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Editor's Note: The Back Story 

Issue #220 | 10 March 2014

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By: Lynn Wagner, Ph.D., Group Director, SDG Knowledge, IISD <>

IISD seeks to provide our Earth Negotiations Bulletin and Policy & Practice knowledgebase readers with access to relevant contextual information that will best situate you with respect to the latest sustainable development policy debates, as they unfold.

The “brief history” in each Earth Negotiations Bulletin issue was created to provide readers with two key pieces of information: a short review of how an issue came to the intergovernmental agenda and how previous decisions may govern the debates at an upcoming negotiation. The UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20), for example, was called for in a 24 December 2009 decision of the UN General Assembly (64/236), which also specified that it would focus on the themes of a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication and the international framework for sustainable development. These two themes then became two of the six section headings in the outcome from the June 2012 Rio+20 event.

Our Policy & Practice knowledgebases track and report on current events related to sustainable development topics, divided into thirteen areas of interest. These knowledgebases can be searched to reveal related activities on a certain topic. A recent policy update on our Biodiversity Policy & Practice knowledgebase does just that for the issue of wildlife crime. In “International Wildlife Crime: An IISD Overview of Recent Events,” Lauren Anderson, the content editor for Biodiversity Policy & Practice, reviews activities related to the prevention of the poaching, illicit trafficking and illegal trade of wild flora and fauna as they have unfolded internationally during the past year, as recorded in Biodiversity Policy & Practice.

IISD has also been moving to embrace the world of social media. My recently-opened twitter account (@LynnMWagner) provides our audience with information and links to our Policy & Practice work related to the context in which recent events can be considered. Events undertaken based on the outcome reached at Rio+20 include, for example:

  • @UNCCD following up #Rioplus20 call to “strive to achieve a land-degradation neutral world in the context of #susdev
  • #ICESDF, following up #Rioplus20 call for #susdev financing strategy, holds LAC regional consultation

Tweets also offer links to additional information related to recent activities, such as our Policy & Practice posts related to wealth accounting, as more context to the announcement of an upcoming meeting of the Wealth Accounting and the Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES) partnership:

We look forward to identifying more opportunities to bring you the back story for current sustainable development activities, to enhance your exploration for the way forward.