By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The leaders of both France and Russia have confirmed they will be among the 100+ world leaders and 50,000 participants – from leaders of various social organizations to business figures – touted to be coming to attend the “Rio+20“, the UN’s high-profile conference on sustainable development, which is to be held in Rio de Janeiro in late June this year.
France’s President-elect François Hollande and recently re-inaugurated Russian President Vladimir Putin have confirmed to Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff that they will attend the UN’s fourth summit on sustainable development since 1972.
Other leaders reported to have agreed to take part include EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will not be attending, and British Prime Minister David Cameron has said Deputy PM Nick Clegg, who was in Brazil last year hailing a deal to double UK-Brazil trade, will attend in his place – despite the summit being purposefully positioned not to coincide with the Queen’s Jubilee this year.
However, U.S. President Barack Obama – whose presence at the summit is seen as key by a number of commentators – is yet to give a firm answer; many believe he will be too busy gearing up for this year’s U.S. presidential campaign.
The main three-day conference on June 20-22nd will aim to find a consensus on a strategy toward “green and social economies” that can balance economic growth, the eradication of poverty and the protection of the environment.
It will be preceded by a number of smaller events – many, such as the “Dialogue Days”, organized by the Brazilian government – which will include some high-level business meetings and other side events.
A new extensive course on policing in tourist areas was recently begun to make sure police are prepared for the influx of guests at the international event, which is widely seen as a “dummy run” for Rio’s hosting of the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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