17 May 2002


Compiled by Richard Sherman

Edited by Kimo Goree 

Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

Distributed exclusively to the 2002SUMMIT-L list by IISD Reporting Services

For more information on the WSSD, visit IISD's Linkages Portal at


Editor's note: Welcome to the second issue of WSSD.Info News, compiled by Richard Sherman. We hope to provide this service on at least a fortnightly basis from now through the Summit. If you should come across a news article or have a submission for the next issue, please send it directly to Richard. WSSD.Info News is an exclusive publication of IISD for the 2002SUMMIT-L list and should not be reposted or republished to other lists/websites without the permission of IISD (you can write Kimo for permission.) If you have been forwarded this issue and would like to subscribe to 2002SUMMIT-L, please visit


Funding for the production of WSSD.Info News (part of the IISD Reporting Services annual program) has been provided by The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Canada (through CIDA), the United States (through USAID), the Swiss Agency for Environment, Forests and Landscape (SAEFL), the United Kingdom (through the Department for International Development - DFID), the European Commission (DG-ENV), the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Government of Germany (through German Federal Ministry of Environment - BMU, and the German Federal Ministry of Development Cooperation - BMZ). General Support for the Bulletin during 2002 is provided by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Environment of Finland, the Government of Australia, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of New Zealand, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Environment of Norway, Swan International, and the Japanese Ministry of Environment (through the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies – IGES). If you like News, please thank them for their support.












8)       HIGH HOPES ON JOHANNESBURG SUMMIT (The Jakarta Post 15 May 2002)




12)   US DASHES HOPES FOR CLIMATE DEAL (The Guardian 14 May 2002)


BRUNDTLAND (World Health Organisation Press Release 13 May 2002)





19)   ERNA WITOELAR STAYS TRUE TO THE FIGHT IN A TROUBLED WORLD (The Jakarta Post via Financial Times 11 May 2002)

20)   POLLUTION-RELATED DISEASES KILL MILLIONS OF CHILDREN A YEAR (World Health Organisation Press Release 9 May 2002)





25)   DIFFERENCES MAY MAR EARTH SUMMIT (The Times of India via Financial Times 8 May 2002)






31)   MPS TO DEBATE ENVIRO CONCERNS (The Namibian 3 May 2002)



34)   PRESS STATEMENT ISSUED BY THE WSSD CIVIL SOCIETY SECRETARIAT (3 May 2002 Donor Round-Table Meeting organised by the UNDP and the EU)




38)   ENVIRONMENT ISSUES GET TOP PRIORITY - HAMDAN (Gulf News via Financial Times 3 May 2002)





40)   TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE" (Address by the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to the American Museum of Natural History's Annual "Environmental Lecture" Delivered by Mrs. Nane Annan 14 May 2002)

(South African Ministry of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, 9 May 2002)


43)   WORLD URBAN FORUM CONCLUDING STATEMENT BY THE CHAIR OF THE WORLD URBAN FORUM, Hon. Ms. Sankie D. Mthembi-Mahanyele Minister of Housing South Africa (UN HABITAT 3 May 2002)















Jordan Times

16 May 2002


AMMAN - The heads of the Kingdom's 99 municipalities on Wednesday endorsed the Declaration of Support to the Earth Charter at the Greater Amman Municipality. The adoption of the Earth Charter by local municipalities is intended to promote an integrated and strategic plan in Jordan to advance sustainable development in preparation for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). The event, at which HRH Princess Basma acted as patron, was organised by the Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development (JOHUD) and the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and the Environment, in cooperation with the General Corporation for Environment Protection (GCEP). In addressing yesterday's national gathering, Princess Basma said: "The consequences of wasting natural resources and harming the environment -- especially after the spread of globalisation and its repercussions on the world as a whole -- are no longer limited...but rather everywhere in varying degrees." "Endorsing the Earth Charter Declaration will be to our benefit because it is in agreement with our traditions, values and customs," said the Princess. According to Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs and the Environment Abdul Razzaq Tbeishat, "the Earth Charter forms an `international code of ethics.'" It calls for the "respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, social and economic justice and democracy, non-violence and peace." The charter will "help bridge the North-South gap," said the minister. The Earth Council is an international NGO dedicated to ensuring the follow-up and implementation of the results of the Rio Earth Summit. The task of the commission is to oversee and guide the Earth Charter through to its submission at the United Nations. Princess Basma is a member of the Earth Council and Earth Charter Commission. In March 2002, Princess Basma took part in the meetings of the Earth Charter Commission that were convened at UNESCO headquarters, where the commission finalised and endorsed the Earth Charter and approved its worldwide advocacy campaign. In supporting the Earth Council's initiative in Jordan, the Princess also acted as patron of a conference last October, organised by JOHUD and the Greater Amman Municipality, to spearhead the Declaration of Support to the Earth Charter, which was signed by eight civil society institutions and environmental organisations. The event was followed by an Earth Charter Regional Meeting in November, which brought together around 50 participants from the Arab world to endorse the "Amman Statement of the Earth Charter," and also formulated recommendations within an Arab context, which will be submitted during the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa.



The Guardian

16 May 2002


Britain will today launch its strongest attack on George Bush's rejection of the Kyoto climate protocol, as the government warns that Washington's actions threaten to make the planet "uninhabitable". Angered by the US government's decision to rule out signing up to Kyoto for the next 10 years, the environment minister, Michael Meacher, writes in today's Guardian that the world is running out of time. "We do not have much time and we do not have any serious option. If we do not act quickly to minimise runaway feedback effects [from global warming] we run the risk of making this planet, our home, uninhabitable."  The minister's intervention came after Washington's chief climate negotiator, Harlan Watson, said in London earlier this week that an independent US initiative to cut emissions of greenhouse gases would not be assessed until 2012. "We are not going to be part of the Kyoto protocol for the foreseeable future," he announced.  Mr Watson's remarks prompted an outspoken attack on the US by Mr Meacher. "I am so disappointed that this week the US refused to reconsider coming back into the climate talks for 10 years. The need for action is urgent," he writes.  Tony Blair also admitted last night that Britain and the US were at odds over the Kyoto protocol, the international agreement drawn up to help slow, and mitigate the effects of, climate change.  In an interview on BBC2's Newsnight, the prime minister said: "On Kyoto, there is a difference of opinion. We have made that clear."  Mr Meacher takes a swipe at the US's apparent complacency when he warns that there are strong reasons for "doubting the comforting US picture that there's plenty of time to deal with the problem". The minister adds: "One [reason] is that climate change may be not steady but abrupt; the other is that the pressures we inflict on the climate may trigger wholly unexpected developments from feedback effects."  Latest scientific evidence suggests the impact of climate change on Britain could be "faster and sharper" than expected, says Mr Meacher. Almost two million homes in England and Wales are at risk from floods, and Britain will experience a 65% increase in river flooding if defences do not account for climate change.  "The UN intergovernmental panel on climate change ... has forecast that global average temperatures will rise by between 1.4 to 5.8 degrees Celsius by 2100.  "That may not sound much. But it is worth remembering that the last ice age, when much of the northern hemisphere was buried under an ice pack thousands of feet thick, was triggered by a fall in temperature of only some five degrees Celsius."  A rise in temperature of just 5.8C could melt glaciers and Greenland's ice sheet, causing a rise in sea water that could submerge island nations. Mr Meacher's intervention comes after the deputy prime minister, John Prescott, said he would not attend an environmental summit at a Bali resort next month. Mr Prescott was criticised for considering attending the summit, a preparatory meeting for the Earth Summit in Johannesburg this September. Amid reports that the trip would cost taxpayers £250,000, he said Margaret Beckett, the environment secretary, would be the only cabinet minister attending. Speaking to the parliamentary Labour party, the deputy prime minister said: "I'm not going to Bali. But I live in hope."



Reuters via Planet Ark

16 May 2002


JOHANNESBURG - A leading South African campaigner urged Western nations yesterday to ensure that a forthcoming world development summit produced action to combat AIDS and poverty in Africa and not just words. Zakes Hlatswayo, president of Sangoco, the South African coalition of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), called on the West to avoid adding to a history of major summits whose resolutions were seldom implemented. NGOs, including environmentalists, labour, youth and women's groups, will be represented by a 40,000-strong delegation at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg from August 26 to September 4. A follow-up to the Rio Earth Summit of 1992, it aims to map out a concrete set of action plans to reduce global poverty and the North/South income gap in a sustainable way without inflicting irreparable damage to the environment. Hlatswayo told Reuters there had been past commitments by governments to fight poverty and improve the lives of Africans, but no tangible action followed the lofty promises. The South African government expects 65,000 delegates for the summit, including at least 100 heads of state. "We need the summit to go beyond rhetoric. Churning out another list of development needs will not be good enough, it would be a failure," Hlatswayo said. "To be successful, we would expect institutions to be put in place to implement agreements," he said.


Hlatswayo said South African NGOs and their peers from around the globe would voice their opinions through, forums, pickets and demonstrations, because "one cannot criminalise the expression of ideas, it is a democratic right." "We would like to see a focus on the issues of AIDS and other diseases, on poverty, on easier access to productive resources within southern Africa," he said.  Malaria is Africa's number one killer while AIDS is decimating the cream of African professionals and is considered the continent's biggest development challenge. Africans want greater pressure on Western pharmaceutical companies to provide access to cheaper drugs, especially for AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Hlatswayo said NGOs planning to attend the summit were hampered by a lack of cash as governments had not backed their commitment to ensure civil society participation with money. Only 15 percent of his group's 100-120 million rand (about $10-12 million) budget has been delivered by foreign donors. "My greatest fear, and the fear grows real every day, is that we are not seeing a flow of resources as well as we thought we would have," he said. "The international commitment to NGOs remains purely rhetoric, it is not backed by action." "When you look at Africa as a continent, one cannot avoid seeing the impact of colonisation and deprivation. It is inevitable that we reflect on how this impacts on Africa and (must) provide funding to help reverse things," he said.



Reuters Via Planet Ark

16 May 2002


PARIS - Despite the best efforts of a minority of firms, world industry as a whole is failing to pull its weight on protecting the environment, a United Nations report concluded yesterday.  Advances in the recycling of key materials and in car efficiency were still being outweighed by the effects of increased consumption, including a trend towards disposable products, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) found.  "Despite many good examples of how industries are reducing waste and emissions...we have found that the majority of companies are still doing business as usual," UNEP chief Klaus Toepfer said in a statement.  Issued three months before the Johannesburg "Earth Summit 2" on the environment, the UNEP report sought to measure progress made since the 1992 Rio Earth Summit that aimed to come up with ways of balancing environmental concerns with economic growth.  The report drew on industry evidence that recycled metal now satisfied about a third of world demand for aluminium, while the iron and steel sector was saving energy costs by recovering more of its product from scrap.  Yet it cited the "rebound effect" of industry responding to increased and changing consumer demand with new "throw away" products that generated more ecologically harmful waste.  "The clear message emerges: growing consumption levels are overtaking environmental gains," UNEP found.  Earth Summit 2, running from August 26 to September 4, will aim to hammer out a set of action plans to pull people out of poverty without inflicting damage on the environment. However, there have already been concerns it will fall below expectations. The European Union has said preparations are going ahead too slowly, while ecologist groups have accused the United States of trying to block any major decisions at the summit.



Washington File

15 May 2002


Washington -- U.S. officials preparing for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) see growing support for the creation of action-oriented partnerships between governments, the private sector and citizen groups as the way to fight poverty and improve living standards in countries around the world. The summit, which will be one of the largest gatherings of world leaders ever held, will take place August 26 to September 4 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The meeting comes 10 years after the 1992 Rio Summit on the Environment in which goals were established to guide sustainable development into the future. Anthony Rock, principal deputy assistant secretary of state with the Bureau of Oceans, International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, said in a recent interview that the United States will place heavy emphasis on social development, especially issues related to poverty eradication, at the upcoming Johannesburg Summit.  It is estimated that close to a third of the world's people live on less than two dollars a day and lack access to clean water, sanitation and electricity.  "Poverty not only saps human potential and drains economies, but at the same time is destroying environments and is breeding social unrest," Rock said. "This social unrest and economic instability, and subsequent political unrest, becomes a breeding ground not only for disease and impoverished circumstances, but potentially for crime, corruption and ultimately terrorism." Rock noted that this view -- placing special emphasis on people and poverty eradication -- was repeated several times during his recent trip to Europe, where he met with numerous government and private sector officials and spoke at the European Policy Center. "We believe that you simply will not have sustainable development if you cannot at least raise the quality of life among the world's poverty stricken," Rock said. "So this summit is an opportunity for nations of the world, and particularly the United States, to emphasize the value of coalitions and partnerships ... with the goal of building up the poor and disenfranchised elements of global society."  Rock said that while governments set the basis for development, by and large, development is carried out by the private sector and civil society. "So from our point-of-view, if we don't have partnerships with the private sector and with civil society as part of the process, we will not make an effective contribution to sustainable development," Rock said. International delegates at the latest round of New York-based preparatory talks for the summit supported proposals for partnerships devoted to specific actions to tackle social and environmental concerns. This represents a major departure from business as usual, according to officials. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans, International Environmental and Scientific Affairs John Turner, speaking at a summit preparatory meeting in Johannesburg in April, said delegates expressed strong interest in creating coalitions of partners that can come together to make new commitments to action. Such commitments, he said, "will really make a difference around the globe to lift people's aspirations .. and perhaps to develop some new models ... to incorporate economic, environmental and social agendas." "I truly believe, as does the United States, that Johannesburg offers an historic opportunity to provide a new way of building sustainability," Turner said. Rock said these partnerships would be called on to take action in certain key sectors that are crucial to advancing the poverty eradication agenda of the summit. These key sectors would include water, energy, food security, health and education. Environment ministers from the group of eight (G-8) industrialized countries, meeting April 12-14 in Banff, Canada, reached agreement that the world summit must deliver partnerships that can produce tangible results and mobilize action at all levels.   For example, they called for strategic partnerships to promote sustainable water resource management, including access to safe water and sanitation in developing countries. In the field of energy, they said specific projects are needed to reduce the number of people without access to energy supplies, increase energy efficiency, improve the conservation of energy resources, and develop new technologies and promote the use and share of renewable energy sources. Turner emphasized that the participation of the private sector will be crucial. "Business needs to be at the summit in a major way, ready to make commitments, offering their inputs and ideas," he said.  Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Walter Kansteiner, speaking at the April preparatory meeting in Johannesburg, said that official development assistance is very important, but that ultimately the private sector must get involved to help Africa reach its fullest potential. "In that light, I'm here in South Africa leading a group of private equity fund managers ... (and) talking to African entrepreneurs on what their capital requirements and needs are, and seeing if there isn't a match -- if there isn't a partnership -- between some American capital and some very good African business plans," he said. Rock noted that the most effective poverty-reduction strategy rests with an open, stable, vibrant, growing economy, and that efforts would be focused on ways to strengthen developing country economies to become supporters of their own sustainability. He said, in this regard, the importance of private capital flows cannot be overemphasized. "What goes along with private capital flow is not just the money or the access to markets, but also new technologies, management, good environmental practices, and ultimately that ability of countries to manage their resources more efficiently and adopt sustainable practices," he said. "It's the engine that helps that occur." Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs Alan Larson, speaking recently to the European Partners for the Environment in Brussels, said that foreign investment flows to and among developing countries amount to $200,000 million ($200 billion) annually. He noted that developing countries receive on average about $50 million every year in aid from donor nations, which is much smaller than the amount received from financial flows. "Foreign investment flows to developing countries have grown exponentially and can increase much more as countries put in place sound investment policies," he said. Larson added that official development aid also plays an indispensable role, especially if it helps countries tap into the larger flows of private finance. President Bush, in remarks delivered March 22 at the U.N. Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey, Mexico, proposed a 50-percent increase in U.S. core development assistance over the next three years, which eventually will mean a $5,000 million annual increase over current levels. These new funds will go into what Bush called a new Millennium Challenge Account that fund initiatives to help developing countries improve their economies and standards of living. Bush also called for a new compact for development -- defined by greater accountability for rich and poor nations alike. He said greater contributions from developed nations must be linked to greater responsibility from developing nations. "We must tie greater aid to political and legal and economic reforms," Bush said. "When nations adopt reforms, each dollar of aid attracts two dollars of private investments. When aid is linked to good policy, four times as many people are lifted out of poverty compared to old aid practices."



UNEP News Release

15 May 2002


Industry and the environment - achievements, unfinished business and future challenges. Global launch of 22 Industry Reports prepared for the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development PARIS/NAIROBI, 15 May 2002 - There is a growing gap between the efforts of business and industry to reduce their impact on the environment and the worsening state of the planet, a new report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) reveals today.  This gap, says UNEP, is due to the fact that in most industry sectors, only a small number of companies are actively striving for sustainability, i.e. actively integrating social and environmental factors into business decisions. And, secondly, because improvements are being overtaken by economic growth and increasing demand for goods and services: a phenomenon known as the "rebound effect."  The new findings appear in the UNEP overview report 10 years after Rio: the UNEP assessment. This overview report assesses progress todate by industry on sustainability issues. It draws on the 22 global sustainability reports written by different industry sectors ranging from accounting and advertising to waste and water management. This collection of reports is known as the Industry as a Partner for Sustainable Development series.  "Today, we are still confronted with worsening global trends related to environmental problems like global warming, loss of biodiversity, land degradation, air and water pollution," said Klaus Toepfer, UNEP's Executive Director. "Some companies have risen to the challenge. Such efforts need to be acknowledged and applauded."  "However," Toepfer continued, "The new reports clearly show that progress since Rio has been uneven within and amongst industry sectors and countries. Despite many good examples of how industries are reducing waste and emissions, becoming more energy efficient, and helping poor communities to meet their basic needs we have found that the majority of companies are still doing business as usual."  Congratulating those that have worked with UNEP to produce the industry sector reports, Toepfer said, "The industry associations, and others that embarked on this reporting process with UNEP, are to be congratulated for their first attempt at compiling a global sustainability progress report for their sector."  Each report, written by industry representatives in an unprecedented cooperation with the UN, labor and non-governmental organizations, looks at achievements, unfinished business and future challenges with respect to implementing Agenda 21 - the global action plan to save the planet that was agreed to at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. In response to the findings, UNEP has identified priority areas for business and industry and suggests a number of recommendations. These include: spreading the use of "best practices" that bring "triple dividends' - economic, environmental and social; greater integration of environmental and social criteria into mainstream business decision-making; and improving the implementation and monitoring of voluntary initiatives and industry self-regulation. All the sector reports highlight the crucial role of governments, combining regulatory, economic and voluntary instruments, in spurring social and technological innovation, and in ensuring that laggard or negligent companies do not benefit at the expense of those investing in best practices. "Significant efforts have been made by participating industries in reducing their ecological footprint," said Jacqueline Aloisi de Larderel, UNEP's Assistant Executive Director and director of the team that helped produced the reports. "But, it is in industry's own self-interest to do more to spread best practice and raise the performance levels of all its members everywhere. Not enough companies, particularly small and medium-sized ones are leading the way and there is insufficient monitoring."  Other recommendations from UNEP include the development of "sustainable entrepreneurship" in less developed countries as part of the wider goal to combat poverty, and the need to expand and support environmental and sustainability reporting.  "Since Rio," Mrs Aloisi de Larderel continued, "more than 2000 companies have issued reports on their environmental performance, but corporate sustainability reporting is still a minority practice in many industries and countries, particularly where legal frameworks or public pressure is weak."  Stressing the growing disparity among world regions and the need to make corporate environmental and social responsibility a reality, she said, "There is a growing awareness among business and industry that the social side of global sustainable development needs to be taken into account alongside environmental and economic aspects. The industry reports need to be seen as part of a long-term process of dialogue and what matters is not so much the past, but the direction in which we are heading."


On the positive side, the reports reveal an increased awareness by industry of environmental and social issues. In many cases this is reflected by more environmental reporting and the development and use of tools like ISO 14000, life-cycle management and voluntary commitments to integrate sustainability into business strategies and activities. In some cases, this awareness can be seen in improved environmental performance. This is especially true in areas like cleaner production and waste minimization where there have been significant advances over the last ten years driven largely by business self-interest in reducing treatment costs and increasing competitiveness. For example, the aluminium industry reports that recycled metal now satisfies about a third of world demand for aluminium. It says that total recycling of aluminium in the form of beverage cans show rates that range from 79 % in Japan and 78 % in Brazil to 62 % in the US and 41 % in Europe. In another example, the iron and steel industry reports that by recycling nearly 300 million tonnes of scrap each year, they do not have to extract 475 million tonnes of natural iron bearing ore. They estimate that this saves the energy equivalent of 160 million tonnes of hard coal. On the down side increased economic activity and the associated rise in consumption means waste generation rates per capita continue to increase around the world. New "throw-away" products continue to be introduced by industry to meet changing consumer needs and expectations, with little or no consideration of sustainable development beyond short-term economic gain. The waste industry example is repeated in other reports and the clear message emerges: growing consumption levels are overtaking environmental gains.


