20 June – 4 July 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 sixth 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 WSSD.Info News, please thank them for their support.





  1. THE GREAT RACE (The Economist 4 July 2002)

  2. MAJOR NATIONS MULL SUMMIT PLAN (Yomiuri Shimbun 4 July 2002)

  3. DUTCH GOVERNMENT DONATES R25M TO SUMMIT COFFERS (Business Day via All Africa 3 July 2002)

  4. DENMARK SETS OUT AMBITIOUS EU GREEN AGENDA (Environment News Service 2 July 2002)



  7. 'MICROCREDITS' HELP ERADICATE POVERTY (The Yomiuri Shimbun 2 July 2002)

  8. WORLD CONSERVATION UNION PREPARES SA FOR SUMMIT (Zimbabwe Standard (Harare) via All Africa 2 July 2002)

  9. ENVIRONMENT ESSENTIAL TO NEPAD'S LIFE (The East African Standard (Nairobi) via All Africa 2 July 2002)

  10. 'WE WON'T SOLVE CAPITALISM EVILS' (The Post (Lusaka) via All Africa 1 July 2002)


  12. UN WARNS OF HOT AIR AT JO'BURG SUMMIT (Mail & Guardian 1 July 2002)










  22. CLEARING THE ATMOSPHERE (Mail & Guardian 27 June 2002)


  24. CIVIL SOCIETY IS RUNNING OUT OF TIME (Mail & Guardian 27 June 2002)

  25. RICH STATES LEAVE AFRICA IN THE SLOW LANE  (The Guardian 26 June 2002)


  27. US POLICE WARN SA ABOUT DANGERS OF PROTESTERS (South African Press Association 26 June 2002)






  33. SUMMIT CUTS COSTS WITH DISPOSABLE CUPS (Independent Online 26 June 2002)






  39. SCENARIOS FOR EARTH'S FUTURE LOOK BAD (Yomiuri Shimbun 25 June 2002)


  41. HUMANS OVERDRAWING EARTH'S RESOURCE BANK  (HealthScoutNews 24 June 2002) 

  42. WORLD SUMMIT IS TOO IMPORTANT TO FAIL' (Business Day (Johannesburg) 24 June 2002)

  43. BRITAIN, DENMARK PLEDGE SUPPORT FOR JOBURG SUMMIT (South African Press Association (Johannesburg) 23 June 2002)




  47. PYRAMID ERECTED ON MT KENYA (The Nation (Nairobi) 22 June 2002)


  49. ENVIRONMENT, POVERTY PLAN SUGGESTED (Associated Press 21 June 2002)






  3. SOUTH AFRICA READIES 26,000 POLICE FOR EARTH SUMMIT (Reuters via Planet Ark 27 June 2002)






  1. TIME FOR THE BIG PUSH by Derek Osborn (Guardian 3 July 2002)


  3. GLOBAL AGENDAS ARE SET BY THE USUAL SUSPECTS by Dennis Brutus (Business Day via All Africa 27 June 2002)

  4. IN THE BALANCE: THE FUTURE OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT Interview with Felix Dodds (Open Democracy 26 June 2002)

  5. 'NO' TO CHARITY, 'YES' TO INVESTMENT by Thabo Mbeki  (The New York Times 25 June 2002)

  6. TRADE NOT AID IS THE WAY FORWARD by Maria Livanos Cattaui (Bangkok Post 25 June 2002)

  7. TRADE JUSTICE NEEDS MORE THAN JUST WARM WORDS by Ian Willmore (Observer 23 June 2002)

  8. RIO +10 BRAZIL EVENT 23 - TO 25 JUNE 2002 PANEL AND PRESS INFORMATION PREPARED by Achim Steiner (IUCN 23 June 2002)





  2. "THE EU TRADE & DEVELOPMENT AGENDA FROM DOHA VIA JOHANNESBURG TO CANCUN" PASCAL LAMY EU TRADE COMMISSIONER (Meeting with the All-Party group on the Overseas Development London, House of Commons, European Commission 27 June 2002)




  6. KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY DR BS NGUBANE, MINISTER OF ARTS, CULTURE, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, AT 3RD CONFERENCE OF THE EUROPEAN RIO +10 COALITION, 20-21 June 2002 (Issued by the South African Ministry of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology 20 June 2002)






The Economist

4 July 2002


Growth need not be the enemy of greenery. But much more effort is required to make the two compatible, says Vijay Vaitheeswaran SUSTAINABLE development is a dangerously slippery concept. Who could possibly be against something that invokes such alluring images of untouched wildernesses and happy creatures? The difficulty comes in trying to reconcile the "development" with the "sustainable" bit: look more closely, and you will notice that there are no people in the picture.

That seems unlikely to stop a contingent of some 60,000 world leaders, businessmen, activists, bureaucrats and journalists from travelling to South Africa next month for the UN-sponsored World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. Whether the summit achieves anything remains to be seen, but at least it is asking the right questions. This survey will argue that sustainable development cuts to the heart of mankind's relationship with nature-or, as Paul Portney of Resources for the Future, an American think-tank, puts it, "the great race between development and degradation". It will also explain why there is reason for hope about the planet's future.  The best way known to help the poor today-economic growth-has to be handled with care, or it can leave a degraded or even devastated natural environment for the future. That explains why ecologists and economists have long held diametrically opposed views on development. The difficult part is to work out what we owe future generations, and how to reconcile that moral obligation with what we owe the poorest among us today. It is worth recalling some of the arguments fielded in the run-up to the big Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro a decade ago. A publication from UNESCO, a United Nations agency, offered the following vision of the future: "Every generation should leave water, air and soil resources as pure and unpolluted as when it came on earth. Each generation should leave undiminished all the species of animals it found existing on earth." Man, that suggests, is but a strand in the web of life, and the natural order is fixed and supreme. Put earth first, it seems to say. Robert Solow, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, replied at the time that this was "fundamentally the wrong way to go", arguing that the obligation to the future is "not to leave the world as we found it in detail, but rather to leave the option or the capacity to be as well off as we are." Implicit in that argument is the seemingly hard-hearted notion of "fungibility": that natural resources, whether petroleum or giant pandas, are substitutable.


Rio's fatal flaw

Champions of development and defenders of the environment have been locked in battle ever since a UN summit in Stockholm launched the sustainable-development debate three decades ago. Over the years, this debate often pitted indignant politicians and social activists from the poor world against equally indignant politicians and greens from the rich world. But by the time the Rio summit came along, it seemed they had reached a truce. With the help of a committee of grandees led by Gro Harlem Brundtland, a former Norwegian prime minister, the interested parties struck a deal in 1987: development and the environment, they declared, were inextricably linked. That compromise generated a good deal of euphoria. Green groups grew concerned over poverty, and development charities waxed lyrical about greenery. Even the World Bank joined in. Its World Development Report in 1992 gushed about "win-win" strategies, such as ending environmentally harmful subsidies, that would help both the economy and the environment.  By nearly universal agreement, those grand aspirations have fallen flat in the decade since that summit. Little headway has been made with environmental problems such as climate change and loss of biodiversity. Such progress as has been achieved has been largely due to three factors that this survey will explore in later sections: more decision-making at local level, technological innovation, and the rise of market forces in environmental matters.  The main explanation for the disappointment-and the chief lesson for those about to gather in South Africa-is that Rio overreached itself. Its participants were so anxious to reach a political consensus that they agreed to the Brundtland definition of sustainable development, which Daniel Esty of Yale University thinks has turned into "a buzz-word largely devoid of content". The biggest mistake, he reckons, is that it slides over the difficult trade-offs between environment and development in the real world. He is careful to note that there are plenty of cases where those goals are linked-but also many where they are not: "Environmental and economic policy goals are distinct, and the actions needed to achieve them are not the same."


No such thing as win-win

To insist that the two are "impossible to separate", as the Brundtland commission claimed, is nonsense. Even the World Bank now accepts that its much-trumpeted 1992 report was much too optimistic. Kristalina Georgieva, the Bank's director for the environment, echoes comments from various colleagues when she says: "I've never seen a real win-win in my life. There's always somebody, usually an elite group grabbing rents, that loses. And we've learned in the past decade that those losers fight hard to make sure that technically elegant win-win policies do not get very far." So would it be better to ditch the concept of sustainable development altogether? Probably not. Even people with their feet firmly planted on the ground think one aspect of it is worth salvaging: the emphasis on the future.  Nobody would accuse John Graham of jumping on green bandwagons. As an official in President George Bush's Office of Management and Budget, and previously as head of Harvard University's Centre for Risk Analysis, he has built a reputation for evidence-based policymaking. Yet he insists sustainable development is a worthwhile concept: "It's good therapy for the tunnel vision common in government ministries, as it forces integrated policymaking. In practical terms, it means that you have to take economic cost-benefit trade-offs into account in environmental laws, and keep environmental trade-offs in mind with economic development." Jose Maria Figueres, a former president of Costa Rica, takes a similar view. "As a politician, I saw at first hand how often policies were dictated by short-term considerations such as elections or partisan pressure. Sustainability is a useful template to align short-term policies with medium- to long-term goals."


It is not only politicians who see value in saving the sensible aspects of sustainable development. Achim Steiner, head of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the world's biggest conservation group, puts it this way: "Let's be honest: greens and businesses do not have the same objective, but they can find common ground. We look for pragmatic ways to save species. From our own work on the ground on poverty, our members-be they bird watchers or passionate ecologists-have learned that 'sustainable use' is a better way to conserve." Sir Robert Wilson, boss of Rio Tinto, a mining giant, agrees. He and other business leaders say it forces hard choices about the future out into the open: "I like this concept because it frames the trade-offs inherent in a business like ours. It means that single-issue activism is simply not as viable." Kenneth Arrow and Larry Goulder, two economists at Stanford University, suggest that the old ideological enemies are converging: "Many economists now accept the idea that natural capital has to be valued, and that we need to account for ecosystem services. Many ecologists now accept that prohibiting everything in the name of protecting nature is not useful, and so are being selective." They think the debate is narrowing to the more empirical question of how far it is possible to substitute natural capital with the man-made sort, and specific forms of natural capital for one another.


The job for Johannesburg

So what can the Johannesburg summit contribute? The prospects are limited. There are no big, set-piece political treaties to be signed as there were at Rio. America's acrimonious departure from the Kyoto Protocol, a UN treaty on climate change, has left a bitter taste in many mouths. And the final pre-summit gathering, held in early June in Indonesia, broke up in disarray. Still, the gathered worthies could usefully concentrate on a handful of areas where international co-operation can help deal with environmental problems. Those include improving access for the poor to cleaner energy and to safe drinking water, two areas where concerns about human health and the environment overlap. If rich countries want to make progress, they must agree on firm targets and offer the money needed to meet them. Only if they do so will poor countries be willing to co-operate on problems such as global warming that rich countries care about. That seems like a modest goal, but it just might get the world thinking seriously about sustainability once again. If the Johannesburg summit helps rebuild a bit of faith in international environmental co-operation, then it will have been worthwhile. Minimising the harm that future economic growth does to the environment will require the rich world to work hand in glove with the poor world-which seems nearly unimaginable in today's atmosphere poisoned by the shortcomings of Rio and Kyoto. To understand why this matters, recall that great race between development and degradation. Mankind has stayed comfortably ahead in that race so far, but can it go on doing so? The sheer magnitude of the economic growth that is hoped for in the coming decades (see chart) makes it seem inevitable that the clashes between mankind and nature will grow worse. Some are now asking whether all this economic growth is really necessary or useful in the first place, citing past advocates of the simple life.  "God forbid that India should ever take to industrialism after the manner of the West... It took Britain half the resources of the planet to achieve this prosperity. How many planets will a country like India require?", Mahatma Gandhi asked half a century ago. That question encapsulated the bundle of worries that haunts the sustainable-development debate to this day. Today, the vast majority of Gandhi's countrymen are still living the simple life-full of simple misery, malnourishment and material want. Grinding poverty, it turns out, is pretty sustainable. If Gandhi were alive today, he might look at China next door and find that the country, once as poor as India, has been transformed beyond recognition by two decades of roaring economic growth. Vast numbers of people have been lifted out of poverty and into middle-class comfort. That could prompt him to reframe his question: how many planets will it take to satisfy China's needs if it ever achieves profligate America's affluence? One green group reckons the answer is three. The next section looks at the environmental data that might underpin such claims. It makes for alarming reading-though not for the reason that first springs to mind.



Yomiuri Shimbun

4 July 2002


In an effort to ensure the success of the World Summit on Sustainable Development that will open in Johannesburg in late August, government representatives of the most powerful nations and South African President Thabo Mbeki, who will chair the meeting, are likely to set up an unofficial coordination meeting, Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi said Wednesday. After the final preparatory meeting ended in Bali, Indonesia, in late June without setting an agenda or completing other essential tasks for organizing the conference, the United Nations and several participating governments expressed concerns over the upcoming conference, which will be held to mark the 10th anniversary of the landmark Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro



Business Day via All Africa

3 July 2002


THE Dutch government has donated R25m to the World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held in SA from late August to early September. This has given the project a huge boost, bringing the amount raised to almost three-quarters of the budgeted R550m needed for the summit. Most of the money will be spent on "logistical preparations" such as venues, accommodation and transport. "We are doing our best to ensure all stakeholders are satisfied with the preparations for SA's biggest international event," said Johannesburg World Summit Company (Jowsco) CEO Moss Mashishi. "This is the most important global event for the Netherlands. We are in this together with SA, and we want to be involved," said Dutch ambassador Laetitia van den Assum. She said the summit would tackle "global issues that shape the 21st century", and urged that "every individual should a be part of it". The Dutch government will be heavily involved in some of the parallel events hosted at the summit, especially those targeting water supply and conservation. Mashishi said the summit was not just about discussing problems of sustainable development, but to find solutions on "how to do it". The Dutch donation is among several that have been made by different countries in recent weeks. Jowsco still needs about R150m, and hopes to raise the money in the next couple of weeks. Most of the money needed for the summit has been donated by foreign governments and local and multinational corporations. Hewlett-Packard has been the biggest sponsor so far, with a R40m grant. Jowsco is expecting about 40000 delegates and world leaders. About 15000 people will be needed to run the summit, most of whom will be volunteers.



Environment News Service

2 July 2002


BRUSSELS, July 1, 2002 (ENS) - Denmark took over the European Union 's rotating six month presidency Monday carrying a long and ambitious environment policy agenda for its term directing the bloc's business.  Key aims are to secure ministerial agreements on carbon dioxide emission trading and rules for tracking and labeling genetically modified foods. Other points of focus will be a draft environmental liability directive and a new European Union chemicals policy.  Denmark takes over from a Spanish Presidency that has pursued a relatively restrained environmental agenda, with national priorities lying elsewhere. The Danes' own overriding political priority will be to complete accession negotiations with European Union candidate countries with a view to enlarging the EU in 2004.  Sustainable development is one of the four other headline priorities set out in a presidency program unveiled in Brussels today by Foreign Minister Per Stig Møller, and green issues feature strongly.  Danish officials pick out an accord on emissions trading as a crucial target for their first European Council meeting in October. "It's very important to get an effective climate trading system to work for external and internal reasons," one official told reporters today. An enthusiastic supporter of the European Commission 's emissions trading proposal, Denmark will need to work hard to overcome objections from Germany, the UK and Finland.  The Commission was disappointed with progress made by the Spaniards and will be pleased to see the file move north to Denmark, which introduced Europe's first, albeit modest, emissions trading system.  Another goal for that first meeting is a deal on traceability of genetically modified organisms and labeling rules, to coincide with the entry into force of the newly revised deliberate release directive. "Whether we like it or not, this will bring into focus the moratorium [on new GM crop and food approvals] again," the official said. Denmark's position on this - that new products cannot be commercialized before traceability and labeling are in place - has survived its recent change of government.  Copenhagen is also eager to finalize talks on an EU liability regime for environmental damage but has admitted that this is unlikely - member states are still far from agreement on some basic points, while the European parliament has only just begun its deliberations. An ongoing dispute over which committee is leading the process could mean the parliament's opinion is not delivered before the end of the Danish presidency on December 31.


As befits a member of the "Nordic hardline" club on substance policy, Denmark will also make action on chemicals a priority. The presidency has scheduled a public ministerial debate on the issue for its December council to pressure the Commission into proposing draft legislation following a white paper last year. This looks unlikely, however, and Denmark may have to content itself with brokering an agreement on rules for implementing the Rotterdam convention on trade in hazardous substances.


One last major issue that under EU timetabling rules must be settled during Denmark's watch is the conciliation to thrash out new rules on waste electronics recycling and hazardous substance restrictions. Governments have yet to reach a consensus in response to the parliament's second reading on this law, and little movement is expected before September.  Other issues that should be advanced during the presidency include access to environmental information under the Arhus convention, emissions from pleasure craft and non-road mobile machinery, and sulfur free fuels.  An informal meeting of EU environment ministers on July 19 through 21 will discuss sustainable development in the run-up to the Johannesburg summit which opens August 26.


The largest European federation of environmental organizations, the Brussels based European Environmental Bureau (EEB), submitted its wish list including the EEB's Ten Green Tests, to the new Danish Presidency Monday.  Among the EEB's most important criteria for a successful Danish Presidency are: the achievement of a "global deal" at the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development; respect for the environment in the enlargement process; initiating major reform of the Common Agriculture Policy; progress on chemicals legislation; adoption of minimum standards for taxation of energy products; an effective system for environmental liability.  On sustainable development, to fully include the environmental dimension in the Lisbon process and to further environmental policy integration; to ensure traceability, labeling and liability rules for the use of genetically modified organisms; improved public access to environmental information; improvement of the environmental performance of packaging.


EEB Secretary General John Hontelez said, "Knowing that the Danish government is eager to play a decisive role in developing a progressive chemicals policy for the EU, we very much regret the delays announced by the Commission in presenting its proposals for a new chemicals policy, to protect European citizens and their environment from hazardous substances.  "However," said Hontelez, "the EEB does appreciate the Danish environment minister's support and promised participation in an EEB initiated conference to discuss this policy to be held in Copenhagen this autumn."  The Ten Tests will serve at the end of the Danish Presidency to assess its achievements. The EEB expressed disappointment in the outgoing Spanish Presidency saying, "For sustainable development, Barcelona was a failure."  "The Spanish Presidency also drew the attention of environmental organizations all over Europe for its stubbornness in insisting on EU support for Spain's own National Hydrological Plan, despite unprecedented protests in Spain and demonstrations around Europe over the scheme - a gigantic water transfer plan that will have a major, negative impact on biodiversity and the environment, and which is likely to contravene EU water legislation."


It was "clearly astonishing," said the EEB, that within Spain itself, no dialogue at all took place between environmental organizations and the government on issues related to the Presidency.




2 July 2002


The budget for the Global Forum -- the meeting of civil society organisations at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) - has been slashed in half, but the gathering will go ahead. The Global Forum is an opportunity for non-governmental and civil society organisations of the world to meet and sketch their vision of how global poverty can be erased while still protecting the environment and natural resources of the world. With about 40 000 delegates expected to attend the gathering, it will be the largest of the WSSD meetings. We have had a few jitters around funding, says the spokesperson for the Global Forum secretariat, Muzi Khumalo, "We received a lot of pledges from potential donors, but very few have honoured their word. But, now we have some commitments in writing, and we are more confident." The South African government has committed itself to ensuring that the Global Forum happens, but it has not yet publicly put any money on the table. The Johannesburg World Summit Company (Jowsco) - set up by the government to deal with the logistical preparations for the Summit - is also trying to help the Global Forum secretariat with its fundraising efforts.  Khumalo says the Forum has slashed its budget from R400 million to R200 million - and that it plans to reduce the amount of space it has secured for the gathering and will be cutting back on the amount of facilities it will offer delegates. Jowsco has also taken over some logistical preparations for the Global Forum - like the registration of delegates and provision of transport and accommodation for them. Political problems have been resolved Preparations for the Global Forum were initially delayed by political and ideological differences among the South African non-governmental and civil society organisations charged with organising the gathering. While the political problems seem to have been dealt with, local and international funding agencies are apparently still reluctant to commit money to the Forum. Until now, there has been real concern among organisers of the WSSD that the Global Forum may not happen. "We have no idea what is happening there," comments one official. Khumalo emphatically dismisses concerns that the forum may not happen. "It is happening," says Khumalo, "We are a bit behind on logistical preparations but our technical advisers assure us we will be ready." The big logistical challenge facing the Global Forum is getting the venue ready in time for the gathering. Presently, the venue Nasrec, is an exhibition centre and it must be upgraded to be able to host a conference. Khumalo is also confident that enough preparatory work has been done to ensure the Forum will be able to come-up with a policy document on sustainable development and that it will be able to contribute to the final declaration of the WSSD




2 July 2002


Scores of Europe's most eminent scientists gathered in Norwich today. And the main topic on the agenda was the little matter of saving the world. Less than a week after a report said the human race was using the earth's resources at 20pc beyond its renewable capacity, they got together to see what could be done. The Science for Sustainable Development conference at the University of East Anglia, which ends tomorrow, Wednesday, is a forum for scientists to add to the debate about our planet's future.


Its conclusions will go forward to the Government, which is strongly represented at the gathering by the likes of chief scientific adviser Prof David King - a UEA lecturer in chemical physics from 1966 to 1974. They will then form part of the Government's approach at the United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, in September - a follow-up to summits at Kyoto and Rio. Prof Trevor Davies, dean of the School of Environmental Sciences at the UEA, said: "It is very important. If all countries adopted the West's way of life we would need three or four planets to sustain us. We only have one.


"We want to make sure that the big questions which are challenging us are on the agenda in Johannesburg."



Yomiuri Shimbun

2 July 2002


Increasing poverty and expanding populations in developing countries are believed to be one of the primary causes of environmental damage from practices such as excessive logging. Thus, eliminating poverty is a top priority for preserving the environment.  In fact, the eradication of poverty is the main item on the agenda of the World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held in Johannesburg in August.  Large-scale bilateral financial aid for developing countries is one possible solution to the problem. However, small loans have also benefited many who suffer from poverty.  In a village called Ramsing, about 40 kilometers south of Dhaka, a 40-year-old housewife, named Sairun, lives with her three children. Twelve years ago, she bought a dairy cow with a grant of 50 dollars. Every morning, the cow produced milk, which her husband then sold at market. The couple has since expanded the business, and currently has eight cows and a field in which to cultivate feed.  "I had never lived in a 'regular' house. But now, our house has three rooms and it is even resistant to storms. Also, our children are studying at school. I really enjoy working," Sairun said.  The initial capital for Sairun's business came from Grameen Bank, which has offered "microcredits" of 200 dollars or less a year to poverty-stricken people in the area in an attempt to help them support themselves.  Muhammad Yunus, 62, a former professor in the economics department at Chittagong University, started Grameen Bank in 1976 with 27 dollars of his own funds. The business was later authorized by the government of Bangladesh.  Another villager runs a successful sewing business after buying a sewing machine with microcredit. In another case, a villager bought cellular phones and made a profit by renting them to other villagers. Microcredits have revitalized the entire village.  Microcredits are advantageous because they support those who suffer from poverty directly, without the intervention of central or regional governments. The U.N. Development Program has adopted the Grameen model and it has spread to 73 countries.  On the level of global politics, however, U.S. President George W. Bush has argued that providing financial resources to undemocratic governments does not benefit impoverished people in the country in question.  Developing countries, in response, have insisted that average life expectancy in sub-Saharan countries is 30 years shorter than it is in developed countries, and that this continuing disparity represents a mass slaughter by developed countries.  The International Conference on Financing for Development was held this March in Monterrey, Mexico. At the conference, the issue of providing financial aid to developing countries provoked heated discussion.  Globally, 1.2 billion people live on less than 1 dollars a day. At least 1.1 billion people have no access to safe water. In the least developed countries, one in every five infants dies before celebrating his or her first birthday.  Since the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, there have been repeated worldwide discussions of the need to eradicate poverty.  Poverty and the anger it provokes toward rich, developed countries are sometimes linked with terrorist acts, such as last autumn's attacks on the United States.  But developed countries are concerned about the unclear distribution of financial aid in developing countries. They worry that resources might not be used appropriately, even if developed countries increase the amount of aid they provide.  The last preparatory committee for the Johannesburg summit met in Bali in June, but the meeting failed to breach the gap between developed and developing countries. Developed countries have asked developing countries to take action to ensure the effective use of financial aid.  The action plan adopted at the Earth Summit in 1992 addressed the issue of poverty; however, the plan did not include an actual framework for the assignment of financial aid.  Although, the issue of poverty appears in the text of every U.N.-sponsored conference, the two sides of this debate are so divided that the issue has not yet been settled. What is the most effective method of supporting developing countries? This question will be asked once more at the Johannesburg summit.  Meanwhile, it seems that the model developed in Bangladesh offers one possible solution.



Zimbabwe Standard (Harare) via All Africa

2 July 2002


The forthcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in August is being viewed as a multi-stakeholder high-level forum that will shape the environment agenda through the regional and international multi-stakeholder dialogues. It is at this summit where individual governments, companies, international organisations, civil society and other stakeholders will take specific positions in relation to poverty, environment, and sustainable development issues in Africa and the whole world. Considering this summit is taking place in southern Africa, IUCN-the World Conservation Union-has seen it imperative to ensure that the civil society in southern Africa meaningfully contributes to both the preparations for and the deliberations at the Summit. Participation of civil society groups is sometimes constrained by a limited capacity and lack of information. IUCN has therefore supported the participation of the region's civil society in key Preparatory Committee Meetings (PrepCom) for the Summit. "There was a clear recognition that civil society contribution to the summit's preparatory process was constrained," said Dr Yemi Katerere, the regional director for IUCN in southern Africa. "IUCN is therefore ensuring effective contribution by existing civil society networks in the summit's preparatory processes in order to raise Africa's position on conservation, poverty and sustainable development both at the PrepComs and the summit." Katerere pointed out that given the importance of the summit in determining the direction for sustainable development, IUCN realised the need to mobilise civil society in the region ahead of the fourth and final preparatory committee meeting. First, IUCN took some representatives from the civil society in southern Africa to a meeting in Dakar, Senegal in May. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the main issues of the summit with about 50 Anglophone and Francophone experts from Africa on the basis of some expert papers that were produced by IUCN. Fannie Mutepfa, the Programme Co-ordinator from Zimbabwe Regional Environment Organisation (Zero), an IUCN member, stressed the role of civil society as she saw it during the Dakar meeting. "We assist in translating the global agreements and strategies into local action, and ensure that the voices and needs of local and grassroots communities are heard and taken into account when drafting global agenda for action." Mutepfa noted that it is important that civil society documents and brings to the attention of leaders the experiences from the field. "This is critical in informing the agenda for the future. "It is up to us-in consultation with national governments-to create the awareness on WSSD at local levels and consult the grassroots communities on their vision for Sustainable Development."



The East African Standard (Nairobi) via All Africa

2 July 2002


Africa is undergoing a major transformation as the Organisation of African Unity is changing into the African Union (AU), a more integration-oriented institution. At the same time, African Heads of State have launched a major initiative, the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad), to put the region on the track of sustainable development. What critical role does the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) intend to play within this new environment and the broader context of sustainable development? How will AMCEN influence the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development in line with its priorities? How will Africa's environmental perspectives be fully integrated and taken into account in the discussions in Johannesburg? Barely two months before the WSSD, African Ministers and experts are coming together in Kampala next week to discuss these key questions and consequently deliberate on the strategic involvement of AMCEN in the emerging initiatives in Africa and to shape a new vision for the Conference. A vision that should clearly indicate the environmental issues and problems of the continent, the instruments that are needed to address these problems and specific proposals for practical action to be undertaken at all levels. AMCEN, in operation since 1985, has attained modest achievements particularly with respect to provision of regional leadership on issues pertaining to consensus building and regional environment issues. However, the Conference has not risen to the challenge of building the much-needed strategic partnerships with the new global and regional initiatives. To date also, AMCEN has not enjoyed a broad cross-sectoral support at the national, sub-regional and regional levels. AMCEN needs to position itself strategically within the framework of new regional institutional developments such as the AU, Nepad and, most importantly, prepare for the implementation of activities related to the outcome of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). In this context, the objective of the ninth session is to provide a platform for the environment ministers to critically analyse the AMCEN in light of the perspectives offered in the context of WSSD and the major developments occurring in the region. Of special significance is the key question on the links between environment, poverty reduction and economic development. In particular, the conference will discuss means of effectively interacting with the African Union and New Partnership for Africa's Development. Ministers are expected to look at, among other things, the need for institutional linkages with the Secretariat and the Heads of State, Implementation Committee of the Nepad, the Commissions of the AU and the sub-regional economic communities. Nepad process has integrated the full development of its environment initiative. Resources mobilised through the GEF by UNEP are being used to support the work of a steering committee. This committee is expected to finalise the draft environment initiative of the Nepad to be tabled before the ninth session. The conference will be looking back over the past 17 years to evaluate its performance in the face of pending environmental challenges and emerging threats such as growing population, poverty, natural disasters, wars, the unabated burden of national debt and diseases. Other challenges include introducing clean technologies, enforcing environmental agreements, empowering of local communities and securing access to the international markets for their goods and services.



The Post (Lusaka) via All Africa

1 July 2002


WE are not going to solve the general evils of capitalism or unfair trade at the World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD), said South Africa's environment minister Vally Moosa last week. Addressing Southern African Development Community (SADC) region editors at a media conference on the coming WSSD slated for Johannesburg, Moosa said while the issues of the world economic order and the unfair trade between the developed and developing countries would come up, it would not be possible to resolve them. "It is true that these evils will not be immediately solved at the summit, but the WSSD will help address those other pressing issues which we can solve," he said. Moosa said the world was faced with several problems which would not all be solved at the much publicised WSSD but there was need for the developing countries not to give up their fight. "We have several challenges. We have got one single country, the USA, ruling the world, yes this is unfair," Moosa said. "The same US wants to dump genetically modified crops in Africa but we have a problem, our people are dying from hunger. The only way we can fight this is as a club (unity)." Moosa cited as among other major challenges, the developed countries' failure to give Third World nations access to their markets. He cited the issue of subsidies to farmers in developed countries as adversely affecting the developing nations' agriculture sectors while donor aid was not helping the situation. "In fact a recent study has shown that for every dollar that developing countries receive they lose US $14 billion in trade barriers," said Moosa, quoting the Time magazine. However, Moosa expressed confident that some sound implementation plans would be reached at the world summit slated for Johannesburg in August to help the nations in the world attain the global targets of halving poverty levels by 2015, including access to basic education and water. But civil society leader and researcher Oupa Lehulere, commenting on the minister's statement expressed concern that very little tangible results would be achieved as long as enforcement and implementation of the resolutions was not sound. "To what extent does the United Nations have jurisdiction over the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, we know that it has none," Lehulere said. "Whatever will come out of the summit has been mortgaged to what the IMF and the World  Bank will decide." Lehulere said his assumption was based on past experiences. "Fine, Japan may have finally ratified the Kyoto Treaty but the USA is likely to stay out of most of these treaties and will continue polluting while trading this off with other activities," said Lehulere.



