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For me, one of the primary tests of Rio+20 is whether it, or what follows, will enable all of us, active citizens and community groups to genuinely influence the futures of our own local communities.

In the UK after the first Rio conference some 90+% of communities generated a Local Agenda 21, only for the government to then hand over the process to the burueaucrats who, with a few honorable exceptions, effectively killed it off as an opportunity for participation by active citizens and community groups.

In all the discussions about Rio+20 so far I've seen very little mention of the local aspect. The local is where it becomes real for people. And to put it frankly you (government, whether national or local) haven't a hope of achieving either sustainability or effective action on climate change without us.

This is what the Agenda 21 document from the first Rio conference said: "Each local authority should enter into a dialogue with its citizens, local organizations and private enterprises and adopt "a local Agenda 21". Through consultation and consensus-building, local authorities would learn from citizens and from local, civic, community, business and industrial organizations and acquire the information needed for formulating the best strategies." Source: Agenda 21, para 28.3.

We're not stupid! We know that a Strategy, or even an action plan isn't enough. These need to be followed by real action, monitoring the effects, transparent and accountable reporting back to communities, co-evaluation and co-design for what to do next.

Whatever your view of how the world has changed in the last 20 years, social media now gives us opportunities to be influential. How can we get a message like this across strongly enough to government? Let us in on decision making and this time take us seriously!

Greensmiley2 Social media: Rio 2012 group on WiserEarth

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