Rio + 20

Justice and Aid Network, supporting Oxfam’s ‘Grow’ campaign:

it’s time to build a future where everyone always has enough to eat


Rio +20 : the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development

20th – 22nd June 2012


WHAT IS RIO +20…?          Twenty years on from the ‘Earth Summit’ held atRio in 1992, the governments of the world are again looking at progress on sustainability – our use of food, energy and resources.

WHY DOES IT MATTER…?           Tonight, an average of one in seven of the world’s population will go to bed hungry. The global summit in June 2012 presents a rare opportunity for world leaders to unite and achieve a global commitment to make a difference and address this injustice.

WHAT’S THE RISK?        Global summits do not in themselves deliver success (the G20 atSeoul in 2010 didn’t) but they can, and sometimes do, secure the collective commitment needed to drive action (Kyoto was the reason many countries have made an effort to reduce carbon emissions and Gleneagles was critical in securing spending on development).

However, global summits don’t make big promises unless civil society demands it; this is where we can make a difference.

WHAT NEEDS DOING…?   We need to say loudly and clearly what we want. The Brazilian hosts of the conference are keen to secure meaningful input; food security and agriculture is already being suggested by many as a key sector on which the summit could focus. Oxfam agrees, asking for action on investment in smallholder farming, promotion of sustainable agriculture and the reversing of damaging economic policies.

Caroline Spelman MP (the UKSecretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) has already complained that the initial proposal from the UN “lacks focus and ambition” and described the need for Rio +20 “to be a workshop, not a talking shop”. In a speech on 9th February, she noted that the UK “will be pushing for a clear commitment to sustainable development . . . from politicians around the world”. She emphasised the “need to make clear that long term, sustainable growth can only be achieved with efficient use of resources; reduction of carbon emissions; and the eradication of poverty”.

WHAT SHOULD WE DO…?           Oxfam and The Co-operative Group are already asking the UK Government to champion small-scale farmers and co-operatives at the summit. Both Nick Clegg and Caroline Spelman will be attending the Rio summit – please contact them* let them know that we share their desire for change and ask them to please stand up for small-scale farmers at Rio +20 by championing:

  • fair and sustainable methods of increasing global food production;
  • the crucial role of small-scale farmers and co-operatives;
  • increased investment in sustainable small-scale agriculture, to lift farmers (many of whom are women) out of poverty.

*write to:        Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP, Deputy Prime Minister, 70Whitehall,London SW1A 2AS

            &         Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs,

                        DEFRA, Nobel House,17 Smith Square,LondonSW1P 3JR

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT…?            Starting 22nd April (with the visit of the Malawian rice farmers) and continuing over the coming weeks, the Justice and Aid Network at St Mary’s hope to offer a chance to involve local politicians in this process and also to raise awareness within the community beyond the Cathedral.

References and further information… [& keep checking the Justice & Aid sections on the Noticeboard & Website]

Oxfam Grow Campaign:
The official Rio +20 website:
Caroline Spelman on 9th Feb: