Brazilian President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, standing before the United Nations General Assembly one day after an historic meeting on climate change, proposed convening in 2012 a summit on the environment, exactly two decades after the landmark international conference Eco-92 (Rio-92) met there to produce the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
"I propose that we hold a new conference, in 2012, to be hosted by Brazil: the Rio+20 Conference," President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva told the Assembly's annual high-level debate. The year 2012 is also when the Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC, which contains legally binding targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, is set to expire.
He emphasized the need to reorder international priorities in favor of social justice. "If we want to salvage our common heritage, a new and more balanced distribution of wealth is needed, both internationally and within each country. Social equity is our best weapon against the planet's degradation," he said.
"It is unacceptable that the cost of the irresponsibility of a privileged few be shouldered by the dispossessed of the earth," declared President Lula, calling for industrialized countries to "set the example," while emphasizing that "developing countries must also help in combating climate change."
Brazil, for its part, would work to protect the Amazon, he said, noting that the rate of deforestation there has been cut in half in the past three years.
President Lula also advocated the use of biofuels as a "clean energy alternative" and pledged that Brazil's biofuels "will reach the world market with a seal of assurance for their social, labor and environmental quality."
On his signature issue of combating hunger, President Lula called for stepped-up global efforts to reduce inequality. "The final defeat of poverty, however, demands more than international solidarity," he said, calling for new international trade relations based on balanced and fair rules.
"Farm subsidies that make the rich richer and the poor poorer are no longer acceptable," he said. "We cannot accept agricultural protectionism that perpetuates dependency and underdevelopment".
Voicing his confidence in the tool of multilateral diplomacy, President Lula noted Brazil's support for the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti).
"In Haiti, we are showing that peace and stability are built with democracy and social development," he said.