In their reports, some industry sectors have outlined specific targets to reduce their impact on the environment and support sustainable development. For example, the Refrigeration industry wants, "to develop more environmentally friendly, energy efficient vapor compression systems with ambitious objectives: reduction of energy consumption by 30 to 50 percent and reduction of refrigerant leakage by 50 per cent." While the chemicals industry says it will, "Develop and implement a core set of quantitative indicators of performance towards achievement of sustainable development." And the Advertising sector wants to "Find brand champions for sustainability." Some reports put emphasis on "best practice." The Electricity report says "electric power companies should implement Guidelines for Best Practices to improve their operations and reduce environmental impacts." And the Food and Drink sector calls for "better global co-ordination... in order to share best practices and to facilitate progress on sustainability, and that sustainable agricultural practices need to be fully supported so that the become increasingly systematic and globally widespread." Others sectors keep their future challenges and commitments more general. The automotive sector says it will "further enhance the ecological efficiency of vehicles throughout the entire life-cycle." The Aluminium report is "committed to increasing global recycling rates." While the coal industry highlights "furthering the development and deployment of cleaner coal and carbon sequestration technologies worldwide" and the construction report calls for "further reducing CO2 emissions in the built environment through the development and integration of renewable energy technologies." "Industry is a key partner for sustainable development," says Klaus Toepfer. "We rely on industry, not only for reducing the environmental impacts of the products and services it provides us with, we also increasingly depend upon industry for the innovative and entrepreneurial skills that are needed to help meet sustainability challenges." "In a world increasingly interconnected economically, environmentally and socially this will require not only partnerships with governments and civil society, but also for industry to be fully transparent about its level of progress. This UNEP-facilitated reporting initiative is an important step toward reaching this goal," he said. The 22 reports cover the following industry sectors: Accounting, Advertising, Aluminium, Automotive, Aviation, Chemicals, Coal, Construction, Consulting engineering, Electricity, Fertilizer, Finance and insurance, Food and drink, Information & communications technology, Iron and steel, Oil and gas, Railways, Refrigeration, Road transport, Tourism, Waste management and Water management. They have been prepared as a specific input to the World Summit on Sustainable Development, scheduled to take place in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 26 August to 4 September 2002.


The UNEP overview report and the 22 individual sector reports are available on the Web at:



Associated Press

15 May 2002


PARIS - Ministers from the world's most developed countries opened a two-day meeting in Paris on Wednesday to review prospects for an economic recovery, development and the impact of terrorism on prosperity. Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, chairing the gathering at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, expressed "cautious optimism" about an upturn in the world's economy in the second half of this year. However, the prime minister reflected the growing concern among trading partners of the United States over its new farm subsidy bill and recent implementation of tariffs on steel imports. "I'm anxious about what's been happening on the issues of steel and agriculture," Verhofstadt said. He said that several delegations had voiced their concern about agricultural and steel subsidies, saying they fly in the face of efforts to open markets. The two most senior members of the U.S. government on trade issues, Commerce Secretary Don Evans and Trade Representative Robert Zoellick, were not present at the meeting of the 30-member OECD. Deputy Trade Representative Peter Frederick Allgeier was attending in their place. Business and labor leaders, along with members of international organizations, also joined the gathering at the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a think tank of 30 industrialized nations. The meeting opened with discussions on how to promote growth and reduce unemployment as the world economy gathers steam. Talks also focused on ways to combat financial crime and bribery. On Thursday, delegates were to look at how best to contribute to a new round of international trade negotiations and examine poverty reduction strategies in a follow-up to the recent U.N. Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey, Mexico. OECD ministers also were to meet with their African counterparts to discuss the New Partnership for African Development, or NEPAD, ahead of the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development in South Africa this August.



The Jakarta Post

15 May 2002


United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said on Tuesday that he expected concrete results in the areas of water and sanitation, energy, health, agriculture, and biodiversity at the latest round of the World Summit on sustainable development, to be held in Johannesburg in August. "These are five areas in which progress will offer all human beings a chance of achieving prosperity that will not only last their own lifetime, but can be enjoyed by their children and grandchildren too," he said in a statement on Tuesday.  Concentrating on these five areas will produce an ambitious but achievable program of practical steps to improve the lives of human beings, while protecting the global environment, Annan said.  He said that he hoped water would be provided to at least one billion people who lacked clean drinking water and two billion without proper sanitation.  There should be access to energy to more than two billion people who lacked modern energy services; the promotion of renewable energy; the reduction of over-consumption and ratification of the Kyoto Protocol to address climate change.  Health issues should address the effects of toxic and hazardous materials; reduce air pollution and lower the incidence of malaria and African guinea worm, which were linked to polluted water and poor sanitation.  Nations ought to work to reverse land degradation, which effected about two-thirds of the world's agricultural lands, and reverse the processes that had destroyed about half of the world's tropical rainforests and mangroves.  The success of the World Summit in August, however, hinges on the accomplishments on the preparatory committee (prepcom) meeting to be held in Bali later this month through early June.  More than 6,000 delegates from 189 governments are expected to attend the preparatory meeting at the Bali International Convention Center in Nusa Dua, to be held from May 27 through June 7.  In a media briefing on Tuesday, Indonesia's preparatory committee chairwoman Erna Witoelar said that the meeting in Bali was expected to result in the drafting of three documents, all of which would be endorsed by the heads of State in Johannesburg.  The three documents comprise a political declaration agreed to by the heads of state and government, an implementation program that specifies what priority actions governments agree are needed, and a document of partnership initiatives or specific undertakings that will bring forward real action in particular areas without the need for global consensus on details.  Annan said that new initiatives for sustainable development were needed because the present model of development -- albeit bringing privilege and prosperity to about 20 percent of humanity -- had also exacted a heavy price by degrading the planet and depleting its resources.  "In Johannesburg we will have a chance to catch up," he said.




14 May 2002


TORONTO (Reuters) - The environmental and social costs of closing and rehabilitating old and abandoned mines around the world are likely in the trillions of dollars, and far beyond the capability of mining companies alone to deal with, Sir Robert Wilson, chairman of London-based metals giant Rio Tinto Plc said on Tuesday.  Wilson told Reuters at a mining industry conference on sustainable development in Toronto that a recent estimate puts rehabilitation costs just in the United States, where regulation is stricter than in many other countries, at $35 billion.  "If you look at where the real problems are, in Russia, Eastern Europe, South Africa, India, China, the extent of the (mine) legacy issues is enormous, and it's totally beyond the capability of this industry, either financially or technically, to make a meaningful contribution to that," Wilson said.  "Huge" and "gigantic" were other terms being tossed around to describe the problem of old and abandoned mines at the three-day Global Mining Initiative meeting in Toronto, which is being held in preparation for the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in August. But attempts were few at fixing an exact cost on what the industry calls "legacy issues" -- the environmental destruction and tears in the social fabric left over from a 100 years of mining projects that no one has taken responsibility for.  And they are still happening, some experts at the conference said. James Kuipers, of the U.S. Center for Science in Public Participation, which provides technical services to local and tribal governments, said his group estimates that 95 percent of operating mines in the United States have only vague plans for dealing with the environmental consequences of shutting down, such as the pollution of local water courses.  He said that in cases where owners have just walked away or gone bankrupt, it is the taxpayer that has been stuck with the liability.  "The public no longer favors new mining in the United States, and mistrusts existing mines," he said.  Wilson told Reuters that most large, established companies are able to come to terms with mine closures. Rio Tinto and several other big companies make serious provisions for environmental and social rehabilitation as the planning stages of their projects, he said. "But there are some particular areas of concern for large gold operations in the United States, which have got quite a substantial environmental legacy," he said. "I know that is worrying one or two companies quite a lot in terms of the potentially very large liabilities that will be crystallized on closure. There are going to be some companies that are going to be sweating on this a bit." There have been major problems with cyanide pollution at gold-mining operations in the western United States.  Many delegates at the conference stressed that governments must become more involved in the issues of mine closings and Kuipers suggested taxing metals consumption to help pay for the clean-up.  Some said a global closure fund should be created with contributions from industry, government and institutions. But World Bank official Monika Weber Fahr, who noted that the World Bank is the No. 1 source of mine-closing finances, warned that knowing there is a back-up would encourage irresponsibility. "It should be the polluter that should be paying," she said.



United Nations

14 May 2002


14 May, New York-In his first major policy address on expectations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held this August, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan identified water and sanitation, energy, health, agriculture and biodiversity as five key areas where concrete results can and must be obtained. By concentrating on these five areas, the Secretary-General said, in a speech delivered by his wife Nane Annan at the American Museum of Natural History, the Summit could produce an ambitious but achievable programme of practical steps to improve the lives of all human beings while protecting the global environment. "These are five areas," he said, "in which progress would offer all human beings a chance of achieving prosperity that will not only last their own lifetime, but can be enjoyed by their children and grandchildren too." The World Summit on Sustainable Development, which will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 26 August to 4 September, will bring world leaders, citizen activists and business representatives together to work on an agenda for ensuring that planet Earth can sustain a decent life for all its inhabitants, present and future. A fourth and final round of preparatory negotiations for the Summit will take place in Bali, Indonesia, from 27 May to 7 June, and participants in the process agree that the outcome of the Johannesburg Summit must produce action and results. At the last preparatory committee meeting in New York, however, there were so many proposals recommended by delegations that an implementation document of 21 pages swelled to almost 150 pages by the end of the meeting. A new 39-page Chairman's text has been prepared for the start of the Bali meeting. The Secretary-General, in his speech, said he sensed a need for greater clarity on what Johannesburg was all about, and what it could achieve. From the broad smorgasbord of issues that will be considered in Johannesburg, the Secretary-General said the five areas he targeted were "areas in which progress is possible with the resources and technologies at our disposal." The Secretary-General proposed the following actions:

* Water- Provide access to at least one billion people who lack clean drinking water and two billion people who lack proper sanitation.

* Energy- Provide access to more than two billion people who lack modern energy services; promote renewable energy; reduce over-consumption; and ratify the Kyoto Protocol to address climate change.

* Health- Address the effects of toxic and hazardous materials; reduce air pollution, which kills three million people each year, and lower the incidence of malaria and African guinea worm, which are linked with polluted water and poor sanitation.

* Agricultural productivity- Work to reverse land degradation, which affects about two-thirds of the world's agricultural lands.

* Biodiversity and ecosystem management- Reverse the processes that have destroyed about half of the world's tropical rainforest and mangroves, and are threatening 70 per cent of the world's coral reefs and decimating the world's fisheries.

The Johannesburg Summit is expected to conclude with a political declaration, an implementation programme agreed upon by Governments, and the launch of new voluntary partnership initiatives by various groups to take action and achieve results. The Secretary-General said that "the most creative agents of change" may well be partnerships among governments, private businesses, non-profit organizations, scholars and concerned citizens. Although sustainable development was considered a "conceptual breakthrough" at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, progress since then has been slower than anticipated, and often, has been overshadowed in the policy-making process by more immediate problems, such as conflicts, globalization, and most recently, terrorism, the Secretary-General said. But he added that the Johannesburg Summit offers humanity "a chance to restore the momentum that had been felt so palpably after the Earth Summit." New efforts are needed, he added, because the present model of development, which has brought privilege and prosperity to about 20 per cent of humanity, has also exacted a heavy price by degrading the planet and depleting its resources. Yet, according to the Secretary-General, "at discussions on global finance and the economy, the environment is still treated as an unwelcome guest." High-consumption lifestyles continue to tax the earth's natural life-support systems, research and development are under-funded and neglectful of the problems of the poor, and developed countries "have not gone far enough," he said, to fulfil either of the promises they made in Rio - to protect their own environments and to help the developing world defeat poverty. The issue, the Secretary-General said, is not environment versus development, or ecology versus economy. "Contrary to popular belief," he said, "we can integrate the two." "In Johannesburg, we have a chance to catch up," he said, concluding. "Together, we will need to find our way towards a greater sense of mutual responsibility. Together, we will need to build a new ethic of global stewardship. Together, we can and must write a new and hopeful chapter in natural-and human-history."



New Zealand Herald

14 May 2002


LONDON - The general-secretary of the Commonwealth called on Monday for immediate international action to help the millions of people facing starvation in southern Africa because of drought and failing crops.  "I appeal to all Commonwealth countries and to the international community as a whole to show solidarity and increase food aid and other humanitarian relief to the Southern African region," Don McKinnon said.  There were already severe food shortages in Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The UN World Food Programme has calculated that close to four million people face starvation in the region due to causes ranging from erratic rainfall to failing harvests.  In Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe in particular, the harvests last year were around one-third down on the previous year.  In Zimbabwe the problem has been exacerbated by a state-sponsored land grab that has stopped many white-owned commercial farms from working and divided up fields into small uneconomic parcels.  The looming famine comes as leaders of the G8 countries -- Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States -- prepare to gather for a summit in Canada next month to discuss the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD).  The initiative is a plan for Africa drawn up by Africans, rather than imposed by international institutions, aimed at lifting the whole continent out of the cycle of poverty and debt. Earlier on Monday, international charity Christian Aid appealed for the developed world to give Africa a new deal by tilting the terms of trade in favour of the poverty-stricken and strife-ridden continent.  "Africa needs unfair trade. It needs trade policies that explicitly and deliberately discriminate in its favour," Christian Aid director Daleep Mukarji wrote in an open letter to British Prime Minister Tony Blair.  Striking a chord that is likely to become the refrain of the World Summit on Sustainable Development due to take place in Johannesburg at the end of August, Christian Aid said it was the responsibility of the rich north to help the poor south.



The Guardian

14 May 2002


It is wishful thinking to believe that the United States will "trash its economy" in order to take action on climate change and there is no chance of the Bush administration reconsidering its position on the Kyoto protocol, America's senior climate negotiator has said.  Harlan Watson told a briefing in London yesterday that the White House would not return to negotiations for the next review of greenhouse gas reductions, due under the Kyoto protocol in 2005: "We want no part of that ... The next time we take stock on climate change has been set by the president at 2012."  His remarks about the potential loss of millions of American jobs and the uncertainties in the science of climate change echoed points made in the last 10 years by the oil and coal lobbies.  "The US has a multi-trillion dollar infrastructure, with coal fired stations with a 40- to 50-year lifespan," he said. "You cannot come in with a wrecking ball and turn that around and replace it with new technologies. We just do not have the capital to do that. You do not want to throw everything over at once and trash your economy."  He denied that the oil, coal and steel lobbies were alone in resisting action and said concern had also been expressed by trade unions, farmers and consumer groups worried about food and fuel prices.  Dr Watson, a physicist by training, also made it clear that the US administration was in favour of a new generation of nuclear reactors, which he said was a marked change in energy policy.  He defended the US decision to support the ousting of the climate scientist Robert Watson as chairman of the UN independent panel on climate change (IPCC) in favour of the Indian engineer and economist Rajendra Pachauri, saying it was time for a developing country to be at the forefront of the organisation.  He added: "We need ideas on how to mitigate the effects of greenhouse gas emissions at little cost, we need workable solutions, hence the need for engineering and economics rather than more climate science." The US is talking to developing countries about the need for economic growth using better technologies, Dr Watson said, and these countries did not want to go "the Kyoto route" for targets for greenhouse gas reductions and timetables to achieve them.  He said that President George Bush had not yet decided whether he would attend the world summit on sustainable development, known as the Rio+10 review conference, in South Africa this August.



Daily Telegraph

14 May 2002


TWO Cabinet ministers and more than 40 civil servants, led by the keen diver and Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, are expected to attend a preparatory meeting for this summer's Earth Summit in a compound of five-star hotels in Bali. The cost to the taxpayer could be nearly £300,000. The Government says it needs such a large delegation at the meeting later this month because there are crucial issues to be resolved. But in between negotiating the future of the planet, Mr Prescott, the Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett and other members of the delegation will not find things too arduous. The Bali international convention centre is in the Nusa Dua area, "a quiet, extremely luxurious oasis for those looking for an experience not soon forgotten", according to the Indonesian government's website. Rooms in the two Sheraton hotels in the conference centre compound, already fully booked by the official organisers, start at £107 a night for a single with no pool view to £1,264 for an Imperial suite - the sort that the Foreign Office tends to book for the Deputy Prime Minister. A step down from that, the type of suite that Mrs Beckett, as a Cabinet minister, might expect is the Sultan at £478 a night. The Nusa Dua development was planned some 25 years ago as a resort where tourists could remain isolated and leave Bali and its unique culture to the Balinese. The compound has its own 18-hole championship golf course and large Western-style shopping area. The organisers helpfully remind delegates that the facilities include beautiful beaches and - Mr Prescott's two passions - diving and snorkelling. The meeting is the last before Tony Blair and other world heads of government meet to discuss environmental issues at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in September, a decade after the Earth Summit in Rio. Civil servants - three from Mr Prescott's ministry, 10 from Defra and seven from the Department for International Development - plus numerous Foreign Office minders, will be staying for the duration of the meeting, from May 27 to June 7. Ministers will attend the high-level ministerial segment from June 5 to 7. A spokesman for Mrs Beckett said she would be taking the 14-hour flight out on June 3 and returning on June 8. However, a spokesman for Mr Prescott said he was waiting until a meeting in South Africa this weekend before deciding whether he was definitely going. "Normally departments do everything through the Foreign Office. In this case they have been instructed not to book until the Deputy Prime Minister has decided whether to attend." But the taxpayer will be paying, even if not everyone decides to turn up. The Indonesian government's website explains that ministers will have to pay for a minimum of four nights and civil servants and others for at least seven. The Government reacted with extreme caution to inquiries about the likely accommodation ministers were booked into, perhaps fearing a repetition of the controversy that surrounded Mr Prescott's fact-finding trip to the Maldives when he was Environment Secretary. A spokesman for Defra said: "There are serious issues to be hammered out in Bali, not least the agreement over the plan of action for Johannesburg and the political declaration. There were two choices of venue on offer from Indonesia - Jakarta and Bali. Indonesia chose Bali because it had better facilities." Derek Osborn from UNED UK, one of the bodies that have helped set the agenda for the conference, said: "Some very important things are being attempted. It is a very good thing that John Prescott is taking a keen interest and lending his weight to make sure something comes out of this meeting." Harlan Watson, senior climate change negotiator at the US Department of State, said it was "unclear right now" whether President Bush would attend the South Africa talks.



World Health Organisation Press Release

13 May 2002


Geneva -- Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland today credited delegates from World Health Organization (WHO) Member States for their efforts in moving health to the forefront of the world agenda, and welcomed the real increase in funding earmarked for public health worldwide. "We have triggered a change. Now we are taking it forward," declared the WHO Director-General as she addressed representatives of WHO's 191 Member States, including numerous Ministers of Health. Delegates have converged in Geneva for the annual week-long WHO supreme governing body meeting, the World Health Assembly. They will discuss and debate a range of major international public health issues, and define future policy for the Organization.  The realization that health is a prerequisite for economic growth, stability and peace has moved those outside traditional circles of professional health workers to demand and work towards improved health for the world's people. "Prime Ministers and Presidents, rock singers and sports stars, business leaders, share our position," said Dr Brundtland.  Achievements include: the 99% reduction in poliomyelitis cases; agreed targets and strategies to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria which are responsible for over 5 million deaths annually; more widespread immunization against childhood illnesses with 8% increases in some countries; unity of nations as they negotiate a forthcoming framework convention on tobacco control and a greater emphasis on mental illness as a major cause of suffering and disability.


