FROM RIO 92 TO RIO+20: IN­TER­VIEW WITH H.E. AL­FREDO LEONI

H.E. Al­fredo Leoni, Am­bas­sador of Brazil to Pak­istan, an­swered some ques­tions about Rio+20 and Brazil­ian poli­cies to­wards sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment.

The Diplomatic Insight - - Rio + 20 Conference -

D.I. - In which sense was Rio+20 dif­fer­ent from Rio+92? A.L - Rio 92 was the last step of a long ne­go­ti­a­tion process, of many im­por­tant doc­u­ments and con­ven­tions on en­vi­ron­ment, such as the Con­ven­tion on Cli­mate Change and the Con­ven­tion on Bio­di­ver­sity. In turn, Rio+20 looks to the fu­ture, build­ing a new sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment agenda. To the ex­tent that Rio 92 was a point of des­ti­na­tion, Rio+20, as stated by Pres­i­dent Dilma, was a de­par­ture point. Rio+20 was not only an en­vi­ron­men­tal con­fer­ence, it was a con­fer­ence on sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment, a con­cept that was for­mu­lated dur­ing the 1980's and that en­com­passes three di­men­sions: the eco­nomic, the en­vi­ron­men­tal, and the so­cial. D.I – What are the poli­cies that Brazil is adopt­ing in or­der to reach sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment goals? A.L - Brazil is tak­ing se­ri­ously the quest for sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment. My coun­try has been tak­ing im­por­tant ac­tions for the last decade in or­der to grow and de­velop with­out dis­re­gard­ing the en­vi­ron­ment, and most im­por­tantly, its peo­ple. Brazil was the ideal coun­try to host this in­cred­i­ble event, be­cause we are also set­ting good ex­am­ples in how to grow in a sus­tain­able way.

D.I – Could you men­tion some ac­tions that Brazil is tak­ing? En­vi­ron­men­tally, Brazil has al­ready reached many goals. We have the big­gest for­est in the world, the Ama­zon For­est, the habi­tat of hun­dreds of thou­sands of species, which we have been able to safe­guard, even while eco­nom­i­cally grow­ing at fast rates. Over the last three years our GDP has grown over 12%, and yet, we have reg­is­tered the low­est rates of de­for­esta­tion in his­tory. We are the sixth big­gest econ­omy of the world, mem­ber of all ma­jor eco­nomic fora, mem­ber of the BRICS, and yet we still have 4.6 mil­lion square kilo­me­ters of un­touched forests. Brazil will not take the same path as the big­gest economies of the past, which have de­struc­ted their en­tire en­vi­ron­ment in or­der to grow. We are set­ting new mod­els and new ways on how to deal with our growth. D.I - And what about the so­cial part? Brazil­ian so­cial pro­grams are widely known and re­spected… That is the most im­por­tant ques­tion. Brazil is be­ing able to share the ben­e­fits of its eco­nomic growth with its pop­u­la­tion. We have de­vel­oped a very ef­fi­cient pro­gram for so­cial in­clu­sion, by the trans­fer of in­come and by guar­an­tee­ing that ev­ery Brazil­ian has at least three meals a day. Through our so­phis­ti­cated so­cial pro­grams, the Brazil­ian Gov­ern­ment man­aged to lift 30 mil­lion peo­ple out of the poverty line, and an im­pres­sive amount of Brazil­ians can en­joy now a much bet­ter qual­ity of life. And this is the real mean­ing of sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment.

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