Day 2 – IFMSA @ Rio+20 Youth Blast

Day Two of the Rio+20 conference is successfully in the books! Our four-member delegation (Mike, Usman, Dan and myself (Neil)) is staying at the main conference venue, Riocentro, located about 1.5 hours by bus from downtown Rio. Johanne was supposed to join us this evening but missed a connecting flight en route from Norway and will instead arrive tomorrow.

Today we took a combination of bus, metro and taxi to get to the Rio Youth Blast venue downtown. It was a bit of a transportation odyssey, but we got to see a lot of the city and get some local flavour. There were fewer participants today because Brazilian school is still in session, so we were able to have a lot of great sessions in smaller groups. We’re playing a pretty prominent role in as many task forces – the groups that get things done in the negotiations – as we can.

We’re getting good traction on universal health coverage and the idea of using health indicators as a way to measure sustainable development. There’s definitely starting to be something of a buzz around health in the Youth Blast, and we’re optimistic that we can translate this momentum into the negotiations and side events that start on Wednesday. Norway and the EU have gotten much of the big picture health language that that we wanted into the draft document, so we’re focusing our policy lobbying efforts on

I went to a very interesting talk by a group of young World Bank staff about their roles in its Operations wing. The World Bank has a lot of money and power but does relatively little explicitly in the health sector, despite the fact that many of their development projects in water, agriculture and energy have major impacts on health.  My background in engineering prior to embarking on my medical studies served me well to lobby for health in their terms, and I’m really looking forward to their follow-up session tomorrow.

We had dinner in Copacabana with a motley crew of sustainable development peers from across the globe before catching a cab back to Riocentro and blogging/tweeting/networking our hearts out.

Look for @neildlp, @mike_eliasz, @sonofche (Dan Yore) and @uamushtaq on Twitter, as well as @IFMSA, our official feed. We’ll be sending out updates as the internet allows during our sessions!

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