Despite the encouraging new attention of the international community toward health, daunting challenges remain. There are worrying indications that changes in human behavior around the world are leading to negative health impacts. This autumn, the World Health Report, one of WHO's largest undertakings, will quantify some of the most important risks to health and will assess the cost-effectiveness of measures to reduce them.  "The world is living dangerously: either because it has little choice, or because it is making wrong choices about consumption or activity," said Dr Brundtland.  At one end of the risk factor scale lie poverty, under nutrition, unsafe sex, unsafe water, poor sanitation and hygiene, iron deficiency and indoor smoke from solid fuels. These are among the ten leading causes of disease and are much more common in the poorest countries and communities.  At the other end of the risk spectrum, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, strongly linked to cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease, are also closely related to excessive consumption of fatty, sugary and salty foods. Obesity is a serious health risk. The consequences of tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption are deadly. These factors dominate the wealthier countries, but their prevalence in developing communities is increasing, leaving poorer countries to cope with the double burden of infectious and noncommunicable diseases.  Concerted and evidence-based action is urgently needed to reduce these risks particularly -- among children and teenagers -- in order to prevent disease.  Dr Brundtland said she would be launching a new initiative to promote healthy environments for children at the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in September. Moreover, WHO will reinvigorate its work on diet, food safety and nutrition. Chaired by Ministers of Health, four parallel roundtables will take place within the Assembly tomorrow to discuss risks to health. They will focus on monitoring, communicating and reducing these risks.


The new global commitment to health has been translated into concrete progress: additional resources and mechanisms to move new funds quickly; effective strategies to achieve precise goals in defined time limits; and mobilization and coordination of a variety of partners. Particular emphasis has been on three diseases associated with poverty -- HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. New HIV/AIDS programs, applicable even in resource-poor settings, use an integral approach, combining prevention, diagnostics, treatment and care. Great strides have been made in making medicines accessible to a much larger number of patients than previously. These encouraging developments, however, are just a start. "We need continued reduction in prices of medicines and other commodities, and expansion of quality services to the millions in need. We must scale up our effort even if the struggle seems beset with political and institutional minefields," urged Dr Brundtland. She said that fully planned projects are ready to start within weeks if more money starts to flow, and that the absorption capacity of countries far outstrips the available funds.


Another great challenge is the creation of better health systems that are fairly and sufficiently financed and respond to needs and expectations. Dr Brundtland announced the establishment of two new initiatives: one provides guidance on health care financing in different settings; the other will improve human resources in national health systems, particularly in the poorly financed ones, which suffer as a result of relentless recruitment of health workers to places where the pay is better.  WHO is focusing increasingly on individual countries, both in terms of assisting the development of national capacity, as well as improving WHO country teams.  In the coming years WHO will give added emphasis to taking exceptional action for health in emergency and crisis situations throughout the world. This involves assembling information on health situations and responses, working in synergy with all concerned partners and improving access to essential health commodities, equipment and personnel. WHO continues to assist national authorities in reconstruction of the health sector in Afghanistan, and is currently working to get more medical supplies into the Palestinian territories where the health systems urgently need to begin functioning again.  "Let me add the voice of public health in support of all who are urging all parties in the current [Middle East] conflict to move towards peace and away from confrontation," declared Dr Brundtland.


The full text of the Address by Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director-General, to the Fifty-fifth World Health Assembly, Geneva, 13 May 2002 is available at:

The full agenda and documentation for the current Assembly can be found at:



BBC via Financial Times

13 May 2002


Berlin: According to Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, Social Democratic Party of Germany [SPD], Germany is set to fight for more "global justice". This includes stepping up assistance for developing countries and opening the markets of the industrialized nations to Third World products. Global justice would become a "question of survival" in the 21st century, Schroeder said at a conference of the Council of Sustained Development in Berlin. Without justice there will be no global security, the chancellor added. The Council of Sustained Development was set up a year ago to advise the federal government on its programme for sustainability. Germany plans to present its national sustainability strategy at the environment summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, due to be held in August, 10 years after the international environment protection conference of Rio de Janeiro. Schroeder demanded that the Johannesburg conference adopt "an action programme that can be implemented" and give a "starting signal for a sustained energy supply". The chancellor pointed out that some 2bn people lived without energy supply today. Developing countries had a particular responsibility in this connection since such programmes could also help create jobs in these countries, he said. Schroeder noted that he could understand the fears of the so-called opponents to globalization, since disproportionate economic development could produce social conflicts. Therefore, it was important to give globalization a "human direction" with an "ecological and social structure". It is up to politics to prevent a division into winners and losers of globalization - in Germany and on an international scale, he said. That is why Germany supports the initiative to stock up the funds for global environmental protection, which will involve an additional 2.7bn dollars for the developing countries in the coming years. Based on the resolutions of the recent EU summit in Barcelona, the EU will stock up funds for development cooperation by 11bn euro by the year 2006, Schroeder concluded.




13 May 2002


LONDON (Reuters) - The general-secretary of the Commonwealth has called for immediate international action to help the millions of people facing starvation in southern Africa because of drought and failing crops. "I appeal to all Commonwealth countries and to the international community as a whole to show solidarity and increase food aid and other humanitarian relief to the Southern African region," Don McKinnon said on Monday. The Commonwealth groups 54 mainly former British colonies. It said there were already severe food shortages in Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The U.N. World Food Programme has calculated that close to four million people face starvation in the region due to causes ranging from erratic rainfall to failing harvests. In Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe in particular, the harvests last year were around one-third down on the previous year. In Zimbabwe the problem has been exacerbated by a state-sponsored land grab that has stopped many white-owned commercial farms from working and divided up fields into small uneconomic parcels. The looming famine comes as leaders of the G8 countries -- Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States -- prepare to gather for a summit in Canada next month to discuss the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD). The initiative is a plan for Africa drawn up by Africans, rather than imposed by international institutions, aimed at lifting the whole continent out of the cycle of poverty and debt. Earlier on Monday, international charity Christian Aid appealed for the developed world to give Africa a new deal by tilting the terms of trade in favour of the poverty-stricken and strife-ridden continent. "Africa needs unfair trade. It needs trade policies that explicitly and deliberately discriminate in its favour," Christian Aid director Daleep Mukarji wrote in an open letter to Prime Minister Tony Blair. Striking a chord that is likely to become the refrain of the World Summit on Sustainable Development due to take place in Johannesburg at the end of August, Christian Aid said it was the responsibility of the rich north to help the poor south.



Washington File

13 May 2002


Washington -- The world's small island developing states are warning that urgent action is needed to reduce the threats they face from a range of social, economic and environmental vulnerabilities over which they have little or no control on account of their compact size. At a meeting May 10 in Montego Bay, Jamaica, co-hosted by the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP) and the government of Jamaica, more than 50 representatives from small island states said their economic activities are dominated by specialized agriculture, including sugar production, but that they have negligible control over pricing. While the other key industry -- tourism -- generates "precious foreign exchange and jobs, it places additional strain on scarce natural resources," such as fresh water, these states say. Organizers said decisions made at this meeting will be "fed" into the August 26-September 4 World Summit on Sustainable Development, to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa. At that summit, Secretary of State Colin Powell said in an April 30 speech, the United States plans to showcase a public-private initiative called the Geographic Information for Sustainable Development Project, which has the potential to help people living in small island states. The project makes satellite imagery available via laptop computers to policy-makers and scientists around the world -- imagery that can help them map watersheds, plan agricultural crop strategies, and track urbanization trends. The member nations of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) said at the Jamaica meeting that their small size makes their economies heavily dependent on larger external markets. Prices of key imports, such as energy and food, fluctuate greatly, they say. The AOSIS was established in 1990 during the Second World Climate Conference in Geneva and plays an important role in shaping international policy on climate change. The 42 AOSIS members include many island states in the Caribbean, Asia-Pacific island nations, and small states in the Indian Ocean. Many of these states have a land area of less than 30,000 square kilometers. The UNDP said in a statement following the meeting that fresh water resources are expected to come under greater strain in the future, from rising seas linked to global climate change and from the demands of growing populations. In the next two decades, an estimated 17 percent more water will be needed to grow food for populations in developing countries and that total water use will increase by 40 percent worldwide, the UNDP said. The agency added that the cost to protect the shorelines of Caribbean small states will be exorbitant -- an estimated $11 billion ($11,000 million), far beyond the combined figure of all the economies of that region. UNDP Associate Administrator Zephirin Diabre said in a speech at the meeting that the time had come to put aside technical difficulties "in order to promote the common objective of a better world through sustainable development." More needs to be done, Diabre said, "because the reality that small islands are faced with today is entirely different to that of the early 1990s." Diabre said globalization and the information technology revolution have "enormously changed our world and our communities and we need to make sure that the most vulnerable of countries are well prepared to mitigate" the adverse effects resulting from those changes. To that end, President Bush has submitted for ratification to the U.S. Senate a protocol to protect the marine environment of the wider Caribbean region, said John Turner, the State Department's assistant secretary for oceans and international environmental and scientific affairs. In May 7 congressional testimony, Turner said the plan would protect the marine environment of the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and areas primarily within 340 kilometers of the Atlantic coasts of 20 countries and island territories. Turner said the Bush Administration feels "so strongly about the need to protect the environment of the wider Caribbean Region that we have identified the Caribbean as a focus" for the World Summit in South Africa. This protocol, he said, "will allow us to better protect the marine resources of the Wider Caribbean region -- our backyard, [which] President Bush has dubbed our Third Border." Many non-governmental organizations, such as Monitor International, the World Wildlife Fund, the Nature Conservancy, and the U.S. Humane Society, support ratification of the protocol, Turner said.



Jamaican Observer

12 May 2002


With preparation in high gear for the World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa from August 26 to September 4, Small Island Developing States (SIDS) like Jamaica are trying to put more pressure on the international community to take their concerns seriously. For many small islands, these international conferences afford the opportunity for much more than diplomatic posturing. They are arenas in which diplomats jostle for the very environmental and economic survival of their small island developing states. Potentially catastrophic and expensive problems like sea level rise and coastal erosion, declining agricultural production because of climate change, water shortages, the often devastating effects of globalisation on their small economies, are just some of the problems which disproportionately affect the economies of small island states. One study, for example, estimates that it will cost US$11 million to protect the shorelines of the small states of the Caribbean from coastal erosion and sea level rise. Those issues were the focus of a global roundtable on the vulnerabilities of small island states held at the Ritz Carlton in Montego Bay from May 9-10. A team from the University of the West Indies' Centre for Environment and Development put together working papers for the roundtable detailing the social, economic and environmental vulnerabilities of the small island developing states. High on the list was the issue of energy. A significant contributor to the problems of the external indebtedness of SIDS in the 1970s and 80s was due to petroleum volatility, while global warming, climate change and sea level rise will increase the vulnerability of the small island states, the report says. "Reducing dependence on petroleum through the development of renewable energy and efficient use of energy would reduce vulnerability in SIDS," the report says. The university team made several recommendations to address this problem including training additional energy specialists through distance education, and evaluating the feasibility of an international SIDS investment fund to finance projects dealing with energy efficiency or renewable energy. The team also evaluated other problems affecting small island states like trade, limited natural resources, environmental problems, natural disaster preparedness, investment, human resources development, and made a raft of recommendations to address them. It's an approach that SIDS hope will translate into some practical help for their problems, help they have been highlighting for years, notably at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio. Optimism that those cries were finally being heard heightened in 1994 when the Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island States was held in Barbados. That conference adopted the wide-ranging Barbados Programme of Action. "We have not seen a fulfilment of those promises," Barbados' minister of physical planning and environment, Elizabeth Thompson, told fellow delegates at the roundtable. "We have to determine how to realise the commitments that have been made." As with many other programmes, implementation has been a major problem with the Barbados programme, and other promises made at similar international conferences. "There has been progress made, but I think the reports we've seen at this (roundtable) have made it clear that much of the progress has been carried out by the Small Island Developing States by themselves," says environmental consultant, Dr David Smith. "It was hoped that there would be international assistance, technical and financial, to help carry out the work, and with that kind of assistance things would have moved a lot faster," said Smith. The cry for more assistance from the international community has been growing louder especially since the recently concluded international conference on financing for development, held in Monterrey, Mexico did not achieve as much as had been hoped. The Johannesburg Summit, or Rio + 10 as it is also being called, will therefore, be a major opportunity for the global community to evaluate just how much progress has been made over the past decade. "There was a feeling in Rio that to carry out Agenda 21 ... would imply a doubling almost of foreign aid. That definitely didn't happen," said Smith. "What it meant was that the financial resources needed to carry out Agenda 21 activities that were working towards sustainable development, particularly for small island states, that money was not there. There has been some money and some assistance from UNDP and other organisations but not nearly as much as people thought, so where people thought they would be 10 years down the line is definitely not where they are now," Smith said. During an address to delegates at the roundtable, UNDP Associate Administrator Zephirin Diabre pointed to the organisation's programmes like Capacity 21, Technical Cooperation Among Developing Countries and the Global Environmental Facility as among those which have provided special assistance to SIDS. But he admitted that more needs to be done. "More needs to be done because the reality small islands are faced with today is entirely different to that of the 1990s. Globalisation and the IT revolution have enormously changed our world and our communities. As much as these offer new opportunities we also need to make sure that the most vulnerable countries are well prepared to mitigate the adverse impact of these new phenomena," Dibare said. The UNDP will be launching another programme at the Johannesburg conference, Capacity 2015, which the organisation says is a direct response to the call for more rapid implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action. It is aimed at supporting actions that reduce vulnerability and focus on sustainable development concerns like capacity building, institutional strengthening and training, says UNDP Resident Representative in Jamaica Gillian Lindsay-Nanton. Some experts have credited better and co-ordinated lobbying by SIDS with a recently increased international presence and credibility, a view echoed by Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Ben Clare. "We have successfully combated efforts to remove the proposed chapter on SIDS from the draft World Summit for Sustainable Development outcome document, but we dare not rest on our laurels," Clare said. He believes part of the answer has to lie in unity of the small island states, especially in the form of a consistent lobbying strategy. And in the months leading up to Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development, and at the high-profile conference itself, it is increasingly clear that the small island developing states will no longer be content to see ambitious programmes of action languish without being implemented. "We must always insist on two things, availability to adequate financial input, and the question of implementation. Implementation is key. Don't care how much money you get, if you don't have implementation, you're going to get nowhere. We must speak with one voice, and in everything we say we must stress and fight for implementation," says Ben Clare.



The Jakarta Post via Financial Times

11 May 2002


What does it take to stand up against the world and not let up? There are different answers, but Erna Witoelar has one. When she was the minister for settlement and regional infrastructure under the administration of former president Abdurrahman Wahid, she joined campaigns on several major issues. Erna fought for consumers, for women, for poverty, for the environment and for the reform movement. And she is still fighting. "Everything is interdependent; consumer protection and environment are very much interrelated. My concern for gender issues is because environmental and consumer problems have a more severe affect on women," Erna told The Jakarta Post. Now she is into sustainable development. Sustainable development is a global campaign, which focuses on a combination of interdependent issues like poverty, environment and health. The wife of politician and former Indonesian ambassador to Russia, Rachmat Witoelar, she is in charge of organizing the preparatory meeting of ministers in Bali from late May to early June ahead of the World Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa. Supervising the preparation for the meeting, the biggest in Indonesia in many years, takes up most of her time. But Erna is in her element. "As long as I can remember, I have always been the head of class since elementary school," she recalled. Later, she became a student activist while studying chemical engineering at the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB). She graduated in 1974 and landed a job at a consultancy firm which matched her interest in engineering but not her character. Erna left the firm for a job with the Consumer Protection Foundation (YLKI). Well versed in chemistry, she founded YLKI's research department and discovered her education background fit well with the social cause she fought for. In fact, she debated with fellow chemical engineers who once had been her colleagues at ITB. "I am outside, they're inside." But Erna was always eager to learn more, and so took a post-graduate degree in human ecology at the University of Indonesia. It was there that she was taught to think in a holistic manner. In 1980 she co-founded the Indonesian Environment Foundation (Walhi) and became its first executive director. Six years later she led YLKI, and from 1991 until 1997 was the president of Consumers International, a global consumer watch dog. Erna continued her career even after she went with her husband to Moscow, where he served four years as Indonesia's ambassador to Russia. When she returned in late 1997, the reform movement was gaining momentum and she joined it by aiding non-governmental organizations with the help of donor countries. After president Soeharto stepped down, she declined offers to become B.J. Habibie's environment or social affairs minister. "I felt I was not ready, but people were saying 'you must accept, one day you will move inside and not just fight (from) outside'." Eventually, she accepted a ministerial post under Abdurrahman's administration which lasted for only 22 months. After a new Cabinet was installed by President Megawati Soekarnoputri, it did not necessarily mean she would get much time to relax. She quickly found new issues to campaign on, among them, governance reforms and sustainable development. But looking back, Erna never felt like she had done enough to ease the world's problems. "It just feel so selfish if I don't do anything," she said. She owes that gush of guilt to her father, a judge who she said had an untainted reputation, and under whom she had developed her sense of integrity and understanding of right and wrong. Those senses only became sharper when she joined ITB's student movements. Back then though, she thought chemical engineering was anything but fun. "I never wanted to be a chemical engineer, that was my mother's wish," Erna said. "I wanted to be a ballerina." In time, her study did prove to be a big advantage in her career, but she said her most important decision had been to marry her fellow student activist Rachmat before graduating. With him Erna raised a family where she said debate and discussion has always been a way of life, and on which she looks back upon with great pride. A seasoned politician at home, (Rachmat was among the youngest to make it to the legislature) a sharp critic herself, and three sons with an acute sense of politics, the Witoelar family thrives on democracy. Amid her busy schedule, including during meetings with other ministers, she always manages to have time for her three sons. "When they need me I am always there, that way they don't interrupt too often," she said. On the other hand, Erna dispels the notion that stress at her work hinders quality time with her children. Her father taught her about the world in black and white terms, and her sons now make sure she never becomes tired of keeping that view. "My children are my source of strength," Erna explained.



World Health Organisation Press Release

9 May 2002


NEW YORK, 9 May 2002 -- Every day 5,500 children die from diseases caused by consuming water and food polluted with bacteria, according to a new study released by three United Nations agencies. This alarming figure, from Children in the New Millennium: Environmental Impact on Health, shows that children the world over are the greatest victims of environmental degradation, despite the great strides made over the past ten years in improving both children's well-being and the environment. The diseases largely influenced by this degradation, most notably diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections, are two of the leading causes of child mortality. "We have made great strides over the last decade. Children are healthier today. There is more access to clean water. But these disturbing figures show we have barely started to address some of the main problems," said Carol Bellamy, the Executive Director of UNICEF. "Far too many children are dying from diseases that can be prevented through access to clean water and sanitation." The 140 page report, jointly produced by UNICEF, the UN Environment Programme and the World Health Organization (WHO), is being released as part of the May 8-10 UN General Assembly Special Session on Children. This landmark conference, attended by more than 60 heads of state or government and 170 national delegations, aims to place children back at the top of the world's agenda and foster more investment in essential social services for them. One of its main goals is to increase household access to hygienic sanitation facilities and affordable and safe drinking water. 40 Per cent of Environmentally-Related Disease Burden in Children Under 5. According to WHO, almost one-third of the global disease burden can be attributed to environmental risk factors. Over 40 per cent of this burden falls on children under five years of age, who account for only 10 per cent of the world's population. A major contributing factor to these diseases is malnutrition, which affects around 150 million and undermines their immune systems. Malnutrition and diarrhoea form a vicious cycle. The organisms that cause diarrhoea harm the walls of a children's guts, which prevents them digesting and absorbing their food adequately, causing even greater malnutrition -- and vulnerability to disease. "People are most vulnerable in their youngest years. This means that children must be at the centre of our response to unhealthy environments." said WHO Director-General Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland. The report also identifies other major environmental problems directly affecting children, such as high levels of toxic chemicals and the degradation and depletion of natural resources. Lead in the environment -- much of it from leaded gasoline -- causes permanent neurological and developmental disorders in children. Millions of children work in agriculture, putting them at high risk of pesticide poisoning. Children are also disproportionately vulnerable to global environmental problems, such as the impact of climate change, the depletion of the ozone layer and the loss of the planet's biological diversity. "I am convinced that we need to elevate children's environmental health issues on the international agenda, both through the General Assembly's Special Session on Children and then the World Summit on Sustainable Development," said Mr Klaus Töpfer, the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme. "We should recognize that realising children's rights and managing environmental challenges are mutually reinforcing goals. We hope that the publication will inspire everyone who cares about children to take decisive action that will improve both their health and the environment."


The report warns of low public awareness on children's special vulnerability to environmental health risks. Among the recommended actions, the report calls for increased national investment in early child care, including focusing on the immediate environments of children, like homes, schools, and communities. One notable success in many countries is the transition to unleaded fuel, which helps eliminate lead from the environment. Through the report, the three UN agencies hope to raise the awareness of governments and non-government organizations on these problems during the UN Special Session itself, and at August's World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa.