Washington File

1 July 2002


United Nations -- The right combination of aid and accountability from both rich and poor nations can accelerate the availability of clean water, education, and health care throughout Africa and the developing world, U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill said July 1. In a speech to a high-level meeting of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations, O'Neill discussed President Bush's "Millennium Challenge Account" emphasizing that if nations work together, global poverty can be eradicated "not in the next generation, but right now." "I feel great cause for optimism," O'Neill said. "In the year 2002, I believe we are seeing a breakthrough for human development around the world. From the UN conference in Monterrey this March, through the G-8 summit in Kananaskis last week, a consensus has been forming among the world's economic and political leaders." The ECOSOC meeting, which is being held July 1-3 at UN headquarters, was planned to help developing countries focus on health and education policies and amplify their call for more international aid. Secretary General Kofi Annan told the opening session that ECOSOC must ensure that there is an integrated, results-oriented, systematic follow-up process to pledges made during international development conferences. "Let me stress again: the focus from now on must be implementing the commitments that have been made," he said.


"ECOSOC must give life to the guiding motto of the United Nations in the 21st Century: Putting people at the center of everything we do," the secretary general said. The "Millennium Challenge Account" will increase U.S. assistance to developing countries by 50 percent over the next three years, O'Neill said. The initiative will result in a $5,000 million annual increase by 2006. The account will fund initiatives that support economic growth in countries that govern justly, invest in people, and encourage economic freedom.


O'Neill said that the United States is currently developing a small number of criteria for gauging the leadership and commitment of each nation and determining which will receive the funds. "Too often, aid has been sustenance for bureaucracy, rather than investment in people," the secretary said. Sometimes, he said, donors are at fault, often prescribing western solutions for problems that only local leaders can solve, and giving aid without setting standards for accountability or defining clear measures for success.


Using education as an example of how to gauge "real results," the secretary said that "for primary education we should measure the number of 10-year-olds who have full functional ability to read, write, and compute. That's different than measuring how many children are purported to be in school." Clean water, primary education, and fighting HIV/AIDS are the areas where aid and investments can make a difference in Africa, O'Neill said. "We can help local and national efforts to bring clean water to many towns and villages fairly quickly," the Treasury secretary said. "Working together, we can make an enormous difference in a very short time at a reasonable, achievable cost." In the area of primary education, one starting place would be books, he said. "It would cost only an estimated $18 million per year to buy one textbook for each of four core subjects for every primary student in Uganda, for example. That is a small step but a manageable one, and it would make a big difference in the learning environment for those students, O'Neill said. No area needs investment more than health care, especially in fighting AIDS, O'Neill said. "Prevention of further HIV contagion is the utmost priority, especially to keep the next generation of newborns free from disease."


Key participants in the meeting of the 54-country ECOSOC include national ministers of health and welfare, heads of the World Bank and World Trade Organization, as well as officials of international agencies, including the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), UN Development Program (UNDP), UN Population Fund (UNFPA), World Health Organization (WHO), and UNAIDS. A ministerial declaration giving policy guidance to the UN agencies and member states will be issued on July 3.



Mail & Guardian

1 July 2002


A top United Nations envoy on Monday called on member nations to reach a viable agreement on sustainable development at the upcoming Earth Summit in Johannesburg. "If there is no agreement on a plan of action, if there are neither type II (concrete) results nor political statements, the World Summit on Sustainable Development will be a failure," said Jan Pronk, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's special representative for summit preparations. Pronk made his comments at the start of a two-day pre-summit conference attended by 500 French politicians, business leaders and members of non-governmental organizations in the western city of Rennes. The UN World Summit on Sustainable Development, or Earth Summit, is due to be held in Johannesburg from August 26 to September 4. The conference, a follow-up to the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro 10 years ago, is aimed at coordinating economic growth plans and environmental protection in order to guard against global depletion of natural resources.


About 65 000 people are expected to attend the meeting, including some 70 or 80 heads of state, though most have not yet committed themselves. Pronk, who is also Dutch environment minister, urged heads of state to attend to lend the conference more political weight, and warned against the adoption of empty texts or additions to official documents in preparation.


The final preparatory conference in Bali, Indonesia, ended in disarray last month after delegates failed to agree on key goals.

French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin lent his support to Pronk, telling those assembled in Rennes: "We don't have the right to fail." "France wants to take action so that Johannesburg is a success," Raffarin added, noting that Paris was ready to boost its financial aid to developing countries. France currently contributes 0,32% of its gross national product in development aid, compared with the international goal of getting each industrialised nation to commit 0,7% of GNP to aid efforts. - Sapa-AFP



United Nations

1 July 2002


“We need a real partnership between the rich and poor countries, and a real operational strategy” to address the needs of developing nations, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on the Millennium Development Goals, Jeffrey Sachs, told correspondents at a Headquarters press briefing this afternoon.  He stressed the close connection between those goals and the subject of the high-level segment of the Economic and Social Council, which opened today. [During the Council session, which continues through 26 July, ministers and high-level officials from all over the world will consider the role of human resources development, particularly in the areas of health and education, as an essential factor in the development process.  In preparation for the World Summit on Sustainable Development, which is set to open in Johannesburg next month, the participants are also expected to address follow-up to the recent Monterrey Conference on Financing for Development.] The Millennium Goals, which were set by the international community during the United Nations Millennium Summit in 2000, represented the global political commitment to dramatically reduce hunger and poverty and fight pandemic diseases, including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, said Mr. Sachs.  It was impossible to achieve economic growth with populations succumbing to epidemics and with children not finishing school, for they were not developing skills required in today’s global marketplace.  Thus, human development goals in health and education were vital in achieving the goals of economic growth. Today, he said, he had taken part in the first meeting of the Chairs of various task forces of the Millennium Project.  That was a project under the auspices of the Secretary-General and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator, designed to make an analytical assessment of how the world could actually achieve those goals.  He had also been meeting with leading scholars and practitioners in those areas to initiate the Project, which over the next few years would “try to make a road map, as specific and detailed as possible, to get the job done.” 


The reason today’s meeting was so important and the Millennium Project was needed was that the problems facing developing countries were not taking care of themselves.  The last 10 years had been a dire period from the point of view of the world’s poorest countries.  With spreading pandemics of life-threatening diseases and deteriorating living standards, they were falling further and further behind.  At least 100 million children were not attending school, even at a primary level.  “We are just losing lives now, at a shocking rate”, he said.  The question today in the Economic and Social Council was what to do about it.  The answer was that it could not be business as usual, because business as usual could not pull the poorest countries out of the terrible downward spiral they were in. Strategies to deal with the problem did exist, he stressed.  For example, between 20,000 and 25,000 lives around the world could be saved every day by applying existing, standard health interventions for impoverished people who currently did not have access to them.  That would be affordable, with assistance from rich countries.  Such strategies needed to be assessed in critical areas of human resource development areas, such as health, water and sanitation, and education. Asked about how specific the road map would be, Mr. Sachs said that the Millennium Project was mandated by the Secretary-General to try to assess a way forward that could actually work.  The road map would talk about areas of neglect, where the problems stemmed either from local or international governance, or where the need for financial assistance was essential. He added that it would be an international effort involving leading international scholars who liked to "tell it like it is", as well as participants from civil society, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the business sector and the United Nations agencies.  "But we're going to tell it very straight", he said.

The project would have at least 12 outputs, he replied to a further question.  There would be 10 separate studies on parts of the Millennium Development Goals, for example on lack of access to water, on the disease pandemics of HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, and on the question of hunger.  There would also be an overall synthesis volume delivered to the Secretary-General, while the Human Development Report for 2003 would focus on the Millennium Development Goals. As for the time-frame, he said, "we're off and running".  Those goals were to be met by 2015 -- and he was intent on standing there and cutting the ribbon.  That was a serious world commitment, and he did not have years and years to study.  Fortunately, there were existing studies from the United Nations and other organizations, so he would not have to reinvent the wheel. He said he would evolve practical suggestions, best practices, and illustrations of what was working and what was not, as soon as possible.  The project would run for three years with plenty of outputs in the months ahead.  Practical papers would continually be produced, not to sit on the shelf, but to try to move the practice forward.  Asked about the effect of war on HIV/AIDS, he said it was most surely a risk factor or a co-factor in the spread of disease.  When war had stopped in Uganda at the end of the 1980s, for example, that was the first time a national policy could be put in place that led to a dramatic drop of HIV prevalence.  Soldiers and mercenaries in the midst of conflict and surrounded by displaced populations were often transmitters of the disease.  So that would have to be looked at.  In the general area of poverty alleviation, conflict was a major factor and an objective of the task force that he himself would head. All Member States had signed on to the Millennium Development Goals with their respective obligations, he replied to a further question.  The rich countries were committed to being real partners of the poor, including providing financial assistance and helping to create open markets that made it possible for poor countries to grow.  Poor countries were committed to doing what was necessary on the ground to make those goals achievable -- because if domestic governance did not work, there was no chance for success, no matter how high the level of international cooperation.  His main role was diagnostic.  He was also involved in implementation, for example working with governments to help them "scale up" their health interventions. Responding to a question about the different approaches to rich and poor countries, he said he was trying to assess the extent to which barriers faced by the poorest countries were due to insufficient donor assistance or lack of access to rich-country markets.  The poor countries were being asked about how much domestic policies could be improved, or the degree to which corruption or discrimination against various ethnic groups were blocking success. He said he was trying to disentangle the story.  It was not a simple story, as different regions were suffering for different reasons, and different poor countries faced different barriers.  Sometimes it was terrible leadership; other times it was extreme geographical isolation, or very difficult physical or ecological conditions.  So he was trying to "pull apart" the various factors causing some countries to fall very far behind in meeting the Millennium Goals. A correspondent asked whether it was predominantly the rich countries that needed to pull back their trade barriers and provide aid, or the poor countries that needed to "rejigger" their State-run economies.  Mr. Sachs said "we are not on a good path right now for a significant part of the world -- there are some real pockets of extreme distress".  He highlighted sub-Saharan Africa, parts of Asia, particularly Central Asia, and parts of Latin America.  The news had not been good for many years in those regions. "We are so far behind where we could be in alleviating international suffering", he said.  Action would have to be taken on a number of fronts simultaneously -– better governance internally, fairer trade, and more financial assistance. Turning to the Johannesburg Summit on Sustainable Development, he said he was worried because there was not yet a "clear win".  For example, the level of international cooperation on some key issues was still unclear.  The Conference was important, as it was really the first major meeting of its kind in 10 years on sustainable development, and "we're not doing well on sustainable development".  Not only were the development prospects not looking good for some of the poorest places of the world, but the sustainability of the world's life-support systems had been neglected in the last 10 years. If the Summit produced nothing because rich, powerful countries did not commit to do their part, that could be a terrible blow for the world.  Hopefully, he said, it would be possible in the coming weeks to make some substantial commitments with the real weight of political leaders behind them.  The Secretary-General had identified five priority areas -- water, energy, health, agriculture and biodiversity.  Those were five critical areas and he was looking for real initiatives by rich countries. Asked to describe what he meant by "rich" and "poor" countries, he said the rich nations were the high-income countries, as classified by the World Bank, or the 22 donor country-members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).  Those were the United States and Canada, Western Europe and Japan, with an average of $25,000 per capita right now. When those countries closed their markets that was the biggest punishment of all for the poorest countries hoping to stay alive and make it on their own.  By poor countries, he went on, he had meant the low-income countries, of roughly $750 per capita or below, depending on the classification being used. He added that he was most concerned about the poorest of the poor –- the so-called least developed countries -- which tended to have average incomes of $1 a day or less.  The poverty in those countries was so extreme that millions of people were dying each year.  While the rich countries had escaped from the crises of absolute poverty and enjoyed a life expectancy of around 80 years, in the least developed countries people were dying decades younger, with children still dying in huge numbers from preventable disease. Studies showed that it was possible for the whole world to enjoy improved living conditions, he said, and that the rich countries, if they made a modest effort, could make a huge difference in helping the poor escape from the trap of poverty.  But so far that effort had not been commensurate with the need.



United Nations

1 July 2002


1 July – The current high-level segment of the United Nations Economic and Social Council should centre on building on the achievements of previous UN global conferences and work towards making an upcoming summit on sustainable development a success, the President of ECOSOC, as the UN Council is known, said today.  Speaking at a news conference at UN Headquarters in New York, Ambassador Ivan Šimonovic of Croatia said that the current part of ECOSOC’s annual session, which was attended by senior government ministers and the heads of various international agencies, aimed to improve the health and education policies in developing countries and build momentum towards more international aid.  He stressed that the main message of the meeting was that investments in human resources in health and education were productive investments, noting that for example, a $1 investment in health led to $7 in economic output. The three-day segment was also taking place in an extremely important environment, Ambassador Šimonovic said, noting that it came after the International Conference on Financing for Development, held in March in Monterrey, Mexico, and before the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, later this year. Furthermore, five of the Millennium Development Goals agreed to by world leaders at the 2000 Millennium Summit were directly related to health and education. In order to achieve them, he said, estimates called for a doubling of official development assistance (ODA), to about $100 billion per year.  In echoing that theme, Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Adviser on the Millennium Development Goals, Prof. Jeffery Sachs, told reporters that a real partnership between the rich and poor countries was needed in order to achieve the goals in health and education, which were vital for poverty reduction.  With spreading pandemics of life-threatening diseases over the past decade and deteriorating living standards, the world’s poorest countries were falling further and further behind, while a least 100 million children were not attending school, even at a primary level, said Professor Sachs, the director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University in New York. “We are just losing lives now, at a shocking rate,” he said. “The question today is what to do about it, and the answer is: It can’t be business as usual, because business as usual is not going to pull the poorest countries out of the terrible downward spiral that find themselves in. We need a real partnership between the rich and poor countries, and a real operational strategy for getting out of this mess.”



United Nations

1 July 2002


1 July – The international community must seize the unparalleled opportunities offered by the globalizing world in order to achieve greater equity through more sustained and balanced growth, especially in Africa, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan told the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) today as it opened its annual session at UN Headquarters in New York. Referring to recent and upcoming UN conferences dealing with international development aid and sustainable development, the Secretary-General said that “the challenge before this Council is to ensure an integrated follow-up process” to the meetings. “The process must be results-oriented and systematic, and it must avoid duplication or fragmentation,” he said in an address to the high-level segment of ECOSOC, a three-day meeting of senior government officials and heads of international agencies. “Let me stress again: the focus from now on must be implementing the commitments that have been made.” The Secretary-General noted that the high-level segment was focusing on the contribution of human resources development to the process of development in general, and that health and education, in particular, were the “twin pillars on which we must build the well-being of individuals, and thus a more healthy, equitable and peaceful tomorrow.” “They are mutually reinforcing: a healthy individual has a better chance of achieving his or her potential; educated individuals have a better chance of remaining healthy, and contributing to the health and development of their family, their community, and ultimately their country,” Mr. Annan said. As for the global economic situation, which was suffering its biggest setback in a decade, Mr. Annan said that poor economies were paying the highest price for the downturn and warned that only limited improvement was foreseen in the developing world for this year. “The statistics do not adequately capture the human suffering and misery generated at the level of the individual and the family,” he said. While the past year offered the UN many challenges, the Secretary-General said, and the year ahead will again put the world body to new tests, its overall agenda and the plan of action for ECOSOC remained the Millennium Declaration – a blueprint for improving the lives of people everywhere in the 21st century. “ECOSOC must give life to the guiding motto of the United Nations in the 21st century: putting people at the centre of everything we do,” Mr. Annan said. “It must make the implementation of the Millennium Declaration its first priority.”


Among those also speaking at this morning’s opening session were Ivan Šimonovic , President of the Council, Horst Köhler , Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Rubens Ricupero Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and Mamphela Ramphele, Managing Director of the World Bank.


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30 June 2002


Brazil, long castigated as an environmental villain, last week launched an extraordinary bid to save this year's Earth Summit from disaster. The country's president, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, held three days of talks with political leaders and environmental experts from around the world in a last-minute attempt to rescue the summit that opens in Johannesburg in August.


The meeting was officially billed as a "passing of the torch'' from Goran Persson the Prime Minister of Sweden (which hosted the first Earth Summit in Stockholm in 1972) to President Cardoso (the second was held here 10 years ago) and on to President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, who will take the chair in Johannesburg. In fact negotiations behind the scenes led to the formation of an alliance between the three leaders and John Prescott to lobby world leaders in what the Deputy Prime Minister called "a race against time''. President Mbeki flew straight from the meeting to the G8 Summit in Canada to try to persuade the leaders of the world's richest countries to get behind the summit. Earlier this month, the last preparatory negotiations, in Bali, Indonesia, ended in almost total failure as a result of the intransigence of the Untied States, backed by Australia, Japan and Canada. Top UN officials here warned that if the Johannesburg summit failed, the world's entire international negotiating system would be at risk.


President Cardoso's initiative marks an big turnaround for Brazil, which was the most outspoken advocate of environmental destruction at the first summit in Stockholm, arguing that pollution should be welcomed because it accompanied economic growth. The country has been one of the main targets of environmental campaigners because of the felling of tropical rain forests in Amazonia. The President admitted that his country's previous stance had been "terrible'', "abominable'' and "insane''.


Jonathan Lash, the president of the prestigious World Resources Institute, described the initiative as "the best hope for saving the summit in Johannesburg, and also the last hope''



The Post (Lusaka) via All Africa

30 June 2002


DEVELOPMENT has too often meant depriving the world's poor of their resources, Dr Wolfgang Sachs of Germany's Wuppertal Institute has observed. Launching a memorandum entitled the Jo-Burg Memo for the coming World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) slated for Johannesburg in September, Dr Sachs called for a redefinition of development that would ensure equitable distribution of wealth and social justice. He observed that there had been excessive exploitation of natural resources by only 20 per cent of the world's rich population while the rest of the global population were being denied access to their resources. "Too often, development has meant depriving the poor of their resources to sustainable livelihood for the benefit of the rich who are exploiting resources even beyond their reach," he said. Dr Sachs said as the WSSD was coming 10 years after the Earth Summit held in Rio de Jeneiro in 1992, there was need to take stock of the status of the implementation of the resolution branded Agenda 21. However, Dr Sachs noted that it was a matter of concern that very little had been achieved or implemented, especially at a time when humanity had in the last 25 years outstripped the Earth's carrying capacity ecologically. "It is a challenge for Johannesburg to move beyond Rio," said Dr Sachs, noting that it was further regrettable that the WSSD summit seemed to focus more on development rather than the environment. "It should be noted that equity among nations can't be achieved without the environment." Dr Sachs said he anticipates this approach at the WSSD because most nations still viewed ecological concerns as an obstacle to development. He further observed that the already disadvantaged poor societies who have survived from the environment were now suffering from the depleted fish in their fishing areas, reduced soil fertility in their fields, including fast reducing forests due to "the so called development projects" mostly driven by the corporate world. "Any degradation of the environment means you are increasing these people's vulnerability," he said. Dr Sachs said he expects that it would also be taboo to talk about wealth alleviation even when the rich nations know that this cannot be detached from poverty alleviation, especially when the world's wealth lay in the hands of the rich minority. He called for consumer classes in the developed world to immediately change to resource light production and consumption patterns that were rapidly affecting the Earth's environment. The Jo-Burg Memo was co-ordinated by Dr Sachs and commissioned by the Heinrich Boll Stiftung. It was jointly formulated with the collaboration of 16 other scholars and experts from around the world. And South African scholar Professor Viviene Taylor, formerly of the University of Cape who also took part in the memorandum's formulation, called on world leaders to make people's rights a priority in sustainable development strategies to be tabled at the WSSD. She said there was need to move away from the notion that economic development, regardless of its impact, was justified. Prof. Taylor further called for economic growth in the Third World countries which did not alienate the locals from the production and economic systems. She cited the South East Asian situation where the local people had not benefited from the economic block's boom. And Kenya's Professor Wangari Maathai expressed concern at the world leaders' failure to implement international treaties. However, she noted that the problem did not only lie with leaders on the international scene but also on the African continent's leadership. Prof. Maathai said it was worrying that leaders did not seem to even understand the treaties they were signing .  "I am sure our leaders even forget whatever they sign after they leave the summits," Prof. Maathai said. "What is further unfortunate is that, it is these same leaders that we have entrusted a great deal in issues of governance, human rights and sustainable development." Prof. Maathai called on leaders in developing countries to continue lobbying the rich nations for social justice as they were not in any way compelled to change their current stance without such efforts. "Do you think they will push for fairness on your behalf when they know they stand at an advantage to get whatever they want under the current world order?" asked Prof. Maathai.



Daily Dispatch

28 June 2002


EAST LONDON -- A major funding crisis faces the South African hosts of the NGO forum at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) with a commitment of less than 30percent of a R190m budget -- two months before the forum is expected to host about 40 000 international delegates.  Civil Society Secretariat deputy CEO Desmond Lesejane told a provincial WSSD indaba here yesterday that only R50m had been committed of an anticipated R190m budget.  The secretariat is facilitating logistical preparations for the hosting of the global forum. The biggest challenge was R30m that was still needed to convert the forum's venue at Nasrec, near Johannesburg.  Lesejane described the lack of funds as a major disappointment, but not a train-smash, and said there was still time to re-prioritise the budget, cut off core needs and deliver a decent summit.  "It won't be hi-tech but it will be functional," he said.  The global civil society forum will start before and run parallel to the official United Nations inter-government summit and will include groups such as labour, NGOs, community-based organisations, faith groups and indigenous peoples.


Cut-back measures could see the forum's official language translations halved from six to three and technical equipment dropped.

In addition, it was likely that few funds would be allocated to bring disadvantaged groups to the summit -- R66m was hoped to have been raised for this but Lesejane said only R15m of the R50m would probably be used, with the danger that only the rich would attend the forum.  Lesejane said that the government -- which has sponsored the R5,5m rental of Nasrec -- would be asked for a further R7m to R8m for basic alterations.  He anticipated a "snowball effect" once the venue was secured. Alterations had been due to start at Nasrec this week but contractors had been asked to wait until next Friday. The head of the government's WSSD stakeholder liaison, JP Louw, told the indaba that Environment Minister Valli Moosa wanted the civil forum to happen.  He added that funding the global civil forum was not the sole responsibility of South Africa's government.



Mail & Guardian via All Africa

28 June 2002


Two weeks of intensive negotiations over the plan of action that governments will adopt at the World Summit on Sustainable Development ended earlier this month with substantial agreement on a wide range of issues that could boost efforts to fight poverty and protect the environment. However, the talks could not bridge differences on several key issues that will still have to be resolved at the summit. The three-day negotiations, held in Bali, Indonesia, were the fourth and final preparatory committee (Prepcom) meeting in the lead-up to the World Summit in Johannesburg. More than 4 500 people from 173 countries, including over 100 ministers and a large NGO contingent, attended the Bali meeting. The Bali deliberations, aimed at generating high-level political commitments for action at the World Summit, underscored the obstacles and challenges faced on the road to Johannesburg, where the summit will be held from August 26 to September 4. The negotiations resulted in agreement on about 80% of a plan of action, yet disagreement over a series of contentious issues, particularly concerning trade and finance, foreclosed an opportunity to seal agreement on the plan. Prepcom chairperson Emil Salim stressed there were still three months before the summit for governments to reconcile their positions. "Significant agreement has been achieved," he said. "We can expect Johannesburg to be a success." The main areas of disagreement revolved around the trade and financing provisions of the plan -- the "economic platform" of the document. Developing countries insist that a poverty eradication strategy should not ignore the most important causes of poverty, among them unfair terms of trade and, in particular, the lack of market access for agricultural products from poor countries.


Developing countries also differed with the rich countries on the resourcing of the implementation plan. Developed countries wanted the plan to indicate who and how the good intentions would be financed. "South Africa is of the view that a summit on sustainable development that has poverty eradication as its theme must deal with these questions," said Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism Mohammed Valli Moosa. "The donor-recipient model in which the rich give handouts to the poor does nothing for real economic development and is not a sustainable poverty eradication strategy. "By allowing poor countries to sell their agricultural products in rich countries, one of the biggest obstacles to poverty will be eradicated. While aid is important and must be expanded, it is far more important for rich countries to do business with poor countries -- or at least to allow producers in poor countries a fair opportunity to compete with producers in rich countries." The Bali negotiations brought to an end the 18-month-long preparatory process for the summit. But while the formal preparations are over, South Africa will continue with informal consultations over the remaining three months, Moosa added. Speaking for the Group of 77 countries and China, which represents over 130 developing countries, Venezuelan Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources Ana Elisa Osario said, "We think it would have been better to finalise the agreement in Bali", but added that the Group was still hopeful complete agreement will be reached in Johannesburg. Margot Wallstrm, the European Union's environment commissioner, said: "We have achieved a whole lot in Bali. I would have liked to see more progress -- but indeed, we did make progress." A historic opportunity, the Johannesburg summit provides a chance for world leaders and representatives of citizen groups, business and governments to forge initiatives that will reduce the ranks of people living in poverty and address the relationship between human society and the natural environment. "The agreements reached in Bali are substantial," said the United Nations summit secretary general, Nitin Desai. "They provide governments -- and citizen groups and businesses -- a firm foundation to plan action-oriented programmes and projects to achieve recognisable results that people can see. "We now have agreement," Desai added, "on a plan of action for water and sanitation, energy, health, agriculture and biodiversity. We can still improve on the plan, but the real test ahead of us is not in the words of a document, but in the actions that are undertaken." The plan of action will be one of the outcomes of the World Summit. World leaders will also adopt a political declaration, and new voluntary partnership initiatives by and between governments, the private sector and NGOs will be launched in an effort to mobilise implementation efforts. "We are pleased there is now global consensus on the main framework for the summit," said Moosa. "It is becoming clearer that the outcome of the summit has the potential of constituting a message of hope to the world."




Jordan Times

28 June 2002


AMMAN (JT) - A three-day International Seminar on Sustainable Development, which brought world leaders together to discuss strengthening partnerships between states, government and civil society, ended this week in Rio de Janeiro.  HRH Princess Basma, who was invited by President of Brazil Fernando Henrique Cardoso to attend the event, joined Thabo Mbeki, president of South Africa, Goran Persson, prime minister of Sweden, and John Prescott, deputy prime minister of the United Kingdom, to review major achievements and challenges in sustainable development over the past 10 years, according to a statement by Princess Basma's office.  The seminar, entitled "From Stockholm to Johannesburg - Rio+10 Brazil" addressed environmental concerns, poverty and other threats to humankind's well-being.  The focus of debate was the upcoming Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), and necessary steps to ensure its success, the statement said.  The WSSD, which is a follow-up to the 1992 Rio "Earth Summit" and subsequent international summits, is considered as coming at a critical time in the course of global development, and its outcomes, whether positive or negative are expected to have a profound impact on the future of sustainable development efforts, say the summit's organisers.  The success of the Johannesburg event, to start in late August, is seen as vital to building trust between countries of the global north and south. But at the same time, many fear that its failure may place in question the value and credibility of such multilateral initiatives.  Participants from several countries representing a wide range of nationalities and professions attended the Rio de Janeiro event. Farah Daghistani, executive director of the Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development (JOHUD), also participated in a dialogue among representatives of the three generations of international meetings on development and the environment.  In discussing the 2002 generation, Daghistani stressed the importance of the role of youth and the importance of incorporating their needs and roles in the WSSD to insure broader consensus.  Maurice Strong, senior advisor to the UN secretary general, represented the outcomes of the 1972 Stockholm Conference, and Juanita Castano, IUCN Special Adviser - World Summit on Sustainable Development, talked about the 1992 Rio Summit. Report to WSSD to cover achievements  Meanwhile, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported on Thursday that Jordan will present a national report on its achievements in sustainable development to the summit in Johannesburg.  According to Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs and the Environment Abdul Razzaq Tbeishat, the report will cover achievements made since 1992, when Jordan participated in the first such summit, in Rio de Janeiro.  It will also include a briefing on all of the impediments to development projects in the Kingdom, including the lack of financial potentials, Tbeishat said.  The minister made these remarks as he inaugurated a conference on sustainable development in the Kura district.  The one-day conference was organised by the General Corporation for Environment Protection in conjunction with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other national institutions.  During the conference, Tbeishat stressed Jordan's keenness to achieve sustainable development and spoke about the procedures taken to accomplish that goal, including the preparations for the national agenda for the 21st century and the endorsement of the Environment Protection Law.  Several papers on sustainable development topped the conference's agenda. They focused on the achievements such as reducing poverty, regulating population growth and reducing the state deficit.  The conference ended with several recommendations, including a request for involving the vocational and civil institutions in the development programmes, activating the role of the media and implementing a national programme to raise awareness on sustainable development as well as protecting and nurturing human resources.




27 June 2002


International activist leaders Wednesday called for a national campaign in the United States against policies advanced by the administration of President George W. Bush which help strengthen the global position of multinational corporations.

At a public briefing held in Washington D.C., the 12 leaders sought to raise awareness of the consequences of what many activists call "corporate-led globalization" and to urge U.S. policymakers to reconsider their current approach to globalization before this summer's World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa.  "We feel that this is emergency time," said John Cavanagh, director of the Washington-based Institute for Policy Studies and vice-president of the International Forum on Globalization, which organized the briefing. "There are six weeks left to put pressure on the U.S. government to change its positions, or we may face a very negative outcome in Johannesburg."  The speakers highlighted a range of contentious issues behind U.S. policy, but focused principally on unfair trade with developing nations, lack of corporate accountability, and routes to economic growth for impoverished countries which have a damaging impact on the environment.  Arguing that corporations have too much control over governments and the lives of ordinary people, Brent Blackwelder, leader of the environmental alliance Friends of the Earth, pointed out that the majority of the 100 largest economies in the world belong to corporations, not governments.


The Bush administration has advanced an environmental policy model that does not bind corporations to meeting particular targets but rather relies on corporations to voluntarily agree to reduce the environmental harm that they do, said Blackwelder.

