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UN mobilizes civil society for Rio's environment summit
by Staff Writers
Rio De Janeiro (AFP) Nov 28, 2011

The United Nations on Monday launched a campaign to mobilize civil society ahead of next year's Rio environment conference which Brazil will chair.

Scheduled 20 years after the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Rio+20 will be held next June 20-22 and will bring together heads of state from around the world.

"The goal of Rio+20 will be to renew the political commitment for sustainable development with seven billion people," said Kiyo Akasaka, the UN Under Secretary-General for communications and public information as he launched the "Future We Want" campaign here.

"We must now show that it is possible to have development which generates wealth and protects the environment," he added.

He deplored the fact that rich countries "are not taking seriously the commitments made under the Kyoto protocol 14 years ago to cut their greenhouse gas emissions" which cause global warming.

The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, on December 11, 1997 and entered into force on February 16, 2005.

Monday's UN campaign here aims to mobilize civil society for a global conversation via the Internet and social networks on what kind of future people want in their cities, villages, 20 or 40 years from now "before it is too late."

An Amazon Indian, Carlos Tucano, noted that indigenous people "were always forgotten in global discussions and were seen either as savages or exotic people."

He said indigenous people in fact "have extensive knowledge to protect the forest" and asked to know what the UN stance on the issue was.

Akasaka responded that the world body backed the indigenous community and stressed that Rio+20 would look into the issue.

"It's an important question: The UN has an annual meeting to discuss the rights of indigenous people around the world," he pointed out.

Rio+20 is also expected to discuss a green economic model that would take into account the environment, as well as promote better social development and the eradication of poverty.

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