BBC Monitoring Service via Financial Times

9 May 2002

Tokyo, 9 May: UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's envoy to this summer's Johannesburg environment summit asked Japan on Thursday [9 May] to increase its Official Development Assistance (ODA), Japanese officials said. In a meeting with Japanese Environment Minister Hiroshi Oki, Jan Pronk, who is the Dutch environment minister, expressed hope that Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi will attend the World Summit on Sustainable Development scheduled for 26 August - 4 September. Pronk is visiting Tokyo in his capacity as Annan's envoy for the summit. At a UN meeting in Mexico's Monterrey in March, the European Union pledged to increase its ODA by 7bn dollars and the United States by 5bn dollars, Pronk said. He said he is focusing on what Japan will do by the time the summit is held, according to the officials. He said he expects Tokyo to offer few documents and proposals but rather to carry out concrete action, such as contributing funds, they said.



United Nations

9 May 2002


9 May, New York- A comprehensive new proposal for an implementation plan that could be adopted at the World Summit on Sustainable Development has been issued by the Chairman of the Summit's Preparatory Committee. The new text, which contains straight-forward recommendations on a range of issues from poverty reduction to limiting unsustainable patterns of consumption and protection of natural resources and ecosystems, will serve as the basis for negotiations at the final preparatory committee meeting for the Summit, which will be held in Bali, Indonesia, from 27 May - 7 June. According to Preparatory Committee Chairman Dr. Emil Salim, the new text contains "action-oriented" language that tells governments to "do it," rather than weaker language that merely "encourages" or says something "is desirable." He said, "We can say beautiful things, but now is the time to say "let's do it." Salim said the 39-page draft paper incorporated the recommendations and proposals of countries during the previous PrepCom held in New York and hoped that the use of consensus language would make the negotiations easier. The early release of the draft negotiating text will allow delegates and other participants in the Summit process an opportunity to prepare for the Bali PrepCom ahead of time, in the hope of reaching a quick consensus. According to Salim, full agreement on the implementation programme should be achieved by 31 May, the end of the first week of the PrepCom. The new draft does indicate areas of disagreement and where discussions must be held to bridge. These include setting target dates, references to the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol, and the means of implementation. But there are, already, large areas of agreement, particularly concerning the need to launch programmes aimed at poverty reduction and the need to meet the 2015 Millennium Development Goal of halving the proportion of people living in poverty. The draft text also calls for halving the proportion of people who lack access to proper sanitation by 2015. The recommendations contained in the implementation, when approved, will serve as the basis for the voluntary partnership initiatives that the Summit is hoping to encourage between all parties in societies as a way of ensuring implementation and for obtaining results.



United Nations

8 May 2002


New York, 8 May 2002 - Beyond the debates over energy use and efficiency that have featured during the preparatory process for the World Summit on Sustainable Development is the fact that more than a third of the world's population does not have clean and affordable energy services. With more than two billion people still burning firewood or biomass for cooking and heating, a lack of modern energy has emerged as a major cause of continuing poverty, pollution and environmental degradation. While there is no disagreement that efforts must be made to bring modern energy services to those who presently lack them, there is a major chasm of differences that have yet to be bridged regarding which sources of energy production should be favoured. "Having two billion people living outside the energy network is not sustainable," said Johannesburg Summit Secretary-General, Nitin Desai. "What we have to do is meet those needs as well as cope with the environmental and social consequences." Access to energy has a major impact on development, Desai said, recalling that when he was growing up in India, the arrival of electricity was "the biggest change" in his village. The problem is that most of the people who do not have access to electricity live in rural areas where it is expensive to tap into national power grids. But Desai said, "No power is more expensive than no power. There are needs out there that have to be met and there are ways out there to meet those needs." Experts from electric companies say the cost of bringing electricity to those without would require a substantial, although not a prohibitively large, investment. Christian Stoffaes, of Electricité de France, figured that the job of bringing electricity to all would need a total investment of about $200 billion, or about $7 billion per year over a 30-year period. "This is a very small amount," he said, but "the problem is that this will not be done by itself." New mechanisms and incentives were needed, he added, and charity and small programmes would not be sufficient. Gurneeta Vasudera, of the Tata Environmental Research Institute in India, argued that, instead of a problem that needs fixing, the large number of unserved people represents a market opportunity-a market that amounts to as much as $20 billion a year. "There is a willingness on the part of the poor to pay," she observed.  Electric utilities say that they are working on various projects to bring electricity to rural areas. Shigeyuki Kuninobu, Vice President of Tokyo Electric, explained that an organization of seven electric companies, known as the "E-7," is presently participating in 30 programmes in 22 countries to build capacity and share technology in a manner that promotes community participation and environmental protection. And Dale Heydlauff of American Electric Power, a consortium of US power companies, said that it was working to promote best practices while expanding access to affordable energy. "People who do not have electricity," he said, "are destined to remain destitute." But extending power grids takes many years and in some circumstances will never be economically viable. According to Gail Karlsson of the NGO Energia, alternatives to the grid system need to be developed to meet demand. This can be done through a mix of energy sources that includes renewables, such as solar, wind, hydroelectric, and gas from biomass, as well as liquefied petroleum gas and other fossil fuels. To increase the use of renewable energy, many NGOs contend that government intervention is necessary to help make solar or wind energy economically competitive. Greenpeace, for example, estimates that governments currently subsidize fossil fuels to the tune of $250-$350 billion a year, money that they contend can easily go toward promoting renewable sources of energy. A challenge for the Johannesburg Summit is to find ways of bringing clean, affordable energy to those in need.



Washington File

9 May 2002


Washington -- Ministers from industrialized and selected developing countries will hold two sessions in Paris in mid-May to review progress so far in World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations, a State Department official says. The first session comes early May 16 as part of the second day program of the 30-member Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) annual ministers' meeting, the official said in a May 9 interview. He said the OECD has invited ministers from more than a dozen non-member countries and markets to participate in the session on trade and development. Invited were ministers from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Russia, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa and Uganda. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick is expected to focus in part on the importance of moving forward successfully in the negotiation to remove barriers to agricultural trade, he said. The official indicated he expected discussion of the farm bill that passed the U.S. Congress just May 8, a bill embraced by President Bush that will substantially increase government subsidies to U.S. farmers. He emphasized that the farm bill subsidies will not exceed the cap set for the United States under the existing WTO agreement and will still represent much less subsidization than that spent in the European Union (EU) and Japan, for example. He said also the farm bill demonstrates forcefully the importance of negotiating a WTO agreement to bring subsidies down. Zoellick and Andrew Natsios, head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, are expected to emphasize the importance of developing country participation in WTO negotiations, he said. The official said the U.S. delegation will also reiterate the message from the March UN International Conference on Financing and Development in Monterrey, Mexico -- that actions taken by developing countries to free up and use their own resources are as important as grants and loans from wealthy countries. He said he expected no new initiatives on development out of the OECD meeting. Development issues are expected to get more attention at the World Food Summit in Rome and G-8 annual summit meeting in Canada, both in June, and at the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development starting in August. When the OECD meeting ends, trade ministers from some OECD and some non-OECD countries will participate in another session, a briefing by WTO Director-General Mike Moore, an Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) official said. Besides reviewing progress in the negotiations, the USTR official said, Moore is expected to discuss progress on technical assistance and capacity building for developing countries and preparations for the WTO ministers' meeting in mid-2003. Leading the U.S. delegation to the OECD meeting will be Glenn Hubbard, chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers (CEA). The State Department official said one of the issues scheduled for discussion May 15 relates in part to the Enron scandal in the United States -- the risks to the international system from corporate misbehavior.



The Times of India via Financial Times

8 May 2002

NEW DELHI: With less than four months to go, the outlook is not bright for the second Earth Summit. Good intentions are not lacking. But the implementation agenda and the funding, getting developed countries to put their money where it matters are the main sore points. As countries head for the final of four preparatory committee meetings in Indonesia later this month, the attempt is to begin three days earlier than scheduled to iron out what hasn’t been possible in a year. The first such meeting was in New York last year. UN Environment Programme executive director Klaus Topfer, in Delhi last week, admitted the problems. We are not yet ready with a programme of action. We will be meeting in Bali from the 24th, to give us more time to sit together. The commitments must come, said Topfer, whose organisation has been somewhat sidelined in the process. The 10-day World Summit on Sustainable Development, starting August 26, is described as an opportunity to identify quantifiable targets to better implement Agenda 21, the global plan of action for sustainable development adopted 10 years ago at the first summit in Rio de Janeiro. Johannesburg, said Topfer, should have three products. One, a political declaration, to be finalised in Bali. Two, a concrete plan of action, timetables, targets, financing structures. Three, concrete commitments for instance a target for reducing water stress in Africa by a specific percentage. The first summit produced “wonderful paper” but, acknowledged Topfer, “ forgot there has to be more investment in implementation”. This Rio shortfall is still a sticking point. The commitment was to increase overseas development assistance from 0.4 per cent of the GDP of developed countries to 0.7 per cent. The figure has instead plunged to 0.22 per cent. Recent meetings, indicated Topfer, have at least signalled a change in trend; by all accounts, however, this may at best take aid flows back to where they were 10 years ago. Union Environment ministry officials mince no words, describing the preparatory meetings so far as a complete failure. They seem most uneasy about the concept of partnership initiatives among governments, the private sector and citizen groups. In effect, say officials, this attempts to take aid and outcomes out of the negotiated agenda, into a realm that may not be endorsed by national priorities.



The Jordan Times

8 May 2002


AMMAN - The media can play a crucial role in shaping the public's opinion on how to utilise natural resources and maintain them for future generations, agreed participants at the opening of a two-day seminar launched here on Tuesday. Attended by around 20 journalists from the region, the seminar provided an opportunity for the press to take part in discussing the future of the region, plagued by challenges such as poverty, unemployment and the water crisis. In a keynote address, HRH Princess Basma, UNDP's Goodwill Ambassador for Human Development, called on journalists to prioritise sustainable development issues and present them in a more appealing manner. "News coverage of sustainable development issues lacks media glamour," said Princess Basma. Making use of available natural resources and conserving them for future generations should be on the agenda of media outlets to highlight issues such as water scarcity, said Iyad Abumoghli, UNDP assistant resident representative for environment and sustainable development affairs. The seminar is being held ahead of the World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg later this year.  The South Africa summit is expected to be the largest international meeting on the integration of economic, environmental and social decision making. It will call upon states to implement the comprehensive plan for sustainable development of Agenda 21, a resolution adopted at the Earth Summit in Rio ten years ago.  Each country is expected to present in Johannesburg a national plan on its achievements in sustainable development over the past 10 years, including the challenges the implementation process faces and future goals.  Jordan submitted its national report to the secretariat general of the WSSD in December last year. The General Corporation for Environment Protection prepared the report in cooperation with several governmental and private institutions and NGOs. Organised by the UNDP, the government and Capacity 21, a UNDP initiative to work with developing countries on integrating Agenda 21 into their agenda, the seminar was attended by Abdul Razzaq Tbeishat, minister of municipal, rural affairs and the environment, and UNDP Resident Representative in Jordan Ove Bjerregaard.  "Making development sustainable is about changing mindsets and informing decisions. Above all the media has the power to engage and provoke action," Bjerregaard said.



Islamabad News

8 May 2002


ISLAMABAD: Minister for Environment, Local Government and Rural Development, Barrister Shahida Jamil on Tuesday said district governments were to play a major role in environment preservation. She was addressing an executive briefing on Pakistan's progress towards implementation of the Rio Convention. The briefing was organised by Ministry of Environment, Local Government and Rural Development in collaboration with IUCN Pakistan. "District governments have definitely a role to play for environment conservation by initiating projects at the grassroots," the minister said. The federal government and the provincial governments are to supplement their efforts, she said, adding, "Only collective efforts at all level may help in providing clean environment for our future generation." Expressing dissatisfaction over the measures taken for environment conservation in the past, she said, President Musharraf attached great importance to clean environment and much is needed to be done. She said nature conservation is deeply related to poverty alleviation and the government is keen to address both the issues. "Poverty alleviation is an important portion of Agenda-21 and the government is paying special heed to root out poverty as well," she added. Shahida regretted that during the past, successive governments misused funds allocated for the purpose and the situation kept deteriorating day by day. She said the present government took various measures for conservation of nature and referred to preservation of wild life at Macchiara, Chitral Gore and Hingol national parks. The minister said the Global Environment Facility (GEF) is also assisting in carrying out various projects. She laid stress on community involvement and said people living in respective areas also have a role to play and they should join hands with the government to achieve the goal of clean environment. Eco-Tourism is another priority area of the government while concerted efforts are being made to put in place a waste disposal system, Shahida said. Earlier, Gul Najam Jami of IUCN Pakistan highlighted the importance of clean environment and emphasised that collective efforts should be made to conserve nature. In his welcome address, he also called for effective role of the government, organisations working for conservation of nature and the local people. Pakistan being a signatory to these conventions is obliged to take measures in support of these conventions. The discussion of the executive briefing would hopefully help the government prepare for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) scheduled to take place from August 24 to September 4, 2002 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The executive briefing is also part of a series of nine public consultation workshops. The purpose of these workshops was to facilitate the preparation of the Pakistan Country Assessment Report (CAR) that would be presented at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD).



Business Day via All Africa

8 May 2002


Johannesburg - GOVERNMENT, backed by organised agriculture, has embarked on an ambitious plan to get a charter on resource management and sustainable farming practices signed by "significant numbers" of farmers before the global summit on sustainable development in August. SA would be the first country to come up with such a charter, even beating Australia a world leader in natural resource management to it. There are laws to safeguard natural agricultural resources such as water and soil against abusive farming practices, but the charter would ensure that the agricultural sector became a "formal participant" in the United Nations summit. The charter would draw "active commitment" from farmers to adopt their farming practices in ways as to increase productivity, improve food security and grazing capacity, limit soil erosion and protect water resources. The charter would be drawn up at a four-day conference on land care practices that started in Benoni yesterday. About 55000 commercial farmers were members of Agri SA, while the National African Farmers Union said there were about 500 000 black subsistence farmers in the country. SA's poorest provinces, Eastern Cape and Limpopo, absorb half of government's investment in land-care projects. A total of 16,9-million people live in rural areas, of which 72% have an income of less than R353 a month. "If there is not a greater awareness among farmers of the importance of sustainable development and protecting the environment, the degradation of SA's natural resources would severely aggravate poverty over time," agriculture department director general Bongi Njobe told delegates at the conference yesterday. Australian Land Care Council chairman Bruce Lloyd told the conference a charter on land care was an "advanced concept". Australia managed to put together an audit of its natural resources of soil and water over a number of years, but has no special charter to commit farmers to practice sound environmental practices, he said.



Globe and Mail

7 May 2002


TORONTO -- The mining industry has released results of a two-year study that it hopes will set the agenda for dealing with the litany of social, political and environmental problems it now faces around the world. The massive report of the Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development Project tackles some of the thorniest issues the industry must deal with including peasant mining, armed conflict, corruption, human rights and the environment. "From the industry perspective, taking part in this project was a risky business," Sir Robert Wilson, chairman of London-based Rio Tinto PLC said in a statement. "It was nevertheless an essential step, not least for business reasons." In time, the industry's bad reputation and negative attitudes could mean it would have difficulty gaining access to resources in the ground and markets for its products, he said. The first public forum to begin discussion of the report is scheduled to take place in Toronto from May 12 to 15. The Global Mining Initiative Conference is expected to have almost 500 people in attendance said David Rodier, senior vice-president of environment, safety and health for Noranda Inc. of Toronto. The attendees will represent industry and governments along with indigenous communities and social and environmental activists, he said. After the close of that conference, the chief executive officers or their representatives of 22 mining companies will determine the future agenda, Mr. Rodier said. The industry's goal was to have the MMSD's report completed in order to begin developments that can be presented in August in Johannesburg at the World Summit for Sustainable Development. Among the recommendations is support by the mining industry for legislation dealing with artisanal and small-scale miners, who are sometimes referred to as peasant or illegal miners. "The vast majority are very poor, exploiting marginal deposits in harsh and often dangerous conditions -- and with considerable impact on the environment," the report said. Recent research indicates that up to 13 million people are involved in artisanal mining of gold, emeralds, diamonds, coal, tungsten, tantalum and base metals. Those workers affect the livelihoods of another 80 to 100 million people, the report said. These people often come into conflict with both governments and major mining companies as a result of forced resettlement and land claims and a lack of local economic benefits from mining projects. The report says governments "have a principal role to play" by putting in place transparent policies and regulatory frameworks to control those mining activities. The MMSD recommends mining companies help peasant miners, who operate near major mines, to work in an environmentally safe way, or alternatively, to help them find other employment. When resettlements are needed, the mining industry must provide fair compensation for loss of assets and to take steps to ensure that living standards are not diminished and that community ties are preserved, the report said. It also strongly stresses the importance of access to information and community consultation on proposed mining projects.



Associated Press via Boston Globe

3 May 2002


DETROIT (AP) Top officials from eight of the world's richest countries closed a two-day energy summit Friday saying that new energy sources must be tapped to meet world demand. Huge amounts of money must be invested to finance efforts to develop the sources and new energy technology, delegates of the Group of Eight Nations said. ''Everyone who participated here recognizes there are vast reserves around the world that could potentially be developed, but it needs private investments,'' U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham said. During the two-day forum, representatives from the G-8 nations talked about the future of the world's energy needs, touching on themes of energy security, development and protection of the environment. The summit was the first G-8 gathering to focus on energy since a Moscow meeting in 1998. The event was billed as a major goal of President Bush's national energy policy proposal unveiled a year ago. Participating in the summit were representatives from the United States, Canada, Russia, Great Britain, Germany, Japan, Italy and France. Abraham and Herb Dhaliwal, Canada's minister of natural resources, said that increasing energy efficiency and using a mix of sources including nuclear power improves energy security, economic growth and environmental protection. Research and development of new energy technology is crucial to ''diversifying the energy mix and reducing the environmental impacts of energy production and use,'' they said in a statement after Friday's session. The discussions were held behind closed doors, but Abraham and Dhaliwal said delegates agreed significant investment in energy production are needed to meet the world's energy needs. Loyola de Palacio, vice president of the European Commission, said there was a general agreement on the importance of renewable energy for sustainable development, supply diversification, environmental preservation and energy security. Abraham said delegates also stressed that oil-consuming countries must maintain emergency stocks especially during volatile times. Palacio said the world's increasing dependence on road transportation and the need to develop alternative fuels and technologies have become major concerns. ''In the majority of industrialized countries, we cannot simply drill our way out of oil dependency,'' Palacio said. Two panel sessions on fuel cell vehicles were held Thursday, and Abraham announced that his department will host an International Conference on the Future of Energy Transportation Technologies in Detroit this fall. The development of hydrogen as a primary fuel for vehicles will be one of the topics.


See Also:



The Namibian

3 May 2002


NAMIBIAN MPs are being lobbied to attend a regional meeting on the environment ahead of a UN conference on sustainable development in South Africa from August 26 to September 4. Globe Southern Africa (GSA) will hold a Parliamentary Dialogue on Partnership for Sustainable Development for regional legislators in Windhoek on May 13-14. Speaking to The Namibian, GSA's Head Regional Co-ordinator Unit, Lance Greyling said: "We expect around 30-40 parliamentarians from the region to attend the dialogue." He said the meeting will seek commitments from politicians on the protection of the environment in their countries. Greyling has met with National Assembly Speaker Dr Moses Tjitendero to brief him on the May meeting, and also with Namibian organisations involved in environmental issues. About 50 000 delegates from organisations involved in sustainable development issues are expected to attend the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg. The WSSD will assess developments since the UN Conference on Environment and Development was held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and will provide an agenda for future action. Based in Cape Town, South Africa, Globe Southern Africa is a regional arm of the Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment, an international organisation providing information and tools for legislators to use in their bid to achieve the goal of sustainable development.



