Rio de Janerio, June 20 (IANS) Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived here Wednesday for the Earth Summit and join world leaders in finding ways of reducing poverty, advancing social equity and protecting the environment in a sustainable manner amid a serious global economic crisis.
Apart from attending the Summit, which starts with a ceremonial opening session followed by a photo session of leaders and a plenary, the prime minister will hold bilateral talks with his Chinese counterpart, Wen Jiabao.
'We have come a long way since the Earth Summit in Rioin 1992,' the prime minister said ahead of the Summit, referring to the firstsuch gathering of world leaders in this Brazilian port city 20 years ago that first emphasized the concept of sustainable development.
'Environmental concerns today occupy centrestage of the global discourse. Yet we are far from pursing a truly sustainable path towardsdevelopment. The UN Conference on Sustainable Development is a historicopportunity to give meaningful content to the paradigm of sustainable development,' the prime minister said.
According to him, there was now the need to move away from a resource-intensive development process, while ensuring inclusive and balanced development and growth to eradicate the grinding poverty that afflicts millions of people around the globe.
The Rio+20 Conference is expected to dwell on some complex and extremely contentious issues such as a green economy and sustainable development goals - areas where there is a sharp divide between the developed countries on one side and the emerging and poor countries on the other.
'I will emphasize that we must not dilute the cardinal principles of Rio 1992, particularly the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities as well as equity, which have been at the core of global sustainable development efforts,' the prime minister said.
'We must acknowledge the continuing differences in levels of development across the world and the need for provision of financial and technological support to the developing world if we are to work together as a global community to address our most pressing environmental challenges,' hesaid.
'India will work with like-minded countries to forge aconsensus in this endeavour.'
Speaking about India's stand at Rio+20, Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan, who is here to assist the prime minister, said the outcome of the summit has to to be voluntary, non-binding and address the aspirations of all stakeholders.
'There should be no compromise on equity and common but differentiated responsibility and these two principles should be the core of any outcome,' she said.
The prime minister is scheduled to leave for South Africa Friday for a transit halt and reach New Delhi Saturday night.
(Arvind Padmanabhan can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org)