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Green growth on Gillard  agenda
Green growth on Gillard agenda

Greening the world economy and heading off economic disaster in Europe will be the focus of global forums to be attended by Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Mexico and Brazil next week.

Ms Gillard will miss a week of federal parliament to attend the G20 leaders' summit in the Mexican resort city of Los Cabos on June 18 and 19, and the United Nations conference on sustainable development (Rio+20) in Rio de Janeiro the following three days.

The prime minister will tell her G20 colleagues of the need to put "growth and jobs first" in the face of global economic weakness.

"Austerity alone is not the right path," she said in a speech in Brisbane this week.

At least 135 countries will be represented at Rio+20 which is expected to endorse a 20-point agenda for sustainable development, addressing issues including climate, clean energy, biodiversity, water, forests, agriculture and urban centres.

The conference will mark the 20th anniversary of the landmark UN Conference on Environment and Development, also in Rio de Janeiro, and the 10th anniversary of the World Summit on Sustainable Development in South Africa.

Ms Gillard is likely to receive plaudits at the UN summit for her Labor government's plan to tackle climate change through a carbon price to start on July 1.

World Vision Australia chief Tim Costello told AAP there had been a mood shift, which would be demonstrated at the UN and G20 summits, from considering development as showing "pity" for poor nations to an expression of "we are all in this together".

"The world is a waterbed - you press down in one place, it comes up in another," he said.

Australia could "for once occupy the high moral ground" because of the carbon pricing scheme and its commitment to sustainable development.

The G20 summit, which is being held a day after Greek and French elections, will tackle uncertainty in the euro zone, as well as governance and financial reform, jobs, international development and infrastructure.

The prime minister will go into the G20 with some strong economic credentials: low unemployment, strong growth, a AAA credit rating, record low interest rates and inflation under control.

Australia has taken a lead role in working on a plan to ensure growth comes with adequate social protections, and a 17-member panel is looking at ways to inject more private capital into infrastructure.

Trade unions to attend the L20 forum, on the sidelines of the G20, have called for both summits to address sustainability, employment, social protection and inequality.

Business leaders attending the Business 20 forum - a separate meeting on the day before and first day of the G20 - are seeking action to instil greater confidence in global markets.

UN Secretary-Ggeneral Ban Ki Moon says world leaders should focus on "finding ways to stimulate the global economy and create jobs while ensuring inclusive green growth".

"The world economy is in a precarious situation ... yet, beyond the anxiety, there is opportunity," he said.