Rio summit: Little progress, 20 years on
Published: 22nd Jun 2012 07:46:26
On the final day of the UN sustainable development summit in Rio, UN chief Ban Ki-moon has urged governments to eliminate hunger from the world.
The secretary-general said in a world of plenty, no-one should go hungry.
The final phase of the summit has seen pledges from countries and companies on issues such as clean energy.
But a number of veteran politicians have joined environment groups in saying the summit declaration was "a failure of leadership".
And UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg described the outcome as "insipid".
The meeting, marking 20 years since the iconic Earth Summit in the same city and 40 since the very first global environment gathering in Stockholm, was aimed at stimulating moves towards the "green economy".
But the declaration that was concluded by government negotiators on Tuesday and that ministers have not sought to re-open, puts the green economy as just one possible pathway to sustainable development.
Mary Robinson, formerly both Irish president and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said it was not enough.
Despite the fact that the world produces enough food to feed everyone, there are more hungry people today than when the world last met in Rio in 1992”
"This is a 'once in a generation' moment when the world needs vision, commitment and, above all, leadership," she said.
"Sadly, the current document is a failure of leadership."
The former Brazilian President Fernando Cardoso, who chaired the 1992 Earth Summit, said the declaration did not do as much for environmental protection as for human development.
"This old division between environment and development is not the way we are going to solve the problems that we are creating for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren," he said.
"We have to accept that the solutions to poverty and inequality lie in sustainable growth, not growth at all costs."
Mr Ban had hoped the summit would take firmer steps towards ensuring the poor had access to water, food and energy.
However, his flagship Sustainable Energy for All initiative was merely "noted" in the text, not enthusiastically endorsed.
'Ray of hope'
In the meeting's final phase, he challenged governments to do more.
"In a world of plenty, no-one, not a single person, should go hungry," he said.
"I invite all of you to join me in working for a future without hunger," he told the estimated 130 heads of state and government in Rio.
Currently, it is estimated that almost one billion people - one seventh of the world's population - live in chronic hunger, while another billion do not receive adequate nutrition.
Measures that could help address this include eliminating food waste - about one-third of food is thrown away in rich countries and an even higher proportion in the poorest, for different reasons - and doubling the productivity of smallholdings.
The challenge is partly based on Brazil's own "hunger zero" programme, started by President Lula de Silva.
"Ban Ki-moon's announcement is a welcome ray of hope in a summit that has been shamefully devoid of progress," said Oxfam's chief executive Barbara Stocking.
"Despite the fact that the world produces enough food to feed everyone, there are more hungry people today than when the world last met in Rio in 1992," she said.
However, for the moment, a challenge is all it is.
There is no new money, and no changes to the way the UN organisation itself approaches the issue of hunger.
Outside the main negotiations in Rio, companies and governments have made well over 200 pledges of voluntary action in various areas.
Energy, water and food are all in that mix - though outnumbered by pledges to include sustainability issues in education programmes.
At 19:48:56 in HeadlinesA British man who was kidnapped in Yemen in February has been released safely, the Foreign Office has said.
At 19:38:32 in SportEngland captain Alastair Cook has urged wicketkeeper Jos Buttler not to change his attacking batting style when he makes his Test debut against India.
At 19:29:35 in SportEngland's Fran Halsall produced a shock to take gold in the 50m freestyle at Glasgow 2014.
At 19:24:12 in EnglandA busy commuter road that connects Slough with Maidenhead and Heathrow is to get a £5.6m government investment to boost its public transport links.
At 19:07:24 in EnglandA war memorial has been unveiled commemorating a Nottinghamshire village's soldiers who died in both world wars.
At 19:02:29 in SportNatalie Powell beat Olympic silver medallist Gemma Gibbons in the final of the -78kg class to win Wales' second gold medal of the Commonwealth Games.
At 19:00:16 in EnglandA 23-year-old man has been charged in connection with a rape in Essex.
At 18:54:13 in EnglandMore than 150 campaigners have protested against sewage being discharged into the sea.
At 18:52:51 in EnglandMasonry fell into a tunnel at an east London Tube station earlier, London Underground (LU) has confirmed.
At 18:38:30 in EnglandA 61-year-old man has died following a "medical episode" while trying to fetch a ball from a lake in Buckinghamshire.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Rio summit: Little progress, 20 years on [Online] (Updated 22nd Jun 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1436246/Rio-summit-Little-progress-20-years-on [Accessed 26th Jul 2014]
News In Other Categories
With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
As the media gathered in a conference room at the SECC in Glasgow to await the arrival of the world's fastest man, five 10-year-old's were being let in on a secret.
England captain Alastair Cook has urged wicketkeeper Jos Buttler not to change his attacking batting style when he makes his Test debut against India.
A 15-year-old boy suffered serious head injuries after being attacked in Aberdare on Friday night.
Arcade machines kept in the UK Computer Museum are being restored after enthusiasts answered a plea for help.
It's exactly half a century since the premiere of Fiddler on the Roof - among the most successful stage musicals written to date. In 1964 Sheldon Harnick and his colleagues worried that the setting, a small Jewish township in eastern Europe in the early 1900s, might limit the show's appeal. But, says Harnick, the show's real subject is a universal one - family.