Rio de Janeiro, BRAZIL (June 22, 2012) — Today’s final outcome from world leaders gathered in Rio lacks urgency at a time when children around the world are relying on bold and immediate steps to improve their lives, says World Vision.
“It is a good thing that an agreement has been reached as it shows a willingness by UN member states to work together to reduce poverty, which is vital,” says World Vision International’s External Relations Director Chris Derksen Hiebert, from Rio. “But they have failed to recognize the real and immediate need to address issues now and, frustratingly, to state their vision for how to ensure big, bold changes are taken to reduce poverty and tackle extreme inequality.”
There are elements of the outcome document that are encouraging for the progress they demonstrate since the last Rio summit in 1992.
“The importance of child health, particularly access to good nutrition and improving food security, has been agreed upon by all parties. This reflects the issues that we believed, coming to Rio, were the most pressing,” says Derksen Hiebert.
But while it’s a step in the right direction, it is only a small one and needs to be quickly followed by several bold actions.
"We are committed to ensuring child health with immediate action, tackling the problems that lead to more than seven million children under the age of five dying each year, the majority from preventable causes,” said World Vision’s Vice President of Advocacy Adam Taylor. “And we will continue to work with governments to turn this week’s words into actions they can be held accountable on.”
There are still three years until the end of the Millennium Development Goals, and the targets relating to child and maternal mortality are too far off track, so attention and focus needs to remain on achieving them, World Vision says. But Rio+20 has marked the beginning of the next chapter of fighting poverty.
“We need to take what was good about the Millennium Development Goals, which have been a powerful tool for rallying people and governments around the issue of poverty, and carry that through,” says Derksen Hiebert. “How we as an international community tackle poverty in the years and decades to come is in the process of being decided – and we want to make sure children and young people are included in that.
“The world is richer than it was the last time we met in Rio, but there is less equity and we are less generous. This isn’t good enough, and in 20 years time I hope we look back and say Rio+20 was the time when that started to change.”
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About World Vision:
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. We serve the world's poor — regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information on their efforts, visit WorldVision.org/press or follow them on Twitter at @WorldVisionNews