The Rio+20 conference is about to open in Rio de Janeiro on June 20:
"Rio+20 is everyone's conference, just as it is everyone's planet. Its goals, aspirations and its outcome will belong to all of us.
Over 135 heads of state and government and up to 50,000 participants, including business executives and civil society representatives, will be present when the conference opens on Jun. 20. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon calls it "one of the most important conferences in U.N. history".
Sha Zukang, secretary-general of the U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio+20
The largest-ever United Nations conference, a summit billed as a historic opportunity to build a greener future, appears to be going up in smoke.
U.S. President Barack Obama likely won't be there, and the leaders of Britain and Germany have bowed out.
And with fewer than six weeks to go until the Rio+20 conference on sustainable development, negotiations to produce a final statement have stalled amid squabbling. Logistical snags, too, threaten to derail the event.
The average cost of a room in Rio during the conference has risen to $818 per night, according to a report this week by Agencia Brasil, the state-run news agency. And some hotels are taking advantage of the shortage of accommodations by requiring guests to book for an. entire week, even if they intend to stay for just three or four nights.
With a total of 33,000 beds for the estimated 50,000-plus visitors expected to flood the city for the June 20-22 summit, the mayor has resorted to asking residents to leave town and rent out their apartments to delegates.
According to the plan, the Army and local police forces will patrol the streets, the Air Force and the Navy will patrol airspace and sea, and the Federal Police will be oversee foreign delegates' personal security.
The Army will also be in charge of the security of the People's Summit, a parallel conference to be held in another neighborhood and is expected to gather over 20,000 citizens.
This is the positive scenario: The sheer madness of the entire Rio+20 undertaking could - and should - make it the last UN mega conference. But, knowing that there are thousands of UN, EU, national and other diplomats and bureaucrats, who´s main occupation is to plan and attend this kind of senseless jamborees (paid for by taxpayers), this hope may be too optimistic.
Most Rio+20 delegates will be delighted to know that there is at least one place in Rio which will remain free of charge: The Copacabana!
However, if you want to rent a beach chair, be prepared to pay at least five times more than the ordinary R$4.00.