19 July 2002 – 2 August 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 eighth 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. PRESCOTT'S ROLE AT EARTH SUMMIT IN DOUBT (Daily Telegraph 2 August 2002)


  3. WSSD STILL NEEDS MONEY (SABC News 1 August 2002)

  4. 87% OF POLLEES WORRIED ABOUT ENVIRONMENT (Yomiuri Shimbun 1 August 2002)



  7. GLOBAL WAR ON GLOBAL WARMING HEATS UP (World Watch Institute 1 August 2002)

  8. NGO Funding Problems Likely to Be Eradicated (Business Day 31 July 2002)

  9. YOUTH WIN POLLUTION BET WITH BUSH, BARELY (Reuters Health via Yahoo 31 July 2002)


  11. MARINE MAMMALS UNITE IN BEACHING AGAINST BUSH (Greenpeace International 31 July 2002)

  12. AFRICA’S BEACHES ARE SLIP SLIDING AWAY (Independent Online 31 July 2002)

  13. ACP-EU FORUM ON RESEARCH FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT PROGRESS REPORT (South African Ministry of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology 30 July 2002)


  15. WORLD SUMMIT ATTRACTS 106 LEADERS, NOT USA (Environment News Service 30 July 2002)








  23. STOP THE RECYCLED PEANUTS (The Guardian 29 July 2002)

  24. FOCUS ON SANITATION SABC (News 29 July 2002)

  25. DROUGHT IN AFRICA 'COULD BECOME A CATASTROPHE' (Daily Telegraph 29 July 2002)



  28. NGO'S URGED TO PARTICIPATE AT U.N SUMMIT (e-Taiwan News 27 July 2002)

  29. MINISTER ADVISES GOVT OVER PROTECTION OF EARTH RESOURCES (Vanguard (Lagos) via All Africa 27 July 2002)



  32. ENVIRONMENTAL LAWYERS TO MEET IN CITY (Natal Witness 27 July 2002)





  37. BLAIR AND 70 OFFICIALS TO ATTEND EARTH SUMMIT (Daily Telegraph 26 July 2002)


  39. CALL FOR ACCESS TO ECO NEWS (Gulf News 26 July 2002)





  44. CIVIL SOCIETY GEARS UP FOR WORLD SUMMIT (Mail & Guardian 25 July 2002)

  45. OPTIMISTIC MOOD AT INFORMAL WSSD PREP MEETING, BUT LITTLE PROGRESS ON SUBSTANCE (Bridges Weekly Trade News Digest Volume 6 Number 28 24 July 2002)

  46. PM PLANS TO ATTEND S. AFRICA SUMMIT (Globe & Mail 24 July 2002)

  47. BUSH TO SKIP EARTH SUMMIT (Yomiuri Shimbun 24 July 2002)



  50. THE EQUATOR INITIATIVE ANNOUNCES 27 FINALISTS FOR CASH PRIZES WORTH $180,000 (United Nations Development Programme 23 July 2002)

  51. YOUNG DELEGATES MEET FOR "MINI" EARTH SUMMIT (African Eye News Service 23 July 2002)







  58. ACP COUNTRIES TO PRESENT A COMMON POSITION AT WSSD (The Post via All Africa 22 July 2002)






  64. GET TO JO'BURG EARLY (AND BE READY TO DO SOME WORK) (Mail & Guardian 19 July 2002)





  1. WORLD SUMMIT ALL TALK, NO ACTION by Chi Chun-chien (Taipei Times 2 August 2002)


  3. A PROGRAM TO AVOID APPALLING DETERIORATION by James Gustave Speth (International Herald Tribune 30 July 2002)

  4. REFORM OF EU AID PROGRAMME IS OVERDUE by Clare Short (The Guardian 29 July 2002)

  5. BUSINESS AND NGOS MUST SEIZE THE DAY (Business Day via All Africa 29 July 2002)

  6. SLOUCHING TOWARD JOHANNESBURG: U.S. IS A LONG WAY FROM SUSTAINABILITY by John C. Dernbach (Foreign Policy in Focus 26 July 2002)

  7. THE MARCH TOWARD DESTRUCTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT by Claude Martin (International Herald Tribune 24 July 2002)





  1. FEATURE - URBAN JUNGLES TO TEST UN RESOLVE AT SUMMIT (Reuters via Planet Ark 1 August 2002)

  2. INTERVIEW - ENVOY SAYS EARTH SUMMIT BACK FROM THE BRINK (Reuters via Planet Ark 31 July 2002)


  4. FEATURE - IS A "SIXTH" EXTINCTION LOOMING? (Reuters via Planet Ark 23 July 2002)

  5. EARTH SUMMIT FAILURE COULD IMPERIL TRADE TALKS - EU (Reuters via Planet Ark 23 July 2002)

  6. EU TO STRIVE TO MAKE EARTH SUMMIT A SUCCESS (Reuters via Planet Ark 23 July 2002)






Daily Telegraph

2 August 2002


The attendance of John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, at this month's Earth Summit has been cast into doubt as Downing Street seeks to avoid accusations of lavish spending at a meeting dedicated to helping the world's poor. Mr Prescott may become a victim of Tony Blair's desire to streamline the British delegation to the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, a gathering of 106 world leaders and up to 60,000 other delegates. The British delegation has already been pared down from more than 100 ministers and officials to around 70, and there is pressure for further cuts. Under threat are the First Ministers of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland who are currently scheduled to attend the event, each with a small group of their own staff.


Questions are being asked about their exact role at the international meeting. "There are only four chairs allocated for each country in the main debating chamber in the convention centre, so where would they all sit?" asked a summit insider. The 10-day summit officially begins on Aug 26, but Mr Blair is likely to fly into Johannesburg only for the main heads of government meeting on Sept 2 and an official banquet in the evening. The other leaders of the G8 are also due to attend, with the exception of President George W Bush. The assumption is that Colin Powell, the US secretary of state, will attend, although this is still uncertain. Security so close to the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks is a prime concern, and the South African authorities are providing well-trained security personnel to discourage world leaders from bringing their own small armies of bodyguards. Although Mr Blair's plans are yet to be finalised, it is possible that he will not even spend the night in South Africa, leaving the bulk of the work to Margaret Beckett, the Environment Secretary, as leader of the British delegation. She will enjoy the hospitality of the £250-a-night Michaelangelo Hotel along with Clare Short, the International Development Secretary, and, possibly, Michael Meacher, environment minister. Mr Prescott will also stay there - if Mr Blair decides that he should go. Controversy over the numbers of ministers and officials projected to attend an Earth Summit preparatory meeting in Bali earlier this year led to Mr Prescott staying at home.


Nine rooms have been allocated to Britain at the Michaelangelo, within walking distance of the summit's main facilities in Sandton, Johannesburg's most affluent commercial, residential and shopping centre. It would not look out of place in Hong Kong, Los Angeles or Paris and yet within walking distance is Alexandra township where blacks live in squalor. Those members of the British delegation who cannot be housed at the Michaelangelo will be based at a £50-a-night hotel closer to the centre of Johannesburg.


Mr Blair, who will arrive in Johannesburg after visiting another country in southern Africa, is keen not to be restricted to the summit convention centre. He wants a photo opportunity at a genuine African development project, possibly tied in with access to clean water for the world's poor. Water is one of five themes he has identified as central to the success of the summit, and a suitable case study out in the South African hinterland is being lined up for a visit. Britain's delegation of 70 is nothing compared with the 300-strong delegation from Germany and the 200 or so Japanese and 200-strong party supporting President Chirac of France.


A senior United Nations source said: "Kofi Annan, the secretary-general, has made it clear to UN agencies that they should take small, tight delegations. "We're taking the Earth Summit extremely seriously. If people have receptions they are being told not to get out the caviar." There is still no clear agreement on the wording of the summit's final political declaration and programme of action.  The Bali meeting failed to iron out the differences, mainly between the developed and developing world, and much paperwork relating to the most important and controversial issues has still to be agreed. It is intended that Johannesburg will provide the essential environmental balance to agreements on liberalising trade, focusing on the world's poorest countries and on increasing development aid




2 August 2002


CANBERRA, Aug 02, 2002 (AsiaPulse via COMTEX) -- Australia has lost significant ground in terms of its environmental policy and is regarded as backwards and recalcitrant in that area, according to a key negotiator for the United States at the coming World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD).  There was no country that had swung more sharply against environmental improvements in the decade since the Rio earth summit than Australia, Professor Daniel Esty said.  Australia has been grouped with the United States as an environmental spoiler with its refusal to ratify the Kyoto Protocol designed to curb climate change.  Prof Esty said Australia's record since the Rio earth summit showed a lack of leadership.  "There is no country in the world that has swung more sharply in the last 10 years than Australia," he told ABC radio.  "The US was not a leader in `92, it was sort of dragged along in some respects - it did well on some issues, less well on others. "But Australia was right out front, in `92, on a whole set of issues.  "And today I would say Australia stands arm-in-arm with the US at the trailing end of efforts to address these global-scale problems and to take the environment seriously, more broadly."  About 100 heads of state are expected to attend the summit but Prime Minister John Howard and US President George W Bush will not be there, instead sending high-level delegations to negotiate.  The protocol could be ratified with the US and Australia but Mr Howard has rejected it as it stands, arguing it could cost jobs.  The protocol would enforce targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions.  Prof Esty said the world was at risk of missing out because of a lack of action.  "There's still not an agreed upon agenda and frankly there's been a terrible lack of leadership, especially from the US but also from countries like Australia," he said.  His comments came as a Washington-based researcher, Seth Dunn, of the Worldwatch Institute, said it was time to leave voluntary commitments behind and adopt binding protocol targets.  "Momentum for bringing the Kyoto Protocol into force has been building, following the ratifications by the European Union and Japan earlier this summer," he said.  "With ratification by either Russia and Poland, or Russia and Canada, the conditions for bringing the treaty into force would be satisfied.  He said US, Australian and Canadian emissions exploded by 15.7, 32.3, and 11.5 per cent, respectively, between 1990 and 2001.




1 August 2002


A month to go and still not enough cash. With South Africa's largest-ever-hosted summit less than four weeks away, millions of rands are still needed to host the event, which is expected to attract tens of thousands of delegates.  Moss Mashishi, chief executive of the Johannesburg World Summit Company (Jowsco), who has shied away from giving exact figures, says about 70% of the budget for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) has been covered. The summit's total budget is about R550 million, of which the South African government will contribute R200 million.  Mashishi said three or four donation deals to the summit still needed to be signed and sealed. He was speaking at a signing ceremony in Johannesburg to mark the German government donating R8 million to help fund the logistical preparations for the summit to be held from August 26 to September 4.


Other donations for logistics have come from countries including the Netherlands, which contributed R25 million to the summit and from Finland, which contributed about R10 million. Anna Margareta Peters, the German ambassador to South Africa, who signed the agreement, told reporters interest in the summit was great. She was sure that the high-powered German delegation attending the event would do its utmost to help ensure the summit's success. Earlier this year Germany donated R4,5 million to fund the Ubuntu Village, the entertainment and central hub of the WSSD. It also donated millions of rands to allow poorer civil society organisations to attend the Non-Governmental Organisations' (NGO) Forum, which will be running parallel with the summit. Peters said it was critical the logistics were well funded because it was an important aspect in ensuring the summit's success.


