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WWF - Rio Anniversary: Wales must use global links to protect planet beyond Brexit

It’s vital that Wales works with international partners on environmental issues as we leave the European Union, according to a major conservation organisation.

Yesterday, (Thursday 22 June) marked five years since the Rio+20 summit, where the Welsh Government signed two international declarations aimed at securing a more sustainable future.

The then Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development, John Griffiths, also used the summit to gather views on the Well-being of Future Generations Act.

Despite progress, the threats facing people and wildlife are increasing. In the five years since Rio+20, we’ve seen a ground-breaking sustainability law passed in Wales to help play our part in tackling big issues like deforestation, loss of wildlife, climate change and pollution. But for a third year in a row the planet’s hottest year ever has been recorded. And The Living Planet Report warns that unless we act now, wildlife populations will decline by 67% by 2020.

Jessica McQuade, Policy and Advocacy Officer at WWF Cymru, attended the summit in Rio in 2012.

Commenting on the anniversary, she said:

“In the last five years we’ve had stark warnings about the future of our planet. Our world is getting warmer, resources are under pressure, and we’re losing the precious plants and wildlife we treasure.

“We have to do everything we can to give our children and grandchildren a better future. Wales has recognised the need for a more sustainable and globally responsible approach to our development. WWF Cymru wants to use this anniversary of Rio + 20 to remind politicians of the issues we face and the urgent need to act to protect our planet. By using Wales’ long-standing links with other nations and regions around the world it will help us to become the ‘globally responsible’ nation we aspire to be.”

Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, said:

“We are a small country but I’m proud of Wales’ leading role on sustainable development, and our track record of working with other nations, states and regions. We are putting ground breaking legislation into practice and sharing experiences of this globally will be important in the years ahead. In the context of Brexit, we need to continue working with partners both in Europe and beyond – these challenges need international solutions. The networks we have already joined through our participation in UN agreements, will give us a great platform to build on.”

Former Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development John Griffiths AM, who attended the Rio+20 summit, added:

“It was a great experience to attend Rio in 2012, to share what we were doing in Wales and learn from other countries. Wales has taken a strong role on sustainability in the last five years and I look forward to seeing the legislation put into practice. I’m confident our experience will inspire other countries to act.”

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