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.
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.