By Mary Carroll, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – French president, Francois Hollande, spoke on Friday, June 8th how it is crucial for Europe to lead by example in order for Rio+20 to be a success. The fear is that the current pressing issues in Europe and Syria will distract from the goals of the sustainable development conference. Hollande spoke at a forum set up in preparation of Rio+20.

rench president, Francois Hollande, encourages Rio+20, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
French president, Francois Hollande, encourages Rio+20, photo by jmayrault/Flickr Creative Commons License.

Hollande stressed; “We know that there is a risk of failure because there may be other emergencies, because the world is now facing the economic crisis, financial crisis, and is also concerned about a series of conflicts, like Syria. But the situation is serious.”

However, even with concerns over issues deflecting attention from the conference, he made it clear that “France is aware of it’s responsibility in Europe, and it’s global responsibility.”

While praising his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy for the part that he played in sustainable development with the Grenelle Environment Forum that he organized, Hollande continued that progress has been “insufficient.”

In a continent consumed by the crisis, Hollande believes that Europe should take a positive stance on the environmental issues, and that it should be considered it “beautiful challenge.”

He highlighted three essential aims at the conference; greater access to renewable energy, the struggle for food security and supporting the green economy. Hollande also promised to support enterprises that engage in the fight against global warming.

The President expressed the desire to create a specialized UN agency for environmental concerns, which could be installed in Nairobi, Kenya, where the headquarters of the United Environment Program (UNEP) is located.

The UN’s biggest ever international event on sustainable development, Rio+20, is set to bring together global leaders in Brazil in the next weeks. With 182 UN member states and an estimated 135 world leaders attending, including the new presidents of Russia and France, the stakes are high.

Read more (in Portuguese).

* The Rio Times Daily Updates feature is offered to help keep you up-to-date with major news as it happens.


  1. This situation is no longer deniable. During my lifetime, many have understood the Global Predicament we are facing now, but only a few ‘voices in the wilderness’ were willing to speak out loudly and clearly about what everyone can see. It is not a pretty sight. The human community has precipitated a planetary emergency that only humankind is capable of undoing. The present ‘Unsustainable Path’ has to be abandoned in favor of a “road less travelled by”. It is late; there is no time left to waste. Perhaps now we will gather our remarkably abundant, distinctly human resources and respond ably to the daunting, human-induced, global challenges before us, the ones that threaten life as we know it and the integrity of Earth as a fit place for human habitation. Many voices, many more voices are needed for making necessary changes.


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