The Way Forward

5/15/2008 // "One of the most important tasks at present is to integrate climate change adaptation measures with disaster risk reduction as part of the sustainable development effort," said Ambassador Ms. Mona Elisabeth Brøther at the Commission on Sustainable Development High Level Segment: The Way Forward 14 May 2008.

The inter-linkage between food security and climate change must be at the core of our analysis today. Climate change is closely linked with the thematic cluster of this CSD session. Climate change may result in worsening food security, since it is likely to be accompanied by more frequent and more severe drought and land degradation. Food crops may not have sufficient adaptive capacity. Natural hazard events such as floods and hurricanes are also likely to be more frequent and intense, and these factors threaten to reverse the progress made towards sustainable development.

Recent history provides ample evidence of how such events can lead to humanitarian disasters. It is now time to act on the evidence. In our opinion, one of the most important tasks at present is to integrate climate change adaptation measures with disaster risk reduction as part of the sustainable development effort.

Adaptation to climate change and disaster risk reduction should be integrated into key sectoral policies, such as agriculture, land management, energy, natural resource management and urban development. The primary objective should be to improve the situation of the poor and the most vulnerable groups, in particular women and children.

A cross-sectoral issue raised during this session has been the role of women, their empowerment in agriculture and land management, and their role in fighting desertification. A concerted effort should be made to secure women’s rights and their role as change agents.

Moreover, the need to focus on and support efforts at local level to ensure sound and sustainable development can no longer be ignored. Partnerships with grassroots and other civil society organizations are essential. To make this happen we need political leadership.

Given the recent concerns over the effects of biofuel production on food prices, food availability and net greenhouse gas savings, Norway believes it is important to establish suitable international sustainability criteria and an international sustainability scheme for biofuels. It is of the utmost importance to prevent the production and use of biofuels that have negative environmental and social impacts, and to ensure promotion of the best biofuels and production methods. In Norway’s view, the UN should be mandated to develop international guidelines.

Agriculture and land management is crucial in the efforts to reduce hunger and poverty, to improve rural livelihoods and to achieve sustainable development. Agriculture, particularly in Africa, will need to adapt to climate change to be able to sustain and increase food production. If this fails there is a risk of decreased food security and consequent humanitarian disasters caused by hunger in vulnerable areas, such as drylands.

This session of CSD has shown that we lag behind on the goal of sanitation, in particular in Africa and South-Asia. It is of high importance that we speed up the work on sanitation. Only then, the well-being and better health for women and children can be within reach. It is, Mr. Chairman, also a matter of dignity.

In concluding, I would like to stress the important role of the CSD as the main forum for dealing with sustainable development in its broadest possible sense. These sessions provide an opportunity for interlinked and integrated discussions of issues that are at the top of the international agenda. This year’s thematic issues are matters of life and death for large numbers of people.

Thank you

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