18 June 2012, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – In the context of the Rio+20 Conference, UNITAR, in collaboration with IBM, carried out a half-day workshop at the Fasano Hotel in Ipanema in Rio de Janeiro. This parallel event consisted of an intense four hour simulation exercise, during which participants, from foreign ministries and urban planning councils, UN, academia and civil society, were divided into groups and chose to be a city habitant who faced various difficult financial, educational and environmental circumstances. Through the exercise, the participants learned that inclusive and innovative approaches combining governmental policy, social support and business opportunity, the city inhabitant could improve not only his or her life, but also the lives of those in his or her community. In addition to the workshop exercise, there was a presentation on IBM’s smarter cities approach to foster and to implement sustainable cities.
Following the workshop, UNITAR and IBM jointly invited all participants as well as other invitees to a reception on the rooftop of the Fasano Hotel. This event was an all UNITAR staff event, with the Executive Director, Dr. Carlos Lopes giving joint opening remarks with the US Special Representative for Inter-Governmental Affairs, and senior executive from IBM – all three leaders discussed the importance of collaboration and innovation. Representatives from the private sector, including the Brazilian Development Bank, as well as senior UN officials such as the Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, Dr. Joan Clos, and leadership of UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs were all invitees of this reception.