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UN report is right to demand action on global destruction and inequality

January 30 2012 - A new UN report warning that the world is environmentally exhausted and staggeringly unequal is a welcome wake-up call, Christian Aid says today.

‘We are delighted that the Global Sustainability Panel report highlights the two fundamental failings of our time - the threat to our planet from over-exploitation and the extreme and worsening inequality which drives poverty across the world,’ said Dr Alison Doig, Christian Aid’s expert on sustainable development.

‘We also emphatically welcome the report’s call for human development efforts to be refocused on combating inequality while requiring sustainability. This analysis must now shape the successor to the Millennium Development Goals to end global poverty.’

The new report, Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A Future Well Worth Choosing, was written by a 22-member panel of global leaders chaired by the Presidents of South Africa and Finland and set up by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Dr Doig added: ‘The report describes the enormous and unsustainable exploitation of planetary resources underpinning the last decades of economic growth and also shows that this is only half the story.

‘The other half is the astonishing inequality in the distribution of the benefits of this irresponsible natural asset-stripping. The wealthy 20 per cent of the world currently consumes 80 per cent of natural resources while the poorest 20 per cent do not have enough for a decent standard of living.

‘It is critically important to deal with these twin crises – unsustainability and inequality – together, as the new report argues.

‘With Rio+20 this year and the G20 meeting in Mexico, the world’s governments and most powerful leaders have a major opportunity to set the planet on a new course towards a fairer and greener economy.

‘The report recommends very practical measures which can be taken now, such as committing to a target for universal access to clean modern energy.  This is a commitment that the world can make, to the poorest people on earth who are living in the dark with no electricity or clean cooking fuels.’

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For more information and interviews, contact Rachel Baird on 0207 523 2446 or rbaird@christian-aid.org

Notes to Editors:

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in nearly 50 countries. We act where the need is greatest, regardless of religion, helping people build the lives they deserve.

2. Christian Aid has a vision, an end to global poverty, and we believe that vision can become a reality. Our report, Poverty Over, explains what we believe needs to be done – and can
be done – to end poverty.  Details at http://www.christianaid.org.uk/Images/poverty-over-report.pdf

3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of 100 churches and church-related organisations that work together inhumanitarian assistance and development.  Further details at http://www.actalliance.org

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit www.christianaid.org.uk