Prime Minister to attend Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development in Brazil

Will be discussing challenges and success with regard to issues of equity and sustainable development

The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams will be departing for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to attend the United Nations Rio+20 conference on the 19th of June.


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The Rio+20 is the short name for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development and is considered an historic opportunity to define pathways to a safer, more equitable, cleaner, greener and more prosperous world for all. At the Rio+20 Conference, world leaders, along with thousands of participants from governments, the private sector, NGOs and other groups, will come together to shape how poverty can be reduced, discuss the advancement of social equity and ensure environmental protection on an ever more crowded planet. The Prime Minister will be representing St. Maarten as part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Delegation and will be addressing issues specific to St. Maarten.

"It is important that St. Maarten is represented at the conference due to our fledgling position on the global stage and the sensitivity our country has with regard to the topics being discussed during the Rio+20 conference. All of the points are of particular importance to St. Maarten as we are what is known as a Small Island Developing State and as such we are most vulnerable to environmental changes and external shocks. It is also important that we highlight not only the challenges we face in the areas of social equity and environmental protection, but also that we highlight the steps Government has been taking to address these issues. As a young nation we have to be at the forefront of putting in place mechanisms to address the issues we are faced with;" commented the Prime Minister

The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development will take place in Brazil from the 20-22 June 2012 to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, and the 10th anniversary of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The Rio+20 Conference is envisaged as a Conference of the highest level; attendees to the conference will include Heads of State of various nations and high-level Government representatives. The Conference will result in a focused political document which will serve as a guiding framework to assist nations in meeting the goals of equity and sustainable development.

The main themes of the conference are a green economy in the context of sustainable development, poverty eradication; and the institutional framework for sustainable development. There are also seven priority areas which include decent jobs, energy, sustainable cities, food security and sustainable agriculture, water, oceans and disaster readiness.

The core theme of the conference will be the development of nations on a sustainable level "As is stated in the charter of the United Nations Environmental Program, sustainable development meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This is seen as the guiding principle for long-term global development. It is important to realize that sustainable development consists of three main pillars, namely economic development, social development and environmental protection. Taking all of these factors into consideration is essential in developing our National Development Program and other framework and guiding documents on which Government will base its governing program. It is therefore essential that St. Maarten is represented at such an important conference as Rio+20," stated the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister departs on Tuesday for Rio and will return on Friday.