"The whole push for voluntary codes of conduct has got to be put in the context of a large number of unethical actors," he said, referring to such notorious companies as WorldCom, Enron, and LGB Energy, which exempted its CEO from dismissal for any felonies arising from an environmental violation.  In a political and economic system dominated by corporate greed and corruption, Blackwelder continued, voluntary codes will penalize only those who follow "an upright path," while helping those who scheme and defraud to become even more powerful. "The only answer is a binding code of conduct," he argued.  The Johannesburg summit, also known as Rio+10, is intended to be an assessment of where the world stands in terms of development and environmental progress 10 years after the groundbreaking "Earth Summit" in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  Activists claim that the pledges made by industrial nations at that conference to promote the economic development of the world's poorer nations and to pursue environmentally sustainable practices have been largely disregarded.  Martin Khor, founder and director of the Malaysian-based Third World Network said that the international community has gone backwards since Rio, largely because the U.S. has been blocking the changes required in social, economic, and international governance systems.  Khor cited the need for an international mechanism to prevent the collapse of commodity prices which has devastated the economies of developing nations. Over the past 20 years, Africa has lost about 30 to 40 percent of its income as a result of declining commodity prices, he said.  Developing countries also require cancellation of their debt to Western donors, reform of World Trade Organization rules and accessible, low-cost medications to fight diseases, according to Khor.  "The U.S. is the main country blocking these proposals," Khor charged, warning, "If, when they resume talks in Johannesburg, they are unable to resolve these development issues then the entire summit will collapse. This would jeopardize the state of international relations that we have today."  Other speakers, representing a range of organizations, included Victoria Tauli-Corpuz of the Indigenous Peoples' International Centre for Policy Research and Education in the Philippines, and Phineas Malepele of the Anti-Privatization Forum in South Africa.



Mail & Guardian

27 June 2002


Jun 28, 2002 (Mail & Guardian/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) -- Experts predict that the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) will generate 500 000 tonnes of carbon-dioxide -- one of the gases responsible for global warming -- the equivalent of half a million cars.  The emissions will be mainly generated by delegates jetting to Johannesburg for the summit, and by the energy they will use while staying and travelling in South Africa.  United Kingdom-based company Future Forests has launched a campaign to "off-set" greenhouse gas emissions generated by the WSSD through compensating investments in energy-saving technology.  Delegates, international companies and individuals attending the summit are being asked to invest in sustainable energy projects, which will be used to replace " dirty" fuel sources. The resulting reduction in greenhouse gases from these projects will compensate for emissions caused by the WSSD and help improve the quality of the environment in poor and rural communities.  Called the Johannesburg Climate Legacy project, this will be the first time an attempt will be made to offset the carbon gas emissions from an event as big as the WSSD.  Contributors will buy "Climate Legacy Certificates" -- which cost between R100 for individuals and R1-million for corporations. A R100 or $10 legacy certificate is estimated to be worth one tonne of carbon.  Investment in the certificates is a practical way for companies and individuals to show their commitment to the environment and improve the quality of life in poor communities. New Zealand-based The Warehouse Group was the first international company to donate to the Johannesburg Climate Legacy, while in South Africa Anglo American has been one of the first companies to contribute.  Urging delegates to the summit to support the project, national coordinator for IUCN-The World Conservation Union Saliem Fakir says: "Delegates and corporations are being offered a straightforward way to 'balance' their carbon emissions, while supporting local capacity-building and transfer of skills through projects that will leave a legacy long after the summit."  Projects that have been submitted for funding by the Climate Legacy project include solar water-heating systems at a technikon in northern Gauteng, installation of energy-efficient equipment at Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital and a novel project in KwaZulu-Natal that uses waste from cows to produce methane for cooking and lighting. The project is being run by a governing body comprising stakeholders from the government, civil society, business and academia, and includes Eskom, Anglo American, IUCN, Earthlife and the University of Potchefstroom. A trust fund set up for the project is being administered by the Development Bank of Southern Africa.  Certificates can be purchased, and a "Summit Carbon Calculator" will be available on the website International and local delegates can also use the site to calculate how much carbon they will generate during the summit.  The Johannesburg Climate Legacy project is part of the "Greening the WSSD" initiative, which is trying to ensure that the summit is organised according to environmental best practice.



Bangkok Post

27 June 2002


The United Nations has failed to help developing countries achieve sustainable development because the world body is dominated by giant multinational companies, social and environmental activists claim. Chanida Chanyapate, a senior associate of Focus on the Global South, said the UN, an organiser of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, favoured influential industries at the expense of small farmers, women and ethnic groups. The summit, also known as Rio+10, will be held on Aug 26-Sept 4 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Mrs Chanida, who took part in the meeting this month of the UN's preparatory committee for the summit, said the talks, held in Indonesia's Bali, had focused on trade and investment to accommodate the interests of developed countries and failed to discuss principles of sustainable development. ``We could no longer trust the UN because it is apparent that they could not resist multinational companies, which have taken over the UN's meetings and turned sustainable development into trade issues,'' she said. There was no longer any difference between the Earth Summit and the World Trade Organisation, where negotiations focused on economic concerns of developed countries, she said. Srisuwan Kuankajorn, a member of the National Economic and Social Advisory Council, said the UN failed to convince developed countries to commit financial aid for programmes in line with Agenda 21, a blueprint for sustainable development adopted in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. ``According to Agenda 21, developed countries have to allocate 0.7% of national income to support sustainable development programmes in Third World countries. However, only 0.2% has been allocated so far,'' he said. Mr Srisuwan also urged the Office of Environmental Policy and Planning (OEPP) to publicise a report reviewing Thailand's performance in achieving sustainable development. The report would be presented at the Johannesburg summit. ``The OEPP should allow non-government organisations to take part in the drafting process. It would be a shame if the country's report presents only successful stories towards sustainable development and disregards its failures,'' he said. Ampon Kittiampon, an inspector of the Agriculture Ministry, said that at Rio+10 Thailand should call on developed countries, particularly the United States, to stop practising unfair policies that hinder developing countries' efforts to achieve sustainable development. He cited the US Farm Bill, which would boost crop subsidies for American farmers in the next 10 years. The bill would affect farm crop exports from Thailand because subsidies to US crops would distort world prices of farm products. ``This kind of legislation would destroy the livelihoods of farmers in developing countries. It also reflects Washington's disregard of the well-being of Third World people. This is obviously contrary to Agenda 21,'' said Mr Ampon.



Mail & Guardian

27 June 2002 


Jun 28, 2002 (Mail & Guardian/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) -- Just two months before the World Summit on Sustainable Development, South Africa's civil society leaders say the government is not sticking to its undertaking to refurbish the main NGO venue for the summit -- Nasrec.  Organisers of civil society, the biggest component of the summit, say it is the government's responsibility and obligation to provide the funds to fix up Nasrec, the venue set aside to host the civil society sector.


A minimum of R9-million is needed for work to be done to the venue, which is supposed to host about 50000 of the 65 000 delegates expected at the summit. But to date little work has been done to convert this venue into a proper conference facility.

"We are running out of time. If by next week Friday [June 28] we can't get funding for contractors for Nasrec, we may not be able to deliver what is necessary as civil society," says CEO of the Civil Society Forum Desmond Lesejane, who is also a South African Council of Churches leader.  He says the government is "obliged" to provide the funds, and that while "we have entered into discussions with them, we have had no response as yet".  Lesejane says the issue might well be that whereas there is the political will, the government might be having problems raising the money.  "We need R9-million for refurbishment. This excludes conference equipment, facilities, translations and other things that need to be set up."  Despite the funding problems, and the in-fighting among civil society groups preparing for the summit, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) says it is ready policy-wise and logistically for the mammoth event.  Neva Makgetla, Cosatu's representative to the summit, says: "Yes, we have been threatening to cancel if they don't come up with the money. But the labour component will happen no matter what."  Makgetla says that in all fairness to the government, "they didn't get what they were expecting from foreign donors and they are expected to put about 300 top officials in top hotels".  She estimates the budget for the civil society events and exhibitions to be in the region of R200-million.


According to Cosatu's papers in preparation for the summit, the main themes of the civil society sector are:

- HIV/Aids as a workplace issue;

- The link between public health and workplace health and safety;

- Building consensus on climate change, through employment and social transition;

- Capacity-building for workplace actions between workers, trade unions and employers, a sector by sector review;

- Addressing poverty through integrating the social dimension with indicators, assessments, performance reviews, analyses and political actions;

- Corporate accountability, workplace verification, reporting and labelling;

- Trade investment and sustainable development implementation, through export credits and other measures;

- Understanding the role of core labour standards in worker participation and capacity-building issues; and

- Workplace management and government responsibilities: the limits of deregulation and privatisation.

The Civil Society Indaba -- from which the Civil Society Forum broke away early this year -- is planning its own registration and "summit" at a separate venue in Johannesburg, about a week before the main event starts. It is expected that anti-globalisation groups, which are opposed to the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation, will be attending this summit.  The split took place for a number of reasons. Cosatu, the South African Council of Churches and the South African National NGO Coalition, among others, alleged weak financial management on the part of the CEO, Jacqui Brown, who was subsequently suspended as head of the Indaba.  Then an ideological faction fight began. The Civil Society Indaba, which has a more left-wing focus, is alleging government interference in the civil society sector and is opposed to the New Partnership for Africa's Development.



The Guardian

26 June 2002


As leaders of the main industrial powers prepare to draw up an aid plan at their Canadian conference, Tony Blair admits that global recession and September 11 mean the continent faces a long haul out of poverty. Leaders of the world's richest states will gather in a remote Canadian resort today to piece together their rescue plan for Africa. But few on the world's poorest continent are holding their breath in expectation of what the G8 leaders have promised will be a "Marshall plan" for Africa.  Last minute horsetrading has been going on to try to put some substance around the rhetoric that has emanated from the G8 since it decided at the Genoa summit last year to show that globalisation could be made to work for even the poorest countries.  Progress has been painfully slow. The famine now engulfing southern Africa not only provides the clearest evidence of the scale of the challenge involved in freeing Africa from grinding poverty, but also illustrates that western countries are right when they argue that better governance in African states has to form part of the long-term solution.  Tony Blair has seized upon an African-led plan which asks the west for more aid and access to its markets in return for African countries ending the corruption and conflict endemic in many of them.  Four of the plan's five African backers will be in the Rocky Mountains resort of Kananaskis to present the G8 their blueprint for a new relationship between donors and recipients, called New Partnerships for Africa's Development.  But unless there is an eleventh hour deal that provides substantial amounts of new resources, Thabo Mbeki, the South African president, and his fellow leaders may have a wasted trip.  The original Marshall plan involved the US transferring around 1% of its national income for five years to war-ravaged Europe, on the brink of collapse.  Nothing on the same scale is likely to be offered to Africa this week, let alone the improved trade access, deeper debt relief, and the billions of dollars needed for building schools, hospitals and transport infrastructure.  Aid agencies do not doubt Mr Blair's personal commitment to Africa. He described its situation as a "scar on the conscience of the world" in his party conference speech last October and his spokesman said yesterday that he was horrified to discover during his trip to continent in February, that one African child dies every three seconds.  But Mr Blair, together with the chancellor, Gordon Brown, and the international develop ment secretary, Clare Short, have been fighting an uphill battle to persuade the other G8 nations to dig deeper in their pockets for Africa at a time when their economies are only just emerging from the first synchronised global recession for a quarter of a century.  Hope that the G8 would agree to earmark for Africa half the $12bn boost to aid announced at the UN summit on financing development in Monterrey, Mexico, in March this year seems likely to be disappointed.  The US is reluctant to cooperate with other G8 countries on aid, because it wants to be able hoist the Stars and Stripes over the aid projects it funds, even though dealing with a multitude of different donors is a big headache for overstretched African civil servants.  "While there are some good elements in the plan, it falls far short of what we expected and what is needed," Justin Forsyth, head of policy at Oxfam, said.  "It has taken an enormous amount of political energy to get to this, which makes it all the more disappointing."  It's not just agreeing the extra money that is the problem. Since the G8 met last June in Genoa and promised to put Africa at the top of the agenda at this year's summit, September 11 has changed the geopolitical landscape.


Although Britain and France see tackling global poverty as part of the fight against terror, there is little doubt that Africa has slipped down the list of policy priorities in Washington, where the focus is now firmly on Afghanistan, Iraq and the Middle East.  The UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, has written an open letter to the G8 leaders, saying that people in the developing world "have suffered disproportionately from the slowdown in the world economy, and they are also the primary victims of terror and violence".


"Equally, even the richest and most powerful countries, such as those represented at your meeting, are unlikely to achieve lasting security, either in the economic or the physical sense, so long as billions of people in other countries are denied those benefits."  A report by the UN Conference on Trade and Development last week warned that on current trends 100 million more people may fall below the absolute poverty line of US$1 a day by 2015.  Mr Annan said that the G8 should open western markets to exports from poor countries, increase development assistance, support international efforts to halt the spread of highly infectious diseases and make primary education available to all children and commit themselves to a productive outcome from the sustainable development summit in Johannesburg in August.  Measured against Mr Annan's list, progress has been patchy in the past 12 months. On the positive side, leaders promised that developing countries would be the biggest winners from the new round of global trade talks which began in Doha in November, and in March the EU and the US promised to reverse a decade of declining aid budgets.  But in other areas, the G8 countries have gone backwards. Washington's decision to spend $180bn more subsidising its farmers over the next 10 years threatens the livelihoods of poor farmers throughout Africa. The hope that the G8 would go beyond the promise made at Doha this week by agreeing a special package of market access for Africa seems unlikely to be fulfilled.  Even a package of increased debt relief agreed in principle two weekends ago may not be adopted.  Mr Blair was putting a brave face on the likely outcome of the Kananaskis summit yesterday. He candidly admitted to aid agencies that the pressure to get a better deal for Africa would have continue beyond this week's meeting.




26 June 2002


The government of Finland has contributed about R10 million towards the logistic funding for the World Summit on Sustainable Development. The donation, made by Kirsti Lintonen, Finland's ambassador to South Africa, was received by Moss Mashishi, the Johannesburg World Summit Company (Jowsco) chief executive officer, in Pretoria today. The summit will take place from August 26 to September 04. About R550 million has been budgeted for the organising of the summit. The contribution is part of the development co-operation agreement signed between South Africa and Finland in 1994. Since then the Finish government has supported the development of South Africa's environmental capacity, education and training. To date Finland has contributed almost R60 million per year towards the development of these factors.  Today's signing strengthened further the relationship between the two countries. Lintonen says her government is convinced that the summit will be a success. "Your country can make it and if it is a success all World Summits can be held in South Africa." Meanwhile Jowsco's Mashishi says most of the money needed to fund the summit has been received. He says two thirds of the funding is being raised through foreign governments and the private sector. According to Mashishi preparations are on track. "We have done most of the key logistical requirements for instance we are done with accommodation preparations. We are done with transport plans and some key issues like venues have been secured and are currently being prepared for the summit. So the broad logistical planning is in place for the summit and I am quite comfortable at the time of the summit we will be ready," he adds.  Mashishi denied that there was lack of interest from heads of state representing developed countries in attending.



South African Press Association via All Africa

26 June 2002


United States' police warned on Wednesday that protesters had become more violent over the years and they would be one of the biggest threats to security at the upcoming World Summit of Sustainable Development. "Protesters have become more violent across the world in the last four to five years... Anything that is symbolic of capitalism they are against," said John Timoney, former police commissioner of the Philadelphia police department. He said "anarchists and anti-capitalists" first target was the police as they worked for governments. Their second target was private businesses as they represented capitalists. Timoney and New York's police department chief of transportation Patrick Harnett were briefing members of the SA Police Service (SAPS) on their experiences at this type of summit in the United States. The briefing was conducted via digital video conferencing.


Timoney suggested that security could be tightened at businesses by hiring private security guards. He said these guards would have to work in conjunction with the police. Timoney also said that businesses should decide before the start of the summit how to deal with security problems. "South African businesses must plan ahead. If protesters take over how will you get your staff out... or will some businesses close down during the summit." Harnett said the companies and police would have to identify where there could be problems and draw up detailed maps of these areas for security planning purposes. A representative from the SAPS's VIP unit asked the two Americans how to deal with the transportation of VIPs. Harnett said that in the United States VIPs and delegates transport was pre-arranged. Top-ranking delegates were transported in limousines and private cars along specific routes. Lower-level delegates were ferried in buses which had police on board, he said. Air space over conference centres was declared a no-fly zone. The SAPS told the two that they were considering declaring the centres where various parts of the summit was being held gun-free zones. Timoney said this was a good idea and that at some conferences in the United States it was only the local police and secret service members who were allowed to carry firearms in the centres. Harnett said it was imperative that anybody in the centres, including police and employees, displayed their credentials. The accreditation is being done by the United States. On the possibility of heads of state bringing large entourages of security personnel, Timoney said the police should gather information on political situations across the globe to identify how much security certain leaders would need with them all the time. "Different states bring different targets," he said. Harnett suggested that the same police officers be assigned to a VIP throughout the summit. "You got to pick your best and brightest," he said. Timoney said communication between police had to be of the highest standard, especially in the conference centres. He said that sometimes police would want to communicate without alarming delegates and said this could be done by using lights. Green lights could mean that everything was fine and red lights could indicate that the centre needed to be immediately evacuated. Harnett also said that delegates had to be warned which areas were not safe to visit. Director Happy Schutte, the Gauteng co-ordinator of public order policing, told reporters after the conference that security arrangements for the summit were "going well" and police were concentrating on the final touches. The main part of the summit will be taking place in Sandton from August 26 to September 4.




26 June 2002


Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - South African President Thabo Mbeki will deliver a message from past and future Earth Summit hosts to the G-8 Summit starting today Canada: rich countries, especially the USA, Canada, and Japan, must fully engage in global efforts to build upon the legacy of the 1992 Earth Summit and the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment and deliver concrete action plans for poverty alleviation, environmental protection, and sustainable economic development at the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD; also known as the Rio+10 and Johannesburg Earth Summit).


At a public meeting with civil society hosted by Brazil on 24 June, President Mbeki, Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, and Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson pledged their full political support to rescue the legacy of the Stockholm Conference and the Rio Earth Summit, and ensure that the WSSD secures concrete government commitments for poverty alleviation and environmental protection. The pledge comes after more than a year of slow and frustrating negotiations in preparation for the WSSD, which will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 26 August-4 September this year.


The clear message from the three leaders, echoed by UK Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, was that 'the world cannot afford failure in Johannesburg', and that they would do everything in their power to ensure that it is a success. The three leaders pledged to lead the campaign necessary to make the WSSD the success that the world's poor and the global environment deserves and desperately needs.  "We've been searching for champions for this process, and now we've found them," said Steve Sawyer of Greenpeace. "With only 62 days until the start of the Johannesburg Summit, it's going to be an uphill struggle, but we believe that President Mbeki, with strong support from President Cardoso and Prime Minister Persson, are up to the task. We'll be anxiously awaiting the results of the G-8 Summit in Canada, and hope that President Mbeki succeeds in bringing the G-8 members into the process in a serious way."  An example of the kind of result that is needed from the WSSD is the Brazilian Energy Initiative, which calls for a global target of 10% of global energy supply from new renewable energy sources by 2010.  "The Brazilian Renewable Energy Initiative is exactly the kind of political signal that governments must send from Johannesburg," said Jennifer Morgan of WWF. "It will also send a clear signal to markets that governments are serious about combating climate change, and bringing basic energy services to the two billion people who do not have access. We are calling on South Africa to join Brazil and Sweden to lead this charge and secure agreement on the initiative in Johannesburg."  WWF and Greenpeace have called upon the leaders of South Africa, Sweden, and Brazil to live up to the promises they made at the public meeting on 24 June.




26 June 2002


President Thabo Mbeki says he hopes the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg will give fresh impetus to work begun 10 years ago at the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Mbeki was participating in a seminar on the Johannesburg summit with Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Britain's Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott on Monday and yesterday. "We have to make a new start with regard to a practical programme, really practical, not good resolutions only," Mbeki said, but noted that preparations for the conference were lacking. "We have to do a lot of work now," he said, noting that insufficient progress had been made at the fourth and final preparatory ministerial committee ahead of Johannesburg held earlier this month in Bali, Indonesia. Mbeki, who is to attend the G8 summit in Kananskis, Canada today, expects to meet in the next few days with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to examine issues ahead of the Johannesburg summit, over which Annan will preside, under UN sponsorship. A draft text prepared by Mbeki, Cardoso and Prescott urges summit participants to go to Johannesburg to address the pressing issues of: the environment, economic and social development, and poverty alleviation. Some 107 heads of states are expected to attend the sustainable development conference, also known as Rio+10, set for August 26 to September 4. - Sapa-AFP




26 June 2002


A better world is not impossible, says Mbeki. The passing of the torch from Brazil, a host of the Rio Earth Summit to South Africa - host of the World Summit on Sustainable Development - symbolised the global community's responsibility to victims of unsustainable development and to future generations, South African President Thabo Mbeki said today. "As (Brazil's) President Fernando Cardoso, passes on the torch - the flame being Agenda 21 - to the World Summit on Sustainable Development, the 'Johannesburg World Summit', the enormity of the responsibility and challenge becomes tangible," he said in a speech prepared for delivery in Rio de Janeiro. "At the Rio Summit the world declared with one voice: 'Human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development. They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature,'" he said. Agenda 21, the definitive document of the 1992 Earth Summit, highlighted the causal relationship between poverty and environmental degradation, and pointed to the integration of environment and development issues addressed in a global partnership as the only realistic way forward. While economic growth had been unprecedented since the Rio Summit, economic inequities had deepened and environmental degradation accelerated, Mbeki said. Gulf between rich and poor widens "Growth in the world economy in the year 2000 alone exceeded that during the entire nineteenth century. Yet people continue to die of hunger; babies get born, grow up, and die without being able to read or write; many fellow humans do not have clean water to drink; and, people die of curable diseases.  "The gulf between rich and poor members of the human race widens as we speak." The WSSD had to apply the principles of Agenda 21 and focus on action to eradicate poverty.  "Its outcome must make sense to she who has to walk for kilometres to fetch drinking water and to she who spends hours gathering firewood for energy. It must also speak to he who consumes more than the earth can give."  Mbeki said the first UN Conference on the Human Environment held three decades ago in Stockholm, Sweden, had set off unprecedented global concern about the negative impact of human activity on the environment but this had gone on unabated, subjected to a development model that "is questioned daily by the earth's ecosystem on which all life and all economic activity is dependent".  Developed countries' excessive consumption of natural resources could not go unchecked. "If the Chinese citizen is to consume the same quantity of crude oil as his or her US counterpart, China would need over 80 million barrels of oil a day - slightly more than the 74 million barrels a day the world now produces. If annual paper use in China of 35kg per person were to climb to the US level of 342 kilograms, China would need more paper than the world currently produces." Since 1994, he said South Africa had provided seven million more people with access to clean water, built over one million low-cost homes, provided over two million more homes with electricity and afforded every child an opportunity to go to school. "At the time of Rio this was all just a dream... we all know that people can change and that it is possible to change the lives of the poor. We also must believe that it is possible for us to live in harmony with nature." A global partnership for sustainable development and for the eradication of poverty was within reach and genuine human solidarity was possible and necessary, he said. "Nobody can truthfully argue that the global community of nations is too poor to defeat global poverty. Nobody can truthfully argue that there is a larger human imperative or decisive constraint that makes it obligatory that we must destroy the environment. Together we must give real meaning to the solemn pledge that was made in this city 10 years ago (Agenda 21)." - Sapa



Voice of America

26 June 2002


The upcoming sustainable development summit in Johannesburg got a boost this week in Rio de Janeiro, when delegates attending a preparatory conference unanimously called on the developed countries, the United States in particular, to participate. South African President Thabo Mbeki, who attended the Rio meeting, will deliver this message personally to the G-8 leaders meeting in Canada.  Delegates from around the world attended the meeting in Rio de Janeiro to discuss the issues that will be raised in August at the U.N. sustainable development summit in Johannesburg.  The Johannesburg conference comes 10 years after the Rio Earth Summit, which resulted in an action program called Agenda 21 to preserve the environment and foster sustainable economic development. One of the results of the 1992 Earth Summit was to provide the impetus for negotiations to curb the emissions of greenhouse gases. The resulting Kyoto protocol on climate change obligates rich signatory countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by five percent from 1990 levels by the year 2012. The Bush administration last year withdrew from the treaty, saying its targets would harm the U.S. economy.  The meeting in Johannesburg, known as "Rio plus 10," hopes to build on the accomplishments of Agenda 21. But it also will deal with a wider range of issues, including health, energy, and agriculture.  Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson described the upcoming Johannesburg summit as an opportunity to form new partnerships.  "Johannesburg must give us that vision, the vision of a global system in which every country has a place and a stake in the benefits," he said. "And it must give us all a clear sense of what our particular tasks are. The summit will be the opportunity to form new partnerships. Only a partnership between governments, business, and civil society will give us the necessary power to meet the challenge. Nothing can be achieved in isolation."  Mr. Persson was alluding to the concern that too many heads of state, including President Bush, will not bother to come to Johannesburg. But some environmentalists are more optimistic. Steve Sawyer of Greenpeace says the consensus reached at the Rio meeting provides strong incentive for the world's biggest economies to join in.  "The first real test of this new political leadership, which we very much welcome, will happen at the end of the week in Kananaskis in Canada where the G-8 summit is happening, and we know that President Mbeki is going there with a clear mandate from this group of countries and this meeting to try and figure out a way to engage Canada, the United States, and Japan seriously in this process," he said. President Mbeki will deliver a letter urging the G-8 leaders to participate in the Johannesburg conference. The letter is signed by Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Swedish Prime Minister Persson and by Mr. Mbeki himself.


Mr. Sawyer says it would be in President Bush's own interest to come to Johannesburg.  "Given what's happening in the world today, and given the importance of the U.S. position and given the express need and desire for cooperation on a wide variety of levels by the United States, it seems to me there's a real opportunity for the rest of the world leaders if they are very clear in their message to say: 'You need us for your war on terrorism and other things, we need you to build sustainability on a global basis,'" he said.  Brazilian President Cardoso will also make a personal appeal by phone to the G-8 leaders. Whether this will work is unclear, but the mood in Rio at the close of the preparatory meeting was upbeat.



The Guardian

26 June 2002


As leaders of the main industrial powers prepare to draw up an aid plan at their Canadian conference, Tony Blair admits that global recession and September 11 mean the continent faces a long haul out of poverty  Leaders of the world's richest states will gather in a remote Canadian resort today to piece together their rescue plan for Africa. But few on the world's poorest continent are holding their breath in expectation of what the G8 leaders have promised will be a "Marshall plan" for Africa.  Last minute horsetrading has been going on to try to put some substance around the rhetoric that has emanated from the G8 since it decided at the Genoa summit last year to show that globalisation could be made to work for even the poorest countries.  Progress has been painfully slow. The famine now engulfing southern Africa not only provides the clearest evidence of the scale of the challenge involved in freeing Africa from grinding poverty, but also illustrates that western countries are right when they argue that better governance in African states has to form part of the long-term solution.  Tony Blair has seized upon an African-led plan which asks the west for more aid and access to its markets in return for African countries ending the corruption and conflict endemic in many of them.


Four of the plan's five African backers will be in the Rocky Mountains resort of Kananaskis to present the G8 their blueprint for a new relationship between donors and recipients, called New Partnerships for Africa's Development.  But unless there is an eleventh hour deal that provides substantial amounts of new resources, Thabo Mbeki, the South African president, and his fellow leaders may have a wasted trip.  The original Marshall plan involved the US transferring around 1% of its national income for five years to war-ravaged Europe, on the brink of collapse.  Nothing on the same scale is likely to be offered to Africa this week, let alone the improved trade access, deeper debt relief, and the billions of dollars needed for building schools, hospitals and transport infrastructure.  Aid agencies do not doubt Mr Blair's personal commitment to Africa. He described its situation as a "scar on the conscience of the world" in his party conference speech last October and his spokesman said yesterday that he was horrified to discover during his trip to continent in February, that one African child dies every three seconds.  But Mr Blair, together with the chancellor, Gordon Brown, and the international develop ment secretary, Clare Short, have been fighting an uphill battle to persuade the other G8 nations to dig deeper in their pockets for Africa at a time when their economies are only just emerging from the first synchronised global recession for a quarter of a century.  Hope that the G8 would agree to earmark for Africa half the $12bn boost to aid announced at the UN summit on financing development in Monterrey, Mexico, in March this year seems likely to be disappointed.  The US is reluctant to cooperate with other G8 countries on aid, because it wants to be able hoist the Stars and Stripes over the aid projects it funds, even though dealing with a multitude of different donors is a big headache for overstretched African civil servants.  "While there are some good elements in the plan, it falls far short of what we expected and what is needed," Justin Forsyth, head of policy at Oxfam, said.  "It has taken an enormous amount of political energy to get to this, which makes it all the more disappointing."  It's not just agreeing the extra money that is the problem. Since the G8 met last June in Genoa and promised to put Africa at the top of the agenda at this year's summit, September 11 has changed the geopolitical landscape.


Although Britain and France see tackling global poverty as part of the fight against terror, there is little doubt that Africa has slipped down the list of policy priorities in Washington, where the focus is now firmly on Afghanistan, Iraq and the Middle East.


The UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, has written an open letter to the G8 leaders, saying that people in the developing world "have suffered disproportionately from the slowdown in the world economy, and they are also the primary victims of terror and violence".  "Equally, even the richest and most powerful countries, such as those represented at your meeting, are unlikely to achieve lasting security, either in the economic or the physical sense, so long as billions of people in other countries are denied those benefits."


A report by the UN Conference on Trade and Development last week warned that on current trends 100 million more people may fall below the absolute poverty line of US$1 a day by 2015.  Mr Annan said that the G8 should open western markets to exports from poor countries, increase development assistance, support international efforts to halt the spread of highly infectious diseases and make primary education available to all children and commit themselves to a productive outcome from the sustainable development summit in Johannesburg in August.  Measured against Mr Annan's list, progress has been patchy in the past 12 months. On the positive side, leaders promised that developing countries would be the biggest winners from the new round of global trade talks which began in Doha in November, and in March the EU and the US promised to reverse a decade of declining aid budgets.


But in other areas, the G8 countries have gone backwards. Washington's decision to spend $180bn more subsidising its farmers over the next 10 years threatens the livelihoods of poor farmers throughout Africa. The hope that the G8 would go beyond the promise made at Doha this week by agreeing a special package of market access for Africa seems unlikely to be fulfilled.


Even a package of increased debt relief agreed in principle two weekends ago may not be adopted.  Mr Blair was putting a brave face on the likely outcome of the Kananaskis summit yesterday. He candidly admitted to aid agencies that the pressure to get a better deal for Africa would have continue beyond this week's meeting. 



