27 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 third 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.




1.       FRANCE PREPARES FOR EARTH SUMMIT (Xinhua News Agency 24 May 2002)

2.       SUMMIT: A NEW COOPERATION (Mail & Guardian via All Africa 24 May 2002)


4.       DEVELOPMENT MAY DAMAGE MOST OF EARTH'S SURFACE (The Jakarta Post 24 May 2002)

5.       PUBLIC TOLD TO HELP PROTECT ENVIRONMENT (The Jakarta Post 24 May 2002)

6.       THE TWO FACES OF CIVIL SOCIETY (Mail & Guardian via All Africa 24 May 2002)

7.       RURAL DEVELOPMENT "VITAL TO REDUCING POVERTY" (UN Integrated Regional Information Networks May 24, 2002)

8.       NATURAL RESOURCES KEY TO ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (The Herald via All Africa 23 May 2002)  

9.       CIVIL SOCIETY IN CASH CRUNCH AT EARTH SUMMIT (Reuters via Planet Ark 23 May 2002)




13.   SA TO HOST SUSTAINABLE JUSTICE 2002 CONFERENCE BuaNews via All Africa 23 May 2002

14.   HERE'S THE DIRT ON JO'BURG'S BIG SUMMIT (The Star 23 May 2002)

15.   SHOWCASING ENVIRONMENTAL BEST PRACTICE FOR THE WSSD (Issued by the Office of the MEC for Agriculture, Conservation, Environment and Land Affairs, Gauteng 23 May 2002)



18.   ALARM ABOUT SUMMIT BEARS FRUIT (Business Day 23 May 2002)  






24.   STATE OF ENVIRONMENT:  PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE? Hard Facts:  Tough Choices as UNEP Launches Global Environment Outlook-3 (UNEP 22 May 2002)

25.   SABC UNVEILS INFO HUB FOR UN WORLD SUMMIT (ITWeb via All Africa 22 May 2002)

26.   DEVELOPMENT SUMMIT AIMS TO MARK TURNING POINT (Business Day via All Africa 22 May 2002)


28.   KYOTO PACT RATIFICATION GETS GREEN LIGHT (The Daily Yomiuri 22 May 2002)








36.   SUBSTANTIAL PROGRESS MADE ON AGENDA FOR UN WORLD SUMMIT (Business Day via All Africa 20 May 2002)  


38.   EARTH SUMMIT: TODAY BALI, TOMORROW THE WORLD (Independent 19 May 2002)









44.   WORKING TOGETHER TO BUILD PROSPERITY Delivered by Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs Paula J. Dobriansky (Council on Foreign Relations/The Brookings Institution Thursday, May 23, 2002)

45.   REFORM OF THE COMMON FISHERIES POLICY" A SUSTAINABLE FISHERIES POLICY EXPECTATIONS ON REFORM Margot Wallström Member of the European Commission, responsible for Environment Brussels,(21 May 2002)

46.   STATE'S WAYNE PRESSES FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT RESULTS SPEECH LOOKS AHEAD TO AUGUST JOHANNESBURG U.N. MEETING (Keynote Address to World Environment Center Fourth WEC Gold Medal Colloquium Washington, D.C. May 17, 2002)

47.   HOW TO INCREASE POLITICAL MOMENTUM BEFORE WSSD Speech by the Rt Hon. John Prescott, Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (JOWSCO 17 May 2002)





49.   ASIA MAKES SOME HEALTHY GAINS By (Bangkok Post 24 May 2002)

50.   GIVING PRIORITY TO THE POOR By Siwage Dharma Negara (Jakarta Post 23 May 2002)


52.   WHY THE EARTH SUMMIT MATTERS By Ian Willmore (Observer 19 May 2002)






Xinhua News Agency

24 May 2002


PARIS, May 24, 2002 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- France will launch a seminar in July to prepare for the second Earth Summit to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa from August 26 to September 4.  A total of 600 officials and activists will join the seminar on July 1 and 2 in the western French city of Rennes, announced on Friday the Committee for World Summit on Sustainable Development (CFSMDD in French), an official organization set up earlier this year to prepare for the summit.  The Johannesburg summit on environment and development, which is also called Earth Summit, is expected to attract more than 110 heads of state and government as well as more than 60,000 delegates across the world.  It is intended to review progress since the ground-breaking Rio summit 10 years ago and explore the path to the future. The French preparatory seminar will discuss all issues on the agenda of the world summit, especially the impact of globalization on development and the partnership between poor and rich nations in order to enable the poor to enjoy a better access to essential social goods and services, said the CFSMDD. French President Jacques Chirac will attend the seminar and will lead the French delegation to Johannesburg, said the CFSMDD. But the composition of the French delegation will not be drawn up until the end of legislative elections in mid-June.



Mail & Guardian via All Africa

24 May 2002

The challenge of the Johannesburg Summit will be to implement sustainable development on a much larger scale "It is time to take the road not taken," says Nitin Desai, the World Summit secretary general. "It is time to try new approaches that can improve the lives of everyone without destroying the environment. If we try, we have everything to gain and nothing to lose." Desai was talking this week in the run-up to negotiations at the fourth summit preparatory committee meeting in Bali, Indonesia, where the international community will hammer out details of exactly what must be done. In a mark of the importance of the Bali negotiations, official delegations will be represented at the ministerial level in an effort to achieve the political consensus that will be endorsed by the world leaders attending the Johannesburg Summit. The summit will be one of the largest gatherings of world leaders ever held. It is expected to provide the impetus for specific actions that will comprise a major departure from business as usual, towards a new approach to development that recognises the interdependency of economic growth, social development and environmental protection. The framework for sustainable development was agreed to by all countries at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Yet in the 10 years since Rio the cumulative results of efforts to put it into action have been far from satisfactory. Most of the objectives of Agenda 21, the action plan for sustainable development that was adopted in Rio, have not been met. "We have to implement sustainable development on a grander scale," says Desai. "We have to move beyond a fragmented, ad hoc and pilot-programme type of approach. We have to think big and go to scale, so that we can start to see the pay-off, in economic, social and environmental terms, that sustainable development can bring us." Resources may already be available to make things happen. At the recent Financing for Development conference in Mexico, many countries, and in particular the European Union and the United States, committed themselves to an additional $30-billion in development aid through 2006. "If we can come up with a good programme of action, there is money for new initiatives to confront challenges such as the need for safe drinking water and sustainable energy," says Desai. The Bali meeting will start with informal negotiations from May 24 to 26, and then continue with the official discussions from May 27 to June 7. Some 6 000 participants are expected to attend, including 140 countries with a total of more than 400 ministerial-level delegates. The Bali prepcom is expected to result in a negotiated implementation document and elements of a political declaration that will be endorsed by the heads of state and governments that attend the summit in Johannesburg. Negotiations on the outcome of the Johannesburg Summit continue to prove challenging, and at two previous preparatory meetings held in New York this year, participants in the process worked to hone in on the areas where action is essential. These areas include reducing poverty, preserving natural ecosystems and resources, expanding access to clean water, improved sanitation and electricity, changing harmful patterns of consumption and production, and focusing special attention on Africa. In a major departure from previous conferences, the World Summit is expected to result in the announcement of new partnership initiatives aimed at achieving results. While not a substitute for government responsibilities, the new partnerships offer an opportunity for all groups, whether governments, businesses or citizen organisations, to add enthusiasm and know-how to push implementation efforts forward. "What I want is an action plan of deliverables," said Emil Salim of Indonesia, chairperson of the World Summit's preparatory committee. "The question is, do we want a cleaner world and a better world, or do we want business as usual?" he asks. "If we continue as we have done in the past, we will sink." Along with government delegates, the Bali prepcom will bring more than 1 000 business leaders, local government officials and representatives of citizen groups and NGOs together. An unofficial People's Forum is being organised at a nearby venue by Indonesian NGOs.



The Jakarta Post

24 May 2002


Trade and environment issues may intertwine at the upcoming United Nations summit on the environment, possibly harming Indonesian businesses if it fails to negotiate these "tricky" subjects, a senior delegation member said on Thursday. The UN summit on sustainable development may be hijacked by trade interests, said Suparka, vice chairman of the Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI) and a senior delegation member for the pre-summit's meeting in Bali from May 27 to June 7.  "The general constraints that Indonesia will face are those concerned with the WTO (World Trade Organization)," he said during a press briefing announcing a planned seminar on the role of science in promoting sustainable development.  Indonesia is gearing up to host the final round of preliminary meetings in Bali for the United Nations' second world summit on the environment. The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa from late August to September.  As overexploitation plagues the world's natural resources, the summit hopes to promote a more sustainable development of the global economy.  This message, however, has yet to gain a foothold here, Suparka said, while other countries may also try to impose their trade interests on Indonesia. "Every country has its own agenda... nothing is free here."  In one example, the United States has banned the imports of shrimp on the pretense that shrimp farmers use nets which trapped and killed sea turtles, he said. Critics said the ban was one of several barriers blocking trade on the pretense of environmental concerns. As globalization pushes open markets under the WTO, they said non-trade barriers tied to environmental, health or cultural issues have become the new form of protectionism.  Likewise, the use of imported genetic modified cotton, Suparka said, benefited Indonesian farmers but made them dependent on imported cotton seeds. Developed countries also dismissed calls to forgo patent rights of drugs with ingredients that were found in poor countries, Suparka said.  Poor countries may need the drugs but cannot afford them because of the royalties they must pay foreign drug companies.  "We're facing some sort of constraints here that are related to trade issues," Suparka said.  So far the draft of the document that would form the next agreement of the Johannesburg summit was acceptable, he said.  Former environment minister and now chairman of the meeting in Bali, Emil Salim, drafted the document based on inputs from three previous rounds of preparatory talks. But Suparka said it was up to each country's negotiation skills to ensure the summit's outcome could best serve its interest.  Over 6,000 delegates from 189 countries are expected to attend the summit's preliminary talks in Bali this month, in one of the biggest events Indonesia will host in many years.  Suparka warned that talks could be tricky as countries disguised their real agenda during negotiations.  He criticized Indonesia's choice of delegates, and pointed out that the delegations from other countries always included skilled lawyers during talks.  "Whereas ideas from our delegation, are usually greeted with ridicule and criticism, as we seem to take the ideas from out of the blue, not knowing that they violate some law," he explained.  He said talks to implement the summit's agreement however were the hard ones, as differences in interests become more pronounced when countries were asked for action.  "The Johannesburg meeting only sets the tone, what is important is what comes afterward."  Fear of summit fatigue may also take the spirit out of the Johannesburg summit.  World Bank vice president for environmental issues Ian Johnson has said too many international summits on trade and development prior to Johannesburg had put a strain on negotiators.



The Jakarta Post

24 May 2002


Unless urgent action is taken, the continuing development of poorly planned infrastructures will affect 70 percent of the Earth's surface over the next three decades, a UN report said on Thursday. The report by the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) warned that continuing damage to the Earth's surface would cause difficulties for people trying to access water. It warned that if market forces continued to fuel the global agenda, more than half the world's population would live in water-stressed areas by 2032. According to the report, the Earth is currently at a "crucial crossroads with the choices made today critical for the forests, oceans, rivers, mountains, wildlife and other life support systems upon which current and future generations depend." "We can never know for certain what lies before us," UNEP executive director Klaus Toepfer said in the report, launched in London, adding that political courage was needed to stop the destruction.  The report was based on the examination of policies and impacts made on the environment over the past 30 years.  The report was issued in line with the coming preparatory meeting on sustainable development in Bali next week, ahead of the world summit in Johannesburg in August and September. The Johannesburg Summit is the follow-up to the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. It aims to ensure the sustainability of the Earth and stop the massive destruction of nature.  World Bank statistics indicate that deforestation over the past 10 years has reached between 1.7 million and 2 million hectares annually. The past 10 years have not yet proven the effectiveness of Agenda 21, which was agreed upon by world leaders in Rio, due to a lack of political commitment. "The summit is about sustainable development, but it is also a summit for the environment. "Without the environment there can never be the kind of development needed to secure a fair deal for future generations," Toepfer said. The report also mentioned some positive forecasts, saying that by 2032, only 2.5 percent of the world's population would be living in poverty. Another positive projection is that the world will manage to make deep cuts in the emission of the gases linked to global warming.



The Jakarta Post

24 May 2002


The government, private businesses and representatives of the people signed on Thursday a memorandum to express their joint commitment to establishing the environmental governance that may give wider access for the public to take part in preserving the environment. Initiated by the Access Initiative (AI), the joint commitment was made with regards to the people who have suffered the most from environment deterioration where industries and businesses failed to invite public participation in assessing their activities' impacts to the environment. Frances Seymour, director for institutions and governance program at the World Resources Institute, revealed to a media briefing after the signing ceremony here on Thursday that AI found out that most of the emerging economy did not have a standard procedure or policies that enable the people to monitor the industries and the environment.  "How could the people are expected to safeguard their backyard if the government fail to disseminate to the public the information on the industry and how it may affect the people and the environment?," she remarked.  The director general for forest protection at the Ministry of Forestry, Wiyono, and Central Java's Kebumen Regent Rustriningsih represented the government in the declaration, while businesswoman Dewi Motik represented the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce (Ikadin). Representing the people were Tunggul Sirait, a member of the House of Representatives' caucus for environment and activist Ahmad Safrudin from the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi).  The signing is only the first step in efforts to win a global commitment from the 4th Global Ministerial-Level Preparatory Committee Meeting for World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Bali this week that will feature government officials, activists, and observers from 189 countries.  The World Summit will be held in Johannesburg next September.

AI is an international coalition of observers and environmental experts and activists with their prime concerns on empowering the civil society to ensure responsive and acceptable environmental policies by pushing the creation of three key access to information, participation and justice.



Mail & Guardian via All Africa

24 May 2002


The New Partnership for Africa's Development appears to be key to the divisions in this sector. The ideological split in South Africa's civil society sector is likely to end in two independent processes being staged at the World Summit on Sustainable Development at the end of August. The original Civil Society Indaba, from which the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and other major groups - including the South African Council of Churches (SACC) and the South African NGO Coalition (Sangoco) - split, say they are rejecting the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad), the country's development path, outright. The Civil Society Indaba has a leftist, anti-globalisation focus. It has claimed there is "big brother" interference from the government in the new, mainstream South African Civil Society Forum set up by Cosatu and its allies. The Forum will be responsible for convening the civil society sector gathering at Nasrec during the summit. It will be the largest component of the summit, with between 50 000 and 60 000 delegates. The in-fighting in the civil society sector began about six months ago, when Cosatu began alleging weak management and a lack of financial controls of the Indaba, headed by Jacqui Brown. After two audits, Brown was suspended in March this year. Cosatu, the SACC and Sangoco took the reins and constituted the South African Civil Society Forum. But not all parties came on board. The Rural Services Development Network (RSDN) and some rural groups and NGOs allege that the Forum is being hijacked by the government via Cosatu. The breakaway group appears to be headed by the RSDN. The group also has the First Peoples group within its ranks - although the Forum, headed by Sangoco leader Zakes Hlatswayo, is trying to persuade the First Peoples to come back on board. The head of the RSDN, Eddie Cottle, says more organisations are joining the Indaba group. He has over the past few months claimed "big brother" interference in the Forum, implying that Cosatu is not independent from the government but is rather toeing the political line, especially that of Nepad. A key mover and shaker in the civil society process and senior Cosatu official, Neva Makgetla, says at this point the Forum is indifferent to what the Cottles of the world are up to. "We are working so hard to make this work that I can't be bothered. These people are not relevant," she says. "My view is that the logistics and facilitation are more important than these differences. Indications of success are that [delegates] leave South Africa happy. The RSDN and the other small groups are not building solidarity. They are being divisive, but at least they are not planning to disrupt the Nasrec process," she says. It is, however, expected that the breakaway group will have some international support from other NGOs with similar ideological positions, probably anti-globalisation protestors, who might well take to the streets of Johannesburg. Cottle says his group will not be in conflict with the main Forum group at Nasrec. "Our process is not conflicting with the formal United Nations process, but is a politically independent process that will result in a Global Indaba Forum." His group is involved in the preparation of several "pre-summits", such as war and peace, women, labour, water and sanitation, health and debt and trade. Cottle adds that his group's process is catering for the world's social movements - from the anti-globalisation movement to the landless and the anti-dams types - "who either do not recognise the UN or have no confidence that the Agenda 21 review [of the Rio Earth Summit in 1992] will have any meaning." Cottle alleges that the "government-led process" of civil society is "chaotic". "In essence our process is one that seeks to act as a political pole and contest the politics of civil society as a whole. We will have a people's declaration of all the world's social movements, together with a commonly defined plan of action, as our objectives of the Global Indaba," he says. Makgetla responds: "They are a separate issue, not a competing thing. The summit is going to be so huge, so exciting, so full of different ideas, with over 1 000 different events going on, that they can't possibly replicate it. She says her concern is logistics and facilitation. "Our policy process is not as strong as we'd like and we will be having a series of workshops over the next few weeks to sort this out." She says in other countries governments organise the fund-raising and logistics for civil society, but in South Africa this is not happening because of a strict divide between the government and civil society. "So now we have policy people running around fund-raising and organising logistics." "If we have chaotic facilitation and logistics aren't sorted out, then the whole summit will be useless. As South Africa we have to get this aspect right."



UN Integrated Regional Information Networks via All Africa

24 May 2002


With four fifths of Africa's poorest living in the countryside, the battle against poverty will only be won through "accelerated rural development", the president of the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) told a conference in Dar es Salaam on Thursday. Poverty must be tackled at its roots, in the rural areas, where there is a need to go beyond social interventions in health and education "to touch upon economic development processes in the countryside" that involve the poor themselves, Lennart Bage added. Bage laid down the challenge for governments and donors to recognise that rural economy and rural society, though not seen as fashionable by many decision-makers, are core issues in development and poverty reduction. "We have to ensure that the development effort is renewed, that it recognises the absolutely critical dimension of rural poverty, and that it without economic growth among poor people in rural areas we will not significantly reduce poverty in large areas in the world - and especially not in Africa," he added. Bage made the comments at the opening session of a ministerial workshop on Poverty Reduction and Rural Growth in Eastern and Southern Africa. he added that public expenditure figures coming from that region showed a need for increased commitment to these areas from the countries themselves. The IFAD president said that effective poverty reduction - as called for in the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), an integrated strategic framework for the socio-economic development of the continent, and poverty reduction initiatives being developed in the region - would require greater empowerment of poor rural people, concern for gender issues and collaboration with the private sector. Bage also expressed concern about the organisation of international agricultural markets, specifically with regard to subsidies. "The current system systematically blocks many avenues of economic development among poor rural people," he said. "It has to be changed." "If trade is going to be as important as aid in reducing poverty, it has to be trade giving developing countries access to markets instead of using them as dumping grounds for surpluses fuelled by subsidies," Bage added. Tanzania's Vice-President, Dr Ali Mohamed Shein, speaking at the opening session, also highlighted the issue of agricultural subsidies in developed nations impeding efforts to combat rural poverty. However, he stressed that Tanzania was making progress and is developing an integrated strategy to combat poverty, through the National Poverty Eradication Strategy that looks at long-term development goals and perspectives. The IFAD conference on Thursday and Friday brought together ministers, donors, aid agencies and representatives from international organisations from the region. According to the agency, mandated by the UN to help combat hunger and poverty, the conference is a response to the Monterrey Consensus and the Millennium Summit goal of halving the number of poor in the world by 2015. "Discussions will include a review of national rural development and poverty reduction strategies and means of increasing investment and financing for sound and sustainable rural development," it added.



The Herald via AllAfrica

23 May 2002


May 23, 2002 (The Herald/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) -- African heads of state are convinced that time has come for them to take Africa's development issues seriously.  President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa recently came up with the "Renaissance initiative", while Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria jointly came up with the "Millenium plan".  The extraordinary summit of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) which took place in Sirte, Libya, in March 2001, recommended the merger of these plans, resulting in the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad). The African heads of state officially accepted Nepad at the OAU meeting of July 2001 in Lusaka, Zambia.  It focuses on poverty reduction through economic growth of African economies based on exploitation of natural resources. Approximately, US$64 billion will be spent on investment projects in Africa under the initiative. However, Nepad does not say much about how it intends to address the need for sustainable development. It took the centre stage of debate and was criticised for not taking environmental issues seriously, at a workshop on Environment and Sustainable Development in Africa, held in Dakar, Senegal, last month. The workshop sought input from experts from African civil society into the preparation process for the World Summit on Sustainable Development to take place in Johannesburg, South Africa, from August 26 to September 4 this year.   The debate took place against the background of African civil society and government preparations for the WSSD, including how the Nepad initiative should be linked to Africa's sustainable development agenda.   "Ignoring environmental issues under Nepad is folly," said Dr Cecil Machena, the director of the Zimbabwe-based conservation agency Africa Resource Trust. "Everybody has realised now and this is the thrust of the Convention on Biodiversity that the environment forms the basis for development."  Dr Yemi Katerere, director of IUCN Regional Office for Southern Africa, believes that his organisation can help regreen Nepad, working together with its scientists and its broad civil society and government membership.  "When we looked at this document, we felt that there is a potential for civil society to engage with Nepad and to begin to influence the process of actually coming up with the action programmes that will support this political statement.   "Given our particular mandate and our mission and vision, we felt that the area in which we can provide the greatest of value is in greening Nepad," he says.  Dr Katerere says when there is talk about greening Nepad, it means that the environment is both an opportunity for economic development in Africa and also acts as a sink, in terms of absorbing all the waste.  "The critical thing is that there is a limit to which the environment can provide. It is critical that as Africa moves ahead addressing economic development, it does this in a sustainable manner and that it can use its resources wisely," he says.

"Natural resources are the key to economic development and as we move forward, there is going to be tremendous pressure on the natural resource base in order to achieve the targeted economic growth of seven percent per annum."  Dr Katerere says in order to achieve sustainability under Nepad, there is need to focus on value-added goods in order to avoid over-exploitation, which is common when countries only export raw materials to earn more money.  "So we have to see how we can support local entrepreneurs to add value to their products so that when they begin to export they can get higher prices than otherwise," he said.  Commenting on the criticism that Nepad is a top-down development approach from African leaders, Dr Katerere says: "I think first of all what has happened here is that we have African heads of state who have a vision.  "And really their concern is that here is a continent that has major contradictions, that it is considered as one of the richest continents and yet it is one of the poorest.  "The challenge now to the electorate and the people is to share this vision and if so how do we translate this vision into action? "I also think that if the electorate has better ideas than the vision that has been provided by their leaders, then they should come

forward with an alternative plan and if it is a great one I think that everybody will join them and share with them."  However, Mr Quinton Aspey of the South African-based Group for Environmental Monitoring (GEM) does not think NGOs should be co-opted by governments into the Nepad process.  He says: "I think that is the intention of the architects of Nepad to co-opt NGOs into the components of the programme. I don't think that's what they should do, they should consult NGOs on an equal partnership basis. They should not just use NGOs to implement things."  In terms of foreign support, Mr Aspey said Nepad depended on foreign donors, be it investment or multinational companies.  He warns that these are not a very reliable source of income because one cannot have a budget and a definite plan on how much money is going to come to the continent. Funding can also be withdrawn whenever there is a problem.  Mr Aspey is also opposed to the idea of using democracy as a precondition for investing in Africa as it disadvantages the innocent and vulnerable African people.  "Nepad also has the philosophy of trickle down economics. Under this philosophy, the assumption is that if you get a lot of money coming into Africa through investment, eventually it will get to the poor," he says.  "It's not targeted resources and as NGOs, we would like to have targeted resources to tackle what we consider as urgent problems. What we consider as environmental problems in Africa are related to poverty and the solution to that is to reduce poverty. "You can't do it through structural adjustment policy, it has been proved through the World Bank and IMF programmes in

certain countries in Africa that it doesn't work."  Dr Jeffrey McNeely, the chief scientist for the World Conservation Union, says: "Top-down is a valid criticism but leadership needs to come from somewhere and that's why we elect leaders. I think that there is now a challenge to these leaders to demonstrate their leadership by bringing others along.  "By sharing their ideas, by giving them a chance to engage in dialogue, by giving them a flow of benefits in an equitable way."   He says one of the issues that was clearly addressed at the Dakar workshop was the need to get the benefits out to the rural people who live among the richest of the bio- diversity. "What is happening often and not only in Africa, but in other parts of the world, is that most of the benefits are going to people who live in the cities while an insufficient flow of benefits is going to people who live in the countryside," he says. "So how are we going to get the benefits flowing to the rural poor, the people whose lives are absolutely dependent on how well they manage their natural resources?" he asks.   He fears that the future of Africa will be a lot dimmer if Africa does not take advantage of Nepad.  Dr McNeely says: "Here is the last opportunity that we have seen in the last decade or so of an Africa-wide initiative that has brought support from the top. So I think this is a golden opportunity and if this opportunity is dropped, it is going to be a long time before anything remotely as good comes along."



