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Despite the numerous international agreements adopted in recent years, humanity has been unable to bring to a halt and reverse the adverse realities of a world facing greater pollution, global warming, a scarcity of potable water, the destruction of forests and other calamities, said Fernando Gonzalez Bermudez, acting Minister of Science, Technology and the Environment on Monday.

Gonzalez gave the opening speech to the Sixth International Environment and Development Convention that brings together around 750 delegates from 23 nations at the Havana Convention Center.

The Cuban official said the main negative impacts of the environmental deterioration fall on the populations of the poor nations because they lack the infrastructure and necessary resources to confront the dramatic situation.

Gonzalez noted that the most optimistic predictions state that by the end of the 21st Century, the Earth will see an increase in the average temperature of 1.8 degrees Celsius. Expert estimates predict that between 20 and 30 percent of the known plant and animal species are in danger of extinction.

He also estimated that two thirds of the worlds population could face a lack of water generating social and economic tensions of such a magnitude that could lead to new wars over control of such a valued resource.

Gonzalez underscored the contrast of this dark global scenario with Cubas efforts to promote a national environmental policy based on the promotion of the nations sustainable economic and social development, and recognition of its citizens right to have a healthy environment in which to live.

Our country, he assured, shows the most irrefutable example of what can be achieved on the path of a viable model of sustainability, when the political will and the support of the citizens to fulfill the objectives and goals exists.

The Conventions opening ceremony was attended by Ulises Rosales del Toro, member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of Cuba and Minister of the Sugar Industry; Commander of the Revolution Guillermo Garcia Frias; Manuel Menendez Castellanos, Chief of the Support and Coordination Group of the Commander in Chief; Ricardo Sanchez Sosa, Director of the Caribbean Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean of the United Nations Environment Program; Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart, scientific advisor to the Council of State, as well as Deputy Ministers of the Environment of several Latin American nations, officials of international organizations and invited personalities.

Source: Granma

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