Independent Online

26 June 2002


"Green" is the buzzword when referring to the World Summit on Sustainable Development - but how green will it really be?

The option to supply the estimated 60 000 guests at the Ubuntu Village with biodegradable corn starch cups has been abandoned - plastic cups will be used instead. According to Tzila Katzel, project co-ordinator of Greening the Summit, plastic cups - which are made from environmentally unfriendly petroleum - will be used to provide delegates with a cheaper South African product, instead of a more expensive, environmentally friendly, imported one. 'The cost could be as little as R1 per cup' "South Africa doesn't as yet have the production capacity to produce enough biodegradable corn starch cups to adequately supply the summit, so we will most likely opt for recyclable plastic cups, and paper cups for hot drinks," according to Katzel.  Although the decision was a cost-effective one, no one at Greening the Summit was able to supply The Star with the price of the plastic cups compared with corn starch cups. Katzel adds that the greening committee felt that the jet fuel polluting our air when importing the biodegradable products into the country was more harmful than the plastic cups the delegates will use. Katzel says many of the summit's food and drink outlets will be restaurants instead of takeaway venues, and will probably use cutlery and crockery made from glass, aluminium and ceramics. Originally, Greening the Summit decided against the corn starch cups, saying they were too expensive - exceeding R10 per cup. Upon investigation, however, it was revealed that the cost could be as little as R1 per cup, according to Gary Burns, a supplier of the biodegradable products. The clear corn starch cups look as though they are made from plastic


Burns imports a range of cups, plates, cutlery and rubbish bags, all made from biodegradable and renewable resources. The paper cups - for hot and cold beverages - are made from unbleached paper, with the inside lining made from a polymer and corn, wheat and potato starch. In compostable conditions it will biodegrade in 30 to 45 days. The clear corn starch cups - which look as though they are made from plastic, but can be thrown on a compost heap - are made from a material derived from lactic acid produced by certain vegetable products such as wheat, rice, corn starch and beef. The cutlery is made from cellulose acid, corn starch and chalk, and, when ground, is biodegradable within 30 to 45 days. The rubbish bags are manufactured from biofilm, made from a biopolymer and corn, wheat and potato starch. These will also biodegrade in 30 to 45 days. All these products are made in Europe and the United States and imported to South Africa.  Muna Lakhane, who is responsible for greening the civil-society part of the summit at the Nasrec Expo Centre, says they have decided to use paper cups for hot and cold drinks, in order to stay in line with their zero waste policy and to be cost-effective, as they cost about 50c each. "The cups will be put on a compost heap after they have been used so that they can decompose," Lakhane says. Hazardous waste, such as batteries and condoms, will be collected in bins and analysed afterwards to find ways of disposing of it in an environmentally friendly manner and not by incineration



Voice of America

25 June 2002


South African President Thabo Mbeki has called for a global partnership to achieve sustainable development and the eradication of poverty throughout the world. The South African leader made the appeal Tuesday in Rio de Janeiro on the last day of a preparatory conference for the upcoming sustainable development summit in Johannesburg.  The three-day meeting in Rio brought together government officials and representatives of the United Nations, non-governmental organizations and others to discuss the issues that will be raised at the Johannesburg summit in August.  Addressing the delegates, South African President Mbeki made an impassioned appeal for concrete action to achieve the goals of sustainable development and the eradication of poverty.  "As we prepare to travel to Johannesburg we all know that people can change, that it is possible to change the lives of the poor. We also must believe that it is possible for us to live in harmony with nature," he said. "A global partnership of sustainable development and for the eradication of poverty is within reach.... On behalf of the people of Johannesburg and of South Africa in general, I'd like to invite the leaders of the world and the representatives of peoples from all walks of life to join in the pursuit of this agenda of hope."  He was joined in this appeal by Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson, who both addressed the conference Tuesday.  Rio was the site ten years ago of the Earth Summit which laid out a series of recommendations for preserving the environment and achieving sustainable economic development. But some of the targets set in 1992 were not met, and the hope is that Johannesburg will set the stage for a renewed global commitment.  At this week's meeting, delegates discussed issues such as energy, global water policy, aid for developing countries and improved trade access for third world products into the markets of industrialized nations. Steve Sawyer of Greenpeace says while more progress needs to be made on these issues, he is encouraged by the pledges made at the Rio meeting by the leaders of Brazil, Sweden and South Africa. "All these issues are still on the table, and they need to be tied up in the next two months, and it is very encouraging to see President Mbeki, President Cardoso and Prime Minister Persson stand up and basically put their political credibility on the line in a very strong way and say we must succeed in Johannseburg; we cannot afford failure," he said. "They have staked their colors to the mast, and we hope more world leaders will do that in the course of the next few months."  President Bush has no plans to attend the Johannesburg summit, which prompted President Cardoso Tuesday to call on all members of the international community to, as he put it, "assume their responsibilities."  After he spoke, Mr. Cardoso handed over a box made of tropical wood to President Mbeki to symbolize the transfer from Rio to Johannesburg of the mandate for implementing Agenda 2,1 the program of action agreed to by world leaders at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992.



Voice of America

25 June 2002


The leaders of Brazil, South Africa and Sweden are stressing the need for a successful and productive summit later this year in Johannesburg on sustainable development. The three leaders made their appeal Monday in Rio de Janeiro, where a meeting to prepare for the U.N.-organized conference is taking place. Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso says the upcoming Johannesburg summit will build on the progress made at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro ten years ago, and the Stockholm environmental conference of 1972, which started the process.  Mr. Cardoso said the goal at Johannesburg is not just to preserve the environment, but to come up with programs for achieving sustainable economic development that balances the needs of humankind with the needs of nature. To do this, he said, world poverty and misery must be reduced. "It is unacceptable that the levels of poverty and misery continue to exist today, especially now that there are available means to improve the conditions of people," says Mr. Cardoso. He went on to describe poverty eradication as a moral imperative, and urged rich countries like the United States to support the initiatives that will emerge from the Johannesburg summit.  The Brazilian leader spoke Monday after meeting with South African President Thabo Mbeki and Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson. The two leaders are in Rio to attend a three-day preparatory conference for the Johannesburg summit.  The summit, known as Rio +10, opens August 26. It is expected to bring together the leaders of almost 100 nations and thousands of representatives of non-governmental organizations. For ten days, they will discuss poverty eradication and environmental preservation, and come up with recommendations for achieving these goals. President Bush has no plans to attend.  Perhaps with this in mind, South African President Thabo Mbeki Monday urged all world leaders to come to Johannesburg. "It is the expectation of the peoples of the world, certainly it is the expectations of the three of us here, and I am sure John Prescott the deputy British prime minister, the princess from Jordan and the people who have been participating in this process here in Rio that we want them to attend the conference, as all of us will do, with the frame of mind which says: we have to move forward with regard to all of these matters."  Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson echoed this view, and said persuading rich nations to set aside more money for economic development will be a key issue at Johannesburg.  At the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, participating nations agreed that rich countries should set aside seven-tenths of one-percent of their Gross Domestic Product for development aid. Until now, only the countries of Scandinavia have done this.  Mr. Persson told reporters Monday the European Union is now more disposed to meet this goal. He said continued pressure will eventually persuade the United States to follow on this issue, as well as on the question of signing the Kyoto Protocol on global warming. "This is a political process. Governments come and go, it is a pendulum swinging," he says. "So you constantly need to argue for your side, and you constantly need to press them back who are opposing because you will always see them. It is a fight, and it is a fight worth taking."  The preparatory conference in Rio, which opened Sunday, has brought together representatives from the United Nations, non-governmental organizations, scientists and others from around the world. The conference ends Tuesday.



European Commission

25 June 2002


Worldwide access to better information on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) moved a step closer today when the European Union ratified the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. The Protocol is designed to protect biological diversity, and, in turn, human health. It will establish an Advanced Informed Agreement (AIA) procedure which ensures countries are given the necessary information to make informed decisions on whether to import GMOs intended for introduction into the environment. The EU's action should be an incentive for other countries to ratify this Protocol, ensuring it comes into force quickly.  Environment Commissioner Margot Wallström said: " This is a global issue which needs global action. The Cartagena Protocol establishes one set of basic international rules for dealing with GMOs. The Protocol will ensure countries, exporters and importers have the necessary information to make informed choices about GMOs. This Protocol will particularly help developing countries, which often lack the resources to assess the risks of biotechnology.  If we are promoting free trade on a global scale we must ensure that protecting the environment and human health is taken into account. This is another example of our commitment to finding multilateral solutions for global problems. Last month the EU ratified the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change. These measures contribute to our overall aim of sustainable development.  We call on countries to ratify and implement the Cartagena Protocol and we urge those who are not in a position to ratify to contribute to the achievement of its objectives on a voluntary basis. "  The Cartagena Protocol sets out the first international legal framework for the cross-border movement of GMOs on the basis of the 'precautionary principle'. It contains documentation requirements for shipments of GMOs and establishes a Biosafety Clearing House (BCH) to facilitate the exchange of information on living modified organisms and to assist countries in the implementation of the Protocol.  110 countries have signed the Cartagena Protocol so far and 20 have ratified it, including Spain and The Netherlands. Fifty ratifications are necessary for its entry into force. During 2002, the rate of ratifications has increased considerably. A survey conducted during the third meeting of the Inter-Governmental Committee of the Cartagena Protocol (ICCP) indicated that 25 countries intend to ratify before the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg in August, and 20 more before the end of this year. This would mean the Protocol will enter into force in spring 2003.


Notes to Editors

The Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity adopted a supplementary agreement to the Convention known as the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, on 29 January 2000, after more than three and a half years of complex negotiations. The Protocol is legally binding and was the first Multilateral Environmental Agreement (MEA) concluded in the new millennium.  The Protocol's entry into force has been prepared by the Inter-governmental Committee of the Cartagena Protocol (ICCP), created by the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity. The ICCP has adopted an Action Plan for Building Capacities for the Effective Implementation of the Protocol. It has established a Roster of Experts to provide advice to developing countries, inter alia, on risk assessment, and prepared a compliance mechanism.  The EU already has an extensive legislative framework on GMOs and the Commission has recently proposed a new Regulation, aimed at implementing the Cartagena Protocol, which specifically addresses the issue of the transboundary movement of GMOs.  The third meeting of the ICCP was held in The Hague from 22 to 26 April 2002.



Islamabad News

25 June 2002


ISLAMABAD: Environmentalists and health experts have called for protecting children's environmental health (CEH) by translating knowledge on environmental hazards into action. They gave their inputs at an international conference on 'Environmental Threats to the Health of Children' organised by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Bangkok recently. Over 300 participants from 35 countries attended. Dr Mahmood A Khwaja from SDPI presented a paper on 'Lead and Children Development with Special Reference to Studies in Pakistan on Blood Lead Levels in School Children' in one of the five plenary sessions. Amid growing concerns on children's environmental health due to prevailing hazardous conditions, environmentalists and health experts hoped that the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) to be held in Johannesburg from August 26 to September 4 would take up the CEH as a priority area. The WSSD will bring together tens of thousands of participants, including heads of state and government, national delegates and leaders from non-governmental organisations, businesses and other major groups to focus the world's attention and direct action toward meeting difficult challenges, including improving people's lives and conserving our natural resources in a world that is growing in population, with ever-increasing demands for food, water, shelter, sanitation, energy, health services and economic security. The Bangkok statement adopted at the end of the conference called for developing active and innovative national and international networks for promotion and protection of children's environmental health in all areas, and especially in four critical areas including protection and prevention, healthcare and research, empowerment and education and advocacy. On protection and prevention area, the Bangkok statement said that there is a need to strengthen existing programmes and initiate new mechanisms to provide access for all children to clean water and air, adequate sanitation and safe and appropriate food. There is a need to reduce or eliminate environmental causes of asthma and respiratory diseases, including exposure to environmental tobacco smoke; reduce or eliminate exposure to toxic metal such as lead, mercury and arsenic, to fluoride, and to hazardous anthropogenic chemicals such as toxic wastes, pesticides and persistent organic pollutants. The statement calls for reducing or eliminating exposure to known and suspected anthropogenic carcinogens, neurotoxicants, developmental and reproductive toxicants, immunotoxicants and naturally occurring toxins. It also suggests for avoiding the incidence of accidents, injuries and poisoning, as well as exposure to noise, radiations and other factors by improving the physical environments of children at home, in school and in all environments where children spend time. About healthcare and research, the Bangkok statement urges the need to promote recognition, assessment and study of environmental factors that have an impact on the health and development of children. It could be done by developing and implementing cooperative multidisciplinary research studies, as well as disease surveillance and exposure monitoring in association with centers of excellence, and by promoting the collection of harmonised data and its dissemination. It calls for incorporating training on CEH for health care providers and other professionals, and promote the use of the environmental history. Seeking financial and institutional support for research, data collection, education, intervention and prevention programmes and develop risk assessment methodologies that incorporate children, as special group are important in this regard, it added. On empowerment and education, the statement emphasises to promote education of children and parents-to-be about the importance of their physical environment and their participation in decisions that affect their lives, and to inform parents, teachers and care-givers and the community in general on the need and means to provide a safe, healthy and supportive environment to all children: There is a dire need to provide environmental health education through healthy schools and adult education initiatives, incorporate in the school and high school curricula lessons on health and the environment, impart environmental health expertise to educators, curriculum designers and school administrators. The statement also calls for creating and disseminating culturally relevant information about the special vulnerability of children to environmental threats and practical steps to protect children. Empower the community to identify toxic threats to children and to work with local authorities in developing prevention and intervention programmes, the statement added. On advocacy area, the Bangkok statement urges the need to advocate for the protection and promotion of CEH at all levels, including the political spheres, decision-makers and the communities and utilize lessons learned to prevent environmental illness in children, for example by promoting legislation for the removal of lead from all gasoline, paints and ceramics, and tobacco smoke-free environments in all public buildings. It calls for sensitizing decision-makers about the results of research studies and observations of front-line workers that need to be accorded high priority to safeguard children's health. It also advocates for promoting environmental health policies that protect children, raising the awareness of decision-makers and potential donors about known children's environmental health threats and work with them and other stakeholders to allocate necessary resources to implement interventions and working with the media to disseminate information on core CEH issues, locally relevant environmental health problems and possible solutions.



The Scotsman

25 Jun 2002


Large-scale subsidies for American farmers introduced by President George Bush are hindering international efforts to secure a fair trade agreement, Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott said today. Mr Prescott is taking part in emergency talks in Brazil to salvage global environment negotiations after a failure to reach agreement at Bali earlier this month. He hopes to put in place a comprehensive agreement covering trade, financial relations, economic development and environmental protection which can be approved by the world's heads of government gathering in Johannesburg for the UN eco-summit in August. Mr Prescott acknowledged that large areas of negotiation remained to be concluded following the Bali talks. He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "At Bali, something like 75% of the issues were settled. There is 25% left - the more difficult ones, admittedly." The farm subsidies which the US Government approved in May were causing friction with poorer nations, which felt they were being blocked from access to the markets of the rich world, he said. "There is no doubt many developing countries feel very strongly about that and it affected attitudes at Bali," said Mr Prescott. "It is not helpful and it runs counter to what we want to achieve." Talks on opening up world markets to poorer countries, as well as reforming global finance systems and taking action to provide access to clean water for all, were continuing, he said. Mr Prescott added: "What Johannesburg tries to do is bring them all within a comprehensive framework so we can see all the things we have to do in trade for development and finance for development and not at the cost of environmental degradation, and get a commitment to do something about poverty. "What we have got to find now is the political statement that sets us in that direction, and at the same time a plan of action to achieve it."



Yomiuri Shimbun

25 June 2002


The U.N. Environment Program has recently published the third issue of its report, Global Environment Outlook-3.  The GEO-3 report, commemorating the 30th anniversary of UNEP, begins with this analysis: "Poverty and excessive consumption--the twin evils of humankind that were highlighted in the previous two GEO reports--continue to put enormous pressure on the environment."  The report, in connection with the World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held in Johannesburg in August, also covers environmental issues from the past 30 years and forecasts on the environment for the next 30 years. The first topic the report mentioned is the negative impact on land as a result of the increase in population. Over the past 30 years, the world population has increased by 2.2 billion. At the same time, increased urbanization and food production has led to an excessive use of ground water and an expansion of deforestation. The report states: "Around 2 billion hectares of soil, equal to 15 percent 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." Human activities also cause serious damage to the quality of water. Currently, about half the rivers of the world are dried up or polluted. The worsening of the environment and the destruction of the ecosystem certainly have negative impacts on mankind, as revealed by an increase in the number of natural disasters such as floods and droughts. The report pointed out that the number of those affected by natural disasters caused by the deterioration of the environment increased by 64 million between the 1980s and the 1990s. Based on past struggles and the current situation, the report offered four plans for restoring the Earth's environment. The "Market First" scenario focuses on the market as a dominant force in society and politics. The "Policy First" scenario emphasizes decisive initiatives taken by governments, such as the introduction of carbon taxes. The "Security First" scenario predicts the creation of "gated communities" among wealthy groups. The "Sustainability First" scenario predicts collaborations among governments, businesses and citizens who seek harmony between development and the environment. Each scenario makes a forecast on the state of the Earth's environment in 2032, taking into consideration such factors as population increase, economic growth and technological development. The "Market First" and "Security First" scenarios predict there will be no slowdown in the increase of carbon dioxide emissions, which are linked to global warming. The "Policy First" scenario states that there will be a shift in the trend of carbon dioxide emissions and a decrease would begin around 2030. "Sustainability First" predicts that a similar shift could occur in the mid-2020s, following improvements in energy efficiency. These scenarios were compiled in cooperation with the National Institute for Environmental Studies and Kyoto University. In the last preparatory meeting for the Johannesburg summit, held in Bali earlier this month, UNEP Executive Director Klaus Topfer said in a press conference that if nothing happened and the development process followed the current trend, there would be negative consequences, such as the loss of mammal species. "This is not a fantasy prognosis, this is simply reality," Topfer said. He called on participants of the summit to show greater awareness of the need for "concrete progress" in working toward a consensus before the summit took place. We have seen the future. To help restore the Earth's environment, Japan must take the initiative in creating a society that values sustainability.




24 June 2002


The Earth's "vital signs" weakened in 2001, but consumers can play a critical role in improving the planet's health, according to the results of an annual study published last week documenting more than 50 social, economic, and environmental trends around the world. The study, 'Vital Signs 2002: The Trends That Are Shaping Our Future'--produced by The Worldwatch Institute, a Washington D.C.-based independent organization researching on issues of environmental and social policy--found economic recession, increasing use of fossil fuels, and continued population growth to be some of the more worrying trends identified during 2001. The global population swelled to 6.2 billion--more than double the figure for 1950--while the rate of economic growth was just 2.1 percent, one of the lowest recorded over the past five decades. Despite growing awareness of the impact of fossil fuels on the global environment, consumption of coal, oil, and natural gas rose by 1.3 percent last year, according to study results.


Production and consumption patterns in industrialized countries are playing a critical role in the ongoing destruction of the environment, said the United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP) executive director Klaus Toepfer at last Friday's afternoon launch of the study, adding, "We must get to the consumer."  In particular, the study stressed that an increasing volume of toxic waste was being created by the haphazard disposal of new technologies. Computers contain significant quantities of lead, and the semiconductors used in cell phones and other such gadgets contain a variety of cancer-causing substances, the study noted.  While in Europe, responsibility for safe recycling of such products is increasingly being placed on producers, no similar efforts are underway in the United States, said study co-author Molly Sheehan.  More than 2.9 million tons of "e-waste" ended up in U.S. landfills in 1997, and this figure is expected to rise rapidly by 2004, as tens of millions of cell phones and an estimated 315 million computers are discarded, according to Worldwatch.  The study's co-author, Michael Renner, however, stressed that consumers are increasingly "voting with their wallets" for products that are manufactured without causing environmental destruction or degradation.  With the help of product labeling--for example, of genetically engineered foods or wood products harvested in a sustainable way--and the use of quality and efficiency standards, consumers now have the choice of more environmentally friendly products.  The study describes six "eco-labeling" programs--covering such diverse areas as seafood, domestic appliances, tourism, and coffee--that award a seal of approval to producers who observe standards designed to ensure environmental protection.  If embraced by a critical mass of consumers and industries, said Worldwatch researcher Lisa Mastny, such programs could play a vital role in promoting sustainable development.  "Consumers will not save the world by themselves, but they are welcome allies in a struggle where we are going to need all the help we can get," concluded UNEP's Toepfer, who is playing a leading role in preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development planned for August in Johannesburg, South Africa.




24 June 2002 


MONDAY, June 24 (HealthScoutNews) -- Like the houseguest who raided the refrigerator and refused to restock it, humans are depleting the Earth's resources faster than the planet can replenish itself. A new study says that in 1999, the human economy overshot available ecological resources by 120 percent, meaning it would require 1.2 Earths to regenerate what humans consumed that year. The research appears in tomorrow's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Previous studies have calculated use of individual elements, such as forests and carbon dioxide, but this is the first time a larger accounting picture has come into focus. "It's like borrowing. That's why we need these accounts," says Mathis Wackernagel, study author and program director at Redefining Progress, a nonprofit public policy organization in Oakland, Calif. "What we don't measure we don't see; so now basically we rip up our receipts and say 'great,' but the debt is not going away. It's like a business that doesn't have an accounting department."  And this "business" is saddled with other bad news. Last week's issue of Science ran a study finding that global warming will likely mean an increase in infectious diseases.  "We're certainly using more than our share," says Dr. Paul Epstein, associate director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School in Boston. "We're using too much and generating waste, and this is when most organisms level off their growth rates. We have not been able to do that. This is the crux of the matter."  Wackernagel and his colleagues compared humanity's demand on the environment to the earth's bioproductive capacity over the past 40 years. The researchers looked at the amount of land used for growing crops and grazing animals; the harvesting of timber; marine fishing; and the effects of using fossil fuels.  They found that in 1961, human demand was about 70 percent of Earth's regenerative capacity. By the mid-1970s, demand was equaling supply and, by the 1980s, demand was exceeding supply.  Although the study doesn't document how long humans have before ecological assets run out, the planet's resources are finite and our current rate of consumption is simply not sustainable indefinitely. "The problem is that overuse can lead to destruction of assets," Wackernagel says. "If you use up the capital, it doesn't produce interest. It doesn't necessarily come back on its own."  However, people can still make choices that would avert ecological bankruptcy. Wackernagel says people could reduce fertility rates, and also use resources more efficiently. "There are actually ways to improve quality of life by controlling our consumption, because now consumption runs into rat races," he says.  The findings point up the need to explore different models of development. "One can hope that this will make us question our form of development and the way we're using resources for energy," Epstein says. "It's very clear that equity is an issue for development and for leveling off population growth. While we don't have to give up all of what we're doing, we do have to think about how to make trade and development and share of resources more equitable."  Wackernagel points out the timing of the article couldn't be better -- just before the United Nations  World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, at the end of the summer.  "If we choose, we can turn it around," Wackernagel says. "And here's a tool to track it."



Business Day (Johannesburg) via All Africa

24 June 2002


THE World Summit on Sustainable Development has to succeed because at stake are issues that determine the survival of human beings, says Jon Bech, Norwegian ambassador to SA . Bech was speaking at one of the Johannesburg World Summit Company's legacy projects, a multipurpose resource centre towards which Norway contributed about R8m. The centre, near the Sandton Convention Centre where the summit will take place, includes a library, a media centre, a website and a call centre. It will co-ordinate all communication between representatives at the summit including the media, local and international delegates and nongovernmental organisations" Norway is dedicated to support financing for sustainable development. It has for a long time been engaged in a wide variety of efforts aimed at conservation and responsible management of Africa's precious resources," the ambassador said. After the summit, the centre, which has been donated to the multibillion rand Alexandra Renewal Project, will be transformed into a sustainable resource centre and moved to Alexandra township.



South African Press Association via All Africa

23 June 2002


Britain and Denmark have committed themselves to ensuring the success of the World Summit for Sustainable Development in meetings with Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Speaking to Sapa from London, department spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa that bilateral talks with her counterparts in those countries were part of a national thrust led by President Thabo Mbeki to find common ground and build global consensus ahead of the summit. The two European countries also said they would send "high-level delegations", Mamoepa said. The event is scheduled to be held in Johannesburg in August and September. "Both Britain and Denmark have committed themselves to working with South Africa towards ensuring a successful summit while also building upon the foundations laid by (the World Trade Organisation meetings) at Monterrey and Doha. "The ministers discussed issues around market access, agricultural subsidies, human rights and good governance and a balance between political, economic and environmental issues," Mamoepa said. Zuma proceeds from Europe to Canada where she will prepare for President Thabo Mbeki's visit to the G8 summit this week. At the summit, Mbeki will announce the details of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad).



Associated Press

June 23 2002


RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - A top Brazilian official Sunday urged more aid money for environmental projects in developing countries and said developed countries should take a hard look at how they consume resources. Speaking on the eve of a United Nations sponsored meeting on sustainable development, Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Lafer also called for a global effort to boost renewable energy production. "We think that special attention needs to be paid to poverty and the necessity that developed countries adjust their current predatory production and consumption patterns," Lafer said. Officials attending the three-day meeting in RIO are preparing for a larger U.N. summit on sustainable development to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa Aug. 26 to Sept. 4. The summit is dubbed Rio + 10, after the Earth Summit held in Rio in 1992. Brazil, along with other Latin American and Caribbean countries, have proposed that rich, industrialized countries devote 0.7 percent of their gross domestic product to assisting. World leaders attending the 1992 Rio summit committed to such a reduction in a nonbinding resolution, but aid funding on average fell from 0.4 percent to 0.2 percent of GDP in developed countries, according to Brazilian officials. Lafer also said developed countries should commit to producing at least 10 percent of their energy needs with renewable energy sources by 2012, a proposal rejected by Middle East countries. "We need a cleaner energy production that uses renewable sources, such as wind or biomass," Lafer said.




23 June 2002


John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, is today helping to launch an emergency attempt to save a crucial summit on world poverty from disaster. He arrives in Rio de Janeiro this morning to join talks aimed at working out a rescue plan for the world summit on sustainable development due to open in Johannesburg in August. Preparatory negotiations broke down in Bali two weeks ago. Tomorrow he will meet Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary-General, Thabo Mbeki, the South African President, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, the Brazilian President, and Goran Person, the Swedish Prime Minister. to hammer out a strategy to save what is the biggest attempt to tackle world poverty in over two decades.The Bali meeting, to pave the way for agreement at the summit, ended with more than 100 points of disagreement. The administration of President George Bush blocked progress and refused to negotiate, while weak leadership in Europe and the Third World compounded the problem. Brazil held the last Earth Summit in Rio in 1992, and the original one, in 1972, took place in Stockholm, Sweden. The meeting marks Mr Prescott's return to the fray, after being blown off course by press reports last month that alleged that he was going to the Bali conference for a "junket". Various senior UN figures are eager for him to get involved again as they believe he is one of the few people who could broker a deal at the summit. The plan would be to launch a new initiative after the G8 meeting of the leaders of the world's richest countries in Canada on 27 and 28 June. Mr Prescott said that if the summit fails, the chance to address the needs of the world's poorest people may be lost for a decade or more. * A report to be published tomorrow by the charity ActionAid will warn G8 leaders that missed targets on aid have cost the lives of 15 million children. It says that they are behind schedule on "virtually every target" set in 1990 in the Millennium Development Goals, supposed to be met by 2015.



Voice of America

22 June 2002


A partnership between Columbia University in New York city and the United Nations has been launched for the first time, to assist local communities to deal with a growing number environmental and social challenges.  For five years, academics at Columbia University's Earth Institute have taken a hands-on approach to the world's most pressing problems, from the jungles of the Amazon in South America to the mountains of the Himalayas in South Asia.  Now, the University has joined forces with the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO. Jeffrey Sachs, who is set to become the head of the University's Earth Institute, will run the program. He is also an advisor to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan.  Professor Sachs said the world's poor, particularly in Africa, are in dire need of assistance, following a failure by wealthy nations to address their social and environmental concerns. "You have the poorest countries actually experiencing absolute declines in living standards," he said. "Now this is shocking, it's deeply distressing, it's counter to all our shared global ambitions, and it remains the most urgent problem in the world, although not necessarily the most addressed problem in the world."  Professor Sachs says the Columbia University - U.N. partnership will focus on five key issues, water, energy, health, agriculture, and biodiversity presented recently by Secretary General Annan.  Six research sites have already been established in Cambodia, Peru, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the United States.  The program is attempting to address problems in rural areas. For example, UNESCO and the Earth Institute are working with the Cambodian government to restore the eco-system of the Tonle Sap Great Lake, which provides the fisheries for more than one-million people.  Researchers are focusing on the alleviation of poverty in the Democratic Republic of Congo and on the environmental consequences of human ranching in desert grasslands in North America and Kenya.  The world's largest cities are receiving attention too. A partnership of participants in New York, Madrid, Rome, Sao Paulo and Cape Town examine the effects of urbanization on the environment.  UNESCO's Peter Bridgewater said the scope of the Columbia - United Nations partnership differentiates the program from other joint efforts. "It is different because it is linking what is happening in the countries, it is linking governments, it is linking local people, real local people on the ground with the capacity of Columbia [University] to deliver on the research activities," he said.  In two years, additional research sites will include Eastern Europe, the Mongolian grasslands, Indonesia, India, Brazil and Costa Rica.  The launch of the program comes just two months before the World Summit on Sustainable Development begins in Johannesburg.



The Nation (Nairobi) via All Africa

22 June 2002


A pyramid is being put up at a shrine on Mt Kenya in preparation for an international conference to be held in South Africa.

