Rio+20: Viewpoints from the Labour movement

Send a postcard to the government, remind them why they are at Rio

Our friends SERA, the Labour’s Environment Campaign, have this week launched a new pamphlet, Rio+20: Our second chance for a sustainable future?, as their contribution to the debate at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development taking place in Brazil.

The pamphlet includes contributions from Mary Creagh (Shadow Environment Secretary), Caroline Flint (Shadow Energy Secretary), Ivan Lewis (Shadow International Development Secretary), Linda McAvan MEP, Richard Howitt MEP and others.

In his article for the pamphlet, Ivan sets out the key outcomes the international development movement wants to see at the UN Conference;

The Rio+20 meeting in June offers an opportunity to move the resource security argument forward. Rio should be the next step along the road to a sustainable future; focusing on key principles and a commitment to build sustainable policies which recognise the long term nature of the interlinked environmental, social and economic challenges. This commitment must not only be agreed by donor countries but also actively engage low and middle income countries, securing their support for any outcomes. Any process which does not have the needs of developing countries at its heart will be deemed a failure.

Mary Creagh, Caroline Flint and Ivan Lewis have also written a joint article for this week’s New Statesman, arguing that the coalition must not go soft on climate change;

But there is appetite for change. The last Labour government passed the landmark Climate Change Act setting a target to reduce our carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, the growth in fair trade products and the level of public support for campaigns like Make Poverty History are all signs that change is possible. Last year, over 600,000 people signed the petition against the government’s plans to sell off our public forests, a clear demonstration that the British public don’t share the government’s laissez-faire attitude to our natural world.

The Labour Party has a long legacy of leading the way in international development and campaigning to protect our natural environment. The government should seize the opportunity of Rio to help create new, sustainable jobs and growth in low carbon and environmental industries.

Mary Creagh has also launched a e-postcard petition to pressure the UK government to take bold action at Rio. Click here to sign a postcard to them.

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