EXCLUSIVE: Angel Gurria on environmental sustainability and financial crisis

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Mon, 20 Sep 2010 23:30 GMT
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NEW YORK (AlertNet) - Fallout from the financial crisis is hampering efforts to prevent climate change, Angel Gurria, secretary general of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, told AlertNet in New York on Monday.

While some people are struggling financially, "the crisis is being used as an excuse by people who probably were never too convinced or never really wanted to allocate resources to fighting climate change and to promote biodiversity," he said.

"We have to educate people and get back the sense of urgency -- or emergency."

Gurria was participating in a six-person panel discussion at the American Museum of Natural History about biodiversity, ecosystems and climate change at a side event of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Summit.

MDG 7, one of the development goals under discussion this week by leaders at the U.N. aims to ensure environmental sustainability and reduce by half the number of people without access to safe drinking water.

Eight goals were established in 2000 to be achieved by 2015 intended to improve the standard of living for the world's poor.