike face the challenge of providing for the safety and well-being of their citizens. In the United States, actors from every sector – business, civil society, and all levels of government – grapple with these issues and work to develop innovative solutions. In this session, a high level panel – including senior representatives from the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the U.S. Green Buildings Council, and industry and local government – will analyze efforts from these sectors and share case studies of sustainability and adaptation initiatives. The event will highlight efforts to create energy efficient and resilient urban environments; build resilience in supply chains, companies and the communities they serve; and reduce risks from extreme events and other impacts of climate change.

3:30 – 5:00 pm

Event: Making Population Matter: Reaping the Demographic Dividend for Sustainable Development

Primary Sponsor: U.S. Agency for International Development

Event Summary: The Demographic Dividend is the opportunity that arises when a country transitions from high to low rates of fertility and child and infant mortality. This transition creates a generation that is significantly larger than the generations immediately preceding and following it. As this group enters working age, they have the ability to enter into productive economic activities and invest savings at relatively high rates, thus spurring heightened economic growth. This growth depends however, on the right enabling policy environment. Favorable demographics do not guarantee increased economic growth. For example, while a number of countries in East Asia realized increased growth from 1965 to 1990 through a combination of demography and policy, a period often referred to as the region’s “economic miracle”, many other countries missed their opportunities during the same time period, despite favorable demographics, in large part due to poor governance and weak policies. Sub-Saharan Africa’s ability to capitalize on its upcoming demographic promise is currently the source of much discussion.

Friday, June 22

11:00 am – 12:30 pm

Event: Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge for Development

Primary Sponsor: U.S. Agency for International Development

Event Summary: Increasing access to clean energy for agricultural development is critical to meeting growing food requirements around the world, and to supporting climate-resilient low emissions sustainable development. In the spirit of the United Nations International Year of Sustainable Energy Access for All, USAID and its partners (USDA, Sida, African Development Bank and Duke Energy) are launching Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge for Development, a multi-year initiative focused on increasing food security and driving economic growth in the developing world through effective, scalable, clean energy solutions for farmers. This Grand Challenge is the third developed by USAID (following on Saving Lives at Birth and All Children Reading ) under an umbrella program that applies science, technology and innovation to development challenges. This interactive, multi-media event will host a number of high-level government and private sector partners, as they focus attention on this critical issue.

12:30 – 2:00 pm
Event: Women and Natural Resources

Primary Sponsor: U.S. Agency for International Development

Event Summary: It is critical to good governance to understand women‘s distinct roles in natural resource management, but often a heavy burden of domestic and economic responsibilities limits women’s involvement in community activities. These limitations have kept women in some societies politically and culturally marginalized from decision-making structures that affect their access to resources. Increasing women’s involvement in and access to decision making on natural resource management can benefit societies as a whole.

Through a combination of multimedia presentations and panel discussion, this session will identify gender-based constraints and opportunities, along with strategies for addressing them at community, national, and international policy levels. It will present a common framework to organize women’s engagement as agents of change in sectors such as fisheries, forestry, food security and health.

2:00 – 3:30 pm
Event: A New Global Partnership for Action: The Climate and Clean Air Coalition

Primary Sponsor: U.S. Department of State

Event Summary: Methane, black carbon, and HFCs account for over 30 percent of current global warming, cause millions of premature deaths, and result in extensive crop losses around the world. The Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC) is a voluntary, action-oriented global partnership to take on this challenge by scaling-up efforts to reduce these pollutants. The Coalition was formed by Canada, Mexico, Sweden, Ghana, Bangladesh, the UN Environment Programme, and the United States in February 2012, with a kick-off event hosted by Secretary Clinton and EPA Administrator Jackson. Since its founding, the Coalition has nearly doubled in size and is currently implementing five initiatives to reduce methane from the waste and oil & gas sectors, address black carbon from diesel engines and brick production, and employ new technologies to avoid HFCs through new technologies. The session is an opportunity to learn more about the CCAC’s initiatives and how to join the CCAC, and more broadly how to help advance global action to reduce short-lived climate pollutants.

Demo Room Program Schedule

There will be a series of informal events in Portuguese in this space between June 15th and June 19th. For the most updated list of events for the Demo Room, please check in at the U.S. Center daily.