Reuters via Planet Ark

23 May 2002


JOHANNESBURG - A huge civil society forum, which will run as part of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), will go ahead despite massive cash and logistic headaches, organisers said yesterday.  The so-called Global Forum is expected to bring to South Africa 40,000 activists, environmentalists, labour, youth and women's delegates for the WSSD from August 26 to September 4.  A follow-up to the Rio Earth Summit of 1992, the WSSD 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.  Desmond Lesejane, deputy CEO of the Civil Society Secretariat, acknowledged serious cash setbacks but said the forum would not be cancelled.  "It is a fact that we have not received the type of funds we required," Lesejane said.  He said that confusion over who was organising the civil society event - his group or the Johannesburg World Summit Company (JOWSCO) - had undermined fundraising.  JOWSCO is responsible for organising the inter-governmental or "official" meetings which will be attended by around 100 heads of state and 5,000 government delegations. JOWSCO says it expects a total of 65,000 delegates in all.  Lesejane said civil society groups now required 200 million rand ($19.8 million) to host the event, up from an initial estimated budget of 100-120 million rand. To date, they have received only 35 million rand.  Civil groups held an emergency meeting with Environmental Affairs and Tourism Minister Valli Moosa on Tuesday to press for a cash injection. They only won his pledge to help in fundraising and to clear the confusion with JOWSCO.  Work on the Global Forum venue, just south of Johannesburg, has not yet started. Accommodation is also proving to be a nightmare amid doubts that Johannesburg has hotel space for 65,000 people.  Lesejane said the government had now agreed to fund construction of the Global Forum venue at 20 million rand. Construction work will take 8-10 weeks from June 1 and analysts said it was possible the venue would not be ready in time.  Doubts have emerged on whether the civil society groups or the government will be ready in time for the summit.  "It is certainly looking worrying both for civil society and the (official) summits. It will be a big challenge to be ready in time but within the realms of possible," said Richard Worthington, a leading NGO official in Johannesburg.



Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.

23 May 2002


Sustainable development is a "critical prerequisite for economic growth for the development of the economies of developing countries and for the elimination of global poverty," says a joint statement signed and released May 23 by U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill and South African Finance Minister Trevor Manuel. O'Neill is in Pretoria, South Africa, on the fourth stop of a two-week Africa tour, which began in Ghana and also includes Uganda and Ethiopia. The joint statement also expresses firm support for the "New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD)," which seeks to improve political and economic governance throughout Africa, and to create a sound climate for productive investment and enterprise. Additionally, the statement endorses the goal of a stable international financial system, and of enhancing its integrity to reduce its use in financing crime, corruption and terrorism. Both officials also agreed that their respective countries will fight all forms of financial crime.

Following is the text of the joint statement signed by U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill and South African Finance Minister Trevor Manuel:

The Governments of the Republic of South Africa and the United States of America believe that sustainable economic growth is a critical prerequisite for the development of the economies of Developing Countries and for the elimination of global poverty. To this end, we support the objectives of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), which seek to improve political and economic governance throughout Africa, and to create a sound climate for productive investment and enterprise. It recognizes that primary responsibility for Africa's development rests with Africans, but seeks a partnership with the international community based on shared efforts and mutual responsibilities to build African capacities, to ensure aid effectiveness, and to integrate African economies within the region and into the global economy. We believe this is the fundamental basis for a sustained reduction in poverty in the region and stable and peaceful societies. We also share the goal of a stable international financial system, and of enhancing its integrity to reduce its use in financing crime, corruption and terrorism. We therefore agree to fight all forms of financial crime, especially money laundering and terrorist financing as set out in the 40+8 Recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering. To that end we support regional and international initiatives which strengthen the financial system and suppress financial crimes. We are committed to building a lasting partnership, which will aid in safeguarding our financial sectors from the corrupting influences of organised criminals, international terrorists, drug traffickers, human smugglers and other forms of criminal behavior. We share a belief that we can learn from one another in this area and build on our common experiences for the benefit of both our countries. We also believe that this partnership will prove to enhance the already strong relationship we share with one another. We agree that the Governments of the Republic of South Africa and the United States of America will cooperate to build strong institutions which will safeguard the integrity of our financial systems and commercial sectors. In particular we pledge our support to building an integrated Financial Intelligence Centre in South Africa which will coordinate closely with law enforcement authorities, the South African Revenue Service, South African Reserve Bank and regulatory bodies, and which will aid in fighting all types of financial crime.



United Nations Environment Programme

23 May 2002


QUÉBEC CITY, 22 May (UNEP) -- It was with the immense satisfaction of a job well done that the 1,200 or so delegates, from 133 different countries, wrapped up the first World Ecotourism Summit this evening, with the Québec Declaration on Ecotourism, a new tool for the international development of this type of tourism  -- already in high demand throughout the planet.  The document will be officially tabled at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, in August, in Johannesburg. "I have never witnessed such active participation at a summit on tourism", declared the Honourable Judd Buchanan, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Tourism Commission.  We were expecting 500 to 600 delegates, and twice as many countries have shown up in Québec.  The over 1,100 participants, including officials from about 40 different government ministries and representatives from countries where tourism is not yet an emerging industry, constitute a very encouraging start for the future of ecotourism." "I am convinced", said the Assistant Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (WTO), David de Villiers, that the Québec Declaration on Ecotourism will become the point of reference for all future discussion and debate.  This Summit, held in Québec City, and the Declaration are important steps, however a lot of work remains to be done, notably in the fight against poverty -- a cause ecotourism can contribute to." "The impressive number of stakeholders and ecotourism practitioners that were able to participate in the Summit offers great hope for the full implementation of the Québec Declaration", stated Oliver Hillel, Tourism Programme Coordinator for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).  "Through implementation of agreed guidelines, principles and standards, the follow-up regional consultations and concrete demonstration projects, the first-ever Ecotourism Summit has signaled that ecotourism, in practice, can contribute to poverty alleviation and environmental protection, the twin goals of the upcoming Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development." “The Québec Declaration signifies that from now on, ecotourism must be considered a privileged tool, leading the way and paving the road towards a tourism that is truly sustainable", declared the Minister responsible for Youth, Tourism, Recreation and Sport and Minister responsible for Wildlife and Parks, Richard Legendre.  "It is an expression of our belief that sustainable tourism can contribute to the more global effort of protecting the sustainability of our planet's resources.  The debate and discussions of the past few days have allowed us to determine that Québec is on the right path." During the last three days, Québec Summit participants have worked hard to clarify the concept of ecotourism.  A consensus has been reached on many issues, but many other questions must be explored further.  The delegates have defined what actions should be addressed in a collaborative effort by all stakeholders involved in ecotourism, to ensure it can continue to develop harmoniously, while respecting the environment, fragile ecosystems and local populations.  Major issues facing ecotourism have been debated:  Ecotourism Policy and Planning; Regulation of Ecotourism; Product Development, Marketing and Promotion of Ecotourism; Monitoring Costs and Benefits of Ecotourism Brought together for the first time for the World Ecotourism Summit, all key players are invited to implement the recommendations of the Québec Declaration on Ecotourism, not only in Québec, in the whole of Canada, and in all countries participating in the Summit as well as in all other countries where tourism constitutes a flourishing developing industry. Tourisme Québec 's mission is to foster the growth of the tourism industry in Québec.  To do so, Tourisme Québec concentrates its resources and efforts in three areas:  directs and focuses government and private actions related to tourism; develops and maintains the tourism offering; as well as marketing Québec and its tourist attractions.  The World Tourism Organization (WTO) is an inter-governmental body entrusted by the United Nations with the promotion and development of tourism.  Through tourism, WTO aims to stimulate economic growth and job creation, provide incentives for protecting the environment and heritage of destinations, and promote peace and understanding among all nations of the world. The UNEP provides leadership and encourages partnerships in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.  Through its Tourism Programme, it promotes sustainable tourism among government agencies and the industry; develops tools for protected/sensitive area management; and supports implementation of multilateral environmental agreements related to tourism. Major follow-up activities include the October 2002 International Ecotourism Conference in Cairns, Australia, and the Bishkek Mountain Summit, the culminating event of the 2002 International Year of the Mountains, to be held in Kyrgyzstan in November 2002.  Concrete UNEP projects include the Tour Operators Initiative for Sustainable Tourism development, with WTO and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), promotion of the Convention on Biological Diversity's Guidelines for Sustainable Tourism in Vulnerable Ecosystems and the UNEP Principles for Sustainable Tourism; the further development and implementation of the tourism components of the International Coral Reef Action Network (ICRAN), the Great Apes Survival Project (GRASP) and the Mountain Commons project; and the further expansion of the awareness of best practices through the online Ecotourism Databank.


For more information visit the Summit Web site at:



Arabic News

23 May 2002


The executive bureau of the council of the Arab ministers of environment which concluded its 28th meeting in Damascus on May 22 following two -day deliberations approved several decisions that would give a push forward to efforts for ensuring coordinated Arab stances in the realm of the environment. Among these decisions are adopting unified measures to boost the ability of Arab exports to compete in world markets, to assign the council's technical secretariat for making contacts with Arab and regional organizations concerned to maintain coordination and cooperation as well as to discuss the reflections of liberalizing inter- Arab service trade on the environment. In its final session which was headed by the minister of the environment Adnan Khuzam, at the presence of the Arab ministers of the environment in Morocco, Lebanon, Kuwait and the representatives of Arab and international organizations concerned, the bureau also recommended to report on measures taken by environmental affairs departments in the Arab states to develop co-ordination and co-ordination with other national ministries concerned to produce high quality products that can compete in international markets. In the area of sustainable development, the bureau commended preparations for the world summit on sustainable development and called on the Arab states to reinforce its participation in the works of the first Islamic conference for the ministers of the environment which, by its turn, aims at preparing for the world summit on sustainable development. As for its plan for the next two years, the bureau adopted several decisions in particular those pertinent to improving the role played by the media in tackling environmental issues through specialized programs addressed to the Arab women, children, peasants and workers in Arab industry fields. The bureau also called on the Palestinian authority to prepare a report on the Israeli practices in transporting and dumping toxic in the occupied Arab territories to be debated before the 6th conference of Basel agreement. It also called on the Arab states to sign Stockholm agreement so as to benefit from the material support, given as a result, to developing Arab environmental projects as well as to enhance co-operation between the UN programs and the council's technical secretariat in environmental projects and to reinforce the concept of inter- Arab tourism. The bureau also assigned the council's technical secretariat in collaboration with Palestinian sides concerned to prepare a complete file on the destruction inflected on the Palestinian environment as a result of the Israeli aggression and to circulate this report on regional and international organizations and the world Summit conference on sustainable development due to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, this year.
In his debate during the meeting, the Arab league AL assistant secretary general for economic affairs Abdul Rahman al-Suheibani said that the most important debated issues is to complete Arab preparations for the world summit conference on Sustainable development. He explained that as it happened in Damascus in 1991 during the 3rd session of the council of the Arab ministers responsible for environmental affairs when they completed Arab preparation for Rio de Janeiro summit, Damascus is also now hosting Arab preparations for Johannesburg conference. He said that in their final statement at the Beirut's recent Arab summit the Arab leaders stressed the importance of achieving a sustainable pan- Arab development. They also stressed their looking forward to the world conference to achieve closer co-operation among the world countries to fighting poverty and attain pan development whose results will be reflected on all peoples of the world. He also indicated that the Arab leaders called don the developed states to fulfill their obligations to support the developing countries in implementation of the Earth summit of 1992 held in Rio De Janeiro, and the resolutions to be taken by the Johannesburg conference. Al-Suheibani indicated that the second important issue is crystallizing Abu Dhabi's declaration on the future of inter- Arab environmental work into materialized programs and activities. He noted the meetings of work teams held in Abu Dhabi in the mid of May, attended Arab and regional organizations concerned. He also indicated a third issue which is of no less importance, namely the deterioration of the environmental conditions in the occupied Palestinian territories. He explained that at the Beirut's summit, the Arab leaders, and prior to the brutal Israeli invasion of the Palestinian territories, expressed their concern over the deterioration of these conditions. Conditions which have been drastically deteriorated after the Israeli invasion. He also indicated the urgent need to provide aids to the state of Palestine to withstand the destruction which affected the environment and the resources in the Palestinian territories as a result of the Israeli brutal aggression



BuaNews via All Africa

23 May 2002

South Africa's legal community is to host the Sustainable Justice 2002 conference in Durban from 22-25 August, just before the World Conference on Sustainable Development (WSSD). Justice and constitutional development minister Penuell Maduna will represent South Africa at the conference, which is endorsed by the organisers of the WSSD. The WSSD will be held in Johannesburg from 26 August - 4 September. Co-sponsored by the United Nations Environment Programme, the conference is expected to draw more than 200 judges, lawyers, professors and other experts from governments and inter-governmental organisations, civil society associations, academic institutions, foundations and the private sector. Three of Canada's leading federal government ministers are expected to deliver keynote speeches. The conference will focus on legal principles and practices that have been developed in the 10 years since the 1992 United Nations conference on Environment and Development. It will look at how countries and courts have sought, since then, to reconcile conflicting or overlapping international social, economic and environmental legal obligations through integration. Speakers at the conference will be asked to focus on case studies and illustrations from their experience on how the principles of international sustainable development law (ISDL) have been implemented in courts, in treaties and at international institutions. – BuaNews



The Star

23 May 2002


Yikes, Johannesburg residents should reach for their gas masks. The 60 000 visitors for the 10-day World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) will have such a bad effect on our environment that it will be like having a year's worth of exhaust gas from two billion vehicles dumped on the city. The Johannesburg Climate Legacy, under the auspices of the Greening the WSSD campaign, will attempt to raise $5-million (about R50-million) by September for projects to lessen the effects of carbon emissions. According to Jonathan Shopley, CEO of Future Forests, which is part of the campaign, the plan is to offset carbon emissions through the use of solar energy, bio gas, bio fuels, and the use of energy-efficient appliances and globes. Businesses and individuals will be called on to give donations that will be used to neutralise carbon emissions association with the summit. Speaking at the launch of the campaign on Thursday, Mary Metcalfe, Gauteng's MEC for Agriculture, Conservation, Environment and Land Affairs, said this was the first attempt to organise a United Nations summit in such a way that it promoted environmental best practice. Visitors to the WSSD will be asked to waste less during their 10-day stay. During the summit, barometers will be displayed at sites around Gauteng to give delegates an update on how much food, water, energy and paper they are using and to encourage them to waste less. A UN Development Programme spokesperson said there was increasing recognition around the world of the need to reduce the impact of big conventions.


Issued by the Office of the MEC for Agriculture, Conservation, Environment and Land Affairs, Gauteng

23 May 2002


The Greening the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) initiative launched in Johannesburg today is the first attempt to organise a major United Nations Summit in a way that promotes environmental best practice and will ensure that the Summit brings real benefits to the people of Gauteng. The "Greening the WSSD" initiative aims to ensure that the Summit is hosted in a way that minimises the environmental impact of the 60 000 expected delegates on Gauteng's natural resources. By taking steps to reduce waste and encourage the efficient use of water and energy, the initiative will ease the burden of hosting the event on the environment. It will also leave a legacy of projects among the people of Gauteng that will bring about improvements in the quality of the environment in poor and rural communities over the long term. Funding for the "Greening the WSSD" initiative has been provided by the South African Government, the Gauteng Department of Agriculture, Conservation Environment and Land Affairs (DACEL), the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Technical assistance is being provided by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) Country Office.  "Too many people in Gauteng live in communities where the environment is degrading and demeaning to their humanity," said Gauteng Agriculture, Conservation, Environment and Land Affairs MEC Mary Metcalfe." One of the most important projects of the initiative is an awareness campaign that will promote environment protection "best practice" among the communities of Gauteng. "The WSSD is an attempt to tackle global poverty by finding ways of encouraging global economic growth while protecting and conserving the world's natural resources. South Africa presents a country-picture of global patterns of poverty with 18 million people living without adequate water and sanitation, while the country's poorest 40 percent live off only 11 percent of the national income. By showing how sustainable development can benefit their daily lives, "Greening the WSSD" hopes to demonstrate tangibly to the people of Gauteng the kinds of issues that their leaders will be addressing at the Summit, " Metcalfe said. Specific Greening projects initiated in the run-up to the Summit include:
* Trying to ensure that most of the almost R400 million of goods and services purchased for the Summit is produced in an environmentally responsible way and that the conservation of natural resources is considered when awarding contracts to companies supplying products for the WSSD.
* Future Forests, a carbon-offset company is developing a plan to off-set the greenhouse gasses generated by the Summit activities by getting companies and individuals to invest in efficient energy projects for development programmes in poor and rural communities in South Africa.
* A comprehensive waste management strategy aims to boost the recycling of waste among delegates and the people of Gauteng, ensuring that the Summit does not create additional litter in the province.
* Hotels, guest-houses and restaurants are being encouraged to put efficient water, energy and waste management practices in place for the Summit and beyond in a bid to promote responsible tourism practices in South Africa.
* For the duration of the Summit, a "Sustainable Development Barometer" will be displayed at strategic sites around Gauteng to give delegates an update on how much food, water, energy and paper they are using - and encourage them to waste less. A Lessons Learnt report generated after the Summit will provide valuable guidelines in shaping the conduct of future global conferences.
The United Nation's Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative, John Ohiorhenuan, said: "There is an increasing recognition around the world on the need to reduce the impact of big conventions, no matter where they are held. This is the first time an effort is being made to ensure that a major UN conference is organised in way that protects the environment and natural resources of a host city, province and country. "Considering the number of UN and other international conventions held every year across the world, the lessons learnt from the "Greening the WSSD" initiative will be an important contribution to protecting the global environment," he said.


23 May 2002


STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - State support to coal mining and large-scale farming poses a major threat to the environment and should be cut, both in Europe and worldwide, Sweden's environment minister said Thursday.  Sweden, often in the lead on environmental and development issues, wants the Johannesburg summit on sustainable development in late August to tackle subsidies and set clear targets on issues such as clean water, bio-diversity and poverty reduction. "If you focused on one single issue that would be important for the future, it would of course be to get away from the environmentally unsound subsidies and to replace them with environmentally sound incentives," minister Kjell Larsson said. "As long as we subsidize for example the mining of coal, it will be extremely difficult for green energy to break through in the marketplace," he told Reuters in an interview. Reducing subsidies in industry and agriculture would lead to job losses, but it would also create new jobs in the renewable energy field, said Larsson, a Social Democrat facing elections on September 15.  The European Union, though divided on issues such as farming subsidies and fishing, has been a leader in promoting the Kyoto protocol on greenhouse gases and all EU states plan to ratify the treaty on climate change by the end of May.  Washington's rejection of Kyoto last year has removed European companies' incentive to develop new technologies, whereas the treaty should be seen as creating new business opportunities, Larsson said. Demand for new technology to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions will grow, he predicted.  "The response of the industry has been a bit too weak...I would have liked to see more effort coming from companies."


Ahead of the Johannesburg summit, to take place 30 years after Stockholm hosted the first-ever conference on the global environment, EU states were "quite united," Larsson said. But they might not stand as closely together as they have in the past on environmental issues because in recent elections several leftist governments have been replaced by right-wingers, he said. "There are shifts in governments in other European countries which might affect the strong position that environmental policy has had in Europe during the past years," he said. Sweden's Nordic neighbor Denmark, traditionally a strong ally, is due to take over the EU presidency on July 1. But its center-right government, which took power last year after a decade of Social Democrat rule, may have adopted a weaker stand on the environment, Larsson said. Nevertheless, the Danish parliament voted with a big majority last week to ratify the Kyoto protocol, obliging it to cut sharply its emissions of greenhouse gases by 2012. An ongoing debate over EU plans to cut the size of the bloc's fishing fleet to protect dwindling fish stocks may also work against EU unity, he added. But even bigger problems loom in Johannesburg, when the EU faces off with the United States and developing nations set their demands against those of developed states. "I'm afraid that we will have problems getting to a strong, concrete (final) document," Larsson said.



Associated Press

23 May 2002


The Security Council on Wednesday referred the request to its Committee on Applications, which scheduled a meeting on Thursday morning. The council was then expected to vote to recommend East Timor's membership application to the 189-nation General Assembly, which must approve it. East Timor became the world's newest nation on May 20 after centuries of Portuguese rule and 24 years of often brutal occupation by Indonesia. In its first act, the tiny southeast Asian nation's 88-member assembly voted to sign the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights and join the United Nations. "We kindly request that the Democratic Republic of East Timor be admitted as a new member of the United Nations during the last week of September 2002," East Timor's president, Xanana Gusmao, and prime minister, Mari Alkatiri, said in a joint letter to Annan on May 20 which was circulated Wednesday. East Timor's new leaders attached a declaration declaring that the country "accepts the obligations contained in the Charter of the United Nations and solemnly undertakes to fulfill them." This is a prerequisite for U.N. membership. The General Assembly, meanwhile, adopted a resolution Wednesday afternoon without a vote welcoming East Timor's independence. The resolution invited the new nation to take part in the U.N. World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, from Aug. 26 to Sept. 4, and to the next conference preparing for it in Bali, Indonesia, from May 27 to June 7. East Timor can participate as a state, but without a vote



Business Day

23 May 2002 


Johannesburg, May 23, 2002 (Business Day/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) -- THE letter of alarm to funders from the body organising a massive meeting of nongovernmental organisations during the forthcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development seemed to be having the desired effect yesterday.  Without making a financial commitment, the environmental affairs and tourism department said it would help raise funds and raise the matter in the cabinet. Also, France said it would make a contribution.  The Civil Society Secretariat, which is organising the Global Forum, as the event is known, said yesterday the crisis was more of a cash-flow problem caused by bureaucratic delays in funding.  In a letter earlier this week the secretariat warned it may have to cancel the event, scheduled to take place from August 19 to September 4 at Nasrec, south of Johannesburg, as inadequate funding made it impossible for building work to begin. According to the secretariat, an agreement has been reached with government under which guarantees will be given to the company responsible for the conversions.  Ten representatives of the secretariat left for the Indonesian island of Bali yesterday to attend the final negotiating round to set the agenda for the summit.  Under United Nations (UN) rules for world summits, civil society is comprised of representatives of women, religious or "faith-based groups", the youth, the disabled, "first people" or indigenous groups, labour, and developmental nongovernmental organisations. At the meeting in Bali they intend to lobby governments to consider their wide-ranging resolution that was passed in Johannesburg at the weekend. Without going into detail the document says civil society commits itself "to building a mass movement for the reconstruction and development of Africa".  It also calls for "reparations for the victims of colonialism", for pharmaceutical companies to redirect at least 50% of research funds into HIV/AIDS treatment, more widespread use of organic farming methods, and for a moratorium on the use of genetically modified organisms.  Other calls include those for an abolition of veto rights on the UN Security Council and a closing down of the World Trade Organisation, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund.  In recent weeks the UN and negotiators have attempted to narrow down the agenda. UN secretary-general Kofi Annan said last week the focus should be on water and sanitation, energy, health, agriculture and biodiversity.



