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World leaders weigh ‘green’ economy at Rio summit

Sunday, June 24, 2012


‘Maldives to become the largest marine reserve in the world’:
BRAZIL: World leaders gathered in Rio on Wednesday weighed steps to root out poverty and protect the environment as UN chief Ban Ki-moon warned that “time is not on our side” for fixing a mounting list of problems.

Ban formally opened the Rio+20 summit on sustainable development which brings together 191 UN members, including 86 presidents and heads of government.

The high-profile event comes 20 years after Rio's first Earth Summit when nations vowed to roll back climate change, desertification and species loss.

Maldives President Mohamed Waheed came to the podium to announce that his Indian Ocean archipelago planned to set up the world's biggest marine reserve to protect its fisheries and biodiversity. He said the Maldives would become “the single largest marine reserve in the world,” where only sustainable and eco-friendly fishing will be allowed. A total of 191 speakers were to take the floor until Friday when the summit leaders are to give their seal of approval to a 53-page draft document agreed on by their negotiators Tuesday.

The draft outlines measures for tackling the planet's many environmental ills and lifting billions out of poverty through policies that nurture rather than squander natural resources.

In his opening remarks, the UN secretary general praised Brazil, the summit host, for securing a deal on the summit's final draft statement.

“We are now in sight of a historic agreement,” the UN chief said.

“The world is watching to see if words will translate into action as we know they must... It's time for all of us to think globally and long term, beginning here now in Rio, for time is not on our side,” he said.

French President Francois Hollande described the deal on the draft as “a step” but “an insufficient step”.

“It will be up to world leaders to make a positive step,” he told a press conference. AFP

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