European Union

3 May 2002 


At the G-8 Ministerial meeting on Energy in Detroit today, European Commission Vice President Loyola de Palacio underlined the importance of curbing the growth in energy demand and enhancing the security and stability of energy supplies.  "Risks to energy supply can be quickly and relatively cheaply addressed by curbing the growth in energy demand. Curbing energy consumption and improving energy efficiencies will preserve finite energy resources, mitigate supply difficulties and improve the environmental impact of energy us," she declared.  Vice President de Palacio also welcomed the timely initiative from the US and Canada in organizing the G-8 Ministerial meeting. Recent events such as the horrific terrorist attacks of September 11th, the current political uncertainties in various regions of the world and the significant fluctuations in the price of oil have highlighted the globalization of risk and the vulnerability of our existing energy systems. Risks to energy supply can be managed through a combination of actions in both the supply and demand side of energy policy, she said. On the supply side, the emphasis should be put on nuclear and renewable energies, which reconcile the diversification of energy supply, the preservation of the environment and energy security. "Clearly we need to ensure that renewable energy sources are fully considered in our energy strategies and that we promote the development of cost-effective methods of using them. We cannot see a way of meeting our Kyoto commitments unless we re-examine nuclear very seriously," she stated.  As far as the oil market is concerned, there is obviously an urgent need for greater price stability and for increased market transparency. In this context, the producer/consumer dialogue is an important supply side activity, which the upcoming meeting of the International Energy Forum in Osaka will develop further. In addition, de Palacio stressed that G-8 Members need "to re-evaluate, on a continual basis, policies with respect to emergency preparedness in the light of the evolution in the functioning of the oil market and political developments."   Demand side policy can also play a role in curbing our increasing dependency on imported oil, particularly in the road transport sector, which depends almost entirely on this one source of energy. Technology can assist over the medium term in providing alternative fuels and the optimal use of other transportation modes needs to be encouraged.  To curb the growth in energy demand, public authorities should not shy away from using the regulatory framework and fiscal instruments, such as targeted taxes or tax credits, to influence energy operators to change their behavior.   Finally, in the context of the fight against climate change, addressing the environmental consequences of energy production, transportation and use is a pressing issue that requires a global solution. De Palacio took the opportunity to reiterate the commitment of the 15 Member states of the European Union to ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. She called for the other G-8 members to ratify the Protocol as soon as possible so that the Protocol can come into force before the World Summit on Sustainable Development later this year.



BuaNews via All Africa

3 May 2002


Preparations for the forthcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) have been taken a step further. In a statement, the WSSD Civil Society Secretariat said it had secured funding from the Ford Foundation, a donor agency in Johannesburg, to the tune of R6-million. It said the money would fund three processes. The first one is the South African Process that will see the convening of national and provincial consultative meetings, security and the development of the South African civil society's position on the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad). The second process will see the convening of the WSSD preparatory meetings by the Southern African Development community (SADC) countries. The third, which is the Africa Process, will work on the convening of Africa-wide meetings and consultative conferences. The aim will be to ensure the development and preparation of a common African position on crucial issues. The WSSD, to be held in Johannesburg from 26 August - 4 September, is billed as the largest international conference ever to be held on South African soil. About 65 000 delegates from around the world, including more than a hundred heads-of-state and over 2 000 international media organisations, are expected to attend. The summit will take a critical look at the resolutions of the historic United Nations (UN) conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992. It will focus the world's attention and direct action toward meeting difficult challenges. These include improving people's lives and conserving natural resources in a world that is growing in population, with ever-increasing demands for food, water, shelter, sanitation, energy, health services and economic security.



Donor Round-Table Meeting organised by the UNDP and the EU

South Africa Civil Society Secretariat

03 May 2002

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), together with the European Union, today hosted a donor round-table discussion to raise funds for the Civil Society Secretariat to prepare for the Global Forum. The unequivocal and solid support the UNDP and EU have demonstrated for the Process - especially their involvement in our fund-raising efforts - is a ground-breaking development that further bolsters our confidence that the Global Forum will be run successfully. The round-table will be attended by twelve Foreign Missions (embassies) and the following six donor agencies:

1. European Union (EU)

2. Ford Foundation

3. The Friedrich Naumann Foundation

4. National Development Agency (NDA)

5. Swiss Development Corporation

6. Irish Aid.

The Secretariat has a projected overall budget of R200 million to run the Global Forum - which takes place from 19 August to 4 September 2002 as part of the World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD). Of this amount, we expect R120 million to come from local and international donor agencies. The joint UNDP-EU round-table is expected to secure commitments to provide at least 60% of our projected budget.

Report on Progress

1. The CS Secretariat has secured funding from the Ford Foundation for an amount of R6 million. The donation will come in two trenches. The money will fund the following process: a. The South Africa Process: convening of national and provincial consultative meetings, security and the development of SA civil society's position on the New Economic Plan for Africa's Development (NEPAD); b. The SADC Process:  the convening of preparatory meetings; and c. The Africa Process:  the convening of Africa-wide meetings and consultative conferences. The aim will be to ensure the development and preparation of a common African Position on crucial issues.

2. In March 2002, the CS Secretariat secured funding from the National Development Agency (NDA). The NDA funds have been critical in ensuring the smooth running of the Secretariat and the preparations so far.

3. The CS Secretariat is currently involved in negotiations with Diakonia (a funding organisation) to secure more funding for the whole preparatory process. The negotiations are at an advanced stage and we hope to announce positive results in this regard before the end of May 2002.

4. We are engaged in negotiations with the South African government to secure a commitment from them to fund certain crucial areas. We have already written a letter to the government specifying the areas we would like them to finance, which include the following: a. The venue (Nasrec) b Policing and related security areas c. Medical facilities.

5. The rest part of our funding will come from corporate sponsors. In line with our strategy, we are currently engaging several corporate sponsors with the view to securing more funding. Corporate sponsorship funds will come in the form of advertising rights as well as direct cash injections into the Process. We are expecting this type of funding to constitute a large percentage of the final figure we have budgeted for.

6. Our relationship with the Johannesburg World Summit Company (JOWSCO) has been formalized. We are currently implementing aspects of the provisional agreement we have negotiated with them. As part of the agreement, JOWSCO will assume certain logistical functions of the hosting of the Global forum. We expect them to be involved in, inter alia, transport and accommodation areas.

7. The Secretariat has launched a website to facilitate the dissemination of information as well as expedite the registration process. The site provides for easy on-line registration of delegates. (To view the site, please visit:

8. We are currently consolidating South Africa's civil society. In the next few weeks activity will be feverish as we host consultative forums at national and provincial levels throughout the country. We will soon be hosting a National Women's Consultative Workshop as part of making sure that the agenda for women is consolidated and its place ensure in the final agenda for the Global Forum.



The Japan Times

3 May 2002


In an apparent bid to deflect mounting international pressure for more international development assistance, Japan may pledge to maintain at least the current amount of aid it allocates to Africa, despite its shrinking overall aid budget. Government sources said Thursday that Japan may make a pledge of this kind at an annual summit of leaders from the Group of Eight industrial powers in Canada in late June, ahead of a key United Nations-sponsored conference on development and the environment. The sources said, however, that although some within the government are insisting on pledging that there will be "no reduction in Africa-bound aid," others are still reluctant to do so. In this regard, they cite difficulties Japan may encounter in securing necessary funds for the impoverished continent without sacrificing aid for other regions, such as Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. The U.N. conference, or the World Summit on Sustainable Development as it is formally known, will be held in South Africa from the end of August through early September. A host of world leaders, including Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, are expected to attend the conference. Assistance for developing nations is also expected to be high on the agenda for the upcoming G-8 summit. The G-8 comprises the United States, Canada, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Japan and Russia. Official development assistance extended directly by Tokyo to developing countries consists of yen loans, grants-in-aid and technical cooperation. With the exception of a few relatively rich countries, including South Africa, the huge bulk of Africa-bound ODA is provided in the form of grants-in-aid, due to the difficulties many regional countries experience in repaying yen loans. Africa receives about one-tenth of ODA provided directly by Tokyo to developing countries. Japan may also set a numerical target for the amount of ODA funds it will allocate toward the promotion of education and health preservation in developing countries, particularly those in Africa, over a certain period of time, probably between three and five years, the sources said. If the period of time to be covered by the proposed educational and health aid initiative is set at five years, the numerical target could exceed $10 billion. Due to discord within the government, however, it appears far from certain that Japan will be able to actually pledge that there will be "no reduction in Africa-bound aid" and unveil a numerical aid target for the education and health areas at the upcoming G-8 summit. Both measures underscore how the country is struggling to save face in the arena of international aid diplomacy. Japan has retained its status as the world's largest ODA donor over the past decade, providing about $13 billion annually. But this position could be threatened over the coming years. Koizumi's government has chopped Japan's ODA budget for fiscal 2002 by 10 percent, due to the tight fiscal conditions provoked by the continuing domestic economic slump. The ODA budget could be cut again in fiscal 2003 and beyond. In stark contrast, the U.S. and the 15-nation European Union announced sharp increases in their ODA spending programs earlier this year. The U.S., which currently dishes out $10 billion in ODA annually, will extend an additional $5 billion in ODA to developing countries over the next three years. The EU member nations, which extend a combined $24 billion to $25 billion in ODA annually, will raise the average ratio of their ODA against their gross domestic products to 0.39 percent by 2006 from the current 0.33 percent. During an international development conference in Mexico at the end of March, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan called for the doubling of aid by industrialized countries to help developing countries fight poverty, underdevelopment and other acute problems. Meanwhile, Japan plans to announce aid programs at the World Summit on Sustainable Development under which it will cooperate with Thailand to help African countries foster human resources necessary for environmental protection and protection against infectious diseases, the sources said.




3 May 2002


Nairobi, With twice as many participants registering than expected, the first ever World Urban Forum concluded today after a week of successful deliberations. From Mayors to slum dwellers the participants, about 1,200 people from over 80 countries, attended the meeting at UN-HABITAT headquarters in Nairobi. There were at least 400 people from governments, over 350 people from non-governmental organizations including at least 200 slum dwellers. There were also representatives of local authorities, UN agencies, and Members of Parliaments from different countries. Research professionals and members of the private sector were also in attendance. "The World Urban Forum has been a success. The high turn out shows how concerned the world is about the state of their cities," said Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, the Executive Director of UN-HABITAT. In her concluding speech, Mrs. Tibaijuka went on to state that the participants at the first World Urban Forum had tabled that empowerment was the key to sustainable development. But this was not limited to empowering local communities but extended to the empowerment of local authorities with respect to the state. She continued that in the dialogues and debates, the participants had expressed the need for national urban policies that included strategies for ensuring secure tenure, overcoming gender inequalities and encouraging integrated urban to rural linkages. In her concluding address, the Chair, Hon. Ms. Sankie D. Mthembi-Mahanyele, Minister of Housing of South Africa, highlighted two of the several principles that were tabled during the dialogues. First, there was the demand that ordinary citizens everywhere be allowed to exercise their Right to the City. This was a call to good urban governance so that cities everywhere could belong to everybody. Second, all the participants agreed that forced evictions are detrimental to the goals of cities without slums as they create obstacles to the progress of achieving democratic partnership.  Designated by the United Nations General Assembly as an advisory body, the World Urban Forum is an open-ended think tank designed to encourage debate and discussion about the challenges of urbanization in this century. At this first session, held in Nairobi, the headquarters of UN-HABITAT, the Dialogues and parallel events provided a rich mix of different viewpoints about the state of our cities and the way forward. Though the overall theme was sustainable urbanization, there was a range of options, ideas and innovations. There were discussion groups on everything from the effect of HIV/AIDs on human settlements to violence against women; from the urgent need to improve basic services and infrastructure, including the provision of water and sanitation through to the need for secure tenure. What made the discussions particularly interesting was that, unlike at most UN events, everybody was able to table their ideas as equal partners. During the event, there were numerous launches of initiatives and new programmes. This included the local launch of the 'Water and Sanitation for Health' programme. Slum dwellers participated in a groundbreaking ceremony for public toilets in a local squatter settlement, which is being built with help from slum dwellers from India. UN-HABITAT has also joined forces with other UN Agencies, such as UNICEF and UNDP, to establish community based initiatives for children in distress from HIV/AIDS. In keeping with the UN General Assembly resolution, the report of the World Forum will be tabled at the next Governing Council of UN-HABITAT. In addition, as a pre-conference event for the World Summit on Sustainable Development, the recommendations of the World Urban Forum will be tabled at the PrepCom 4 in Bali, Indonesia. In conclusion, the Chair, Hon. Ms. Sankie D. Mthembi-Mahanyele called upon all country delegations and UN Agencies to work together at PrepCom 4 to raise the profile of human settlements by placing sustainable urbanization firmly on the agenda of the World Summit for Sustainable Development.


See also:


Closing Statements:

Background documents on WSSD:

Preparations for the world summit on sustainable development: the sustainability of cities

The role of cities in national and international development



The Japan Times:

3 May 2002


You don't have to wait until you're grown up to be counted. In fact, if you're between 10 and 12 years old, you're the perfect age to take part in the International Children's Conference on the Environment. And to start thinking of how to preserve and improve the world that you are living in. Eleven-year-old Mika Abe is keen on recycling, for starters. Her enthusiasm was kindled by her social studies class at Ikko Primary School. Her teacher encouraged the children to collect discarded milk cartons and to make postcards from them. At the fourth ICC this month, Mika's class project will inspire other children to think of ways to put everyday products to different uses, instead of just throwing them away. Mika, from Fukagawa City, Hokkaido, is one of 15 children representing Japan at the conference, which is being held from May 21-25, at the University of Victoria, on Canada's Vancouver Island. Each conference is organized by the Kenya-based United Nations Environment Programme, in collaboration with local environmental groups, government officials and corporations from different countries. The first one was held in Eastbourne, England, in 1995.  In Japan, UNEP's local liaison is the Tokyo-based Foundation for Global Peace and Environment. The FGPE registers the children for the conference, plans their itinerary and keeps them informed about planned events. The conference will give about 800 children from more than 115 countries a chance to voice their concerns about the environment. And that is exactly what 12-year-old Daisuke Aoyama of Aichi Prefecture, will be doing. "I went on a dolphin-watching trip and was so moved by a dolphin mother swimming in the ocean with her child," he says. "But I saw that the ocean water was very dirty. I want people to understand how hard it is for dolphins to live in such conditions." So Daisuke wrote an essay on how to protect the dolphins and the oceans from pollution. Miki Kamiya, 12, also from Aichi Prefecture, worked on the same project. For her, the turning point was a holiday in the mountains with her family. "When I saw the clear water of the lake and breathed the clean air, I understood what an unpolluted environment can be," Miki says. "I wondered why it can't always be this way." Nine of this year's delegates were selected from essay-writing competitions, sponsored either by their local governments or by environmentally conscious companies. Their suggestions for protecting the environment won them not only a place at the conference but also free air travel and accommodation. The other children registered for the conference online. For all of them, the conference is the chance of a lifetime. After those four days, they will be able to speak more confidently about environmental issues than most other children their age. On May 22, the first day of the conference, the kids will talk about how to use water -- essential to all life -- more sensibly. On Day Two, they'll discover how they can play a part in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. Day Three's discussions will cover the lifestyles of healthy communities. And on Day Four, they'll be challenged to think about how human beings can conserve Earth's resources. Yuka Matsumoto, a 10-year-old from Chiba City, looks forward to the fourth day because her project on resource conservation ties up with the theme. "I'm going to listen carefully and take lots of notes and bring them back with me," she says. All the children attending will spend their mornings learning from the other participants and presenting their own projects. Smaller "friendship groups" will meet after these sessions to come up with "challenges," or concrete proposals to save the environment. In the late afternoon, the children will set out on field trips, to explore the natural beauty of British Columbia and to learn about eco-friendly technologies from local environmental groups. "This is what I look forward to the most," says Miki. "I want to experience the beautiful mountains and plants of Canada." Registration is closed for this year's conference, but that's no reason to feel left out. There's another conference next year, in New London, Conn., in the United States. And in 2005, the sixth ICC will be held right here in Japan, in Aichi Prefecture. When Yuka, Miki and the rest of the Japanese delegation return from Canada, they'll have exciting stories to tell of all the things they've seen and learned -- how international agreements are the result of an intricate process of expressing your opinions, considering the opinions of others and arriving at a consensus; how children have a stake in the health of the planet and need to be involved from an early age; how changing the world begins with changing yourself. On the final day, the children will formulate a joint declaration of challenges, and two of them will be selected to present the declaration at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, this September. They will stand before world leaders and make a strong case for treating the Earth with more respect. Even if you're not attending the conference, you can play your part by becoming more environmentally aware. Small actions can inspire great movements. Children, and not just governments, can be powerful agents of environmental reform. People often forget this and don't take children seriously enough. But by speaking up, you can help change that.



Gulf News via Financial Times

3 May 2002


Environmental issues have always been given the topmost priority in government policies since the establishment of the UAE federation in 1971, said Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. Sheikh Hamdan made the remarks in a message read out at a one-day conference discussing an international initiative by Abu Dhabi on environmental data collection. The conference was organised by the Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency (ERWDA) at Abu Dhabi Hilton Hotel. The message was read out by Hamad Abdul Rahman Al Madfa, Minister of Health and Chairman of the Federal Environmental Agency (FEA), who opened the conference. Sheikh Hamdan, who is Deputy Chairman of ERWDA, reiterated that the report raised by the Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI) for year 2002 had opened a new horizon to develop environmental work at local, national and regional levels. He said the debate on collective global environmental data collection has been triggered by ESI, which has opened a healthy chapter in global ecological protection efforts. Sheikh Hamdan stressed the importance of promoting sustainable development indicators and the availability of data on environmental issues. Describing this international dialogue as a pioneering initiative by ERWDA, he said: "The UAE since its foundation in 1971 has given priority to environment in its development march. "The ESI report opened the door for the development of environmental work and for the review of policies and development strategies at local, national and regional levels." Sheikh Hamdan further said the report has served as the main incentive for the UAE to find out a way that would help in reflecting the reality of the environment situation through the collection and distribution of related data and information. Professor Daniel C. Esty, Director of U.S.-based Yale Centre for Environmental Law and Policy, told Gulf News the most serious environmental issues in the UAE are water and air pollution. He said: "There are three ways that UAE can overcome these challenges. One is to define a methodology for environmental protection, second, collect better data and improve performance." Prof Esty added the country also needs the involvement of more environmental groups and organisations to achieve these goals. However, he added, the country has made some achievements in tackling environmental problems by controlling desertification and greening the desert. "The greening efforts are a big support in fighting air pollution," he added. The objectives of the dialogue at the Abu Dhabi conference are to explore the issues raised by the environmental sustainability index and to discuss the Abu Dhabi global initiative on environmental data collection, including the formulation of an Environmental Achievement Index (EAI). The Abu Dhabi Global Initiative on Environmental Data Collection is intended to be launched at the 'World Summit for Sustainable Environment' in Johannesburg, South Africa. The summit will begin on August 26 and continue till September 4 this year. It is a collective global effort that has evolved as a result of the widening gap between developed and developing countries. This initiative is intended to present an innovative approach to the promotion of quality environmental data collection for further use by the developing world. The approach is essentially non-expert oriented, based on partnerships, precautionary and participatory, and decentralised. Its priorities are to mobilise resources, raise appropriate funds, assess regional environmental data needs, and collect and establish regional environmental information inventories and indicators. Since the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 and the adoption of agenda 21 and the global blueprint for sustainable development, the issue of quality information infrastructure is a matter of immense importance to the formulation and implementation of policies and strategies. As a result a number of initiatives have been undertaken, both internationally, regionally and nationally to improve methods for the collection and assessment of data. In this connection the United Nations, World Bank, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the European Union are among the leaders in the endeavour to improve the quality of information for decision-making, including the promotion of sustainable development indicators, globally. Meanwhile, in order to give the participants in the event a broad background on UAE environmental efforts and achievements, they will be taking a two-day technical tour covering major achievements in the sectors contributing to sustainable development. This will include field visits and a number of presentations about main environmental agencies, including ERWDA, water and electricity and other establishments in the country.


See Also:



BBC Monitoring Service via Financial Times

1 May 2002


Canberra, 1 May: Joint Press Statement

Recognizing the great benefits and merits of the long-standing close ties and cooperation between Australia and Japan, based on their shared values of democracy, freedom, the rule of law and market-based economies, Prime Minister John Howard and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi committed themselves to a dynamic and forward-looking relationship, in order to take maximum advantage of the tremendous opportunities and challenges of the new international environment in the early 21st century.

On the global front:

- Both prime ministers recognized the importance of international solidarity in the fight against terrorism and acknowledged the value of each other's contribution to this effort. In this context, the prime ministers also reaffirmed their commitment to support Afghanistan.

