Preparations underway for sustainable development conference in Rio: UN official

08:59, March 09, 2011      

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Preparations for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, to be held in Brazil in 2012, have been moving along, though much remains to be done, a senior UN official told reporters on Tuesday.

UN Under-secretary-general for Economic and Social Affairs Sha Zukang, who is serving as secretary-general of the conference, said at a press briefing that the UN is getting ready for the June 2012 conference, to be held in Rio de Janeiro.

"Today, the second preparatory committee (PrepCom) of the conference will conclude, giving much greater clarity to the two themes of the conference," Sha said. "The PrepCom will also sketch the rough shape of the outcome document and lay the timetable for its preparation and negotiation."

The attendees of the 2012 conference will discuss two major themes -- fighting poverty with a green economy and creating institutional frameworks for sustainable development. Three meetings of the PrepCom will be held before the conference begins, in order to carry out planning on substantive and procedural issues of the conference.

Sha said it is "very fitting" that Brazil hosts the conference, not only because Rio de Janeiro hosted a landmark UN environment and development conference in 1992, but because Brazil itself has made great strides in sustainable development in recent years.

"Since the first Rio Conference, Brazil has achieved an impressive track record in growing its economy, lifting tens of millions of people out of poverty, and protecting its environment, " said Sha. "Brazil has certainly shown the world how to put sustainable development into practice."

Luiz Alberto Figueiredo Machado, ambassador and director- general of the Department of the Environment and Special Themes of the Ministry of External Relations of Brazil, told reporters that Brazil is pleased to again be the site of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development.

"As Ambassador Sha said and I confirm, we are very happy to host that conference, 20 years after the Rio '92 conference that was a landmark in terms of integrating the three pillars of sustainable development -- the economic development, social development, and environmental protection," he said.

Sha emphasized that the media had a "vital responsibility" to generate interest in the activities of the Rio 2012 conference.

"It is your news items that will reach out to the public and policy-makers, to help us build political will for sustainable development, to show that Rio 2012 is humanity's chance to commit to a transition to a green economy," he told the reporters.

Source: Xinhua
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