From Americas Society/Council of the Americas. AS/COA Online's news brief examines the major—as well as some of the overlooked—events and stories occurring across the Americas. Check back every Wednesday for the weekly roundup.
Rio+20 Kicks off in Brazil
The United States Conference on Sustainable Development—known as Rio+20—begins June 13 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, marking the 20-year anniversary of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. An estimated 130 heads of government and state will attend, although U.S. President Barack Obama, UK Prime Minister David Cameron, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will not. Participants will discuss goals for sustainability as well as carbon emissions targets, but finding consensus could be a challenge. Environmental protection is a critical issue for Latin America, as climate change damages could cost the region $100 billion annually, an IDB report revealed last week.
LatAm Participants Gear up for G20
The Group of 20 (G20) summit begins June 18 in Los Cabos, Mexico, marking the first time the international event will be held in Latin America. The meeting will also mark a record number of Latin American participants: Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico are members, and Chile and Colombia will also send foreign ministers. While the eurozone crisis promises to be a dominant topic at the conference, Brazil and Mexico plan to discuss reforms to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Brazil will push for more voting power for developing countries at the IMF, and Mexico will urge participants to increase IMF funding in order to confront the global economic crisis.
During a March 2012 conference in Mexico City, AS/COA explored Mexico’s role as the G20 host. Read relevant coverage on the conference blog at www.as-coa.org/Mexico2012.
The Mexican Presidential Debates and Its Election Impact
Mexico’s four presidential candidates held the second of two televised debates from Guadalajara on Sunday. With two weeks to go before that country’s election, Juan Manuel Henao writes for the Americas Quarterly blog that the debate had little influence on the election, with the candidates still struggling to catch up with the Institutional Revolutionary Party’s (PRI) Enrique Peña Nieto. Reporting from Guadalajara, where the debate took place, Reuters’ Lizbeth Diaz notes that governing-party candidate Josefina Vázquez Mota “offered most of the attacks during the debate, trying to brand her adversaries as two sides of the same coin, at turns describing them as corrupt, cowardly, and untrustworthy.”
The prospect of a PRI victory on July 1 attracted 90,000 student protesters from the YoSoy132 student movement on the day of the debate. That movement organized a debate for the candidates on June 19, for which all the candidates have confirmed attendance except Peña Nieto.
Read an AS/COA Online News Analysis about the development of the YoSoy132 student protests in Mexico.