After wish list, Ban Ki-moon offers advice for Rio+20 talks

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Photo by: Eskinder Debebe / UN

    Negotiations ahead of the Rio+20 conference in Brazil should focus on the “bigger picture,” the head of the United Nations said in an attempt to speed up what he described as “painfully slow” talks.

    “My message is that this is not the time to argue against any small, small items,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said May 24.

    The secretary-general also urged for flexibility during negotiations and called on world leaders to “rise above national interest or specific group interest.” His remarks come amid concerns from other U.N. officials that ongoing negotiations have so far failed. Ban said he remains optimistic but has admitted that “there is some skepticism about whether the conference will be a success.”

    For his part, Ban recently outlined his wish list for the outcome of the conference in an opinion pieced published by The New York Times.

    Rio+20, or formally the U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development, will be held June 20-22 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. A final round of negotiations to prepare the conference outcome document will be held between May 29 and June 2. This additional round was agreed upon after previous negotiations failed to produce favorable outcomes.

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    About the author

    • Ivy Mungcal

      As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.

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