THE BISHOPS of England and Wales have expressed their dismay at the lack of international political will to implement environmental agreements.
In a statement issued this week, in advance of next month's World Summit on Sustainable Development, the bishops warned that the future of the planet was threatened and they urged all Catholics to pay "close and prayerful attention". The summit, held this year in Johannesburg, South Africa, will assess the progress of environmental initiatives agreed at the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992 which set world guidelines for pollution and the consumption of natural resources.
The bishops said the decision at Rio "to put into action 'sustainable development' seeking a just, participatory and sustain
able society with its clear Christian roots, received resounding support from the Church".
But in the 10 years since the Earth Summit, the deterioration of the global environment has continued "unchecked" and the gap between the North and South has continued to grow, the bishops said.
"Quite simply, we must slow down to enable the weakest members of our world to catch up. God desires that all should share the benefits from the earth's riches the poor as well as the wealthy," they said.
"Sustainable development, which inherently carries with it true justice, should not be seen as an option but as a right.
Only through the realisation of this right to development can a country develop a strong modern national economy to actively take part in an inclusive, global economy."