Mashishi, who also signed the deal, thanked Germany for the money. "We are honoured to receive this contribution. As South Africa we are really acting... as the custodians of the summit on behalf of the world," he said. "We welcome contributions from governments which are consistent with the spirit of the world that the people are taking this event seriously." Mashishi joked that he was "becoming associated with receiving money" but Peters told him "receiving money for a good purpose is a good habit". On preparations for the WSSD, Mashishi said plans were in the final stages and momentum was building significantly. He also said there had been a "huge" surge in bookings for the summit from all sectors. The event is expected to attract between 40 000 and 60 000 delegates. - Sapa



Yomiuri Shimbun

1 August 2002


Eighty-seven percent of pollees expressed concern over the future of the global environment, according to a Yomiuri Shimbun nationwide survey conducted on July 20 and 21.  The figure combined those who said they were "very worried" about the threat of environmental destruction and those who were "fairly worried."  Asked what they believed was the most pressing environmental problem, the majority, or 57 percent, of the respondents said global warming, followed by those who cited problems caused by chemical contamination, such as destruction of the ozone layer and environmental damage caused by the spread of dioxins, at 53 percent each.  Seventy percent of the respondents knew about the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on curbing greenhouse gases, which requires industrialized countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions, while 46 percent expressed interest in the World Summit on Sustainable Development scheduled to start late August in Johannesburg.  Asked what they did to reduce carbon dioxide emissions on a daily basis, 47 percent said they refrained from overusing air conditioners, while 33 percent said they turned off the main power switch of electrical appliances when not using the appliances. Twenty-eight percent said they purchased energy-efficient electrical appliances.  Eighty percent of the respondents said they had reviewed their lifestyle in an effort to protect the environment.



United Nations

1 August 2002


1 August – At current extinction rates of plants and animals, the Earth is losing one major drug every two years, while less than 1 per cent of the world's 250,000 tropical plants has been screened for potential pharmaceutical applications, according to a new United Nations publication released today.  The first "World Atlas of Biodiversity: Earth's Living Resources for the 21st Century" by the UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) is a comprehensive map-based view of global biodiversity and shows how humankind is dependent on healthy ecosystems for all its needs.  The Atlas provides facts and figures on the importance of forests, wetlands, marine and coastal environments and other key ecosystems. It is the best current synthesis of the latest research and analysis by UNEP-WCMC and the conservation community worldwide - providing a comprehensive and accessible view of key global issues in biodiversity.  The publication also highlights humankind's impact on the natural world: During the past 150 years, humans have directly impacted and altered close to 47 per cent of the global land area.


Under one bleak scenario, biodiversity will be threatened on almost 72 per cent of the land area by 2032. The Atlas reveals losses of biodiversity are likely to be particularly severe in Southeast Asia, the Congo basin and parts of the Amazon. As much as 48 per cent of these areas will become converted to agricultural land, plantations and urban areas, compared with 22 per cent today, suggesting wide depletions of biodiversity.  UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toepfer said wise use of the Earth's natural resources was at the heart of sustainable development and a key issue for world leader's attending the crucial World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), which opens in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 26 August.  "Humankind now diverts about 40 per cent of the Earth's productivity to its own ends, much of this is being carried out in a destructive and unsustainable way," he said. "It is vital that we reverse these unsustainable practices while at the same time taking advantage of the opportunities presented by the planet's natural capital, its natural wealth."


EarthVision Environmental News
1 August 2002
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, August 1, 2002 - The Global Youth Reporters, an international group of young people with fresh views on environmental problems, are seeking media and other partners to work with at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg, which runs from August 26-September 4. The group aims to provide a young people's view of what the world leaders at the Summit are doing about the environment, ten years after their last big meeting in Rio de Janeiro. Toward this end, they are looking for partners to help communicate the resulting reports around the world. The idea is to offer fresh angles, particularly for media without their own reporters at the Summit. The Johannesburg reporting operation will consist of eight young reporters, ages 18 to 26, from eight countries: Argentina, Australia, Czech Republic, Singapore, South Africa, Uganda, UK and USA. The reporters will write reports on issues that catch their attention at the Summit, with special emphasis on youth angles. The articles will be published on a new website ( - under construction), distributed to conference delegates, and offered for publication to national and international media.  The Global Youth Reporters Program, now entering its third year, was established to provide a high standard of reporting, by young people for young people, on environmental and sustainable development issues. The concept was first tested at the Congress of IUCN - The World Conservation Union in Amman, Jordan, in 2000 and has since been developed through professional training courses and reporting operations at other international conferences.  The GYRP has the endorsement of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). Other partners offering various forms of support and cooperation include the Global Responsibility Foundation (Switzerland), the Global Youth Network (South Africa), the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (Sweden), Newsweek International and Sony International - Europe.



World Watch Institute

1 August 2002

Washington, DC - Thursday, August 1, 2002 — The world is on the brink of bringing into force one of the most far-reaching environmental treaties of all time, the Kyoto Protocol. And even without the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, the United States, on board, signatories of the Protocol are setting the stage for a new generation of policymaking worldwide, reports a new study—the first ten-year review of global climate policy since the Rio Earth Summit—by the Worldwatch Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based research organization.  “The next critical step in controlling global warming is to bring the Protocol, and its legally-binding emissions limits, into force as soon as possible and leave the era of voluntary commitments behind,” says Seth Dunn, author of Reading the Weathervane: Climate Policy from Rio to Johannesburg. “The first President Bush argued for soft, voluntary commitments in 1992. It was a questionable claim back then, and one that—with a decade of hindsight—we can discard. For the current President Bush to continue recycling his father’s failed policy betrays either ‘policy amnesia’ or willful neglect of the record of the past decade.”


Momentum for bringing the Kyoto Protocol into force has been building, following the ratifications by the European Union and Japan earlier this summer. With ratification by either Russia and Poland, or Russia and Canada, the conditions for bringing the treaty into force would be satisfied. Climate change will loom in the background at the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in August/September and will be front and center at the next round of negotiations, which will take place in New Delhi from October 23 to November 1. In this review of global climate change policy since the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Dunn reviews global and national carbon emission trends between 1990 and 2001, and details the climate policies developed over the past decade in 11 industrial and developing nations and the European Union. Among the findings:


The European Union, the climate policy pioneer, saw emissions drop by 0.2 percent between 1990 and 2001. But E.U. emissions rose in 2000 and 2001, auguring future rises if new and stronger policies are not adopted. Emissions in Germany and the United Kingdom fell by 17.1 percent and 4.1 percent, respectively, due to the shutdown of inefficient industries and a switch from coal to natural gas for electricity.

Japan saw emissions balloon by 10.8 percent between 1990 and 2001, though it still boasts the world’s best ratio of carbon emissions per unit of economic output.


The United States, Australia, and Canada saw emissions explode by 15.7, 32.3, and 11.5 percent, respectively, between 1990 and 2001.

Russia, the most carbon-intensive country, experienced a 30.5 percent drop in emissions between 1990 and 2001, largely due to its economic collapse during the 1990s.


Climate change rose to the top of the global agenda at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, where the original U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change was adopted. Under this agreement, industrial and former Eastern bloc nations agreed to aim to voluntarily return their emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000. However, nearly all the countries fell short of their initial Rio goals. Globally, carbon emissions grew by 10.2 percent between 1990 and 2001. Meanwhile, the scientific case for action continued to strengthen, due to further observed evidence of climate change and a string of new highs in global carbon dioxide concentrations and global average surface temperatures.


“The records in global CO2 concentrations and global temperatures, and the upward trends in global and most national emissions, indicate that the gap between climate science and policy has widened, rather than narrowed, since Rio,” says Dunn, who identified several key shortcomings in the policy responses to date:

Most of the climate policies that were adopted have been too weak, only partially implemented, or discontinued.


Governments have failed to develop “diversified portfolios” of policies, with many relying on one type of measure—such as weak voluntary agreements.  While “good practices” were identified in areas such as tax policy and energy efficiency standards, the existence of “perverse practices”—including subsidies for fossil fuel production and consumption (estimated globally at $200 billion per year)—has been a major impediment to climate policymaking, particularly in the United States, Canada, and Australia.


The transport sector emerges as a major blind spot in climate policy since Rio, receiving very little attention while becoming the fastest-growing source of emissions. Transportation, especially road transport, is projected to remain the fastest-growing source of emissions through 2020, with the most explosive growth occurring in the developing world. But governments have been loathe to touch the massive direct and indirect subsidies for road building, suburban development, and car travel that have fueled the surge in transport emissions. Dunn defuses several common myths in the climate policy debate, such as the claim that Brazil, India, and China are “rogue emitters.” “We found these nations taking numerous steps to slow emissions growth, primarily for economic reasons,” says Dunn. “For example, the U.S. government projects that China will surpass the United States as the world’s biggest carbon emitter by 2020. But recent trends suggest that the gap between the two countries’ emissions may instead widen, as Chinese emissions rise less rapidly than projected, due to significant reductions in coal use and widespread energy efficiency improvements.”  Dunn also challenges the claim, often made by opponents of the Kyoto Protocol, that the costs of implementing the treaty will outweigh the benefits. The Protocol would require industrial and Former Eastern bloc nations to collectively reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 5.2 percent between 1990 and 2008-12. But there is significant uncertainty about the economic consequences of meeting this commitment, as conventional economic models have historically overstated the costs and understated the benefits of environmental policies.  “Keep in mind that the economists who predict that the Protocol will be too expensive are the same nay-sayers who predicted that no agreement would be reached in Kyoto,” Dunn points out. “The real-world evidence to date, and new studies showing significant potential for low- or no-cost emissions cuts, suggest that they will be proven wrong once again.”


Worldwatch Paper 160 - Reading the Weathervane: Climate Policy from Rio to Johannesburg please visit



Business Day

31 July  2002


The introduction of a citizen-based initiative by Ashoka, which promotes nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) and encourages them to find innovative ways of self sustainability other than relying on government or donor handouts, could be a way of resolving NGO funding problems. NGOs are continuously faced with problems funding their activities which are aimed at uplifting communities. Their contribution to the sustainable development of the country is usually underestimated, says Anusanthee Pillay, Ashoka southern Africa's regional director . Ashoka is an international nonprofit organisation that promotes creative and innovative ways for the NGO sector to become self sustaining. With the upcoming World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, the crucial role played by civil society including NGOs, nonprofit organisations and community based organisations in alleviating poverty and promoting education and training will have to be acknowledged. During the summit a civil society conference will run concurrently at the Expo Centre in Nasrec, south of Johannesburg. Many international civil society organisations are expected to attend. The latest statistics on the state of the NGO sector in SA, compiled by the Graduate School of Public and Development Management at Wits University and co-ordinated by the Centre for Civil Society Studies at Johns Hopkins University, shows that the NGO sector is represented by 98920 NGOs across all sectors of the economy. The sector contributes 1,2% to the country's Gross Domestic Product. It employs 645317 fulltime staff, 10,2% of the formal non agricultural workforce, which is 1% higher than the mining industry. It also employs a higher number of workers than public servants in national departments. Pillay says NGOs play an important role in the growth and development of SA. She says while the private sector has many sources of capital (including investment banks, debt-equity sales, credit unions, and venture capital firms), NGOs have a limited capital market to sustain their work. International aid agencies, governments, and foundations are typically the only sources of capital, she says. Sean Jacobs of Idasa, an organisation which promotes democracy, says in its newsletter, EpoliticsSA, that NGOs now compete directly with private and commercial firms to secure government contracts. "Sometimes NGOs do not have the technical know-how to compete with the more experienced private firms or consultants," he says. Pillay says SA's NGO sector, rich in funding during the antiapartheid days, has had mixed fortunes since. After the elections in 1994, many agencies redirected their funding to the government and to other countries still in turmoil and conflict. "The SA government still maintains a high level of funding but many NGOs are unable to access it via the National Development Agency in the Department of Social Development."


