22 June 2012

Africa: Rio+20 Opens With Regrets

THE United Nations (UN) Conference on Sustainable Development has opened in Rio de Janeiro with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon regretting that the implementation of resolutions made during the Earth Summit in 1992 have been "too slow."

Brazil is hosting the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development which also marks the 20th anniversary of the 1992 UN Rio Earth Summit when member states pledged to deal with climate change and green house emissions that threaten the sustainability of the environment.

Mr Ban urged member States to use the Rio+20 Conference as a second chance to speed up the implementation process of the resolutions made 20 years ago.

He called for renewed political commitment by all member States to implement the resolutions adding that time was running out in achieving the goals.

"Let us not waste this opportunity, the world is watching if our words will translate into action", Mr Ban said.

The UN chief told Heads of State and Government that there is need to expedite the implementation of the plan of action that will be adopted at the end of the conference today.

Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff urged member states to come-up with an action plan that will address the complex issues of sustainable development. In her brief opening remarks, she acknowledged the need for UN Member States to use the Rio+20 Conference to develop a plan of action that will ensure the process of implementing the resolutions yielded the desired results.

President Michael Sata was among leaders that attended the opening ceremony at the Rio Centro Convention Centre on Wednesday.

Foreign Affairs and Tourism Minister Given Lubinda, Agriculture Minister Emmanuel Chenda, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Wylbur Simuusa and Zambia's Permanent representative to the UN in New York, Dr Mwaba Kasese-Bota attended the ceremony.

Others were opposition FDD president Edith Nawakwi and NAREP president Elias Chipimo Jr.

President Sata later addressed a forum organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on the sidelines of the conference.

President Sata was scheduled to address the Conference yesterday at 20:00hours Zambian time (15 hours local time) to give an overview of his Government's position on sustainable development.

The President is accompanied by the First Lady Dr Christine Kaseba who participated in interactive discussions organised for the spouses of Heads of States and Government yesterday.


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