June 7th, 2012 by James Ayre
The Rio+20 sustainable development conference beginning on June 20th must achieve concrete decisions and agreements regarding clean energy, poverty, and more sustainable and fair use of resources, says the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.
“Rio+20 is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make real progress towards the sustainable economy of the future,” Mr. Ban told a press conference at UN Headquarters in New York, referring to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) that will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from June 20 to 22.
The conference will include over 100 heads of state and government, along with thousands of parliamentarians, mayors, UN officials, Chief Executive Officers, and civil society leaders. Ideally, they will shape new policies to address the problems of climate change, limited resources, and poverty.
The summit is a followup to the 1992 Earth Summit that was also held in Rio de Janeiro. The original summit created “Agenda 21 – a blueprint to rethink economic growth, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection.”
The Secretary-General said that, while there is work ahead at the summit, there are foundations already in place for the desired outcome of the meeting.
“I expect the negotiators to accomplish this in the days before ministers and world leaders arrive in Rio. Leaders will then act to resolve all outstanding issues,” he stated. “Their job is to achieve renewed political commitment for sustainable development. We aspire to nothing less than a global movement for generational change.”
The first goal of the summit is to “Agree to define a path to an inclusive green economy that will lift people from poverty and protect the global environment, he said, adding that this requires international collaboration, investment, and an exchange of experiences and technology among countries.”
The second goal is to define sustainable development goals with very clear targets and deadlines.
Other aims for the meeting are developing an “institutional framework for sustainable development, as well as strong, action-oriented outcomes on a wide range of cross-cutting areas, such as food security and sustainable agriculture, oceans, gender equality and women’s empowerment, education and energy.”
Discussions on how to increase partnerships with private enterprises and civil society, which could create global public support and drive change, are also planned.
“Ultimately, Rio+20 will be measured in the transformation it sets in motion – the lives it changes for the better,” said Mr. Ban.
“Our hopes for future prosperity, health and stability rest on finding a path that integrates the economic, social and environmental pillars of development,” he added. “Sustainable development is an idea whose time has come. It is the future we want.”
“I sense a real dialogue – a real willingness to find common ground,” said the Secretary-General of Rio+20, Sha Zukang, in the wake of the New York talks. “This spirit is encouraging and we must carry it to Rio.”
The president of the United Nations general assembly, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, said in a press conference today that the talks need to keep in mind the global population as a whole and make decisions with that in mind.
“Rio+20 is about setting the world on the right course for sustainable growth for future generations,” he told reporters. “The real work will begin after the conference is over, when we will need concrete action on various key areas of concern.”
Source and Image: UN
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