The Environmental Audit Committee has today published the report of its recent public debate on the Rio Earth Summit agenda, which took place at St Martin-in-the-Fields, London.
Joan Walley MP, Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee said:
"The Secretary General of the UN has labelled the Rio+20 Conference as one of the most important conferences in the history of the United Nations. The dates were even changed so as not to clash with the Diamond Jubilee to enable Commonwealth countries to attend. In not attending the Rio Earth Summit, the Prime Minister is sending out a powerful signal that the UK Government does not see sustainability as a priority.
Public attention is understandably focused on the financial crisis, but we risk sleep walking into an even worse environmental crisis if world leaders cannot find a greener and cleaner way of developing our economies in future. It is down to us to find these solutions and to insist that our governments do so too.
The event at St Martin-in-the-Fields was organised to highlight the importance of the Earth Summit and we will be sending this report to the Deputy Prime Minister and his negotiating team who are heading out to Rio for the talks next week. We shall also be questioning Secretary of State Caroline Spelman on Tuesday about the preparations."
The Environmental Audit Committee have produced a previous report on the Rio+20 agenda, and since then there has been a debate in the House of Commons on that report and the Government’s response to it. The Committee intends to examine the outcomes of the Rio+20 Summit, and the action the UK will need to take, later in the year. That will provide an opportunity to review the way the Government approached the Summit and its role there. Key issues to be examined will be the extent to which the Government shows leadership at the Summit on the green economy agenda, and subsequently whether the Government revisits its 'Enabling the Transition strategy' to reflect the outcomes of the Summit.