UN official looks to US leadership at next year’s sustainable development summit

28 June 2011

The head of next year’s United Nations world summit on sustainable development in Rio de Janeiro today said he looked for leadership from the United States to make it a successful conference.

Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, and the

Secretary-General of the 2012 UN conference on sustainable development, said in a speech at the National Press Club in Washington today that he would be asking the US for many contributions and named the first as leadership.

“Over the years, the United States Government has made major contributions to the cause of sustainable development including in public health, sustainable agriculture, ICT [information and communication technologies], and entrepreneurship and public and private partnerships,” he said.

“We hope to see more US leadership in these and other critical areas.”

The sustainable development conference – called Rio+20, as it follows by 20 years the 1992 Earth Summit – is “not just another UN conference,” Mr. Sha said.

“Right now humanity stands at a crossroads. Sustainable development is not an option. It is the only path that allows all of humanity to share a decent life on this, one planet.”

Other contributions Mr. Sha said he hoped the US would make included the creation of socially responsible business opportunities; philanthropic contributions to sustainable development; scientific research in response to emerging global challenges; and innovative thinking.

“The United States has been, and continues to be, the largest single financial supporter of international development. That continued and enhanced support is crucial if we are to succeed.”


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