Poor need to be part of the ‘green economy’

As the international community prepares for Rio+20, the UN conference on sustainable energy, CAFOD is calling for attention to be given to the poor and displaced as the heart of a ‘green economy’.

“We think it’s an important event, and an important opportunity, but more to try and put poverty reduction and poor people’s livelihood at the center of the debate about greening development, about moving to more sustainable development models,” said Sarah Wykes, CAFOD’s lead analyst on environment and climate change.

“The hottest topic for discussion for both summits will be how to build a ‘green economy’ to help achieve sustainable development. But we are concerned that the green economy needs to also be fair and help lift millions of people out of poverty.”

“We strongly believe that money will not change life on the planet,” said Mario Nicacio from the Indigenous Council of Roraima, Brazil.

“To me, the phrase ‘green economy’ means a bag full of money ready to be used to transform the forest into a place without fresh air. If I had one minute to speak to all the world leaders, I would tell them that using a lot of money to preserve the Amazon is not enough, they must educate the world’s population.”

CAFOD, via a press statement, is concerned about the current vision for a ‘green economy’, saying it focuses too much on the economy, the economic interests of the rich and industrialised countries and not enough on the ‘green’ sustainable development in poor countries.


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