Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called for pragmatic steps to solve global environmental problems and promote sustainable development on Friday, urging leaders attending a U.N. summit to partner with private-sector groups to make progress on a wide range of issues.
Clinton's address came during the final day of the development summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the largest meeting the United Nations has yet organized. The gathering has come under withering criticism from activists for what they say is the unambitious final document all nations agreed upon to put the globe on a sustainable path, promoting economic growth that doesn't devour natural resources.
"In the 21st century, the only viable development is sustainable development. The only way to deliver lasting progress for everyone is by preserving our resources and protecting our common environment," Clinton said during a speech before delegates from 192 other nations.
She added later: "We know that we will be judged not by what we say nor even by what we intend to do, but by whether we deliver results for people alive today, and whether we keep faith with future generations."
During her brief stop, Clinton announced some U.S. initiatives, including an agreement to partner with more than 400 companies to support their efforts to eliminate deforestation from their supply chains by 2020, and $20 million in government grants to jump-start clean energy projects in Africa and support private investment.
Upward of 50,000 people participated in the Rio event. Beyond government delegations and nongovernmental organizations, there were thousands of people, from Latin American indigenous groups to Asian women rights' proponents.