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Americas summit backs Rio+20

(Xinhua)

09:34, April 16, 2012

CARTAGENA, Colombia, April 15 (Xinhua) -- Leaders from across the Americas on Sunday expressed their support for the United Nations- sponsored sustainable development conference also known as Rio+20, to be held in Brazil from June 20-22.

"We reaffirm our commitment to a broad participation" in the upcoming conference, said the leaders attending the 6th summit of the Organization of American States (OAS) in a statement, adding " the conference will be a great opportunity to rethink current development models."

Rio+20 is designed to further sustainable development as essential to fighting poverty, supporting social programs and protecting the environment. The last UN conference on sustainable development took place 20 years ago in Rio.

Colombia said at the start of the summit of OAS, which brought leaders from some 30 countries to Colombia's resort city of Cartagena over the weekend, that the goal was to focus on poverty reduction, security, disaster prevention, inequality and improving access to technology.

A second statement issued by summit participants pledged that a hemisphere-wide plan will be developed to fight transnational organized crime with an agency created to coordinate such efforts.

"Organized crime has gone beyond drug trafficking and extended into other crimes," the statement warned, adding "it has increased its violence and affected the social fabric."

Summit participants also called on the OAS secretariat to carefully examine current anti-drug policies and seek data from a wide variety of sources, including the Pan American Health Organization, to decide if the strategy was working.

The summit did not issue a final declaration due to a lack of consensus on issues such as Cuba, whose participation in the summit is blocked by the United States and Canada, while all other OAS member states support the island country's inclusion.

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