Pillay says NGOs have to be able to sustain their projects and their organisations. "They must do this while remaining accountable to their constituencies," she says. Pillay says Ashoka develops social entrepreneurship. Social entrepreneurs are people who originate innovative and creative ideas of how an NGO can be self sustainable, without relying heavily on government and donor funds. The only difference between social entrepreneurs and business entrepreneurs is that the social entrepreneur applies the ability on creativity and innovative thinking for social change, while the creativity of the business entrepreneur is aimed at profit.


Non-Profit Partnership director Eugene Saldanha says with alternative means of self sustainability, the funding problems of NGOs is at times exaggerated. Saldanha says while funding is important for NGOs, the problems do not end there.


"The lack of skilled, or insufficient, management capacity to oversee and ensure the successful implementation of projects and delivery of services is another contributing factor to the problems faced by NGOs," he says. Saldanha says for sustainable development to occur in the country, the NGO sector will need the support of both the private and public sectors and this means providing NGOs with nonfinancial services to help them deliver their services more effectively and timeously.



Reuters Health via Yahoo

31 July 2002


WASHINGTON (Reuters Health) - A group of college and high-school aged youth announced Wednesday that they narrowly won a self-imposed bet with President Bush ( news - web sites) on cutting carbon dioxide emissions. Members of SustainUS, a group promoting sustainable development and environmental issues, said that they had collected pledges from American youth to reduce CO2 emissions by 21,800 lbs. through increased energy conservation. CO2 is a leading greenhouse gas thought to contribute to global warming ( news - web sites).  About 2,300 youth will meet their pledges by cutting back on driving, taking shorter showers, and cutting consumption of energy-intensive meat products, said Dan Jones, member of the group who is also a senior at Hunter College in Manhattan.  The group made a public bet with Bush on April 1 that it could secure enough pledges to cut emissions by 20,000 lbs. Reports early Wednesday indicated that the group had fallen several hundred pounds short of their goal, but late-arriving pledges put them over their goal at the last moment, officials said.  The bet was an effort by SustainUS to promote the World Summit on Sustainable Development scheduled to take place in Johannesburg, South Africa later this month. Activists said that their win required Bush to attend the summit along with five US youth activists.  President Bush, well known for his fondness of competition and friendly wagers, has been widely criticized for rollbacks in environmental standards, including a recent decision to relax some rules on industrial pollutant emissions from US factories.  One problem with the bet, though, is that the president never agreed to it. Activists said they do not expect Bush to attend the summit, and the White House announced no plans for the president to travel to South Africa.  Instead, Bush plans to leave Washington this week to spend most of August on a working vacation.  "He plans to be at his ranch in Crawford, Texas," said Scott Paul, a junior at Columbia University and a member of SustainUS's steering committee.



The Earth Times

31 July 2002


Imagine this: you're driving down from New York to Florida and never once do you have to stop for gas. In fact, you don't need any gas at all. All such hassles are taken care of because you are in a hydrogen fuel cell-powered car.  General Motors (GM) had just such a scenario in mind when designing the AUTOnomy, a fuel cell vehicle with a striking resemblance to the futuristic Batmobile of comic strip fame. The AUTOnomy was only one of several new designs for advanced automotive technology showcased at their GM Technology Tour today in Central Park.  "The AUTOnomy is a concept vehicle designed around fuel cells and biwired technology, or electrical wiring,"said Neil Schilke, GM's General Director of Engineering . "Fuel cell vehicles run purely on hydrogen, which means that further on down the road, it can help reduce our reliance on foreign oil and decrease the level of harmful emissions."


On Monday, GM unveiled a new research facility in Honeoye Falls, New York, to expand its ability to develop fuel cell technology. The new Fuel Cell Development Center--an 80,000 square-foot facility--will develop fuel cells for commercial use, creating up to 100 new research and engineering jobs.  GM hopes to use this launch to promote a revolutionary change in automotive technology and usage. Through hybrid cars, fuel cells, and reliance on diesel fuels, GM looks to create a wave of environmental awareness among its consumers.  "This is going to revolutionize the way we look at cars and trucks," said Dave Barthmuss, GM manager of Energy/Environment and Sustainability Communications. "Imagine the leap we took from riding horse and buggy to using cars. That's the type of radical shift in lifestyle and mindset we envision with hybrids and fuel cells. Our concept cars make the Jetsons look prehistoric."  GM is also sending representatives to the upcoming UN World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, set to take place at the end of August. While at the summit, GM hopes to present plans for alternative transportation within the framework of sustainable development.  "We want to go to Johannesburg to educate leaders about fuel efficiency leading to global sustainable mobility," said Beth Lowery, GM Vice President of Environment and Energy. "Working with groups like the World Business Council for Sustainable Development [WBCSD], we want to generate consumer incentives for using such vehicles, to quell any fears regarding safety, cost or efficiency." The Geneva-based WBCSD is a coalition of more than 160 international companies committed to furthering the goal of sustainable development.  Lowery--who will attend the Johannesburg Summit--also realizes the challenges she and others at GM are up against when pushing for such new automotive technology, one of them being the price of the vehicles. "We aren't even touching the cost issue right now. For the time being, people need to be convinced that they are going to have a safe ride in our cars and that they are bettering the environment each time they ride in them before they worry about money." Since the showcase primarily exhibited prototype vehicles, one of the fuel-celled cars was quoted as having a price tag of $1 million. Once on the market, the price would naturally fall to meet consumer needs.  A spokesperson from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) present at Tuesday's showcase expressed concern about the relative absence of infrastructural change in some of the fuel-efficient cars. "Sure some of these cars may be able to run on cleaner oil. But until car companies are willing to re-design their models so that consumers are no longer influenced by the 'bigger is better' mantra that has been splashed all over their ads for years, then America's roads will continue to have accidents resulting from these large-vehicle collisions."  Responding to the challenges facing GM's new drive for ecofriendly cars, Schilke said, "We all agree that the road ahead is long and difficult. Obviously, GM can't solve everything. But one way we can help is to remove cars from the environmental debate altogether. By introducing new measures to reduce harmful emissions and improve fuel efficiency, we will help create a healthier environment for automotive mobility, a necessary function that we can't and don't want to do without."


GM is the world's largest manufacturer of cars and trucks with more than 355,000 employees worldwide. GM intends to be the first automaker to sell 1 million fuel cell vehicles and expects to begin seeing them on the road by 2010.



Greenpeace International

31 July 2002


Marine mammals are fed up with Bush's inaction on climate change, and his latest announcement that he will not attend the Earth Summit in Johannesburg has prompted protest on both coasts. Whale and manatee populations on the US east coast have beached themselves in protest as ocean temperatures rise and Bush opts out of global treaties to stop climate change.


Off the coast of Cape Cod, 55 pilot whales have stranded themselves on a mud flat and are suffering from sunburn and sunstroke. Some of them were in shock, probably because when they are out of the water, their own weight can crush internal organs. Twenty of the whales have already died and rescue workers expected they would have euthanized another 28 Tuesday evening because they were too exhausted to swim back to open sea.  One rescue worker overcome with emotion at the sight of the dying whales said it was desperation that drove the whales to beach themselves. "When will Bush see that he is responsible for destroying not just life ON Earth, but under the seas as well?" said the heartbroken rescue worker. Six endangered manatees beached themselves in Florida on Tuesday in an attempt to appeal to Florida Governor Jeb Bush to talk some sense into his brother President Bush and tell him to attend the Earth Summit meeting which will take place in less than a month in South Africa. Jim Huffstodt, an officer with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says the manatees are exhausted from mating. "These poor girls, the only way they can escape the attention of the males, who are very persistent, is to ground themselves or go up on the beach." But several spectators swear they heard the manatees moaning "Baaaad Bush" in unison.


These protests on the east coast follow a massive squid protest on the coast of California last week. Hundreds of jumbo flying squid washed up along the San Diego coast which are normally found in the eastern Pacific ocean. Some believe the arrival of the squid is related to the El Nino climate phenomenon which sends warm tropical waters farther north than usual. Although it was climate that brought them to the shore of California, their mission was sending a powerful message to the US government to adopt clean renewable energy and stop the assault on the planet. A local fisherman who ensnared one of the squid close to shore said "With its dying breath the squid said: 'People think I'm just a dumb squid, but I'm smarter than George Bush when it comes to climate change'." Yet Bush is not alone in the dirty energy camp. Australia also announced that they would not ratify the Kyoto Protocol on climate change and aquatic life in the Pacific have not taken the news well.  Southern Right whales have maintained a high-spirited protest in Sydney harbour for the past two days. The three adult whales are maintaining a vigil in sight of the Sydney opera house and are attempting to restrict boat traffic in the harbour. They want the Australia government to take a new route at the Earth Summit and support plans to bring clean, green energy to developing nations - a solution to climate change that all mammals can appreciate. Just last week there was another massive protest on a beach near Albany, Australia where 58 false killer whales beached themselves in protest to Prime Minister John Howard's statement in Parliament that it would not be in Australia's interest to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. Although the marine mammals have caught on to the protest tactics quickly, the squid are leading the way. A giant squid, 18 metres long and weighing as much as 250 kilograms, washed up on a Tasmanian beach last week protesting Australia hiding behind the US policy on energy and climate change. Reports are also coming in from Canada, another Bush backing country at international negotiations on climate and environment. Although a small group of politicians in the Canadian parliament are pushing their leader to adopt the Kyoto Protocol, the Prime Minister is stalling and slow to take up any action to prevent climate change. The news is out and we have received some reports of a pod of humpbacks heading straight for the Canadian coastline. These bold and brave moves by the oceans great creatures is a last warning to take up action at the Earth Summit that will stop climate change and provide the world with clean, renewable energy. They seem to care more about the fate of the planet than our own governments. Support their heroic action and keep an eye out for beaching protests in your country.



Independent Online

31 July 2002


Eleven alarming national reports on coastal erosion in Africa will be tabled for discussion at the World Summit on Sustainable Development which starts in Johannesburg on August 26, the United Nations Department of Public Information announced in a statement on Wednesday. "The pressure to attract investment for coastal tourist facilities that bring much-needed new jobs and revenue to developing countries, often ends up with projects that do not meet minimum standards of coastal protection," said Patricio Bernal, executive secretary of Unesco's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission. He said this was frustrating, since scientific and technical knowledge to prevent coastal erosion was readily available and good practices were clearly defined. The national reports state that the seafront of Grand-Bassam in Cote d'Ivoire is in danger of crumbling into the water, while the Nigerian coastline is disappearing at a rate of 20 to 30 metres each year. The Seychelles, which has 491km of coastline on its 455 square kilometres of territory, reported tourism as a primary cause of coastal erosion - mainly arising from attempts to cosmetically improve the beach and swimming areas, while the provision of marine facilities such as marinas and piers also played a role. Gambia reported that the beach fronts of most of the hotels along their coastline have been washed away. The reports mark the end of the fact-finding mission of a new United Nations project that aims to focus attention on the problem and to foster dialogue on solutions. - Sapa



South African Ministry of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology

30 July 2002


The ACP-EU Forum on Research for Sustainable Development took place at Cape Town on 29 and 30 July 2002. Senior officials from the ACP Group of States and EU Member States attended the meeting, which adopted the Agenda at Annex 1. The South African Minister responsible for Arts, Culture, Science and Technology, Dr Ben Ngubane, hosted the meeting. This meeting was preceded, at the same venue, by two consecutive ACP preparatory meetings, the first at technical level and the second involving ACP Ministers responsible for science and technology. The outcome of these meetings is reflected in the Cape Town Declaration on Research for Sustainable Development (ACP/84/047/02) and also in the ACP's Cape Town Plan of Action (ACP/84/048/02 final, Annex 3). These events represent an important political follow-up of the ACP Vision for Sustainable Development. At its opening session Dr Rob Adam, Director-General of the South African Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology, Dr P Lutero, Assistant Secretary-General of the ACP General Secretariat and Dr Louis Bellemin, leader of the European Commission delegation, addressed the meeting. Chairpersons and General Rapporteurs for the four working groups were appointed (Annex 2). The ACP-EU Forum targeted two main outcomes: first a more in-depth discussion on the content of the thematic priorities identified in the Shared Vision; and secondly, advancing the preparation of key policy documents such as the Shared Vision and the Plan of Action and considering the contents of a draft future Ministerial Declaration which would emanate from an ACP-EU Ministerial meeting scheduled for December 2002. Such a Ministerial meeting was deemed critical to mobilise in a synergistic and complementary way, national resources in both ACP and EU Member States as well as bilateral and bi-regional instruments.


