June 19, 2012
Legarda: World Leaders Must Agree on Bold
Senator Loren Legarda, United Nations Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific, said that world leaders should agree on bold and decisive sustainable development goals by the conclusion of the Rio +20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development, to be held from June 20 to 22 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
"I express my genuine hope that leaders who are negotiating for the world's future will not consign themselves to the charge that 'more will be said than done' at Rio +20. The outcome of this conference has the potential to change the way environmental sustainability will be mainstreamed in public policy and business decisions all over the world," Legarda said.
The Senator noted that recurrent and worsening disasters due to the lack of a genuine regard for the environment are undoing years of development gains.
"Every time a disaster strikes, the poor and vulnerable lose their loved ones, their homes and their jobs, unable to send their children to school and provide for their nutritional needs. This is the disaster trap that pushes them deeper into poverty," she pointed out.
Legarda explained that the Rio +20, thus far the biggest UN conference, will be a platform to discuss the challenges of job creation, access to energy, building sustainable cities, ensuring food security and sustainable agriculture, access to water, management of oceans and disaster risk reduction. It will focus on how to build a green economy, lift people out of poverty, and improve international coordination for sustainable development.
"Industrialized countries should commit to ambitious sustainable development goals such as deep cuts in their greenhouse gas emissions and significant technological and financial assistance to countries which remain poor and vulnerable to disasters," Legarda stressed.
"But while we wait for bold and decisive outcomes of the Rio +20 Earth Summit, we have to sustain our country's efforts in sincerely addressing climate impacts and pursuing the path of sustainable development," she added.
One such effort is the People's Survival Fund bill, which Legarda sponsored and was recently approved by Congress. It provides for the creation of a special fund that will provide resources to local governments' climate change adaptation and sustainable development activities, such as in the areas of land and water resources management, agriculture and fisheries, health, infrastructure development, and natural ecosystems.
"The Rio +20 Earth Summit presents an opportunity to remind world leaders of their great responsibilities to lead people out of the crises and uncertainties brought about by unsustainable development, worsening disasters and climate change," Legarda concluded.
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