From: WWF
Published April 30, 2011 08:14 AM

World Wildlife Federation turns 50!

A summit of environmental leaders and politicians has called for an urgent move towards a global green economy in order to achieve sustainable development over the next half century.

Low-carbon technology, green infrastructures, investment in renewable energy and sustainable agriculture were all listed as being essential in combatting climate change, poverty and water shortages.

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Speaking at the event today, convened by WWF to mark the global conservation organisation's 50th anniversary, EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said that unless biodiversity is adequately protected the consequences would be "catastrophic".

"Biodiversity and ecosystem services must be protected, valued and adequately restored," said Commissioner Potočnik. "It's essential for human wellbeing and in our own self-interest. If we do not preserve ecosystems we will push biodiversity over the tipping point beyond which changes become irreversible and possibly even catastrophic. It is an irrefutable fact that global consumption and use of resources is the biggest factor in a sustainable future."

The specially-convened roundtable - "Public Sector Voices on Conservation in the next Half-Century" brought Mr Potočnik together with leaders from Asia and Europe to set out their vision of the state of the planet in 50 years' time. WWF International President Yolanda Kakabadse, chairing the debate in Zurich, told the audience "We are here to celebrate 50 years of WWF - but we want to look forward, not back. What is the next half century going to bring in terms of water, food and life on earth?"

Bhutan's Minister of Agriculture and Forests, Dr. Pema Gyamtsho pledged that within ten years, as part of its drive towards sustainability, Bhutan would be the world's first totally organic country. He said water security was the biggest challenge facing his country - but one which could only be solved through global action.

"What happens in the Himalayas and South Asia is going to impact all of us. Can we afford to wait until 2050 to limit temperature rises to two degrees celsius? Two degrees will be too much and 2050 will be too late." said Dr. Gyamtsho. "We need to act now - many areas are already suffering shortage of drinking water."

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