CRITICISM of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, known as Rio+20, have rained down from the moment that the draft version was known until the definitive document was signed.
Barack Obama did not even attend the event; neither did Angel Merkel and other European leaders in general.
While the Rio+20 Earth Summit might not have produced the hoped for results in terms of international action on sustainable development, it had better than expected results for Brazilian tourism.
During the 10-day conference, from June 13 to 22, Rio welcomed roughly 110,000 visitors—about 50 percent more than projected. All told, the city earned about $132 million in tourism revenue, according to the city’s post-summit balance sheet.
While 45,000 people attended the main United Nations conference at the Riocentro Event Space, there were also a host of very busy meetings and side events. Together, they received more than 1 million people, including Brazilians and foreigners. The biggest one, the People’s Summit, alone attracted about 300,000 people alone.
Over one four-day period, June 19-22, these parallel events generated an extra $20 million in revenue, according to the Special Secretariat on Tourism.
In addition to accommodating the visitors, the city also had to deal with the extra garbage, traffic issues, and demonstrations, all of which were handled without major glitches, according to the city.
Between June 15 and 23, 144 tons of garbage were collected, nearly a third of which, 42 tons, were recyclables.
Not surprisingly, the extra people moving about the city took a toll on traffic. The Traffic Engineering Company of Rio (CET-Rio) reported that the flow of vehicles was reduced by 21 percent and the travel time on main routes went up by 27 percent.
CET-Rio also issued permits for 23 demonstrations, the largest of which, the March of People on June 20, involved about 80,000 people, according to organizers