Discussions were held in plenary sessions as well as in four working groups, covering the priorities identified in the Shared Vision and allowing for ample discussion on both technical content and its implications for policy. Draft documents were consequently amended for transmission to the capitals in the two regions and to the European Commission. Summaries of the discussions carried out at Working Group level are attached. These discussions were subsequently considered in Plenary. The salient conclusions from these deliberations were adopted as the Cape Town Consensus. Of particular importance, in carrying forward the ACP-EU S&T dialogue are the following recommendations:

* To ask the ACP-EU Informal Taskforce to accelerate preparations for the Ministerial Meeting, scheduled for December 2002 in Brussels;

* To request the European Commission to make the necessary and timely arrangements leading to the full use of funding instruments in the 6th Framework Programme and in the 9th European Development Fund, in support of the S&T Co-operation and Research Capacity building, respectively;

* To prepare a detailed road-map of the activities to be implemented in the run-up to the Ministerial Meeting and beyond - this road map should be incorporated in the Plan of Action; and

* To further refine, on the basis of the Cape Town Consensus, the draft Shared Vision, Plan of Action and Ministerial Declaration for final approval by the forthcoming ACP-EU Ministerial Meeting. A preparatory meeting of senior officials should immediately precede this meeting.




30 July 2002


The United Nations' strategy for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) is a risk, a senior UN official says.

It aims to secure consensus on uncontentious issues, and purely voluntary agreements on more ambitious goals.

The approach could go a long way to make the summit's goals a reality.  But there are fears it may play into the hands of governments unwilling to make real changes.  The acknowledgement that the UN's strategy is fraught with problems comes from Jan Pronk, the special envoy to the WSSD of the UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan.  Mr Pronk, a former Dutch environment minister, briefing journalists in London, UK, said Johannesburg would need to agree a plan of action, with an agreed timeframe on implementation. There were three areas, constituting an action plan, needing agreement:

* Agenda 21, the sustainable development plan of action drawn up at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit

* the Millennium Goals, which Mr Pronk said effectively meant "halving world poverty by 2015"

* financial commitments to implement the plan.

There will be two levels of commitment sought from governments: consensus agreements, a sort of lowest common denominator approach, known as type one, and voluntary type two commitments, much more ambitious but entirely voluntary.

Results expected

Mr Pronk said: "Type two is for the many countries which are willing to go further. "It will let them set up networks with other countries, with business, and with non-governmental organisations. He told BBC News Online: "The cynics can certainly say this is something that may let unenthusiastic governments agree very little.  "But the developing countries want agreement on a text first, and then the topping-up through type two agreements.  "That's pragmatism, the only possible approach. This is a UN conference, and countries have been told they'll have to negotiate an outcome.  "It is a risky strategy. But you have to take risks." Mr Pronk said he thought preparations for Johannesburg had taken "a good turn" since the fractious preparatory meeting in Bali in June.  "All the signs are that the Bali problems are not insurmountable," he said.

Attendance not optional

"I expect the WSSD will be a success, meaning it won't be a failure. But whether it's simply a success or a big success depends on commitment to guarantee the implementation of the action plan.  "Many countries see Johannesburg as an opportunity to address some of the underlying causes of alienation, frustration and the inclination towards violence. Johannesburg "should tackle roots of violence" George Bush should be told he can't afford not to attend. It's not a question of the US doing something for others - the interests of its people are at stake."  The twin-track approach fills some observers with dismay. The UK's Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, a key environmental policy campaign body, is among them.  It says it is "concerned that type two agreements are principally a US cover for business as usual, and for governments to produce a weak plan of action".

American support

Liana Stupples, of Friends of the Earth, told BBC News Online: "Type two agreements are an unproven way of trying to run the world on a whim and a guess.  "They give the US a trump card, allowing it to continue to exercise a veto."  But Derek Osborn, chair of the UN Environment and Development UK Committee, told BBC News Online: "Partnerships like this are a good idea, and a complement to effective action.  "That mustn't let governments off the hook. But it's easy to cast all the blame on the US.

"They're not being purely negative, and we sometimes have a beam in our own eye, anyway." 



Environment News Service (ENS)

30 July 2002


NEW YORK, New York, July 30, 2002 (ENS) - Leaders of 106 countries have officially indicated that they will attend the United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development set for Johannesburg, South Africa from August 26 to September 4, the UN  announced today. Delegations from 174 countries will participate in the environment and development summit, but not all will be led by heads of government or heads of state. A head of state represents the state but does not exercise political power, while a head of government is the person in charge of the executive branch of government.  Heads of government or heads of state from Europe, Russia, China, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Japan and South Korea are among those who will be attending the summit, but to date the White House has not indicated that President George W. Bush will go to South Africa.


The National Security Council (NSC) office within the White House told ENS today that the President has not made an announcement indicating whether or not he will attend the summit.  Nor has the United States designated a person to head the delegation, which the United Nations has listed at the ministerial level on the Provisional List of Speakers for the general debate which takes place during the last three days of the summit, September 2 through 4.  An NSC spokesperson who preferred to remain anonymous said that Secretary of State Colin Powell might possibly head the U.S. delegation, or the head job could be handed to Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky, who has led U.S. delegations to climate and sustainable development negotiations for the Bush administration in the past.  The United States, India, Switzerland, Greece, and Austria are the only industrialized or large developing nations that are still listed at the ministerial level. Any country can update its listing until it is called upon to speak on the summit floor.  Forty-five other nations are now listed at the ministerial level including: Chad, Chile, Cuba, Egypt, Estonia, Palestine, the Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Syria.  Some 65,000 people are expected to travel to Johannesburg for the event including the official delegates to the summit itself and a significant number of additional people attending events associated with the Summit, such as the civil society Global Forum and the Ubuntu village and exhibition.


There are expected to be three main outcomes from the summit, United Nations organizers say.

* A political declaration, where heads of state and government commit to taking the action needed to make sustainable development a reality

* A plan of implementation, negotiated by governments, which sets out in more detail the action that needs to be taken in specific areas

* Commitments by governments and all other stakeholders to a broad range of partnership activities that will implement sustainable development at the national, regional and international level

The Johannesburg Metro Council is spending more than R65 million (US$6.5 million) to host the expected delegates. A large portion of the money is being spent on infrastructure development. Council officials said most of the work will be completed by July 31. The council estimates the summit will generate about R1 billion (US$99 million) for the city and create about 14,000 jobs.

Some 200 metro buses will be made available to transport delegates to summit venues and tourism destinations around the city and to the Sandton Conference Center where the official summit will take place.  Due to the threat of protests during the summit, a number of businesses in Sandton are planning to temporarily relocate to Midrand, the South African Press Association (SAPA) reported last week. The companies are concerned that any possible mayhem could disrupt their business operations.

"Radical activists have said that they would ignore police plans to crack down on their protests during the global environmental summit," SAPA reported.  Landless people from communities across the Johannesburg area, organized as The Landless People's Movement, say they are suffering forced removals at the hands of Joburg City Councillors.  "The government's brutal strategy to forcibly remove poor and landless people from their homes is aimed at hiding South African poverty from the world ahead of the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development," they said in a July 4 statement.



Xinhua News Agency

30 July 2002


JOHANNESBURG, Jul 30, 2002 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- South Africa would try to avoid alienating any country by taking a too radical position at the World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held here from Aug. 26 to Setp.4, a senior official told the parliament on Tuesday.  Trade and Industry chief director for multilateral trade negotiations Xavier Carim said this when addressing MPs from trade portfolio committee, the South African Press Association reported.  "If you take a very harsh stance you run the risk of some countries not turning up," Carim said.  There was an agreement that the summit would not focus only on environmental issues, he explained, adding that countries come to Johannesburg with different initiatives.  The Group 77 of developing countries wanted the summit to put more energy on issues like agricultural subsidies, market access and debt relief; the European Union had been looking forward to  greater focus on environmental issues, while the United States, Canada and Japan had argued against prejudging ongoing World Trade Organization talks. He added South Africa would underscore the importance of the developmental agenda but had to be very careful about the words used in the text for the summit.


"As the host, we have to look for a successful outcome," he said. "If we want to move forward we have to very careful how we manage it (the summit)."  He said the government would use the summit to check the progress in implementing Agenda 21, which was passed at the Rio de Janeiro summit ten years ago, and try to set the specific targets and objectives in this regard.


There appeared to be a lack of political commitment to these targets, which had led to the worsening global environment, the increasing gap between the poor and rich, and the higher levels of poverty.  South Africa would work for a forward-looking agenda, but wanted countries to renew their commitment to the Agenda 21 principles rather than renegotiate that agreement.


This new agenda should include ways to help eradicate poverty and reduce global inequality through, among other things, encouraging long-term investment in developing countries, enhanced market access and debt relief, Carim said.



The Earth Times

 30 July 2002


UITED NATIONS--Say this for the team that is preparing frenetically for the Johannesburg Summit: They want to overcome the odds barring their way to success. Summit Secretary General Nitin Desai is working long hours, even more so than usual. A recent "Friends of the Chair" meeting (held on July 17) wound up after tough deliberations as "very constructive." In South Africa, President Thabo Mbeki created the Johannesburg World Summit Company (JOWSCO) to oversee operations for the international conference, at which nearly 100,000 people are now expected. JOWSCO officials have injected a spirit of efficiency and good cheer that their UN counterparts applaud.  The "Friends of the Chair" was also a Mbeki initiative. He organized a group of 25 countries based on geographical representation to convene prior to the summit and help expediate the summit process in Johannesburg when the conference is held from August 26 to September 4. Secretary General Desai emphasized that this is not a negotiating group, "because negotiations should involve all Member States." He said that the meeting was an opportunity to discuss how to go about resolving the differences that emerged at last month's preparatory meeting in Bali, Indonesia. That meeting resulted in consensus on three-quarters of the summit's program. The program areas and activities agreed upon include issues involving the main themes--water, energy, health, agriculture and biodiversity. "The 25 percent that remains unresolved is about matters of principles, finance, globalization, trade, governance, technology and the setting of targets and timetables," Desai said at a briefing on the upcoming summit.  Desai said that, "the 'Friends of the Chair' came to the New York meeting with an optimistic outlook and left with a deeper understanding of one anothers views and positions on the remaining issues and also their mutual expectations." Desai added: "Everybody understands better how to find common ground in Johannesburg where negotiations will take place."  The countries invited by President Mbeki--who will also be the formal Chairman of the summit--to serve as "Friends of the Chair" include Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Russia, Senegal, Sweden, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States and Venezuela.  The Johannesburg Summit will offer the opportuntity to confront serious and growing threats to humanity. A third of the world's population of six billion lives on an income of an equivalent of less than two dollars a day. The use of fossil fuels is rising rapidly. Patterns of production and consumption continue to eat up natural resources faster that they can be replenished. Three-quarters of the world's fisheries are exploited to their sustainable limits or beyond. Mountain glaciers are slowly melting away and the world's forests have shrunk in the last decade by an area larger than Venezuela. At the Johannesburg Summit, world leaders are expected to adopt an implementation plan for sustainable development and to announce partnership initiatives aimed at delivering results on the ground. "I expect to see a wide range of initiatives launched by the corporate sector, NGOs and local authorities," Desai said.




