Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development

President Martelly of Haiti discusses his development priorities
Sustainable development is often defined as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It includes economic and social development as well as environmental protection. Last week, leaders and participants from around the world met to address this important topic.

Over 100 heads of state attended and Presidents from some core FTF countries played an important role. President Martelly of Haiti held a press conference with  Ertharin Cousin, the Executive Director of the World Food Program, and others to announce an expansion of school feeding programs in Haiti. Particular mention was made of providing support to Haitian farmers to improve their market access. "This kind of program is among those that Haiti needs to achieve sustainable development and of long-term, in order to achieve our objective of eradicating hunger by 2025," declared the President Martelly. "We particularly appreciate the efforts of WFP, which helps us to make of this objective a reality."

President Ramotar of Guyana with
FTF Program Director Carlson
Another panel focused on sustainable development in Latin America, Heraldo Muñoz, Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) talked about how the region is a "biodiversity superpower" but that this was in peril. He stressed that the cost of inaction far outweighs the cost of action. There was also discussion of the need for new metrics to measure development that factor in issues of inequality. Guyana was well represented at their own panel discussing their Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) and their collaboration with Norway on this program. 

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon focused on agriculture and hunger with his launch of a ‘Zero Hunger Challenge’ initiative at a Rio+20 side event.This initiative has five goals: (1) 100% access to adequate food all year round, (2) zero stunted children less than 2 years, (3) all food systems are sustainable, (4) 100% increase in smallholder productivity and income, and (4) zero loss or waste of food. How this will be accomplished it yet to be seen but the focus on eradicating hunger is important. “In a world of plenty no one, not a single person, should go hungry”, Ban Ki-moon said. “I want to see an end to hunger everywhere, within my lifetime.” 

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