The political challenge for Rio+20 is to demonstrate both a shared understanding of the nature of the current crises and a collective willingness to respond. At a superficial level, everyone knows what the problems are – they are often referred to as the combined ecological, social, and economic crisis – but many in the policy world do not connect the dots; they still think in fragmented ways, putting each crisis in a separate box and trying to treat it separately from others. This is not working. The core message of sustainable development is that there are systemic relationships between what appear to be independent problems. Unless policymakers of the world agree upon a common understanding of the challenge, it will be difficult for them to craft an effective and cooperative response.
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