29 July 2002


Paris, July 29 - When some of the 27 million international tourists visiting Africa go to relax by the ocean this summer, they could find the beach is no longer there. The coastline is receding at 1-2 metres per year in parts of Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia and other African countries. The seafront of Grand-Bassam, the colonial capital of Côte d'Ivoire, is in danger of crumbling into the water. Meanwhile, sections of the Nigerian coastline are disappearing at an astonishing 20-30m a year. Coastal degradation is a problem world-wide, but 11 African countries (Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa and Tanzania) have now teamed up to do something about it. Eleven hard-hitting national reports just published as part of Africa's contribution to the World Summit on Sustainable Development, that kicks off in Johannesburg on August 26. The reports wind up the fact-finding phase of a project, implemented by UNESCO and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), that germinated back in 1998 in Maputo (Mozambique), when environment ministers from over 40 African countries met to address the problem of coastal deterioration. Ministers from the 11 countries that took up the challenge will now be using the Johannesburg meeting to attract extra backers for a new phase of action-research, while inviting other African states to come on board. The project has also just been taken under the umbrella of NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa's Development), the initiative put together by African leaders and endorsed by the G8 at their June meeting in Canada. Africa's 63,124 km of coastline is crucial to the economies of many of its states, especially through fishing and tourism. And some island states, like Seychelles and Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, are almost entirely dependent on their coastal resources for income. For a total area of 455 square kilometres, the Seychelles has 491 km of coastline, with the entire population effectively living on the coast. A boom in tourism has brought rapid growth to the economy. The number of visitors swelled from 54,490 in 1971 to 130,046 in 2000, while GDP per capita rose from US$3,600 in 1975 to US$7,192 in 1998. The new prosperity, though, has put pressure on the very coastal ecosystems that created it. The Seychelles is an archipelago of 72 low-lying coral islands and 43 mountainous granite islands. But 90% of its 80,410 population live on just one of these islands, Mahe. With that island's rocky interior unsuitable for development, the limited coastal zone attracts most of the construction, whether for homes, hotels or new roads. And this often has negative effects on coastal ecology. "Tourism," says the Seychelles report, "is a primary cause of coastal erosion, mainly arising from attempts to cosmetically improve the beach and swimming areas, as well as the provision of marine facilities such as marinas and piers." And, while the government has passed a wide range of laws to protect the environment, says the report, "enforcement is often a major problem." The Gambia report tells a similar tale. "The beach fronts of most of the hotels have been washed away," while some of those that are left have invested over US$300,000 protection measures. Coastal erosion, says the report is "one of the most devastating in protection measures. Coastal erosion, says the report is "one of the most devastating in environmental problems" facing the country. Some 45% of the population and 60% of jobs are in the coastal zone, not to mention wildlife, including rare species such as the green turtle which use the receding beaches as a nesting grounds.


Coastal erosion is part of a natural process. Sandy beaches are naturally changing. When waves hit the beach at a certain angle, they drag the grains from one spot and deposit them further along, causing the beach to "migrate" sideways. Under normal conditions silt from rivers replenishes them. But any construction on the seafront, such as piers, marinas, landfill and buildings, interferes with this process. In Nigeria's Barrier Lagoon, moles (walls of the artificial harbour) stop the silt from replenishing the beaches. The lagoon's popular Victoria Island beach, for example, at the entrance to Lagos harbour, is now eroding at a rate of 20-30m a year. Meanwhile the silt is building up outside the harbour.


These man-made causes, compounded by upstream damming of the Niger River and sand-mining, add to the vulnerability of the Lagos coast, which is already battered by strong tides and waves. If sea-level does rise by 0.5m to 1m with global warming by the end of the century, as predicted by the International Panel on Climate Change, the barrier lagoon area of Lagos State alone would lose 284-584 square kilometres of its coastline through erosion and flooding. This could cause an estimated US$12 billion loss of revenue from tourism, commerce and spending by residents in one district alone. Some low-lying settlements are already flooded regularly when storms coincide with high spring tides. Meanwhile, uncontrolled sprawl of Africa's growing coastal mega-cities means that untreated sewage often ends up in the sea. Lagos has no central sewage treatment facilities, so waste from septic tanks is transported by truck to the coast and emptied directly into the sea. Much the same happens in other African cities, according to the reports. Yet property development, landfill and pollution are not the only causes of coastal degradation. In many places coral reefs and mangrove forest, which provide a natural protection to the coasts, are being damaged or cleared. This exposes beaches to waves and wind. In the relatively well-preserved Seychelles, the main threat to coral is bleaching, as a result of increased sea temperature through global warming. Even a 1°C increase in temperature can kill the tiny, pigmented organisms that live in symbiosis with the coral-building polyps. And their death ultimately kills the coral host that depends on them for nutrients synthesized by sunlight. In the granite islands of the Seychelles, according to that country's report, a 1997-98 survey showed that only 10% of live coral remained in some areas.


In Tanzania, on the Indian Ocean, the coral is also threatened, but mostly as a result of direct human activities. Coral reefs are home to hundreds of fish species, which traditionally provide the main source of protein for local villagers. A combination of pressures has pushed the villagers to fish beyond their own subsistence needs - and to use destructive techniques, like dynamiting and poison, to boost their catch. In one two-month period in 1996, says the Tanzanian report, 441 dynamite blasts were recorded in one bay, while, "in the Songo Songo Archipelago, 30 blasts were heard every three hours and, at Mpovi reef, 100 blasts were recorded during one six-hour period." And, the report goes on, "besides breaking the reef structure into rubble, each dynamite blast also kills all fish, plankton and most invertebrates within a 15-20m radius." Uncontrolled bottom trawling by foreign commercial fishing vessels also destroys the reef, effectively scouring the seabed. And relatively poor countries like Tanzania do not have the resources to police their offshore resources. The present project, called the "African process for the development and protection of the marine and coastal environment in sub-Saharan Africa", is part of a series of actions on coastal management in African states that started in 1998 at the Pan-African Conference on Sustainable Integrated Coastal Management (PACSICOM). Essentially an African project implemented with support from UN agencies, all the national reports were researched and written by African experts from ministries, NGOs, and universities. Each fact-finding team comprised expertise from three main disciplines - natural science, law, and socio-economics - in an effort to represent the different stakeholders involved in coastal management.


None of the reports envisages a quick fix to these coastal problems. And, as Patricio Bernal, Executive Secretary of UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), says, the project recognizes the complexity of the issues. "The pressure to attract investment for coastal tourist facilities, that bring much-needed new jobs and revenue to developing countries, for example, often ends up with projects that do not meet minimum standards of coastal protection. Dramatic cases can be seen all round the world, where huge tourist complexes, built immediately adjacent to the beaches, are surrounded after a few years by pebbles and rocks, as tourist run away from waves crashing on their hotel doorstep. This is frustrating, since the scientific and technical knowledge to prevent it are available and good practices have been clearly defined."


The "African Process" project is an effort to apply this knowledge where it is most needed. So far, the project has been partly sponsored by the UN Development Programme's Global Environment Facility (GEF) and implemented by UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, the UN Environment Program (UNEP), the Advisory Committee on Protection of the Sea (ACOPS), and UNEP's Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Pollution (GPA). But other backers are expected to provide funding at Johannesburg for a new phase that will be looking for solutions.


The very structure of the "African Process" project looks for synergy between coastal states, setting up continental and sub-regional responses to shared problems. At present national responses vary from legislation - with the inherent problems of enforcement - to public awareness campaigns, eco-tourism, monitoring programmes, marine parks and public-private partnerships to finance utilities, like sewage treatment. Tanzania, for example, plans to assist fishermen to buy the gear and vessels required to move from inshore fishing to offshore fishing and to close coral reefs on a rotating basis. "And, like others, the Tanzanian report recognizes that, while marine parks and conservation areas are helpful, sustainable economic activities also need to be developed.



European Commission

29 July 2002


A group of politicians, scientists, artists and civil society leaders will present a "Peace Manifesto" to the Earth Summit in Johannesburg (August 29 - 5 September 2002) urging world leaders to halt armed operations during peacetime. The manifesto will be drawn up at the International Conference on Peace and Development which will be held in Puerto Rico on 12 - 14 August 2002. The Conference is being supported by the Arias Foundation for Peace and Human progress (formed by Nobel Prize laureate Oscar Arias), the Puerto Rico Senate, the East Council and the Economists Allied for Arms Reduction. A number of Nobel Peace Laureates will be attending the Conference. The Conference Manifesto will call for a redoubling of efforts to reduce the gap between the industrialised North and the developing South. Participants are expected to issue a harsh condemnation of the "terrorism of indifference" perpetuated by world powers. Mr Antonio Faz Alzamore, Puerto Rican Senate President, said "Terrorism is not caused only by bombs, but by looking the other way, and refusing to see that every day 40,000 children die of hunger or diseases."

International Peace Decade
In 1998, the United Nations proclaimed 2000 as 'the Year for the Culture of Peace' and the years 2001-2010 as the 'International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence for the Children of the World.' This followed an appeal by all 23 living Nobel Peace Laureates in 1998.



Xinhua News Agency

29 July 2002


PARIS, Jul 29, 2002 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- French President Jacques Chirac on Monday urged all participants to the upcoming United Nations Earth Summit in Johannesburg to overcome divergence and ensure a success of the world summit on sustainable development.  "Whatever the difficulties, we could make the Johannesburg summit a success," said Chirac to representatives of non- governmental organizations preparing for the summit scheduled from August 28 to September 4 in the South African city.


The UN summit is to implement the recommendations adopted at last Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 to coordinate economic growth plans and environmental protection.  "It will be a good occasion for nations to overcome their divergence and envision their common future," said the French president.  "It supposes that beyond our differences in opinions and interests, we plead for the same cause of solidarity, of general interest of the humanity, of universal ethic," said Chirac.  However, efforts have not been enough at achieving these goals, he said, giving as examples the difficulties to implement the Kyoto protocol, the dying-out of bio-diversity, the disastrous spreading of AIDS and the persistence of poverty in the world.  Chirac is to lead the French delegation to the Earth Summit in Johannesburg, to which 60,000 people are expected to participate. Chirac is one of several heads of state who have confirmed their participation to the summit.  On Monday, about 15 NGOs had a two-hour meeting with the French presidency and ministries of environment and cooperation to discuss the work at the summit.  They mentioned the policy of water, energy, the responsibilities of enterprises, food safety, agriculture and solidarity with the South during the meeting, according to the French presidency.  Earlier in July, a two-day pre-summit conference was organized in western French city of Rennes and attended by more than 500 French politicians, business leaders and NGOs.  "If the Johannesburg (summit) were a failure, there would be a real despair. We have no right to fail," said French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin at the start of conference.  "France will be mobilized to assure that the Johannesburg summit will be a success," he said, adding that preparatory meetings of the summit have witnessed "difficulties and sometimes tensions" in negotiations.




