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Concluding Remarks by Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director at the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development Meeting

Advancing Agriculture in a Copenhagen Agreed Outcome and Beyond

Brussels, 25 June 2009 - Distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,

It can be a bit tough delivering the concluding remarks at a conference to which one has only just arrived.

But let me say that I attach the highest importance to your theme and your goals.

I am a development economist by education and by training: but agriculture was in my blood from a very young age - indeed I was raised on a farm on Brazil.

Meanwhile, climate change and the urgent need to seal a scientifically-credible deal in Copenhagen in just 164 days time is among the central preoccupations of an Executive Director of UNEP.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Green Economy and Agriculture

In response to the food, fuel, financial and economic crises, UNEP launched its Global Green New Deal/Green Economy initiative last October.

In a world of multiple challenges - including the aforementioned ones - plus climate change and looming natural resource scarcity the economy needs an urgent transition to a low carbon, resource efficient path.

Every dollar, yen, Euro and rupee needs to work on multiple fronts to deliver multiple opportunities.

Markets need the right signals and incentives to become investors rather than miners of the planet and its life support systems - that includes the atmosphere, that includes our forests, our freshwaters and our soils. - that includes our farmers and our food producers.

Agriculture and climate change are two key cornerstones of the Green Economy initiative, so I am delighted to have been invited here today.

I believe there is much that can be done to make agriculture and food production generally far more climate friendly and an ally in combating climate change, while also improving the lives and incomes of farmers and perhaps delivering alternative or diversified livelihoods.

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