Sustainable food, energy and water are UK’s Rio+20 targets

The UK Government delegation to Rio+20 this week will press for the creation of new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) focused on food, energy and water says Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman.

Responding to questions from WWF CEO David Nussbaum, Ms Spelman said a lot had been achieved since the Earth Summit of 20 years ago.

“It was a turning point in the way the world looks at links between the environment, development and the economy,” she said. “There has been progress on poverty alleviation, with significant improvements in access to water, education and healthcare in all regions of the world. Many businesses have embraced sustainability issues, and renewable energy has grown substantially.”

The need now, however, was for a ‘new paradigm for growth’, one that recognised the links between economic growth, environmental constraints and human well-being.

“I want to come away from Rio with a tangible outcome which will drive action to put the world on a more sustainable footing,” she said. “At Rio, I want global leaders to agree an approach to create new SDGs, and the themes they should cover. The UK will push for SDGs to be focused on food, energy and water, which are clearly relevant to the economy, development and the environment.”

While agreeing that governments had to create the right development framework, she said the private sector and civil society would be needed to help drive SDGs forward.

WWF, meanwhile, have been invited to join the UK government delegation at Rio+20.

“This will give us better access to negotiations, an opportunity to share why the environment is crucial to sustainable development and the chance to offer practical solutions to global challenges,” said Mr Nussbaum.

As for today, WWF is at the heart of a twitter storm attempt, designed to deliver an ‘end fossil fuel subsidies’ message to Rio+20 delegates.

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