06 March 2012

USRIO+20 Connection Technologies Conference Feb 2012 - How Will You Shape the Future?

Nigerian Ministers & Mary
By Mary Vincent
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The US State Department and Stanford Business School sponsored the February 2-4, 2012 USRIO+20 Conference focused on Bridging Connection Technologies and Sustainable Development.
In a preparation meeting/briefing a day earlier at the San Francisco NRDC office, I met Jacob Scherr, NRDC Director Global Strategy and Advocacy, who has led a variety of global environmental initiatives over 20 years, including the phase-out of leaded gasoline worldwide.
He said, "It took 40 years to get lead out of gasoline; we don't have 40 years to address address climate change...we can't wait anymore...the time to act is now.

The Full Feb 2011 USRIO+20 Agenda is Here, and highlights, pictures and videos are below for your reference.

Thursday February 2, 2012

Introductory Session:
Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality

Alec Ross, Senior Advisor for Innovation, U.S. Department of State

Friday February 3, 2012
Dr. Kerri-Ann Jones, Assistant Secretary State Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs

Opening Keynote Address:
The Honorable Lisa Jackson Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(Video in 3 Parts - Please increase your computer system volume)

Unconference Sessions were then held.
What is an Unconference?
I held my own Green Software Unconference in 2009 to bring together Engineers, VCs, Corporations, Startups, and Entrepreneurs together to talk about how to use technology to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and it included successful Case Studies from Carbon Accounting Software Companies, to Solar, to Facebook apps.
Here's more information on the Eventbrite page, as well as Great Writeups and Summaries from the Unconference Breakout Sessions. Btw, I ensured there was only Vegetarian and Vegan Food served to reduce the GHG footprint.

Unconference Board
The USRIO+20 Breakout/Unconference Sessions were held on a variety of topics including: Health, Environment, Agriculture, Sustainable Economic Growth, Big Data.
Health - Amy Lockwood, Deputy Director for Stanford’s Center for Innovation in Global Health and Jae Chung, CEO & Founder of goBalto
Environment - Dr. Shalini Vajjhala, Special Representative, Office of the Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Chris Turner, Director of World Business Council for Sustainable Development
Agriculture - Amy Klement, Vice President of Omidyar Network and Daniel Sumner, Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of California, Davis
Sustainable Economic Growth - Sonal Shah, Tides Fellow and Saad Khan, CMEA Capital
Big Data - Chris Shipley, CEO of Guidewire Group and Nathan Waterhouse, Co-Founder of OpenIDEO

Unconference Board
A Statement made at the event was key: Technology shouldn't be the goal of Rio; The Agreements are more Important.
In addition to these great sessions, I attended the Global Registry of Sustainability Commitments and Accountability Session led by NRDC's Michael Davidson.
I was brought into this Project before the Conference and if anyone reading this Blog Post is interested in learning more, please contact me.
Environmental Ministers and Key Global Players were made aware of this Project during USRIO+20 and they're on the Stakeholder Team.

USRIO+20 Environmental Reps
A High Level Ministerial Roundtable then took place with Dr. Kerri-Ann Jones, Assistant Secretary State Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, chairing the meeting.
Sha Zukang Under Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs' Introductory Remarks are here.

There was great thanks to the US State Department from multiple countries for hosting the meeting.
A few country representatives spoke, and here are some highlights:
1. Poland: Adapt technology to local requirements and have the government facilitate (instead of intervening). There is alot of Green Technology for Soil and Water.
2. Hungary: There is a database based on spacial information and includes water management. Incentives are needed for small and medium sized enterprises.
3. Sweden: Capture energy of innovators and businesses, other actors; we need to attach the energies of cities in the Rio outcome. The Government and Private Sector need to work together to address the global challenge. We need to have a big push; we need to find ways to get more innovation and investment in the global change process. We need a higher rate of change and create policy and regulation to get this pushed. We need to increase the rate of speed for change.
4. China: Provide incentive for private sector.
5. Afghanistan: Thanked countries for helping them become independent and very sorry for people who lost their lives. There's a mobile phone revolution..we need to invest in young people's future and involve young women and empower them. Our glaciers are melting at alarming rates and we may have wars over water. I would like to utilize the environment as an instrument of peace. i.e. the Afghanistan National Conservation Area is working closely with the Wildlife Conservation Society.
6. Brazil: We look forward to receiving Heads of States with the concept of sustainable development. It is sustainable development, not just environment. Rio+20 should look to the future instead of the past. The Goal should be an international reference of success.
7. Bangladesh: Innovation can also come from government and citizens. A unit was developed in the Prime Minister's office to try new ideas..education, health, disaster. The capacity to create innovation within government is what we work on. Trust needs to happe between the government and private sector. They take quick wins from the Innovation Labs and find a way to take some ideas and move them forward.
8. Croatia: Suggest a mini roadshow to capture hearts and minds on the issue.
Sha Zukang - Connection Technologies can help Countries keep their promises accountable; invest in infrastructure, build partnerships.

Philippine Nigeria Uruguay Reps w/Mary
Saturday February 4, 2012
Fabien Cousteau, Aquatic Filmmaker and Oceanographic Explorer
Fabian mentioned that "water is the circulatory system of life that affects us all. What we're doing to the planet and oceans we're doing to ourselves. How can we take care of an aging population when we can't take care of our oceans? How can we feed ourselves with our financial crisis. Fish don't have passports; The health of the planet is the health of the people.
Here's a 1 minute video of Fabian mentioning an El Salvador Community & Sea Turtle Success Story.

Michael Jones
Closing Keynote:
Michael Jones, Chief Technology Advocate, Google.
His slide says: 'Information is not a mirror to reflect the world but a hammer with which to shape it.'


I was greatly inspired by the State Department, Global, Business, NGOs and World Leaders to make this conference a great forum to meet eachother and share some great information and synergies before June's Rio Conference.
Going back to Michael Jones' message above: How will you shape the future? 
Have you offered your help and assistance to your Governmental Representatives so we can get on the fast-track to addressing Climate Change and making and executing Strong Commitments at June's Rio+20 Conference?

Per the conference slide on the left:
"We've Got One World; We Better Get It Right."