The Sh900,000 Earth Justice Pyramid has portraits of presidents of Africa - Jomo Kenyatta, Nelson Mandela, Kwame Nkurumah, and Julius Nyerere - on each side of the base. Dr Jack K Githae, the chairman of the Mount Kenya Shrines committee, said a statue of an African seer would stand on top of the pyramid in Kibirichia location, Meru Central District. "We decided to put the portrait of the legendary Wamugumo, a Kikuyu seer known for his strength since we have his picture. His statue will represent other African seers like Mugo Wa Kibiru," the herbalist said. The pyramid, which will be built of concrete and granite, will be 12-feet high with a 15-feet base. It will be commissioned on July 30 before the People's Earth Summit, which starts in August in Johannesburg, South Africa. This will mark the launch of the Global Drumming Wave in Kenya - a series of activities to create awareness on the People's Earth Summit, Dr Githae said yesterday in Nyeri after laying the pyramid's foundation stone. He said Mandela stands for justice, Nkrumah represents liberty while Kenyatta and Nyerere symbolise prosperity and peace respectively. In South Africa, a group of people will gather at a site called Cradle of Humankind, an hour before the opening of the summit. And in Brazil, over 1,000 people from different religious backgrounds are scheduled to join the wave by gathering at a convention centre for meditation.Other activities will also be done in United States of America, United Kingdom, Australia and Portugal. The groups are supposed to come together to link up collectively to strengthen a creative expression of people's relationship with the earth, according to a spokesman of Global Newsletter - Drumming, Mr Gaia Alex



The Earth Times

22 June 2002


Activists, legislators and journalists from all over the world have begun gathering here for a conference intended to set the stage for the upcoming 10th anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development.  The conference is scheduled to be inaugurated by President Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil. He will symbolically "hand over" the headquarters of the UN conference to President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa. President Mbeki will host the World Summit Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, August 26-September 4. The Johannesburg conference--which Brazilians popularly call Rio Plus 10--will review the progress made by nations on the Earth Summit's initiatives. The conference is also expected to formulate a new assault on global poverty.  Here in Rio, Presidents Cardoso and Mbeki are expected to be joined by Prime Minister Göran Persson of Sweden. It was in the Swedish capital of Stockholm that the first global conference was held in 1972, the UN Conference on the Human Environment. One of the initiatives that came out of that conference was the UN Environment Programme, an agency that started out vigorously under the leadership of Maurice F. Strong, a Canadian businessman and environmentalist. UNEP, however, has become a moribund body because of poor performance by Strong's successors, according to knowledgeable observers.  Strong himself is in Rio, not the least because he was Secretary General of both the 1972 Stockholm Conference and the 1992 Rio Summit. His deputy at the time of the Earth Summit, Nitin Desai, is also here. Desai is Secretary General of the Johannesburg Summit which, like the Rio Summit, is expected to attract tens of thousands of participants.


The Rio meeting, which formally starts on Sunday, is called the International Seminar on Sustainable Development. Seminars will be held on the expectations and opportunities presented by the Johannesburg Summit. This meeting will also be a critical gauge of perceptions of the Johannesburg Summit. It is widely thought that preparations for Johannesburg have faltered and that the summit's agenda has yet to be fully clarified. There is also rising concern that the rich donor countries who are expected to commit additional monies for poverty alleviation, may demur on account of global economic malaise. The world's 30 wealthiest countries currently give some $50 billion in grants to the 137 so-called developing countries, a figure that is widely considered inadequate. There is growing sentiment in the wealthy industrialized countries that much of the trillion dollars of development assistance since World War II has been wasted through mismanagement and corruption. Today, more than half of the world's p[opulation of 6 billion lives in abject poverty.  Sunday's opening ceremony as well as the three-day international seminar will take place in the Modern Art Museum (Museu de Arte Moderna) here.



Associated Press

21 June 2002


The need for a global action plan on problems such as environmental decline and poverty has never been as evident as it is this year, the Worldwatch Institute said Friday. The gap between rich and poor is widening, AIDS ( news - web sites) and other diseases pose health challenges and ecosystems are getting battered, the institute concluded in a report, "Vital Signs 2002: The Trends That Are Shaping Our Future." Many of these topics will be addressed this summer in Johannesburg, South Africa, at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, said Michael Renner, director of the project. Worldwatch, a Washington-based organization that researches global trends in economics and the environment, teamed up with the U.N. Environment Programme to produce the 215-page report, its 11th since 1992. Vital Signs examines more than 50 environmental and social trends, including waste generated by computers, cell phones and other electric devices; the surging wind energy industry and the increase in soda and sugar consumption around the world. "On the downside," the report said, "there is continuing forest loss in the tropics, the threat of extinction for many freshwater species, the relentless generation of huge amounts of hazardous waste, the massive spread of HIV ( news - web sites) infections and declining foreign aid." Promising developments are growing sales of efficient compact fluorescent lamps with 1.8 billion in use worldwide, the steady decline in oil spills and the reduction in production of ozone-destroying chemicals, the report said. "We tend to think of the 'new economy' as being cleaner than the 'smokestack economy,'" Renner said in a statement. "But manufacturing semiconductors is chemical-intensive. And the short life span of these products is creating mountains of electronics waste." He said cell phone and computer users should demand that manufacturers take their products back and design them to be recycled instead thrown out. The report estimates that by 2004, tens of millions of cell phones and an estimated 315 million computers may be headed for dumps. Worldwatch said wind energy remains the world's fastest growing energy source, with generating capacity reaching 24,800 megawatts in 2001, up 37 percent from 18,100 megawatts in 2000. Europe has more than 70 percent of the world's wind generating capacity, with Germany leading the way, the survey said. But the United States and Brazil also are making important strides in increasing their programs. One topic Worldwatch examined this year for the first time was sugar and sweetener consumption. Global per-capita consumption of sweeteners rose to 157 million tons in 2001, or more than 2 1/2 times the amount consumed in 1961, the report said. "The United States is by far the leader - using almost three times as many sweeteners as India and 10 times as many as China," the report said. "Americans on average consumed 686 calories of sweeteners a day in 1999 more than a quarter of the recommended 2,250 calorie diet." The report said carbonated soft drinks maintained their position as the third most popular commercial drink edging closer to milk and tea.






52. SOUTH AFRICA READIES 26,000 POLICE FOR EARTH SUMMIT (Reuters via Planet Ark 27 June 2002)






55. TIME FOR THE BIG PUSH by Derek Osborn


3 July 2002


Derek Osborn headed the UK preparations for the Rio earth summit in 1992. A major conference on the summit will be held on July 16 in Birmingham.

World leaders, civil servants and armies of pressure groups, lobbyists and the media will be descending on Johannesburg at the end of August for the world summit on sustainable development. Ten years after the earth summit in Rio de Janeiro, what will they be aiming to achieve?  Sustainable development means managing growth in the world's economies during the next century in a way that avoids disaster for the environment, and reduces the intolerable gaps between the haves and the have-nots. It is the largest single challenge facing mankind. A big summit meeting is a tremendous opportunity to deepen public understanding of the issues, and to build support for the necessary actions.  Preparations for Johannesburg have been going on for the past year at the UN in New York, and last month in a final pre-summit preparatory meeting in Bali. The issues are becoming clearer, but there is much yet to be done to clinch a meaningful agreement.  The agenda and the negotiations have covered an enormous range of issues. The emerging agreement will reinforce the centrality of the sustainable development goal to governments and organisations at all levels. It will underline the importance of creating, implementing and monitoring effective sustainable development strategies with specific timetabled goals and targets. Vital to this is allocation of resources and monitoring development progress with indicators.  It will also give a new impetus to the process of ratifying and implementing key international agreements on the environment including those on climate change, biodiversity, desertification and international fish stocks. Hopefully, it will send a clear message to the new trade round about building sustainability into trade rules and improving market access for the south. Possibly it will agree a new approach on globalisation and the role of international business.  Local government, business, trade unions, and non-governmental organisations of all kinds have played a leading part in the preparatory discussions, and have been encouraged to develop partnership proposals for advancing sustainability.  The preparations have focused strongly on the problems of the developing countries, and particularly of the least developed countries - many of which are in Africa. They have the most pressing problems of unsustainability. Their economies are in the worst shape. Poverty, hunger and ill health are most acute there. And in many cases these problems are compounded by degradation of the natural environment through pollution, deterioration of the land and soil, and loss of natural resources.


It was agreed early on that the primary focus at Johannesburg would be tackling poverty in the developing world and shaping a development programme that would prioritise this global campaign in a sustainable way. Within that general objective five issues have been identified as particularly significant - water, energy, health, agriculture and biodiversity.  Each of these areas cries out for a sustainable approach. Take water. The objective is to bring fresh drinking water to the 20% of the world's population without it by 2015. This cannot be achieved simply by abstracting water from rivers and groundwater in traditional ways, because in many parts of the world the water resources are insufficient and are shrinking. What is needed is to manage all the water in a catchment area in an integrated and sustainable way. Dealing with dirty water and sewerage is just as important as providing the fresh water. Only an integrated approach will be sustainable.  Similarly for energy. Supplying electricity to the two billion people who do not have it is a pressing development need. But this does not have to be done on the western model with major polluting power plants and a national grid. It may make better economic, social and environmental sense to go for smaller dispersed forms of generation, and to include substantial elements of renewable energy in the mix.  Again, health discussions often focus on the provision of health- care and drugs. But in many developing countries there are better returns in sustainability terms from investment in environmental and social improvements that can reduce disease.  The important task is to turn these statements of priority into concrete programmes that can be delivered. The countries and organisations responsible for taking the lead need to be identified, new resources allocated and committed. Delivering real outcomes in these five areas is one of the key tests for success at Johannesburg. Some new funding is apparently on offer from the developed world, but it needs to be pinned down.  In the preparatory meetings much progress has been made, but countries have not shown enough flexibility to reach full agreement on some of the issues. The Americans have resisted adding any new targets to those already agreed, although at Monterrey, earlier this year, they promised a significant increase in resources to support sustainable development. They need to be persuaded to accept the new targets for sanitation, for renewable energy and for biodiversity.  Many of the development assistance ministers of Europe, including development secretary Clare Short, have been reluctant to allow any aid budgets to be earmarked for the five priority areas. Ways must be found to accommodate these priorities within the overall poverty reduction goal.


Developing countries are themselves reluctant to tie their hands about priorities. But they will need to find some way of responding to the north's readiness to give extra support to the key areas. They are insistent that a clear message be sent to the trade negotiators about the need to improve access to northern markets for goods and services from developing countries, and to find ways of taking forward the debate about globalisation and the framework within which giant multinationals should be allowed to operate.


Deals on some of these key issues have still to be done but it will require great political skill to pull off an agreement which will really advance sustainability in the world at Johannesburg. Now is the moment for the big push.



Mail & Guardian

28 June 2002


Fiona Macleod interviews Yemi Katerere, Southern African regional director of IUCN-The World Conservation Union, about the challenges and the future of the World Summit

Some people would say "sustainable development" is a contradiction in terms. What is your understanding of it? What does it mean?

If you take a very theoretical or conceptual discussion about sustainable development, it can be contradictory because sustainable development as a concept is not the basis for action. It does not describe the action that you will actually do, so it becomes a theoretical discussion of sustainable development.  But in terms of how we use it, it's really about the wise use of the natural resources. In particular for a region like Southern Africa that is dependent on natural resources for local and international markets, it's about how we can use those natural resources to generate economic development without undermining your future ability to continue to grow the economy.  Secondly, the environment is not only a source of inputs into different sectors -- whether you are talking tourism, mining or agriculture -- but it acts as a sink: as you create waste, the environment absorbs all that waste you generate. There's clearly a limit to which the environment can continue to provide inputs into those different sectors and also act as a sink for all the waste we generate.  It's creating that balance that is really what we are talking about when we refer to sustainable development.


How does IUCN-The World Conservation Union further sustainable development in Southern Africa?

In different ways. First of all, our mission in Southern Africa is to promote sustainable and equitable development, and also the sustainable use of biodiversity.  In order to do that, we believe that to mobilise people to be able to conserve the natural resources and biodiversity in a sustainable manner, we first have to demonstrate benefit. People have to see that these natural resources generate tangible benefits.  Secondly, people have to have a sense of ownership. This means they can make decisions about the resources and the benefits that derive from those resources.  Our contribution has been to try to promote this thinking through policy changes, engaging governments, bringing on board examples of good practice, engaging parliamentarians, civil society, middle managers and senior bureaucrats -- and showing them what is working and what is not working. We are trying to facilitate policy development that then promotes the ability of people to manage their resources and to benefit from those resources.


Benefit is important, and a sense of ownership and participation in the process.

Do you get actively involved in projects?

We get involved in projects to the extent that we need to test or to demonstrate concepts or to undertake case studies, but generally in terms of projects we do not want to be involved in dissemination.  If we undertake a study, for example, in a particular area of how communities manage a resource, we would collect the information and we would then disseminate the information to other organisations that can take it further by replicating that example in other parts of the country. We wouldn't get involved in mass replication, that would not be our role.  But to the extent that we need to come up with new methods of doing something, we do projects. We don't have a mandate to do field work and mass dissemination. We are a membership organisation and one of our core values is that we work in partnership with our members. So ultimately it will be our members who take on the main roles of implementing field projects, rather than IUCN.


How do you expect the World Summit to further sustainable development in this region?

What is critical firstly is that the World Summit is being held in Africa. There has been a lot of focus on Africa, on Africa's poverty, on the fact that Africa is a very rich continent and despite its wealth, in terms of natural resources and people, it remains poor. Having the summit in Africa is putting a focus on Africa, and it's bringing into focus some of these issues.


Yes, we have known all these things, there is nothing new in what is being said, but in terms of finding solutions, in moving forward, we are hoping the summit will focus on the action.  We must not be getting into debate. Agenda 21 was an action agenda -- for example, it talked about capacity building in terms of sustainable development. Agenda 21 is still relevant today. But we really have not committed ourselves to the implementation of Agenda 21.


Capacity building remains an issue on the agenda for the World Summit. Partnerships is another issue that is coming across strongly in terms of getting what needs to be done, done. The summit is going to highlight the actions that need to be taken -- very concrete, practical actions in terms of starting to address some of the challenges that we face within the context of Africa.


The kinds of economic growth that we are looking at in terms of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) vision, we are talking about economic growth of 7% a year, at halving poverty by half by the year 2015 to 2020. If you are going to do that, it will imply that you are going to have to increase the rate of exploitation of natural resources.


Now, unless we can focus very critically on how we are going to exploit those natural resources, we can put ourselves on an unsustainable path. It is important that, as we try to address the poverty of Africa and as we inevitably are going to focus on Africa's natural resources, we do so in a sustainable manner.  I think the summit is going to help renew our commitment to Agenda 21, to do the things that we should have been doing. What we are seeing with Nepad being an African vision of addressing some of the problems is very closely linked to the agenda for the World Summit on Sustainable Development. I see Nepad mobilising the financial resources, the political commitment from the leadership of Africa, seeking African solutions to African problems -- I think that in itself will enhance the whole agenda of sustainable development in Africa.


Will a programme of action then be the most important legacy of the World Summit?

Yes, coming up with types of actions that need to be taken forward. We are not renegotiating Agenda 21, we are focusing on action, on what needs to be done.  That's why, for example, the issue of partnerships is being highlighted, because that will be one way of achieving those actions. What is the role of the private sector; can we identify those areas where the private sector can mobilise the requisite financial resources to do the things that the private sector can do best? What is the role of the public sector; what sort of public resources can we mobilise to do certain things that the public sector should be doing? What is the role of civil society in terms of this agenda? Those are the issues that should be focused on.

We should not just be looking at the summit itself, but beyond the summit. The real challenge is the action that we actually implement after the summit. That is where the test will be.


Does the Southern approach to this programme of action and the issues attached differ from the Northern approach?

There has always been a North-South tension, there have always been issues around the flow of the resources, about trade barriers. If Africa is going to develop, some of those issues need to be addressed.  The whole issue of governance is also coming on the table. It's not just governance in terms of Africa, but governance in terms of how the multilateral organisations -- the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organisation -- are managed and how the decisions are made in those institutions which impact on Africa.  I think the summit should not dwell on the North-South divide. We cannot avoid some debate about what is the role or responsibility of the North and what the South should be doing. But at the end of the day we should not end with allegations that the North did not do this, and with the North responding that the South did not do this.  If we look at the South frankly, since 1992 we have made some impressive gains. Even if we just look at Southern Africa and the commitment to protected areas. Protected areas are a global, public good. They benefit not just the Southern African region, they are a global benefit.  There is a tremendous commitment by the governments of Southern Africa, if you look at the amount of land that has been committed to the protected areas. It is a huge amount of land. If you look at the pressures that these countries are facing, that land could easily be converted to various other users. We are impressed with the amount of land that has been put under protected areas.  So we should not be focusing on blaming each other, but we should recognise where we have not played our part, whether we are the North or the South, and ultimately we have to be looking forward. We have to face the challenges and find the commitment to address them.



Business Day via All Africa

27 June 2002


Brutus, emeritus professor of Africana Studies at the University of Pittsburgh, is a poet, internationalist activist and former Robben Island prisoner. Bush, Blair, Chirac, Schröder and Chretien serve as a sort of board of directors

SA AND the world are faced with critical ideological choices in coming weeks. What kind of case is the global left making?

The stakes couldn't be higher. When the World Summit on Sustainable Development convenes in Sandton in late August, it will literally be deciding on an agenda for the planet. When countries joining the Africa Union (AU) meet in Durban next week, the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) will set the agenda for our continent. But in reality, much of the agenda for both these events has already been determined by the Group of Eight (G-8) leadership in its mountain hideout in Canada. George Bush, Tony Blair, Jacques Chirac, Helmut Schröder, Jean Chretien and the others serve as a sort of board of directors which promotes northern corporate interests. That is not good for the rest of us. This was proven at the Bali prepcom for the world summit in early June, when corporations pushed the privatisation agenda via the G-8, World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Trade Organisation (WTO). Frontline battles to save humanity and environment have been waged often enough by people's movements against these institutions, from Seattle to Prague to Washington. And there are many other sites across the Third World that have hosted IMF riots against neoliberal (free-market) economics. Now we find that we also must do battle with the United Nations bureaucrats and a global compact that, because of US unwillingness to pay back dues, requires Kofi Annan to go begging to some of the world's most criminal multinational corporations. And now we learn too, that the host country for the world summit and the AU are apparently intent on selling out the continent under the rubric of a plan crafted by the same technocrats who wrote Pretoria's failed Gear economic programme, under the guidance of Washington and the corporate leaders of Davos. It is past time for us to insist that President Thabo Mbeki rise off his kneepad and assume the dignity of an African leader, or face ridicule. In Durban at the launch of the Africa Union, social movements will remind the world that discredited elites cannot rename their club and continue to endorse the Washington consensus. Virtually all civil society commentators have complained that Nepad is top-down, nonconsultative, and so prone to neoliberal economic mistakes that it must be tossed out and a new programme started from scratch. Time magazine put Mbeki on its front cover on June 10, alleging incorrectly that he has made a Uturn on AIDS.


The G-8 elites need a rehabilitated Mbeki, and they insist that, as Time claimed, Nepad "could be the continent's last hope for joining the global economy".Yet Africa has joined the global economy, and that is the problem. For more than a quarter of a century, the revenue from our outputs mainly cash crops and minerals have fallen dramatically even though our outputs have increased, due to what economists call "declining terms of trade". Meanwhile, debt repayments and capital flight continue to suck us dry of finances we desperately need for investment. So why then does Nepad politely agree to repay debt under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries programme that even the World Bank now admits has failed? And how can Mbeki in good conscience promote more "public-private partnerships" in Africa which do not work at home? The privatisation of water, electricity, transport and telecommunications by European, US and Asian firms have all failed on their own terms, as well as in providing sustainable access to the masses of South Africans. In the movements for global justice, our strategy is to endorse, attend and create a series of progressive events at the AU in July and the world summit in August that will allow the voices of angry citizens to be heard.


These include communities resisting evictions and water and electricity cut-offs, rural people demanding land reform, AIDS activists seeking antiretroviral medicine, environmentalists halting dams and dirty energy projects, women opposing patriarchy and violence, consumer organisations opposed to corporate domination of everything, and labour on strike against their oppressors in the private sector as well as municipal and national governments. We expect all these movements will join a mass march on the Sandton Convention Centre at the mid-point of the world summit. Its aim is to nonviolently remind the elites that we don't trust them, and to remind society of the issues that the elites are doing their best to ignore.



Open Democracy

26 June 2002


Felix Dodds, executive director of Stakeholder Forum For Our Common Future, is a key participant in the global preparations for August's 'Rio plus 10' conference in Johannesburg. In a compelling interview, he explains why Jo'burg may be the endgame for 'sustainable development'.




The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) that will be held in Johannesburg between 26 August and 4 September will bring together negotiators from more than 150 countries to try to make practical, targeted agreements that will help bring closer the prospect of a fairer, more sustainable world. The summit comes ten years after the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 1992. The 'Earth Summit', as it was known, achieved binding agreement on two major global environmental issues - climate change and biodiversity. Three other, non-binding, agreements were made on the relationship between sustainable environment and social development. Agenda 21, an assessment and plan of action for advancing the agreed environmental and social goals, was also secured at Rio, with a recommendation that all countries should produce national sustainable development strategies. Ten years on, four preparatory meetings (or 'PrepComs') were held in New York and Bali, Indonesia, bringing together 'stakeholders' - governments, NGOs, business groups - to plan the agenda and prospects for the Johannesburg conference. One of the people who has been most active in trying to ensure the summit's success is Felix Dodds, executive director of Stakeholder Forum For Our Common Future. With a focused understanding of the agenda and practical issues at stake, and an unmatched insight into the often delicate relationships between non-governmental organisations, corporations and governments, Dodds is uniquely qualified to speak about the problems and opportunities of the summit process. Here, Felix Dodds talks to Caspar Henderson, Globalisation editor of openDemocracy.


Opendemocracy - The latest meeting in advance of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) recently ended in Bali. What was the meeting essentially about?

Felix Dodds - Bali was the final preparatory meeting, or PrepCom, before Johannesburg. It was expected to have two governmental outcomes: to finalise a programme of action, and to start the negotiations on a political declaration.

A further goal was an agreement or a framework for enabling partnerships, involving both governments and other stakeholders, to be recognised at the summit.

The uneven road to Bali

openDemocracy - Some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have suggested that Bali was a tremendous letdown. Do you think this is fair?

Felix Dodds - In general terms, yes. There were a number of problems at Bali and these go back to the previous meeting, PrepCom 3 in New York in April. At that time, there was a disagreement about the way that the Programme of Action should be designed. The chair of PrepCom 3, Emil Salim, the former Environment Minister of Indonesia, had approached it in an unusual way. Instead of producing a document outlining specific actions and spending plans along with means of implementing them (as documents such as Agenda 21 are designed), Emil Salim simply offered a set of paragraphs under various topic headings (Draft Plan of Implementation for the WSSD).  This caused a lot of frustration to the WSSD hosts, the South African government. In response, they distributed another document in the run-up to Bali under what are called 'non-paper' terms. In theory, a non-paper is one that is not attributable. But the South Africans made it clear to everyone in Bali that they had written it. This non-paper was an attempt to refocus the Bali discussion around a coherent agenda for following through decisions: timetable and targets, specific activities, means of implementation plus clarity on the finance and resources required. "By the time we went into the Bali meeting we had the 'wrong' document". The 'non-paper' was a good piece of work. Many NGOs and stakeholder groups reacted positively to it, the UK government made it clear that they supported the South African government position, and even the vice-chairs from Canada and Egypt suggested that the chair should redo his own document accordingly. But, instead, the chair just tinkered with the text, and left it substantially unchanged.  Some governments went as far as actually asking us, the Stakeholder Forum, to try to get the G8 to intervene. We actually had a meeting with the G8 'sherpas' to help get things back on track. And the UN Secretary General was so worried that he issued a statement suggesting the summit should focus on five areas - energy, biodiversity, food security, health and fresh water - as a way of trying to help push it in the right direction.  But it became very difficult to change course. Once government representatives arrived in Bali, they had to approach the chair's text in good faith. Thus, by the time we went into the Bali meeting we had, essentially, the 'wrong' document.

openDemocracy - Why do you think this was allowed to happen?

Felix Dodds - I think that the UN - and we've made these comments to the Secretary General's Office - should actually have instructions on what a programme of action should look like so that it is not reinvented each time we start this process. Many documents of this kind are relatively similar in the way that a programme of action is developed, and the learnings they embody need to be shared.  For example, if the PrepCom document had been structured along the lines of Agenda 21, the gaps that needed to be filled in would be clear. We could go through the document and see if questions, say, of regional level actions on fresh water were missing. Instead, at Bali, all we had was a series of paragraphs with no context or standard of comparison.

Even at this stage, there is hope that the Secretary General's 'five areas' might be developed into another document. What status that document would have is unclear. There was discussion in the corridors that the G8 might in some way endorse the Secretary General's call for these five areas and that some work could be done to produce a kind of hybrid document that might be available for negotiating in Johannesburg.  But time is now desperately short. We are now in a situation where there is no bureau to lead the process, because after Bali the political bureau was dissolved and the bureau for the WSSD will not be elected until the first day of the summit itself. Basically, the only people in place now are the host country, South Africa. In this context, this might actually be a blessing - they have been enormously impressive throughout this process. Their clearness of direction in trying to push this conference in the right direction deserves an enormous amount of credit.

From Bali to Johannesburg: leaving it to the politicians?

openDemocracy - Looking here at the programme of action or implementation document of the WSSD, there are a huge number of bracketed areas. Why is this? Is the essence of the document just a wish list, and in no way really a deliverable text?

Felix Dodds - This, too, was very badly managed in Bali. The problem was that the Bali document did not lend itself to the kind of agreements between the various stakeholders that are a necessary part of making progress at the summit. For example, it is likely that both the Group of 77 and the US were ready to agree a financial deal over the TransNational Conference convention, based on money released under the Monterrey Conference on Finance and Development. The chance of such an agreement was lost by the inadequacies of the PrepCom document.  To make the point in more general terms: donor governments do not want to commit money to things they cannot deliver. So, on water, a clear programme of action would have entailed specified mechanisms to deliver it - such as a set of partnerships on rainwater harvesting, on water delivery for countries in sub-Saharan Africa that will require aid. All this could have been quantified in terms of numbers of people and resources. We know, for example, that to halve the numbers without access to clean water by 2015 means that, globally, 300,000 people a day have to gain access.

One of the things that have become clear during this process is that the Millennium Development Goals were too aspirational. In contrast, we very much wanted incremental targets, and a work-orientated approach - something the South Africans, too, have argued for. If we are serious about hitting a target for 2015, we must know where we want to be in 2005. And if we know where we want to be in 2005, then we must have some idea of the kinds of activities that are required now.  This has not happened. Partly because the US representatives have actually been taking out some of the targets. Their argument, and I have some sympathy with it, is that unless there is a serious attempt to achieve something, that we really mean it and have a programme of action to do it, then what's the point? They don't want to support targets that are not founded on a firm scientific basis, and with no evidence that the international community intends to deliver them.

openDemocracy - Was the issue of greenhouse gas emission targets one of the US's sticking points?

Felix Dodds - There were several. The US have also been arguing against sanitation targets, which is something that the Bonn Freshwater Conference endorsed. It requires 380,000 people a day to be given proper sewage systems to reach the target. Well, to deliver this enormous target would mean reorientating aid giving to both the millennium and later targets. The governments of northern countries don't seem to be prepared to do that. They have lost their political belief. "The governments of northern countries have lost their political belief"  I think that one of the hopes for Johannesburg, precisely because it is a meeting of heads of government, is that the leaders can use their political weight to put it back on track. If, for example, we could have a proper programme of action and intention to deliver, then the head of a government could then instruct the development ministry to relocate its resources to the relevant area. There is hope that the Secretary General's five areas (food security, fresh water, health, biodiversity and energy) might be able to do that to some extent.

openDemocracy - Four of these are primarily but not exclusively development targets. The fifth, energy, though it has important development aspects, is also very much in the environmental category. In that regard it seems unlikely the US would endorse the kinds of proposals the European Union has put forward.

Felix Dodds - I look at it slightly differently. In the original discussions in 1999 about this summit, it was felt that it should have a poverty focus. The component parts of poverty - food, water, energy, shelter, work, healthy environment - are essentially contained in the Secretary General's proposal. In the context of the work on energy, the US are not unsympathetic to looking at renewables and different forms of energy provision for developing countries. For example, one of the US initiatives is the Energy Village Network, which is an attempt to link villagers into alternative forms of energy.  The US administration is approaching this summit seriously, and with money to spend. We don't know exactly how much - but at Monterrey they promised some $4 billion. Now, even if far less than this is put on the table, it will require the European Union to be prepared to match it. But the problem we have is, as I've indicated, that the summit document does not lend itself towards helping to spend that kind of money.

Getting round the rich men's roadblocks

openDemocracy - The call for a charter for corporate accountability has received some attention. What is going on there?

Felix Dodds - Friends of the Earth have come out for a convention, in one of the most impressive campaigns I've seen by an NGO for a long while. It has really opened up a debate, which will have to be addressed. A number of companies would be very sympathetic to such a discussion, because they feel that many of their colleagues are freeloading on the voluntary initiative agenda. Now voluntary initiatives on social and environmental responsibility are very important. But, unless you create a baseline which you can move off, then there is no reward to companies that actually are delivering.  In the last few years, we've seen a shift within the leading companies on this question. We raised this issue in 1999, and produced a non-paper then on the summit process, which the International Chamber of Commerce responded to. Some companies feel dissatisfied with the existing Global Compact, which has nine areas that companies are meant to be abiding by - but they only have to abide by one in order to join. There is no system of incremental improvement built into it, where the commitments and standards that companies have to meet on environmental and social responsibility show a clear progression.  There are different possible ways of making progress here. I do think that the issue of a convention for companies may not be fully dealt with by Johannesburg, but it is now at least firmly on the agenda.

openDemocracy - The trade agenda for poverty reduction is still a crucial aspect but it's not developing in a way many people have hoped. In this connection, something in the Draft Plan of Implementation presented in Bali made me, in the context of what's been happening in the last few months, laugh out loud - the agreement to "achieve substantial improvements in market access... reductions of, with a view to phasing out, all forms of export subsidies and substantial reduction in trade distorting support for agricultural products". Do you think the spotlight of Johannesburg may help to change the political temperature and ultimately the way that trade and subsidies are handled in Europe and the US?

Felix Dodds - This is one of the major issues that wasn't resolved. There was a deal on the table, which was put forward by the South Africans. I wasn't...well, none of us were allowed in the room! It's my understanding that two countries within the European Union blocked the deal - France and Ireland. It's probably not surprising why that was the case. We don't know enough about the ins and outs of the deal. But we understand the Americans were prepared to go with it, as was the rest of the European Union.

