Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff welcomed world leaders to a rainy Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday under a cloud of criticism that a three-day summit is falling far short of its promise to establish clear goals for sustainable development.
Before the official start of the event, known as Rio+20 because of the landmark Earth Summit in the city two decades ago, Brazil convinced visiting delegations to finalize a draft declaration for their leaders. But many delegations and summit organizers - as well as outraged environmentalists and activist groups - are lambasting the document as weak.
"Let me be frank: Our efforts have not lived up to the measure of the challenge," said Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary general in opening remarks. "Nature does not wait," he added later. "Nature does not negotiate with human beings."
The draft document, finalized on Tuesday, laid out aspirations, rather than mandatory goals, on issues like food security, ...