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NOT TOO LATE TO PREVENT A WORLD ENVIRONMENT DISASTER: BECKETT

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Environment secretary Margaret Beckett today delivered a powerful ...
Environment secretary Margaret Beckett today delivered a powerful

message to the world's polluters and environmental sceptics in the UK

and abroad:

'Do not shy away from action to help build a new world that can

develop in a prosperous and sustainable way globally. Otherwise there

may not be a world worth living in.'

Launching a groundbreaking global environmental report - GEO 3 - from

the UN's Environment Programme (UNEP) with UNEP's executive director

Klaus Toepfer, Mrs Beckett said tough action is needed now to avoid

potential environmental disaster worldwide in the 2030s.

The World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in early

September, to fight world poverty, and environmental degradation on

land, in the atmosphere and in the oceans would be a pivotal start.

Scientists for UNEP in today's report looked back to politicians'

promises made at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, what has been achieved

since and what the world may look like in 2030.

Mrs Beckett said:

'Today I am deeply honoured that my department and I have been

invited to be involved in the global launch of UNEP's 3rd Global

Environmental Outlook report. I warmly congratulate Klaus Topfer and

his team on their achievement, which marks a critical stage in the

run-up to Johannesburg.

'This is a publication which I believe will play a pivotal role in

thinking about sustainable development at WSSD and beyond. This

report shows how far the world has come since the Rio Earth Summit

ten years ago - and points the way towards a more sustainable future.

'GEO 3 breaks new ground in drawing on scenario analysis to explore

the environmental outlooks - markets first, policy first, security

first and sustainability first. I think many would accept it should

be sustainability first, but I commend the use of cutting edge

science and many years of research that went into the findings of

today's report - which also seeks to explore global solutions to

global problems.'

Mrs Beckett went on to underline the need for the UK and the global

community to act now to reverse the environmental degradation,

particularly in developing countries, which the report details. The

perceived breakdown in the 2030s of biodiversity, the threat to

endangered species and their habitats should be combated. In a

civilised world, everyone has a right to clean, fresh water.

Mrs Beckett added:

'This report brings these issues into sharp focus. It is an

unequivocal reminder. The disintegration of the environmental pillar

of sustainable development will lead to the inevitable collapse of

the others. So at Johannesburg, environment objectives need to placed

squarely at the heart of sustainable development.

'It is absolutely imperative that we use the final prepcom to WSSD,

beginning in Indonesia this week to make real progress in the run-up

to Johannesburg on key issues - such as water, energy, and food

security for developing countries.

'We need stakeholders to commit themselves to practical action - to a

genuine investment of energy and resources - so we can make tangible

progress towards our shared objectives. The rhetoric must become

reality. History will see it as a tragic lost opportunity if we fail

to meet this challenge.'

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