Concerted global efforts are needed to accelerate the sustainable development agenda set by the United Nations, a senior U.N. official said here on Tuesday.
"Right now, humanity stands at a crossroad. Some signs point to the right direction...Yet, other signs point to the wrong direction," said Sha Zukang, secretary-general of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) at the National Press Club in Washington, Xinhua reported.
"As environment change accelerates, we, as an international community, must accelerate our actions. We must advance faster on the path to sustainable development," said Sha.
The Rio+20 conference, aimed at boosting green economy and eradicating poverty in the context of sustainable development, is scheduled to be held in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro in June 2012. The U.N.'s first conference on sustainable development was held in 1992 in the same city.
The meeting, called by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as "the most important meeting in the history of the United Nations", is expected to guide the sustainable development agenda for the next decade and beyond, fuelling the progress of critical sustainable programs around the world.
Sha, also the U.N.'s Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, noted that there is an urgency to move the agenda ahead with Rio+20 less than a year away.
"There has been progress. Now it is the time to accelerate the progress," he said. "Nature awaits for no one, and nature's warning signs are flashing."
He urged the United States to take the lead to push the Rio+20 agenda ahead and called for governments as well as public and private sectors to participate in this process and make contributions.
Meanwhile, Sha noted that the three pillars of sustainable development -- social, economic development and environmental protection -- are closely interdependent.
"We cannot continue to wreak havoc on the environment and the earth's ecosystems. It will only become harder to sustain progress of social and economic development."
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