Ending poverty, protecting nature go hand in hand: UN report
June 1, 2013
Courtesy of the World Wildlife Fund
and World Science staff
Wiping out poverty will require protecting the environment, a United Nations panel has concluded, departing from a tradition of treating the two issues as separate.
“Without environmental sustainability we cannot end poverty,” said the UN’s High Level Panel on the post-2015 Development Agenda.
The report of the 26-member panel, which included several world leaders, could influence over $25 trillion of development spending and marks a clear break from the practice of treating development and sustainability as separate topics, according to a statement issued May 30 by the Switzerland-based World Wildlife Fund.
“There is finally recognition that poverty cannot be eradicated and the well-being of people across the globe cannot be secured without addressing the grave pressures on the environment and the natural systems that support human life on this planet,” said Jim Leape, director general of WWF International.
The report calls for tough measures to reduce the impacts of consumption, production, trade, waste and pollution. “The moment is right to merge the poverty and environmental tracks guiding international development,” said the report. The panel recommended mandatory social and environmental reporting by all companies with a market capitalization above $100 million.
Proposed goals to secure food, water and energy for a growing world population should include key targets to safeguard sustainable agriculture, fisheries, freshwater systems and energy supplies, the report added.
“The global financial and economic crises have shown that poverty and growing inequality are problems for all countries. Production and consumption choices in one place have environmental impacts across the globe,” Leape said. “We now look to all countries to build on the High Level Panel’s report and agree an ambitious set of goals and targets that will spur urgent action.”
Members of the panel included U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Unilever CEO Paul Polman.