Brazil shifts Rio+20 date to avoid royal clash

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Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has agreed to push back a UN summit on the environment so it does not clash with Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee next year, state media said Sunday.

Due to be held 20 years after the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Rio+20 will group heads of state from around the world and now will be held on June 20, 2012, the official Agencia Brasil news service reported.

Rousseff agreed to delay by two weeks after several leaders said they would not be able to attend due to the celebrations to mark the 60 years of Elizabeth's reign on June 4-6, the original dates for Rio+20.

"We proposed to change the dates in order to allow leaders from the G20, Commonwealth and Asian countries" to attend the British commemorations, Rousseff was quoted as saying.

The Brazilian leader indicated she had made the decision in consultation with UN chief Ban Ki-moon.

During the 1992 meeting, 180 countries had vowed to support sustainable development.

Twenty years later, the Rio summit is due to take up a broad range of issues on the health of the planet including growth, food security, access to water, lifestyles, energy, biodiversity and climate.

Rio+20 is also expected to discuss a green economic model that would take into account the environment, as well as promote better social development and the eradication of poverty.

Brazil will preside over the summit, where it hopes to play a key negotiating role.

© 2011 AFP

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