This is an issue that will be one of the major issues in Johannesburg. One of the problems that we suffered from in Bali was a selective use of agreements. For example, the Americans often went back on previous agreements such as the Beijing and Cairo Conferences on women, population and development. Meanwhile, they and others were refusing to move back on the Monterrey Consensus or the Doha Agreements. And so you have a schizophrenia: either we agree that everything that has previously been agreed stands and we move forward, or we pick and choose which previous agreements to overturn in order to get what we want this time round. In the context of trade, in Johannesburg we need to lay down what the sustainable development criteria should be for the next round. But, so far, we have merely put all the key points in brackets in the text and so postponed their resolution. This is because of a disagreement over whether the World Trade Organisation (WTO) or the WSSD is the proper place for that conversation. It's unclear what will happen in Johannesburg on that. We also have to factor in what happens at the G8 meeting this week in Canada, because there are five African heads of state going - led by Thabo Mbeki, the South African President. It's the first time we have had such a meeting, and the main item on the agenda is to map out the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD). There may be some deals on trade being done there. NGOs criticise the G8 for being opaque, when its impacts on the WTO, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank are enormous. There have already been conversations with the French, who hold the next G8 presidency, to try to open up some space for more creative debate with all the other stakeholders.

After Rio: one step back, two forward?

openDemocracy - What achievements from Johannesburg would satisfy you?

"I'd like to see timetables and targets on energy, biodiversity, freshwater, security, health with tranches of money then delivered to implement these."

Felix Dodds - We need a new text based on the five issues of the UN Secretary General, drawn up in a proper programme of action format. With the right political will from the G8 and others, it could still be achieved because the Americans would then be told by their President that they had to deliver something.  I'd like to see timetables and targets on energy, biodiversity, freshwater, security, health - with tranches of money then delivered to implement these, whether these come through government initiatives, UN initiatives, intergovernmental bodies, or from stakeholders. I think this is a very exciting agenda around which we could all start to rally.

openDemocracy - Are we back to where we were in Stockholm in 1972?

Felix Dodds - No, we're not. For one thing, the world is a lot more complicated now. If you look back to 1992, the Soviet Union had only just dissolved. The impacts of that were not yet known. We had also not really experienced globalisation - and we have called for a UN commission on the globalisation of sustainable development.  One of our arguments to the people involved in drawing up the Johannesburg programme of action was that we should have addressed globalisation in each of the areas. What does globalisation in energy, water and health mean? This would allow putting some tangible good and bad into our understanding, rather than the ungraspable discussion on globalisation that often occurs. So I think that 1992 in a sense was easier compared to where we are now. We've had a large change in governments in developed countries prior to this summit, which has caused a definite change of mood. But the other thing that we potentially have, which we did not have in 1972 or 1992, is money. In theory, we should be able to do something with that!

openDemocracy - But there have been declarations in the past to increase aid as a proportion of GDP from the leading industrialised countries. This hasn't happened.

Felix Dodds - Well, in 1992, governments agreed to try and deliver a $125 billion transfer from north to south. This amounted to 0.7% of GDP. It was amazing how close it got to what was meant to be the UN target for official development assistance. Yet the only new money that was committed at Rio was for the Global Environment Facility - and lo and behold, at the same time, aid dropped by an equivalent amount. The year 1997, the five-year review of Rio, was a wake-up call; after that, aid flows started to go back up.  In 1992, northern governments used the recession and dissolution of the Soviet Union to postpone action and, after the economic upturn started, they then declared foreign direct investment to be their favoured route to help the poorer countries. But foreign direct investment only went to ten countries in the world - none of them in Africa. They simply weren't addressing the poorest at all. Meanwhile, we had no understanding of what the impact of foreign direct investment was, positive or negative. Basically, the developed countries didn't do what they promised in 1992.  After 1997, the UK did start to push up its aid. I understand the French have set a date for 0.7%, over a ten-year horizon, according to the French ambassador in Canada. If this happens, two major European right-of-centre governments would actually be committing to aid increases in a way that left-of-centre governments have not.

openDemocracy - There is a tendency for governments of rich countries to make nice promises, but when the time comes for them to deliver, there are 'problems' - a new US recession, say, or a serious security situation in the Middle East. I was struck by a comment reported from Thabo Mbeki at the World Food Summit (WFS) recently held in Rome, to the effect that all the heads of NATO had managed to attend an extravagant jamboree in Rome the previous week, yet only two bothered to turn up for the WFS - and this at a time when 800 million people suffer serious food insecurity, hunger and worse! That spoke of a real divide, and anger on his part. Is there a division developing between the rich countries and the rest of the world, that actually things are much less promising than we would like to believe?

Felix Dodds - The WFS was a five-year review, which you would not expect a large number of heads of government to attend. Around seventy of them were at Rio Plus Five in 1997. Not many were at the original WFS. Not many countries regarded it as being at a level for heads of government. Johannesburg, in contrast, is a world summit, not a five-year review, and we already have forty-five heads of government committed to coming, including Chirac, Schroder and Blair, with the promise of seventy in toto.

There is a second point that relates to your fundamental question. I'll give you a negative outcome from Johannesburg - that it's the end of the sustainable development process as we know it, basically not something that people are prepared to put money into. Compare this with the way governments responded to the challenge of terrorism, by quickly delivering a massive amount of money for security-related policies - even where the intimate link between problems of security and poverty is widely recognised.

But if Johannesburg does prove to be the end of sustainable development as we know it, what are the implications? It may mean that those of us committed to the agenda may have to retreat, to spend the next ten years fighting for every marginal point, and to accept losing in many cases along the way. But even if this negative outcome occurs, it could be profoundly important in its own way. Because it may force people to fundamentally address some of the real issues that are not at present being addressed.

For example, we in the north are not facing up to consumption and production issues. We are losing the chance of making progress because of a lack of political leadership. No head of government is taking the lead in calling for society to address its fundamental problems. In this perspective, even if the outcome is negative, Johannesburg may actually be a wake-up call for the world. In which case, we have to go back to the grass roots and rebuild a movement that is able to generate leaders newly willing to take political risks.  "Even if the outcome is negative, Johannesburg may actually be a wake-up call for the world. We may have to go back to the grassroots and rebuild a movement that is able to generate leaders willing to take political risks"

Ideal outcomes and real prospects

openDemocracy - What then would be the positive outcome for Johannesburg? You mentioned earlier partnerships you were working with to deliver practical results at a grass-roots level. What do they involve?

Felix Dodds - Many organisations today need to change their focus. The Stakeholder Forum has, overall, been a 'policy wonk' organisation. We are now changing as much as we can into a development organisation as well, whose concern is with the implementation of ideas. We want to contribute to, say, the water target in a quantifiable and practical way, rather than just talking about it. As an organisation we want to work in areas such as energy, food, security, health and fresh water.

openDemocracy - The role of the private sector in water and sewerage provision, especially in urbanising environments is a hot topic. It has been discussed a good deal in the city of Johannesburg itself. Do you have any thoughts as to how that debate has evolved?

Felix Dodds - We were contracted to organise the NGO involvement in the Hague Fresh Water Conference, then by the German government to hold the multi-stakeholder dialogues for the Bonn Fresh Water Conference which finished in December 2001. At The Hague, there was a lot of infighting but, by the time we got to Bonn, we had been able to create a positive dialogue. In fact, for the first time ever in a fresh water conference, we persuaded ministers and the private sector to discuss corruption in the water industry.  The debate on water privatisation falls into different areas. One is that most water companies will say, not that they favour privatisation, but that they favour being contracted to deliver water - and that water should remain in the ownership of local or national governments. If a government is prepared to sell off water as a commodity and the ownership shifts, then the companies of course will go in and bid, because it's a market. The key point is that the debate has to be won at the political level. I think a coalition can be drawn together, which would include some of the major companies, in favour of ownership of water remaining in public hands while service provision can be from the private sector.  At present, only 5% of water is delivered by private companies. The other 95% is delivered by public sector or by other community means. The issue of service delivery is about how we can ensure water gets to people. There are different possible models, involving a mix of community-based, private and public agencies. With water, as with the other key issues on the sustainable development agenda, there may be many options. Governments need to set up a scheme which really involves the local stakeholders in a decision-making process and which reflects what is best for the country and its people



The New York Times

25 June 2002


The writer is the president of South Africa. He contributed this comment to The New York Times.

CAPETOWN: A great moment is at hand: a chance for developed countries to make a sound investment while helping to break the cycle of African underdevelopment. This prospect now seems as obvious as it was previously elusive. The Group of Eight conference of industrialized nations that begins this week in Canada comes as we plan for the World Summit on Sustainable Development in South Africa in September. It follows significant commitments made by the Bush administration and the European Union at a United Nations conference earlier this year in Mexico to increase development aid. The common thread here is the renewed determination among political leaders and civil society to build a humane world of shared prosperity. The idea gains its momentum not from the desire to provide charity. Nor is it premised merely on fears in highly developed nations of new immigrants or of poor regions becoming so volatile as to pull the rest of the world into instability. The momentum for sustained development, in partnership with the private sector, is based on a recognition that it is possible to revive poor nations, particularly in Africa, through investments for mutual benefit. There is an unprecedented resolve on the continent to turn away from the begging bowl and engage in new efforts to build a better life. The fact that most African states have held multiparty elections in the past decade is relevant.


So is the imminent formation of the African Union, out of the Organization of African Unity, which will occur at a summit in South Africa early next month. Such developments have helped reveal a socioeconomic potential previously obscured, and they have given strength to a new realism. In this great effort, we Africans seek, and need, partners. On offer to the investors from the highly developed economies are sound prospects in countries whose infrastructures - limited telecommunications systems, poor roads, rail and port facilities, sometimes dilapidated cities - hold the promise of exponential improvement. Where others are approaching saturation, Africa offers rapid growth. Such cooperation will reward the many African nations prepared to improve political and economic governance. But there could be broader spinoffs. This partnership of equals may lead to new introspection among the citizens of developed countries about themselves; it may rekindle that humanism that should lie at the foundation of global relations. Such might be the outcome, if the developed nations work with Africans in redefining assistance, fashioning a fairer trade regime and treating Africa as an investment destination. Group of Eight leaders and other statesmen will gather in a remote spot in the Canadian Rockies to hear more about the New Partnership for Africa's Development. African leaders will arrive with concrete proposals on how to get this partnership off the ground. A central feature of the new partnership is ensuring democracy, human rights and good governance. It sets out independent mechanisms for peer review, with provisions aimed at foreseeing problems and working to prevent their spread - rather than just censuring and punishing when things go wrong. If programs in manufacturing, agriculture, education and health are to succeed, Africans in their millions must take an active part. Most important, it is Africans who have done and will continue to do the planning. As George Marshall noted in proposing his famous plan to rebuild Europe half a century ago: "It would be neither fitting nor efficacious for this government to undertake to draw up unilaterally a program designed to place Europe on its feet economically. This is the business of the Europeans." And so it will be for Africans now.


60. TRADE NOT AID IS THE WAY FORWARD by Maria Livanos Cattaui

Bangkok Post

25 June 2002


Maria Livanos Cattaui is secretary-general of the International Chamber of Commerce.

Trade agreements reached by the powerbrokers alone are not enough. The developing countries need real access to the markets of the richer nations. Aid can help them, but the benefits are short term. Added trade opportunities are what's needed. If you want a safe bet on the outcome of the Group of Eight summit in the Canadian mountain resort of Kananaskis tomorrow and Thursday, put your money on it culminating in a ringing declaration of support for open trade and investment. The heads of state and government will depict trade as the most potent force for defeating poverty in the developing countries and for sustaining an expanding global economy, or words to that effect. But will pledges be matched by deeds? On present form, no smart punter would be willing to risk his money on such a wager. The world's two biggest traders, the United States and the European Union, will sign the resulting declaration regardless of simmering trade disputes that threaten to deteriorate into tit-for-tat protectionism. That is unless, in defiance of political expediency, there is a radical departure from current intransigence and the G8 governments reaffirm their free trade principles through their actions and willingness to compromise. It was after all the US and the EU that only last November threw their combined weight behind the launch of the World Trade Organisation's Doha development round _ one of the few positive developments of an otherwise grim year. Since then, the horizons have darkened with the imposition by the US of ``safeguard'' tariffs on imported steel, duties on Canadian timber, and plans for big increases in agricultural subsidies. In the US congress, moves are afoot to attach protectionist strings to the Trade Promotion Authority _ formerly known as ``fast track'' _, which the Bush administration needs to negotiate trade agreements. Trading partners are gearing up to retaliate against the steel tariffs. The EU, Japan, India and China are among those busily preparing sanctions lists against US products ranging from motorcycles to orange juice. Further souring the atmosphere is a spate of moves across the world to secure relief from foreign imports through the WTO's anti-dumping and anti-subsidy provisions. Ironically, all these restrictive actions invoke the rules of the very organisation whose purpose it is to liberalise trade. The 144 WTO member governments have given themselves until January 2005 to complete a substantial trade liberalisation package that will open world markets, including for the agricultural and textile exports on which most of the people in the developing world depend for a living. The chances of meeting that deadline look bleak unless the major trading nations settle their squabbles. The leaders of the world's most powerful economies are rightly making African development the centrepiece of the Kananaskis summit. They will be focusing on a continent that is wracked by natural and man-made disasters and desperately in need of the tonic of investment, both foreign and domestic. To be sure, the summit leaders will be heartened by the African leaders' determination to make a success of their own self-help initiative, the New Partnership for Africa's Development, or Nepad, under whose banner African leaders have pledged their commitment to good governance and investment-friendly policies.


We can expect much talk at Kananaskis about aid programmes and debt relief. But what good does it do poor African countries to invest in their industries and raise their farm output if the markets of the rich world are closed to the goods they produce? Without the ability to sell their products, the African countries will never achieve the economic growth they need. Trade barriers will cancel the benefits of aid programmes. Even though Africa's share of world exports is only a meagre 2%, that still represents many times the amount the continent receives in aid. Think of the effect that even a modest increase in their share of world markets would have on their economic prospects. This is why African and other developing countries want the United Nations summit in Johannesburg at the end of August to tackle trade issues as well as all the other topics covered by its title of the World Summit on Sustainable Development. The developing countries are crying out for greater market access from the industrialised world so that they can depend on their own resources in preference to hand-outs. Mindful of the insecurity and instability that poverty breeds, the G8 countries would do well, in their own self-interest, to make sure that plea is heeded. Trade is the best way to help the developing countries to help themselves.




23 June 2002


Ian Willmore is media coordinator at Friends of the Earth, and writes a regular monthly online commentary for The Observer on environmental issues.

New Labour ministers are telling protestors for justice in global trade that the government is on their side. But merely seeking corporate volunteers for an ethical approach is not enough to bring about change. Last week saw one of the largest ever mass lobbies of Parliament, organised by the Trade Justice Movement, an alliance of development, environmental and aid organisations.


Politicians queued up to pour honeyed compliments over the lobbyists, and of course to grab that all-important photo opportunity. Tony Blair said how he shared their aims and values, and how much he hoped that developing countries would get fair access to rich country markets for their goods and services. Trade Secretary Patricia Hewitt said that if the success of the lobby were replicated in every country round the world, there would be an irresistible momentum for change, although she was somewhat vague about exactly what this change might be. Was this a real commitment to the aims of the Trade Justice Movement or just the usual political pieties? Of course, the UK is part of a European Union that still spends half its budget on the grossly unfair and inefficient Common Agricultural Policy. Among other things, the CAP acts as a giant barrier to fair trade in farm goods. But it would be unfair to blame Tony Blair for this long-standing, even if progress towards CAP reform has been achingly slow since New Labour took office. More to the point, the Trade Justice Movement is not just about fair access to markets, important as this is. It is also about finding ways in which political institutions, both global and national, can be enabled to regain a measure of regulation and control of the world economy. This is particularly important in developing countries, which often find themselves helpless in the face of the power of multinational corporations and the developed country Governments that so often seek to advance their interests. About this most vital issue, neither Tony Blair nor Trade Secretary Patricia Hewitt said a word. Two simple facts show the scale of the problem. First, five hundred multinational companies now control almost two thirds of world trade. Second, the world's five largest companies together generate annual sales greater than the combined incomes of the forty-six poorest countries in the world. Multinational companies have been able to gain such wealth and power because northern governments and the international institutions they dominate, including the World Trade Organisation, have removed barriers to trade whenever it is in their interests to do so, while retaining barriers when it is developing countries who have most to gain by their removal. The Bush Administration, for example, recently put in place protectionist measures to benefit the US steel industry, directly at the expense of steel industries in the developing world. The potent combination of greater power and weaker regulation for the world's corporations is certainly contributing towards growing levels of environmental damage and economic instability. Half of the world's forests have now been destroyed, for example, while half of the world's rivers are seriously depleted and polluted. There is also a growing gap between rich and poor, both within and between states. The UN Development Programme has concluded that "multinational corporations are too important and too dominant a part of the global economy for voluntary codes to be enough ... They need to be brought within the frame of global governance, not just the patchwork of national laws, rules and regulations". NGOs across the world are therefore calling for an international, legally binding agreement, to ensure global rights for people and global rules for big business.


Such an agreement would

· Place duties on companies and directors, including a duty to take social and environment matters into their decision making, a duty to ensure effective prior consultation with affected communities, and a duty to report fully on social and environmental impacts,

· Guarantee rights for citizens and communities, such as the right to a clean and healthy environment, and the right of redress (eg compensation) when corporations cause social and environmental damage, and

· Establish high standards of social, environmental, labour and human rights behaviour by corporations.

Those companies that are sincere in their commitment to sustainable development should have little to fear from this proposal. But in practice, too many corporations are engaged in mere "greenwash - PR exercises designed to give the impression of a socially and environmentally conscious company, without any real change to corporate activities. Business lobbyists often argue that action is best delivered through voluntary initiatives. But in the UK, the voluntary approach has clearly failed. Speaking to the CBI two years ago, Tony Blair told business leaders: "I am issuing a challenge, today, to all of the top 350 companies to be publishing annual environmental reports by the end of 2001". Predictably, more than three-quarters of the top British businesses completely ignored Blair's challenge. Only 79 of the top 350 companies produced substantive reports on their environmental performance by the deadline which the prime minister set. NGOs around the world are calling on politicians to agree the principle of a corporate accountability convention at the Earth Summit in Johannesburg later this year. Tony Blair is expected to attend the Summit, and he is likely to be joined by cabinet ministers including Margaret Becket and John Prescott. But so far the US in particular is resisting any move towards binding rules for corporate behaviour. The EU seems quite happy for the US position to prevail. The most likely outcome of the Johannesburg summit is therefore a long list of voluntary initiatives, with few if any sanctions if these commitments are not honoured. In other words, there will be plenty of warm words but precious little action - exactly the problem with the voluntary approach to the UK. If Tony Blair and Patricia Hewitt were really serious about supporting the Trade Justice Movement, they would join the call for a convention on corporate accountability. They would also show that New Labour has finally understood that a world in which the market outruns the capacity of political institutions to regulate it is dangerous for all of us. So will they speak out before the Earth Summit? Don't hold your breath.




23 June


What are the positive achievements in the context of sustainable development in the last 10 years? What has not happened that could have made the situation better today? Following the Rio Earth Summit, people across the globe initiated an unprecedented number of initiatives and actions to address sustainable development and environment issues. Agenda 21 – directly and indirectly – catalysed communities, local Councils, youth groups, governments and businesses to act. In millions of locations, both in the North and the South, we have seen the impact of greater awareness about the environment. Perhaps the greatest shortcoming during this period has been our inability to move the global agenda of collective efforts forward. Rio gave us three Conventions and thus excellent opportunities for addressing climate, biodiversity and desertification issues. The intergovernmental process in realising this potential left many disappointed. Sustainable development requires both local and global efforts to succeed. It also requires partnerships and solidarity. Developed countries, for instance, did not meet their commitments at Rio to share the financial burden of maintaining our ‘global commons’. In many developing countries, resource depletion continues without change despite commitments to the contrary. As land, forestry and fisheries resources are destroyed, it will be the poor – globally and locally – who will bear the ultimate cost of this unsustainable path.


How can sustainable development be used as a tool to make globalization more inclusive and equitative?

Economically the global production of goods and services has increased remarkably over the past decade. However, at the same time, some 80 countries experienced an actual decline in GNP. In other words, the distribution of the very substantial benefits of development based on a globalized economy, have been very unevenly distributed. Markets can be a powerful force for ensuring sustainable development. But markets work effectively to support sustainable development only when environmental impacts of economic development are fed back into decisions regarding the resources that are the target of development. Globalization has enabled consumers to ignore the impacts of their consumption on local environments, as well as global environments. An honest and transparent ‘global new deal’ would ensure that the environmental costs of production are built into the prices of the goods and services produced. IUCN does not accept the often cited argument about ‘lack of resources’ to ensure sustainable development. Even some of the poorest communities and countries are able to manage their resources well, recognis e the equity of all their citizens and provide an adequate baseline of health and education. Economic sustainability must be built on the capacities of countries to manage their available resources in the most productive possible way.


Having recognised that governments have the primary responsibility for managing their own welfare, it also is important to recognise that foreign direct investment and official development assistance play an important role in sustainable development. But this role needs to be more carefully designed with sustainable development in mind. What are your expectations for the Johannesburg Conference? At Johannesburg we must assess the progress we have made with Agenda 21. Reasons for failures and successes need to be understood so that we may revise our strategy accordingly. WSSD must also provide us with a renewed commitment at the international level to work together on some of the key issues such as climate change, biodiversity, poverty and globalization. IUCN has identified three cross-cutting issues that Johannesburg must address in particular if we are to make progress:

? Sustainable livelihoods and ecosystems – specific measures should be taken to address both consumptions patterns of the wealthy and the reliance of the poor on nature for their survival.

? Governance issues – both at domestic and international levels we need to forge a new consensus for our international institutions. We must also search for more effective national institutions and ensure that the private sector recognises its corporate responsibility.

? Financial resources – additional resources must be committed through national budgets, foreign direct investments, development assistance and other sources. Investments in sustainability cannot rely on goodwill alone.

The Summit must deliver credible commitments and specific initiatives with targets to give societies an orientation as to what is feasible and given priority. From your personal perspective, how would you access the scenario of sustainable development for the next 10 and 30 years? Two to three decades may leave us with entirely new scenarios. The potential impacts of climate

change or water crises could trigger fundamental shifts in policy. Similarly, new technologies (e.g. the shift from a carbon to a hydro economy) and changes in governance, accountability and public awareness could lead to significant changes in development and public policy. Whatever the individual trends are, I have no doubt that the environment and equity issues will become top

of our agenda for the future. Just take the example of fisheries. Today 14 of the world’s 17 fisheries are in decline. Extrapolate from this 30 years down the line and you can see the impeding crisis. Conflicts and controversies arising from economic globalization will also escalate unless we deal with equity issues. Sustainability issues will become the focus of ‘human security’

concerns. The future of sustainable development is thus not a matter of ‘if’ but rather ‘when’. The only problem we have is that the longer we hesitate, the higher the price – economically, socially and environmentally - of dealing with what we already know today will happen tomorrow.

How can we improve the partnership between government and civil society?


The importance of civil society as a voice and capacity in sustainable development today is tremendous. While it may sometimes be uncomfortable for governments overall, it represents an enormous asset for development. Both NGOs and governments must engage in open and constructive dialogue and partnerships to complement their respective responsibilities and efforts. Giving civil society an enabling legal framework, access to financial resources and fostering partnerships with government departments and the private sector, offer the best prospects for successful outcomes. In your specific field of knowledge and activity, what are the main actions that should be taken in order to put into practice more meaningful results at the Johannesburg Summit? First and foremost, Johannesburg must review and reaffirm Agenda 21. It remains as relevant today as it was in 1992. Second, governments must offer a positive vision and roadmap for the next 10 years, providing all stakeholders with a strategy and targets for implementation. The Johannesburg Plan of Action and the political declaration should enable everyone to find their place in the global strategy and allow citizens to track progress after Johannesburg. The Summit must also set some priorities and catalyse some exemplary initiatives that offer guidance and vision. Kofi Annan’s five priority areas for action at WSSD – Water, Energy, Health, Agriculture and Biodiversity – offer us all a useful focus for moving beyond rhetoric and declarations to implementing initiatives on the ground.


Above all, Johannesburg must deliver a credible illustration as to how international cooperation adds value to what nations, communities and businesses do individually. If governments are unable or unwilling to make commitments on this vital issue of global cooperation then more and more people will question the value of holding such summits in the future.





African Union

4 July 2002


"Meeting the challenge of sustainable development in Africa"

Mr. Chairman, His Excellency, Mr. Amara Essy, Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity Honourable Ministers,

Ladies and Gentlemen, This is the twelfth time that I have been honored to address this august Council. You can be forgiven for thinking: Well, here he is again. But the fact is that I have never taken this privilege as routine and I certainly do not do so this year. For this year has been extraordinary. When I addressed you last year in Lusaka, I reviewed concepts for a new relationship with donors, which the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) had proposed. I said that a new relationship with donors was required to address our trade, debt, HIV/AIDS and development crises. In fact, we have had the busiest year for African development issues in a long time. Whether it is the most consequential year is yet to be seen. Shortly after the attack on the World Trade Center, many world leaders said that the world had to respond in part by making life more secure for those in poverty. It was pointed out that the G-8 had a chance to do that if it took advantage of the World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial at Doha, the UN Financing for Development Conference (FfD) in Monterrey, the G8 Summit in Canada, and the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.


Where have we come since?

At Doha, hard work and excellent preparation by the Geneva African Ambassadors Group under the leadership of the United Republic of Tanzania paid off. A so-called development round of tariff reduction negotiations was put on a timetable of three years, compared with eight years for the Uruguay Round. There were pro-development achievements on Public Health issues and on trade-related intellectual property rights. There was progress on agricultural trade but serious slippage since due to huge new US subsidies to its wealthy farmers. We made little headway on textiles. Environmental and hygiene standards are to be resolved. We did not gain much on industrial tariffs. We made progress on capacity building by placing the issue on the continuing agenda. So the results at Doha were mixed, but a lot better for us than many previous WTO meetings. Certainly Doha built up expectations for further progress at Monterrey. In Monterrey, there was further progress. To me, it was most striking that all the major national statements, from developed and developing country leaders, agreed that the highest priority for developing countries was good governance. They agreed that these economies had to be part of the global system. They agreed that there is a need for higher quality aid. And they agreed on the need for more resources, estimated by experts at $50 billion/year, to meet the Millennium Development Goals. Both the European Union (EU) and the United States of America (USA) made commitments to increase their aid levels by a combined total of $12 billion/year. $12 billion to meet the goal of $50 billion was, like Doha, a partial success; but it marked a reversal of aid trends. The lingering question was what would be Africa's share of this increase.


That question was answered last week when the G-8 leaders agreed that under conditions of good performance, Africa could expect half of the increase, bringing our aid back to 1990 levels. A G-8 Africa Action Plan was adopted as a framework to support NEPAD. The G-8 agreed that each of them would establish Enhanced Partnerships with countries [Quote] whose performance reflects the NEPAD commitments [End quote]. They agreed on a goal for duty-free and quota free market access for all products originating from the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), many of which are in Africa. They added $1 billion to fully fund the Highly-Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Trust Fund and to increase the use of grants rather than loans for the poorest debt-vulnerable countries. They were specific on peace issues. With active encouragement from UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the G-8 agreed to provide additional support to bring peace to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Sudan, and to consolidate peace in Angola and Sierra Leone within the next year. They agreed to joint action to support post-conflict development in the Great Lakes and Sudan and to set up contact groups with the UN and other partners to resolve specific conflicts in Africa. They also agreed to finish work on a joint plan with Africa by 2003 to develop African capabilities to undertake peace support operations, including at the regional level. Pursuit of these points has significant promise.


Finally, the G-8 agreed to keep Africa on their agenda, by reviewing progress in implementation of the plan at their next session.

So we emerged from the G-8, like Doha and Monterrey, not with everything we wanted, but with tangible progress.

Now we have the Johannesburg World Summit for Sustainable Development coming at the end of next month.

The Summit is intended to accelerate the implementation of the environmental agenda, established in the Rio Summit a decade ago, and the Millennium Development Goals for human development adopted at the Millennium Summit. In essence, sustainable development is the merger of human well-being and natural resource stewardship.

Our stakes are highest in the upcoming Summit because our sustainability issues are more acute than other regions.


Only ten of our countries will meet the poverty reduction, education and health Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), if current trends continue. In many of our countries our most precious asset, our people, are increasingly wasting away from HIV/AIDS. Here in Southern Africa, we are in the midst of a grim parade of funerals. The warnings are clear that West, Central and Northeast Africa are about to emulate the crisis of Eastern and Southern Africa. We have a second wasting away. From time immemorial, humanity has managed to pass down an environment from one generation to the next that has had promise for the future. If present trends continue, our inheritors will receive a markedly worse environment and much worse prospects. These trends will result in Africa being a full degree warmer in temperature over the next half century and that will bring us10 percent less rain in Southern Africa and the Horn, and 15 percent less rain in the already parched Sahel. If present trends continue, our forests will shrink by 25 percent over the next half century. Those in low-lying coastal areas will have to move inland because of a rising ocean. Climate change is real. Recently, a piece of ice, nearly three times the size of Mauritius, broke off of the Antarctic. The trends are well under way, but they can be slowed and in many cases reversed. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, says that we already have the right substantive agreements, we now need to form the partnerships and take other actions necessary to sustain our environment. The rich countries need to fund accelerated implementation of the key agreements reached in recent years on climate, desertification and biodiversity. The rich countries are the main polluters and main cause of global climate change. They must be held to account. I believe that we need commitment from key governments to back the Kyoto Climate Change and other vital agreements.


At the same time, we in Africa have our share of hard work to reverse very serious environmental damage now going on in such fields as:

* Water, where chronic shortages are now being faced in 14 of our countries;

* Desertification;

* Deforestation, and

* Soil fertility, where our ability to grow our own food is being rapidly eroded. I should note that a major ECA report next month will say we must buy into the genetic food crop revolution in part to preserve our soil.

Underlying the negative environmental trends is the fact that our high population growth is straining our limited natural resources.

The challenge in Johannesburg is to mobilize different sets of actions, rich and poorer countries need to take, to contribute to a sustainable world.

What about after Johannesburg? In considering the coming year, I offer you and our Heads of State a few observations.

The first regards NEPAD. Several among the press and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) felt that the G-8 offered us only peanuts. We should not be disappointed, or deterred. Let us recall the fundamentals of NEPAD: an initiative for African ownership of development, African leadership of development, African accountability for development, and African responsibility for development. NEPAD is not about building a bigger tin cup for begging. In this regard, Presidents Obasanjo and Mbeki were right to observe that the G-8 meeting was a new departure not an arrival.

All of us must be in for the long haul. It is our plan and we must make it work.


Second, the heart of NEPAD, the breakthrough of NEPAD, indeed the hallmark of NEPAD is in Governance. The NEPAD Heads of State and Government Implementation Committee have made important recommendations in their "Declaration on Democracy, Political, Economic and Corporate Governance" which they will table at the Summit. Why take the Declaration seriously? Because our stakes override those of others. There is clear evidence that democracy is equated with high growth; and that good governance is synonymous with very high growth. This is as true for the resource rich countries as for others not so fortunate.