29 July 2002


Tehran, July 29, IRNA -- Faced with alarming deterioration in the earth's vital life-supporting ecosystem, world leaders will gather   

at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa from August 26 to September 4 to pursue new initiatives  to implement sustainable development and build a future of prosperity and security for their citizens. UN Information Center (UNIC) in Tehran said that the Johannesburg Summit offers an historic opportunity to confront serious and growing threats to human well-being, a third of world's people live on an income of less than two dollars a day, use of fossil fuel is rising rapidly, patterns of production and consumption continue to eat up natural resources faster than they can be replenished, three-quarters of world's fisheries are fished to their sustainable limits or beyond, mountain glaciers are slowly melting away and the world's forests have shrunk in the last decade by an area larger than Venezuela. These trends can be reversed, but decisive action is needed. While action is expensive, the cost of doing nothing is even higher. For example, every land degradation and desertification cause an estimated dlrs 42 billion in damage and lost income, but to prevent degradation would total only dlrs 2.4 billion a year. No amount of money, however, can restore lost bio-diversity or bring back plant and animal species, once they are extinct. The international community will come together in Johannesburg just as southern Africa is struggling to cope with a drought that has  parched the entire region, compounding problems of poverty and HIV/AIDS and threatening famine. "It is urgent for the world as a whole to learn the lessons of this drought," United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said, "which gives us an ugly picture of the fate that lies for us, and for our children, if we do not find models of development that are genuinely sustainable."                                              



Miami Herald

29 July 2002


OSLO - The "Earth Summit" meant to save the planet is in danger of backfiring by deepening rifts between rich and poor countries. Governments are scrambling to salvage next month's gathering, billed as the largest U.N. meeting in history with more than 100 world leaders and 60,000 delegates, even though President Bush plans to stay home. The World Summit on Sustainable Development, to be held in Johannesburg from August 26-September 4, is far behind schedule in working out a blueprint to safeguard the environment while promoting economic growth to meet a U.N. goal of halving the number of people living on less than $1 a day by 2015. On a gargantuan agenda, summit goals include finding ways to curb consumption of fossil fuels, slow down deforestation, fight diseases from AIDS to malaria and provide clean drinking water to a billion people who lack safe supplies. Preparatory talks ended in deadlock in June, raising fears of a fiasco in Johannesburg with the developing world accusing the United States and other rich countries of setting worthy long-terms goals that never get turned into action. "Failure would be a failure for the whole world," said John Hirsch of the International Peace Academy in New York. "There is a mutual need for success. The alternative is a widening gap between the developing world and the developed world." Many governments want more streamlined and less amorphous agendas for U.N. meetings -- the draft declaration for Johannesburg is 77 pages long with scant mention of new timetables or cash.



"What we seem to be doing at almost all U.N. conferences is to defend old commitments rather than make headway on new challenges," said Norway's Development Minister Hilde Frafjord Johnson. "We don't think it is extremely beneficial to continue with these kinds of conferences. We have to make sure that this is Rio plus 10 rather than Rio minus 10," she said. The Johannesburg summit is meant to build on the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit in 1992, the first environmental summit after the Cold War. Rio's agreements included pledges to fight global warming in a deal since undermined by a U.S. pullout. Many other promises at Rio have not been kept. And Johannesburg faces criticisms that it is trying to solve too many of the planet's problems in one go -- an almost inevitable recipe for failure. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan says it will address five priority areas -- water, energy, agricultural productivity, biodiversity and health. It will also seek to meet U.N. goals of cutting poverty by 2015 and will chart new partnerships between governments, businesses and civic organizations as a basis for development. About 1.2 billion people live on less than $1.0 a day.



Roberto Bissio, director of the Third World Institute in Uruguay, said poor countries were angered by the willingness of the rich to set development targets for 2015 when they will be out of office and no longer accountable. "If you agree to halve poverty by 2015 you should also set targets for 2005 and 2010," he said. "That would show that developed nations are taking this seriously." Mats Karlsson, World Bank vice president for U.N. affairs, said summits focused attention on environmental problems even if they failed to live up to their ambitious billing. "If we make progress against poverty by 2050, for instance, we would have a world economy that's three to four times the size of today. You cannot consume four times as much water. You don't have the technology to consume four times the amount of energy. "If you need 77 pages to describe that problem then so be it," he said, referring to the summit draft. "This is extremely complex. We're discussing the world's future." All agree that summit planning is running dangerously late even though a flurry of meetings since the last preparatory talks in Bali, Indonesia, have eased some of the gloom.

"At least there's a will to negotiate. We have to avoid disaster," said Kim Carstensen of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) after meetings including in New York, Stockholm and Rio. Even so, a draft declaration had been agreed about two months before a U.N. development summit in Mexico in March. And in May 1992, negotiators agreed the plan to fight global warming a month before the start of the Rio conference.



Failure or toothless accords at Johannesburg could aggravate North-South as the main faultline in global politics after the end of the East-West divide that was celebrated in Rio. "The North is entering its shell of protectionism," said Indian Commerce Minister Murasoli Maran. "They want to prevent the South from using the only competitive advantage they have: abundant labour." Poor countries are told to protect rain forests or endangered species with the lure of aid and freer trade. But many say that an end to farm subsidies in rich nations, shutting out exports from cocoa to apples, would be better. The United Nations estimates that rich nations pay their own farmers about $1 billion a day in subsidies -- six times aid payments to the developing world. Despite discord in Johannesburg, all agree that summits will continue as the only way to focus leaders' minds. Since trade talks in Seattle collapsed amid anti-globalisation violence in 1999, international leaders are increasingly aware of the dangers of failure. "At the food summit in Rome (in June) the accusation was 'they went to big hotels, ate a lot and talked about hunger'," said Will Day, head of CARE International UK. "But to get the right people in the room with a clear purpose is always better than e-mail and phone calls."



The Guardian

29 July 2002


This was supposed to be Africa's year. There was talk of fresh starts, of links that would be forged between Africa's new breed of dynamic leaders and western cash, of markets that would be opened and stomachs that would be filled. Instead, it is the same dismal story.  In Johannesburg next month, world leaders will gather for the summit on sustainable development, a 10-day talk fest that will only emphasise the gulf in thinking that divides the first and third worlds. It will achieve nothing. Meanwhile, in a band of countries to the north - Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique - more than 14 million people are facing starvation in the continent's worst famine in 10 years. So much for the idea that 2002 would see a new Marshall plan for Africa.  Even at the best of times, the notion that the west would devote its energy to Africa was always supremely optimistic. The past 12 months have assuredly not been the best of times; the terrorist attacks on September 11, the slowing of the global economy and the precipitous decline in stock markets have seen to that. Tony Blair did his best for Africa at last month's G8 summit in Kananaskis, but the brutal truth is that he didn't get far. Downing Street aides were furious when Oxfam said Africa had been offered "recycled peanuts", but that was about the strength of it. Blair, Gordon Brown and - as we show on this page - Clare Short have been trying to persuade other western nations to raise their game, but it is proving to be a depressingly slow process.  The annual human development report published by the United Nations last week highlighted the extent of the problem. In 1990, at a previous international junket in Thailand, goals were set for development that were to be hit by the end of the 20th century. Predictably, once the world leaders were back home, nothing was done.


Going backwards

The date for achieving the targets was put back to 2015. Still, progress is proving glacially slow, with some countries going backwards. At current trends, according to the UN report*, it will take more than 130 years to rid the world of hunger, while 81 countries, accounting for 60% of the world's people, are not on track to reduce infant mortality by 2015. "Most troubling, many of the countries least likely to achieve the goals are the world's poorest: the least developed countries. And most are in sub-Saharan Africa: 23 of the region's 44 countries are failing in most areas, and another 11, such as Angola and Rwanda, have too little data to make a judgment.  "South Africa is the only country in the region where less than 10% of children are malnourished. In six countries - including Eritrea, Ethiopia and Niger - the share is more than 40%. Without a dramatic turnaround there is a real possibility that, a generation from now, world leaders will be setting the same targets again."  The famine in southern Africa now threatens to put the millennium targets even further out of reach. Nobody comes out of the present crisis with much credit. Clearly, much of the blame lies with the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe, which has turned a country that exported maize to the rest of the region into a basket case that cannot even feed itself.  The problems in Malawi and Zambia are linked to the drying-up of food supplies from Zimbabwe, but were compounded by the decision, on the advice of the International Monetary Fund, to run down food reserves. The fund's advice was well intentioned. Storing large quantities of food is costly and inefficient; in a country with strong, non-corrupt governance, it makes better sense to keep reserves in cash that can be used to buy food on the world market.


Unfortunately, Zambia's government is weak and corrupt, so the reserves have been plundered. As far as the international effort to combat the famine is concerned, the mobilisation of support has come far, far too late. Western governments, aid agencies and international organisations have all failed to respond quickly enough, and have waited for the TV footage of dead and dying children before doing anything. The extent of the hunger means that the priority is to get large quantities of food to the area now. In the medium term, there are lessons to be learned. Early warning systems need to be improved, with better communication between the governments of southern Africa, which sink or swim together. It should be recognised that some of the ways in which domestic food markets have been deregulated - abandoning the scheme which helped farmers affected by crop failure by giving them seeds for the following year, for example - have been positively harmful. Last but not least, the whole question of debt relief needs to be revisited. As Oxfam has pointed out, under the Enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, 26 countries are receiving debt relief, but half of them are still spending 15% or more of government revenue on debt repayments. These repayments are "crowding out" vital public investments in health, education, and other areas.  Thirteen of the 26 countries receiving debt relief are still spending more on debt than on public health. Zambia and Malawi have among the highest HIV/Aids prevalence rates in the world. But, while Zambia has almost one million people affected, the country is spending 30% more on debt than on health. Malawi's health budget is equivalent to its debt servicing."


One-sided deal

In the longer term, the sort of bargain that has been adumbrated over the past year - financial help and more open markets in return for better governance - makes sense. African leaders left Kananaskis convinced that they were being offered a one-sided deal - clean up your governance and we might consider helping you. They have every right to be cynical when they hear warm words oozing out of western capitals. As the UN points out, in 1992 less than 10% of the global spending on health research addressed 90% of the global disease burden.  More than 50 years after the World Health Organisation pledged to eradicate malaria, it still kills a million people a year. Moreover, trade rules work against poor countries; on average, industrial country tariffs on imports from developing countries are four times those on imports from other industrial nations. In addition, those countries that belong to the organisation for economic cooperation and development provide about $1bn a day in domestic agricultural susbsidies - more than six times what they spend on official development assistance for developing countries.  But there is little point in Africa bemoaning its fate. Nobody ever said that the world is fair and, as the UN says, it makes sense for Africa to embrace democracy and better governance whether or not the west lives up to its promises. Democracy, says the UN, is the only political regime that guarantees political and civil freedoms and the right to participate - making democratic rule a good in itself. In addition, it helps protect people from economic and political catastrophes such as famines. "This is no small achievement. Indeed, it can be the difference between life and death. India has not had a famine since 1947, despite severe crop failures." Finally, the UN says that democratic governance can trigger a virtuous circle of development - by empowering people to press for policies that expand social and economic opportunities. All this is true. Democracy will not save a single child in Africa over the coming months. But it will save another generation in 2012 or 2022.




29 July 2002


Eight African Ministers of Water Affairs have committed themselves to providing running water and sanitation to their people by 2015. This emerged at an African Sanitation Conference in Sandton, where delegates heard that more than half of the continent's people do not enjoy access to running water or sanitation. On the eve of the World Summit in Sandton, some residents of Alexandra towns hip, a stone's throw from the summit venue, still suffer from water borne diseases and malnutrition. They have no access to running water or sanitation. Margaret Zwane is one of the residents who have been using the bucket system for the past 30 years. She shares her toilet with her neighbours, exposing her children to diseases. African governments are, however, unanimous that the problem facing Zwane and half of the continent's people will soon be a thing of the past. Ronnie Kasrils, the Water Affairs Minister, says: "This is the way to stop water borne diseases such as dysentery and cholera that kill 6000 people, internationally, a day and many of them are children." Nigeria, with a water budget that is even more than that of the army, says it is confident the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) will bear results for the continent.


