The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), or Rio+20, was the third international conference on sustainable development aimed at reconciling the economic and environmental goals of the global community. Hosted by Brazil in Rio de Janeiro from 13 to 22 June 2012, Rio+20 was a 20-year follow-up to the 1992 Earth Summit / United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in the same city, and the 10th anniversary of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg.
The return to Rio marked a new hope of real political commitment for a new way of thinking about our future and the planet. The expressed aim of the conference was to identify the main gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the previous major summits on sustainable development, and to address the new and emerging challenges.
Rio+20 was about being heard by the right people at the right time. Volunteers around the world can sometimes feel that their contribution to society goes unnoticed, but Rio+20 was the perfect time to raise their voices and be heard. The conference brought together governments and the international community - including the United Nations and NGOs - to set global targets to move the world towards sustainable development.
The #actioncounts campaign organized by UNV drew attention to volunteer action around the world. The campaign gave volunteers, along with communities and organizations, a chance to show their efforts for protecting the future of our planet and generations to come.
Stories were submitted by people individually (via Twitter or the campaign website) and by organizations whose volunteers were involved in projects for sustainable development. The results of all these volunteer actions were presented at the Conference in Brazil.
A multimedia presentation showcased the voices of volunteers worldwide, counting over 50,000 people. Stories shared ranged from organizing a refugee camp’s first ever general election, helping avert a humanitarian disaster, contributing to social welfare and developing innovative technologies to mitigate climate change.