U.N. delegates are preparing for a review conference in Brazil to mark the 20-year anniversary of the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development. UNCED laid out guidelines to protect vulnerable ecosystems and for sustainability.
Sha Zukang, the U.N. undersecretary-general for economic and social affairs, said the upcoming conference would highlight remaining challenges for sustainable development.
"If we continue on our current path we will bequeath material and environmental poverty, not prosperity, to our children and grandchildren," he warned.
The United Nations said the three-day "Rio plus 20" conference scheduled for 2012 would focus on sustainability and the eradication of poverty.
Sha said that climate change, economy volatility, consumption and the rate of species loss globally were looming threats in an interconnected world.
"Only sustainable development, with its inherent emphasis on inter-linkages to address social, economic and environmental challenges in a balanced and integrated manner, can provide long-term and durable solutions to the crises," he said.