- Prime Minister Howard reaffirmed Australia's continued strong support for Japan's permanent membership of the UN Security Council.

- The prime ministers expressed their determination to promote further liberalization of global trade and investment, and recognized the crucial importance of the successful conclusion of a new round of trade negotiations in the WTO (World Trade Organization).

- The prime ministers reaffirmed their determination to address the major environmental issue of climate change, taking into account both economic and environmental effects. Japan was in the process of ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. Australia would continue to work to meet its Kyoto target. The prime ministers emphasized their desire to work together to build a global climate change regime that included all countries.

- Sharing the objective of sustainable development, the prime ministers stated their intention that the two countries continue to work together for the success of the Johannesburg Summit.

On the regional front:

- Both prime ministers welcomed the peaceful conclusion of the recent presidential election in East Timor. In particular, the Australian prime minister welcomed Japan's valuable contribution to the UN peacekeeping forces. The prime ministers reaffirmed their commitment to work together to help East Timor in its transition to independence and beyond, including by ensuring the continued success of the UN peacekeeping operation there.

- Drawing on their strong record of cooperation in the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) forum, the East Asian financial crisis, ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Regional Forum, peacekeeping in Cambodia and now in East Timor, both leaders affirmed their renewed commitment to work together to meet regional challenges.

- Prime Minister Howard welcomed Prime Minister Koizumi's vision of a "community that acts together and advances together," as expressed by him in Singapore on Jan. 14, 2002. Prime Minister Koizumi reiterated his expectation that Australia would be a core member of this community, and emphasized the contribution that Australia could make in this regard. The prime ministers stated that consideration should be given to regional diversity and the specific needs of other countries in the region. Furthermore, the two prime ministers highly valued the contribution made to regional cooperation by the existing frameworks.

- The prime ministers emphasized the importance of working together to combat effectively transnational problems such as people smuggling and money laundering. In this regard, Prime Minister Koizumi congratulated Australia on successfully co-hosting with Indonesia the Regional Ministerial Conference on People Smuggling convened in Bali in February this year.

- Noting both nations' respective core alliances with the United States, they gave their strong support to United States' engagement and presence in the Asia-Pacific region, which underpinned regional stability. They reaffirmed their intention to work together to preserve the security environment in the region.

On the bilateral front:

- Prime Minister Howard reaffirmed his strong support for Prime Minister Koizumi's structural reform efforts, and noted the benefits for Australia and the world of a strong Japanese economy. Prime Minister Koizumi said that Australia's strong economic growth highlighted the benefits of structural reform.

- The prime ministers noted the exciting prospects for increased cooperation across the entire relationship, as evidenced by the range of recommendations which emerged from the "Australia-Japan Conference for the 21st Century," held in Sydney in April 2001.

- The prime ministers reaffirmed their commitment to work to strengthen further the bilateral economic relationship to reflect the dynamic structural changes now occurring in the two economies, including in response to regional economic developments and globalization.

The prime ministers welcomed the recent submission of proposals and suggestions from the two private sectors on ways to strengthen trade and economic linkages between the two countries.

The prime ministers agreed that the two governments would launch high-level consultations to explore all options for deeper economic linkages between Australia and Japan.

- The prime ministers welcomed the expanding dialogue and cooperation between the two nations on security and defence issues, underpinned by their close strategic interests.




40) TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE" (Address by the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to the American Museum of Natural History's

Annual "Environmental Lecture" Delivered by Mrs. Nane Annan)

United Nations

14 May 2002


Ladies and Gentlemen, Thirty years ago, the world community gathered in Stockholm for the first United Nations Conference on the Human Environment.  That event was a watershed.  It inspired legions of green activists at the grass-roots level.  It led to the establishment of environment ministries and agencies in countries that did not already have them.  It put the environment on the international agenda. Ten years ago, the international community gathered again for the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.  With the conceptual breakthrough of sustainable development, the Summit generated both heat and light.  No longer, it was hoped, would environmental protection be regarded as a luxury or afterthought.  Rather, environmental factors would be integrated with economic and social issues and become a central part of the policy-making process.  Developed countries, which had benefited immensely from a wasteful and hazardous path of modernization, would help developing countries combat poverty and avoid that same polluting path.  In adopting Agenda 21, a blueprint for sustainable development, rich and poor seemed to have agreed on common vision for growth, equity and conservation over the long-term. But progress since then has been slower than anticipated.  The state of the world's environment is still fragile.  Conservation measures are far from satisfactory.  At discussions on global finance and the economy, the environment is still treated as an unwelcome guest.  High-consumption life-styles continue to tax the earth's natural life-support systems.  Research and development remains woefully under-funded, and neglects the problems of the poor.  Developed countries in particular have not gone far enough in fulfilling the promises they made in Rio - either to protect their own environments or to help the developing world defeat poverty. Less than four months from now, at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, we have a chance to restore the momentum that had been felt so palpably after the Earth Summit.  Already, the process leading up to that event has brought renewed attention to issues that have been largely overshadowed by conflicts, globalization and, most recently, terrorism.  Still, I sense a need for greater clarity on what Johannesburg is about and what it can achieve.  Negotiators who meet later this month in Bali need clarity if they are to draft a strong programme of action.  The public at large needs clarity if they are to support the changes that must occur. At its core, Johannesburg is about the relationship between human society and the natural environment.  We here in this room are among the 20 percent of humanity that enjoys privilege and prosperity undreamt of by former generations.  Yet the model of development that has brought us so much has also exacted a heavy toll on the planet and its resources.  It may not be sustainable even for those who have already benefited, let alone for the vast majority of our fellow human beings, many of whom live in conditions of unbearable deprivation and squalor and naturally aspire to share the benefits that we enjoy. This fact was recognized by the world leaders who gathered at the United Nations almost two years ago for the Millennium Summit.  They decided that the first 15 years of this century should be used for a major onslaught on global poverty, and set a number of targets - the Millennium Development Goals - for doing so.  But they also resolved to free future generations "from the threat of living on a planet irredeemably spoilt by human activities".  The Johannesburg Summit aims to find practical ways for humanity to respond to both these challenges - to better the lives of all human beings, while protecting the environment.  The Summit also aims to move from commitments - of which we have had plenty, 30 years ago and 10 years ago - to action.  I see five specific areas where concrete results are both essential and achievable.

First is water and sanitation.  More than 1 billion people are without safe drinking water. Twice that number lack adequate sanitation.  And more than 3 million people die every year from diseases caused by unsafe water.  Unless we take swift and decisive action, by 2025 as much as two thirds of the world's population may be living in countries that face serious water shortage.  We need to improve access.  We need to improve the efficiency of water use, for example by getting more "crop per drop" in agriculture, which is the largest consumer of water.  And we need better watershed management, and to reduce leakage, especially in the many cities where water losses are an astonishing 40 percent or more of total water supply.

The second area is energy.  Energy is essential for development. Yet two billion people currently go without, condemning them to remain in the poverty trap.  We need to make clean energy supplies accessible and affordable.  We need to increase the use of renewable energy sources and improve energy efficiency.  And we must not flinch from addressing the issue of overconsumption - the fact that people in the developed countries use far more energy per capita than those in the developing world.  States must ratify the Kyoto Protocol, which addresses not only climate change but also a host of unsustainable practices.  States must also do away with the perverse energy subsidies and tax incentives that perpetuate the status quo and stifle the development of new and promising alternatives.

Third is agricultural productivity.  Land degradation affects perhaps as much as two thirds of the world's agricultural land.  As a result, agricultural productivity is declining sharply, while the number of mouths to feed continues to grow.  In Africa, especially, millions of people are threatened with starvation.  We must increase agricultural productivity, and reverse human encroachment on forests, grasslands and wetlands.  Research and development will be crucial, as will implementation of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification.

The fourth area is biodiversity and ecosystem management.  Biodiversity is declining at an unprecedented rate - as much as a thousand times what it would be without the impact of human activity. Half of the tropical rainforests and mangroves have already been lost.  About 75 percent of marine fisheries have been fished to capacity.  70 percent of coral reefs are endangered.  We must reverse this process -- preserving as many species as possible, and clamping down on illegal and unsustainable fishing and logging practices -- while helping people who currently depend on such activities to make a transition to more sustainable ways of earning their living.

Finally, the area of health.  The links between the environment and human health are powerful.  Toxic chemicals and other hazardous materials are basic elements of development.   Yet more than one billion people breathe unhealthy air, and three million people die each year from air pollution - two thirds of them poor people, mostly women and children, who die from indoor pollution caused by burning wood and dung.  Tropical diseases such as malaria and African guinea worm are closely linked with polluted water sources and poor sanitation.  Conventions and other steps aimed at reducing waste and eliminating the use of certain chemicals and substances can go a long way to creating a healthier environment.  But we also need to know better how and where to act - meaning that research and development are especially important, particularly studies that focus more on the diseases of the poor than has historically been the case.

Water.  Energy.  Health.  Agriculture.  And biodiversity. Five areas that makeup an ambitious but achievable agenda. Five areas in which progress is possible with the resources and technologies at our disposal today. Five areas in which progress would offer all human beings a chance of achieving prosperity that will not only last their own lifetime, but can be enjoyed by their children and grandchildren too. Five areas that can be remembered by a simply acronym: WEHAB.  You might think of it like this: we inhabit the earth.  And we must rehabilitate our one and only planet.  I'm sure you can come up with your own interpretations.  I hope this will become something of a mantra between now and the opening of the Summit in Johannesburg.  Ladies and Gentlemen, Archaeological discoveries of recent decades suggest that even great civilizations, such as the Sumerians and the Mayans, met devastation at least in part by failing to live in harmony with the natural environment.  We, too, have tempted fate for most of the past two hundred years, fuelled by breakthroughs in science and technology and the belief that natural limits to human well being had been conquered.  Climate change is a prime example of this. Today we know better, and have begun to transform our societies, albeit haltingly.  So far, our scientific understanding continues to run ahead of our social and political response.  With some honourable exceptions, our efforts to change course are too few and too little.  The question now is whether they are also too late.  In Johannesburg, we have a chance to catch up.  The issue is not environment versus development, or ecology versus economy.  Contrary to popular belief, we can integrate the two.  Nor is the issue one of rich versus poor.  Both have a clear interest in protecting the environment and promoting sustainable development. At Johannesburg, Governments will agree on a common plan of action.  But the most creative agents of change may well be partnerships -- among Governments, private businesses, non-profit organizations, scholars and concerned citizens such as you. Together, we will need to find our way towards to a greater sense of mutual responsibility.  Together, we will need to build a new ethic of global stewardship.  Together, we can and must write a new and more hopeful chapter in natural - and human - history.  Thank you very much.




Issued by the South African Ministry of Environmental Affairs and Tourism

9 May 2002


Two principles -- sustainability and partnerships -- have become imperatives in almost all-human activity. Just as the system of apartheid was unsustainable -- it imploded on its own immorality -- so, too, will a world, which feeds on the earth at a rate faster than it is able to replenish itself. Today, the world harvests fish faster than the fish reproduce -- will future generations have fish to eat? We pump carbon dioxide into the air faster than the production of oxygen by forests. We destroy the earth as we develop. Sustainable development is principally about human welfare rather than merely a "green" question.

It is no accident that the programme for the African renaissance is entitled the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). For the poor of this world, for the marginalised, for the African, the words of poet John Donne ring truer than ever. "No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main."

Working in partnership -- acting together with others -- makes it possible to tackle local and international needs with the urgency needed. In his novel, The Heart of Redness, Zakes Mda takes us to Qolorha-by-Sea on the Wild Coast:

"The developers, two bald white men and a young black man, come early on a Saturday morning and insist that the meeting be held at the lagoon. ... The young black man is introduced as Lefo Leballo, the new chief executive officer of the black empowerment company that is going to develop the village into a tourist heaven. ... The two elderly white men -- both in black suits -- are Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones. ...

"Mr. Smith talks of the wonders that will happen to Qolorha-by-Sea. There will be boats and water-skiing and jet-skiing. ...

"'Right here,' says Mr. Smith, 'we shall see the biggest and most daring rides of all roller coasters in the world ... over the rough sea.'

"'That is not all my dear friends,' says Mr. Smith excitedly. 'We are going to have cable cars too. Cable cars shall move across the water from one end of the lagoon to the other.'

But Camagu is not impressed.

"'You talk of all these rides and all these wonderful things,' he says, 'but for whose benefit are they? What will these villagers who are sitting here get from all these things? ... These things will be enjoyed only by the rich people who will come here and pollute our rivers and our ocean.' ...

"[Zim, an elder, says] '...This son of Cesane is right. They will destroy our trees and the plants of our forefathers for nothing. We, the people of Qolorha, will not gain anything from this.'

‘'You have nothing to offer these people,' says Mr. Jones to Camagu. 'If you fight against these wonderful developments, what do you have to offer in their place?'

"[Camagu replies] 'The promotion of the kind of tourism that will benefit the people, that will not destroy indigenous forests, that will not bring hordes of people who will pollute the rivers and drive away the birds.'

"'That is just a dream,' shouts Lefa Leballo. 'There is no such tourism.'"


This is the universal challenge of sustainable development faced by humanity today! This is the challenge before the World Summit on Sustainable Development. The Johannesburg Summit is about the construction of a global partnership for the environmentally sustainable social and economic development of the poor.

The decade since the Rio Earth Summit held in 1992 has seen the process of globalisation create unprecedented wealth, productivity and trade, while many developing countries, and Africa in particular, have been pushed to the fringes of the global system. Each year in the past decade an additional 10 million people have joined the ranks of the very poor in Africa, Asia and Latin America. For these people, the fine words of Agenda 21 has meant little. The last decade was marked by unprecedented level of global concern for the protection of the Earth's fragile environment. South Africa is of the view that the Johannesburg Summit must negotiate a new global deal or partnership that brings the economic and social pillars of sustainable development back into the equation. Our watchwords are "People, Planet, Prosperity".

A new global deal on sustainable development is possible because of certain key international developments:

* the decision of the UN Millennium Summit in 2000 to halve world poverty by the year 2015;

* the World Trade Organisation's Doha decision to embark on a development round of negotiations; and

* the adoption of the Monterrey Consensus by the UN Finance for Development's conference, providing a framework for development financing.

The main task of the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development is to focus on implementation plans. It must result in a programme of action whose elements will include access to fresh water and sanitation, access to energy, food security, health care, primary education and technology transfer. For us on the African continent, this programme of action will be informed by NEPAD.

The formal intergovernmental negotiations will be paralleled by a wide range of side events, cultural activities, the Civil Society Forum, and many interest groups expressing their views and contributions on a sustainable future for the planet. These activities are where some of the real dynamism and creativity of the Summit will be expressed, and where most of the large number of people visiting the Summit will be engaged. Parliamentarians from around the world will also be gathering in a special stakeholder event. Members of this House are playing a key role in facilitating this event. I would like to commend the role played by the Portfolio Committee and its chairperson, together with Globe South Africa, in promoting dialogue on the key issues to be addressed at the Summit. Logistical preparations for the Summit are at an advanced stage. Government has established a dedicated non-profit organisation, the Johannesburg World Summit Company (Jowsco) to manage these preparations. Jowsco is managed jointly by national government, the Gauteng Province and the Johannesburg Metro. In preparing the logistics we have paid careful attention to issues such as black economic empowerment, community participation and environmental best practice. We aim to make the Summit "carbon neutral' by reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and investing in forestry projects that will absorb the equivalent carbon dioxide emissions generated by Summit activities. Gauteng is leading the project to "green" the Summit, and I would like to commend MEC Mary Metcalfe for her visionary role in this regard. The three spheres of government are also jointly making key financial contributions to running the Summit, with a total government contribution of R200m. These funds are being leveraged with donor and corporate sponsorships to make up the total Summit budget of R551m. I would like to give special thanks to those sponsors who have generously assisted South Africa to pull off a major event of this scale. In all, we aim to leverage the national government's budget of R140m four times over. We estimate that this will bring at least R1,5 billion into the South African economy, in addition to the benefits associated with branding, imaging and tourism, which are less easy to quantify. Madam Speaker, the preparation time South Africa has had for this Summit has been extremely tight. I am nevertheless confident that all our arrangements are on track, and that we have both the capacity and commitment in our management team to do this country proud in hosting this Summit. We look forward to hosting you, Madam Speaker, together with other members of this House, in Johannesburg, and hope that we can continue to rely on your support in the complex preparations for the Summit over the next few months.


Full text of the Minister Speech:



Accra Mail

6 May 2002


Baroness Amos, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister of Africa, delivered a speech at the Department of International Development (DFID) Development Policy Forum 2002, in Cardiff, Wales on 24 April. Below, are excerpts of her speech.


We know that if we are to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and halve the proportion of people living in abject poverty by 2015 then we need to do more than just increase the level of development assistance - we need average economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa of 7% and that is only achievable if African countries can contain capital flight, attract foreign direct investment, increase their proportion of international trade, put increased resources into social sectors like health and education and demonstrate transparency in key areas of political and economic governance. Internationally DFID have led discussion of this agenda. The 2000 White Paper on International Development which focussed on globalisation stressed the need to promote policies and measures to enhance the pro poor impact of globalisation. The work we did then remains important and I am pleased that the focus of this round of Development Policy Forums is on globalisation.


Globalisation has become a key word covering a large number of areas, yet is a word that few of us may have grown up with, or fully understand. But we all increasingly see the impact of global events on all our lives, whether through work, travel, culture or the many other ways in which events or actions across the globe affect us. In a post-11 September world, we are all much more conscious of the interrelationship between countries, between developed and developing countries and the complexity of those relationships. At the same time there are concerns about globalisation. When people express concern about globalisation it usually revolves around concerns regarding the pace of economic and social change, effects on culture and effects on the poor. People feel it is a political process they are unable to influence. But globalisation is a human made process, which gives people the opportunity to interact with and influence the process. [This] is a key opportunity to explore how we can manage globalisation to work better for poor people. We are specifically here to explore issues surrounding trade, the environment and the private sector - key areas on which we need to focus to ensure poor countries can lift their poorest citizens out of poverty. We are here to discuss issues of environment and development as preparations gather pace for the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg this August, 10 years after the UN Conference on the Environment and Development, in Rio in 1992.


The Summit in Johannesburg offers an important opportunity to carry forward the debate on the links between environment and development. The Summit's title alone - 'World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD)' - reflects a growing realisation that the environment and development are inextricably linked. WSSD will focus on the relationship between poverty, globalisation and sustainable development: issues fundamental to the Government's strategy as outlined in the 2000 White Paper 'Making Globalisation work for the Poor'. It is also timely to be discussing today how to make trade work better for the poor, following the 4th World Trade Organisation's Ministerial which took place in Doha last November.


The poorest countries need improved trading opportunities in order to help them sell their goods and therefore help the one in five of the world's population that still lives in extreme poverty to participate in the growing wealth of the planet. Africa has less than 1% of world trade. Doubling that would provide a flow of resources equal to total aid in Africa which would create the conditions to enable us to overcome deep-seated historical inequalities. According to the latest World Bank figures, the continued opening of markets to trade could lift an additional 300 million people out of poverty, helping us make the Millennium Development Goals on poverty reduction a reality. That is why at Doha, the UK Government pushed for the next round of World Trade Organisation negotiations to be a 'development round' - to address specifically the ways in which the liberalisation of trade can benefit the world's poor. The outcome of Doha was in many ways positive for developing countries, though much work remains to be done. That is why it is vital we all work to ensure that commitments made at Doha become a reality.


And many of the issues surrounding today's third theme: 'Promoting International Development Through the Private Sector', are directly linked to both environment and trade. Private sector economic activities often directly impact on the environment and in turn on the poor's livelihoods, health and vulnerability. Consequently, there has been growing pressure for socially responsible behaviour by businesses, both in the UK and abroad. Many of these changes in the private sector's behaviour, have resulted from pressure from consumers causing businesses to realise that socially responsible business is not only a moral imperative, but also in their hard-headed business self interest. The private sector is also at the heart of debates on trade and development. Through development of the export private sector in developing countries, more poor people will be able to capture the gains from international trade. In turn, progress can be made on reducing world poverty. Already, foreign direct investment in developing countries is more than three times the current volume of development aid. Yet receipt of this investment is highly skewed - with little flowing into sub-Saharan Africa. We need to explore ways that all developing countries can attract investment to enable the private sector to contribute to their development.


