Prime Minister Julia Gillard had told world leaders she’ll drive a push to end global poverty by creating green jobs, despite green groups and unions accusing the world environment summit of being a failure.
In a seven-minute address to the United Nations sustainable development conference in Rio de Janeiro on Friday morning (AEST), Ms Gillard said that even though government heads had “already lowered other important ambitions”, it was important that the world put in place sustainable development goals (SDGs).
Ms Gillard and the Australian delegation have pushed hard for SDGs to replace eight UN millennium development goals, put in place to fight global poverty in 2000 and which expire in 2015.
The prime minister has been appointed to co-chair a taskforce to oversee the final years of the millennium goals and ensure the 191 signatory nations meet their commitments.
“Everyone here knows that collective action is hard – and that global collective action can be even harder,” Ms Gillard said.
But targets work, Ms Gillard said, and create the firmest possible basis for long-term success.
Ms Gillard said Australia was playing its part in addressing climate change and creating green jobs by putting in place a carbon pricing scheme from July 1 and investing in renewable energy technology.
She also called for the establishment of a strong oceans governance convention.
“We are not here this week just to talk to each other, we’re here to decide, to agree – and then to act,” she said.
At the final day of the summit on Friday local time, delegates are expected to adopt a 50-page statement including a commitment to work on the new SDGs.
Australian Conservation Foundation executive director Don Henry told AAP that Australia had a good opportunity to play a role in drafting the SDGs over the next 18 months.
But he said the final agreement overall was weak.
“The main failure is there are not tangible concrete actions in the agreement,” Dr Henry said.
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