President of the Foundation, Mary Robinson delivered the keynote address at the fourth Agriculture and Rural Development Day (ARDD) taking place in parallel with the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in
The day-long event examined implementation successes and challenges in moving towards transformed food systems that enable food security and sustainable development. Sponsored by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and Empraba, the afternoon session focused on “Science for a Food Secure Future” and Mrs Robinson addressed the topic, Science for the people: the climate justice approach.
Mrs Robinson highlighted the role that science can play in informing our understanding of the climate, crop production, animal husbandry and good nutrition and appealed for integrated approaches.
She said that “science is at its most powerful when it responds to people’s needs” and that in order to find effective solutions science must respond to the complex and interlinked causes of poverty, climate change and social exclusion.
She reminded those in attendance that the Earth Summit in 1992 highlighted how science can serve people and the planet; “it set out to protect the planet and its resources while aspiring for a world without poverty and social exclusion”.
Mrs Robinson concluded her address by underlining the need to adopt cross-sectoral and inter-disciplinary approaches linking food and nutrition security, climate change and human rights:
“A successful outcome from Rio+20 will respond to the needs of poor men, women and children rather than to the needs of governments, NGOs and multilateral organisations. Likewise, it should set us on a path to inclusive and sustainable development, grounded in human rights and true to the Rio Principles.”
In the question and answer session that followed Mrs Robinson told the assembled audience that they “can provide the answers to today’s challenges”. She also spoke of the need to “harness the energies and the capabilities of young people to bring a better future” and called on young people to provide leadership on the issue of climate justice.