NEW YORK — Four countries on four continents launched a joint initiative June 23 aimed at giving the United Nations new impetus to revitalize the spirit of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and achieve sustainable development while tackling environmental problems.

During the special session of the U.N. General Assembly, being held here to review the implementation of environmental measures adopted at the Rio summit, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl took the initiative in bringing Brazil, South Africa and Singapore together to work on such issues as forests, urbanization, transportation and climate change.

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