Secretary of State for the Environment Caroline Spelman MP will join a discussion with Christian leaders and churchgoers on sustainable development and the future of the planet, to mark Rio+20.
Twenty years on from the original Rio Earth Summit that gave birth to the political consensus that rapid action on environmental protection and climate change was vital, world leaders are meeting again for the Rio+20 Summit in June to discuss The Future We Want.
To mark the Summit, and the urgent need for concerted action on sustainable development, CAFOD, Christian Aid, Progressio and Tearfund are bringing a strong panel together to discuss the issues from a Christian perspective.

Come along to hear the debate on Wednesday 23 May at 'The world we want to see: Rio+20 from a Christian perspective'.
Chaired by the BBC’s environment correspondent Richard Black, the panel will also include The Rt Rev Peter Price, Nanette Antequisa and Dr Steve Waygood.

Panellist Nanette Antequisa, a member of the Beyond 2015 Advisory Group from The Philippines, says: ‘Rio+20 is an important moment that I hope wakes up national governments all around the world. It should be a time for the voices of people living in poverty to be heard and their experience of the need for sustainable development listened to and acted upon. This will require considerable change from the current unsustainable economic path the world is going down. The Summit has the opportunity to set us on a new course for development which is both green and fair.
‘The opportunity to look at the issues at stake through a values-based, Christian lens will allow us to see the strengths the churches and Christian community can bring to the debate, and also where we can do better to bring about long-lasting, positive change.’

The Rt Rev Peter Price, the Lord Bishop of Bath and Wells, commented: ‘We need to see these development issues as not about charity, but about justice. It's time to remind the world's governments that the world's poor need ways to ensure sustainable development that helps everyone, not just a few.

‘This is about people's basic human rights to clean water and proper sanitation; it's about enabling communities to work together for their common good. The world we want to see is achievable, and not so far out of our grasp. We should keep on praying, hoping and working for it.’

Listen to Caroline Spelman MP talking about Christian perspectives for Rio+20 to BBC Radio 4's Sunday programme on Sunday 20 May 2012 (in interview with Ed Stourton from about 31 minutes in).

The Secretary of State for the Environment, Caroline Spelman MP, will provide a view from the UK government on this debate, saying: ‘Feeding a growing population, providing clean water and a secure energy supply are challenges that we must address on economic, environmental and ethical grounds. The Rio+20 Summit is a unique opportunity for nations to come together to put the world back on the right track. We need to address these problems, and in doing so raise people out of poverty and create a green economy that delivers sustainable growth.
‘This debate on “The Future We Want” is an exciting chance to hear views from the Christian community about these challenges and what we should be aiming for at Rio.’

Speakers are expected to address their vision of the world they want to see, the barriers preventing this and the way ahead.



Notes to Editors:

1. The debate will take place on Wednesday May 23, 2012, at 6.30pm at Westminster Central Hall, London SW1H 9NH.

2. For interviews or further information, please contact Sara Guy, Tearfund at or 07595 202 438 / 020 8943 7779.