§ Malcolm Bruce
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department(a) has taken and (b) plans to take to strengthen the implementation of (i) the Rio Declaration, (ii) Agenda 21 and (iii) other commitments made at (a) Rio in 1992 and (b) the United Nations General Assembly Special Section in 1997. 4W
§ Mr. Meacher
On question(a), the UK's sustainable development strategy, "A Better Quality of Life" (1999), sets out the many steps that DEFRA and its predecessors have taken to implement the various Rio agreements and the outcome of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session in 1997. The Department has led the world on the elaboration of sustainable development indicators to assess progress. The Government's first annual review of progress towards sustainable development, "Achieving a Better Quality of Life", was published in January 2001. This is available at www.sustainable-development.gov.uk. We have ratified the conventions on Biodiversity, Climate Change and Desertification, which were products of the Rio process, and we have made particular efforts in the promotion of Local Agenda 21.
Our future plans, (b), include the publication of a DEFRA sustainable development strategy and implementation of the recently published fuel poverty strategy and waste strategy. We are also implementing the outcomes on fisheries quotas from the December 2001 Fisheries Council, and the recommendations of the Independent Policy Commission on the Future of Farming and Food. DEFRA's formation itself underlines the Government's commitment to delivering a more sustainable development focused agenda on food, farming and rural communities. "Working for the Essentials of Life", published in March, sets out DEFRA's plans for the future.
§ Malcolm Bruce
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her Department's priorities are for the Rio+10 Summit in Johannesburg towards the objectives of(a) poverty eradication and (b) sustainable production and consumption for the UK; and what the priorities of the European Group are. 
§ Mr. Meacher
Poverty eradication through sustainable development will be a top priority for the UK at the summit. We are keen to ensure that WSSD outcomes should assist progress towards achieving the millennium development goals (MDGs). Actions on poverty and effective management of natural resources are often mutually reinforcing.
De-coupling economic growth from environmental degradation will be central to achieving sustainable production and consumption patterns in both the north and the south, though developed countries have to take the lead. Resource productivity is a concept which underpins actions in particular sectors, such as switching from heavily polluting fossil fuels to cleaner fossil fuels and other low carbon fuel sources, changing demand patterns in favour of environmentally sustainable products and production processes by, for example, raising consumer awareness and promoting certification initiatives and supporting innovation to develop more sustainable technologies.
The priorities of the European Union are currently under discussion and will develop as the agenda becomes more firm.