Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday appealed to Afro-Asian countries to work together for best outcomes at the climate change negotiations and the coming Rio+20 conference.

Mr. Singh inaugurated the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Afro-Asian Rural Development Organisation (AARDO), which took the political changes in Egypt in its stride.

The AARDO president, who hails from Egypt, could not attend the function. The organisation has 15 African countries and 14 Asian nations as its members. Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh presided over the function.

Dr. Singh appealed to the member-countries to work together to build a favourable international regime to access funds and green technologies for rural growth. “I believe that in future, we need to tackle the short-term and long-term environmental challenges that our economies face.”

In pursuing the common goal, the member-countries would have to draw upon their knowledge, tradition and wisdom, while scientists and experts would have to reflect on technologies and processes that were most suitable for the rural conditions.

Dr. Singh recalled the Ethiopia's concern, expressed by its Prime Minister Meles Zenawi last year on the subject of “green economy and structural transformations in Africa” underscoring the threat to resource base in agriculture in Africa and the view that green development was central to transforming agriculture in the continent.

Dr. Singh agreed with the stress of late Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai on a holistic approach to development as exemplified in the Green Belt Movement, which linked environmental preservation to women's empowerment, democracy and peace. He supported her view that solutions to most of “our” problems must come from “us.”

Stressing that three-quarters of the world's poor lived in Asia and Africa, Dr. Singh said rural reconstruction and poverty eradication were fundamental to sustainable development and inclusive growth and the AARDO had a vital role to play in the collective battle against hunger, disease, and despair that afflicted large segments of the population concerned.

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