Monday, June 18

1:00 – 1:30 pm

Event: Cell Phone Sensors for Sustainable Development

Primary Sponsor: Nexleaf

Event Summary: Innovations in wireless sensing that leverage cell phones can radically reduce the cost of data collection, while enabling remote operation almost anywhere on the planet. While cell phones are most widely used as communication tools, cell phone sensing – the use of a cell phone as a sensor, or device that measures a physical stimulus (such as heat, light, or sound) – is receiving increasing attention. When cell phones are coupled with web-accessible database systems for collection, storage, and visualization, the resulting datasets would be more widely available and more readily applied to sustainable development than ever before. This demonstration will show how new research and cell phone sensing applications address vital development issues, such as water quality, air pollution, clean cook stoves, and telemedicine.

5:00 – 5:30 pm

Event: Committee for the Democratization of Computer Science

Event Summary: CDI is a pioneer social enterprise NGO in Latin America that works in digital inclusion. CDI developed a unique socio-educational approach to transform lives and strengthen low-income communities by empowering people with Information and Communication Technology (ICT). CDI uses technology as a medium to fight poverty, stimulate entrepreneurship and create a new generation of change agents. Today, CDI runs a network of 717 digital inclusion spaces and 24 regional offices in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, Spain, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela, US and UK. In addition to low-income communities, psychiatric clinics, hospitals for the mentally and physically disabled as well as youth and adult detention facilities. This short event will showcase the technology developed by CDI.

Tuesday, June 19

1:00 – 1:30 pm

Event: Imagine Cup

Primary Sponsor: Microsoft Brazil

The Microsoft Imagine Cup is the world’s premier student technology competition. A Microsoft representative will present the company’s program for supporting innovative competition through the annual “Imagine Cup.” Following the presentation, one of the Brazilian winners of the Imagine Cup will present her project, an XBOX 360 game on the theme of sustainable development for cities. The event will be recorded for online broadcasting.

3:30 – 4:00 pm

Event: Global Collaboration for Innovative Solutions to E-Waste

Primary Sponsor: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Event Summary: As the global use of electronics increases, the question of how to properly dispose of or recycle unwanted or outdated technologies becomes more urgent. A recent study commissioned by the United Nations found that by 2020, the amount of e-waste just from computers will increase by 500 percent in some regions and countries. Only a fraction of this e-waste is recycled or refurbished for second-time use, with much of it disposed in landfills or handled in an unsafe manner. OpenIDEO, an open innovation platform for social impact, has partnered with leading Brazilian Bank Itaú Unibanco, the U.S. State Department, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to ask people worldwide to design solutions that improve e-waste management and protect the environment and human health. Winning concepts will be announced August 30th. Everyone, including students, philanthropists, academics, and technologists are welcome to join the OpenIDEO community in tackling this global innovation challenge.

6:00 – 7:00 pm

Event: Demo Alley (by invitation only)

In this session, several organizations that use connective technology for development will explain their work via demonstrations to small groups of conference participants. The groups will rotate every few minutes so that they can hear from each of the different tech groups. The Demo Alley is a good way to be introduced to a variety of different tech solutions in sustainable development in a short period of time. The participants will be able to talk at length to the tech groups about their work during the following two days of the conference. Demo Alley will show the existing solutions partly as a springboard to discuss the range of innovation as well as what is missing in development.

Participating organizations:


· Beyond Access

· Development Seed

· Global Forest Watch 2.0 (WRI, IMAZON, & Google)

· Nexleaf Analytics

· Solar Sister



· Microsoft Image Cup

· Committee for the Democratization of Computer Science (CDI)

Wednesday, June 20

11:30 am – 12:30 pm

Event: Power of Youth for Sustainable Development

Primary Sponsor: U.S. Agency for International Development

The United States recognizes that youth are in the forefront of global progress and social change, and utilize social media more than any demographic to engage and be heard. USAID will soon release its first ever policy on Youth In Development which recognizes young people as key actors and leaders in driving peace and sustainable prosperity in their communities. To capitalize on young people’s energy and enthusiasm, USAID will host a live conversation and twitterview for young journalists and activists with its Deputy Administrator, Donald Steinberg.

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