The Herald via

23 May 2002


May 23, 2002 (The Herald/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) -- THE United Nations-member countries attending the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) scheduled in Johannesburg are set to launch a global war on poverty and environmental degradation.  The WSSD, known as the Earth Summit will provide an invaluable opportunity to build a better future for the world's poor countries.  The international environmental conference, which is a follow up on the Rio+10 environmental sustainability summit held in Brazil in 1992, would also search for concrete measures that would make a real difference towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). Heads of States and governments agreed to the millennium goals at the UN Millennium Summit last year.  At the last world environmental conference, the summit was hailed as a challenge to reigning development model, which it assailed as materials-intensive, driven by fossil fuels, and based on mass consumption and disposal.  The lack of progress on the urgent and life-threatening global issues debated at the 1992 Summit could now be attributed to the full-force and strategic participation of transnational corporations in the entire Summit process.  Hence corporations and their lobby groups have perfected their greenwash skills, convincing governments and global bodies to allow them to operate increasingly unregulated in the global market.  The lobby groups saw the summit as a prominent platform from which to redefine their role, from that of polluters to that of partners in sustainable development.  More importantly, it was a chance to shape the emerging debate on environment and development.  Zimbabwe last week said it was taking the Earth Summit as another international platform to market the country as a safe tourism destination in Africa.  Minister of Environment and Tourism Mr Francis Nhema said that preparations for the earth Summit were advanced.  Mr Nhema said tourism was set to become the industry of the new millennium hence the Government's move to embark on aggressive tourism marketing efforts.  The summit would also provide an opportunity for UN member states to work together to build a better future to the 1,1 billion people living in abject poverty. The theme of the WSSD was "poverty eradication through sustainable development".  The 1992 Summit produced many outputs and major developments in international governance such as treaties on climate change process, toxic chemicals, biological diversity and engaged public interest globally. However, there was a growing gap between commitments and implementation, and the Earth Summit, was expected to focus on delivery.  "Clearly, the summit should have a focus on delivery. It should, and we believe it can, make a real difference on poverty eradication, environmental protection and good governance," environmental experts said.  With only a few months left before the WSSD a lot remained unclear although Johannesburg would help to determine whether the nations could jointly address pressing problems.  A series of regional meetings have already taken place and the proposed agenda was broad - aid, trade, market access and the impact of globalisation on development - were some of the development issues proposed.  Environment experts said if progress was to be achieved it was important that the debate moved out of the "environment" box and engaged a wider audience. The MDG goals were aimed at reducing the proportion of people living in extreme poverty in developing countries by at least one-half between 1990 and 2015 and that there should be universal primary education in all countries by 2015.  There should also be a current national strategy for sustainable development, in the process of implementation, in every country by 2005, to ensure that current trends in the loss of environmental resources were effectively reversed at both global and national levels by 2015.  Progress towards gender equality and the empowerment of women should be demonstrated by eliminating gender disparity in primary and secondary education by 2005.  The UN member countries would also seek to develop a global partnership for development during the summit.  A ministry of Environment and Tourism said the country has established committees to prepare for the summit and another one to spearhead the commemoration of World Environment Day (WED) on June 5. Next week's events to mark WED were expected to contribute to the Earth Summit.  In preparing WED, the Department of Natural Resources is set to allocated $20 000 to each province for the event while a non-governmental organisation Environment Africa will launch the Green Ribbon Week.



Canada NewsWire via COMTEX

22 May 2002


VICTORIA, BC, May 22, 2002 (Canada NewsWire via COMTEX) -- The International Children's Conference on the Environment (ICC) officially opened today with 500 ten to 12 year old delegates from more than 80 countries in attendance. Sponsored in part by Tetra Pak Canada Inc. -- reinforcing that company's commitment to the environment and environmental education -- the conference is based on the idea that children need to be active participants in decisions that affect the future of the planet. Founded by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), this year's conference will be held for the first time in North America at the University of Victoria in British Columbia. From May 21st to 25th, children attending the conference will learn about reducing their impact on the earth's water supply and visit school-based programs that promote healthy communities and in turn, healthy children. They will also learn about reducing greenhouse gas emissions and ways to conserve resources, protecting plants and animals. "We are committed to the environment and environmental education," said Evelyn Watson, President Tetra Pak Canada Inc. "Through our sponsorship of school and community based programs across Canada we continually strive to educate children on the benefits of recycling and the impact their actions have on the world around them." On the consumer side, Tetra Pak Canada is dedicated to increasing the recyclability of its packages. Currently more than 75 per cent of Canadian households can recycle Tetra Pak cartons through their local deposit or collections programs.  Beyond its platinum level sponsorship, Tetra Pak, internationally, has also sponsored 22 children from countries around the world to attend the conference. Through workshops and field trips, children from such countries as Japan, France and Mexico will receive hands-on experience in applying solutions to environmental problems they may encounter at home. A key outcome of the conference will be the development of recommendations for legislative and policy changes to be presented to the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa later in the year. The International Children's Conference on the Environment, produced in cooperation with UNEP, was organized and planned by a committee that encompassed a broad range of interests from the public and private sectors, non-governmental organizations and an international Junior Board made up of selected child delegates.

For more information on the ICC please visit



Reuters via Planet Ark

22 May 2002


BERLIN - A senior World Bank executive said yesterday strong political leadership was vital to ensure a world environment summit in three months time did not add to the discontent felt by some about the process of globalisation. The United Nations' World Summit on Sustainable Development, due to start in Johannesburg, South Africa, on August 26, is a follow up to the 1992 "Earth Summit" in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, that put environmental issues on the global political agenda.  Ian Johnson, World Bank vice president responsible for environmental issues, said in an interview the run up to the summit "has not yet quite ignited the fires that Rio did 10 years ago".  He blamed "system overload" - noting that other international summits on trade and development issues this year had put a strain on negotiators. The lack of a "cohesive political agenda" was also to blame, he said.  A more than 100-page preparatory summit text has been slimmed down to around 40 pages ahead of a final round of pre-summit negotiations that begins in Bali, Indonesia, next week. But he was critical of the document.  "There is a common denominator process that has to be overturned and the only way it can be overturned is if we have real political leadership coming to Johannesburg," Johnson said.  He hoped a political declaration accompanying the main text would drive home "in a much less bland way the centrality of these issues to social and economic well being for this generation and the next".


The United Nations said last week it hoped the Johannesburg summit would produce "concrete results" on providing clean water and sanitation and energy to developing countries, and health, agriculture and biodiversity issues. Many German politicians have said they expect the September 11 attacks on the United States to give new impetus to the debate about jointly tackling global problems, like development.  Johnson said he had seen little evidence of that so far.  "It's not clear to me that September 11 has galvanised the urgency for collective action across the world, not just by the north and the south but at a global level. One hopes it will. That is what Johannesburg is about, collective action."  He expected "globalisation" to be one issue at the summit. "I think one of the themes that will emerge at a political level in Johannesburg is how to make globalisation work for poor countries - how to make it work in a way that allays the fears of those who do have fears about globalisation," he said.  Johnson said he believed globalisation had brought benefits to some people but admitted progress on tackling some global environmental problems had been slower than many had anticipated in 1992. However, he said he believed public support for action remained strong.  "There's quite a lot of evidence to suggest that public opinion is concerned about many of the issues that will be raised at the Johannesburg summit and politicians have yet to grasp how important it is to many people," he said.  Johnson was speaking on the margins of a conference organised by the World Bank and Germany's Development Ministry to discuss the summit agenda with non-governmental organisations and businesses. The conference coincided with protests in Berlin, ahead of a visit to the city by U.S. President George W. Bush, against U.S. policies that some see as harmful to trade and the environment, as well as the U.S.-led "war against terrorism" in the wake of the September attacks.



United Nations

22 May 2002


22 May - Marking the International Day for Biodiversity, United Nations officials today stressed the value of the Earth's many and varied species and urged support for international efforts designed to protect them. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan called biological diversity "one of the pillars of human life," noting that it stabilizes the Earth's climate, renews soil fertility and provides goods and services that contribute to material well-being. Despite their importance, habitats and species were being destroyed at an unprecedented rate by human activity, including unsustainable patterns of production and consumption, he said. Mr. Annan stressed that the main legal weapon to fight this challenge was the Convention on Biological Diversity. That treaty had achieved much since its adoption 10 years ago, including "significant inroads towards the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits generated by the utilization of genetic resources," but much remained to be done. He called governments that have not yet done so to ratify the Convention and its Biosafety Protocol.  "I urge the entire international community to focus urgent and creative attention on the devastating impact of human activities on the rich diversity of life with which human beings share the planet," Mr. Annan said.

For his part, Klaus Toepfer, the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), used the occasion to highlight the importance of forest biodiversity to the global environment and to human well-being.  "Forests contain some of the most vibrant ecosystems on the planet; they are home to a wondrous variety of birds, animals, insects and plants," he said. "Forests provide fuel, materials for building, natural medicines and foods such as nuts and berries. They also play a critical role in regulating river flows and - by soaking up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere - the climate."  Hamdallah Zedan, the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, agreed that forests furnish a range of benefits and services. "By conserving and sustainably using these invaluable ecosystems we can also contribute to the goals of social equity and economic development," he observed. "Forest related policies and programmes should provide for local needs, national priorities and international commitments."



Xinhua News Agency

22 May 22 2002


BANGKOK, May 22, 2002 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) concluded its three-day annual session here Wednesday, with renewed commitments to assist the region's social and economic development. "ESCAP will stick to the decisions and goals of the meeting, and will continue to focus itself on three top priority areas including poverty reduction, managing globalization and handling emerging social woes, for economic development and social progress of the region's developing countries," ESCAP Executive-Secretary Kim Hak-Su said in his speech at the closing ceremony.  He said under the reform framework made at the meeting, ESCAP will try its best to become a need-based and demand-driven organization with high level of policy transparency.  "As the largest intergovernmental socio-economic organization in the region, ESCAP will follow up the goals set by a number of recent international events such as the U.N. Millennium Summit, the World Trade Organization's Doha Meeting and the Monterrey Conference on Financing Development, and will make regional preparations for the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in South Africa, " noted Kim.  Some 400 participants from all 61 ESCAP members and a number of international organizations attended the meeting here between May 20 and 22, under the theme of "Sustainable social development in a period of rapid globalization." Before the end of the meeting, delegates adopted a conference report and five resolutions, including restructuring the ESCAP conference structure, poverty reduction for sustainable development, supporting the WSSD, promoting a barrier-free society for Asia-Pacific's disabled, and establishing the Regional Center for Agriculture Engineering and Machinery in China. They also agreed that the theme of next year's session will be "Integrating social and economic concerns to meet the needs of the

region."    Moreover, delegates supported the ESCAP's decision to convene the 60th session in 2004 in Shanghai, China, where the U.N. regional arm was born over half a century ago.  During the meeting, participants concentrated their discussions mainly in three main aspects, including recent social and economic trends in the region, globalization and development issues, and the regional preparation for the WSSD.   They also exchanged views on a number of topics of common interests, including regional economic cooperation, environment and natural resources development, socio-economic measures to alleviate poverty in rural and urban areas, and least developed countries.  Besides, participants actively gave their comments and suggestions on ESCAP's structural reform and program management.  Founded in 1947 and grouping 61 countries and regions, the Bangkok-based ESCAP is the largest U.N. regional commission, representing 60 percent of the world's population. It has also become an important forum for discussing regional socio-economic issues and a key channel for cooperation among the Asia-Pacific economies. 


24)        STATE OF ENVIRONMENT:  PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE? Hard Facts:  Tough Choices as UNEP Launches Global Environment Outlook-3

United Nations Environment Programme

22 May 2002


LONDON, 22 May (UNEP) -- Over 70 per cent of the Earth's land surface could be affected by the impacts of roads, mining, cities and other infrastructure developments in the next 30 years unless urgent action is taken. Latin America and the Caribbean region are likely to be the hardest hit with more than 80 per cent of the land affected, closely followed by Asia and the Pacific region.  There, over 75 per cent of the land may well be affected by habitat disturbance and other kinds of environmental damage as a result of rapid and poorly planned infrastructure growth. Meanwhile more than half the people in the world could be living in severely water-stressed areas by 2032 if market forces drive the globe's political, economic and social agenda. West Asia, which includes areas such as the Arabian Peninsula, is likely to be the worst affected with well over 90 per cent of the population expected to be living in areas with "severe water stress" by 2032. However, the proportion of hungry people in the world appears set to fall. Under one future scenario, hunger declines to as little as 2.5 per cent of the global population by 2032 -- in line with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Concerted action involving governments, industry and individual citizens could also deliver deep cuts in emissions of the gases linked with global warming. Levels of carbon dioxide could, with sufficient public and private will, begin stabilizing in the atmosphere by 2032. These are just some of the striking findings from the United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP) ground-breaking Global Environment Outlook-3 (GEO-3) report.  The study takes a unique look at the policies and environmental impacts of the past 30 years.  It then outlines four policy approaches for the next three decades (See "Choices for the Future" below) and compares and contrasts the likely impacts on people and the natural world. Over 1,000 people, many from a global network of collaborating centres, have contributed to the preparation of GEO-3.  The report says the planet is at a crucial crossroads with the choices made today critical for the forests, oceans, rivers, mountains, wildlife and other life support systems upon which current and future generations depend. GEO-3 concludes that a great deal of environmental change has already taken place in the past 30 years since the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment, which led to the creation of UNEP. Improvements have occurred in areas such as river and air quality in places like North America and Europe. The international effort to repair the ozone layer, the Earth's protective shield, by reducing the production and consumption of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) is another notable success.  But generally there has been a steady decline in the environment, especially across large parts of the developing world. The declining environmental quality of planet Earth and the apparent increase in strength and frequency of natural hazards such as cyclones, floods and droughts are intensifying peoples' vulnerability (GEO-3, Chapter 3) to food insecurity, ill health and unsustainable livelihoods, says the report. The poor, the sick and the disadvantaged, both within societies and in different countries and regions, are particularly vulnerable.  Everyone is vulnerable to some extent to environmental threats but there is evidence that the gap between those able and those unable to cope with rising levels of environmental change is widening. It is estimated that the number of people affected by disasters climbed from an average of 147 million a year in the 1980s to 211 million a year in the 1990s. Global financial losses from natural disasters were, in 1999, estimated to cost over $100 billion. The level of weather-related disasters has climbed with some experts linking this to climate change due to human-made emissions.  In the 1990s, 90 per cent of those killed were victims of events such as floods, windstorms and droughts. Indeed, behind nearly all the assessments and forecasts outlined in the report lies the spectre of global warming and its potential to wreak havoc on weather patterns over the coming decades. GEO-3 says environmental degradation is also costing countries in other ways.  India, for example, is losing more than $10 billion annually or 4.5 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), with human-induced land degradation alone causing productivity losses of around $2.4 billion. Declining environmental quality is also a rising health risk.  Sewage pollution of the seas "has precipitated a health crisis of massive proportions", says the report. For example, the eating of contaminated shellfish is causing an estimated 2.5 million cases of infectious hepatitis annually, resulting in 25,000 deaths and a further 25,000 people suffering long-term disability due to liver damage. GEO-3 concludes that one of the key driving forces has been the growing gap between the rich and poor parts of the globe.  Currently, one fifth of the world's population enjoys high, some would say excessive, levels of affluence.  It accounts for nearly 90 per cent of total personal consumption globally.  In comparison, around 4 billion people are surviving on less than $1 to $2 a day.


Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of the UNEP, speaking at the launch taking place in London, said:  "I must pay tribute to the scientists and experts who have made this assessment possible. GEO-3, like its two predecessors, is truly a unique collaborative accomplishment.  The latest report gives us even more pause for thought as it looks out 30 years to four possible futures.  We can never know for certain what lies before us, the future is another country.  But we know enough now to see how our actions or lack of actions might shape the environment and the inhabitants of this extraordinary blue planet by 2032. "GEO-3 is neither a document of doom and gloom or a gloss over the acute challenges facing us all. It is the most authoritative assessment of where we have been, where we have reached and where we are likely to go. The facts in the report underline the huge amount of knowledge that has now been accumulated about the condition of Earth.  It also highlights the successes of governments, industry, the public and others in trying to restore and sustain its damaged and beleaguered freshwaters, lands, wildlife, oceans and atmosphere, especially in those continents and countries that can afford it", he said. "We now have hundreds of declarations, agreements, guidelines and legally binding treaties designed to address environmental problems and the threats they pose to wildlife and human health and well-being.  Let us now find the political courage and the innovative financing needed to implement these deals and steer a healthier, more prosperous, course for planet Earth.  Ten years ago, governments met in Rio for the Earth Summit.  In just three months, we have the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in South Africa.  This is a summit for sustainable development, but it is also a summit for the environment.  Environment for Development is UNEP's motto, for without the environment there can never be the kind of development needed to secure a fair deal for this or future generations.  We need concrete actions, we need concrete timetables and we need an iron will from all sides.  It cannot be the responsibility of politicians alone. We are all shareholders in this enterprise.  Only then can the promises made in Rio turn into a reality", said Mr. Toepfer.

Land -- The main driving force, putting pressure on land resources, has been the growing global population.  There are 2.22 billion more mouths to feed than there were in 1972. In the Asia and Pacific region, the area of land under irrigation has risen from under 125 million hectares (ha) in 1972 to over 175 million ha.  Excessive and poorly managed irrigation can degrade soils through impacts such as salinization - a build up of salts.  Over 10 per cent, between 25 and 30 million ha, of the world's irrigated lands are classed as severely degraded as a result. Soil erosion is a key factor in land degradation.  Around 2,000 million ha of soil, equal to 15 per cent of the Earth's land cover or an area bigger than the United States and Mexico combined, is now classed as degraded as a result of human activities. About one sixth of this, a total of 305 million ha of soils are either "strongly or extremely degraded".  Extremely degraded soils are so badly damaged they cannot be restored. Main types of soil degradation are water erosion, 56 per cent; wind erosion, 28 per cent; chemical degradation, 12 per cent and physical or structural damage, four per cent. Overgrazing is causing 35 per cent of soil degradation; deforestation, 30 per cent; agriculture, 27 per cent; overexploitation of vegetation, seven per cent and industrial activities, one per cent. A feature of the past 30 years has been the rise of urban agriculture.  It is practiced by most households in South-East Asia and the Pacific Islands.  About 30 per cent of the Russian Federation's food comes from 3 per cent of suburban land. An estimated 65 per cent of Moscow's population engages in urban agriculture, up from a fifth in the early 1970s.

Freshwater -- Around half of the world's rivers are seriously depleted and polluted.  About 60 per cent of the world's largest 227 rivers have been strongly or moderately fragmented by dams and other engineering works. Benefits have included increased food production and hydroelectricity.  But irreversible damage has occurred to wetlands and other ecosystems.  Since the 1950s, between 40 and 80 million people have been displaced. Two billion people, around one third of the world's population, depend on groundwater supplies.  In some countries, such as parts of India, China, West Asia, including the Arabian Peninsula, the former Soviet Union and the western United States, groundwater levels are falling as a result of over-abstraction. Over-pumping can lead to salt water intrusion in coastal areas.  For example, salt water contamination has, in Madras, India, moved 10 kilometres inland in recent years. Some 80 countries, amounting to 40 per cent of the world's population, were suffering serious water shortages by the mid-1990s. Around 1.1 billion people still lack access to safe drinking water and 2.4 billion to improved sanitation, mainly in Africa and Asia. However, the percentage of people being served with improved water supplies increased from 4.1 billion, or 79 per cent, in 1990 to 4.9 billion, 82 per cent, in 2000. Water-related disease costs break down like this:  2 billion people are at risk from malaria alone, with 100 million affected at any one time and up to      2 million deaths annually.  There are about 4 billion cases of diarrhoea and 2.2 million deaths a year, equivalent to 20 jumbo jets crashing everyday. Intestinal worm infections afflict 10 per cent of people in the developing world.  Around 6 million people are blind from trachoma, a contagious eye disease. Some 200 million are affected by schistosomiasis, which causes bilharzia in humans.

Forests and Biodiversity -- The Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that forests, which cover around a third of the Earth's land surface or 3,866 million ha, have declined by 2.4 per cent since 1990.  The biggest losses have been in Africa where 52.6 million ha or 0.7 per cent of its forest cover has gone in the past decade. Global production of roundwood reached 3 335 million cubic metres of which around half was for fuel, especially in developed countries. Commercial logging methods are often destructive.  In West Africa, about two m3 of trees are destroyed to produce one cubic metre of logs. By the end of 2000, about two per cent of forests had been certified for sustainable forest management under schemes such as those operated by the Forest Stewardship Council.  Most of these are in Canada, Finland, Germany, Norway, Poland, Sweden and the United States. More are in the pipeline. Mangrove forests, natural sea defenses, nursery grounds for fish and prime nesting and resting sites for migratory birds, are threatened by impacts such as over-harvesting for timber and fuel wood, tourism and coastal developments.  Up to 50 per cent of recent mangrove destruction has been due to clear cutting for shrimp farms. The loss and fragmentation of habitats such as forests, wetlands and mangrove swamps have increased the pressures on the world's wildlife. The introduction of alien species from one part of the world to another has emerged as a significant threat in recent years alongside climate change.  Alien species often have no natural predators in their new homes and can out-compete native species for breeding and feeding sites. It is estimated that by 1939, 497 alien freshwater and marine species had been introduced into aquatic environments around the world.  In the period 1980 to 1998, this had climbed to an estimated 2,214 alien species. The total extent of protected areas, such as national parks, has grown from 2.78 million square kilometres in 1970 to 12.18 million hectares in 2000.  The number of sites has risen from 3,392 to 11,496 over the same period.  A survey of 93 protected areas has found that most are proving successful at stopping land clearing and to a lesser extent at tackling issues such as logging, hunting, fires and grazing pressures. The moratorium on commercial whaling, imposed since the mid-1980s, appears to have been a notable success.

Coastal and Marine Areas -- By 1994, an estimated 37 per cent of the global human population was living within 60 kilometres of the coast.  This is more than the number of people alive on the planet in 1950. Globally, sewage is the largest source of contamination by volume with discharges from developing countries on the rise as a result of rapid urbanization, population growth and a lack of planning and financing for sewerage systems and water treatment plants. UNEP's Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities was launched in 1995 and revitalized in 2001.Reducing untreated sewage discharges is a key aim. The global economic impact of marine contamination, in terms of human disease and ill health, may be running at nearly $13 billion. Sewage discharges, combined with run-off of fertilizers from the land and emissions from cars, trucks and other vehicles, are enriching the oceans and seas with nitrogen nutrients. In 1991-1992, the fish farmers in the Republic of Korea suffered $133 million in economic losses as a result of toxic algal blooms, so called red tides, triggered by nutrients.

Fertilizer use is increasing in developing countries but has stabilized in developed ones. Other threats to the oceans include climate change, oil spills, discharges of heavy metals, persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and litter.  Sedimentation, as a result of coastal developments, agriculture and deforestation, has become a major global threat to coral reefs particularly in the Caribbean, Indian Ocean and South and South-East Asia. Marine pollution is a key target in UNEP's Regional Seas Programme which, with the signing of the Northeast Pacific regional seas agreement in March 2002, now covers nearly all of the planet's marine environment. Countries adopted the "Dirty Dozen", Stockholm Convention on POPs, in early 2001.Just under a third of the world's fish stocks are now ranked as depleted, overexploited or recovering as a result of over-fishing fueled by subsidies estimated at up to $20 billion annually.

Atmosphere -- Depletion of the ozone layer, which protects life from damaging ultraviolet light, has now reached record levels.  In September 2000, the ozone hole over Antarctica covered more than 28 million square kilometres. The Montreal Protocol was adopted in 1987.  Production of the main chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), substances found to be destroying the ozone layer, peaked in 1988 and is now at very low levels.

More than $1.1 billion has been given to help 114 developing countries phase out ozone-depleting substances.  By the year 2000, the total consumption of such chemicals had been reduced by 85 per cent.  The ozone layer is expected to recover to pre-1980 levels by the middle of the twenty-first century. Concentrations of carbon dioxide, the main gas linked with global warming, currently stand at 370 parts per million or 30 per cent higher than in 1750. Concentrations of other greenhouse gases, such as methane and halocarbons, have also risen.  Asia and the Pacific emitted 2,167 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 1998 followed by Europe, 1,677 million tonnes; North America, 1,614 million tonnes; Latin America and the Caribbean, 365 million tonnes; Africa, 223 million tonnes; and West Asia, 187 million tonnes. In 1997, nations adopted the Kyoto Protocol.  It requires the industrialized nations to reduce greenhouse gases by around five per cent below 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012.  It also has so-called flexible mechanisms that allow countries to offset some of their emissions at home by actions abroad.  The Clean Development Mechanism, for example, allows them to plant trees or back green energy schemes in developing countries. The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that the costs of implementing the Protocol for industrialized countries will range between 0.1 and 2 per cent of their Gross Domestic Product.


We are at a crossroads with the future in our hands.  The decisions taken today and tomorrow will define the kind of environment this and future generations will enjoy.  GEO-3 in its Outlook chapter outlines four policy approaches leading to different outcomes over the next 30 years.  Here we highlight two of the most contrasting scenarios:  Markets First and Sustainability First.  One envisions a future driven by market forces; the other by far-reaching changes in values and lifestyles, firm policies and cooperation between all sectors of society.

