"We have come together, here in Rio, to identify practical ways we can all promote sustainable development,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said recently at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. “A more prosperous future is within our reach, a future where all people benefit from sustainable development no matter who they are or where they live. But we also know that future is not guaranteed, because the resources that we all depend upon – fresh water, thriving oceans, arable land, a stable climate – are under increasing pressure. And that is why, in the 21st century, the only viable development is sustainable development.”
Secretary Clinton said that the only way to deliver lasting progress is by “preserving our resources and protecting our common environment.”
“We cannot be boxed in by the orthodoxies of the past,” she said. “We should and must make decisions based on research and scientific evidence about what works. And above all, we need fresh, agile, action-oriented partnerships that can produce results year after year after year.”
The most compelling products of the Rio+20 Conference, in Secretary Clinton’s view, are the examples of thinking differently that can lead to models for future action.
“We . . . have to be thinking different about development in our cities,” Secretary Clinton said. “Under the Joint Initiative on Urban Sustainability . . . we are bringing political officials from every level – from state, county, local, municipalities – together along with industry leaders and developers to find creative ways to generate sustainable economic growth. If . . . 70 percent of the structures that will be needed in 30 years to house . . . the world’s population have yet to be built, then we have a tremendous opportunity we cannot waste.”
Secretary Clinton said that the only prosperous, sustainable economy is an inclusive economy. “That means we should think different about how we recognize the needs of workers in the informal economy, how we unleash the talent and energy of young people, and how we act on the compelling evidence . . . that women are essential drivers of sustainable development,” she said.
“I’m very honored to be here . . . and I pledge my country’s . . . and my own personal efforts to continue our work together,” Secretary Clinton said in conclusion. “We simply cannot afford to fail.”