As part of its continuing efforts to gain international recognition as a state, the Palestinian Authority is requesting to take part in the United Nations Sustainable Development Conference (Rio+20) scheduled to take place in Brazil in June, Army Radio reported on Thursday.
The PA vowed to seek membership in various UN agencies after its bid for recognition as a state, presented to the Security Council in September, stalled.
In October, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) became the first UN agency to grant the Palestinians membership. The move was condemned by Israel and prompted the United States to withhold funding from UNESCO. Both the US and Israel see Palestinian steps to gain UN recognition as unilateral steps that undercut attempts to reach a peace agreement through negotiations.
According to Army Radio, Jerusalem is working to thwart Palestinian efforts to participate in the Rio+20 Conference as a full member state, and is also hoping to enlist Canada and the US in efforts to prevent the PA's involvement in the environmental summit.
The Rio+20 Conference will mark the 20th anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), in Rio de Janeiro, and the 10th anniversary of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg.
According to the UN, "At the Rio+20 Conference, world leaders, along with thousands of participants from governments, the private sector, NGOs and other groups, will come together to shape how we can reduce poverty, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection on an ever more crowded planet to get to the future we want."
Some 50,000 people are expected to attend the conference.