Rio+20 must put the interests of world's poorest first | ActionAid UK

Rio+20 must put the interests of world's poorest first

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“A billion people will go hungry tonight as summit officials open the way for a massive boom in biofuels sneaked in under the veil of sustainable energy” – Clare Coffey, ActionAid UK

As the G20 failed to look beyond the Eurozone crisis to address the plight of 1 billion hungry people around the world, all hopes shift to key players at the Rio+20 earth summit. 

ActionAid calls on the developed world at this critical moment to put the world’s poor before its own interests and rule out biofuels from any new commitments to sustainable development.

As further evidence of the absurdity of biofuels emerges, with the revelation that $22 billion of tax payers’ money is used to shore-up the world’s biofuel industries every year, ActionAid UK reminds the Summit that the problems of biofuels cannot be ignored. 

More than just a false ‘green’ solution, biofuels are driving world poverty and hunger.

While some progress has been made to recognise people’s right to food in the Rio+20 Summit text, big players in the world’s agri- and petroleum businesses are succeeding in suppressing any language to address the urgent issue of food being diverted to fuel. “We welcome an acknowledgement of the right to food in the draft Rio+20 document,  but people can’t eat empty promises”, says Clare Coffey, Policy Adviser at ActionAid UK.  “A billion people will go hungry tonight as summit officials open the way for a massive boom in biofuels sneaked in under the veil of sustainable energy.”

Rio+20 host Brazil has shown the world that poverty can be tackled with programmes and public policies for social protection.  It can now take the lead against world hunger by ensuring that biofuels play no part in any agreements to increase renewable energy.“If the main players at Rio+20 are serious about addressing hunger and poverty, they must break their silence on biofuels”, concluded Coffey.

ActionAid is also calling for a commitment to financing small holder farmers that are feeding the majority of the world and climate resilient and sustainable agricultural models that can help adapt to a changing climate without drawing on finite energy resources.

>> Sign our biofuels petition