By Thalif Deen
RIO DE JANEIRO, Jun 20 (TerraViva) The president of the U.N.’s highest policy-making body is one of the strongest advocates of the Rio+20 summit â and is determined to work towards its eventual success.
“Since the beginning of my presidency,” General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser told IPS, “I have continued to advocate the importance of Rio+20 in meetings and bilateral discussions with world leaders and important partners, at the seat of the U.N. General Assembly in New York and during my travels aimed at overcoming differences and bridging the remaining gaps.”
He said Rio+20 is about setting the world on the right course for sustainable development for future generations, particularly addressing the challenges of poverty and environmental degradation.
“If Rio+20 fails, we all lose,” he warned.
But he cautioned that the adoption of the blueprint for sustainable development, “The Future We Want”, does not end Friday when world leaders pack up their bags and head home.
“The real work,” he told IPS, “commences after the conference is over as we come together in the General Assembly to articulate concrete action on key areas of concern and importance.
“Of particular importance is that there should a listing of the commitments made by all stakeholders in the outcome of Rio+20 with clear modalities and a time frame for implementation.”
Genuine political will and a sense of global solidarity have the power to bring convergence of intergovernmental positions.
“As you know, personally, I am a born optimist. I have learned over the years of my multilateral diplomatic experience that one has to be optimistic when you are working with 193 sovereign member states,” Al-Nasser added.
Addressing world leaders Wednesday, he reminded them that in 1992, Rio was the birthplace of not only Agenda 21, but of the three influential Rio Conventions: on climate change, biodiversity and desertification.
“I would urge member states to realise their important commitments made in the Agenda and these conventions,” he told TerraViva.