Land -- By 2032, nearly 3 per cent of the Earth's surface has been built on under a Markets First future.  The extent of cities and other built up areas, at over five per cent, is highest in Asia and the Pacific region under this scenario. It is lowest in Europe, at around two per cent.  There are also big rises in Africa and West Asia.  While the actual percentage may appear small, the increase in roads, power lines, airports and other infrastructure developments has much wider impacts on wildlife (see under "Biodiversity", below). Under a Sustainability First scenario, the area of built up land continues to rise but falls slightly in North America and Europe, below two per cent, as policies lead to more compact cities and better planning.

Freshwater -- The number of people living in areas with severe water stress both in absolute and relative terms increases in virtually all parts of the globe under the Markets First scenario.  An estimated 55 per cent of the global population is affected, up from over 40 per cent in 2002.  The highest proportions of people living with severe water stress are in West Asia, with over 95 per cent, and Asia and the Pacific, with over 65 per cent. Under a Sustainability First future, most regions see the area under water stress remaining more or less constant or even falling as more efficient management of water reduces water withdrawals, especially for irrigation.  In West Asia, the number living in areas of severe water stress is kept at around 90 per cent of the population; in the United States, the figure halves to around a fifth of the population and in Europe, it drops from around a third now to just over 10 per cent by 2032.

Forests and Biodiversity -- The rapid expansion of infrastructure foreseen in the Markets First future is likely to lead to ever-increasing destruction, fragmentation and disturbance of habitats and wildlife.  Over 70 per cent of the land could be affected globally with the highest impacts in Latin America and the Caribbean, nearly 85 per cent, and the lowest in West Asia, just over 50 per cent. Under a Sustainability First future, impacts from infrastructure continue to rise with around 55 per cent of the land affected, although the situation should be stabilizing by 2032.  Just under 60 per cent of the land in Latin America and the Caribbean is impacted by 2032 and just over 40 per cent in West Asia.

Marine and Coastal Areas -- Nitrogen loading, an indicator of a wide range of land-based pollution rises sharply in Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific and West Asia under a Markets First scenario.  While the rise in Europe coastal waters is generally less severe, the Mediterranean coast comes under special pressure through a combination of urban growth, inadequate wastewater treatment works, tourism and intensively farmed crops.  Other areas of special concern include the mouths of large rivers like the Mississippi and the Nile. Under Sustainability First, better management of sewage and run-off leads to only small increases in coastal pollution except for in West Asia.

Atmosphere -- Emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels continue to rise, reaching around 16 billion tonnes a year by 2032 under a Markets First future.  By the same date, concentrations in the atmosphere are over 450 parts per million and on track to reach 550 parts per million, double pre-industrial levels, by 2050.Under a Sustainability First scenario, emissions also rise but radical shifts in behaviour allied to the vigorous introduction of more energy efficient technologies leads to falls.  By 2032, global carbon dioxide emissions would be below 8 billion tonnes annually.  However, because of time lags in the climate system, concentrations in the atmosphere only begin to level off around 2050.


See Also:

World faces critical choices on environment (Reuters)

Planet at a crucial crossroads, says UN (The News International, Pakistan)

Bleak future pictured for Earth U.N. foresees animal die-offs) The Miami Herald)

The way we will live in 2032...(The Guardian),3604,720502,00.html

UN report takes stock of the world's environmental woes (Jamaica Observer)

Planet at crossroads, UN report warns (The Straits Times),1870,121619,00.html?

Planet Faces Tough Environmental Challenges, UN Report Warns (Accra Mail)



ITWeb via All Africa

22 May 2002

The SABC has outlined a plan to create a R1.5 million multimedia communications and information hub for the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development, which takes place in Gauteng in August. As the official broadcaster for the event, the SABC has designed an information hub that will produce TV, radio, Internet and SMS news and information for delegates to the summit. Steven Lang, executive producer and coordinator of the World Summit information hub project, describes the plan as a world first. Lang says a 30-strong SABC team will set up the information hub at one of the major summit venues, The Wanderers, and will coordinate coverage and information dissemination to the 65 000 delegates at the summit. "News and logistical information targeted at the event delegates and organisers will be available via multiple channels on a 24/7 basis," says Lang. The broadcaster will draw on its existing resources to provide the extensive coverage needed for the event. Its online service will dedicate a section ( to news, audio and video feeds of the summit, and its existing SMS (short message service) and WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) news services will be used to send personalised reminders, news and advisories to delegates. The Internet service should be accessible to delegates via Internet cafés and kiosks to be installed at key areas by the summit organiser, the Johannesburg World Summit Company (Jowsco). The site will also be accessible via WAP-enabled phones. The SABC will also operate a World Summit radio station, WSSD Radio, to be licensed to Jowsco, from 6 August to 6 September. The Independent Communications Authority of SA has not yet approved the licence, says Lang. However, if it is licensed, it will probably use a 1KW Sentech transmitter on the FM frequency 92.7. The station will cover events at the three main summit venues and around 100 smaller venues throughout Gauteng, offering news, live broadcasts, talk shows, weather, traffic and other logistical information. Lang says Jowsco has undertaken to install radios in the buses to be used for delegates, so that information is available to them wherever they are. The SABC is also exploring the option of streaming WSSD Radio live to mobile phones via Exactmobile, the SABC's mobile news partner. It is intended that the project will generate revenue through advertising sales across the various media.



Business Day via All Africa

22 May 2002

Jonathan Katzenellenbogen spoke to Nitin Desai, the top UN official working on the agenda of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, to be held in Johannesburg from August 26 to September 4.


The one famous definition of sustainable development from the Brundtland Report in 1987 is "meeting the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs".


We have tended to presume that there is one policy that you follow for economic growth and another you follow to take care of environmental consequences and a third policy that you follow to take care of poverty, and others for promoting education and primary health care. Sustainable development says that is not good enough, as there are connections, and you really have to look at a package.


The reason is that most of these things require action, which has to be initiated at the very top, because what we are talking about are things, which will connect different government departments and different international organisations.


We will clearly have to have an important energy transition, because if you simply extrapolate the way we use energy today we know that is not sustainable. We have a major issue when it comes to water and sanitation. About two thirds of the world's people are living in water scarce areas. We have to worry about the health and environment connection. Health is not simply a matter of delivering medicines. A lot of it depends on better water and sanitation, air quality, and management of chemicals. We have to talk about agricultural productivity because without that you are not going to get food security and for that matter you are not going to be able to address problems of poverty because 70% of the world's poor live in the rural areas of the third world. And you have to worry about ecosystem management, because in the long term your prospects of sustainability will depend on that.


The differences are not so much in terms of recognising these as strategic issues, but what it is that is do-able in the immediate future. The outcome clearly depends on how we get together the corporate sector, the trade unions, the co-operatives, the farmers, and others who have a capacity. Corporations are talking about the triple bottom line more and more the economic, social, and the environmental aspects. I hope the summit will mean that this is the accepted way in which corporations behave.


Desai: In some ways initiatives like the New Partnership for Africa's Development, Nepad, have shown the way. Nepad quite clearly puts governance initiatives on the table and says this is part of the deal. These are issues that are recognised more and more. That is why at the UN Financing for Development Conference we have a commitment to a global convention on corruption.


We have definite proposals on energy for instance, to reach the 2-billion or so people who are outside the modern energy system; I hope we can reach agreement on transitions to renewable energy, and energy efficiency.


There are three types of initiatives. One is those that governments themselves wish to launch. Then there are initiatives of the corporate sector. For instance, the biggest electricity utilities in the world and the biggest motor car companies are working on initiatives. And civil society is working on others. Our job is to focus on those which are simultaneously addressing the social, environmental, and the economic dimensions.


Perhaps we should answer that question on September 4. But if we succeed at all of the things we are aiming, then we could say yes we did initiate the key transitions at this summit.



BRIDGES Weekly Trade News

22 May 2002


In lead-up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development, the fourth and final preparatory meeting (PrepCom IV) will take place in Bali, Indonesia on 27 May to 7 June. Also taking in three days of informal discussions prior to the scheduled meeting, delegates will debate the latest proposed draft text, put forward by PrepCom Chair Emil Salim earlier this month. In the ongoing debates around the Summit process, the draft text has been widely criticised by civil society groups, which have called on governments to show the political leadership necessary to develop a strong action plan. Following delegates' failure to agree on a draft text at the last preparatory meeting (see BRIDGES Trade BioRes, 18 April 2002), Chair Salim submitted a revised text on 9 May that includes compromise language on most issues with some points, mainly in the sections dealing with means of implementation, left bracketed for further discussion. Regarding references to trade, most of the more concrete points were moved to Section IX on 'Means of Implementation' as tentatively agreed at PrepCom III. The text largely reiterates commitments made during the Fourth WTO Ministerial Conference in November 2001, including improved market access for developing countries and the need for technical assistance. More general references to trade are also included in Section V on 'Sustainable Development in a Globalising World', including references to the precautionary approach as set out in the Rio Declaration, but with the caveat that countries should avoid any "misuse that may restrict exports from developing countries", thereby responding to developing countries' concerns that precaution might be invoked by industrialised countries to justify protectionist measures. In a joint letter to heads of state and UN General Secretary Kofi Anan, signed, inter alia, by WWF, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Oxfam and ANPED, civil society groups sharply criticised the draft text, which they say "is entirely lacking in [the] specificity needed to make it deliverable". They propose developing a new text that clearly outlines targets and timetables, financial resources, means of implementation, institutional requirements and a monitoring and reporting mechanism. "Government leadership, which has been largely lacking so far, is desperately needed," the letter states. Friends of the Earth International reiterated previously voiced concerns that sustainable development is being subjugated to trade liberalisation. The environmental NGO called for all references to the Doha mandate to be deleted from the text and demanded a comprehensive review of the impacts of trade liberalisation, with reform based on this analysis, before embarking on further liberalisation. For its part, WWF has prepared a document outlining recommended elements of the proposed implementation document (programme of action) on a number of issues, including trade and investment and sustainable development governance. Regarding trade and investment, WWF requests governments to recognise that "global economic liberalisation is a process driven and controlled by national governments" that must, together with other policies, contribute to environmental and social well-being. In particular, WWF calls on governments to conduct national sustainability assessments of trade agreements, to phase out environmentally and socially harmful subsidies, and to examine the impacts of foreign investment flows on sustainable development. Reports on these activities should be submitted to the Fifth WTO Ministerial Conference in 2003. In the context of sustainable development governance, WWF draws attention to the relative jurisdiction of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) and the WTO. In addition to ongoing work in this area at the WTO, WWF calls on WSSD to undertake that MEA dispute settlement, compliance and enforcement mechanisms are strengthened, and that measures taken pursuant to MEAs should be presumed consistent with WTO rules. In addition, WWF would like to see a review of the role of the WTO Secretariat in independently promoting liberalisation, to be submitted to the next WTO Ministerial Conference in 2003. Despite repeated calls by civil society organisations that WSSD should reaffirm the authority and autonomy of MEAs and should clarify that "the objectives, principles and provisions of MEAs must not be subordinated to WTO rules" (see BRIDGES Trade BioRes, referenced above), no references to this issue were included in the revised Chair's text.

WSSD will take place on 26 September to 4 August in Johannesburg, South Africa



The Daily Yomiuri

22 May 2002


The plenary session of the House of Representatives on Tuesday approved the government proposal to ratify the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on global warming and passed bills to revise a law designed to help meet the pact's requirements. The government hopes to ratify the protocol at a Cabinet meeting June 4, after the House of Councillors approves the move, government officials said. The lower house's decision to ratify the pact early comes after more than 10 years of international negotiations. To meet standards set by the protocol on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the government must work toward changing the energy-guzzling industrial structure and national lifestyle. Adopted in 1997, the Kyoto Protocol obliges industrialized nations to reduce by 2012 greenhouse gas emissions by at least 5 percent from 1990 levels. Japan's limit is set at 6 percent below 1990 levels. The government has set itself a deadline of June 6 for ratification of the protocol to give it a better chance of coming into effect during the World Summit on Sustainable Development scheduled for August. Russia, however, is delaying ratification--in effect meaning the pact cannot come into effect when the summit begins--but Japan's early ratification is expected to put pressure on the United States, which has withdrawn from the protocol, to return to the fold and on developing countries to join the club. The bills the lower house passed will revise a law that promotes domestic measures on tackling global warming. The bills also will enable the drafting of a plan to attain the Kyoto Protocol target. The plan, to be devised based on an enhanced framework approved in March to fight global warming, will be finalized shortly after the protocol goes into effect.


See Also: Kyoto pact gets green light (The Asahi Shimbun)



U.S. Department of State

21 May 2002


Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky will lead the U.S. delegation to the fourth preparatory meeting (PrepCom IV) for the World Summit on Sustainable Development, May 24 - June 7, 2002, in Bali, Indonesia. The Ministerial portion will take place June 5 - 7.  Delegates to the fourth preparatory meeting for the Summit will work to finalize a text and agenda for the World Summit. The 10th session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development is acting as the Preparatory Committee for the Summit. Three previous preparatory meetings were held in New York, beginning in April 2001.  The World Summit on Sustainable Development is scheduled to take place in Johannesburg, South Africa, August 26 - September 4, 2002. As many as 50,000 representatives of governments, non-governmental organizations, multilateral financial institutions, business and the media are expected to attend.  The Summit provides an important opportunity for developed and developing countries to come together to examine practical measures to reduce poverty and foster sustainable development. The Summit should focus on concrete results in such sectors as water, energy, health, education, food security, forests and oceans that improve the lives of the world's people. It should build on the consensus reached at the UN Financing for Development Conference at Monterrey that developed and developing countries share the responsibility for development, and that good governance is key to creating conditions that allow countries to increase and use effectively all sources of capital for development. The U.S. will seek to establish a positive dialogue and identify areas of cooperation with developing countries.  The U.S. believes sustainable development begins with effective domestic policies and is supported by international partnerships between governments, the private sector, non-governmental or private voluntary organizations, and other elements of civil society. Sustainable development depends upon political and economic freedom and the rule of law, which help generate and harness the human and financial resources needed to promote economic growth, social well-being, and environment protection.



United Nations Department of Public Information

21 May 2002


Following is the message by Secretary-General Kofi Annan for World Environment Day, 5 June:

The theme of this year's World Environment Day, "Give Earth a Chance", is meant to convey a message of urgency –- about the state of the earth and the broader quest for sustainable development. Sustainable development rests on three pillars:  economic growth, social progress and protection of our environment and natural resources.  When the idea first burst onto the scene in 1987 with the publication of "Our Common Future", it was meant to go beyond the ecosystem approaches of the past, which put environmental issues on the political map but did not take fully into account these other key concerns.  In 1992, at Rio de Janeiro, the international community achieved a conceptual breakthrough.  No longer, it was hoped, would environmental issues be regarded as a luxury or afterthought.  Rather, they would become a central part of the policy-making process, integrated with economic and social development.  Developing countries would be helped to pursue a more environmentally sound path to modernization than that followed by the developed countries.  The big picture -- a positive vision of long-term growth, equity, justice and environmental protection -- seemed firmly in view.  Despite this advance, and despite considerable efforts and significant achievements since the “Earth Summit”, the latest readings reveal a planet still in need of intensive care.  Poverty, pollution and population growth; rural poverty and rapid urbanization; wasteful consumption habits and growing demands for water, land and energy continue to place intense pressures on the planet’s life support systems, threatening our ability to achieve sustainable development. There is little chance of protecting the environment without a greater sense of mutual responsibility, especially in an age of interdependence, and especially since the environmental “footprint” left by some societies is so much larger than that left by others.  I hope that all States and all stakeholders will come together at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in South Africa later this year, and that the breakthrough this time, ten years along the path from Rio, will be real and tangible.




21 May 2002


Almost a quarter of the world's mammals face extinction within 30 years, a United Nations study on the state of the global environment will announce tomorrow. Scientists who contributed to the report have identified 11,046 species of plants and animals that are endangered. These include 1,130 mammals - 24 per cent of the total - and 12 per cent, or 1,183 species of birds. The list of the critically endangered ranges from the well-publicised, such as the black rhino and Siberian tiger, to the less well known, such as the Amur leopard of Asia, the short-tailed chinchilla of South America and the Philippine eagle. Human activities, notably the destruction of habitats and the introduction of alien species from one part of the world into another, are identified as the main cause of this loss in "biodiversity". The researchers who helped to prepare the Global Environment Outlook-3 (Geo-3) report of the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) also identify 5,611 species of plants that are facing extinction. They point out that the true figure is likely to be far higher given that only 4 per cent of the known plant species have been properly evaluated. The report, which reviews the past 30 years of environmental degradation as well as looking forward to the next 30 years, is understood to say that all the factors that have led to the extinction of species in recent decades continue to operate with "ever- increasing" intensity. Although Geo-3 covers a wide area of concerns, from the exploitation of land to water pollution, it identifies the need to conserve the Earth's biodiversity as a vital element in the drive towards tackling growing poverty - the theme of this summer's World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. Threats to life on Earth include exploitation of natural resources, pollution, habitat destruction, the introduction of alien species and global climate change, the scientists who advised Unep said. They believe that the loss of habitats by human encroachment is largely responsible for the predicament facing 89 per cent of threatened birds, 83 per cent of threatened mammals and 91 per cent of endangered plants. Unep has identified alien invasive species as the second major threat, affecting about 30 per cent of threatened birds and 15 per cent of threatened plants. Geo-3 aims to address the factors contributing to the environmental degradation of the Earth, whether they affect land, air or water. It is expected to say that many problems can be rectified if governments implement the treaties and conventions passed since the Rio Earth Summit of 1992 - including the Kyoto protocol on climate change and the Convention on Biodiversity. Mark Collins, the director of Unep's World Conservation Monitoring Centre in Cambridge, said: "I think if we are able to knuckle down to carry out the measures that have been proposed since Rio there is cause for optimism. "Nevertheless, the Geo-3 report identifies a number of problems- not least global warming - that appear to be growing. In addition, human poverty is increasing, which is aggravating huge losses in biodiversity and "has to be addressed", Dr Collins said. Klaus Töpfer, the executive director of Unep, will launch the report in London with Margaret Beckett, the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.



Bangkok Post

21 May 2002


International support and fair trade are needed for developing countries to become self-reliant and win the battle against poverty, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra told an international meeting. Speaking at a gathering of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, Mr Thaksin said international financial stability and a fair multilateral trading system were the key. In a speech opening the 58th session of the United Nations agency, Mr Thaksin said developing countries should concentrate on their strengths and become self-reliant before engaging with the international community. The government wanted to revitalise the economy to stimulate foreign direct investment and improve domestic demand, particularly at the grass-roots level. The premier said adequate basic social services and tackling drug trafficking were also priorities. The principles of sustainable long-term development and self-sufficiency which Thailand had brought to its peace-keeping duties in East Timor, would also go into Afghanistan's reconstruction process, Mr Thaksin said. Escap executive secretary Kim Hak-Su said poverty remained the biggest concern for the region and some 800 million people still had limited access to information and services on reproductive health, including family planning. Closer economic ties in the region would usher in high technology and improve labour skills. Sustainable development would be achieved only if people were given a say. The meeting on how to manage globalisation paves the way for a UN-organised world summit on sustainable development in Johannesburg in August.



Gulf News

21 May 2002 


The UAE Minister of Electricity and Water, Humaid bin Nasser Al Owais, yesterday expressed concern about the current global water situation. Speaking at the closing session of the three-day Oman International Conference on the Development and Management of Water Conveyance Systems, Al Owais called upon all countries, regional as well as international organisations to investigate the prevailing challenges and difficulties facing water resources worldwide. Reading out the final declaration on the conference he further added: "The delegates stressed the significance of water resources in the achievement of social and economic development." Al Owais pointed out that the conference succeeded in highlighting the problems faced by the water conveyance systems (aflaj). "There's a need to intensify efforts towards maintaining and conserving aflaj in order to increase the economic return," the minister reckons. Echoing the sentiments of the delegates, Al Owais felt that the traditional water conveyance systems should be declared international cultural heritage by the specialised international organisations. The delegates at the first conference, organised on the subject by Oman's Ministry of Regional Municipalities, Water Resources and Environment, suggested that the World Summit on Sustainable Development should highlight the importance of water conveyance systems. The world summit is due to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa in September. Al Owais said that the delegates strongly urged that the developed countries to transfer modern technologies to assist developing countries in management, development and conservation of their water resources. The Syrian Minister of Irrigation, Mohammed Radhwan Martini, said the scarcity of water resources was an international problem. "Water channels are facing major difficulties which effect their economic return," he pointed out. He added that there was a need to establish an integrated database on the aflaj situation. Martini pointed out the need to expand the non-conventional water sources to support aflaj and reduce pressure on the groundwater, level of which is receding in most countries. "Construction of recharge projects schemes could sustain groundwater resources, particularly in arid and semi-arid regions like the Middle East," the Syrian Minister feels. He thanked the Omani authorities for their excellent hospitality and taking initiatives in organising such a conference. "This platform gave an opportunity to experts to exchange their views on the subject." Ahmed bin Sulaiman Al Ghuraibi, Under-secretary for Water Resources in Oman, thanked the delegates for their participation and coming out with "invaluable suggestions". "We hope this conference would help in the field of development of water resources," he said. "The focal point of the conference was the aflaj system in the Sultanate and we hope the recommendations of this conference would get the required global support," Al Ghuraibi said.



Jordan Times

21 May 2002


AMMAN - The Kingdom's efforts towards socio-economic development, such as expanding cities and villages, are having negative repercussions, said an environmental expert on Monday.  Jordan's plans to top the list of developing countries, "have led to environmental problems that were tackled at a late stage," according to Muhammad Bani Hani, a board member of the Jordan Environment Society.  Bani Hani addressed experts at a workshop on environmental challenges in the Kingdom, such as water shortages and air pollution, held at Al Rai Centre for Research and Information.  HRH Princess Basma, the UNDP's Goodwill Ambassador for Human Development, attended the workshop's opening ceremony and stressed the importance of addressing environmental issues that relate to sustainable development.  "Highlighting environmental topics is considered an important step towards achieving our goals to improve the quality of life for people throughout the Kingdom and curbing problems like desertification and the lack of water," said the Princess.  The workshop, also attended by Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Environment Abdul Razzaq Tbeishat, is one of many national seminars held in preparation for the World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg later this year.  The WSSD is expected to issue decisions and recommendations to elicit an international commitment to achieve sustainable development.  The role of the media in raising public awareness on the need to specifically preserve the environment was also on the workshop's agenda.  "People will not be able to feel the responsibility they should bear in preserving the environment unless they themselves assist in the making of decisions," said William Halasseh, chairman of the Media and Development Association at the conference.



United Nations Department of Public Information

20 May 2002


Negotiations on the outcome of the World Summit on Sustainable Development -- the Summit that will chart a new course of action for smarter development that works for people and the environment -- are now shifting to Bali, Indonesia, where the international community will hammer out details of exactly what must be done. In a mark of the importance of the Bali negotiations, official delegations will be represented at the Ministerial level in an effort to achieve the political consensus that will be endorsed by the world leaders attending the Johannesburg Summit. The Summit, which will be one of the largest gatherings of world leaders ever held, will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 26 August to 4 September 2002. It is expected to provide the impetus for specific actions that will comprise a major departure from business as usual, towards a new approach to development that recognizes the interdependency of economic growth, social development and environmental protection. "It is time to take the road not taken," said Nitin Desai, Johannesburg Summit Secretary-General. "It is time to try new approaches that can improve the lives of everyone without destroying the environment. If we try, we have everything to gain and nothing to lose." The framework for sustainable development was agreed by all countries at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Yet in the ten years since Rio, the cumulative results of efforts to put it into action have been far from satisfactory. Most of the objectives of Agenda 21, the action plan for sustainable development that was adopted in Rio, have not been met. "We have to implement sustainable development on a grander scale," Desai said. "We have to move beyond a fragmented, ad hoc and pilot-programme type of approach. We have to think big and go to scale, so that we can start to see the pay-off, in economic, social and environmental terms, that sustainable development can bring us." Resources may already be available to make things happen. At the recent Financing for Development conference in Mexico, many countries, and in particular the European Union and the United States, committed themselves to an additional $30 billion in development aid through 2006. "If we can come up with a good programme of action, there is money for new initiatives to confront challenges such as the need for safe drinking water and sustainable energy," Desai commented. The Bali meeting, the fourth session of the Summit Preparatory Committee, will start with informal negotiations on 24-26 May, and then continue with the official discussions from 27 May to 7 June. Some 6 000 participants are slated to attend, including 140 countries with a total of over 400 Ministerial-level delegates. Plans are that the President of Indonesia will open the high-level segment, which runs from 5 to 7 June.


