Rachel Glickhouse – The Christian Science Monitor, 05/11/2012
Rio+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, begins in Rio de Janeiro on June 20, a little over a month away. While the topics up for discussion are undoubtedly important, all signs point to the possibility that no binding resolution will result and it will be a lot of talking and little action. (For perspective, at one of the New York Rio+20 negotiations that lasted two weeks, the big decision to come out of it was to have more negotiations at the end of the month.) The likely more critical outcome will be a test of how Rio will handle a non-Carnival mega-event before the World Cup and Olympics, and as one of its first big events to turn the spotlight on Rio during the city’s so-called renaissance.
On the one hand, Rio+20 comes at a time when more and more events are being held in Rio. According to International Congress and Convention Association, Rio surpassed São Paulo for the number of events held in the city last year. Rio now has a massive “smart city” operations center to monitor the city in real-time, which has aided the city in its day-to-day but will be especially helpful during large events. The Brazilian army is setting up a cybercrimes defense center in Rio in June right before the conference as a test before the World Cup and Olympics. The police are building their own operations center set to launch next month, also before the conference, and as RioReal Blog notes, people are losing sleep as the city faces deadlines and new goals set by city residents.