Press Release
June 20, 2012

Legarda: New Dev't Models Should be Among Outcomes of Rio +20

Senator Loren Legarda today said that delegates to the Rio +20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development should agree on new development models that will address the challenges of our time.

Legarda, the UN Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific, made the statement as she noted that hunger and poverty continue to plague the world especially that extreme weather events caused by climate change impede economic growth when nations are unprepared against natural hazards.

"World hunger remains one of our most pressing problems, an issue that rising economic activity in the name of development has not been able to solve. Based on 2010 statistics of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), one in seven people in the world are not getting enough food to eat," she pointed out.

The Senator also noted that poverty, inherently linked to hunger, remains high with 22.4 percent of the world's population living on a budget of $1.25 or 53 pesos per day, according to the World Bank.

"Evidently, the rise of economies does not automatically translate to the betterment of people. And more often than not, it is accompanied by the irreversible destruction of the environment, which will be even more devastating to future generations," Legarda stressed.

"Development, progress, and economic growth - these are our collective aim as nations. But how can we achieve these and deliver the benefits our people long deserve, when every passing year disasters -- such as flash floods and landslides from stronger typhoons and heavier rains -- claim countless lives and ruin our communities and livelihoods?"

Given the scenario, Legarda, who chairs the Senate Committee on Climate Change, said that it is unresponsive and irresponsible to continue using failing development models to address the complex problems of our contemporary society, especially the challenges posed by climate change.

"Climate change is a reality that world leaders must incorporate into the development models of the twenty-first century. All around us, the environment is changing: storms are stronger, floods are deadlier, and increases in temperature are affecting agricultural production. There must be a global response to this global problem," she said.

Legarda detailed that the Rio +20 Conference, set to begin today, will convene world leaders, civil society groups, and representatives from numerous sectors to discuss current approaches to development policies, problems posed by environmental degradation around the world, and produce a focused political document that will set new standards for sustainable development.

"Now is the time to redefine development - to change our way of thinking and our way of doing. As we continue to measure growth in terms of economic indicators, we must track equally important factors such as good governance, equitable socio-economic development, cultural preservation and environmental protection. We must demand a future where sustainability is the norm, and the only way to achieve such a future is to adopt new development models," Legarda concluded.

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