Will world leaders’ absence hit meet?
Has the absence of the world leaders, including US President Barrack Obama, UK Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, undermined the Rio+Earth Summit kick starting at Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday?
The UN under secretary-general for economic and social affairs Sha Zukang, who is responsible for the summit, has issued a statement that the absence of these leaders will not affect the meet, especially since the points of view of these nations will be represented in the political document currently under negotiation.
Lambasting their absence, environmentalists insist they are sending out a clear signal that key issue of sustainability is not a priority for them.
Activist Gopal Krishna, who heads ToxicsWatch Alliance, claims he is not surprised by the attitude of the leaders of the industrialised nations. “For major polluters, it remains business as usual,” adding that “The attitude of the UK Prime Minister smacks of arrogance, especially since the dates of the Rio+ summit were changed only because the organisers did not want it to clash with the diamond jubilee celebrations of Queen Elizabeth.”
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s absence is justified on the ground that European leaders are deeply mired in financial woes and are working overtime to effects of the eurozone debt crisis.
Some environmentalists claim that with the US in an election mode, the absence of the US President was expected.
“The US is not willing to change their consumption patterns and their political leadership insists that the US lifestyles are not up for negotiations.”