The Bali PrepCom is expected to result in a negotiated implementation document and elements of a political declaration that will be endorsed by the heads of State and Government that attend the Summit in Johannesburg. Negotiations on the outcome of the Johannesburg Summit continue to prove challenging, and at two previous preparatory meetings held in New York this year, participants in the process worked to hone in on the areas where action is essential. These areas include reducing poverty, preserving natural ecosystems and resources, expanding access to clean water, improved sanitation and electricity, changing harmful patterns of consumption and production, and focusing special attention on Africa. In a major departure from previous conferences, the Johannesburg Summit is expected to result in the announcement of new partnership initiatives aimed at achieving results. While not a substitute for government responsibilities, the new partnerships offer an exciting opportunity for all groups, whether governments, businesses or citizen organizations, to add enthusiasm and know-how to push implementation efforts forward. "What I want is an action plan of deliverables," said Dr Emil Salim of Indonesia, Chairman of the Summit's Preparatory Committee. "The question is, do we want a cleaner world and a better world, or do we want business as usual?" he asked. "If we continue as we have done in the past, we will sink. "Along with government delegates, the PrepCom will also bring over a thousand business leaders, local government officials, and representatives of citizen groups and non-governmental organizations to the Bali International Convention Centre, in the Nusa Dua area. They will participate in a special multi-stakeholder dialogue session on 27-29 May, as well as observing the negotiations. An unofficial People's Forum is being organized at a nearby venue by Indonesian NGOs, and many special events and exhibits are planned.


Business Day via All Africa

20 May 2002


Johannesburg - WITH a little more than three months to go before the World Summit on Sustainable Development, senior officials connected to what will be the largest United Nations (UN) event have insisted that substantial progress had been made on reaching agreement on the extensive agenda. The chairman of the UN Preparatory Committee negotiating the agenda, Emil Salim, and the most senior UN official dealing with the summit, Nitin Desai, who holds the title of secretary general for the summit, said in Pretoria on Friday that "substantial progress" had been made. Both officials attended an informal two-day seminar organised by government. Desai said it was natural that there would be "prenuptial nervousness" before an event of this kind. President Thabo Mbeki gave what officials said was an "off the-cuff" address to the delegates, including UK Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, and the most senior US official dealing with the event, John Turner. Some officials have said that the text after a preparatory meeting earlier this month had been "unwieldy" because of its length and the number of issues it attempted to address. Negotiators will meet at the end of the month in the Indonesian island of Bali at the final preparatory meeting before the summit in Johannesburg. None of the officials were specific about the nature of the progress that had been made or what agreements had been reached at the Pretoria seminar. Salim said the key goals of the summit would be poverty eradication, changing unsustainable production and consumption patterns over the next ten years, and protection of the environment. He said he hoped that the heads of state at the summit would make a commitment to reaching specific goals in a political declaration. Last week UN Secretary- General Kofi Annan said the summit should focus on five strategic areas: water and sanitation, energy, health, agricultural productivity, biodiversity and ecosystem management, which he said could be remembered by the acronym Wehab. About 100 heads of state and 25000 delegates are expected at the summit, which will be held at the Sandton Convention Centre from August 26 to September 4. More than 40000 delegates from nongovernmental organisation are expected to attend a conference, which will be held at Nasrec during the summit.



United Nations Department of Public Information

20 May 2002


20 May - A United Nations treaty governing use of the world's oceans has reached near-universal participation, Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in a new report released 20 years after the accord was first adopted.  In the two decades since the Convention on the Law of the Sea was opened for signature, 137 countries and the European Community have become parties to the treaty, the Secretary-General notes in his report. While the accomplishments over the past 20 years have been impressive, the challenges of implementing the treaty are also formidable.  "Thus, in this anniversary year, the international community should focus its efforts on actions that would contribute to the realization of optimal benefits from the world's oceans and seas," Mr. Annan says. At the same time, he adds, nations must minimize the problems that have arisen, including limitations in harnessing marine potential and the degradation of the marine environment.  First raised in 1967 as an idea to regulate the use of the seabed, the Convention was eventually adopted in 1982 as an unprecedented attempt by the international community to regulate all aspects of the resources of the sea and uses of the ocean.  The Convention, which entered into force on 16 November 1994, or one year after the 60th country's adherence to the accord, covers such issues as setting limits to national jurisdiction over the seas, navigational rights, deep seabed mining, and protection of the marine environment.  In addition, the accord features a binding dispute settlement mechanism known as the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. The court, which deals with the interpretation or application of the Convention, has already heard 10 cases.




19 May 2002


It was a good gag: John Prescott jets off to paradise to save the planet. But, says Geoffrey Lean, Prezza is deep in a much bigger enterprise than donning his wetsuit. 'Bali junket for Prezza", shouted the headlines. "John of Jaunt", "Fury at Prescott's £1/4m Bali trip". All good knockabout stuff, and the old bruiser, sitting in his House of Commons office on Wednesday as the synthetic storm raged outside, was quite prepared to hit back. "Piddling press prattle," he called it. The rage - from a trade not noted for its eagerness to spurn freebies - soon subsided. The "fury" turned out to amount to no more than a few predictable sound bites from Tory MPs. But the tearoom tempest succeeded in publicising, for the first time, what could be one of the most important events of the decade. No, that's not Prezza's trip to Bali. He had not been planning to go to the "luxurious oasis" in "paradise" in the first place. It has a lot more to do with Prescott's real destination that night. For on Wednesday evening he flew out to Johannesburg, on the first leg of a gruelling nine-day journey that included four nights on aeroplanes. He went - on a personal invitation delivered by the country's President, Thabo Mbeki, in Downing Street earlier this month - to help save a summit scheduled for the gold-mining city late this summer. It is the latest episode in a little-noticed campaign by senior figures in the Government to "win the peace" against terror by launching the most concerted drive against Third World poverty in decades. Tony Blair made a couple of quick references to the campaign in his Newsnight interviews last week but, extraordinarily, the Government has sought little credit for what is perhaps its single most progressive initiative. The campaign is due to climax on 24 August at the Johannesburg meeting, which labours under the unwieldy title of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). It is the successor to the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, which launched the world's attempt to tackle global warming and such other threats as the rapid extinction of species and the wholescale loss of fertile soil through desertification. The Rio summit established the environment on the international agenda. The hope is that WSSD will do the same for Third World development, and establish it on an environmentally sound, sustainable basis. The need is acute enough. One billion people have to subsist on less than one dollar a day. Incomes have been steadily falling in Africa for decades; the average African is now worse off than in 1960 as commodity prices have fallen and population has increased. Debt repayments and unfair terms of trade mean that - despite aid - more money now flows from poor countries to rich ones than the other way round. Every 10 seconds a child dies from diseases caused by dirty drinking water - over three million children a year. Some two million people perish annually from smoke from their cooking fires because they cannot get modern forms of energy. And life expectancy in Africa is now 48, and falling. Proposals before the summit urge the world's leaders to agree to halve the number of people in dire poverty, the number who are hungry, and the number without safe drinking water and sanitation by the year 2015. They also call for an "action programme" to provide modern energy services to those who lack them; in practice, these would often come from renewable such as solar and wind energy, which are distributed by nature and so can reach people far from electricity grids. Kofi Annan, the Secretary General of the United Nations, last week also called on the leaders to resolve to tackle the desertification that now affects up to two-thirds of the world's agricultural regions, and the accelerating loss of species, now running at 1,000 times the natural rate of extinction. The conference will address the waste of resources in rich countries. In a keynote speech about the summit, on the day of the Bali row last week, the environment minister, Michael Meacher, pointed out that, on average, each Western citizen uses one ton of resources a year, and that 11 further tons are wasted to provide it. Pressure groups want measures on corporate responsibility to induce good behaviour by companies. It all adds up - in the words of Klaus Töpfer, the executive director of the UN Environment Programme, to a bid for "responsible prosperity". This would mean "both fighting poverty and changing the unsustainable patterns of consumption which are a reason for poverty in other parts of the world". It sounds unexceptional, and it is. The targets for halving the numbers of the poor and hungry, and those without water and sanitation, have already been agreed by the world's leaders at a summit to mark the Millennium. The Johannesburg summit is supposed to ensure that they are met. But there is a good chance that it will fail. The preparatory meeting, in New York last month, got nowhere. The Bali conference (the location was chosen by Indonesia, which is hosting it) is the last chance to put it back on the rails. The meeting in Johannesburg that Mr Prescott attended last week was a small gathering of key actors designed to lay the ground for Bali; he is not planning to go to Indonesia, and will only change his mind if there is a crisis that requires his intervention. For, little noticed at home, the Deputy Prime Minister has emerged as a key broker. Over the last two years he has met 30 heads of government and almost 100 environment ministers to urge them to attend the summit and make it succeed, building up personal relationships that have enabled him to break major deadlocks in negotiations. This is part of a concerted effort. Chancellor Gordon Brown has been leading an international drive to cancel Third World debt and to double aid, which has already helped produce totally unexpected increases in assistance from both the EU and President Bush. And Tony Blair has intervened with the President, and other leaders, and given the drive his personal backing. The stakes are high for, if the summit fails; the issue is likely to fall off the international agenda for another decade or so, while the world becomes more insecure. As John Prescott said before catching his plane: "If we can get the world to deliver against terrorism, surely we can get it to deliver against poverty. If we cannot, then people will get the message."



Jamaica Observer

18 May 2002


SPAIN has agreed to advocate in the European Union (EU) the need to safeguard the preferential access of Caribbean bananas and sugar to the Europe market and to highlight the implications of the 'Everything But Arms' (EBA) Initiative in neutralising trade preferences to the region. The agreement was part of a joint communiqué issued on Thursday at the end of the second Caribbean Community/Spain Summit held in Madrid, Spain. African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) grouping of countries are set to begin negotiations with the EU this September to arrive at a trade agreement that is compatible with the principles of free trade as espoused by the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The new partnership agreement is to replace the LOME (succeeded by the Cotonou) agreement that was initiated during the 1970s. The EU has already intimated that it will allow trading in products, except arms, between itself and Least Developed Countries (LDCs). ACP states fear that this will effectively neutralise the preferential status they currently enjoy. At the summit Prime Minister P J Patterson and fellow Caribbean Community (Caricom) heads of government lobbied the government of Spain, which is a member of the troika (council of three) of the EU, to press for the safeguarding of trade from the developing countries of the Caribbean. Caricom, through Patterson, its spokesman on external relations, on Thursday endorsed Spain's candidature for a non-permanent seat on the United Nation's Security Council for 2003/2004.According to the joint communiqué from the Madrid summit, Caricom member states and Spain have reiterated their commitment to strengthen economic and commercial relations undertaken in the Cotonou Agreement. Spain has also agreed to lend support to the timely implementation of the approved programme of assistance to the region's rum industry and appropriate Caribbean tourism projects funded by the European Commission (EC), as well as to facilitate a speedy decision on the financial package for the Caribbean rice industry. The region also sought the support of Spain for the development of an agenda on Small Island Developing States within the framework of the World Summit on Sustainable Development. Spain's Premier, Jose Maria Aznar said Spain recognised the importance of an Agenda for Small States and declared his country's willingness to support CARICOM'S request for assistance. Both parties also pledged their commitment to the fight against narco-traficking and noted the introduction of more effective laws to combat money laundering and underscored the importance of the existing co-ordination and co-operation mechanism between the EU and Latin America and the Caribbean. The Spanish government also gave an undertaking to continue its support for the region's efforts to fight narco-trafficking, including the hosting of a seminar on combating narco-trafficking along with the necessary technical assistance.




18 May 2002


MADRID - (Reuters) - The European Union and Latin America wrapped up an historic summit on Saturday, hailing progress in building closer economic and political ties that will give Europe greater influence in America's backyard. "Without doubt, Latin America needs this proximity to Europe and certainly we have received a clear response to this need in Spain," Mexican President Vicente Fox said after a two-day summit which brought together almost 50 leaders from Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean. It was the first meeting of its kind held in Europe after a trailblazing summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1999. The leaders moved to build their trade relationship and pledged closer cooperation in the fight against terrorism and drug-trafficking. And they sent an implicit rebuke to Washington by stressing their belief in multilateral solutions to the world's problems and rejecting unilateral and "extraterritorial" policies -- a clear reference to recent U.S. trade decisions and its withdrawal from the Kyoto treaty against global warming. The show of harmony at the summit was soured by maverick Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who slammed the meeting and said the world's leaders were not doing enough to help the poor. "There has been no time for debate here," he said. "I think we are moving too slowly and we are headed in the wrong direction. We have to rethink these summits." Chavez, making his first overseas trip since surviving a coup attempt in April, was the most colorful figure at the summit in the absence of Cuban President Fidel Castro. Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar took a subtle dig at Chavez in response, regretting the Venezuelan's absence from an EU-Andean meeting on Saturday.


As the leaders met behind tight security, some 800 anti-capitalist demonstrators marched through Madrid chanting "Murderers in suits and ties" and carrying a banner that read "Europe plunders and exploits Latin America." In a declaration, the leaders said they would "firmly reject all measures of unilateral character and with extraterritorial effect, which are contrary to international law and the commonly accepted rules of free trade." Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Pique denied this was an attack on the United States. But French President Jacques Chirac was less diplomatic on Friday, sharply criticizing what he called U.S. unilateralism. Chirac said recent U.S. decisions to slap tariffs on steel imports and to raise farm subsidies would hurt poor countries hardest, including those in Latin America. Such European carping has clearly angered the administration of President Bush, who travels to Europe next week. Secretary of State Colin Powell delivered a sharp attack on European political leaders in a briefing to some European newspapers on Saturday, accusing the Europeans of constantly bashing U.S. actions in its so-called "war on terrorism."

"There are some in Europe who are quick to find fault with any position that the United States might take that we believe is a correct, principled position," Powell said. Europe's trade policies also came in for criticism from Latin American leaders such as Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo, who urged Europe to open up its markets.


The EU has been building its investment and trade ties with Latin America, an area that has traditionally fallen within the U.S. sphere of influence, while the Latin Americans are also eager for greater access to lucrative European markets. The summit hailed the conclusion of free-trade talks between Europe and Chile and agreed to a ministerial meeting in Brazil in July to try to push forward slow-moving free-trade negotiations between the EU and Mercosur, which groups Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. The EU also for the first time held out the prospect that it could open free trade negotiations with Central America and Andean nations after 2004. Before that, it will negotiate more modest agreements with the two regions involving political and economic cooperation. Building Latin American ties has been a priority for current EU president Spain. But Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen insisted their dialogue would continue when Denmark takes the helm of the EU in July. Rasmussen also said he wanted a "global deal" in the Johannesburg Summit on sustainable development in August. Such a deal would assure poor countries development aid and free trade in exchange for pledges of good governance, he told reporters.




18 May 2002


President Thabo Mbeki addressed a high-level informal seminar on the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development today at the Sheraton Hotel, Pretoria. The President focused on the political momentum that is building up in the run-up to the Johannesburg Summit. Participants included Prof E. Salim, chairperson of the Preparatory Committee; Nitin Desai, Secretary-General of the WSSD; Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott of the United Kingdom; ministers from Mozambique, Zambia, Uganda and Norway; as well as representatives of UN agencies and Bretton Woods institutions. In the opening session of the seminar yesterday, the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Valli Moosa, said that Johannesburg was signalling a number of important messages:

The world is coming together to commit to a sustainable development path. In doing so, it is expressing a high-level recommitment to Agenda 21 and the Millennium Development Goals.

It is signalling a new kind of cooperation between the nations of the world. It is signalling that partnerships are integral to the way forward. The seminar converged on the following key issues:

That Johannesburg Summit should be the key instrument to define the global vision for the path to achieve sustainable development in the 21st century.

The core focus of the Summit is engaging the dual and mutually dependent challenges of eradicating poverty and addressing the current unsustainable patterns of consumption and production.

The centrality of implementation plans to emanate from the Summit.

Agreement on the approach identified in the UN Secretary-General's speech on five key elements (water, energy, health, agricultural productivity and biodiversity).

The Summit should give impetus to issues being dealt with in the Doha trade round.

Emphasis should be placed on building partnerships.

Minister Moosa focused the attention of seminar delegates on the issue of how all the above challenges should come together at the final preparatory committee meeting in Bali.

The President, in addressing the seminar, was emphatic that Johannesburg be characterised by its ability to translate the global convergence of opinion on the importance of sustainable development into practical action.



SA Ministry of Social Development

18 May 2002


Volunteers from 7 countries representing volunteer organisations from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) met for two days (16 and 17 May 2002) in Johannesburg, South Africa (SA) and adopted a Declaration that will be tabled at the African Union Head of State and Government Meeting due in July in SA as well as at the Word Summit on Sustainable Development, also due in SA in August/September 2002.Through the Declaration the volunteers committed themselves, among others, to the following:
.* Lobby the governments of the region, the continent and the world to put policies, legislation and programmes that would further enhance volunteering through support, resources and recognition
* Formation of a regional co-ordination structure for volunteers in Southern Africa
* The formation of partnerships with various sectors including the business sector, non-governmental organisations and the government
* Co-operation and collaboration with the United Nations Volunteers and other international agencies
* Mobilise resources for volunteering in the region
* Develop and consolidate a common and shared vision for Volunteering in the region
* The fight against poverty, HIV/AIDS, natural disasters and other social ills afflicting the region
The Conference was the first of its kind and was attended by about 250 delegates from around South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique, Zambia, Lesotho, Botswana as well as representatives from the United Nations Development Programme the United Nations Volunteers, Skillshare, and VSO.The Conference was opened by the Minister of Social Development in South Africa ,Dr Zola Skweyiya, who reiterated the SA government's commitment to strengthen volunteering as reflected by the President, Thabo Mbeki's, declaration of this year as the year of volunteers. "We must build, strengthen, reward and recognise voluntarism in all our communities," said Minister Skweyiya. On her part, the United Nations (UN) Deputy Resident Representative in SA, Ms Naheed Haque, informed the Conference that the UN "considered volunteering to be playing an important role in socio-economic development in the world" and thus its continued support for such initiatives like the Conference in Southern Africa. "This Conference brings hope for volunteering not only for South Africa but for the whole African continent. We see through this conference that the non-governmental sector has to work hard to create a favourable environment for volunteers," said Ms Akua Dua-Agyeman, the UNV Programme Officer for SA. Meanwhile, a study conducted by the University of Witwatersrand's School of Public Management indicates that volunteers represent 43 per cent of the workforce within the non-profit sector and these volunteer make rand 5.1 billion to the national output. The Conference was organised as part of the International Year of Volunteer Programme of Action under the auspices of the Volunteer SA Committee.