NEPAD is a continental strategy directed to the achievement of sustainable development in Africa. It gives firmer expression to the idea of African Renaissance. It recognises African responsibility to create the conditions for development by ending conflict, improving economic and political governance and strengthening regional integration. It seeks international support to achieve these goals and to end Africa's acute economic marginalisation through such measures as increased resource flows, improved trade access and debt relief. It identifies infrastructure, agricultural diversification and human development (health and education) as priority sectors. NEPAD's long term objectives are: to develop African machinery for achieving peace and security; to agree codes and standards for economic and political governance and a peer review mechanism for ensuring compliance with them; to develop regional infrastructure to enhance regional integration; to achieve better terms of trade for African products; to develop strategies in priority areas including human development (health and education) and agriculture.


Africa is getting poorer and falling further behind. It represents our greatest challenge as a world community and that is why at last year's G8 Summit in Genoa G8 leaders committed to the development of a G8 Africa Action Plan to support the work of NEPAD. The G8 working with African leaders have a historic opportunity to develop a partnership to deliver tangible improvements to the lives of poor people. That is why the G8 is looking at the following areas: Peace and Security; Economic Growth, Trade and Investment; Education and Health; Agriculture and Water, Aid Effectiveness


43) WORLD URBAN FORUM CONCLUDING STATEMENT BY THE CHAIR OF THE WORLD URBAN FORUM, Hon. Ms. Sankie D. Mthembi-Mahanyele Minister of Housing, South Africa


3 May 2002


Mr. Vice-Chair, My colleagues, Members of the Advisory Group for the First Session of the World Urban Forum, Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Hounorable Ministers, Excellencies, Mayors of cities from across the world, Partners of the Habitat Agenda, Ladies and Gentlemen, It is now my honour and privilege to present to you my concluding statement at this final session of the first meeting of the World Urban Forum. I do this with a deep sense of satisfaction and with a great sigh of relief. Being the first World Urban Forum, and the first global gathering of this nature with the main purpose of strengthening the coordination of international support to the implementation of the Habitat Agenda, I feel that our meeting has been fully successful. The last five days were packed with intensive debates in the form of global dialogues and an impressive series of parallel events among the growing family of Habitat Agenda partners, fully in the spirit of global partnership which was created at the Istanbul Conference nearly 6 years ago. Let me state clearly at the outset, that this open-ended gathering of Governments at all levels and organizations of civil society has already, at its first session, demonstrated its capacity to be a global marketplace of collecting and exchanging views on the future of cities and other human settlements, and on their role in sustainable development. I am confident, therefore, that the results of this impressive gathering of government representatives, public authority officials and partners in the professional, non governmental sector and civil society are truly reflective of the partnership concept which has to be given life and direction for achieving the twin Habitat Agenda goals of adequate shelter for all and sustainable urbanization. Ladies and Gentlemen, The first session of the World Urban Forum is taking place at an opportune moment in the life of international cooperation, specifically in relation to the debate on sustainable development, and the Millennium Declaration on Cities without Slums.  As we are aware, the Forum is expected to make a major contribution on advising on the best ways to meet the targets set by World Leaders at the Millennium Summit of improving the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by the year 2020. At this first session, the Urban Forum has pronounced itself very clearly on several principles in this respect, of which I want to mention only two: (1) First, the dialogues contributed towards the emerging concept of the "right to the city" and its essential element of citizenship, which is fundamental in establishing democratic partnerships at local levels so that cities become inclusive and belong to all of its citizens, and in so doing ensure good governance. (2) Second, the dialogues underlined that forced evictions are detrimental to the goals of cities without slums and must stop, as they create obstacles to the progress of achieving democratic partnerships. They have the tendency to reinforce exclusion and instigate instability. With regard to the international debate on sustainable development, the dialogues at this first World Urban Forum fully endorsed the vision of inclusive cities and habitable human settlements making important contributions towards sustainable development at the local level as we move in to the declared "Millennium of The City". We are conscious of the critical implications of a world in which the majority of the population will live in urban settlements by the year 2020. We are equally clear about implications of the phenomenal momentum of the urbanization that will take place in the developing world particularly in Africa, and that it will manifest itself in a growth of informal settlements. Thus the adoption of the programme for "Cities without Slums". Linked to this is the need to define and provide a support programme for the provision of water and sanitation to such growing settlements. Another issue of major concern in this regard is the impact of the Aids phenomena. Hence Local Agendas 21, a stronger role for local authorities, as well as new forms of city-to-city cooperation and the creation of institutional synergy. They become key instruments in allowing urban localities to assert their significant role towards socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable development. I look forward to a continuing debate on the important matter of decentralization, which is fundamental to strengthening the capacity of local authorities to deal with the phenomena outlined. The conclusions from the dialogue on sustainable urbanization and the role of cities in sustainable development are expected to be significant inputs to the debates on sustainable development at the forthcoming World Summit for Sustainable Development. Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to underline in this context, that the challenges to the role of human settlements in sustainable development are quite poignant in the African context. Traditional rural settlements with an agrarian character and subsistence production may at times be considered more sustainable than urban settlements with their massive requirements for infrastructure and energy in poorly performing economies. We recognize that Africa is being propelled into the urban age, posing challenges, which are both similar and different from those faced by urbanization in other regions. It will be important for African countries; therefore, to develop models of urbanization which acknowledge the peculiar African context and the close linkages between urban and rural development in our countries. I am pleased to note that this Urban Forum has taken up the topic of rural-urban relationships in national development, as rural development remains a major concern not only of African countries.  Ladies and Gentlemen, As you are aware, South Africa is honoured to host the World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) which will take place in Johannesburg later this year, from 26 August to 4 September. The theme of the WSSD is "People, the Planet and Prosperity", and its overall aim is to strengthen, at the highest political level, the global commitment by governments and their civil society partners towards the goals of sustainable development, as they have been pronounced in the Agenda 21. The summit is expected to review the progress made by countries in implementing the Agenda 21, examine obstacles which have been encountered, exchange lessons of the recent past and assess emerging factors which determine the complexities and multiple facets of sustainable development. You will recall that in Rio de Janeiro five years ago, the three pillars of sustainability (economic, social and environmental) were first acknowledged, with an emphasis on achieving a balance between them. In Johannesburg, there will be a new focus on redressing the inequalities between these three pillars. Some of the themes underpinning the preparations of WSSD, therefore, have included the need to address poverty, environment and development, financing mechanisms, technology transfer, trade and the environment, energy, environmental health and land degradation.  The brief mentioning of these WSSD themes to the participants of the World Urban Forum immediately brings to mind the direct relevance which the process of urbanization and urban development have for the goals of sustainable development. In fact, the quality of managing our cities and other human settlements determines, to a large extent, the chances of achieving the key sustainability goals of social equity and inclusiveness, economic progress and environmental protection at the local level.

I want to ensure, in my capacity of having chaired the first World Urban Forum and representative of the host government of the WSSD, that the close interdependencies between rapid processes urbanization, urban governance and sustainable development are projected in the debates in Johannesburg. The work of UN Habitat and of the Habitat Agenda partners, as well as the results of this first session of the World Urban Forum, are essential in creating a common understanding on the pivotal role of the management of human settlements in addressing the issues of sustainable development. To quote from para 101 of the Habitat Agenda: "The sustainability of the global environment and human life will not be achieved unless ... human settlements in both rural and urban areas are made economically buoyant, socially vibrant and environmentally sound, with full respect for cultural, religious and natural heritage and diversity". I am very pleased to note that the first session of the Urban Forum, in debating sustainable urbanization in the context of WSSD, benefited from preparatory work carried out here in Nairobi under the auspices of the Committee of Permanent Representatives. In particular, I wish to quote specifically the language which has already been proposed by UN-Habitat for the "Programme of Action" under the common title of "Reducing Urban Poverty and Promoting Sustainable Settlements Development". It has been suggested that Heads of State and Governments:

1. Resolve to support initiatives that help cities and other human settlements make their important contribution to socially, economically and environmentally sustainable development at the local, national, and global levels.

2. Resolve to improve, by 2020, the lives of 100 million slum dwellers in accordance with the commitments of the Habitat Agenda, the UN Millennium Declaration, and the Declaration on Cities and other Human Settlements in the New Millennium. This should include promotion of secure tenure and affordable shelter for the urban poor, access to save drinking water for all and provision of basic infrastructure and urban services, including adequate sanitation, waste management and sustainable transport.

3. Resolve to support initiatives that help local actors, especially local authorities and their partners to improve their planning, implementation and management capacities. This should include support for assuring effective and efficient governance of cities and other human settlements through strong and accountable public institutions, decentralization, and the promotion of participatory environmental planning and management practices.

4. Reconfirm the role of UN-Habitat in advocating and promoting the goals of adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development and commit ourselves to strengthen partnership mechanisms for the promotion of cohesion and collective efficiency in the international response to local capacity building needs". (end of quote)

You will note that this proposed language corresponds directly to the "Declaration on Cities and other Human Settlements in the New Millennium" which was adopted at the Istanbul+5 session in New York last years, and to the Millennium Declaration of the United Nations, approved by the world leaders in September 2000. It is, therefore, critical that issues with regards to sustainable human settlements should form part of the Agenda of the World Summit on Sustainable Development. I urge all government representatives to ensure that the substantive issues of this forum are incorporated in the WSSD agenda. As partners who acknowledge the importance of sustainable human settlements, it is essential, however, that we recognise the competing interests of vying for a place on the agenda of the WSSD. We should commit ourselves to endeavour to place issues of sustainable human settlements firmly on the development agenda at the WSSD PrepCom 4 which is scheduled to take place in Bali by the end of May. To this end, I urge all Governments, Habitat Partners, and especially country delegations and UN agencies to work together at PrepCom 4 in raising the profile of issues of human settlements and supporting the call to have it placed firmly on the agenda of the WSSD. In this regard, it gives me great pleasure to announce that South Africa and UN Habitat will jointly organise a Round Table on Sustainable Human Settlements in Africa as a parallel event at the WSSD. In conclusion, I would like to reiterate that we were here in Nairobi to share our experience, thoughts and ideas on the issues which determine the future of human settlements in the Millennium of the City. We did so in order that we, as Habitat Partners, can provide coordinated and concerted direction to partnership action in implementing the Habitat Agenda. I think that the format for this first session of the World Urban Forum, in terms of dialogue sessions and parallel events, has demonstrated its potential to make the partnership approach between Governments at the national and local levels, and their partners in civil society, a reality.  Jointly, with the Co-chair, Hon. Minister Sören Häggroth, I will submit the report of this first session of the World Urban Forum to you, Mrs. Tibaijuka, in our capacity as advisory body to UN-HABITAT.  I very much look forward to the next session of the World Urban Forum which will take place in Barcelona, in September 2004. Lastly, It is my pleasant duty to thank the Executive Director of UN Habitat Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka and her dedicated staff, as well as the Government of Kenya for the excellent arrangements and warm hospitality which made this meeting possible. My thanks go equally to the local authorities and their associations, to the parliamentarians and to our partners, the non-governmental organizations, the slum dwellers associations, the professional organizations, the youth groups and the women groups who, by having contributed immensely to the dialogues and debates, have all exhibited the Habitat spirit of partnership. Through your active participation, the World Urban Forum has demonstrated its potential to become an effective venue of global civic engagement towards meeting our common goals of sustainable urbanization and shelter for all. I thank you.



BBC Monitoring Service via Financial Times

1 May 2002


Sydney, May 1 Kyodo - Mr Hugh Morgan, chairman of the Asia Society Australia Asia Centre,

The Honourable Minister for Trade Mr Mark Vaile, The Honourable Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr Alexander Downer, Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to Mr Morgan for giving me an opportunity to speak here today. In this capacity of president of the Australia-Japan Business Cooperation Committee Mr Morgan, together with Mr Imai, president of the Japan Federation of Economic Organizations and Mr Murofushi, chairman of Itochu Corp., has long worked for the promotion of bilateral economic relations, and has given me significant proposals on the future course of our relationship. I would like to thank him once again for his efforts. I last visited Australia in 1998 when I was minister of health and welfare. I vividly remember Dr Wooldridge, then minister for health and family services, showing me his wonderful wine collection. Mr Smith, then minister for family services, took me to his farmhouse in a beautiful area of Tasmania. Mr Smith recently came to see me in Tokyo, and we talked about the memories at the time of my visit. Australia is a valuable mate to Japan as well as to myself. The Japanese people think highly of Australia. A recent public opinion poll indicated that Australia is the most popular country among Japanese. My son homestayed in Australia two years in a row during his summer vacation. I suggested to him that he visit another country in the second year, but he chose Australia. He clearly feels Australia's hospitality. Australia and Japan have a long history of cooperation. Let me give you a symbolic example. Around 90 years ago, Japan dispatched for the first time an Antarctic expedition party led by Lt Shirase. The party failed to reach the Antarctic and arrived in Sydney to prepare another attempt. Australians offered moral and financial support to the Shirase party, which was suffering from various difficulties. Eighty-seven years later, the icebreaker "Shirase", named after the lieutenant, rescued an Australian research and transportation vessel, the "Aurora Australis," which was trapped in the ice. I do not know of a better basis for friendship than the people of one country helping the people of another country in times of difficulty. Japan and Australia have different landscapes and histories, but we share values and interests that provide the basis for our cooperation. We are friends, and I believe we should be even better friends. I came to Australia to let you know that Japan seeks to deepen the spirit of cooperation between us. In today's meeting, Prime Minister Howard and I agreed that our two governments should construct a "Creative Partnership" - a partnership that would enhance exchanges on political and security issues, strengthen economic ties and intensify cooperation and share experiences on educational, social, scientific, technological and other matters. Very notably, Prime Minister Howard and I agreed that we should explore all options for deeper economic linkages. We must consider what type of economic partnership we should create to respond to the new international economic realities, particularly in East Asia, while maintaining the basic structure of our complementary economic relationship. I realize that the recovery of the Japanese economy, which alone accounts for 60 per cent of Asian GDP, has a big impact on the economic dynamism of East Asia, including Australia. Looking over history, one can see that nations decline without new visions and without the reforms to bring them about. I do not intend to let that happen to Japan. Australia's current good economic performance can be attributed to the tough economic and regulatory reforms that you undertook. I congratulate you. Japan must do the same. Japan must sacrifice what it is for what it can become. A decade ago when Japan was in the economic bubble, we were overconfident and neglected reform. Now, we have lost our confidence. I keep telling the Japanese people that we should avoid both of them. Since my appointment as prime minister last April, I have accelerated my country's reform as a matter of the highest priority. I have also launched measures to tackle deflation. It is an economic certainty that Japan will have "no growth without reform." I have total confidence in the potential of the Japanese economy in such fields as technology, human resources and IT. While dislocation and resistance always accompany true reform, I believe reform will be achieved. It must be achieved, because it is indispensable to the future of Japan, East Asia and the global economy. I often hear the questions, "Why isn't structural reform occurring faster? Why don't we see more results?" I would point out that Great Britain experienced negative growth for the first two years after Prime Minister Thatcher's reforms were inaugurated. Likewise, the United States under President Reagan suffered negative growth before enjoying the fruits of his reforms several years later. Our structural reform includes the disposal of nonperforming loans over the course of the next two or three years, the reform of government-affiliated corporations, the participation of private capital in postal businesses, the abolition of regulations preventing free economic activities in the private sector and changes in rigid fiscal and social systems. Reforms are already underway, and I believe we can see indications that the economy is moving towards bottoming out. The structural reform is expected to encourage foreign investment in Japan, which would further accelerate the recovery of the Japanese economy. Our cooperation in the Asia Pacific region is also an important agenda for our Creative Partnership. Today, I would like to focus upon one aspect of that, our cooperation in East Asia. East Asia is the region with the greatest potential for growth in the world. In the speech I made in Singapore, I made a proposal of a "community that acts together and advances together". Australia should become a core member of such a community. I do not believe it is always the best policy to set up new organizations or institutions to build a community. In a region like East Asia where there is great deal of diversity, I believe functional cooperation itself can be more effective. We will do by doing. Acts of cooperation in themselves will create a sense of community. Let me give you some examples of the kind of functional cooperation that I mean. The first example would be joint efforts for regional stability. Japan respects the leadership shown by Australia in the stabilization of East Timor. I sincerely hope that Australia, in cooperation with the United Nations and countries in the region, will continue to play an active role in the nation-building process, which will significantly contribute to the stability of the entire region. Japan has already dispatched engineering units of our Self-Defence Forces to East Timor as a part of UN peacekeeping operations. We would like to cooperate with Australia in this context. Second, we need intensive cooperation to solve transnational issues such as smuggling of people. I greatly appreciate the work of Australia and Indonesia in co-chairing the Regional Minister Conference last February in Bali. This type of joint initiative is extremely useful. Third, further strengthening of regional economic partnership by focusing on trade and investment is very important. I know that the Australian government has been pursuing ways to bring about closer economic relations with Korea, China, Singapore and Thailand. Such endeavours will add significantly to the creation of a community. Japan, too, has been exploring comprehensive economic partnership with ASEAN and Korea. I believe this is a policy agenda that we can work on respectively. In East Asia, we should give consideration to the diversity in the region and uniqueness of other countries. Furthermore, in promoting cooperation and joint regional initiatives, we should respect the existing regional cooperation frameworks. We should avoid foisting our values on our neighbours. Australia embraces a considerable diversity in its own territory and, having overcome difficulties arising from such diversity, is building a multicultural nation. Australia's understanding of diversity can help strengthen cooperation throughout our region. Japan and Australia have been core members of APEC since its creation and we need to continue our cooperation in the framework of APEC. We can work together globally on the basis of our shared values. Terrorism poses the most serious threat to democracy and the rule of law. We share the common objective of fighting the madness of terrorism. Japan has dispatched Maritime Self-Defence ships to the Indian Ocean. Australia has deployed vessels and special forces to Afghanistan. I have been told of Sgt. Andrew Robert Russell who lost his life in Afghanistan. We wish to express our deepest condolences to Sgt. Russell's family. I would also like to pay my most heartfelt tribute to the numerous contributions Australia has made for international peace and security. International solidarity is of vital importance in fighting terrorism. In light of this importance, Prime Minister Howard and I agreed that our two nations need to consult on counterterrorism measures. Since the end of the Cold War, regional conflicts arising from religious and ethnic causes have been rampant the world over. The international society has been engaged in peacekeeping operations designed to consolidate peace and build basic foundations in countries suffering from such conflicts. The government of Japan will consider how to increase our international role by providing an added pillar for the consolidation of peace and nation-building. We hope to cooperate with Australia, which has expertise and experience in this area. In trying to achieve the goal of a free market economy, we must expand and improve the multilateral free trade system. Trade is the benefactor of nations. For this purpose, Japan would like to closely cooperate with Australia for the success of the new round of WTO negotiations. I believe that our two countries can find common positions on trade liberalization as well as improvement, strengthening and extension of WTO rules.


Global environmental protection is becoming increasingly urgent. In the run-up to the Johannesburg Summit, Japan is proposing an idea of "Global Sharing", in which, each country shares strategy, responsibility and experience. I hope that Japan and Australia can work together and make positive contributions to the success of the summit. The early ratification of the Kyoto Protocol would be an important step forward to strengthen international efforts. Implementing the commitment in the protocol is not easy for Japan, which has already achieved the highest level of energy efficiency. Nevertheless, I am determined to ratify the protocol with the approval of the Diet in the current session. I strongly hope that Australia will move forward to ratify the protocol with us.

In conclusion, I would like to mention an element that I respect in the character of the Australian people. During World War II, the Australian Navy held a navy-style funeral for Japanese soldiers who infiltrated Sydney Harbour in midget submarines. Rear Admiral Muirhead-Gould, who was in charge of the funeral, said, "However horrible war and its results may be, it is a courage which is recognized and universally admired. These men were patriots of the highest order." The coffins of the soldiers were wrapped in the Japanese flag and their ashes were sent back to their home country. From the bottom of my heart, let me say that I sincerely respect the Australian people's generosity and fair spirit - even towards enemies in time of war. There is an epilogue to this. Twenty-two years later, the mother of the late commander Matsuo, one of the soldiers who died, visited Australia to express her appreciation and to console the spirit of her son here in Sydney Bay. The people of Australia, including then Prime Minister Gorton, warmly and generously welcomed her, saying, "The mother of the brave has come." I also admire the enthusiasm and forward-looking outlook with which they face the future. It is said that the kangaroo and the emu, two animals depicted in Australia's national emblem known for always moving forward and never retreating, symbolize the character of the Australian people. With such characteristics, the people in Australia have succeeded in a series of reforms that have built the Australia that stands today. With that same forward-looking spirit, Prime Minister Howard and I agreed to construct a "Creative Partnership." As we begin this new century, I sincerely believe that we can increase our cooperation in a spirit that strengthens our friendship and embraces the future. Thank you very much.





