Put sustainability at the heart of development, says Progressio

By staff writers
March 20, 2013

The UK-based agency Progressio wants to see sustainability and stewardship of scarce natural resources placed at the heart of a future vision for development, when the High Level Panel (HLP) on the Post-2015 Development Agenda meet next week in Bali.

The HLP must recognise the impact that climate change and environmental degradation is already having on the ability of poor people to meet their basic needs and make bold recommendations about how environmental sustainability can be integral to every development goal, the NGO says.

Glenda Rodriguez, Progressio's Central America regional manager, wants world leaders to be, "More assertive in their messages and actions by demanding their fellow leaders and governments respect natural resources."

The agency says it remains disappointed that David Cameron will not be attending the HLP next week to fulfill his duties as a co-chair. However, Justine Greening, who is attending on his behalf, is in a uniquely powerful position to promote environmental sustainability as a global priority, reversing a trend which has seen environmental issues side-lined in the post 2015 discussions, it says.

"We are calling on Justine Greening to not only recognise the contribution to the consultation made by poor and marginalised people but to act on their suggestions as well - by pushing for policies that will have a positive impact on the lives of the least well off," the NGO said in a statement yesterday.

From experience, Progressio stresses it knows that ensuring that poor and marginalised people are able to participate in the decision-making about their local natural resources is critical to the sustainable management of land, water and forests on which they depend for their lives and livelihoods.

"Because of climate change we are not getting enough rain and our yield is reduced," Peter, a small-holder farmer from Kasache village near Lake Malawi, explains. In many developing countries the harsh reality of climate change hits home hard.

"The hunger period for our families is often October to January in the rainy season. We have no more food from the last harvest and cannot afford to buy enough food at the market," continued another farmer.

For the communities that we work with, sustainable access to adequate water is the biggest challenge and is essential for millions of small-scale farmers who need water in order to grow crops, rear livestock and feed their families. Climate change is making this situation worse as rainfall variability has a catastrophic impact on food production

The post 2015 framework must agree targets that drive forward resilient and sustainable development, say concerned agencies.

Partnerships between civil society, governments and the private sector will be key to agreeing and implementing a universal and ambitious agreement that reduces poverty and protects the environment.

[Ekk/3]

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