Source: Ministry of Water Affairs and Forestry

23 May 2002

When I was invited to give this address, I accepted immediately. On the eve of the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, the South African Government believes it is critical that the developing countries of the G-77 should address the challenges of world development in a united way and this event provides a wonderful opportunity to continue to build a unity of approach in the water sector. But what, I asked myself, can we bring from Africa to the debates about water in Asia? Africa is relatively arid and our major challenges tend to be about shortages and drought. Meanwhile Asia is largely humid and your challenges tend to be about the problems of excess and floods. The countries represented here have a long tradition of irrigated agriculture; In Africa, with a few honourable exceptions, this is relatively new terrain. But there are also similarities. In our region, we have a mix of middle-income countries like South Africa, Algeria, Egypt and low-income countries like Mozambique, the Democratic Congo and Ethiopia reflecting in some degree the spread of countries represented at this event. We have some great rivers, the Nile and the Congo, like your own basins of civilisation on the Yangtse and Mekong. And in both regions, we have rivers that we have to share and manage together with our neighbours. But we also have, as in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Philippines, many countries like my own, largely dependent on a large number of relatively small river systems.  So I believe there is sufficient in common between our diverse regions for me to explain what we are doing in South and Southern Africa in a way which may be relevant to your deliberations here.
What I believe will be of interest to you are the forces that drove our water reforms. The first is that our democratic revolution in 1994 came at an opportune time. South Africa uses a substantial proportion of its available water, nearly 30%, not including the 15% which had already been reserved for environmental purposes to sustain our estuaries and conservation areas. After three decades of major infrastructure development, culminating in the US $2 billion joint Lesotho Highlands Water Project, which provides the industrial heartland of country with water resource, it was obvious that infrastructure alone would not meet our needs. A new approach to water management was required. Secondly, the nature of our political revolution called into question some fundamental issues in water management. Because of the history of gross human rights abuse under colonialism and then apartheid, the decades of discrimination based on race, we have built a strong human rights culture. While recognising that this is a controversial subject in many countries, this approach to both social and environmental rights has provided us with an important foundation for our water law reform.  Third, our general reform of the structures of government in our country has created opportunities and made it easier to introduce water reforms that will put us on a sustainable development path in our country and region.
When in 1994 we turned to review the policy and legislation governing our water, we immediately recognised that water, as it flows through the landscape, brings a number of benefits to a range of users whilst it must serve basic human needs. It waters the wide fields of commercial farmers; it nurtures the crops and stock of rural communities; it provides recreation for our children, our friends, our families; it supports our power generation, our mines, our industry, and the plants and animals that make up ecosystems.
Water gives life. The amount and nature of the available water determines the extent and nature of that life. The amount and nature of water available also determines where development can take place. So we determined as a first step, that South Africa's water belongs to its people. It is the task of the South African Government to care for this water, to seek its fair distribution, and to facilitate its wise use for, amongst other things, social and economic development.  Development is crucial to ensure that we can eradicate the scourge of poverty that stalks our land. Under apartheid, development benefited a small white minority, while black communities were under-resourced and underdeveloped and remain the areas where poverty is most intense. In 1994, the first democratically elected Government of South Africa put forward, as its manifesto, the Reconstruction and Development Programme. The programme set out five key programmes: meeting basic needs; developing our human resources; democratising the State and society; building the economy; and implementing the Reconstruction and Development Programme. Its implementation approach was that people who are affected by decisions should take part in making those decisions. Water is an essential ingredient of each of these programmes.  The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa was passed in 1996. The Constitution contains both our Bill of Rights and the framework for Government in South Africa. Two provisions of the Bill of Rights are particularly relevant to the management of water resources. These are sections 27 and 24, which state that: "Everyone has the right to have access to (among others) sufficient food and water, and that the State must take reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources, to achieve the progressive realisation of these rights." "Everyone has the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well being; and to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that prevent pollution and ecological degradation, promote conservation, and secure sustainable development and use of natural resources, while promoting justifiable economic and social development." These two documents - the Reconstruction and Development Programme and the Constitution - provided the impetus for a complete review and revision of the policy and law which relates to water, and resulted in the development of the National Water Policy for South Africa (1997) and the National Water Act (1998). And although my talk must focus on water resource management, I should emphasise that the political legitimacy and support for the reforms we have introduced did not come from this big vision of the role of water resources. Our people had more immediate needs in 1994 with 12 million of our rural people without access to basic water supplies and 18 million without sanitation. In rural areas, access to safe water was found to be the second highest priority after jobs. So, through my Department's aggressive programme to improve basic services - we have served over seven million people in eight years - earned us the political support to introduce relatively complex long-term reforms in water resources.
In South Africa, we have been through a remarkable process of revising our water law. This exercise was been driven by two key factors: the demands and dreams of our people in a new democracy and the limited physical resources at our disposal. Part of our process of reforming our water law was to ask ourselves what the purpose of water management is. One way of describing it was that "the core objective of water resource management... is to ensure that water is available in sufficient quantity, quality and reliability for the development and well-being of the nation."  But was that sufficient? We were unable to ignore, in the South African context, that we were two worlds within one country providing the contrast of great wealth and development with much poverty and underdevelopment. The ingenuity of our engineers over a century has already linked the Orange River mouth on the Atlantic with the fresh water lakes of Northern KwaZulu-Natal on the Indian Ocean, more than 3000 kilometres away. A tunnel of monumental proportions takes water from the westward flowing Orange River to our port and industrial complex of Port Elizabeth while a portion of its waters diverted by the Lesotho Highlands Water Project is discharged, after use, towards the Limpopo, thus linking our northern border with the southern coast. But despite these engineering feats, the reality is that we are facing an increasing imbalance between supply and demand. After much discussion, we finally agreed that our vision was not to increase supply to meet demand. Rather, "the objective of managing the quantity, quality and reliability of the nation's water resources is to achieve optimum long-term, environmentally sustainable, social and economic benefit for society from their use". This understanding was, of course, strongly influenced by the international debate that preceded our work, from the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio in 1992, to the Dublin principles and the
growing international understanding of the need for integrated water resources management.
Our task is thus to manage the resource, to manage the tension between growing demand and finite supply, to ensure that what we have is used not just productively and beneficially, but optimally. This is a simple, but far-reaching understanding and applies even in countries where water is plentiful, since the protection of the resource from the impacts of human activities also requires that we live within our means. Our water legislation is premised on three fundamental principles: equity, efficiency and sustainability. Each of these principles is important for different reasons.
The previous water legislation of South Africa - the 1956 Water Act – was not in itself racist. It did not do what the 1913 Land Act did, to reserve the majority of land for one race group. However, since access to water for productive purposes was tied to land through the riparian system, access to water benefited mainly those across whose land it flowed, or under whose land it was found. Access to water was thus similarly determined by skin colour. The challenge facing our water managers was thus to address the need for equity in resource distribution. Too many of our people are poor. The goals of sustainability and efficiency cannot be divorced from this. Neither can the responsibilities of all South Africans to share water and to use it well. We are now equipped with the legal mechanisms which allow for a re-allocation of resources from those who have been favoured by history to those who have been neglected. But we must also consider the complex linkages between society, the environment, and the economy. As a first step, our law determines that water for basic human needs is a first priority. This water is reserved over and above all other needs. But water is the lifeblood of the country in many ways. Water is one obvious tool in the eradication of poverty - providing a way for the poorest of people to survive and make a living, a burden which so often rests upon women in society. But often, water used by a large commercial farmer or manufacturing industry contributes far more jobs and delivers more taxes per cubic metre than would be achieved by allocating water for use by subsistence farmers. It is the responsibility of the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry to guide the use of our water wisely in our search for social justice. The needs of industry, agriculture, the demands of cities and of ordinary people all need to be catered for, now and in the future. Water is helping us to promote unique partnerships between commercial farmers and poor rural communities in win-win relationships.  South Africa is moving slowly from a patriarchal society to one in which women are allowed, and encouraged, to take their rightful role as equals alongside men. So, another important provision of the National Water Act requires the government to address the issues of gender inequity in water as much as it must address inequity arising from race or disability.
We have increasingly understood, over the past few decades, the interdependence between humankind and ecosystems and our obligation to protect the natural environment. Even as we promote development, we must meet not only the needs of current generations, but the needs of future generations as well. Our National Water Act recognises this and again reserves a certain amount of water to maintain the environment, a reserve which takes precedence over all uses other than those for basic human needs. While we recognise that we need new approaches to water management which pay at least as much attention to the software of water management, to instruments such as conservation and demand management, as to the hardware, I believe that we will continue to need to store water, not least because of the increased variability and uncertainty caused by climate change. As we face the challenges of climate change, I am struck by how poorly Africa is developed to cope with it. According to the World Bank, in the United States, they store 6 150 cubic metres of water in dams and reservoirs for every American; in South Africa, we store only 746 cubic metres per person; in the rest of Africa, it is only one tenth of that, 40 cubic metres per person in Ethiopia, just four in Kenya.  Our uncertain climate requires more not less storage. Despite this self-evident fact, we still have anti-dam lobbyists opposing storage projects. We will continue to build the storage we need but we have taken note of the guidelines of the recent World Commission on Dams. We believe that our current practice in relation to addressing the needs of people affected by dams and considering alternative management approaches already largely reflects those guidelines and in some cases, exceeds them.
As a water-scarce country with an average annual rainfall little more than half of the world average, much of South Africa is semi-arid. Potential evaporation is higher than rainfall across most of the country. Our land is vulnerable to floods and droughts. All of us have shared the horror of floodwaters sweeping away people, houses and roads. All of us have shared, with our farmers and our rural communities, the bitter longing for rains that never seem to come. Our water resources are limited, and we must use them efficiently, and in the best interests of all our people.
The three principles of equity, sustainability and efficiency come together in the field of water resources management to result in integrated water resources management. Integrated water resources management, as enshrined in the National Water Act, is intended to enable us to meet the needs of our people for water, jobs, and economic growth in a manner that also enables us to protect and, where necessary, rehabilitate our aquatic ecosystems. Above all, integrated water resources management will enable us to grapple with the overwhelming need to use our precious water to assist in the battle to eradicate poverty and to remove inequity.
But we have to recognise that we do not face the challenges alone. For many years, the democratic forces of South Africa were supported by our neighbouring countries, often at great cost to themselves. So, we have a particular duty and responsibility to our neighbours who are in most cases less well off than we are. It is also vital to our own interests that our entire region must develop if we are to eradicate poverty and enable our people to live with dignity. They potentially face many of the same challenges although at present, our
neighbours are using a far smaller proportion of their resources than we do. Countries such as Namibia and Botswana, perceived of as arid (although because of their smaller populations, they have more water per capita than South Africa) are using only 5 to 10% of their usable water compared with South Africa's use which is approaching 30+%. Rivers do not respect political boundaries so an important step is therefore to develop co-operative relationships on what we, in SADC, the Southern African Development Community call "shared rivers". South Africa shares four major river systems with neighbouring countries:
 * The Orange-Senqu system is shared with Lesotho (transboundary) and Namibia
* The Limpopo River is shared with Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique
(contiguous for the first two and transboundary with Mozambique).
* The Inkomati system is shared with Swaziland and Mozambique (transboundary
for both)
* The Usutu/Pongola-Maputo system is shared with Mozambique and Swaziland
The SADC Protocol on Shared River Courses provides the framework for the management of these rivers, whilst the National Water Act gives international requirements a priority that is superseded only by the reserve for basic human needs and ecological requirements.
Unfortunately, as all of us know, it is one thing to be clear about an objective, and another to achieve it. The state is not a fashionable agent in this so-called post-industrial world in which we all live. More and more emphasis is placed on the role of the private sector. Yet, the developed part of the world, which is pushing this position, is characterised by high levels of infrastructure investment that in most cases would not have occurred were it dependent on the whims of the market.  There is a danger in accepting the same view of the state in the very different circumstances of nations which have not yet achieved an acceptably
comfortable level of equilibrium. For example, on the eastern seaboard of South Africa, the Komati basin could support much more economic activity (and even development, were we to manage it right) in Swaziland, Mozambique and South Africa. But the figures show that it could take around 45 years to reap a return on the initial investments needed to tap those waters.  There are few private investors willing to wait for that sort of term to get a return. So, we must depend on the states of the region to take the steps needed to harness un-exploited water resources. We will have to depend on the wisdom of governments to ensure that we build useful social and economic infrastructure. In short, we find that in our region where there is still so much to be done we cannot accept institutional prescriptions appropriate to developed countries where the role of the State in achieving a mature infrastructure as in the developed world has been played out. We have come to the conclusion, in water resources issues, that our challenge is to reinvent government, not to abandon it. None the less, we have moved away from the old notion of the apartheid South Africa of a central, all knowing and all-powerful state. In water resources management, we are in the process of establishing Catchment Management Agencies. These are statutory bodies which will perform water resource management functions in 19 water management areas throughout the country.  These agencies will enable us to manage water according to watershed boundaries, rather than provincial political boundaries. They are also designed to ensure that stakeholders can play a key role in decisions around water management that directly affect them. We hope to establish the first of these agencies in my country this year and the rest will follow over the next 8 to 10 years. Already, however, my department is thinking, planning and managing according to these watershed boundaries, these water management areas, and not according to the old political boundaries within the country. Our National Water Act is premised on wide consultation with the people of South Africa about how we should manage water. In the middle of this year, for the first time ever, we will be publishing a draft National Water Resources Strategy, for comment and input from the people of South Africa. The National Water Resource Strategy sets out the ways in which we aim to achieve integrated water resources management in South Africa. It describes the policies, strategies, plans and procedures by which this will be done. It is a remarkable document, the first of its kind in South Africa. It is a living and interactive document, that will continue to grow and change as the needs, capacity and understanding of our people change and grow.  Under the new water law of South Africa, national government is defined as the custodian of the nation's water resources. But it is recognised that many of these resources serve more than only the people of South Africa.  In relation to our neighbours, the law reinforces the approach we have already begun. On a bilateral basis, we are committed, actively, to co-operation and a number of joint developments and studies are underway. At regional level, we have ratified the protocol on shared river basins and we are keen to see the management of water given a higher priority within the regional framework provided by the Southern African Development Community. Internally we continue to face a number of challenges. As I have mentioned, much of our water has already been allocated and is used in terms of an earlier riparian system which, because of the racist legislation of the country under apartheid, allocated water primarily to whites. We are now trying to demolish the foundations inherited from the past before we can build our future. Historically, the bulk of South Africa's water has been linked to land. 87% of the land, particularly the productive land, was in the hands of a very small proportion of the population, the white farmers. But through a transparent, consultative approach, we have managed to win over a large number of these farmers to understanding that the new system of water management is not a camouflaged attack on them but a genuine response to a national concern. In many cases, they are responding with positive initiatives both to help us manage water more effectively and to do so in a way which opens opportunities for those previously excluded to benefit from it. In the end though, the best assurance we can give all our citizens is that we are guided by our Constitution which affirms the rights of all South Africans to dignity and equality before the law.

Let me conclude by addressing those matters which I believe are important for us all at the coming Johannesburg Earth Summit. First, I believe that we must keep the focus on the needs of the poor for basic water - and for adequate sanitation because it is about the protection of water quality as well as the recognition of human dignity. Second, we should encourage all countries to adopt an integrated approach to water management as has long been advocated at the United Nations. Measures designed to help us, as governments; to do this should be supported. Third, we must raise the impact of climate change on water management. It is increasing our water management costs, it is increasing our vulnerability to floods and droughts yet there are no mechanisms to fund mitigation measures to this threat which has largely been imposed on us by external forces. Finally, I would commend to you the approach of SADC on shared rivers. We seek to work together to share the benefits from water use rather than squabble amongst ourselves over who can take how much water. We believe that an approach to sharing benefits rather than just sharing water makes water a source of co-operation not of conflict. In this year of the world Summit on Sustainable Development, water and our management of it is an appropriate metaphor for our development and our relations with one another.  In Southern Africa, we are trying hard to ensure that our management of water resources is a source of peace and development, both internally and with our neighbours, just as we would hope to see sustainable development leading to peace and democracy throughout the world.


44)        WORKING TOGETHER TO BUILD PROSPERITY Delivered by Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs Paula J.Dobriansky

Council on Foreign Relations/The Brookings Institution

Thursday, May 23, 2002



Thank you. I am pleased to be with you today and glad to have this opportunity to discuss our vision for meeting one of the great challenges of the new era we have entered - how to continue to widen the circle of hope and prosperity in ways that foster natural resource stewardship and environmental protection for current and future generations. It is a vision for implementing sustainable development that we hope others will share as well. As President Bush recognized in his groundbreaking anti-poverty speech on March 14, preceding the Monterey Conference, there exists "a growing divide between wealth and poverty, between opportunity and misery that is both a challenge to our compassion and a source of instability." Building on the successful outcomes of the Doha Trade Ministerial, the Monterrey Financing for Development Summit, and the upcoming World Food Summit, the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development can take practical measures to enhance human productivity, reduce poverty, and foster economic growth and opportunity together with environmental quality. Our shared commitment must be to provide all people with the opportunity to lead healthy, productive, and fulfilling lives. We have decades of experience in the effort to alleviate poverty and help developing countries move along the path of sustainable economic growth. We have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of development assistance, as well as the results of both good and bad governance, and I believe the emerging new consensus reflects the lessons learned over this period. As President Bush put it clearly in Monterrey: "For decades, the success of development aid was measured only in the resources spent, not in the results achieved. Yet, pouring money into a failed status quo does little to help the poor, and can actually delay the progress of reform. We must accept a higher, more difficult, more promising call." Next week, I will lead our U.S. delegation at a ministerial meeting in Indonesia to prepare for the Johannesburg Summit. The vision that we will take with us brims with expectation that the Johannesburg Summit will answer this "more promising call," providing positive, forward-looking leadership for domestic efforts and multilateral cooperation for years to come. But if Johannesburg is to truly implement the international community's new consensus - demonstrated in Monterrey - to effectively mobilize resources for sustainable development, it should produce compelling results, not merely high-sounding rhetoric. We have already agreed upon Agenda 21 and the Millennium Declaration goals. The world community does not need to negotiate new goals or create new global bureaucracies. If we are serious, Johannesburg must be about actual implementation. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has outlined this reality in a clear way, saying: "The Summit...aims to move from commitments - of which we have had plenty, 30 years ago and 10 years ago - to action." But how can we best make progress in realizing the agenda we have all agreed upon? How many children will escape childbirth death? How many mothers will survive childbirth and lead healthy lives? How many people will have access to safe drinking water and clean sources of energy? How many children can we send to school? How many people can we lift out of poverty? How many people around the world will be able to live in a clean environment? The bottom line for a successful Johannesburg Summit will be imparting new momentum to achieve real development results. The essence of the message that the United States will carry to Johannesburg is that we must continue down the path laid out in Monterrey, working together to build global prosperity. Our vision for the World Summit on Sustainable Development is twofold. First, we believe sustainable development for every nation begins at home with the support of effective domestic policies. This is an unmistakable lesson of past development efforts. Second, we believe that the best way to capitalize upon these effective domestic policies is through building and nurturing local, national, and international public-private partnerships. Through this approach, sustainable development can be achieved in a way that benefits both developing and developed nations. President Bush has emphasized that the hopes of all people, no matter where they live, lie in good governance, political and economic freedom, and the rule of law. These fundamental principles will generate and harness the human and financial resources needed to promote economic growth, a vibrant civil society, natural resource stewardship and environmental protection. Our goal is to ensure a better quality of life for all. Democracy and respect for human rights empower people to take charge of their own destinies. Self-governing people prepared to participate in an open world marketplace are the very foundation of sustainable development, and that begins with good governance. Without a foundation of good governance, no amount of outside assistance will produce sustainable development. At the same time, effective domestic governance will tend to generate internal economic dynamism, become a magnet for local resources and foreign investment, and thus create the climate for economic success and social development. Let me take a moment to outline what I mean when I speak of good governance. To begin, good governance encompasses the creation and support of effective democratic institutions - public institutions that will make policy objectively and rationally for the betterment of all citizens. Indispensable to good governance is an independent judiciary that will, in turn, implement these laws fairly and equitably. Inherent in these democratic institutions is the assurance that all members of society will enjoy a participatory role in government and have a meaningful voice in shaping their country's policies. In making domestic policies, governments should also adhere to sound monetary, fiscal, and trade principles that promote investment, economic growth, and advances social development, natural resource stewardship and environmental protection. Moreover, policy decisions must be reached through an informed decision-making process that takes into account science and the scientific method. And crucial to the hopes for any long-term success in building a stronger and more prosperous society is the assurance that corruption at all levels will be rooted out. Anti-corruption laws are needed, as well as a system that enforces these laws with commitment, swiftness, and equity. These aspects of governance maintain peace and stability and mobilize internal and external resources in support of sustainable development. Additionally, they contribute to economic growth, higher living standards, social equality, and responsible environmental stewardship in which natural resources are wisely managed for both present and future generations. In order to promote sustainable development, the World Summit on Sustainable Development should concentrate on how the world can work together to encourage these needed changes. We endorse and continue to support national efforts to improve transparency and domestic governance, and to fight against corruption. We support these efforts because we share, together with our partners, a strong commitment to the reality that only open, law-based societies that foster private investment, enterprise, and entrepreneurship can unleash our human potential to build lasting and widely-shared prosperity. We also believe investment in basic health, education, and the environment is vital to advance social development and to give every person, especially children, a chance at sharing in the benefits of economic growth. The second key to our vision is the idea that we must work effectively to address the challenges of sustainable development through partnerships among governments, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, and other elements of civil society. One of the public-private initiatives we plan to showcase in Johannesburg is the Geographic Information for Sustainable Development Project, which makes satellite imagery available to people around the world - to policy-makers, to users, to scientists - so that they can get instant access to satellite photography. These pictures will help them map watersheds, plan agricultural crop strategies, and trace urbanization trends. Linking this data with geographic information systems (GIS), global positioning system (GPS) technology and the Internet gives us new ways to increase productivity and to bring the power of technology to the most distant corner of the world. Poor regions in Africa are the project's initial focus. This project joins State, USAID, and the technical agencies of the U.S. government with the Open GIS Consortium, the largest industry association of GIS technology and services. It is a wonderful illustration of how public-private partnerships can be a force multiplier, leveraging resources for development. We in the United States government are working with our friends and allies to promote sustainable development. Yet no government - individually or collectively, developed or developing - can be successful without active partnership with the private sector, non-profit organizations, and other participants. We can strive together for freer and more open societies, thriving economies and healthy environments, and help developing countries integrate fully into the global economy to reap the benefits from international trade, investment, and cooperative partnerships.  The United States has learned, through 60 years of concerted development assistance efforts, that the most successful programs and projects are unquestionably those that foster these partnerships. Partnerships that creatively capture the human, technological, creative, and financial resources potentially available from non-government sources can achieve far more than the relatively few

dollars available through all sources of official overseas development aid worldwide. The message from Monterrey is clear. There can be no sustainable development that is not grounded in productivity-driven growth of developing countries. The most important engine of growth is the private sector. Nine of every ten dollars are in the hands of the private sector - not governments. Furthermore, the examples that we have of successful development in parts of East Asia and Latin America show that the most dynamic growth, prosperity, and innovation are being forged by the energy, risks and rewards of non-governmental actors.

 We hope that the dialogue leading up to Johannesburg opens channels of communication and fosters creative thinking across the spectrum of governments, non-government actors, individuals, and businesses, to identify their common interests and create a plan to advance them together. In partnership, we will work at Johannesburg to unite governments, the private sector and civil society to strengthen democratic institutions of governance, open markets, and mobilize and use all development resources more effectively. These resources include domestic savings, trade and investment, traditional aid and private philanthropy, capacity-building programs, and efforts to promote the spread of environmentally-sensitive industrial, agricultural, educational, and scientific technologies. Our shared commitment will be to provide all people with the opportunities to lead healthy, productive, and fulfilling lives. As we work toward advancing lasting reforms, we invite developed and developing nations alike to join us to:

-- Open our economies and societies to growth;

-- Provide freedom security, and hope for present and future generations;

 -- Provide all people with the opportunity for healthy and productive lives;

-- Serve as good stewards of our natural resources and our environment.

Through these measures, the Johannesburg Summit can strengthen and build upon the new international consensus on sustainable development. To this end, we will work to advance through concrete actions the following goals:

-- Reduce the number of people living without safe drinking water, and provide integrated, watershed approaches to manage water and land resources;

-- Enhance access to and adoption, where appropriate, of clean energy, including renewables, from village to metropolis;

-- Stem the global pandemic of AIDS, and drastically reduce tuberculosis and malaria;

-- Ensure universal access to basic education and eliminate gender disparities;

-- Reduce hunger and increase sustainable agricultural productivity in the developing world without further degradation of forests and fragile lands; and

-- Manage and conserve our forests and the vital resources of our oceans.

We rededicate ourselves to turn our vision into reality, and we support immediate, concrete action to this end. The test of any man lies not in espousing words but in fulfilling deeds, and the true test of the World Summit on Sustainable Development will lie not in the rhetoric that is negotiated but in actions taken to improve conditions worldwide. The new vision President Bush emphasized before Monterey unleashes the potential of those who are poor, instead of locking them into a cycle of dependence. This new vision looks beyond arbitrary inputs from the rich, and demands tangible outcomes for the poor. Likewise, Johannesburg demands a new vision of real reforms in developing nations, strengthened by real support from international partnerships. Through this new vision, we invite the world's citizens and their governments to work together to build global prosperity.


45)        REFORM OF THE COMMON FISHERIES POLICY"  A SUSTAINABLE FISHERIES POLICY EXPECTATIONS ON REFORM Margot Wallström Member of the European Commission, responsible for Environment

European Union

21 May 2002


Margot Wallström Member of the European Commission, responsible for Environment

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak about my expectations for the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) - a major issue for sustainable development.  Fisheries policy today has to adapt to a very obvious fact: There can be no fisheries without fish. Everybody will accept this statement. The problem is that fisheries today does not respect this reality. We are talking of course about the EU's Common Fisheries Policy in particular and the need for its reform, although reforms are also needed in the fisheries policies of other countries and at international level.  As the Commissioner for Environment, my most immediate concern is the impact of current fishing practices on the marine eco-system. I will start by highlighting some of these concerns.

However, I also see fisheries as a lesson in sustainable development in a broader sense. The current Common Fisheries Policy is not sustainable, either from a natural resources or from an economic point of view. I will expand on this in the second part of my speech.  Finally, I will focus on the global dimension and make the link to the World Summit on Sustainable Development that will be taking place in Johannesburg this summer.  Let me also say right away that I will not comment on the media reports over the last few weeks concerning the Commission's proposals for a reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. I understand that the Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament will hold a hearing later this week to clarify what happened. When I agreed to speak at this workshop about 6 weeks ago, I hoped that I would be able to use the opportunity to explain the proposals that the Commission had put on the table and press for their rapid adoption. I now expect that the Commission will present its proposals next week and I strongly support this intention. The environmental impact of fisheries  Let me then first turn to the impact of fisheries on the marine environment. My aim is not to give you a complete overview, but rather provide a few examples that highlight the problems. Certain fisheries currently threaten bio-diversity. Earlier this year, dozens of dead dolphins were washed up on the beaches of England and France. In England alone over 80 of them were counted. These animals had obviously become caught in the nets of the seasonal bass fisheries in the area. At the same time, all cetacean species to which dolphins belong are strictly protected under the Habitats Directive.  Another cetacean species is the harbour porpoise. For many years it has been a victim of fisheries in EU waters. There is a lack of data on the incidental by-catch of harbour porpoises and their conservation status. However, from the data collected it appears that several hundred and even thousand harbour porpoises were caught each year during the 1990s in different fisheries in the Northeast Atlantic. The situation is thought to be particularly alarming in the Baltic Sea where even the incidental catch of very few harbour porpoises could now threaten the survival of this population.  Action has been taken in some fisheries, for example by using pingers, that is, acoustic deterrents that keep harbour porpoises away from the fishing nets, although the effectiveness of these pingers and their side-effects have been criticised. Since the beginning of this year, the use of drift nets has been banned by the Community for certain fisheries in EU waters although not in the Baltic where the problem appears to be the most acute. In any case it is questionable whether these measures will be sufficient to end unsustainable levels of by-catches of harbour porpoises. The Commission will therefore work on a broad-ranging plan to protect cetaceans from by-catch. Due to a lack of observers on board fishing vessels and a lack of information on the populations of vulnerable species, we are not even sure of the full extent of the problem.  According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, 34 per cent of all fish species are vulnerable or in immediate danger of extinction.  It is simply not acceptable that fishing operates in a manner that threatens a species protected under Community law or for that matter of course any other species.

