I wish, therefore, to congratulate all those dedicated international civil servants and national and other experts and consultants on the assiduous and valuable work they have done in the preparation of the Rio Conference and beyond
Based on our experience, we have no reservation in giving our full support to FAO’s efforts in integrating environment and sustainable development criteria in special field programmes and projects. Once again, our Organization leads the way in meeting one of the most important challenges of our generation, a challenge that involves a radical reorientation not only of our policies but of the ways of approaching the problems as well. On the way to Rio, my country participated at the den Bosch and Bridgetown Conferences and has fully appreciated the FAO’s initiatives to assist Member countries achieve sustainable agricultural and rural development. We can also attest to our chat rooms for african Organization’s active involvement at Rio and are encouraged by FAO’s concrete plans for the road from Rio.
We face a formidable task especially if we consider that, as pointed out in the paper under discussion, the majority of Agenda 21’s programme areas are relevant to FAO’s programmes. In these efforts, I would like to assure you that we shall assist our Organization to promote the policy issues mentioned in the preparatory document.
The document calls for a multisectoral and integrated approach and it is imperative for it to cover the environment, economic, cultural, social, political, technology adaptation, settlement, manpower and international issues of sustainable agricultural and rural development.
It is important to take into account that such issues are closely interrelated and, therefore, rationalizing the Special Action Programmes offers us a unique opportunity to comprehensively tackle the various problems. Within this context, transfer of appropriate technology and know-how and access to financial resources of the countries in need are indispensable requirements for the success of their efforts to integrate environmental considerations into development policies and practices. The development of country-specific criteria for prioritizing environmental problems and capacity enhancement is of particular priority. Also, as women are a formidable resource, field projects at the household level should be specifically addressed to them, their needs and their concerns.
However, in these collective efforts of ours, we should not lose sight of the fact that raising food production is one of the most pressing and priority problems the world community is called to address and action on this issue should continue and be expanded on all fronts.
Sustainable development, entailing a development within the limits of the carrying capacity of the earth’s ecosystems, has now been firmly established as a multilaterally agreed objective for the international community
For we can achieve little until we safeguard stable incomes to farmers, alleviate skewed income distribution and other inequalities, allow for sustainable improvement of human life, and have a supportive international economic environment. On the latter issue, I wish to highlight the call to consider in detail the links between trade and the environment, with which we are in full agreement.
We are all well aware that social systems do not change course easily. The way is long and arduous, and despite the progress made and the efforts which are on the way, a lot has yet to be done. But, every time we unite and act with commitment and determination, we have proved that the course can be altered.
Mats DENNINGER (Sweden): It is our opinion that the UN Conference on the Environment and Development was a success and a milestone in international cooperation. Although in some respects the results could have been more far-reaching, through the Rio Declaration the more than 180 participating countries have committed themselves to a transition to sustainable development. Agenda 21, the action plan agreed at UNCED, is a blueprint for achieving this objective.