Flag Raising Ceremony

Remarks by Mr. Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Secretary-General of the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development

President Dilma Rousseff
Minister Izabella Teixeira
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am honoured to attend this event on behalf of the United Nations to raise the United Nations flag today, in Brasilia.

This moment represents a milestone in the close cooperation between the United Nations and the Government and People of Brazil.

This venue in Brasilia bears testimony to the highest commitment of the Government of Brazil to Rio+20 and to sustainable development.

The United Nations is deeply appreciative of the leadership and support of Brazil. 

I feel great pride when I see the blue UN flag waving next to the green, yellow and blue flag of our host country.  


Today, I address you with great optimism – here in Brasilia and to colleagues and friends at the newly inaugurated Conference venue in Rio.  

And I am deeply grateful to the Government and People of Brazil for their generous support in hosting this historic Conference. 

Brazil has set the highest standards in multilateral engagement. 

The Earth Summit in 1992 is still remembered as one of the most celebrated landmark UN Summits.

It launched the world on the path to sustainable development.

Returning to Brazil 20 years on, today’s ceremony marks the start of UN operations at the Rio+20 conference centre. 

But, in a very real sense, it also closes an important chapter of Rio+20 preparations on logistics. 

While there is still much to do, we are extremely pleased to receive the venue in Conference-ready condition.  

For that, there are so many colleagues we want to thank.  Our appreciation goes to the hard work by members of the National Organizing Committee.  

Our thanks go to the Mayor and Governor of Rio de Janeiro.  

Thanks to the legendary hospitality and dedicated support of Brazil, the UN feel welcome and at home in Rio de Janeiro.

We appreciate your strenuous efforts to receive world leaders and civil society participants.

The city, the state and the federal government have done everything possible to make this a smooth and seamless conference.

None of this would have been possible without the leadership of President Rouseff and the support of the Congress.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank you, Madam President.

I salute you, Brazil.

It is quite fitting that this ceremony is taking place on World Environment Day.  

Protecting the environment is one of the three pillars of sustainable development, together with economic growth and social development. 

Brazil has achieved remarkable progress on the path to sustainable development by tackling poverty, improving the welfare of its citizens, encouraging economic growth, and taking action to protect the environment. 

Brazil’s successes in sustainable development are widely recognized, and rightly so.  

As we raise the flags to open the Rio+20 venue, let us also look courageously ahead to the tasks before us.

Over the next three weeks, we will be working hard and working together to bring Rio+20 to a successful conclusion.

Through our combined efforts, we can overcome the sustainable development challenges of the 21st century. We look forward to the continued leadership by Brazil.

Thank you.