Looking beyond threats to bio-diversity by by-catches, over-fishing is now the major threat to marine bio-diversity. After all, the marine environment is as any other eco-system a complex food chain where one species feeds on another. When one species is depleted through fishing, its predators are threatened as well. This is what seems to have happened in Alaska where over-fishing of pollock has had ripple effects through the food chain, ultimately affecting sea otters and killer whales.  Fishing gear can also cause physical damage to the environment. I must confess that until recently I believed that coral reefs only existed in tropical waters. Now I learn that there are cold water coral reefs as well, for example in the North Atlantic where much of EU fisheries takes place. By scratching over the sea bottom, fishing nets can damage these reefs - and they do. Coral reefs are of course important breeding grounds for fish and eco-systems in their own right. A Norwegian investigation suggests that 30 to 50 per cent of their known reefs have been damaged by fishing gear. While we are still waiting for corresponding information for EU waters, the risk is high that reefs in our waters have been subject to similar damage.  Aquaculture is potentially an important complement to fisheries and an alternative source of employment for fisheries-dependent regions, and it has seen high growth over the last few years. However, fish farms have their own problems in that they take up space in coastal zones and cause marine pollution. It has been estimated for example that salmon fish farming in the Nordic countries releases nitrogen in quantities found in the sewage of 3.9 million people. This can cause water eutrophication. By using fishmeal, aquaculture may also put pressure on wild fish stocks. If it introduces alien species it can have an impact on the local eco-system and bio-diversity.  These are some of the major environmental effects of fisheries that need to be addressed urgently. What measures have been taken already are clearly not sufficient to prevent a degradation of the marine environment and threats to marine bio-diversity. The Habitats Directive provides a framework for protecting marine species and must as such be fully implemented by the Member States. However, environmental requirements have to be integrated into day-to-day fisheries management as well. The Community's Fisheries Action Plan under the Bio-diversity Convention is an important stepping stone in this regard. We have to change the fishing practices themselves to effectively protect bio-diversity and the marine environment. This will certainly require further technical measures with respect to fishing gear. It may include temporal and local fishing restrictions. We need observers on board to monitor by-catches so that we have a better knowledge of the extent of the problem. We need better control and enforcement of the rules. I see the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy as an opportunity to make progress towards our goal of protecting the marine environment. This means though that we have to go further and include environmental concerns in the task description of fisheries managers and the fishermen themselves. Fishermen should become the stewards of the resources that they are living off. Managing a common resource. What sustainable development means and I now turn to the second part of my speech is often difficult to explain. Many people believe that sustainable development is simply another word for environmental protection. Some industry representatives claim that it is first and foremost about economic growth. Both are right and both are wrong at the same time. There can be no economic prosperity without a healthy state of the environment and natural resources, and the environment is also a value in its own right. On the other hand, we want economic prosperity for ourselves and our children, and for the many people in the poorer countries of the world.  Fisheries is an excellent example of the link between natural resources and economic prosperity. The current crisis in fisheries shows what happens if a natural resource is not managed with its long-term conservation in mind. The result is that the livelihoods of, in this case, the fishermen and the regions that depend on fisheries are put at risk. There can be no fishing without fish.  As the EU is committed to the objective of sustainable development, it should now put this goal into practice in the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. The example of cod fisheries in the Northwest Atlantic should serve as a warning. The shoals of cod on the Atlantic's Grand Banks were once the biggest cod-fishing grounds in the world. During the 1950s and 1960s ever bigger and more efficient vessels began to exploit these stocks and catches went up initially. Later, some scientists and local fishermen started warning that stocks were being over-fished, but they were not listened to. Suddenly, stocks collapsed in the early 1990s. Canada placed a 2-year moratorium on Northern Cod that has since been extended indefinitely, but stocks have not recovered since. Also, many other stocks in Canadian waters are in decline. The effect has been that the entire cod-based fishing industry in Eastern Canada has been wiped out. About 30 000 jobs were lost and Canada has poured several billions of dollars into the region to revitalise it. This catastrophe from both a natural resources and a regional economic point of view has been blamed on bad scientific advice and ineffective fisheries management. That this Canadian experience is dangerously close to home as shown by the collapse of herring stocks in the Norwegian Sea in the 1970s. They needed 25 years to recover before they could again be fished by our vessels. And of course, last year the EU put a 3-month ban on cod fishing in the North Sea and imposed major cuts in allowed catches. These examples demonstrate that you cannot without impunity take more out of the sea than the sea has to provide. Nowhere is it more obvious than in fisheries that the sound management of natural resources is the basis for economic prosperity. That said, I am concerned that the fisheries sector may be tempted to take these experiences as one-off, local episodes. However, to dismiss the urgent need for deep cuts in fishing effort and fleet capacity would be a mistake.  The scientific experts tell us otherwise. In the Northeast Atlantic and the Mediterranean, about 60 to 70 per cent of all fish stocks are outside safe biological limits according to a recent review. Some stocks have already collapsed. The expansion of deep-sea fishing is another cause for great concern in the light of information that these long-lived stocks are now showing signs of decline. Should they collapse their recovery would take several decades. The reason for this worrying picture is simple: Too many and too efficient vessels are fishing for a limited amount of fish. This leads to a vicious cycle: As the fishermen compete with each other over a dwindling resource, they have to become more efficient, which in turn increases the pressure on the stocks. Trawls in some fisheries now have a circumference of more than 3 km. In other fisheries the use of two or even three trawls simultaneously is on the increase. I find it amazing to read that at the same time, in many fisheries, anything between 20 and 60 per cent of the catch, and in some cases even more, is under-sized or by-catch of non-target species and thrown back into the sea often dead or dying. This lack of selectivity in their operations should be an embarrassment to fishermen and adds up an enormous waste of resources.

The factors behind this situation are equally clear. The catch quotas set by the Fisheries Council have all too often not followed scientific advice on how much could safely be taken out of the seas. Poor enforcement of the agreed quotas has also contributed to over-fishing. It is a sad truth that Community subsidies have at the same time supported the construction of ever bigger and more efficient vessels and thus added to the problem hardly the most rational use of tax payers' money in a situation of over-fishing.  What I am telling you here is not new of course. The Green Paper on the future of the Common Fisheries Policy that the Commission published last year analysed all these problems. It made it clear that the crisis in fisheries is structural rather than temporary. Fisheries is over-capitalised in relation to available stocks, which make sit economically vulnerable with low profitability. There are too many boats trying to catch too few fish. The Commission now estimates that the fishing effort in some of the most important EU's fisheries should be reduced by 30 to 60 per cent to bring it into line with available stocks. This cannot be done without reducing the size of the fleet. Let me emphasise one thing: I am not blaming the fishermen on their vessels who do a hard job and often risk their lives. On the contrary, I see them as the victims of the current situation. I am pointing to the failure of the current fisheries policy to manage its resource properly and thus provide fishermen with a future. I am criticising subsidies that are adding to the problem rather than addressing it. It is clearly not a thorough reform of the Common Fisheries Policy that will cost jobs and lead to economic decline in the regions concerned. Employment in the sector is already decreasing. A reform can only make things better by ensuring the long-term sustainability of fishing and managing the restructuring process in an orderly way. It would in my view be a cynical policy that allowed for business as usual and did not go to the heart of the problem, namely, over-fishing and over-capacity of the fleet. What we need is a reform of the CFP that manages the crisis head-on, re-directs subsidies towards scrapping vessels and creates new economic prospects for the fishermen and the regions affected. This approach was already put forward in the Green Paper of March last year. The international dimension Before I conclude, let me turn to the global dimension of fisheries, which is equally close to my heart. This summer, political leaders will meet at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa. The aim is to give new impetus to worldwide efforts to protect the environment and to fight poverty in the developing countries. Fish is a major component to the food of people in the poorer parts of the world. According to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), fish provides about 6 per cent of total world protein consumption. Nearly one billion people worldwide rely on fish as their primary source of protein, most of them in Asia. Protecting this resource not only means protecting the livelihoods of many small fishermen in developing nations, it also provides an important global food supply. FAO also projects that per capita catches of fish including from fish farms will decline substantially over the next few years. A few years ago, it estimated that 11 of the world's 15 major fishing grounds and 70 per cent of major fish species were either fully or over-exploited. This is not an encouraging signal for sustainable development in the poorer countries of the world. The European Union is a major importer of fish products, much of which comes from developing countries. European fishing vessels operate in many parts of the world on the high seas and under bilateral fishing agreements with third countries, often developing countries. I am certainly not opposed to such bilateral fishing agreements. They can benefit partner developing countries by providing resources and capacity building. However, these agreements have been criticised repeatedly for leading to an over-exploitation of stocks and for a lack of monitoring and enforcement. Illegal fishing is another problem and apparently not a marginal one. In early 2000, for example, the Tanzanian government estimated that more than 70 vessels were fishing illegally in its waters. Flag-of-convenience ships have been estimated to account for 5 to 10 per cent of the world fishing fleet. And flags of convenience usually mean lax controls and little enforcement of the rules. Strong action is needed at international level to clamp down on illegal fishing and the EU should be a driving force in this respect. In short, I would hope that a reform of the CFP will lead to better management of the EU's international fishing activities and promote an active role in international fisheries organisations. This would be a positive signal for the Johannesburg Summit on sustainable development. We have to reform the Common Fisheries Policy if fisheries is to remain a viable industry in Europe and we are to protect our natural resources and the marine environment. Any reduction in fishing effort will automatically also mean reduced pressure on the environment and less risk to bio-diversity. Without a major overhaul of this policy now, our fish stocks will collapse sooner or later and our fisheries will find themselves in the same situation as the cod-fisheries in Eastern Canada ten years ago. This reform should also improve the consistency of our policies by ending subsidies for building new and more efficient vessels. What we really need is to reduce our fleet in order to address the structural problem underlying the current fisheries crisis. We have a clear call for the reform from the European Council in Göteborg last June - and I quote - to "address the overall fishing pressure by adapting the EU fishing effort to the level of available resources."

* There can be no fishing without fish.

* There are too many boats trying to catch too few fish.

* We are doing the fishermen a disservice by shying away from real reform.

Thank you for your attention.



Keynote Address to World Environment Center Fourth WEC Gold Medal Colloquium Washington, D.C.

US State Department

17 May 2002


Thank you for inviting me here this morning, and for giving me the opportunity to discuss a topic that is currently very much in the news and is a top priority for the United States: sustainable development. I am also pleased to help recognize the support of sustainable development principles by CEMEX SA. CEMEX's philosophy is, in the words of Mr. Zambrano, "to join forces with governments, renowned NGOs [nongovernmental organizations], and communities to safeguard nature and promote a deeper ecological culture around the world." That declaration echoes the approach of the United States Government to sustainable development: individual responsibility supported through creative partnerships, and is one we should put into practice. We have real opportunities this year to forge a new international consensus on sustainable development issues. Together, we -- governments, the private sector, and civil society -- can transform words into actions, and through our actions we can provide all the world's people the opportunities to lead healthy, productive, and fulfilling lives. That is the way to a more prosperous, more secure world. For the United States, the World Summit on Sustainable Development -- the "WSSD" -- that takes place in Johannesburg in late August is an important milestone. Although I am not an expert on environmental issues or on the WSSD, the Economic and Business Bureau which I head plays a key role in formulating and articulating U.S. development policy, and is a key player in the U.S. Government's preparations for Johannesburg. The United States hopes the Johannesburg Summit will build on a successful series of meetings focused on development over the past year: the Doha Development Agenda set by the WTO [World Trade Organization], the Monterrey Conference on Financing for Development, the World Food Summit in July, and the G8 Leaders' Meeting in Canada. At Johannesburg, the world should highlight the message that economic development, social development, and environmental protection go hand in hand. The success we saw in Monterrey shows what we -- developed, middle-income, and developing countries -- can achieve. As in the other development-focused conferences taking place this year, the U.S. goal for the WSSD is to create a new, results-oriented vision for reducing poverty and fostering sustainable development. As we prepare for the Johannesburg meeting, we all must keep in mind that there can be no sustainable development unless there is economic growth. All development must be sustainable and must strive to satisfy the unquenchable aspiration of people around the world to escape poverty, deprivation, environmental degradation, and oppression. The question we must answer is: How to create conditions that will allow people to give substance to those aspirations? People must have social and economic frameworks in which they can prosper from their efforts. The international community agreed at Monterrey that "each country has primary responsibility for its own economic and social development." We also stressed that meeting our internationally agreed development goals "demands a new partnership between developed and developing countries." It is underpinned by political and economic freedom, and the rule of law, that generate and harness the human, technological, and financial resources needed to promote economic and social welfare, and to protect our environment. At Monterrey, President Bush and other world leaders shaped a new approach to global development, designed to unleash the entrepreneurial potential of the poor, instead of locking the poor into a cycle of dependence. The Monterrey consensus stresses the importance to sustainable development, of good governance, sound institutions, economic reform, transparency in the governing system, the end of corruption, responsible leadership, responsible political activity, and decision-making based on sound science and the building of science and technology capacity of developing countries. The central theme of Monterrey is that developed and developing countries must work together to make the most efficient possible use of all of the resources -- private and official, domestic and foreign -- potentially available to build capacity and finance development. All states recognize that adequate resources must be available for sustainable development. The largest potential source of capital for capacity building and development are the private and non-governmental sectors, including capital from domestic and foreign private investment. Thus a country's resolve to create a favorable, enabling climate for investment by promoting good governance has a major impact on that country's capacity for sustainable development. Domestic good governance mobilizes resources to build the infrastructure needed to facilitate internal and international trade, to promote sound financial management, to strengthen leadership for science-based decision-making, and to promote the diffusion of technology. The United States will carry that theme to the upcoming preparatory meeting in Bali, and through to Johannesburg.

The United States is working to address the challenges of sustainable development in partnership with governments, the private sector, NGOs, and other elements of civil society. We invite developed and developing nations alike to join us to:

-- Open our economies and societies to growth;

-- Provide freedom, security, and hope for present and future generations

-- Provide all our people with the opportunity for healthy and productive lives;

-- Serve as good stewards of our natural resources and our environment;

The efforts undertaken at Rio ten years ago are the fundamental blueprint for how we all can cooperate to achieve sustainable development. If Johannesburg is to carve a place in history, it must produce compelling results. It needs to focus on concrete actions, not just words and communiqués. Fortunately, the world community has recognized that the principles of sustainable development do not need to be renegotiated, but implemented. The world has made considerable progress in the ten years since the 1992 Rio Conference. The U.S., like many other countries, has a strong record in fostering sustainable development. I would like to point to the efforts we have made to open markets for trade, to improve the flow of investment funds, to foster international security, and to provide international assistance. But we are not content with what has been done, and like most other countries believe that more needs to be done to reduce poverty, promote good health, encourage sound management of natural resources, and protect our environment from pollution and degradation. The United States envisions a world in which the environment and natural resources are managed responsibly and every household has access to energy, safe drinking water, and sanitation. We envision a world in which children can grow to adulthood free from disease, hunger, and the scourge of poverty, and where all children have access to schooling that leaves no child behind and lays the foundation for decent and productive employment. We envision a world free from all forms of racial and gender discrimination in which all women and men can reach their full potential. We rededicate ourselves to turn this vision into reality and we support immediate concrete action to this end. Our goal at the WSSD is to identify meaningful, concrete actions to implement the internationally agreed development goals and to make sustainable development work. The U.S. is committed to its long-standing aim of integrating all countries into a growing global economy in which the world's considerable resources -- private and public -- can be effectively harnessed to build prosperity. The growing integration of economies and societies around the world -- is the dominant reality and has the potential to improve living standards for all. Our challenge is to ensure all countries can find ways to enjoy the benefits this global process of integration can offer. The Johannesburg Summit should focus on key issues that are most critical implementing policies to promote and facilitate true sustainable development. One of those key issues is domestic good governance. By "governance" I mean the broad range of issues that support the ability of governments and publics to make sound decisions about and act to support sustainable development. I am talking here about the rule of law and other conditions essential for domestic and international investment. The creation or enhancement of a legal framework of transparent, democratic, non-discriminatory, and accountable institutions is a prerequisite for sustainable development. Domestic good governance is an essential element for all countries, developed and developing. It acknowledges the rights of current and future generations to share the benefits of economic and social development in a framework of sustainable management of natural resources. The ultimate responsibility lies with countries themselves to put into place the governance structures and policies that maintain peace and stability, and that mobilize internal and external resources in support of sustainable development. Although the forms of governance will depend upon each country's circumstances, there are certain aspects of good governance that are applicable universally. In order to promote sustainable development, the WSSD should find ways to encourage countries to make needed changes: rule of law, anti-corruption, economic management, transparency, accountability, broader participation, decision-making based on sound science, and human rights. These aspects of governance contribute to economic growth, higher living standards, social equality, and responsible environmental stewardship in which natural resources are wisely managed for present and future generations, bio-diversity preserved, and pollution and degradation of land and water reduced. Capital will not go and economies will not prosper where good governance is absent. The international financial institutions, development agencies, and non-governmental organizations can all play an important role. The institutions essential for good governance include:

-- A public administration that makes policy, implements laws, and delivers public programs;

-- A judiciary that fairly and efficiently adjudicates disputes over rights, and imposes sanctions for violations; and

-- A system of laws and policies that protects individual rights, social and economic development, and natural resources.

These components must be well developed and integrated in order to effectively mobilize the domestic and international resources needed to promote sustainable development. Sustainable development depends on the efficiency, efficacy, and responsibility with which resources are used, on getting the economic policy environment right. It depends on countries making the necessary investment in their people, in their health and education. It depends on them taking the necessary steps to foster good environmental stewardship. It depends on developing country leaders recognizing, as they increasingly do, that they bear the primary responsibility for their countries' development. We in the U.S. Government are working with our friends and allies to promote this understanding. We are working to promote the understanding as well that governments cannot do this work alone. Government -- individually or collectively, developed or developing -- cannot succeed without active partnership with the private sector, not-for-profit organizations, and other stakeholders. The United States has decades of experience with the policies, programs and cooperation with civil society that is necessary to undertake dramatic change. Our successes and failures inform our local, national and international approach to sustainable development. Working in partnership, governments, the private sector, and civil society can strengthen democratic institutions of governance, open markets, and mobilize and use all development resources more effectively. Our shared commitment must be to provide all people with the opportunities to lead healthy, productive, and fulfilling lives.


47)        HOW TO INCREASE POLITICAL MOMENTUM BEFORE WSSD Speech by the Rt Hon. John Prescott, Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom


17 May 2002:


Mr President, I want to thank you and your Environment Minister Valli Moosa for taking this initiative and bringing everyone here for this seminar in Johannesburg. It has been an invigorating experience. It has re-doubled my determination to make the Johannesburg Summit a success. And it has greatly helped me to
broaden my perspective and to focus my ideas. The UK has always attached great importance to Johannesburg. Tony Blair was the first leader to commit himself to attend. And this seminar has confirmed
the need for high-level political leadership. Tony Blair made his commitment before September 11. After September 11 it is even more important. We have to show the world that globalisation can be a force for good as well as to tackle evil -- winning the peace as well as the war. Mr President, as you know from your work on the Middle East Peace Process we are working against a very uncertain global background.
So failure at Johannesburg is just unacceptable. If it were to happen it would set back sustainable development by ten to twenty years. We must succeed. In order to do that we must define success.
If we do not, others -- in particular the press and NGOs -- will define failure. And in delivering success we need to be ambitious in our aspirations but realistic in their application. My Prime Minister asked me last October to play a personal role for him in the run up to Johannesburg. In the last six months, I have met 30 Prime Ministers, Presidents and Heads of State and close to 100 Ministers to discuss WSSD.
When I have spoken to Ministers who are closely involved in the process there is a great desire to make Johannesburg a success. My concern is that when I raise it with leaders -- and I must be frank -- for many of them it's not on their radar screen, at least not at this stage. Thanks to the work of Professor Salim on the Plan of Action we are now much closer to understanding what Johannesburg is about. The essential first step to increase the momentum between now and Johannesburg is for Bali to agree the Plan of Action.
That means we must not overburden the beast. The Plan of Action will require consensus. And consensus means compromise. There are already hundreds of ideas in the Plan of Action. Most of them we can all sign up to. But some of them are controversial. Our environment Ministers will meet at Bali to agree the Plan of Action. We encourage other ministers to attend -- but we must be realistic and Bali will be primarily a meeting of environment Ministers. Their job is to get an agreement which is as ambitious as possible. But the most important thing is that negotiations should not break down. We cannot expect Environment Ministers to agree proposals for ambitious new funds or development programmes. I hear loud and clear the debate about funding. Of course it would be good to have a new fund to tackle poverty or to promote sustainable development. But is that something our Environment Ministers can really hope to agree at
Bali? I'm not saying I don't want new funds to be agreed at Bali or Johannesburg. You only have to look at our Chancellor's proposals for a fifty billion dollar Development Trust Fund to see the UK's commitment to increasing levels of development aid. What I am saying, however, is that we mustn't let negotiations break down on issues where it is simply not possible for Environment Ministers to agree. The key thing then, as several people said yesterday, is to agree the plan of action at Bali. That will require flexibility on all sides to secure consensus and I wish my good friend Professor Salim the best of luck. The limitations which we must acknowledge on the role of Environment Ministers, I think, answers the question put so clearly in the seminar yesterday: Why should there be a Johannesburg Summit and what value will it add?
Johannesburg will bring together world leaders -- at least it will if we do our job and prepare for it properly.
Gathered together those leaders will make a strong political statement simply by recommitting to the values set out at Rio. That is valuable in itself, but also because things have changed since Rio. Some people said yesterday that nothing had happened since Rio. I would dispute that. Rio may not have achieved everything, but by September we will hopefully be very close to bringing Kyoto into force. We have the Biodiversity Convention, the Forum on Forests, the Desertification Convention. And more than six thousand communities have programmes for Agenda 21.In addition to that success on the environmental side there have of course
been other major changes since Rio. Globalisation has come to the fore. There are plenty who argue it is a force for evil. One of our main tasks at the Summit is to show that it can be a force for good. A force for sustainable development. Since Rio civil society has become much more closely involved in the
process -- both on the NGO and business side, as Nitin Desai said yesterday. In many parts of the world development has raced ahead at an astounding pace. And others have experienced a period of unprecedented prosperity. We have seen the restructuring of the global economy, the continued growth
of the service industry and of course an amazing revolution in information and communication technology.
The time has now come to put the Rio values in a modern setting. The genuine groundswell of emotion and excitement which surrounded Rio -- and the action taken since then -- failed to recognise that Rio was about
much more than just the environment. It was about the three mutually reinforcing pillars of sustainable
development: economic growth; social development; and environmental protection. Having sat here yesterday that sounds old news. But it is the job of Johannesburg to ensure that it is recognised in action rather than just in words. Johannesburg can make its landmark contribution by recommitting to the Rio values in their modern setting, which recognises that environmental protection is only one of the three pillars of sustainable development. The political declaration will be the most important product of Johannesburg. It should, as I said, endorse the idea that globalisation can be a force for good and for sustainable development. Political leaders should give the same commitment to the fight against poverty that they have given for the fight against terrorism. The agreement should reaffirm our commitment to Agenda 21 and to the Millennium Development Goals. It should put in place a route map from Johannesburg to the Millennium Development Goals in 2015.
Each of the different conventions established at Rio has its own target and timetable. The Commission on Sustainable Development was designed to bring them together. Frankly, it has not given the process the political priority it requires. I think we should consider a process for the Secretary-General to produce a
report every five years to monitor our progress across the board. And -- crucially -- it should be discussed at the highest level by leaders. The political declaration should firmly establish the three pillars of sustainable development as the guiding principles for action. And, as I said yesterday, don't forget social justice. What does sustainable development mean in practice? It means greater prosperity for everyone, but more help for those that need it most. More help for those at the threshold of sustainability. Those who can only dream of a sustainable future. That, I believe, should be the key message of the Summit. In an era of
globalisation the world is not going to forget those who are in danger of being left behind. Yes of course we must advance universally for all. But we must also recognize that some are in danger of being left behind and need more help than others. Progressive universalism I called it yesterday. Sustainable development for
all but more for those who need it most. And that brings me to Africa. It is fitting that the Summit will be held here in Africa where Agenda 21 has so far failed to deliver. Mr President, I heard you refer in you inauguration speech to this being the time for an African Renaissance. So Johannesburg must recognise NEPAD and the needs of Africa. That is not special treatment for one region over any other. It is recognition of the gap between Africa and the rest of the world. Under the principle of progressive universalism Africa deserves special help as a right and not as a favour. The process of progressive universalism has already started. Doha, Monterrey and the environmental conventions all recognise the needs of developing countries and the least developed countries in particular. And Monterrey in particular also recognises the importance of good governance in the process of sustainable development. That is something that cannot be under estimated. As President Obasanjo said to me, "I pull on the levers and nothing happens." That is what happens after corruption has torn the heart out of a government. Johannesburg is not the place to renegotiate Doha, Monterrey, or any of these agreements. But it should build on those foundations and put the processes and commitment in place to take them forward in line with the principles of sustainable development. Nitin Desai said yesterday that Doha had put development into trade and that Monterrey had put development into Finance. Johannesburg should do more than that and put the "sustainable" into
"development". As Minister Johnson said yesterday, we need to "green" the poverty reduction strategies and other elements of the development process, such as NEPAD and Monterrey. Minister Johnson also rightly pointed to the need to rationalize the burden of reporting for developing countries. She argued that they did not need to produce sustainable development strategies as well as poverty reduction strategies.
Again this is a case of progressive universalism. For the least developed countries, which have not even reached the threshold of sustainability, the poverty reduction strategy must be the priority, provided it takes account of sustainability. Other developing countries further up the ladder should be progressing on a sustainable path. I turn Mr President to the key players required to deliver success at Johannesburg.
This is a leaders' Summit. And we now need to engage leaders as well as Environment and other Ministers.
There are processes we can build on: G8 leaders meet in Canada in June and you will join them there, Mr President; just before that there is President Cardoso's excellent initiative to bring together the "baton bearers" -- the Prime Minister of Sweden, the country which hosted the Stockholm Conference in 1972, President Cardoso himself, you Mr President and President of Indonesia; there is the ASEM meeting of Foreign Ministers in June; and the European leaders meet in Seville also in June. These are the events where we can press the message and it is up to each and everyone of us here today to go home and do what we can to ensure that Johannesburg features on the agendas of these meetings. In addition to that, we all need to keep working hard on initiatives for Rio that will make a difference in the real world. One of the really exciting things about Johannesburg is the partnerships involving some or all of government, business, UN agencies and NGOs. All of us have a responsibility to go away and push these initiatives hard between now and September.
For the next three or four weeks, however, the focus is on our friend Professor Salim. We must all make every effort to help him finish the Plan of Action and set the framework for the political declaration. Beyond Bali all of us in this room need to play our part in delivering Johannesburg. UN Agencies. Business. NGOs.
And we in Government need to engage leaders as I have set out. I shall certainly do all I can in that regard.
Mr President, we live in a world where a child dies every ten seconds from preventable water borne diseases and in which a billion people live on less than a dollar a day. That is unacceptable to all of us -- politicians and citizens alike. As is the fact that we are denying our grandchildren the natural heritage that we inherited from our grandparents. Johannesburg is the opportunity to face up to our responsibilities and the world will not forgive us if we fail to do so. My Prime Minister and I are fully behind in the enormous challenge before you. And I know from my time here that everyone in this room stands ready to do all they can to help you make Johannesburg a success that we must deliver.




