Mary Robinson delivered a keynote address at the USAID convened Frontiers in Development on Friday 19 September 2014 titled Climate Justice – A New Frontier for Development. The Frontiers in Development Forum was a major development event.
Addressing an audience on Friday 19 September, Mary Robinson began by saying “that too many people continue to live in extreme poverty. Based on 2010 figures, 46% of the population of sub-Saharan Africa and 30% of the population of Southern Asia still live under the poverty threshold. This is unacceptable in the 21st century.”
Commenting on the current development model Mary Robinson stated “The approach we have taken to development to date has set targets and in many cases delivered results consistent with these targets – but it has done this in a way that left the poorest and most vulnerable people behind and increased the divide between rich and poor. The top down approach that dominates development planning, and the drive for results and quick wins, has not delivered equitable or sustainable outcomes.”
As the world prepares for a new climate agreement in 2015 and the post 2015 development agenda is being mapped out, Mary Robinson called for development practitioners and governments to give more attention to the issue of climate change; “Left unchecked, climate change has the potential to wipe out the development gains of recent decades. We can’t place it to one side and say we will deal with it once we have alleviated poverty worldwide, nor can we leave it to others to deal with. If you care about development, you must care about the impacts of climate change.”
“To avoid dangerous climate change requires a complete departure from business as usual. A little added ‘greenness’ won’t be enough. We need a wholescale change, a revolution as we had with the industrial revolution, but this time one that weans us off fossil fuels and onto renewable alternatives. This revolution will only be truly successful if, in addition to curtailing dangerous climate change, it results in a more equal world, where no one is left behind and where there is equitable access to the benefits of the transformation.”
The second Frontiers in Development Forum which took place over 18 and 19 September engaged a dynamic community of global thought leaders and development practitioners to address the question: How will we eradicate extreme poverty by 2030?
The Forum participants were convened to discuss ending extreme poverty, and lay the groundwork for a broad coalition of partners committed to this goal. Other speakers on Friday 19 September included US Secretary of State John Kerry, Justine Greening, UK Secretary of State for International Development and Graça Machel, Founder, Foundation for Community Development, Mozambique; Founder, Graça Machel Trust.