3. climate security
4. energy crisis
5. financial crisis
7. health security
9. natural disasters, preparedness, and recovery
10. water scarcity
SEVEN KEY AREAS OF PRIORITY
The preparations preceding Rio+20 highlighted seven (7) critical issues of importance.
First, the global economic recession took an enormous toll on jobs around the world. Global unemployment rates remain tremendously high, and to combat these levels "green jobs" is where job creation expects to come from in the coming years. One of the themes of the summit is a "green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication."
Second, energy encompasses all of the major challenges presented at the conference. Energy needs and global economic strengthening are inextricably linked, so much so that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has an initiative titled "Sustainable Energy for All" (SE4ALL). His goal is to increase the use of renewable energy and spur efficiency around the world. The Secretary-General has the backing of the United States, who launched their own set of programs in support of the leader of the U.N.
Third, cities face considerable challenges in the near future. Populations in urban centers continue to expand as people move there to search for jobs. As a result, an increasing population in cities places enormous burdens on social services, creates congestion, and further worsens an already horrific pollution problem. The conference anticipates discussions on creating sustainable cities.
Fourth, the matter of food production and its accompanying security is an item atop the agenda at Rio+20 this week. Climate change puts additional hardships on agricultural development as fluctuations in weather patterns wreak havoc on growing seasons. An estimated 925 million people are deemed hungry in the world today, and population growth only exacerbates the chronic global hunger problem.
Fifth, water expects to garner equal billing with food production as life's sustaining resource is facing critical scarcity. Matters of quality and accessibility are problematic. Climate change also has a role as weather shifts create sustained droughts diminishing the water supply. In addition, scarcity in areas of the world where nations share water supplies has the potential for conflict breaking out as each tries to take their rightful share.
Sixth, the worlds' oceans and their sustainability face critical dilemmas as well that conference delegates are certain to address at some point during their meetings.
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