The Minister will attend the summit as part of the UK delegation and is determined to show the world how Wales can proactively contribute to global efforts to drive up sustainability.
The Minister spoke at the IWA’s ‘Putting Wales at the heart of Rio+20’ conference. He spoke of his concern for the state of planet and highlight some of the reasons why urgent action is a necessity. He emphasised that:
- 1 billion people around the world still go to bed hungry every night
- Those people who were poorest 20 years ago are still the poorest now
- 20% of the world’s population still consumes 80% of the world’s resources.
With the world’s population expected to grow by a billion by 2025, the Minister highlighted the difficulties of eradicating poverty and driving up living standards whilst living within the finite natural resources of the Earth.
The Minister stressed that the creation of global Sustainable Development Goals, focussed sharply on poverty eradication, could be the most important outcome of the summit. He also highlighted the need to measure more than just Gross Domestic Product.
Speaking ahead of the event, the Minister said:
"We need to start measuring what matters on a world wide scale– because only then can we truly value it, and use the world’s resources more sustainably.
"Rio+20 must deliver a commitment to develop social and environmental indicators to use alongside GDP. In Wales we already use five headline indicators to help measure our progress on sustainable development. Gross Value Added is one but we also measure our ecological footprint and general wellbeing."
Whilst at Rio the Minister will highlight the Welsh perspective on sustainable development and demonstrate Wales’ leadership on the issue.
Just this month the Minister launched a consultation on proposals for a Sustainable Development Bill which would place a legal requirement on organisations delivering public services in Wales to ensure their decision making is informed by sustainable development principles.
As part of the summit in Rio the Minister will meet as many Ministers and Premiers as he can and will seek to learn how other countries are approaching the SD challenge.
He will attend the World Summit of Federated States and Region and promote some of Wales’ ground breaking policies such as its home efficiency scheme, Arbed.
The Minister will also talk about the Welsh Government’s Wales for Africa programme and the ongoing work to promote low carbon, sustainable development in partnership with the Mbale region of Eastern Uganda.
Another key project the Minister will promote is the Size of Wales project which seeks to protect two million hectares of rain forest.