Twenty years after the first sustainable development conference in Rio de Janeiro, the planet and its inhabitants are under increasing pressure. By 2030, the world will need at least 50% more food, 45% more energy and 30% more water to meet the needs of the growing population – and its increasing consumption patterns. This comes at a time when we are increasingly confronting the planet’s resource limitations and globally there are still 1.3 billion people living on less than $1.25 a day.
The world’s poorest people are increasingly bearing the consequences of unsustainable development. To truly deliver upon sustainable development, any new development path must focus on ensuring equity and building resilience within the global economy, within countries and within local communities. While there are numerous challenges ahead of us, CARE believes that addressing gender inequality, and specifically women’s participation in sustainable development, how we feed our growing population and how we avoid the most severe climate damage are critical for building a more equitable and resilient global community.
There is growing recognition that achieving sustainability requires truly ‘greening’ our economies. We must be careful of proposed solutions that fail to recognise the danger in tweaking the current economic model rather than undertaking a profound transition towards truly sustainable development. The world’s poorest people have the most to gain or lose from the ways in which a new green economy is structured. Therefore, any sustainable development solutions coming out of the Rio+20 conference must fully address equity and resilience, gender equality, food security and climate change.