16 May 2002


The World Summit on Sustainable Development is considered successful if:

An intergovernmental agreement can be reached on the Implementation Program.
It is endorsed by Head of States or Government through the Political Declaration.
It is attended with active participation by influential leaders of the world.
It is followed up by partnership arrangements among governments, business and civil societies.
It integrates the three components of sustainable development: social development, economic growth and environmental protection, as mutually reinforcing pillars.
Within this integrated approach the Implementation Program is focussed on actions to eradicate poverty, to change the unsustainable pattern of consumption and production and to promote environmental protection in resource management as overarching objectives of sustainable development as contained in the Millennium Development Goals as well as other
internationally agreed development goals. Poverty Eradication program's targets are to reduce by 2015 the numbers of the poor:
1. That lives with income below one dollar a day.
2. Who suffers from hunger.
3. Have no access to safe drinking water.
4. Have no access to improved sanitation.
5. Have no access to energy services.
6. Are not engaged in industrial development.
7. Are suffering the lives as slum dwellers.
Changing unsustainable patterns of consumption and production requires a ten-year work program:
1. To improve resource efficiency within the carrying capacity of ecosystems.
2. Increase investment in cleaner production and eco-efficiency through incentive and support schemes.
3. Enhance corporate, environmental and social responsibility as well as accountability.
4. Capacity building for relevant authorities to take sustainability considerations in decision-making.
5. Promote energy for sustainable development.
6. Promote an integrated approach to policy making for transport services and systems within sustainable developmental framework.
7. Minimize waste and maximize re-use and recycling to improve resource efficiency.
8. Soundly manage chemicals throughout their life cycle.
Protecting and managing the natural resource base of economic and social development with implementation strategies on:
1. Developing affordable safe drinking water, integrated water resource management, water efficiency plan, monitoring and promote closer coordination on water-related issues.
2. Develop a comprehensive program on oceans, seas and coastal areas as vital resources for fisheries, marine living resources, and its protection from land based activities and to improve the scientific understanding of marine and coastal ecosystems.
3. Develop global program of action to reduce the impact of disasters.
4. Embark on reducing greenhouse gases emissions to achieve the ultimate objective of this convention; Also reduce air pollution, Transboundary pollution and acid deposition.
5. Implement an integrated approach to increase food production and enhancing food security as well as food safety.
6. Implement the UN Convention to Combat Desertification and restore land for agriculture and prevent land degradation.
7. Develop programs, policies and approaches to integrate social, economic and environment components of sustainable mountain development.
8. Promote sustainable tourism development by maintaining the cultural and environmental integrity and protecting ecological sensitive areas and natural heritages.
9. Put in place by 2010 measures to halt biodiversity loss.
10. Implement sustainable forest management.
11. Address the social, economic and environmental impacts as well as benefits of mining on the communities, including workers.
As crucial issues with new content since Rio-92 and emerging from regional and global consultations are sustainable development issues in:
Health, that is focused on ill health of women, children, disabled people, elderly persons and indigenous people to reduce HIV infection rates, malaria, TB and other diseases, including those resulting from pollution and environmental degradation.
Small Island developing states, to focus on the interplay of adverse factors of environment and development.
Africa, to support the implementation of the New Partnership for Africa's development.
The implementation of sustainable development requires an enabling economic environment at the global level. Actions are required in globalisation to develop a level playing field that is more equitable, inclusive and responsive to the needs of the developing countries.
These programs require means of implementation such as:
To raise financial resources, reduce debt burden and develop innovative sources of finance.
Improve trade opportunities, create market accessibilities, develop trade and environment that are mutually supportive.
Transfer environmentally sound technologies, enhance research.
Raise education and awareness.
Capacity building, provide better information for decision-making and develop scientific capabilities.
Develop trade-environment-development linkages.
These means of implementation are to be developed within an institutional framework for sustainable development.
In its integrated and holistic approach sustainable development requires the involvement of all stakeholders, in particular the government, business and civil societies. The Implementation Program serves as a platform to hook up Public-Private Partnership Initiatives among stakeholders. These arrangements are voluntary and follow a bottom-up with subsidiary approach.
The priority is concentrated on implement able programs that achieve targets within 2002-2015. The next priority is studies, capacity building, technology transfer and efforts needed within this time frame but bear fruits beyond this time horizon.
The Implementation Program provides inputs for the Political Declaration as expression of the Heads of States/ Governments' support and political commitments. It reflects areas of consensus needed to implement sustainable development.
The content of the Implementation Program that set the tone of the Political Declaration and its wide support as indicated by government's commitments and meaningful partnership's arrangements between governments, business and civil societies, may well be the major inducements for Head of States/Governments to attend and be actively involved in the World Summit on Sustainable Development to reach for the overarching objectives of sustainable development in implementing the Millennium Development Goals to sustain our future.




Bangkok Post

24 May 2002


Saleemul Huq is a researcher and practitioner on sustainable development in Asia. He is chairman of the Bangladesh Centre of Advanced Studies, a research and policy think-tank on sustainable development, and director of the climate change programme at Britain's International Institute for Environment and Development.

Building a better future means first remedying the ills that hold us back, be they economic, social or cultural. This will never be easy, but many countries of Asia can boast of advances in recent years.  Asia has the world's largest number of poor, and many of its worst environmental problems. It is also where the main actors in global terrorism have originated in the recent past.  A major factor in the rise of the fundamentalism that breeds terrorism is the lack of hope for the continent's young people. And yet the picture is not as bleak as it may seem. The blueprint for the way out of poverty in harmony with the environment is sustainable development. All that is needed is political will and resources.  The basis for this was laid at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992 with the concept of sustainable development. The blueprint for achieving this was laid down in Agenda 21, which was agreed to at the Summit. This document charts one way to achieve development and prosperity, particularly for the world's poor, while also protecting the environment from degradation. In the 10 years since the adoption of Agenda 21 by all the countries of the world, it may seem that things have changed little for the better. However, that impression would be quite wrong in the context of Asia. Over the last decade, there have been many successful initiatives by governments, non-governmental organisations, communities, businesses and civil society in general to put into practice the principles of Agenda 21. These include actions from the very local, such as the Agenda 21s in hundreds of cities across Asia, to the national, with strategies for sustainable development. A notable feature of most of these initiatives has been their participatory nature involving all the key stakeholders, including civil society. Many countries have even set up new institutional structures at the highest levels. These include national councils for sustainable development with the involvement of government, NGO and private sector participants. Another notable feature of many such efforts have been the devolution of authority and the management of natural resources to local communities. Notable are the forests of Nepal and the wetlands of Bangladesh. Even private business _ for example, the Philippines and Indonesia _ has responded positively in many cases to such initiatives for environmentally and socially responsible action. Examples abound across Asia despite the different systems of governments and levels of industrialisation.
The initiators of many of these actions and policies have varied from governments to international agencies, such as the UN Development Programme through its Capacity 21 Programme, the World Bank, through poverty reduction strategies, and NGOs, through such efforts as micro-credit, first developed by the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, communities and private business. A key feature has been the willingness of the different stakeholder groups to work together for a common purpose to solve problems. Another key feature has been the realisation that economic, social and environmental problems cannot be solved in isolation from one another, but need synergistic approaches that tackle all the problems in a holistic manner. Thus, what had been seen initially as a predominantly environmental agenda has rapidly been recognised all over Asia as an integrated agenda for sustainable development in which not only the environmental ministries and agencies need to participate but all sectors of government, including the ministries of planning and finance as well as other non-governmental groups such as the NGOs, private sector and communities. This is not to say that all the problems in the countries of Asia have been solved. This is clearly not the case. The region still is home to the largest concentration of the world's poor and tackling poverty still remains the number one priority in most countries of the region. Nevertheless, the acceptance that tackling poverty is not best done by concentrating on economic growth alone, but needs to take social and environmental issues into account, is growing and taking hold among policy makers as well as other groups in the region. As the World Summit on Sustainable Development, to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa in September, approaches, as well as the ministerial preparatory committee meeting in Bali from May 27 to June 7, it is perhaps a good time to remember the words of Indira Gandhi, the late Indian prime minister: ``Poverty is the biggest polluter in the world.''  The difference is that now we know where the solution lies and how to get there _ we just need to reinvigorate and multiply the process. Thus, the most basic cause of breeding terrorism, which is the lack of hope for their future of the region's young people, needs to be transformed into providing hope for a better future through sustainable development. The meeting of ministers being held in Bali will finalise the agenda for the World Summit on Sustainable Development. Everyone's eyes will be focused on the political leaders in Bali to see if they can use the occasion to give new and vigorous impetus to the implementation of sustainable development.


Jakarta Post

23 May 2002


Siwage Dharma Negara, Economic Researcher, The National Institute of Sciences (LIPI), Jakarta

Indonesia will host a ministerial-level gathering of the Preparatory Committee Meeting of the World Summit on Sustainable Development from May 27 through June 7 in Nusa Dua, Bali. The summit will review how far governments worldwide have come in promoting sustainable development and prepare extensive actions to deal with development related issues such as poverty, communal diseases and environmental destruction, all of which are perceived to be interrelated and need a comprehensive and focused strategy to cope with. The ministerial-level meeting is very important and precedes the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, from Aug. 26 to Sept. 4 this year. The meeting is not meant to be a talkfest but it is hoped it will be an action-oriented meeting, which is expected to yield political declarations, an action agenda and partnership documentation. The meeting itself will not merely concentrate on the environment, but will be an integrated meeting incorporating economic, social and environmental issues. One striking fact is that the meeting will not be dominated by government officials but will include business leaders, civil society leaders, labor leaders, farmer leaders, academic leaders and other groups. Therefore, it can be predicted that the meeting will consist of various agenda proposed by each participant. Despite the variety of interests, there is one common similarity among them, at least on a moral basis, that they are all aware and willing to commit to sustainable development. The term sustainable development has been a long consensus, since the Rio Earth Summit 10 years ago, that the environment and development are inextricably linked. Its birth came about because of concern that prevailing approaches to development are highly fragmented and piecemeal, and production and consumption patterns continue to overburden the world's ecosystems. As UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan mentioned, our way of life has to change, and Agenda 21 has given us a clear picture of what the problem is and what principles must guide our response. But how to bring about the necessary changes and how to get things done are still being debated as various interests are involved. One thing is clear: that we have consumed much more than our share of the Earth's resources and have produced too much waste and pollution. This way of life cannot be sustained for much longer, particularly if we are concerned about the quality of life of the next generation. It is clear that a sustainable development approach is one kind of development pattern that attempts to optimise the inter-generation's welfare. It implies that current generations must consider the stock of natural resources left for future generations in their development agenda. However, there are numerous challenges for this development approach to be carried out. The ultimate challenge is how to change people's short-horizon mind-set given the high incidence of poverty. For the poor, it is almost impossible to think about future generations while they themselves are subject to survival hardships. Realizing the possible adverse effects of poverty on sustainable development, one crucial issue that will be tackled during the meeting is poverty alleviation. We talk about poverty in a broader sense, which is not merely in terms of how much the poor earn but also how considerable is their access to basic needs such as water, energy, services, housing, education, sanitation and equal chances to participate in social and political life as well. Based on a UN estimate, about 1.2 billion people can be classified as living in poverty, measured by an international poverty line of US$1 per day. Almost one billion people worldwide are undernourished and more than one billion people are without access to adequate water supplies. Around 2.4 billion people lack access to adequate sanitation. In Indonesia, the incidence of poverty is very serious. Even though the World Bank does not classify Indonesia as one of the poorest countries, the absolute number of people in abject poverty dwarfs even some of the poorest countries in Africa given the huge population it has. According to an official Indonesian estimate, 15.2 percent or around 33 million people live below the poverty line. Using the international measurement of poverty, 7.8 percent or 17 million people live on less than $1 a day. Even worse, 58 percent or more than half of the total population of 210 million live on less than $2 a day. In fact, the monetary crisis has put considerable pressure on the state budget. As a consequence little room is left for development spending. The government is being tested on its seriousness in protecting spending on services to the poor such as health, education, sanitation, etc. Unfortunately, the mind-set of the government remains unchanged. It is too busy bringing the economy onto the recovery path by targeting rapid economic growth. This is ironic, while the global perception about development has shifted; we still use the old paradigm in our development agenda. A high growth rate does not guarantee a fundamental difference in poverty reduction. Cross-country studies have proven that economic growth, while necessary, does not always lead to widespread improvement in standards of human's well-being. Economic policies that prioritise growth alone always adversely affect the poor by diverting resources away from them. Any effort to fight poverty and vulnerability will not only need economic growth, but more importantly needs pro-poor government policies and empowerment of the people. The first has to ensure that any economic policies do not inadvertently work against the poor and do not divert resources away from them. The latter has to give the poor the chance to shape the policies and programs that affect their lives and ensure efficient and effective implementation of any development program. Given these facts, development should not be seen only to be related to increasing per capita real income but it also has to bring about change beyond simple economic growth. It means growth has to bring a desired result such as poverty reduction, distributional equity and environmental protection. If the goal is to take poverty alleviation seriously, the current paradigm must be shifted beyond chasing rapid economic growth alone.



Korean Times

21 May 2002


Nitin Desai is the U.N. undersecretary general for economic and social affairs. In that capacity he will chair the U.N.'s World Summit on Sustainable Development Sept. 2-11 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

NEW YORK _ The impact of globalization on the environment and development has been debated heatedly for years in the streets and in salons from Davos to Porto Alegre. My hope is that a new synthesis will emerge as a result of dialogue between these different visions when the World Summit on Sustainable Development convenes in Johannesburg, South Africa in September. Of the major U.N. conferences in the 1990s, none captured the world's imagination like the Earth Summit held shortly after the end of the Cold War in Rio in June 1992. Nearly 10 years later, however, many of the commitments made there to balance environmental protection with development have remained unfulfilled.  There has been progress, of course. The public is more generally aware of environmental issues. Gains have been made in life expectancy and certain areas of health. Above all, there has been a decline in the world population growth rate.  While the overall poverty rate worldwide has declined, however, it has increased in some countries, and the gap between rich and poor has widened considerably. Energy use is up even though global growth is down. Global warming remains a significant threat. Deforestation, desertification and the number of endangered species continue to rise.  In short, the key concerns of Rio persist.  For this reason, Johannesburg must reflect a sense of urgency. It must advance with practical steps, bold measures with clear goals, timetables and commitments.  These steps will have to be taken not just by governments, but by all stakeholders _ corporate leaders, trade unionists, farmers, local authorities, community organizations, NGOs and activists.  This will require a shared vision of how development should proceed. ''Davos Man'' (the name Harvard professor Samuel Huntington coined for the global business and political elites of the World Economic Forum who meet each year in Davos, Switzerland _ ed.) sees a globalized world with open borders and a liberal market economy as the route to prosperity. But even ''Davos Man'' has doubts about how to deal with the global poverty and disease as well as the alienation, social stress and threats to order that emerge from these. As result corporate leaders seek a dialogue with critics to find new answers.  By contrast, protest movements and dissenting academics who gather annually in Porto Alegre, Brazil, are deeply sceptical about the benefits of the globalized market economy. They give precedence to the local over the global and hence are not convinced that liberalization and the opening of borders are the route to prosperity for all. For them, the world is becoming globalized not because the average person has opted for it, but because effective power is in the hands of the few. But, in Porto Alegre, too, there is a move from protest toward dialogue.  The vision we seek to embody in the form of the ''Johannesburg activist'' is different from both Davos and Porto Alegre.  The Johannesburg activist is enough of an economist to respect the need to compare costs and benefits and to recognize the potential of a properly managed market system to save us from the excesses and perversions of public control. He or she is enough of an engineer or technologist to recognize that the right sort of development requires not just tweaking of the market, but a systematic effort to promote alternative technologies that are less aggressive in their use of natural systems.

The ''Johannesburg activist'' is an ecologist who recognizes that the inputs and outputs of cost/benefit analysis need to be evaluated with a full understanding of the complex pathways through which local, national and global ecosystems are affected. He or she recognizes that development requires empowerment, and that means democracy and decentralization.  In all these, the ''Johannesburg activist'' is guided by the principle that the real test of development is what it does to the self-respect, dignity and well being of the poorest person in society. This is the vision of sustainable development that has emerged in all of our preparatory discussions for the September summit.  It is a vision grounded in a large number of local projects that have combined social, economic and environmental imperatives into a single whole. It is a vision based on the potential of new technologies to promote decentralized development that works with, not against, the local environment. It rests on a notion of solidarity and responsibility _ not only with regard to each other but to future generations.  Our great hope is we can unite the community of concern that ties the multinational corporate executive to the village family not only into a consensus but into action.


52)        WHY THE EARTH SUMMIT MATTERS By Ian Willmore

Observer Worldview

19 May 2002


Ian Willmore is Media Coordinator of Friends of the Earth.

Instead of worrying about the trivia of hotel bills and travel arrangements, we should recognise that one of the most important global summits of the decade risks being wrecked by the rich north. The media was in full cry last week at John Prescott and Margaret Beckett for racking up impressive hotel bills during what was presented as a giant junket to Bali. So were Margaret and John just engaging in a mutual taste for sybaritic living?  Well, no. Bali was the admittedly exotic venue for a preparatory meeting for one of the most important international summits for a decade, the Earth Summit, which will take place in Johannesburg in August this year. This will be the first major inter-governmental conference dealing with sustainable development since Rio in 1992.  There is plenty to talk about. The world economy has outrun the capacity of national Governments and international institutions to regulate and control it. In particular, the largest trans-national corporations now wield enormous economic and political power. The number of multinational companies jumped from 7,000 in 1970 to 40,000 by 1995. If they were states, 50 companies would now appear in the list of the world's largest one hundred economies. The five largest companies in the world have combined sales greater than the total incomes of the world's poorest 46 countries. Multinational companies now hold 90 per cent of all technology and product patents.  The growing power of corporations has been accompanied by worsening inequality both within societies and between states. In 1960, it is estimated that the richest fifth of the world's population, almost all living in developed countries, were 30 times richer than the poorest fifth, almost all living in developing countries. By 1997 the top fifth were 74 times richer, and the figures are believed to have got worse since then.  Corporate power is also often associated with irresponsibility towards local populations and the wider environment - Asia Pulp and Paper rampages through the rainforests of Indonesia, using money provided by Barclays Bank; Exxon-Mobil lobbies to destroy the Kyoto agreement on climate change and Balfour Beatty planned to evict thousands of Kurds to build the destructive Ilisu Dam.  A key issue at the Earth Summit will therefore be corporate accountability. Many environment, development and labour organisations - and some Governments - want the Summit to agree on the principle of internationally binding rules to control corporate behaviour and ensure that they can be held accountable for their actions. This campaign is backed by political institutions such as the European Parliament. But it is being resisted by the British Government among others, and of course by the United States.  Even some of the G77 group of developing countries have reservations, fearing that a Treaty in this area might simply be used as an excuse by developed countries to deny them access to markets. The hypocrisy of the United States and EU, on the one hand demanding progress towards an ever-stronger World Trade Organisation while on the other hand jumping to protect their steel industries from external competition, shows just why this concern exists.  The same story could be told about other key issues. The Bush administration has made it clear that it does not want any new global agreements since Rio. It is even trying to unravel some of the progress gained over the last decade. For example it wants to restrict the use of the precautionary principle in decision making. This principle has of course been at the centre of trade confrontations between the USA and the EU over restrictions on hormone treated beef and GM food.  Oil producing nations - especially Saudi Arabia - are also trying to prevent energy from becoming a major issue at the Summit. They are supported in this by the USA, which is intent on preventing any mention of the Kyoto Treaty, which of course was reneged on by the Bush Administration. The European Union and others want progress in developing renewable energy, especially in delivering energy to communities who do not have access to electricity, but in the face of US opposition progress may be slow at best.  Developed countries must make solid commitments at a domestic and at an international level before the Earth Summit, including timetables, targets and finance. Without this, the Earth Summit will be little more than an expensive photo opportunity for world leaders. But the omens are not good. At the last preparatory meeting held in New York in April, Governments failed to deliver the promised a 'Programme of Action'. This was meant to include commitments to action, identify barriers to progress and ways of removing them, and also agree necessary financial support. This is now the main focus of the meeting in Bali.  Other issues to be discussed at the Earth Summit include water, forestry, fisheries, poverty reduction, and HIV/AIDS. Fourteen to thirty thousand people die each day from water-related diseases. More than a billion people lack adequate clean water, more than double the number using computers. Nearly three billion do not have access to adequate sanitation. On forests, for example, the Summit will need to discuss why destruction of old growth forests has continued apace since Rio.  Between 1980 and 1995 the extent of the world's forests decreased by an area roughly the size of Mexico. In 2000 the World Conservation Union (IUCN) found that 18 per cent of the world's estimated 11,000 threatened species were critically endangered. Meanwhile, 80 per cent of the world's people do not have access to enough paper to meet minimum requirements for basic literacy and communication, but wealthy countries consumer paper at an astonishing rate. An average American uses 19 times more paper than the average person in a developing country and most of it becomes trash. Less than half of the paper used in the US gets recycled.  The extent of the illegal timber trade is shocking. A report by the Brazilian Secretariat for Strategic Affairs in 1997 found that 80 per cent of logging in the Brazilian Amazon was illegal. The Indonesia-UK Tropical Forest Management Programme (2000) concluded that 73 per cent of Indonesia's logging was illegal. Figures are similar throughout the tropics. FOE has concluded that half of the timber that enters the EU may be illegally sourced - and in the UK the rate is believed to be 60 per cent.  So it's not as though there's nothing to talk about in Bali or Johannesburg. Poverty, environmental destruction and climate change threaten all our futures, our society and our families as well as those of the developing world. They are a principal cause of insecurity and conflict across the planet. But the Summit is now in grave danger of failing completely, as President Bush's "unilateral" - or isolationist - foreign policy threatens to wreck any progress on the most vital areas. No wonder politicians are held in such disrepute. They show few signs of even understanding the dangers posed by a world economy that is beyond political and popular control, let alone agreeing on what to do about it.  The likely failure of the Earth Summit was the real story this week. Rather than worrying about Mr Prescott's hotel bills, the media should be demanding that the United States and other rich northern countries stop their outrageously obstructive behaviour and allow real progress towards a fairer and more sustainable world.



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