The Declaration on democracy and governance is a far-reaching and powerful statement. The challenge will be in the implementation. The Implementation Committee recommends an African Peer Review Mechanism for a periodic review of political, economic and corporate governance status in member States. This is a self-monitoring mechanism for collective action and mutual learning. As such, the African Peer Review Mechanism is first and foremost for Africans.

Conducted with professionalism and integrity, it holds the promise to generate popular confidence in institutions and processes of our governments. It is essential for making efficient use of our scarce public resources. It will foster an enabling environment for the private sector and has the potential to unlock resources from this sector to generate economic growth and help overcome poverty. By demonstrating that Africans have the political will and commitment to hold themselves accountable to mutually agreed codes and standards of governance, the African Peer Review holds the promise of being instrumental for effective partnerships with the international community.

ECA has worked closely with the NEPAD Steering Committee and the secretariat on a number of key areas related to the design of NEPAD, particularly on the peer review and governance related matters. We pledge our continued and deepened support and assistance in this area through our assigned role in the African Peer Review Mechanism.


My third observation is that while the discussions so far have not produced a cornucopia of funds for priorities identified by NEPAD, there is enough interest among our Governments, the donors, and the private sector for NEPAD to get started. Let us encourage some practical, doable public and private investments and let us call this a testing period for NEPAD. It is important that we get started. We can test out the NEPAD mechanisms to improve them through experience. We can become more credible by taking concrete actions.


Fourth, we should take seriously the dialogue process authorized by the G-8. In fact we should strive to be a permanent part of the G-8 agenda. We need to continue to work with our friends in the G8 who are keeping Africa as a key issue. But we must also remember our non G-8 partners - such as The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden - who, in percentage terms, provide more ODA and are among Africa's strongest partners.

Fifth, I want to underscore that insofar as HIV/AIDS is concerned, we either become a community together or we will die. At the political level, as a region, we have not yet made AIDS an appropriate priority. Our upcoming Summit and the Johannesburg Summit are key occasions to correct this. The same population planning programmes will save lives from HIV/AIDS while reducing the pressure on our resources through promoting smaller families.

The Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis is overwhelmed with proposals and requires bold replenishment to save millions of our people from certain death. I appeal to you to help make this case boldly, clearly and without hesitation.


Finally, I come to our African Union. Last March ECA in full cooperation with OAU, held two back-to-back events to help define priorities for regional integration. One was a symposium on the African Union organized by the InterAfrica Group. The other was our flagship African Development Forum involving 1,000 leaders from Africa's public, private and non-profit sectors. All of our countries were represented at the Forum with official delegations, several headed by Ministers present here. I am very pleased that recommendations from these meetings have contributed to the recommendations for the African Union that my colleagues and dear brother, Amara Essy, the Secretary-General of the OAU, has placed before you. We at ECA are invested in the African Union and will do all we can to help make it a major success. Honourable Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen, Colleagues,

Just as we are coming to the end of a series of international meetings creating added solidarity with Africa, we are also entering a new era of internal solidarity. In this amazing and critical period, when the agenda has become so complex, the work of Foreign Ministers has correspondingly grown more complex. My ECA colleagues and I are at your service.

I wish you well in your important deliberations.

Thank you



PASCAL LAMY EU TRADE COMMISSIONER Meeting with the All-Party group on the Overseas Development

London, House of Commons,

European Commission

27 June 2002


It's a great pleasure to be here with you today, and I am grateful to Tony Worthington and the All-Party Group on Overseas Development of the House of Commons for having invited me today to set out how I see the trade and development agenda for the EU post-Doha.

Sorry that Kevin Watkins is not with us here today - indeed, he is receiving an OBE from the Queen for gallant service in attacking the Common Agricultural Policy, though to be fair, I suspect that his overall interests and service in development policy may have also had something to do with it. But clearly we live in revolutionary times: NGOs at the Palace, French Commissioners at the House of Commons. Not so much "Barbarians at the Gates" as "Barbarians inside the Gates, having tea."


But let me start by telling you how I see today's debate. I will not engage in a point-by-point rebuttal of the Oxfam report - and even less of the rather gimmicky double standards index where, on the basis of dubious indicators and shoddy methodology, Oxfam decided to put the EU as the frontrunner on hypocrisy. Apparently, the US envied us this position and immediately came forward with the Farm Bill which should assure them pride of place for quite a while. So if you are interested in our comments on this aspect of the Oxfam report, I would refer you to the DG Trade website. Don't get me wrong: I fully understand the need for an NGO to mount publicity stunts such as awarding gold medals for hypocrisy, and I am quite admiring of Oxfam's talents in this respect (at the European Commission, we could certainly do with a bit more of this). But we must make sure that PR actions do not detract from the real issues: what is the link between trade and development, and what can we do, in the context of the Doha Development Round and beyond, to address some of the problems identified by Oxfam in making trade more development-friendly.


Trade and development - a complex relationship

According to textbook economics, trade and foreign direct investment confer large efficiency benefits by fostering the international division of labour and by disseminating the gains from technological progress. This produces economic growth, which in turn should lead to development and contribute to the eradication of poverty. Economic studies and empirical data highlight the substantial benefits that developing countries have reaped from integration into the world economy.

However, such studies also show that the translation of trade into growth and of growth into development is far from automatic. Market access alone, however great its contribution, will not bring growth in itself. Nor does increased growth automatically lead to sustainable development.

We also see that trade liberalisation has not benefited all regions of the world or all layers of society in an equal manner. There is in fact an increasing and worrisome split between a group of middle income developing countries which are successful participants in global trade and a large number of nearly 80 developing and transition economies comprising over one third of world population which are virtually excluded from it. All this is well put and substantiated in the Oxfam Report.

The reasons for this situation are manifold, but it seems to me that the key to success lies first and foremost with the domestic policies of the developing countries themselves.

A successful approach to development needs to take account of the whole range of institutional, social and structural needs of a well-functioning society, such as good governance (including policies aimed at transparency, free information flows, fighting corruption, an efficient civil service), an appropriate institutional and regulatory framework, social inclusion policies (in the field of education, health care, social protection), public services and infrastructures and environmental protection policies.

Sound domestic policies are indispensable to create the stability, predictability and security that is needed to stimulate investment, be it local or foreign. I therefore welcome and support Oxfam's stress on the importance of domestic policies.

Although domestic policies are the key for developing countries to be able to tap the benefits of globalisation and to mitigate its negative effects, that does not absolve developed countries from their responsibility for supporting sound policies. We need to provide more access for products in which developing countries have a comparative advantage and which are produced in respect of core labour and environmental provisions (this is the incentive-based approach of the EU GSP) there has to be genuine involvement of developing-country stakeholders in trade negotiations more generous and effective official development assistance and an increased effort by the financial institutions to help tackle debt and co-ordinate their support and assistance better.



Let me now turn to the question of how the Doha round can be pro development, and what lessons we have learned from the past that will allow it to be a genuine development round.

My first proposition is that progressive liberalisation is inherently good for development. I emphasise the progressive nature liberalisation at a rate that each country can handle in terms of its domestic and international competitiveness etc. Contrary to popular belief, the WTO does not propose free trade, whatever that rather abstract notion is. The WTO means progressive opening and with all the caveats imaginable. In this sense, the WTO has always been pro-development.

But trade liberalisation cannot be seen in isolation. It is just one component of the holistic economic and development policy I tried to describe before. The contribution of the system and other members is in helping to identify the necessary flanking policies to trade liberalisation and giving guidance and aid in putting them in place. But I will say something later about the contribution of WTO rules to the establishment of the right flanking measures.

Developing country market access. Number one priority for the Doha round for most developing countries with competitive export sectors. EC has obviously to further open its markets in agriculture, peak industrial sectors, tariff escalation and so on. We will do so, in return for some improvements in openness from developing countries where they are able to do so, and of course the DDA does not expect full reciprocity here and if our partners sign on to some rule making areas. It's quite a shrewd deal for them to trade off gains for their exports against the domestic implementation of rules that are of a systemic, not a mercantilist nature, rules that will help their development.  To those who question the EC's political willingness to open its markets, then EBA is I hope a proof that we are ready to grasp the nettle : indeed, I wanted EBA both for its own sake to help to reduce poverty in one area where I could make a difference and to bring about a subtle cultural shift in the Community to demonstrate that we can take hard trade policy decisions for the greater international good.  But developing countries also have to open up amongst themselves. It is a widely held misconception that poor countries face rich country protectionism that is more acute than their own. In fact, as Jagdish Bhagwati put it so eloquently in last week's "Economist", asymmetry of trade barriers often goes the other way. Rich-country tariffs, for instance, average 3%; poor countries' tariffs average 13%. The peak tariffs in textiles, fisheries and footwear do not change the picture much - UNCTAD has estimated that they apply to just one-third of poor country exports.

Moreover, the trade barriers of poor countries against one another are more significant restraints on their own development than those imposed by the rich countries. The Oxfam report has some telling examples to support this. So my proposition is that the trade barriers of both rich and poor countries need to be tackled together to ensure effective exports by the poor countries.

But the ability or inability to benefit from open markets is more crucial to many countries, particularly sub Saharan Africa. They may lack economies of scale, or there may be other factors linked to production, or simply an inability to meet the requirement either set by consumers or by regulators of developed markets. No silver bullet solution. Decades of preference via Lomé did not work. Resolving that problem needs a combination of measures to promote exports including access to information, simpler regulations in the major export markets (this is difficult however as consumer expectations get higher), better technology transfer and investment flows which will only come about if stable economic, social, legal and political conditions for investors are put in place, and the encouragement of regional integration to reap economies of scale and to make countries trade more with their neighbours rather than maintain post-Colonial dependency. Not all of this can be tackled at multilateral level. We can do more and go further at bilateral level, in the context of a broad political and economic partnership. This is what we propose to do in the trade negotiations under the Cotonou Agreement with the ACP countries, the so-called "post-Cotonou" process.

On the question of rules, I am convinced that rules are also beneficial for development. Need to challenge the mind set developing in the WTO and in many circles that rules are somehow bad for development. They are not. The rule making areas we propose areas like investment, competition, trade facilitation and procurement all reflect the basic GATT principles of transparency and non discrimination which I would argue are the best friends of development. Why? Because transparency and non discrimination are the twin keys to improving domestic governance. They promote sound policy decision making, and help prevent governments from being held captive either by narrow domestic interest groups or foreign pressures. They are principles which strengthen democracy and the exercise of sovereignty by countries, rather than diminish that sovereignty, as some critics of WTO allege.

So the issue is not whether or not to develop the rules but rather get the level of ambition right, and we can of course do better than we did in the past regarding time and transitional periods. Scope in a development round for tailoring the implementation of rules to the individual circumstance of each member rather than an arbitrary transitional period. Scope too for coupling those personalised transitions to our aid packages a notion we are pioneering in an area like trade facilitation.

There is speculation too of course about the possible role of soft law in the future WTO system. The Community is open to that we want incentives not sticks - but equally aware of its limitations. Rules lock in reforms, soft law requires a high degree of pre-existing consensus on the benefits to lead to long term change. Rules give guarantees to trading partners, soft law requires partners to be perpetually vigilant and exercise peer pressure. Open to see what combination of hard and soft law possible. As someone said the other day : you need hard law to get married, you need soft law to make the marriage work, but you will need hard law again if it doesn't work. I tend to think that soft law for example the benchmarking of standards, peer review arrangements can only be part of a broader rules framework rather than an alternative to it. The key is to create incentives for rules to be followed rather than a stick approach.  What other lessons from the past can we learn. From the Uruguay Round, the limits of what can be termed positive rule making or positive integration. With the TRIPS agreement we moved from the model of negative integration « thou shall not discriminate , thou shall ensure thy regulations do not cause disproportionate obstacles etc » to positive rule making : « thou shall introduce in thy legislation patent and copyright laws and set up a patent agency etc ». This has at least two consequences. One, it raises a fundamental question about the extent to which WTO members should set substantive standards that reach into domestic regulations. I think the conclusion is that there should be no more standard setting in the WTO itself, whether on TRIPS or environment or biodiversity or whatever. The "trade and" debate is about setting the rules of disengagement.

Second, it creates a stronger link between rule making and development aid or provision of resources. To the extent that future WTO rules imply positive action in Members to build institutional capacity, infrastructure etc, then there will be a need for resources. That is why several of the new rule making areas which are mainly negative integration but with a component of positive rule making for example modernising customs or setting up a domestic competition regime - do prefigure assistance as part of the deal.

Technical Assistance. There are clear lessons from failure of past experiences. Arguably, the resources are sufficient, but absorption capacity is insufficient. Arguably, donors' intentions are good but recipient countries lack commitment and ownership. Possible to remedy all of this but needs enormous reserves of stamina amongst both donors and recipients and a rare ability to co-ordinate. I do see grounds for hope in the attitude of the international organisations, in the determination of donors not to fail yet again, and in the understanding of developing countries that they have to make a commitment, be responsible for managing their affairs and put in place the right public policy measures without which aid is simply wasted. I think that is what Monterrey brought us.

The private sector. The WTO as a contract between governments has with only few exceptions been unable or unwilling either to regulate or to invite the involvement of the private sector. Some change in the offing here : investment negotiations offer scope to look at issues like corporate social responsibility, competition rules of course apply directly to corporate behaviour, in TRIPS we are now seeking to redefine the nexus between public policy and private profit motives, and in doing so re-establishing the commitments in TRIPS as a ceiling and not a floor. And in the area of development aid there are enormous untapped opportunities for welding together official ODA, private sector support and FDI. This is one of the many themes that I hope would come out of Johannesburg. In the Doha negotiations we have above all to empower governments either at national level or through improved international co-operation to exercise better management and control of the private sector, particularly in developing countries where governments are unacceptably weak against the activities of multinationals.

So to conclude I do think that the Doha round does carry within it the potential to be a true development round although we have to be clear in knowing the difference between what is really good for development and what is conventionally or for tactical reasons claimed to be good for development. If we can draw that distinction then half the battle is won.



European Commission

24-25 June 2002


I want to begin by expressing my gratitude to all those who have travelled to Brussels from around the world to take part in this discussion.  In the spirit of outreach to all these with a stake in trade policy, the world beyond Europe's borders is represented not only by government ministers and officials but also by academics, business people and NGOs. We have the same balance on the European side.  This form of dialogue between government and civil society has become a common feature of trade policy making here in Brussels: I hope it can also be a useful tool to illuminate the topics on the agenda today and tomorrow.


The agenda is a valiant attempt to extract your wisdom on a wide range of issues in a short span of time.  It is inevitable, if we want to create coherence across traditionally separate areas of policy, that we pool our ignorance of some things and learn to listen to the unfamiliar languages of those who are expert in fields beyond our own experience. Given the quality of the response to our invitation, I am confident that we will end tomorrow with new ideas and some concrete proposals as to what Europe, and perhaps partners should be doing in the months ahead.



Here in Europe, I have been involved in the last 12 months, together with other colleagues from across the Commission, in some new thinking on all three of the issues that form the background to this debate: trade, governance and sustainable development.

On trade, the run-up to Doha and the subsequent push to get the negotiations under way speak for themselves.


Despite dangers, distractions and pitfalls in steel and other sectors, we remain committed to the multilateral route as the keystone of world trade progress. I am encouraged by the papers being tabled in Geneva but I am concerned that we seem to be still at a stage of staking out positions, rather than engaging in negotiations paper. I do regret the tactical delays already being pursued by some partners, particularly on market access talks: but this cannot endure. The bigger challenge will be to advance before next year's ministerial in Mexico on outstanding business from Doha, which to my mind still means above all on access to medicines.


On governance, the Commission launched last summer a new set of proposals to improve governance both within the EU and globally. We are asking your help in particular on the global side of that puzzle.  Finally, on sustainable development, as our South Africans friends know all too well, the deadline of Johannesburg is approaching.  We have been thinking here in Brussels, as elsewhere, how to ensure that, after Doha and Monterrey, Johannesburg too can mark a step forward. Without this, the benefits of Doha and Monterrey will not disappear, but let us be frank: trade alone cannot drive towards poverty alleviation in countries that have not also at home taken grip of their own responsibilities for steering society towards greater equality, whether among the sexes or among the richer and the poorer.  If those are the three background issues, we have tried to focus the three working groups more narrowly: on ways to develop more open policy-making; on soft law tools to complement hard law, and on the scope for improving the intergovernmental structures for global cooperation.  Let me say a word about our own experience in the search for what the governance White Paper calls an 'open and participative' approach to policy making.  In principle, I guess we all would agree on the need for the Commission and other European policy-makers to work beyond their normal spheres of influence, to extend the dialogue to other stakeholders, not only here in Europe, but to those from around the world with a stake in the process.  In practice, at least in my own current field, this is quite a challenge, perhaps not for all of us, but certainly for some European trade policy officials.  It is also a challenge, let us be frank, for non-governmental organisations and for business. These groups may be accustomed both to lobbying governments privately and to conducting rather snappy publicity campaigns for what they want. But they are not always comfortable to speak out publicly for what they desire in fora where others can then bring to bear other views and occasionally inconvenient facts.  Despite these challenges on all sides, we have now entrenched a pretty open and very inter-active trade policy dialogue here in Brussels. But the question I want to pose for participants in this seminar is whether we can do better in extending such dialogue worldwide, at least when one player, such as European Union, is developing policies which will have an impact on government and non-government players in third countries.  There are two complications to consider here.


The first is fear. Fear that third country partners will be more powerful than we are, and will somehow also obtain a seat at the decision-making table if we offer them a voice in the deliberations that precede decisions.

The second challenge is capacity. Even if a voice in the deliberative process is allowed, not every partner with an interest will be able to take up that opportunity. How can we not only create a theoretical right to dialogue but in practice ensure that all important voices are heard?

I believe that this issue is essential not only to good policy-making within our countries but to better policy-making between us.

The second set of issues which we have chosen to focus on is the scope for using new tools such as benchmarking or voluntary undertakings in the field of corporate social responsibility, as a means of complementing hard international law. This issue has been given a boost with the recent suggestion of incoming WTO Director General Supachai for some sort of code of conduct in trade matters for transnational corperations. We clearly have a meeting of minds here, and I hope that today's and tomorrow's discussions will equip me with some food for further thought on how to take this forward.

Let me state a personal prejudice here:

I am distrustful of recipes that may lend apparent dignity to surreptitious attempts to avoid law-making. I have a strong preference for clear laws and public compliance procedures. But I recognise, particularly in the international sphere, that the hard law approach does not always work: that is, takes too long, costs too much, creates no real or timely improvement in the world. I recognise, too, that softer approaches can sometimes build bridges between evolving positions in one or other country and can certainly be effective in drawing in non-governmental stakeholders whose contribution may be a crucial part of the solution to any problem.

So here, I guess the challenges of the group are two-fold.

First, how to expand the toolbox beyond hard law solutions, without creating a presumption that the more difficult hard law solutions should always be set on one side?

Second, how to develop verification mechanisms so that soft law solutions can be truly effective.

I am pleased that the example on which this group is invited to focus concerns corporate social responsibility. The Commission is currently sifting responses to its CSR green paper, and will be taking that work forward in the near future. My hope is that we can use this European Corporate Social Responsibility exercise to build on the good work done in the development in OECD of guidelines for behaviour by multinational investors in host countries. I also hope that, not least in the World Summit on Sustainable Development, we can create developing country willingness to use the same sort of tools.

Why this view from Europe as a major outward investor? Is this a slip into inadvertent anti-capitalism? On the contrary. I am very conscious that the behaviour of investors is both generally scrupulous: but their behaviour is also generally mistrusted, not least by negotiators engaged in the investment rule-making debate in WTO or elsewhere.

I believe that Corporate Social Responsibility tools can contribute to the additional confidence-building we need in order to provide a basis for effective rule-making in WTO by the end of the Doha process. I do not believe that hard law can effectively create world-wide obligations on private sector actors. Nor should we even dream of trying that recipe. But I do believe that more widespread recourse by host governments, as well as by rich country home-states, to the sort of benchmarks set on a voluntary basis in the OECD guidelines could do much to clarify this debate. I look forward to the result of those discussions. Finally, this seminar is asked to focus on international institutional reform. Here in Europe, a Convention is currently considering how to reform our own institutions to make them work effectively in a Europe 4 times bigger than the original planned by the Founding Fathers. There is less enthusiasm for this debate at global level. My hope is that after Johannesburg, and after our Convention has put the European house in order, we will be able to make some progress nonetheless. But while waiting for a comprehensive reform of multilateral institutions, co-operation between them and openness in their workings are already objectives worth pushing for.  My prejudice here is that we are all far too timid. I regret the mutual suspicions that have hampered any real increase in transparency in the WTO, I hope that discussion in this group can bring some fresh thinking to bear on that problem, for the WTO and for all the other institutions worldwide.  This is a focussed and business-like seminar, and I do not want to give a lengthy key note speech. You all are present because you know that these apparently narrow and complex questions have implications for bigger and broader challenges. There are no easy answers: even a perfect outcome to the Doha Round will not in itself alleviate poverty, improve governance world-wide, or magically ensure sustainable development. But I guess we are here together because we all believe that we can take individual parts of the puzzle and begin to make a practical difference piece by piece. I look forward to hearing tomorrow afternoon which pieces you want us to start with, and how we can all act together.



European Commission

21 June 2002


Ladies and Gentlemen,

Hannah Njeri is a 45-year old woman who sells vegetables outside a gas station on a street in Nairobi. Every morning she collects a few tomatoes, onions or beans from her tiny plot and spends the rest of the day selling what she can to passers-by and people who stop for petrol.  Margins are small. Hannah makes just a few dollars a day, which she uses to put her children through school. She would like to own her own greengrocery, but capital is a problem.  She says "competition is tough. Everything depends on the market … sometimes you can't get tomatoes, so we are going to sell them for more. Or everyone has potatoes, so you have to cut your price a lot. Prices go up and down just like that".  I read Hannah's story on the journey back from the Ministerial meeting in Bali last week. It appeared in an essay in Time magazine about the impact of farm subsidies in the north on developing countries in the south. It strikes me that we should always remember stories such as Hannah's when we speak about sustainable development and our expectations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development.  Poverty, soil erosion, lack of water, fair trade and education are not just concepts in policy documents!  In just ten weeks time, ten years after the Rio Earth Summit, world leaders will gather in Johannesburg. The Earth Summit was a landmark for sustainable development. It established new concepts and new ways of working which have been shaping the world's agenda ever since. Will the Johannesburg meeting make a similar contribution by setting an agenda that will improve the real lives of people like Hannah Njeri, or will it be just one more international conference?  Before attempting to answer this question lets look back to why Rio was a success and examine whether developments since then should lead us to be optimistic.


The Rio Context

Rio came to life in an era of optimism. The Berlin wall had fallen and the Cold War was on its way into the history books. Eastern European countries were embracing freedom and democracy, the US economy was recovering from recession and the Asian Tigers leaped ahead. In Europe green-left governments put people and the environment in the centre of their policies and won elections. All this created a good atmosphere for high ambitions in Rio. There was genuine hope for real change.


The Johannesburg Context

Ten years later, at the beginning of the 21st century the picture is very different. Hope has tempered.  Many feel insecure, threatened by forces beyond their control; excluded from the prosperity which globalisation is supposed to bring; alienated from their politicians and the political process.  The attacks on 11th of September shook the global community - we all realised that we live under a threat of terrorism and we are still trying to come to terms with the consequences.  We all realise that poverty lies at the root of terrorism, but we are struggling to come to grips with solutions. The world knows a lot more about what it takes to bridge the gap between rich and poor but is the international community willing to act on this knowledge?  Many blame globalisation for the problems currently facing the world. While it offers enormous opportunities for development, there are concerns that not all countries benefit from it. There are fears for negative environmental and social implications, as well as for loss of cultural diversity. Globalisation can be a powerful force for positive change but its potential to promote sustainable development for all remains to be realised. So the stakes are high.


Worsening Trends

And in some respects as you know very well - conditions are worse today than they were ten years ago:

Population pressures continue to mount; Global consumption of metals, minerals, wood, plastic and other materials increased some two and a half times between 1960 and 1995; and,  The gap between rich and poor is increasing. Today, 10% of the world's population receives 70% of its income. The three richest men on Earth have assets equal to the annual output of the 48 poorest nations.  These trends are unsustainable.


Some Progress as Well

But do these worrying trends mean that the hopes and ambitions of Rio are dead? I don't think so. Trends are not our destiny.

We cannot let failures of the past and the enormity of the challenge paralyse us. But to realise these dreams and ambitions, we have to make a realistic assessment of the problems and set out to solve them in a focused and systematic manner.

Not least, because there are some positive signs too: in the health care sector, in reducing child and infant mortality rates, in food production and hunger reduction, in providing education, safe water and sanitation.  There are also some reasons for optimism in the environmental field. There are positive trends regarding water and air in some regions of the world, including our own. The international community has addressed a series of global environmental issues some successfully, for example, in reducing threats to stratospheric ozone, or persistent organic pollutants (POPs) through a new international convention signed last year.  And I am obviously delighted that the European Community and all the 15 Member States ratified the Kyoto protocol on 31st of May. This was a historic moment in our efforts to combat climate change and it is at the same time an important signal for the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. The ratification reaffirms the commitment of the EU and all its Member States to pursue multilateral solutions to issues of global concern.


Participation and Involvement

Over the last ten years, civil society has been the driving force for sustainable development. And I'm sure you will remain important in the process, as our objectives in Johannesburg will not be achieved without a continued active involvement of NGOs and civil society.  Local Agenda 21 has also been a success. Throughout the world around 2 000 cities and towns have concretely implemented Agenda 21. These local initiatives bring together representatives of local government with business, NGOs and other local organisations, and link action at the local level, where most action must take place, with the global issues defined by Rio's Agenda 21.  Some businesses have made significant changes in the way they operate throughout the world. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development has taken an enlightened lead in stimulating the commitment to sustainable development on the part of its membership of more than 120 multinational corporations. Voluntary instruments for corporate responsibility are increasingly being applied. But it is too often the same companies who are taking the lead.


The Implementation Gap

So the progress that we have witnessed is commendable, but still the questions remain - why haven't we made more progress? Why has progress been slow?

One reason is undoubtedly that the industrialised world's unsustainable patterns of consumption and production have remained unchanged. This explains one of the key problems of globalisation: market liberalisation and trade are opening up new economic opportunities, but our model of production and consumption is simply not viable as a model for the global economy.

A second reason for the gap in implementation is that the financial resources required to implement Agenda 21 have not been forthcoming. Official development assistance actually declined from 0.35% of donor countries GDP in 1992 to 0.22% in 2000.


The Doha, Monterrey, Johannesburg Continuum

If we are to deliver on our ambitions, we have to see the World Summit this summer as part of a wider process stretching from Doha through Monterrey to Johannesburg and beyond. The new trade round launched in Doha last November will improve market access for developing countries. The UN Ministerial Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey made progress regarding finance for sustainable development.  The European Union decided to substantially increase development aid. The EU aid already represents more than 50% of all assistance world-wide, and we are now committed to reaching an EU average of 0.39% by 2006. The ultimate objective for each Member State is to attain the UN goal of 0.7% development assistance of GDP. This EU pledge is an important part of the wider commitment made by the international community to increased development assistance in Monterrey.  Johannesburg must build on these agreements. It must set the political targets the world aims to deliver in the coming ten years and harness the Doha and Monterrey processes as key means to implement these political goals.


The Bali Conference

However, success in Johannesburg is by no means guaranteed. The recent Ministerial meeting in Bali was a disappointment in that it became bogged down in the fight over trade and aid between developed and developing countries instead of promoting agreement on a new positive agenda for sustainable development. We will need to work hard in the coming weeks to avert the risk that Johannesburg degenerates into acrimony over market access and development funding. The developed countries must clearly re-affirm their commitment to deliver on the promises they made in Doha and Monterrey, without any qualifications or quibbling. The developing countries must accept that they cannot re-open Doha and Monterrey and all of us must agree on how to use these processes in the cause of sustainable development.  As the NGOs said in their submission to the Seville European Council on this subject, "We do not regard the lack of consensus in Bali as a bad thing. The alternative was a bad agreement and that would have been far worse".


The Agenda for Change

The EU believes that we can help to set a positive agenda for change at Johannesburg.  My colleague Poul Nielson will address in his speech the specific EU initiatives for deliverables at Johannesburg.  Let me just underline that we are calling for clear political commitments to measurable targets. Our deliverables must be linked to these political commitments.  For example, the EU is committed to ensuring that, by 2015, the number of people unable to reach or afford safe drinking water is halved. And that, by the same date, the number of people without access to adequate sanitation is halved. At Johannesburg, we want others to sign up to these targets and to agree on how we will achieve them.  Similarly, the EU is committed to concrete action in the field of energy and development. We will in particular focus on access to energy services for those who are currently without it, improved energy efficiency, clean technologies and the development of locally-available renewable sources. Generally, the EU wants the Summit to give a strong signal to increase of the share of renewable energy sources world-wide.


The Way Forward

In the coming ten weeks, the EU will seek to play a constructive role and promote common commitments in bringing the WSSD parties together. Upcoming meetings such as the Seville European Council and the G8 meeting in Canada in late June, as well as bilateral contacts, will provide important opportunities for review and discussion among developed countries on how to respond to the concerns of the developing countries, without re-opening the Doha and Monterrey agreements.  We will need to work closely with the G77 to re-establish a climate of trust and partnership, and to explain our globalisation and sustainable development agenda. In addition to political contacts, we will also continue our technical work to build support for our partnership initiatives which can bring real benefits in terms of poverty reduction, improvement in health and education and environmental protection to developing countries.


Concluding Remarks

There of course remains a possibility that the Johannesburg meeting will be dominated by acrimony over the issues of trade and finance and the focus on sustainable development risks being lost.

So now is the time for leadership. I welcome the fact that the South Africans are now in the driving seat. They will need our help and support to pull things together in the coming weeks.

For our part, the EU is committed to sustainable development. We are trying to practice what we preach, by developing new ways of making economic, social and environment policy work together, decoupling economic growth and environmental degradation. We believe that this is the only sustainable approach, the only way to reconcile the needs of the present and future generations.

It is equally valid on an international level. The challenge for our leaders when they meet in Johannesburg is to embrace this approach and to commit themselves to new ways of international co-operation.  Some NGOs told me after Bali that they were not too disappointed that it had not been a great success. "It gives us something to campaign for in the run-up to Johannesburg" they told me. The opportunity to campaign is definitely there now.  Johannesburg can be a worthy successor to Rio but we will all have to work hard in the coming weeks to make sure that it will be. And remember, it is for normal people like Hannah Njeri that we need to take the right decisions. Thank you for your attention.



