Former Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Helen Clark, last night presented to an audience of 350 a State of the Nation’s Environment public address at Lincoln University.
Staff, students, public figures and members of the community turned out to hear from Miss Clark in her capacity as Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme.
The theme of the address was ‘What does the outcome of Rio+20 mean for sustainable development?’ and Miss Clark covered not only the outcomes from the controversial Rio+20 but also the issues developed and developing countries are facing in today’s economic environment, and what this means for sustainable development on a global scale.
Her talk and the many questions from the audience explored such issues as the role of women in developing countries; whether China should be used as a role model for other nations to lift citizens out of poverty; and whether GDP is a good measure of how well a nation is lifting its sustainable development outcomes. The goal of the UN Development Programme, led by Helen Clark, is to eradicate extreme poverty around the world. This involves consideration of factors such as food security, rural communities, renewable energy and environmental crises. Sustainable development is a fundamental aspect of the programme’s work.
Lincoln University has long been recognised as a specialist land-based university. Not surprisingly, both the environment and sustainability feature very highly in the University’s research and teaching. The State of the Nation’s Environment annual address was initiated in 1999 and each year a high profile figure is invited to make a commentary on some aspect of the environment. This event has become very well established and is a highlight for those interested in debating current environmental and sustainability issues.
Miss Clark’s written speech can be viewed here or you can listen to her address (MP3 11MB), which includes the questions and answers.