RIO DE JANEIRO - Communist Chinese diplomat Sha Zukang, in his capacity as Secretary General of the United Nations Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development, announced hundreds of “commitments” by governments and businesses on so-called “sustainability” worth more than half a trillion dollars. And incredibly, much of the audience — supposedly unbiased members of the media — applauded in delight.
The significant UN announcement at the final major summit press conference included few details about the actual agreements or their implications. For the most part, Zukang and other conference speakers simply offered vague generalities about building a “sustainable” world for a “better future,” saying governments and businesses around the world had agreed to undertake massive “sustainability” efforts — a term with a definition that remains in flux.
“From the very beginning, we have said Rio+20 is about implementation. It is about concrete action. And the commitments that we share with you today demonstrate that governments, the UN system and the nine major groups are committed and serious about implementation,” said Zukang, who also heads the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. “The total figure is now 692 registered commitments. Ladies and Gentlemen, this brings the estimated total value of commitments, to $513 billion dollars.”
The largely taxpayer-funded non-governmental organizations purporting to represent “civil society” at Rio+20 claimed they were not thrilled with the final agreements, arguing that the UN should have assumed vast new powers to reshape civilization. Some groups, however, were happy that there was a document that had been agreed to, allowing the agenda to march onwards indefinitely.
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Photo of Sha Zukang: AP images