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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)

20 June 2012

Remarks at Official Opening Session of Rio+20 Conference

It is my honour and privilege to declare open the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development and I call to order its first meeting.


I wish to inform the Conference that, in accordance with rule 17 of the provisional rules of procedure of the Conference, I will serve as temporary President of the Conference until the election of the President.

I should like to welcome all of you and I am I am looking forward to a very successful and productive Conference.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Estou muito feliz de estar outra vez no Brasil. I am very glad to be in Brazil once again.

Once again, Brazil is the stage for literally Earth-changing events.

Twenty years ago the Earth Summit gave us a blueprint for sustainable development.

Since then, progress has been too slow. We have not gone nearly far enough down the road mapped out in 1992.

Now we have been given a second chance.

I am pleased that the negotiations have reached a successful conclusion, and I commend the Presidency of Brazil for facilitating this result.

We are now in sight of a historic agreement.

Let us not waste this opportunity.

The world is watching to see if words will translate into action, as we know they must.

Rio+20 is not an end, but a beginning.

It is time for all of us to think globally and long-term.

Beginning here, now, in Rio.

For time is not on our side.

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

As representatives are aware, the Conference is held pursuant to General Assembly resolutions 64/236 of 24 December 2009 and 66/197 of 22 December 2011 and serves to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assess the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development and address new and emerging challenges.


I now invite the Conference to proceed with the election of the President.

It is my understanding that there is general agreement among all delegations to elect Her Excellency Dilma Rousseff, President of the Federative Republic of Brazil, as President of the Conference.

On behalf of all participants in the Conference, I congratulate Her Excellency on her election. I now invite the Conference to proceed with the election of the ex-officio Vice-President of the Conference.

In this regard, I wish to inform you that Brazil as the host country will serve in this capacity.

May I take it that the Conference wishes to elect Brazil as the ex- officio Vice President of the Conference? I hear no objection, it is so decided.

I declare that His Excellency Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, Foreign Ministry of Brazil, in his capacity as ex-officio Vice-President of the Conference, to preside over this plenary meeting; at present is not here.

I now invite President Dilma Rousseff, President of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, to deliver some introductory remarks.