World leaders and business chiefs have accepted there are no jobs on a dead planet, at the end of a three-day environment summit in Rio de Janeiro.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard will play a key role in driving reforms agreed to by more than 190 nations at the Rio+20 conference, which comes 20 years after the original Earth Summit which invented the term “sustainable development”.
She will co-chair with Rwanda a task force to finalise the delivery of the millennium development goals – global anti-poverty measures which end in 2015 – and will contribute to a new set of “sustainable development goals” (SDG).
Rich and poor nations will cooperatively set targets across the range of issues, from water and land use to recycling.
On the third and final day of the summit, Ms Gillard met with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to discuss security and diplomacy issues.
The pair laughed as Mrs Clinton admitted to reporters she had complemented the prime minister on her hair, and stated she would be coming to Perth later this year for a meeting.
On the sidelines of the summit, Ms Gillard attended the signing of a $US315 million ($A314 million) deal between Pacific Hydro and Brazilian mining giant Vale to provide wind farms.
Ms Gillard – who went into the summit with the twin goals of starting talks on the SDGs and better protecting oceans – said it had been “productive”.
The final summit statement called for a new economic indicator that goes beyond the seven-decade-old term gross domestic product (GDP) and for governments to require businesses to report on their environmental and social “footprints”.
National Australia Bank joined with dozens of banks from around the world to sign a declaration pledging to include social and environmental costs in their decisions.
UN environment chief Achim Steiner said all leaders had agreed the shift to a “green economy” is essential.