Water debates at The Dome

One of the major venues for the world summit due next month is The Dome, north of Johannesburg. It will host all events relating to water, one of the world's most important resources. Today, The Dome's unique structure got a drenching of water, to make sure it is absolutely fireproof. The 42 metre high building already has 15 million litres of water under the floor for the sprinkler system, but the organisers wanted to be absolutely safe. So today four new water cannons were tested, creating a very appropriate scene for a venue that will be known as the Water Dome during the summit. Mike Lord, the venue manager, says: "Without a doubt, I think we have done some serious planning in the last two months- we are looking forward to it. There's still a lot to more planning to do- a lot more still to happen within the Water Dome and we are looking forward to it."  So while delegates discuss how to provide water and sanitation for more than 1 billion people around the world next month, they can be sure there will be plenty of water on standby.



Daily Telegraph

29 July 2002


The drought in southern Africa could become a catastrophe because of Zimbabwe's refusal to allow commercial imports of grain to enable better-off Zimbabweans to feed themselves, Clare Short, the International Development Secretary, warned yesterday.

She said 106 world leaders, including Tony Blair, attending next month's Earth Summit in Johannesburg, could find their attempts to address the effects of poverty on the world's environment overshadowed by a famine which was at least partly man-made.


In an exclusive interview with The Telegraph, she said the worst drought in southern Africa for 10 years was capable of becoming "a catastrophe" because of the conduct of Robert Mugabe's ruling regime in Zimbabwe. The World Food Programme has reported that two-thirds of the 3.2 million tons of food which is now needed in Zimbabwe could be provided by commercial means - that is bought by people who could afford it. More than half the people at risk from the famine are in Zimbabwe, where seizures of white-owned farms by "war veterans" and members of the ruling Zanu-PF party have devastated agricultural output. Reports, confirmed at the weekend, showed that water is available in dams but is not being used. Miss Short said she had volunteered not to go to the Johannesburg summit, which is estimated to be using the same amount of energy as nearly half a million Africans would use in a year. But she was prevailed on to attend, along with a delegation of 70 ministers and officials including John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, because of her close links with developing countries. Miss Short warned western environmentalists like Friends of the Earth that it would be "immoral" if their concerns about globalisation were to derail an agreement that could help the 2.4 billion people without proper sanitation over the next 15 years. "Poor countries want multinationals. They want modern telecommunications. They want water and sanitation systems. Of course multinationals can be irresponsible, but they supply the modern technology of the world," she said. She also praised big companies who were becoming more aware of their responsibilities towards the populations of developing countries. "If the Johannesburg summit went wrong we would have a nasty international atmosphere," she concluded.  Success, however, would provide "a united international endeavour to deliver what has to be delivered if our kids and our grandchildren are going to have any kind of decent Earth to live on".




29 July 2002


BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The world woke up to global warming at the 1992 Rio Earth summit, but 10 years on, what some consider the planet's biggest environmental danger has fallen off the agenda of a major follow-up conference.

Next month's summit of world leaders in Johannesburg will focus on poverty, not pollution -- a worry for some environmentalists who say the poor will suffer first if climate change is not stopped.  In Rio de Janeiro a decade ago, leaders took the landmark decision to try to stop rising emissions of the greenhouse gases which trap heat in the atmosphere, and created the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.  U.N. scientists said the build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution was trapping heat in the atmosphere. They predicted major climate disruption if emissions were not cut.  Five years later, with emissions still rising, countries beefed up the convention with the Kyoto Protocol which contained binding targets on emissions reduction for industrialised countries.  But the pact has yet to come into force and the United States put its future in doubt when it pulled out last year.  "If you look at the record since Rio, climate change is the most glaring failure," said Rob Bradley of the campaign group Climate Action Network.  "Countries took a commitment to stabilise emissions and then promptly didn't do it. That gave the lie to the idea that countries were there because they realised how serious it all was."



Kyoto can still survive without the world's biggest producer of greenhouse gases, but not until Russia ratifies, supplying the required number of developed countries for it to take effect. That is not expected for another several months.  While Kyoto's supporters are disappointed it will not be in force before the summit, they blame U.S. influence for the fact that climate change is barely mentioned on the agenda.  "EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) officials told me the American administration preferred to have climate change not at all on the agenda at Johannesburg, to instead focus on water," said European Parliament member Alex de Roo.  "What do you see? The first item on the agenda is water. The second is energy, which has some climate implications, but the word climate isn't mentioned. That's the cloud of the Bush administration hanging over the Johannesburg summit."  But other Kyoto supporters are happy that the treaty will not be the centre of attention at Johannesburg.  "We more or less have solved the negotiations. To have major discussions again in Johannesburg would perhaps give the impression that something more has to be done," said Jan Pronk, the former Dutch environment minister who chaired the key climate negotiations before and after the U.S. withdrawal.  Pronk, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's special envoy to help prepare the summit, wants to see Washington return to the treaty, but said any such discussions at Johannesburg "would not be very useful" because they would be unlikely to succeed.



The summit's focus on fighting poverty reflects the overriding concern of developing countries where scourges such as water-borne diseases, malaria and AIDS, which kill millions every year, appear far more menacing than global warming.  Many scientists say climate change will exacerbate those problems. Research over the past 10 years has given scientists a better idea of what effects global warming could have on water supplies, agriculture and population migrations.  While some scientists are sceptical about climate change and its effects, a broad-based U.N. scientific panel has predicted that unchecked emissions could raise global temperatures by between 1.4 and 5.8 degrees Celsius this century.  Reports of coral bleaching and melting ice sheets have indicated that global warming may be well under way.  Mick Kelly, an atmospheric scientist at Britain's University of East Anglia, said policymakers would have to take on board detailed forecasts of the impact of climate change on populations to enable countries to cope.  "Whatever politicians may do, some degree of climate change is inevitable and therefore we have to plan to adapt," he said.  While Rio and Kyoto were about reducing the emissions blamed for causing climate change, more emphasis was now needed on ensuring countries can manage the consequences, for example, by protecting themselves from sea level rises, Kelly said.  "It has to be a twin track strategy."  Some analysts believe Johannesburg could deliver results for the fight against climate change, both by helping poorer states develop so they can tackle the impact of global warming, and by getting them to develop more cleanly than rich countries did.  A push for renewable energy, for example, could reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that would inevitably come from a greater use of fossil fuels in the developing world.  "(Climate change) is on the agenda to the extent that they are addressing the future energy requirements of developing countries," said Jacqueline Karas, climate change research fellow at London's Royal Institute for International Affairs.  "It may seem that climate change is a less immediate problem than tackling poverty, but on issues like water supply, which is susceptible to climate change, the most vulnerable countries are those in the tropics and the south."  So although water, sanitation and energy for the poor will top the agenda at Johannesburg, climate change will not far from people's minds, Karas said.  "It will be climate change by another name."



BuaNews via All Africa

28 July 2002


Deputy President Jacob Zuma has called for a partnership between technology and development, with the potential benefits rooted in a pro-development strategy. He reiterated the findings of the UN Human Development Report of 2001, which stated that science and technology had the potential to realise in a decade what could have been achieved in generations in the past. The Deputy Pesident was addressing delegates at the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Ministerial Forum on Research for Sustainable Development in Cape Town today. 'We need to find ways of making science and technology work for development,' he said, adding that it was the only way in which new technologies and innovations could bring about positive changes in the lives of millions of people in the developing world. He said it was urgent that the partnership be embraced 'especially since technology itself has become a source of, and an engine for economic growth, as evidenced by the international success of technology-based clusters.'

Moreover, Mr Zuma said it was relevant that delegates from the European Union (EU) participated in the Forum ahead of the envisaged joint ministerial gathering later this year. 'We trust that the Forum will provide officials with an appropriate mandate to ensure that during the discussion, a solid foundation is laid for the ACP-EU ministerial gathering,' he said. The Forum, which takes place weeks before the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) to be held in Johannesburg, is aimed at expressing political commitment to strengthen ACP-EU co-operation in science and technology relevant to society. The event ends on Tuesday.



e-Taiwan News

27 July 2002


A coalition of Taiwanese environmental activist groups have called for greater efforts to promote international networking and participation by local NGO's at the United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa from August 26 to September 4 this year.  These were some of the recommendations and points of discussion as government officials from the forestry and agricultural departments joined representatives from a number of environmental organizations at a round-table forum yesterday to foster exchanges of ideas and to formulate a new policy planning.  Organized by the Society of Wilderness, the event yesterday is part of a series of public forums being held to support and publicize the environmental coalition's goal of taking part in the U.N. World Summit on Sustainable Development.  The forum dealt with several of the U.N.'s ongoing programs such as the WSSD, the Convention on Biodiversity, forest preservation projects, and other international environmental movements.  Legislator Chao Jung-ching, Director of the Forestry Council Yu Star Huang, representative from the Cabinet's Committee for Sustainable Development Wang Hsin, and NGO representatives spoke of the need for Taiwan's groups to co-ordinate better in their work, to take a greater role in the international network of environmental organizations and to discuss the importance of participating at the upcoming global summit conferences.  Focused on setting up global action plans and a strategy for sustainable development, the Johannesburg Summit 2002 looks at the results of implementation, progress of the agenda, and programs adopted at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio. It also evaluates new goals for the international environmental movement.



Vanguard (Lagos) via All Africa

27 July 2002


Minister of Environment, Alhaji Muhammad Kabir Sa'id Thursday advised that federal government should not shy away from the reality that the world has become a global village of which all nations of the world, both developed and under-developed countries have a role to play in the protection and equitable utilisation of the earth's resources. Alhaji Sa'id gave this advice at the opening session of the National Forum on Sustainable Development, held at Nicon Hotel Abuja. He noted that a recent report from United Nations illustrates vividly the imbalance in the consumption pattern of the earth's resources. "The report reveals that only 15 per cent of the world population, in high income countries, account for 56 per cent of the world's total consumption, while the poorest 40 per cent, in low-income countries, account for only 11 per cent," he said adding, "while most people consume more today, the consumption expenditure of average African household is 20 per cent less than it was 25 years ago!" The minister pointed out that it is in realization of the enormous problem facing the continent and the need to take charge of the country's destiny that some African initiatives have emerged to reverse the trend. Alhaji Sa'id stated that Mr. President, in order to ensure sustainable environment, pioneered the creation of a new African-led initiative known as the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). Among the objective of NEPAD, he noted are to eradicate poverty and place African countries, both individual and collectively, on a path of sustainable growth and development; to halt the marginalisation of African in globalisation process and to restore peace, security and stability in the continent. "NEPAD creates a new framework of cooperation between Africa and the rest of the global community, based on the agenda set by African people throughout their own volition and initiatives to chart their own course and shape their destiny," he said. The minister stated that ten years after UNCED, that a World Summit on Sustainable Development will be held in Africa. "More importantly, African and ways to solve her problems have become part of the main agenda of the summit, the issue to be addressed at the summit are very paramount to African Development," he stressed.



