Rio+20 to Focus on Sustainable Agriculture

The British secretary of state for the environment, food, and rural affairs, Caroline Spelman, has promised to make sustainable agriculture her top priority at the upcoming Rio+20 Conference.

The Rio+20, the colloquial name for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, is a 20 year follow up to the 1992 Conference on Environment and Development, better known as the Earth Summit, which addressed climate change, pollution, water scarcity, and other critical environmental issues. The Rio+20 will build on previous UN conferences to discuss issues of sustainable economic development and to assess the goals of previous UN environmental treaties.

One of the major issues that is likely to be discussed is the future of sustainable agriculture. Previous UN reports have already addressed the importance of agricultural reform, particularly in parts of the Third World where water resources are scarce and food insecurity endemic. One of the solutions to these ongoing problems, UN agricultural officials believe, is the adoption of new, sustainable agricultural practices.

Secretary Spelman is planning to make agricultural reform a major part of the Rio+20 conference. “Everywhere in the world, wherever farmers farm, should be put on a sustainable footing,” she said in an interview. “Just imagine if we could move farmers from subsistence to sustainability.” International efforts, she argued, should be focused on developing new technologies to assist farmers in the developing world.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer