The Intersessional Preparatory Meeting (IPM) for the 17th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-17) opened on Monday morning, 23 February 2009, at UN Headquarters in New York. Delegates offered opening statements, heard presentations from major groups, and discussed small island developing states’ (SIDS) situation with regard to the CSD-17 thematic cluster: Africa, agriculture, desertification, drought, land and rural development.
For the past year, the world has seen a food crisis, an energy crisis, a financial crisis, a global recession and, of course, the looming climate crisis. These are generally discussed separately in different ministries, different university faculties and different policy forums. The Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting of the Commission on Sustainable Development, which begins today, sees them as interconnected and suggests that the only way of addressing them effectively is through integrated solutions.
The food crisis -an estimated 963 million people are suffering from hunger and malnutrition with many more are at risk due to volatile prices and supplies -- came to the centre of global attention last year when prices for food staples increased dramatically, sharply affecting the poor and the vulnerable. The Commission on Sustainable Development, whose goal is to ensure that actions are not only economically efficient, but also ecologically sound, and socially equitable -- otherwise they would be unsustainable -- seeks both short- and long-term solutions to the crisis.
Allocate some land and water resources to non-food crops (including, where appropriate, biofuels), while protecting the world’s forests, biodiversity and soils. It asks for investing in the capacity of poor communities to adapt to climate change. It asks for a scaling up of rural development experiences, and empowerment of rural communities. It asks for the empowerment of women as a critical building block of the collective response to the multiple crises.