PM cannot afford to ignore environmental challenge, say charities

By staff writers
March 22, 2013

Development and environment charities have expressed disappointment that David Cameron is not attending the High-level Panel on the post-2015 development agenda, which meets for the fourth time next week.

The British Prime Minister is one of the co-chairs of the HLP, making his absence even more noticeable and questionable.

A coalition of leading UK-based NGOs – Christian Aid, Greenpeace, RSPB, WWF and Green Alliance – has warned that the post-2015 framework will not be fit for purpose if the environmental challenges faced by developing nations are ignored.

Climate change, natural disasters, ecosystem decline and biodiversity loss present huge risks to sustainable development and poverty eradication, especially for the world’s poorest who depend on the natural environment for their survival.

The groups have outlined four environmental resilience tests essential for the post-2015 framework to eradicate poverty and deliver long term sustainable development.

In Mr Cameron’s absence, they have called on development minister Justine Greening to show decisive leadership on these issues in Bali, and for the Prime Minister to make clear that he is still committed to securing a sustainable, long term development agenda for post-2015.

While the groups acknowledge progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals, in many countries economic growth has not been inclusive or equitable, has undermined the natural environment, and therefore failed to guarantee sustainable development or tackle the root causes of poverty in the long term, they say.

Setting a framework that integrates environmental resilience is vital because it would put countries in a position where they are better prepared to manage risks and disasters, more resource efficient and secure, less dependent on outside help, and are able to make the best use of money for development investments.

Christine Allen, policy and public affairs director at Christian Aid, commented: "We will not be able to eradicate poverty over the long term without dealing with environmental challenges. This means that the Prime Minister, as co-chair of the High-level Panel, must ensure that action to address environmental and resource challenges is integrated into any future development goals."

* Eradicating poverty through environmentally resilient development is a joint paper by Green Alliance, Christian Aid, Greenpeace, RSPB and WWF, produced under Green Alliance’s NGO engagement theme. For more information, see www.green-alliance.org.uk/ngoengagement

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