The East African (Nairobi)

6 May 2002


Dr Claude Martin is the director-general, WWF International

Has the UN Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey, Mexico, really been a turning point in development aid, as some commentators have maintained, or was it just a spin to camouflage the disappointing commitments made by the rich nations? President George W Bush's announcement of a $5 billion increase in aid from 2004 will raise the American contribution by about 50 per cent, but this must be set against the fact that the US currently spends a paltry 0.1 per cent of its GNP on development aid. Similarly, the European Union has committed an additional $7 billion by 2006, and announced a gradual increase in its aid budget to 0.39 per cent - yet that is still well short of the UN target of 0.7 per cent of the industrialised countries' gross domestic product. However it is presented, Monterrey did not come up with the additional $50 billion a year the World Bank has said would be necessary to reach the UN millennium declaration target of halving world poverty by 2015. There are two immediate conclusions to be drawn. The first is that the thoughtful declarations after September 11, which recognised that we are living in one world, not two, have now been proved to be nothing more than lip service. Second, the Monterrey outcome is a bad omen for the forthcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg, South Africa, particularly in view of the projected increase over the coming three years in global military spending to more than $900 billion, a level about 15 times higher than the aid budget. However sad this may be though, we need to realise that poverty reduction is not solely a matter of aid funding, often not even a question of financial investment. In fact, the history of development aid is littered with examples of projects that have been badly adapted to local circumstances, and the money has, in consequence, deepened poverty - not to mention programmes that were more of an export promotion by donor countries than actual development aid. One of the reasons for this failure is the inability to fully understand the root causes of poverty and a simplistic way of measuring it. This is evident in the current poverty reduction debate because, a dollar value is used to measure poverty. According to the UN and a number of intergovernmental institutions, there are 1.2 billion poor people who live on less than a dollar a day. So what about the Amazon Indians, the Penan tribe, or the Baka pygmies who have never seen a greenback, and maybe not even the local currency? Their incomes, livelihoods, and social and cultural integrity depend entirely on the goods from forests. In fact, the moment currency appears in their forest settlements, it may result in the demise of their cultures and the start of real poverty. There are at least 1,400 distinct indigenous and traditional peoples living in the world's forest areas alone. Are they poor because they do not have a monetised system? Perhaps one may point to the comparatively low numbers of indigenous peoples who may have been included among those living in absolute poverty by default. But what about the vast majority of the 1.2 billion poor people who, according to a World Bank study, depend at least partly on forest resources? Twice as many people rely on traditional medicines for their primary health care. Are some of them poor because our current system of national accounts, which measures everything in GNP terms, cannot assess the value of natural goods and services? I am in no way downplaying the crucial importance of poverty eradication, and I understand the need to put numbers to it, but unless we have more sophisticated ways of classifying poverty - which must include social and cultural criteria and account for natural resource use - aid programmes may lead to the same failures as past development programmes. Understanding the root causes of poverty also means analysing the impact of Northern consumer markets and trade on the livelihoods of poor countries. Trade barriers imposed by industrialised nations on goods from developing countries seriously limit the development options of some of the poorest. Tariff barriers on the import of textiles from developing countries are a classic example of protectionist measures by rich nations that fly in the face of poverty reduction goals. In addition, billions of dollars and Euros go to agricultural and fisheries subsidies which damage the livelihood of many rural poor in developing countries. The EU, for example, subsidises its vastly oversized fishing fleet to fish the coastal waters of Africa under fisheries access agreements, thus directly competing with poor traditional fishing communities for an increasingly scarce resource. This is in direct contradiction to the EU's own development policies. Then, there is the increasing impact of climate change. According to statistics from the reinsurance company Munich Re, the damage caused by weather-related events has increased dramatically over the past decade and affects the poorest countries of the world far more significantly than richer nations. This damage now amounts to 13.5 per cent of the GDP of the poorest countries. Some conservation organisations have learned through many years' experience that even modest investments in poor countries can make a huge difference if funds are strategically applied, based on proper analysis of the local situation, and used to promote local capacity, particularly when combined with policy change. Thus, whether Monterrey was a turning point in financing development or not cannot simply be judged in terms of billions of dollars, regrettable as it is that industrialised nations do not "walk the talk." What will determine the prospects for development aid is whether donor nations are serious enough in applying aid for pro-poor strategies, based on valuation of natural resource contributions; whether they resist misusing aid funds to promote exports of industrial goods; and whether they are prepared to abolish trade barriers and perverse subsidies that are in flagrant contradiction to their own development policies. An important step in that direction could be made by the governments of industrialised countries at the upcoming World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg.



The Jakarta Post

6 May 2002


Harry Surjadi, Journalist, Jakarta

The Earth cannot go on like this. Unsustainable development threatens its health and the health of the billions of people who call it home. And despite a litany of reports, gatherings and special bodies, such as Rachel Carlson's Silent Spring 1965, the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment in 1972, the establishment of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the World Commission on Environment and Development in 1983, Brundtland Report's Our Common Future 1987 and the Earth Summit in 1992, the threat remains. The world's forested area has declined from 11.4 square kilometers per person in 1970 to only 7.3 km2 per person at present. Forest Watch Indonesia reported in 2002 that the deforestation rate in the country had been about two million hectare per year since 1996. In 1980, the rate of deforestation was estimated at about one million hectares per year, and in the 1990s the figure was 1.7 million hectares per year. The World Bank estimates that by 2005 all lowland forests in Sumatra will be gone, while in Kalimantan the lowland forest will disappear by 2010. In addition, nearly 70 percent of the world's major fish stocks are overfished or are being fished at their biological limit, to meet the growing demand for fish and fish products. It is estimated that worldwide, soil degradation affects over two billion hectares of land. Almost 60 percent of the world's large rivers have been diverted to meet the growing demand for water, especially for agriculture. According to the 2000 International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources-World Conservation Union (IUCN)'s Red List of Threatened Species, a third wave of a major global species extinction is emerging. In the 1997, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants listed an extraordinary number (34,000) of plant species. About 11,046 species were threatened with extinction and 816 species had already become extinct. Indonesia has lost some 20 percent to 70 percent of its original habitat types. Species extinction is estimated at one per day. The 1998 Reefs at Risk Report estimated that as much as 58 percent of the world's coral reefs are at high to medium risk from human impact. In Indonesia, it is estimated that only 6.2 percent of all coral reefs are still in very good condition, 23.7 percent are in good condition, 28.3 percent are in relatively good condition and 41.8 percent are in damaged condition. The Status of Coral Reefs of the World 2000 report predicted that over half of the world's coral reef areas may be lost in 30 years if efforts to conserve them are not enhanced. Poverty has increased in some countries, and the gap between the richest and poorest countries has increased. Based on an international poverty line of US$1 per day, about 1.2 billion people live in poverty. A large majority of these people are in Asia, with about 522 million in South Asia and 267 million in East Asia, including Southeast Asia. The Asian economic crisis that began in 1997 has led to substantial short-term increases in poverty, particularly in Indonesia, South Korea and Thailand. In Indonesia, the poverty rate almost doubled from 1996 to 1999. Approximately 826 million people worldwide were thought to be chronically undernourished from 1996 to 1998, of which some 792 million lived in developing countries. In some of the poorest countries, one in five children still fails to reach his or her fifth birthday, mainly owing to infectious diseases related to the environment. More than 20 million women continue to experience ill health each year as a result of pregnancy. The lives of eight million of these women are threatened by serious health problems, and about 500,000 women, almost 90 percent of them in Africa and Asia, die from pregnancy and childbirth-related disorders. More than one billion people are without access to adequate water supplies, and 2.4 billion lack access to adequate sanitation. Diarrhea diseases, largely preventable through access to safe drinking water, sanitation and clean food, claim 1.5 million lives a year among children under five years of age. The Earth's climate is now changing. According to Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate (IPCC), the Earth's atmosphere near the surface warmed overall by between 0.4 degrees and 0.8 degrees Celsius over the past 100 years. Given all these developments, the United Nations, during its 55th General Assembly, decided to organize a summit to review any progress achieved on the environmental front over the last 10 years ahead of the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Johannesburg, South Africa, in September 2002. And the summit will be called the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). The Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) will act as the preparatory committee for the WSSD. And during the 10th session of the CSD, professor Emil Salim of Indonesia was elected committee chairman. The UN General Assembly has also decided to organize a third and final substantive preparatory session at the ministerial level in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia. This session will be held from May 27 to June 7. The 10-year review of progress achieved since the UN Conference on the Environment and Development should focus on the implementation of Agenda 21 and other outcomes of the Conference, which were adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1997. Of the utmost importance is that the summit, including the preparatory process leading up to it, ensures a balance between economic development, social development and environmental protection, as these three things are interdependent and mutually reinforcing components of sustainable development UN Resolution 55/199 encourages effective contributions from and the active participation of nine major groups at all stages of the summit's preparatory process. The nine major groups, as identified in Agenda 21, are children and youth, indigenous people, non-governmental organizations, women, workers and trade unions, scientific and technology communities, local authorities, farmers, business and industry. Will the summit result in the sustainable development of Earth? Yes, if the Earth is no longer dominated by a small group of people, made up of world leaders, the heads of multinational corporation and the heads of international financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization. The Earth belongs to the people, not international institutions.



4 May 2002


Richard Reeves

LOS ANGELES -- "We are headed for disaster," said Paul Boyer, whose knowledge of the chemistry of nutrition was good enough to share a Nobel Prize in 1997. Dr. Boyer, whose academic home is UCLA, was speaking to an impressive audience of do-gooders at a conference here last week. Hundreds of people nodded. They had come here to prepare for the World Summit on Sustainable Development, which will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, this summer. The summit, to its credit, is trying to deal with old ecological concerns in the context of a new kind of world economy. The call to Johannesburg announces a brave mission: "development that meets the needs of people now and for future generations. ... Poverty, overconsumption and unsustainable lifestyles are major concerns. Sustainable development therefore seeks to address these concerns through actions that promote economic growth, social development and environmental protection." Dr. Boyer's work, as well as I can describe it, involves the distribution inside the bodies of both animals and plants of the chemical energy released by combustion of nutrients. He wants the summit to deliver a better life -- that's why he spoke here in a presummit meeting at the Getty Center, high above the San Diego Freeway -- but he suspects it is already doomed and added these words: "There is no way we can bring the developing world up to our standards and have a sustainable system." In other words: Don't count on the rich to end overconsumption. The developed nations, particularly the United States, which is essentially hostile to the Johannesburg idea, are not against a better life in poorer countries, but they are reluctant, to say the least, to give up anything they already have. So the rich get richer and poor get poorer -- at least relatively. In calling the conference, the United Nations cited what progress it could in trying to frame the dialogue as something more than, "Let's protect the environment and help poor folks, too": "Actually, there has been some progress," stated U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Yes, there has been, if you interpret statistics on the distribution of the Earth's bounty in an optimistic way. During the 1990s the average annual increase in the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of all developing countries was 4.3 percent, compared with 2.7 percent in the 1980s. The GDPs of developed countries grew by 2.3 percent in the '90s, a decrease from 3 percent in the 1980s. But, of course, those numbers actually mean that the gaps between rich and poor increased rather than decreased because the base prosperity of the developed countries was so much higher to begin with -- and the population of developing countries continued to grow at a higher rate, even as AIDs deaths were reducing life expectancy by more than six years in those countries. In most of the Southern Hemisphere, GDP per capita is still decreasing. The Americans at the conference, who do not share Bush administration positions emphasizing markets as the solution to all problems, seemed at a loss about what they could do in opposition to their own government. Matt Petersen, president of Global Green USA, said: "We are not here to promote shareholder value; we are here in the public interest. The Bush administration is not on our agenda. We're going to be laughed out of there." That was the tone of the session. The earnest folk in the audience, an impressive but depressed group, has signed on to a new code word: "stakeholders." That means, according to the meeting's summaries: "corporate leaders, trade unionists, farmers, local authorities, community organizations, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and activists." The Bush agenda, of course, pretty much ends after two words: "corporate leaders." Questions from the audience seemed to assume defeat at the summit. The first woman to rise asked: "The U.S. is resisting all this. What can we do?" U.N. Under-Secretary-General Nitin Desai, an Indian, who was presiding here as he will in South Africa, seemed surprised at the question, and his voice rose as he answered: "You live in a free country. Speak up! Shout! Make yourself heard." I was amazed that we had to hear that message from a foreigner. If this is your thing, if you care, you had better make some noise -- enough to reach the White House, which has not the slightest intention of doing anything that does not increase economic growth or shareholder value.



Jakarta Post

3 May 2002


Yanuar Nugroho, Researcher & General Secretary at Uni Sosial Demokrat, Jakarta

Next month Indonesia will host an international conference in Bali. "The Government of the Republic of Indonesia has the honor and great privilege to host the Preparatory Committee meeting at the ministerial level leading to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) to be held in Bali from May 27 to June 7, 2002." That is the message we can find at WSSD's website, welcoming the Fourth Preparatory Committee (PrepComIV) meeting which is aimed at concluding discussions on far-reaching actions to propel the sustainable development agenda forward. Around 6.000 people will join and gather in the meeting, draw upon the agreed result from the previous PrepCom to prepare a concise and focused document that will aim to emphasize the need for a global partnership to achieve the objectives of sustainable development. It is also there to reconfirm the need for an integrated and strategically focused approach to the implementation of the-so-called "Agenda 21" and to address the main challenges and opportunities faced by the international community in this regard. The outcome of PrepCom IV will then be submitted for further consideration and adoption at the 2002 Summit meeting at Johannesburg, evaluating the progress achieved since the first World Summit at Rio de Janeiro, 1992. How far have we been stepping ahead? Or, oppositely, stepping back? Globalization has been the major issue during the past decades. Ceaseless repetition of jargons and slogans "inevitable change" and "necessary restructuring" have everywhere accompanied this rapid prying-open of national economies and cultures for foreign exploitation "free of trade and investment barriers". It seems however, that faith in economic growth to signify the change and development as the key to progress comes into question as the Earth's life-support systems fray and indicators of ecological collapse multiply. Another side of global economic systems has shown the inescapable fact that development geared to spur rapid growth through greater resource consumption is straining the environment and widening the gaps between the rich and poor. And opposite from the proponents of neo-liberal economics standard prescription to cure, privatization, tax cuts and foreign investment, have proved ineffective. We do not have to look far for the proof that growth-centered economics is pushing the regenerative capacities of the planet's ecosystems to the brink. The worry is not the only one raised in the Limits To Growth more than 20 years ago. Obviously, there is no immediate shortage of non-renewable resources. Even at current consumption rates, there will not be enough copper, iron and nickel to our grand-grandsons and daughters in the next centuries. More pressing will soon cause the disintegration of the basic life-support systems that we take for granted. This will include the composition of atmosphere, the water cycle, the pollination of crops, the assimilation of waste and recycling of nutrients, the delicate interplay of species -- all of these are in serious danger. "Agenda 21", the most important outcome of the Rio Word Summit -- a blue-print and the basis of the strategy for sustainable development -- has been challenged badly by the profit-driven logic of business power which drives the global economic significantly and wipes out everything on its way to accumulate gains, including the environment. The power of business looks immense in this neo liberal economic order where "growth" becomes the highest value of social life. And this is the starting point of the problem. It involves the following line of logic: If we start from the premise that the highest value of social life is "growth", and then malpractice or non-malpractice is irrelevant. If growth can only be achieved by letting the mal-exercise of power happen, so be it. In this case, such values as "sustainable" or "democracy" are irrelevant, for any type of power exercise that (even if unintentionally) seems to bring about growth will then be justifiable (self-legitimating). Of course the proponents of this perspective will shout endlessly about the need for law enforcement and legal certainty to protect the environment as well as to guarantee the democratization. Yet, in fact these are immaterial to their point: deserts are spreading, forests being hacked down, fertile soils ruined by erosion and desalinization, fisheries exhausted and ground water reserves pumped dry. Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere continue to ruse due to our extravagant burning of fossil fuels. In September 1995 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that climate change is unstoppable and will lead to widespread economic, social and environmental dislocation over the next century. The core issue seems clear to be how to socialize the notion that the way global economics control and shape our shared life is not always at the benefit of "shared life" itself. It is very central to the concern to be addressed at the PrepComIV. The descriptions on environment distraction, as well as many societal problems, are undeniable facts. In a deeper theoretical reflection this involves, actually, a psychological issue than an economic one. The cunning exploits of neo-liberalism are that it penetrates the way people evaluate things by implanting first the criteria of the "pleasure-prestige-status-luxury" principle in society. It is not that this principle is wrong, but that the pursuit of it is most often being done to the detriment of others as we can see quite often. Here comes the importance of taking the environmental problems, forced layoffs, urban poor etc. into account in the WSSD meeting. How can this concern be "organized"? As for Indonesia, more than 42 non-governmental organizations established the Indonesian People's Forum (IPF) for the WSSD. This forum consists of nine major groups: Women, youth, children, indigenous people, farmers, peasants, labor, urban poor, fishermen, and NGOs. IPF will ensure that "civil society reports" are to be submitted to the WSSD, in complement to the "state report" prepared by the Indonesian Government. The "civil society reports" are prepared based on inputs from broad consultations at both national and regional levels to gather civil society's inputs on how far principles of sustainable development have been applied by many different stakeholders. It is also to evaluate how far the Rio commitments have been implemented in Indonesia and to gather inputs/recommendations to improve sustainable development in the future. Our world is certainly not for sale. When the global economic order silently violates our shared life for the sake of profit accumulation, it is the act of victimizing the whole globe's inhabitants' capacity to sustain. It is the time to break the silence, to voice out the restlessness.



Financial Times

2 May 2002


Sir Robert Wilson is the chairman of Rio Tinto and of the Global Mining Initiative

The resources industry is an essential pillar of economic activity, but it can also be a source of social and environmental problems. Mining companies have sometimes been too slow in reacting to society's calls for improvements in corporate social responsibility. But compliance with the law is not enough. We must respond to demands for higher environmental and social standards, and greater transparency in accounting for performance. That is why Rio Tinto joined others in the industry in setting up the Global Mining Initiative (GMI). Formed in 1999, the GMI has three components: an independent study, Mining Minerals and Sustainable Development (MMSD); a policy dialogue; and a restructuring of external representation. The initiative has involved extensive consultation with those outside the industry in seeking ways to balance the economic, social and environmental costs and benefits of mine projects, and the production and use of minerals and metals. By the time the World Summit on Sustainable Development is held in Johannesburg later this year, the mining sector should be in position to begin to define its response to the challenges we all face. The MMSD, conducted over two years, explored the issues facing the industry by widespread consultation. MMSD regional partners developed insights into how issues affect their particular regions and ensured that this was not a purely Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development-focused exercise. The final report resulting from this work, with pointers to ways forward, was launched yesterday. Later this month in Toronto, the GMI will host a three-day policy dialogue that will include delegates from governments, inter-government agencies, civil society groups and academics, who will engage directly with the leaders of the industry and its suppliers. To ensure balanced attendance, the GMI, with the help of invited sponsors, is providing financial support to delegates from developing countries. Not all of the MMSD's proposals will be acceptable to parts of the industry. The study has also recommended we continue discussions with our critics and others. Nevertheless, it is a starting point. Whatever comes out of the Toronto conference, the GMI gives us a robust foundation for moving forward to a future more in tune with today's values. Future action on sustainable development will be led by the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), an industry association that will continue the work started by the GMI. Dr Jay Hair, an eminent US conservationist, has been appointed the first secretary-general of the council. To make mining work well for sustainable development, we need a shared effort. The industry on its own cannot find all the solutions. Many will need complex trade-offs, which it is not for the industry to make on its own. Others, such as governments and community representatives, need to be committed to the process. The mining industry has come a long way in the past decade, in terms not only of environmental and social performance, but also in its reporting and transparency. Many companies are making a much greater effort than the industry's critics have yet recognised. And more of the new projects under evaluation will incorporate the integrated economic, environmental and social principles inherent in the sustainable development philosophy. The GMI has given me considerable hope that the mining and metals industry will emerge as one of the leading sectors in addressing sustainable development.




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