Wayne State social work professor to advise United Nations on sustainable citiesJune 11, 2012
DETROIT – Richard Smith, assistant professor in the Wayne State University School of Social Work, will travel to Rio de Janeiro next month as a delegate to the June 20-22 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, known as Rio+20. The conference will bring together world leaders and thousands of participants from governments, the private sector, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and other groups to discuss solutions for reducing poverty, advancing social equity and ensuring environmental protection.
Smith will be part of an eight-member delegation sent to the conference by Ecocity Builders, an Oakland, Calif.-based NGO that develops strategies to strengthen urban centers by curbing sprawl and excessive consumption. Ecocity Builders, which will serve as the conference facilitator for discussions among NGOs on cities and urban issues, is developing International Ecocity Framework and Standards (IEFS) to establish “levels of ecocity certification that will ensure a human presence on the plant that is enhancing of and synergistic with other living species and natural systems,” according to www.ecocitybuilders.org. Smith, who has worked with Ecocity Builders since 2006, is a core advisor to the IEFS.
Rio+20 will focus on two themes: a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, and the institutional framework for sustainable development. The conference “will lead to a consensus statement that will ask participating countries to implement sustainable development initiatives,” said Smith. “I am looking forward to representing Wayne State and Detroit to the world.” President Obama has expressed the importance of this conference and its goals.
Smith and Ecocity Builders will also participate in a series of parallel events organized by the U.S. Department of State, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, and Local Governments for Sustainability from June 17-21.
Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering more than 400 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 32,000 students.
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