European Commission

21 June 2002


The Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit in 1992 raised considerable expectations. The international community agreed an ambitious and comprehensive strategy to address environment and development challenges through a global partnership for sustainable development. Ten years after Rio, the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development will provide an opportunity to revitalise the spirit of Rio and to shape a renewed political commitment by all countries towards achieving sustainable development.

Our overriding objectives for WSSD should be poverty eradication and promotion of sustainable consumption and production patterns: to take the title of this conference 'A Better World For All'. Taking into account the results of the international conferences of Doha and Monterrey, WSSD should be a significant step forward on the road to achieve international development targets, notably the Millennium Declaration Goals.


As I am sure you are aware, preparations for Johannesburg are not progressing as smoothly as we might wish. The latest preparatory meeting in Bali was not a breakdown. But neither was it a breakthrough and much remains to be done between now and the Summit itself. As always, the main outstanding questions are about how to achieve the Summit's overall goals.


Building upon the principles and objectives agreed in Rio and laid down in Agenda 21, and in order to improve their implementation, the EU wants to see an outcome of the WSSD that is action-oriented and that specifies as much as possible the means of implementation to achieve objectives. The Plan of Implementation should contain concrete deliverables to which all actors can be held to account. Targets and timetables for implementation are essential. Commitments to action must also be backed up by specific means of implementation. At Monterrey, the EU announced a substantial future increase in official development assistance (ODA). This, and increases by others, should help to facilitate progress in Johannesburg. However, we need to deepen discussions on new sources of financing, including the potential contribution of the private sector.


I welcome the attention that you have been giving here over the past 2 days to the issue of delivery. The real test of WSSD's success will be the implementation of commitments taken there by all partners. The "Type II" outcomes, that you have been focusing on, will be one of the means to help achieve the objectives agreed at Johannesburg. They cannot replace commitments by governments, which will be contained in the Political Declaration and the Plan of Implementation. But they will complement these, through the creation of voluntary partnerships involving groups of governments and other stakeholders, and should be clearly linked to them. They should have strong ownership amongst developing countries and be embedded in national or regional poverty reduction strategies.

Priorities for Action at WSSD


The potential agenda for WSSD is enormous: achieving poverty eradication and sustainable consumption and production patterns requires action in many different areas. Johannesburg offers a unique opportunity to address all the elements of sustainable development economic, social and environmental together, and in a mutually supportive way. If we are to make the most of this opportunity, however, we need to focus on a limited set of priorities for action, as emphasised by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. We should also not see WSSD in isolation: it forms part of a coherent agenda for action, with the Doha Development Agenda and the Monterrey Consensus.

In its preparations for Johannesburg, the EU is focusing on 6 areas, which were endorsed by EU Ministers at the Development Council of 30 May. These are areas where we believe poverty eradication and sustainable development objectives come together. They are:

- water and sanitation,

- energy,

- health,

- globalisation and trade,

- global public goods, and

- sustainable patterns of consumption and production.


In a minute, I will tell you more about what the EU is proposing to do in each of these areas. Before I do that, I would like to make some general comments about our approach to Johannesburg.


The EU's preparations for the WSSD began some time ago, with the preparation of the Commission Communication in February 2001, "Ten years after Rio: preparing for the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002". Since then, EU countries have been active at the regional and internal level.

In March 2002, EU Ministers underlined the main challenges to be addressed in relation to the global dimension of sustainable development, as follows:

- Poverty eradication and promoting social development as well as health;

- Making globalisation work for sustainable development;

- Sustainable patterns of production and consumption;

- Conservation and sustainable management of natural and environmental resources;

- Strengthening governance for sustainable development at all levels, in particular international economic governance, including public participation; and

- Means of implementation, including capacity building and technology co-operation.

As part of the its contribution to help ensure a positive outcome at WSSD, the EU has also prepared its own, comprehensive sustainable development strategy. This addresses both the internal and the external dimensions, and aims to move the EU 'Towards a Global Partnership for Sustainable Development'. It identifies clear priorities for action at Johannesburg and beyond, including in the areas above. It also identifies areas where the EU needs to improve its own performance, including policy coherence.


EU Initiatives for WSSD

The 6 EU priorities for common action in the lead up to Johannesburg itself (water and sanitation, energy, health, globalisation and trade, global public goods, and sustainable patterns of consumption and production) are areas where the EU intends to launch concrete initiatives at Johannesburg, building on the Sustainable Development Strategy. They will be grounded in the Political Declaration and the Plan of Implementation adopted there.

We are still in the process of developing these initiatives, and we plan to do so through an open dialogue with developing countries and other partners.


In water, we want to contribute to ensure that, by 2015, the proportion of people unable to reach or afford safe drinking water, and the proportion of people without access to adequate sanitation, are halved. We will be launching an initiative for a strategic partnership on water and sanitation, drawing on EU experience in river basin management. This will focus on poverty reduction and health, and on integrated water resources management to contribute to sustainable development and conflict prevention. The main elements will be capacity building, the provision of expertise, development of regional and sub-regional co-operation, awareness raising and improved efficiency of financial mechanisms.


In energy, we want to facilitate the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of people in extreme poverty and other MDGs by 2015, through the provision of adequate, affordable, sustainable energy services. The core of the initiative will be support for institutional capacity building and technical assistance to developing countries to put in place adequate energy policies through the development of partnerships. Development Banks, investors and private sector companies will be invited to participate, as part of the market building activities.


In health, the EU will increase, over the next five years, the volume of development assistance targeting improved health outcomes, in particular communicable diseases, maternal health, and reproductive and sexual health and rights. We will be inviting the international donor community and developing countries to join us in this effort. WTO members also need to resolve differences on compulsory licenses and work for pharmaceutical products to be made available to the developing world at the lowest possible prices; and we need research partnerships for new generations of products. The EU will continue to participate actively in the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.


Globalisation and Trade: Making globalisation work for sustainable development and poverty reduction requires timely progress on the Doha Development Agenda, and concrete trade-related initiatives going beyond it. WSSD can help sustain the momentum of the endeavour launched at Doha and contribute to a sustainable outcome of the negotiations, although it should not un-pick the deal reached there nor prejudice its results. Beyond the Doha Agenda, the EU will argue for the adoption world-wide of levels of access for Least Developed Countries equivalent to the EU's Everything But Arms scheme, and for preferential access for sustainable goods from all sources. We will also be promoting enhanced trade-related technical assistance; a constructive and sustainable relationship between trade and social development; and measures to simplify and make more transparent domestic trade procedures.


While the basic idea of global public goods has attracted a lot of attention recently (particularly because of climate change), there is still a divergence of views over what exactly defines them. We also believe that once they are defined it will be important to define the best way of making sure that they are protected or provided. For Johannesburg, the EU will be proposing the establishment of an open, transparent and inclusive participatory process at the global level to examine these issues.


Sustainable production and consumption patterns: One of the reasons that we have not been able to halt environmental degradation is that we have not changed our consumption and production patterns. Global sustainable development cannot be reached if we do not take into account the environmental impacts of unchanged consumption and production by an ever-growing population. Industrialised countries have to take the lead in moving towards more resource efficient production processes and lifestyles. There are various tools that we can draw on, including life-cycle approaches, eco-labelling and environmental impact assessments. We should also help developing countries to move towards the same objective.


Given that the primary responsibility for sustainable development lies with the countries themselves, all these initiatives should be implemented in the framework of national sustainable development strategies and, where these exist, in the context of national or regional poverty reduction strategies. In the implementation of these initiatives, the EU will pay special attention to and provide strong support for African countries' own efforts to achieve sustainable development, including through the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD).


We want to work with others in the development of these initiatives, particularly developing countries. We are already working with African Caribbean and Pacific countries, for example, to put together a Programme for Water Governance, as a component of the EU's planned initiative on water. We will also need support from others if the targets and timetables that we have proposed are to be adopted, in particular on water/sanitation and energy. We are keen to hear about suggestions that others may have for other priority areas or initiatives.

In addition to initiatives in priority areas, the Commission and Member States are also engaged in policy and analytical work related to broader issues to be addressed at WSSD. For instance, whilst it is now widely recognised that we need to strengthen linkages between poverty eradication and environmental protection, including by the integration of environmental concerns into national strategies for poverty reduction, there is still a lack of understanding concerning the relationship between these two issues. This is why, as part of its contribution to WSSD, the European Commission has been working with the World Bank, the UN Development Programme and the UK Department for International Development (DFID), to analyse the relationship between environmental degradation and poverty reduction. The preparation of the report on this work has benefited from public consultation, and the final report will be provided as an input to Johannesburg.



Before I close, I should like to come back to one remaining element of the title of this session: governance. You may have noted that this is one of the main challenges identified earlier in relation to sustainable development. It is also a key theme in the emerging Plan of Implementation for Johannesburg.

Governance encompasses many aspects, and I do not want to cover many of them now. It involves international, regional, national, and local government. I shall talk only about one level, the national. It encompasses processes ranging from democratic accountability through observance of international human rights instruments to coherent and consistent policy-making and effective delivery of public services. All of these are crucially important to poverty reduction, and I should be uneasy to imply that any are less significant by talking about only a few. However, since our time (and your patience) is limited, I propose to mention only a couple of specific areas now.

These deal with implementation, and especially the key issues of public expenditure management. That is not to say that public policy formulation can be forgotten, but rather that as in the rest of the Commission's approach to Johannesburg I want to focus on making things change in the real world. Hence I intend today only to talk about this particular part of the governance story.


On public expenditure management, I want to offer two thoughts that have come through strongly from our preparations for Johannesburg. The first is that we all have an interest in improving systems to get best value for public funds. Governments above all have this interest, because this is the way to deliver better health care, better education, better roads, and all the other things that people look to Government for. Donors have a similar interest, and by putting our own money through the budget we can help to improve both the way the whole of the budget is spent and the amount of time that officials need to spend dealing with donor missions. We are keen to do more to help in improving public expenditure management, with others, and this will be a major theme for us in future.


The other aspect of public expenditure management to which I should like to refer is a less obvious one. While most people think of better value for money, reduced opportunities for corruption, more timely accounting, and so on, perhaps fewer people think about where the costs and benefits fall. But I believe that it is important that we think carefully about who pays tax, and how much, and who benefits from public services. In particular we need to know whether our taxation and public service systems lay heavier burdens on women, and whether they benefit proportionately from the services we provide. Gender budgeting, then, is another, less obvious aspect of governance to which we attach importance.


As I am sure you are aware, preparations for Johannesburg will be one of the main items for discussion at the Seville European Council, which begins today. In Seville, EU Leaders will agree the EU mandate for Johannesburg. Although we still have much work to do, the work that has already been done provides a strong basis on which to build. I am confident that the European Union will play a leading role in achieving an ambitious and action-oriented outcome of Johannesburg. This, in turn, will help to achieve a 'Better Quality of Life for All'.



Issued by the South African Ministry of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology

20 June 2002


The Chairperson, Mrs Ilona Graenitz,  Lord Holme of Cheltenham,  Mr Derek Osborne,  Mr Raymond Van Ermen and distinguished delegates.

I am deeply honoured by the opportunity afforded to me to make a contribution to the European Rio +10 Coalition's preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development. South Africa is privileged to host this event that will be held in Johannesburg at the end of August this year. The fourth preparatory committee meeting was held in Bali at the end of May, as I am sure many of you are aware. The World Summit on Sustainable Development faces the considerable challenge of carrying forward Agenda 21, as well as strengthening global action to address poverty in response to the deeper understanding that has emerged of the importance of sustainable development. Sustainable development is considered to be based on a proper balance and dynamic between economic, social and environmental imperatives. Overemphasis of one dimension at the expense of another ultimately leads to potential failure of the system as a whole. In the 10 years since Rio, the world has changed dramatically. The rapid advance of globalisation, the widening gap between rich and poor, and the ongoing concern about the sustainability of our current patterns of consumption has characterised this period.  It was to be hoped, therefore, that a new high-level consensus would emerge about the challenges that face us. The process of negotiation has, however, been slow. As new insights and issues have come to the fore, they have not been taken up in a positive and effective way. There is therefore a risk that the World Summit on Sustainable Development will not deliver targeted action plans with proper resource commitments and agreed time scales. In the jargon of the WSSD, negotiated commitments have come to be called "Type-1" outcomes. These Type-1 outcomes operate in contradistinction to Type-2 outcomes, which are intended to be voluntary partnerships of willing participants who work together to support the broader Type-1 agreements.


However, from a developing world perspective, the insistence of some countries in the negotiations on removing any references to resources or time-lines, will inevitably devalue Type-2 partnerships. The simple reason for this is that voluntary partnerships cannot be a substitute for multilateral global commitments. Therefore, it is critical to recognise that Type-2 partnerships, in and of themselves, may be very positive, but within the context of a weak negotiated text, Type-2 partnerships become potentially an insubstantial sop to the developing world.


Europe, of course, should not fall into the trap of devaluing the negotiated text, for indeed; the European story has been one of cooperative development based on a shared vision of the future. The story of the European Union and the strengthening and development of real bonds between the nations is a signal to the rest of the world that collaboration is possible and that proactive resource allocation to weaker partners within agreed frameworks is indeed the preferred way to deal with underdevelopment. It is my appeal therefore that all actors within the European setting seek to achieve a strong Type-1 negotiated text which will provide a positive basis for Type-2 partnerships.


Part of the difficulty faced by the developing world is the rapid convergence of economic, social and environmental issues, and this places huge burdens on countries wrestling with issues such as poverty, disease, environmental disasters and the protection of fragile young democracies. Indeed, it is difficult to argue with the perspective of the least developed countries that, in the short-term, economic survival, and hopefully economic growth, is the most pressing challenge.  There is no doubt that such countries face challenges that could be addressed, given sufficient resources and political will. The types of issues under negotiation in the WSSD include water and sanitation, health, education, access to reliable modern energy systems, improved agricultural practices, and a more effective basis for food security. The developed world, which commands the resources to address many of these issues, insists on effective governance and responsible programmes of action.  As the Minister responsible for science and technology in my country, I am keenly aware of the critical role that technology plays in development. Technological innovation and improvement, usually based on new knowledge, contributes to more than half of the economic growth of the developed world. In the developing world, this is not the case. Labour, capital and natural resources are the prime sources of growth.


Unless there is a fundamentally changed mechanism for the developing world to use technology, and to harness its power for economic growth, the least developed countries will in fact move backwards relative to the developed world. The process of technology transfer, as currently conceived, is simply insufficient to create the conditions for development at an accelerated pace.


Of course, this requires of the developing world that there be a greatly increased emphasis on science and technology in the economy and in the social sphere. Mathematics, science and computing should be the focus of primary and secondary schooling. Universities and research organisations in the developing world should significantly strengthen their production of engineers and scientists. In addition, we should develop stronger programmes with local industry to transfer technology to small enterprises, and to support larger enterprises in the process of innovation. However, there is such a massive backlog to be dealt with in critical areas of infrastructure and social need that such programmes will be meaningful only if undertaken in partnership with the developed world.


In the area of trade there is also, as we will indicate in a later session, a need to support developing countries to ensure that new types of "invisible" trade barriers do not inhibit the ability of developing world exporters to reach markets in the developed world.

It is critical that we find positive ways to move beyond the recent setbacks evidenced by increased protection of agriculture in the developed world. As many of you will be aware, the domestic agriculture subsidies granted in Europe and the United States directly and negatively impact the ability of the developing world to trade in the domain where we have the most productive resources - that is, agriculture.  There is also the matter of the sophistication of consumers. In order for resource poor exporters to trade successfully, they need access to critical knowledge and technologies related to consumer choices and preferences. The science, technology and innovation that would support them in addressing such issues are a pressing concern. It is my hope that relatively soon multinational companies will begin to engage with developing countries to create positive and effective programmes to enhance the science and technology base of the developing world. It is a sad fact that many intergovernmental organisations and multilateral development agencies should be challenged to engage in the same process. Some agencies endeavour to avoid working with national governments, preferring instead to deliver solutions through NGOs and consultants. This has the effect of damaging the credibility of national governance in the eyes of the NGO sector, while at the same time creating capacities in the NGOs that rival the delivery capacity of governments themselves. As I will indicate in my remarks on NEPAD, country strategies and governmental ownership are crucial to sustainable development.


In considering Type-2 partnerships, therefore, it is important for the participants to be aware of the needs of the developing world. Type-2 partnerships should always involve proper support from national and regional governmental structures if they are to be sustainable and credible. The private sector has a key role to play, both as a partner and as a source of expertise, but it is important to recognise that in many developing countries, large companies do not have an uncomplicated relationship with government and communities more broadly. Corporate social responsibility must be seen in the context of the developing world and include actions to develop the knowledge infrastructure of the nations in which multinational companies engage.


However, I would not want the, perhaps, cautionary tone I have adopted to suggest that the developing world does not see any value in productive and effective partnerships. Indeed, South Africa and other developing countries have welcomed many of the initiatives that have emerged in recent years in the fields of health, water, agriculture and the like. The developing world will continue to engage in such processes, given the pressing needs and challenges that we face. As you are aware, there are now strong moves to improve integration of such efforts and to ensure that they are effective and synergistic. This implies that major donor programmes should be mediated by direct budgetary support to governments rather than through hundreds of small projects and programmes. This will lead to greater efficiency, greater delivery capacity and more strategic use of resources.


Smaller projects and programmes have their place. They are normally most needed where knowledge is limited and where "piloting" and "demonstration" are the key processes of delivery. Sustainable development, however, must necessarily operate at the "system" level. South Africa, therefore, will tend to lend its support to significant Type-2 initiatives that will have a system-wide impact and to smaller ones where the process of knowledge generation/learning is crucial.


In drawing to a close, I would like to recognise the achievements of recent negotiations at Doha and Monterrey, and suggest that, if the World Summit on Sustainable Development is to be similarly successful, the focus be on practical, well-resourced measures that would lead to the eradication of poverty, and full and equal participation by the developing world in the global economy. I have indicated how important science and technology are to this process. We have welcomed the proposal by Mr Nitin Desai, the Secretary General of the WSSD that a science forum operate as a parallel event to the WSSD. We also welcome the participation of the EU in this parallel event. It is to be hoped that we will be able to announce some significant Type-2 partnerships at that time.


I encourage all participants to be practical, pro-poor and pro-planet in the actions you seek to take. Business should seek to act responsibly and stakeholders should seek effective solutions and partnerships. Coalitions such as the European Partners for the Environment should endeavour to incorporate the perspectives of the developing world in all programmes. Indeed, if we are to succeed, representatives of the developing world should be full partners in all initiatives. I look forward to joining with you in these important discussions.

I thank you.


See Also:



20 June 2002


In a little over ten weeks’ time Ministers from across the world – including our Prime Minister – will meet in Johannesburg, South Africa, at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), which marks ten years since the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio.  The final preparatory meeting for this Summit finished two weeks ago in Bali.  It was not the disaster that some NGOs claimed – the preparatory processes for UN conferences often leave much to be desired – but there is some way to go before we can be confident that we will have a successful outcome at Johannesburg.


I would like today to outline my hopes for the Summit.  I see it as a critical opportunity to bring the development and environment movements together in a systematic effort to both reduce poverty and pursue sustainable development.

WSSD should not be seen in isolation.  It is the culmination of an international process – the Millennium Summit in September 2000, the Doha meeting of the World Trade Organisation last November, and the Monterrey Conference on Finance this March.  Together these meetings have made important steps in improving the effectiveness of the international system.


The Millennium Summit

At the Millennium Summit in 2000 world leaders committed themselves to work together to meet a series of Millennium Development Goals.  The overarching goal was the halving of the proportion of people living in extreme poverty by 2015, together with other goals, including achieving universal primary education and reducing child mortality by two-thirds – all by 2015.

The goals were carefully chosen.  They are achievable.  But they are not simply a description of present trends – business as usual is not an option.  Reaching them will require a significantly increased development effort from the whole international community.  This means fairer trade rules that allow developing countries to access our markets; and it means increasing development assistance, improving how that assistance is delivered, and focusing it on poverty reduction.


WTO meeting

Trade has an important role to play in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.  For too long the rich countries of the world have lectured the developing world about trade liberalisation, but created barriers to developing country access to their markets.  Doha agreed an agenda for change.  It placed the concerns of developing countries at the heart of the next trade round.  And it included a particular commitment to negotiations on agriculture aimed at substantial improvements in market access.

We need to deliver on this commitment – and the European Union needs to show leadership.  The EU’s Common Agricultural Policy acts as a barrier to progress on developing countries.  The Common Fisheries Policy subsidises the EU fishing industry, which contributes to over-fishing in waters often far from Europe meaning that subsidised and highly sophisticated European fishing boats compete with communities dependent on fishing for their livelihoods.  These policies need to be reformed.


Financing for Development

Four months after Doha, the UN Conference on Financing for Development in March this year also marked an important step forward. Monterrey was about recognising the need to galvanise all sources of finance – domestic savings, foreign direct investment, export earnings, debt relief and aid – in order to eradicate poverty, achieve sustained economic growth and promote sustainable development.  It was about a new consensus that recognised the crucial role of the state and private sector in promoting social and economic development.  Developing countries recognised the importance of good governance – both political and economic - and OECD countries committed to providing more and better aid, a sustainable exit from debt, better trade access, and a stronger voice for developing countries in international decision making.

At Monterrey, the European Union and the United States made pledges of increased aid which we estimate will lead to an increase in development assistance from a total of $55 billion in 2003 to $67 billion a year by 2006.  This commitment to reverse the recent decline in aid levels is welcome.  And the UK Government will play its part.  We have increased the aid budget from 0.26% of gross national income in 1997 to 0.32% in 2001 – a one third increase in real terms.  This makes the UK the fourth largest bilateral donor in volume terms.  And we are committed to raising development assistance to the UN target of 0.7% of gross national income.  The announcement of our next step towards this goal will be made following the 2002 Spending Review in July.


Improving the quality of aid – as well as increasing the quantity – is also crucial.  In the past aid has been used too often for political reasons, or to promote the trade interests of the donor country, or to prop up corrupt rulers for short-term political reasons.  The Monterrey Consensus recognised the need to improve the effectiveness of aid: to untie it from the interests of donor countries; to harmonise donor procedures so that the high transaction costs in developing countries are reduced; to make it more responsive to the needs of developing countries; and to increase its targeting on the reduction of poverty.

A constant barrage of negative media images lead many people to believe that international development is a hopeless enterprise.  This is misleading.  Aid works, and is lifting large numbers of people permanently out of poverty.  There have been big improvements in how aid is delivered – but more needs to be done.  In fact if the existing $55 billion of international aid was untied and focused on poor countries who are pursuing effective pro-poor policies, it could increase its value by up to 50%.

More effective use of aid means moving away from funding a proliferation of projects to backing poverty reduction strategies drawn up by developing countries themselves.  Unsurprisingly, experience has shown that reform agendas drawn up locally are more successful than those imposed from outside.

The consequence of this new approach has been considerable strengthening of the quality and effectiveness of local institutions.  This kind of improvement in the quality of governance has encouraged and enabled development agencies to put finances directly into government budgets – so helping to fund rapid improvements in health, education, water and other services that contribute to poverty reduction.

This is, I believe, the true meaning of partnership.  Developing countries in the lead in developing their own poverty reduction strategies; development assistance supporting these strategies – building national capacity rather than undermining it.  It represents a new approach to development assistance – from seeing aid as a drop of charity in an ocean of poverty, to being part of the process of building modern, effective states and strengthening local communities in order to deliver long-term improvements in the lives of the poor.

So this is the context within which we approach Johannesburg.  We have an internationally agreed set of targets in the Millennium Development Goals; from Doha we have an agenda for a pro-development trade round; and from Monterrey we have commitments to increase the levels and improve the quality of aid. 

So what can be achieved in Johannesburg? 

Recommit the international community; build on existing partnerships

The Summit is an opportunity for world leaders to demonstrate their willingness to work together in the fight against poverty in the way that they have demonstrated their resolve to fight terrorism.  Doha and Monterrey gave us agreed agendas for action.  Sustained political will is now needed if these agendas are to be implemented.  Johannesburg is an opportunity to integrate the environment into this consensus for global reform focused on poverty reduction.

The focus on establishing partnerships to achieve sustainable development is welcome.  But we must be clear that Johannesburg is not about spending the money pledged at Monterrey.  This money has only been pledged.  It is not yet committed and will not be available until 2006.  The stress should be on making aid more effective in the ways I have described and integrating environmental sustainability into the development agenda agreed at the Millennium Summit, Doha and Monterrey.  We must also take the opportunity to integrate the New Partnership for Africa’s Development into the global consensus.

Bringing environment and development together

Johannesburg provides an important opportunity to change the terms of the global debate on the links between poverty, the environment and sustainable development.  We must be clear that protecting the environment is not an end in itself.  We do not simply want to conserve the world that we have.  We want improved lives for the poor of the world and a world that is sustainable for future generations.

We must also understand that better environmental management can help eliminate poverty.  Too often the environment is seen as a cost rather than an investment.  We must move away from the scenario which says “do no harm”.  This quickly takes on an anti-development perspective.  Moreover, it has not worked.

Instead, we must harness the benefits that better environmental protection and management can offer to poor people.  If we don’t have such an approach, developing countries will increasingly see environmental concerns as a pre-occupation of the North: a North which achieved its own development by plundering and polluting the planet and is now trying to pull up the ladder behind it to exclude them from the benefits of economic development.

I believe that the World Summit provides an opportunity to forge a consensus around these issues.  My hope is that we can fuse the energy of the development and environment movements so that they can work more effectively together for systematic poverty reduction and sustainable development.

The environment is crucial to the livelihoods of poor people.  The poor depend on wood for their cooking and heating, they use fodder for feeding their livestock, they get medicine from the forest, they get water from streams and wells and they often build houses from natural materials.

The poor suffer most when air and water are polluted.  A billion people – mainly women and children – are exposed to indoor air pollution from inadequate ventilation and the burning of traditional fuels, such as wood and dung.  And they suffer too when seas are over-fished and forests corruptly decimated.

And poor people are highly vulnerable to environmental disasters and to environment-related conflict.  Droughts, floods and other disasters can wipe out any development gains that poor people have made.  And their frequency and severity is expected to increase with climate change.

Kofi Annan and WEHAB

Johannesburg will produce three things: a high level political declaration, a more detailed Programme of Action, and a series of partnerships to deliver what is agreed.  Kofi Annan recently highlighted five key areas where he hoped concrete results could be achieved - water and sanitation, energy, health, agriculture and biodiversity.  Action on each of these – at Johannesburg and beyond – is important to the achievement of poverty reduction.  Let me say a word on what I hope will be agreed.

First, on water and sanitation the political declaration and programme of action should recognise the importance of access to freshwater and sanitation to the lives of the poor.  One billion people lack access to safe drinking water, and 2.4 billion people currently lack access to sanitation.  Agreeing a new target to halve the proportion of people without access to sanitation – to complement the existing Millennium Development Goal on access to freshwater – would be a good achievement. 

In terms of partnerships and concrete action, the Summit provides an opportunity to improve donor effectiveness on water supply issues, to identify innovative schemes to lever in private finance, and to highlight access to sanitation as a key issue for the poor.

My Department is working with other EU Member States to develop a new partnership to be launched at Johannesburg.

Second, on energy we should focus on the role energy can play in nationally-owned poverty reduction strategies.  My Department is providing funding to help develop the Global Village Energy Partnership.  This partnership would seek to create a 10-year work programme to reduce poverty and enhance economic and social development through the accelerated provision of modern energy services to those without access.  It would bring together developing and industrialised country governments, public and private organisations, multilateral institutions and other key stakeholders to address the links between energy and poverty reduction in rural areas, and improve the delivery of energy services.

Third, on health the political declaration should focus on action to achieve the Millennium Development Goals for health: reducing child mortality by two- thirds, reducing by three-quarters the maternal mortality rate, and reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other major diseases � all by 2015.

Action on health should emphasise increasing the resources available to existing partnerships.  We are pressing the international community � starting with the G8 meeting in Kananaskis - to increase investments to build comprehensive basic health care systems in African countries that are committed to achieving the MDGs.  This will complement the Global Fund established in December to provide drugs and commodities to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.  To date, the Global Fund has received pledges of around $2 billion over five years � of which the UK has pledged $200 million.

Fourth, on agriculture the political declaration and programme of action should recognise the vital contribution of agriculture to poverty reduction through economic growth, sustaining livelihoods and delivery of environmental services.

Actions are required by developing countries to improve rural roads, access to markets, seed and fertiliser, credit and land security, supported by actions by developed countries to reduce the current iniquitous system of tariff barriers and subsidies. 

Fifth, on biodiversity the political declaration and programme of action should recognise the links between biodiversity and poverty reduction.  Whether for food, medicine, shelter or income generation, poor people throughout the world depend on biodiversity.  Forests provide poor people with a range of goods and services. 

The Summit should lead to action on illegal logging and the associated trade.  This trade, which is based on corrupt and abusive misuse of forests, denies a livelihood to millions of poor people, it robs governments of billions of dollars which could be spent on development programmes, and it provokes and sustains conflicts.  It is a problem shared by producer and consumer countries alike.  And it requires actions by governments, business, consumers and civil society.


Finally, I believe that the location of the World Summit in Africa is important.  Africa is the poorest continent.  Half the population of sub-Saharan Africa survives on less than a dollar a day.  On current trends population growth in Africa is outstripping economic growth and therefore the continent is set to become steadily poorer.

This is the challenge which the New Partnership for Africa�s Development seeks to address.  Launched in October last year, this partnership sets out a bold vision for Africa�s development.  Its central principle is that it is Africa�s responsibility to advance African development, in particularly through efforts to promote peace, security and good governance.

If it is to succeed, NEPAD must transform the relationship between Africa and the rest of the world.  It must bring a new drive and a new political energy to the development of Africa.  Most important of all the people of Africa must be empowered to demand more of their governments and of the international community � both of which have let them down for too long.


The opportunity to eliminate poverty and leave a sustainable planet to future generations is within our reach.  If we can grasp this, we can help build a world in which mass poverty will exist only as a memory � and a world that is more stable and secure for all our grandchildren.  But this will not be done through business as usual or on a green agenda that is hostile to development.  To achieve this we need to lock the world into a commitment to systematic poverty reduction and to meeting the Millennium Development Goals and we need to change our practice throughout the world to ensure that development is sustainable.


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