Rio De Janeiro — The Rio+20 pavilion which has showcased the work of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Abu Dhabi Environment Agency's 'Eye on Earth' initiative is setting new, 'Green Economy' standards for a temporary structure.
The pavilion, currently located at Athlete's Park, is to become a resource-centre for the Brazilian cooperative Coope Liberdad which is pioneering recycling, waste management and job generation among the young and the disadvantaged in Rio de Janeiro.
The cooperative, which works with a wide range of groups including former inmates, is part of the Programa Rio Sustentável (Sustentável) which promotes 'community sustainability and resilience' through grassroots energy and water projects too.
The 'legacy project' has been endorsed by Eduardo Paes, Rio de Janeiro's Mayor and the Insituto Pereira Passos (IPP) and UNEP expects it could underline a new way of managing temporary, mass spectator-event structures as Brazil prepares for the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the summer Olympics of 2016.
The pavilion, which has also been showcasing the work of corporate partners Microsoft and Siemens was built in part with recycled shipping containers, local sustainably farmed bamboo for making walls, sisal for flooring, and durable waterproof sheeting all of which were locally sourced in Brazil from recycled and certified 'green' building materials.
Material selection and construction were designed to maximize natural daylight in order to minimize the amount of artificial lighting needed-the use of bamboo walls assisted in natural air circulation that meant air condition units were unnecessary.
Not only was it constructed to the highest 'green' architecture standards, but it was also designed so that it can be easily disassembled at the Athlete's Park and re-used after the closure of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20.
Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, said: "The pavilion's designers from the outset have sourced eco-friendly materials for the construction of this shared exhibition and side-event space".
"Instead of demolishing the temporary building, it now has a double eco-friendly life in a community and with a cooperative and a community that really needs it. This method of managing temporary buildings could prove a blue print for reducing the footprint of mass spectator events world-wide where temporary buildings are increasingly used during peak demand," he added.
Daniela Ribas Gomes, Director and Founder of Rio Sustentável expressed her most sincere gratitude: "not in my wildest dreams could I have imagined such an opportunity would come for Rio Sustentavel. This has provided a shelter for Coop Liberdade to work from enabling job creation and youth education".
"We are excited by the opportunity to demonstrate just how thoughtful management of temporary buildings can contribute to the tackling the wider issue of Community Sustainability and Resiliency. Community Sustainability and Resiliency is a critical issue that demands our focus. Rio Sustentávels action orientated approach and programmes uniquely address urban environmental issues" said Cathrine Armour, Programme Manager, Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI).
News of the pavilion 'legacy project' comes as UNEP and EAD today took forward their cooperation in other joint areas by signing a landmark agreement to establish the joint 'Eye on Earth' Secretariat.
It will oversee the implementation of the eight Special Initiatives and commitments of the Eye on Earth Summit held in Abu Dhabi last December.
The Abu Dhabi Summit brought together over 900 delegates from a wide ranging of expert backgrounds to address the issue of "access to environmental and societal data and information by all those who need it" as part of the advancement of the sustainable development agenda.
The Summit endorsed the Eye on Earth Declaration and approved eight Eye on Earth Special Initiatives encompassing five critical issue areas: Oceans & Blue Carbon, Disaster Management, Water Security, Community Sustainability and Resiliency, and Biodiversity.
These are underpinned by three cross-cutting, foundation Special Initiatives: Global Network of Networks, Environmental Education and Access to Information.
Technology support and capacity building for developing countries will be mainstreamed into all eight initiatives.
The new Secretariat will commence work immediately and among its priority actions will be the implementation of the Special Initiatives; partnership building and networking, expanding the Eye on Earth Community; delivering integrated information services, capacity building and promoting the principles of the Declaration in advance of the next summit in 2014.
About Rio Sustentável
The Rio Sustentável Program raises environmental and social awareness among entrepreneurs, collaborators and the local community of Rio de Janeiro, and develops actions that lay the basis for a requalification of the city based on the triple bottom line of sustainability. Their main initiative is to implement recycling in the form of Coleta Seletiva Solidaria; community centric cooperatives that link the involved actors in a transparent and inclusive cycle.
A group of former prison inmates and their relatives from the Complexo de Alemão, started Cooperative "Eu Quero Liberdade" (I Want Freedom) in 2005. Their main objective is to generate social inclusion for individuals who have been through the penal system.
The cooperative separates recyclable materials and commercializes them, thus generating work and income for their members in a fair, participative and sustainable way.
The Liberdade cooperative had already been donated a plot of land, but had no funds to develop the area. UNEP and its partners are providing the missing piece -their pavilion-, which will be home to the cooperatives activities.
About Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD)
The Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) was established in 1996 to preserve Abu Dhabi's natural heritage, protect our future, and raise awareness about environmental issues. EAD is Abu Dhabi's environmental regulator and advises the government on environmental policy. It works to create sustainable communities, and protect and conserve wildlife and natural resources. EAD also works to ensure integrated and sustainable water resources management, to ensure clean air and minimise climate change and its impacts. For more information, visit www.ead.ae
About Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI)
Conceived by the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) and launched by the Abu Dhabi Government in 2002, under the guidance and patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, AGEDI provides user-friendly access to high-quality environmental information, through a variety of information products. While EAD champions AGEDI locally, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) champions it regionally and globally. AGEDI's objectives include: to enhance environmental data collection and assessment; to increase data capacities for local, national, regional, and global environmental decision making; to ensure sustainable development planning is based on quality, timely, useable, and updated data and information; to provide accessibility of data and information to all stakeholders; to enhance national and international mechanisms of information processing and exchange; and to enhance national capacities in information handling and communications. For more information, visit www.agedi.ae
About the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
UNEP is the designated authority of the United Nations system in environmental issues at the global and regional level. UNEP's mission is 'to provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations'. UNEP is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya. For more information, visit www.unep.org