Who we are

The Sustainable Future Campaign is a sustainability initiative of the Academic Forum for Foreign Affairs. The Academic Forum for Foreign Affairs (AFA) is the Austrian non-partisan organization for young people, students and graduates interested in international affairs. Being also the United Nations Youth and Student Association of Austria, AFA is at the same time the independent youth branch of the Foreign Policy and United Nations Association of Austria (UNA-AUSTRIA). Therefore, AFA has committed itself to the spirit of the Charta of the United Nations and understands itself as a link between the UN and the youth. For further informations on AFA visit www.afa.at.

The Sustainable Future Campaign is formed by people with different backgrounds, majors, professions and ideas. But we all have a main thing in common. We care about our world and about society. We care about development and sustainability. Furthermore we do not only care but we also want to contribute, improve and change. We are a bunch of people who came together to form and start the Sustainable Future Campaign.

 

What we do

Society is the most affected and tragic victim of bad development and at the same time it is the most responsible. It is not enough to wait and see what happens on the governmental level. The government is the representative body of the civic society. But if the society and its members do not act themselves how can we expect that the politicians will act in our own interest and how can we judge when they don't.

The Sustainable Future Campaign is a communication platform, which aims to engage people form around the world and especially the youth. We are planning and leading a series of debates and panel discussions with scientists from diverse backgrounds, leading industrials and representatives from departments of education and the environment. As governments and major institutions work to improve environmental conditions, development and sustainability, The Sustainable Future Initiative leads a year long effort to introduce tangible steps to the world's youth and the society to think reflect and act on the behalf of sustainable development. We are the advocates for our world and we have the possibility to act. So why shouldn't we?

Our objectives:

 

From Stockholm to Rio and back to Rio and the Sustainable Future Campaign

The Earth Summit History

The world is facing a mounting crisis. In recent years we have experienced a combination of a global financial crisis, a food crisis, volatile oil prices, accelerating ecosystem degradation and an increasing number of climate-induced extreme weather events. These multiple and inter-related crises call into question the ability of a growing human population to live peacefully and sustainably on this planet, and demand the urgent attention of governments and citizens around the world.

Stockholm Conference 1972:
The concept of sustainable development dates back a long way, but it was at the UN Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm, 1972) that the international community met for the first time to consider global environment and development needs together.

Brundtland Commission 1980:
In the 1980s the UN set up the Commission on Environment and Development, also known as the Brundtland Commission, named after its Chair Gro Harlem Brundtland. The outcome of the Brundtland Commission was a comprehensive document entitled "Our Common Future", otherwise known as the Brundtland Report . This report framed much of what would become the 40 chapters of Agenda 21 and the 27 principles of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development. The report defined sustainable development as development which:

"meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

Rio Conference 1992:
The 20th anniversary of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment took place in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro. The UN Conference on Environment and Development, the "Earth Summit", agreed to Agenda 21 and the Rio Declaration. The Summit brought environment and development issues firmly into the public arena. Along with the Rio Declaration and Agenda 21 it led to agreement on two legally binding conventions: the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It also produced a Statement of Forest Principles.

Rio+5 1997:
The description of sustainable development in Agenda 21 called for a total shift in the status quo of prevalent value systems and institutional processes. Such global change could never have occurred over night. When progress was assessed at Rio+5 (New York, 1997) a number of gaps were identified, particularly with regards to social equity and poverty.

Johannesburg 2002:
Stakeholder Forum and a number of governments worked from 1998 to 2000 to create momentum for an Earth Summit in 2002. The World Summit on Sustainable Development was hosted by South Africa and took place in Johannesburg.

Earth Summit 2012

Since 2007 the world has witnessed a major global food crisis, serious volatility in oil prices, increasing climate variability and the worst global financial crisis for almost a century. On 24th December 2009 the UN General Assembly passed a resolution agreeing to hold a 'Rio+20' Earth Summit in 2012. The resolution outlines four areas of focus for a UN Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012: Review of Commitments, Emerging Issues, Green Economy in the context of Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development, Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development.

Amid doubt, disappointment and division, the world's governments came together in Rio on Friday to declare "a pathway for a sustainable century". After more than a year of negotiations and a 10-day mega-conference involving 45,000 people, the wide-ranging outcome document – The Future We Want – was lambasted by environmentalists and anti-poverty campaigners for lacking the detail and ambition needed to address the challenges posed by a deteriorating environment, worsening inequality and a global population expected to rise from 7bn to 9bn by 2050.

Achim Steiner, head of UNEP, said it was an agenda for change: "World leaders and governments have today agreed that a transition to a green economy – backed by strong social provisions – offers a key pathway towards a sustainable 21st century."

Especially at the moment more new sustainable activities and actions are needed — Communicating Sustainability!

Our book: "Communicating Sustainability"

Our book "Communicating Sustainability – Perspectives in Politics, Economy and Society" contains contributions from speakers and supporters of the Sustainable Future Campaign, the sustainability initiative of the United Nations Youth and Student Association (Academic Forum for Foreign Affairs). Edited by Josef Mantl (Spokesman of the Sustainable Future Campaign and CEO of the Viennese Communications Agency JMC), Alexander Ochs (Director of the Climate and Energy Programme at the Worldwatch Institute in Washington D.C.) and Marc R. Pacheco (Climate Messenger of the Climate Reality Project founded by Al Gore and Chairman of the Massachusetts Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change), this book summarizes several years of intensive discussions conducted by the Sustainable Future Campaign in Vienna, London, Boston, New York, Brussels, Graz, Istanbul, etc. with young people, politicians, entrepreneurs, and scientists with a steady focus on the complex structure of global problems and by encouraging reflection, sharing of opinions and discussions on the future of our planet, for the most important audience of all: The Next Generation.