Agriculture / Environment / Event / Food Security

The road back to Rio: Will an opportunity for a safer, fairer, more united world be squandered?

Storm Clouds over Iringa, Tanzania

Rain clouds over a farming village near Iringa, Tanzania; time is running out for forging a new pact at Rio+20 this month for the world’s sustainable development and food security (photo on Flickr by United Nations/Wolff).

The BBC environment correspondent Richard Black reports today that time is running out for countries now negotiating key issues for inclusion in a draft agreement to improve energy, water and food security in poorer countries being prepared for the Rio+20 earth summit, which starts next week. With three days of negotiations left, only 20% of the draft has been agreed.

‘. . . The summit is widely seen as a crucial opportunity for leaders to put the global economy on a more sustainable footing.

‘The draft agreement—titled The Future We Want—is riddled with deletions, many instigated by the US and many by the G77/China bloc of developing nations.

‘Russia, Japan, the EU and other parties have also objected to key clauses.

‘The draft has been criticised in some quarters as being too lenient on businesses, especially major banks and commodity corporations. . . .

‘There is also a row over the proposed sustainable development goals (SDGs), which would seek to relieve poverty and improve health, education and jobs in developing countries, but along environmentally and socially sustainable lines.

‘Some aid agencies fear this will result in a watering down of the key commitment to helping people out of poverty, contained in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

‘There is also a lack of agreement on whether the SDGs should commit rich countries to curbing their consumption of natural resources, in order to leave more for the poor. . . .

[The] UN Conference on the Human Environment [was] the very first UN environment summit, held in Stockholm in 1972. Major issue included urbanisation, chemical pollution and A-bomb testing. Notable outcomes include decision to establish the UN Environment Programme and a call to ban whaling.

[Former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev, who now runs Green Cross International, has said that] ‘The opportunity to build a safer, fairer and more united world has been largely squandered.’ . . .

‘Following the close of the preparatory negotiations this coming Friday, there will be four days of informal dialogues and other meetings before heads of government and ministers begin the summit proper next Wednesday. . . .’

Read the whole article at the BBC News: Nations at odds on Rio+20 earth summit, 14 Jun 2012.

Read about a special Agriculture and Rural Development Day, being held this Monday, 18 Jun 2012, at which staff of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and other members of CGIAR will take part.

Read more on the Rio+20 landing page at the CGIAR Consortium website.

And follow the agriculture news at Rio+20 on Twitter and blogs by searching for #RioPlus20 and #Rio4Ag.

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