Jamaica Observer

27 July 2002


WESTERN BUREAU -- Mosina Jordan, mission director at the United States Agency of International Development (USAID), has reaffirmed her organisation's commitment to supporting a relationship tourism and the environment activities, in order to achieve sustainable economic development in Jamaica and the rest of the region. "USAID has been working with our partners to help Caribbean countries harness tourism's benefits and incentives in a way that is environmentally sound and economically viable, as well as socially responsible and culturally appropriate," she said. "I would like to reaffirm USAID's commitment to making a difference, to protecting the natural resource base and to ensuring that the work we are doing will hold promise for a viable future," Jordan said. The USAID director who was speaking yesterday at the official opening of the Green Hotel Conference and Exhibition in Montego Bay, said the USAID's approach to sustainable tourism involved a number of "inter-related" issues. She listed the promotion of environmental management systems in the sector to include the adoption of voluntary certification schemes like the Green Globe 21 hotel certification programme, as one of the issues. Since 1998 when Negril Cabins became the first hotel in the world to be certified under the programme, 25 other Jamaican and Caribbean hotels have been certified through the Environmental Audits for Sustainable Tourism (EAST) project. Ten others are to be evaluated for certification before yearend. EAST was launched in 1997 to prove the benefits of improved environmental management in the hotel and manufacturing sectors. The first phase saw 14 Negril hotels subjected to environmental audits, training in environmental management systems and the audit of 10 manufacturing facilities in Kingston/St Andrew. Then in 1998/99, the USAID funded programme was extended to include additional hotel and manufacturing audits, the Green Globe 21 certification programme, economic incentives and financial analysis and the development of an institutional plan for the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association to sustain the project's efforts. Jordan said yesterday that the task of implementing environmental practices inside the industry was one that required the exercise of "corporate responsibility". "The importance of corporate responsibility cannot be overemphasized," she said, adding that it extended beyond a willingness to adopt voluntary certification programmes. "(It) also means the incorporation of local communities as equal partners in the process... (It) is the concept that enterprise is accountable for its impact on all relevant stakeholders... the continuing commitment by business to behave fairly and responsibly and contribute to economic development..." Jordan said, adding that the time to act was now. "As much as this green hotel conference and the worldwide summit on sustainable development provide a good opportunity for reflection, its also time for implementation of the policies and practices of sustainable tourism development and the achievement of concrete results," she said.



Taipei Times

27 July 2002


GLOBAL PUSH: A report to be presented at a UN summit will feature companies that yielded financial gains after implementing environmentally sound business practices. To demonstrate that "doing good" can yield financial gains, Taiwan will present the successful experiences of five enterprises and their investments in environmental protection at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) next month in Johannesburg, South Africa. According to Developing Value: The Business Case for Sustainability in Emerging Markets -- published on July 17 by the International Finance Corporation (IFC, a member of World Bank Group), the strategy consultants SustainAbility and Ethos Institute in Brazil -- five Taiwanese enterprises that implemented environmentally sound policies benefitted financially from their investments. The book is regarded as the first large-scale study of developing countries that proves companies can post financial gains while pursuing sustainability. The book presents 240 cases based on the practices of 176 companies, ranging from family-owned companies to multinationals in over 60 countries in Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Latin America. The material covers a wide range of business sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, infrastructure and information technology. The five Taiwanese enterprises with outstanding achievements for promoting sustainable development listed in the report are Acer Incorporated Cheng Loong Corp, Inventec Corp, Uni-President Corp and United Microelectronics Corp.”Taiwan's private sector achievement of ensuring sustainability will be heard by the world at the summit," Niven Huang secretary-general of the Business Council for Sustainable Development, Taiwan told the Taipei Times. The UN summit designates Sept. 1 as Business Day to highlight the key role played by businesses in promoting sustainable development. On Aug. 30, Huang said, the council will join the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) to present the study at the WBCSD's regional network event.  According to the report, Acer made significant efforts to reduce pollution and negative impacts to the environment. Acer has adjusted its production process in a way that saves resources and reduces the amount of industrial waste. As a result of its environmental improvements, Acer saved approximately US$35,000 on cleaner production, US$125,000 on pollution control, US$250,000 in energy costs, US$1 million on material replacement and US$1.7 million on design changes in 1998. Similarly, the report said, the results of the Cheng Loong Corporation's waste-minimization efforts between 1996 and 1999 increased savings from NT$95 million (US$2.8 million) in 1996 to NT$155 million (US$4.6 million) in 1999. Inventec, the report said, saves on average NT$11.77 million (US$350,000) per year by implementing diverse strategies such as waste recycling, waste solvent reduction and energy conservation. In addition, the report said that Uni-President Corp saved a total of US$2.5 million in 1998 by improving energy efficiency and reducing the amount of its industrial waste. In 1998 UMC, according to the report, saved the equivalent of 6.3 percent of their revenue that year. The company saved US$10,000 by cleaning up its production processes, US$1,000 by improving its operational efficiency and US$22,000 through recycling and reuse.


"Taiwanese enterprises have to realize that internalizing environmental costs and benefits will become a worldwide trend," Huang told the Taipei Times. Huang stressed that there are compelling commercial reasons for enterprises to carry out environmental sound investments to ensure business sustainability. Due to Taiwan's entry into the WTO, Huang said, overseas consumers' concern about the environmental friendliness of products and packaging can no longer be neglected. Officials of the Industrial Development Bureau (IDB) under the Ministry of Economic Affairs said that the promotion of sustainable development in Taiwan was actually driven by both the government and the private sector. Shih Yen-hsi division director of IDB's Sustainable Development Division, told the Taipei Times that in a bid to convince Taiwan's industries of the need for sustainable development, the bureau had proposed policies that focused on environmental labeling, promoting industrial waste reduction and encouraging clean production. To make sure that Taiwan's industry becomes fully integrated with the global market, contradictions in existing policies should be eliminated, Shih said. "When Taiwan is exploring its business opportunities overseas, incomplete environmental policies often intimidate foreign enterprises," Shih said. Before the Waste Disposal Act was revised last October, CEOs' liabilities for illegal dumping by contracted waste handlers was unacceptable. Shih said that using resources reasonably would be Taiwan's top priority when adopting strategies to make the nation sustainable. "We should consider promoting renewable-energy industries by adjusting out-of-date polices when we are faced with the controversy surrounding nuclear energy," Shih said. On Wednesday, the Cabinet's committee for promoting sustainable development confirmed that, beginning next year, sustainable development indicators would be published annually.



Natal Witness

27 July 2002


Some of the foremost environmental lawyers in the world will attend an environmental law conference in the city before the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg next month. The conference, due to start on August 19 at the University of Natal, will be attended by internationally renowned environmental lawyers such as Charles Okidi (Kenya), Parvez Hassan (Pakistan), Eckard Rehbinder (Germany), Wang Xi (China) and Ben Boer (Australia).  The lawyers will discuss legal dimensions of the issues to be discussed at the Summit, following an an agreement between the World Conservation Union Commission on Environmental Law (IUCN) and the Institute and Law School in Pietermaritzburg. Since the initial discussions, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has come on board as one of the co-sponsors. The conference, entitled 'Environmental Law Foundations for Sustainable Development' will take stock of environmental law as it enters the 21st Century, assess the measures that need to be taken at the Summit, and discuss the future agenda for legal measures essential for attaining sustainable development.  Issues such as environmental ethics, public participation, ecology and the law, climate change, biodiversity conservation, desertification, trade and the environment, capacity building, and related topics will be discussed.


Recommendations from the conference will be submitted to the summit discussions the following week, while papers will be collected and published in a special edition of the South African Journal of Environmental Law and Policy.

The conference programme is on the CEL website at:



Canada NewsWire

26 July 2002


OTTAWA, Jul 26, 2002 (Canada NewsWire via COMTEX) -- Tim Secord is a key labour organizer for the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions. Secord has logistical responsibilities for the 2,000 member labour delegation attending Earth Summit II, the United Nations' World Summit on Sustainable Development. The Summit will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa from 26 August to 4 September 2002.  "Workers from around the world are bringing an agenda to the Summit," Secord says.  Tim Secord is the Canadian Legislative Director of the United Transportation Union. The UTU represents 8,500 Canadian workers in the rail and bus industries.



Europa World

26 July 2002


The European Commission gave further details this week of its approach and agenda for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), saying that it represented both an important opportunity and a heavy responsibility for world leaders. The challenge was to deliver on the promises of the Rio Earth Summit and on the Millennium Development goals in order to eradicate poverty, improve living standards based on sustainable patterns of production and consumption and to ensure that the benefits of globalisation are shared by all. Developed and developing countries share joint responsibility for implementing these goals which will require substantially increased efforts, both by countries themselves and by the international community. In two recent major global conferences, the international community adopted the Doha Development Agenda and the Monterrey Consensus as a framework for improving market access, for upgrading multilateral rules to harness globalisation, and for mobilising additional financial resources for development. The developed countries must now deliver on their commitments and the EU is fully determined to do so. The developing countries must meet their responsibilities by improving internal policies and domestic governance and creating an enabling climate for trade and investment. Growth must be decoupled from environmental degradation and measures must be taken to ensure that the needs of the present generation are satisfied without destroying the capacity of later generations to cater for their own future needs.


What does the EU want from the World Summit?

The EU wants the World Summit to agree on further steps towards the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, especially in areas such as sanitation and energy. The European Union wishes to see the WSSD adopt quantifiable targets, implementation timetables and monitoring mechanisms. One of the means to implement the objectives of the plan of action which should be agreed in Johannesburg could be well-developed partnerships between governments, the private sector and civil society. The EU also wants the Summit in Johannesburg to send a clear political message on the need to make globalisation more sustainable for all and to agree on measures aimed at promoting this goal.


What is the EU proposing to the WSSD?

The EU supports the proposals of the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, that the World Summit should make progress in five key areas water, energy, health, agriculture and biodiversity. The EU is proposing targets and actions in a number of specific areas, in support of the Millennium Development Goal of halving the proportion of people living in extreme poverty by 2015.

Sustainable consumption and production  The EU is in favour of developing a ten-year work programme to accelerate the shift towards sustainable consumption and production. Industrialised countries should take the lead in changing their unsustainable behaviour towards more resource efficient production processes and lifestyles. Product life-cycle approaches, eco-labelling of products and environmental impact assessments are useful tools in that regard. Appropriate means should be made available to help developing countries to move towards the same objective.


Clean water and sanitation

Today 1.2 billion people lack access to clean water and 3 billion people do not have access to safe sanitation. It is estimated that 2.2 million people, mostly children, die each year from diseases associated with lack of access to safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene. To tackle this gigantic problem the EU wants to contribute to halve the proportion of people without access to clean water and sanitation by 2015. To help deliver this target the European Union has developed a Water Initiative, which, in partnership with countries and regions, can bring together public and private funds, stakeholders and experts to provide long term, sustainable solutions to problems of water management. Meeting the political goal would make a major contribution to improved health and economic development. The EU has already allocated €1.4 billion as of 2002 and is ready to increase this figure for the following years within the context of partners' poverty reduction strategies.



The European Union wants the Summit to decide on actions to increase the global share of renewable energy sources to at least 15% of primary energy supply by 2010 to improve energy efficiency and to enhance the use of cleaner, more efficient fossil fuel technologies. Around 2 billion people in the world do not have access to modern energy services. The provision of affordable, sustainable energy services will have a major impact on poverty, health, economic and social development; access to sustainable energy services is thus a pre-condition for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. The World Summit should adopt an action plan to achieve this goal. The EU is preparing an "Energy for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development" Initiative to develop partnerships with interested developing countries in an open dialogue, to identify their energy needs and ways to meet these needs. EU development co-operation programmes combined with the involvement of financial institutions, the private sector and civil society should contribute to achieving the MDGs. The EU has already allocated around €700 million per year through Member State and Commission development co-operation programmes to energy. This figure could increase in future years based on requests from developing countries for 2003. The EU is ready to increase this figure for the following years within the context of their developing country partners' poverty reduction strategies.



The European Union wants to combat the spread of communicable diseases and increase investment in health care. The EU will increase the volume of development assistance targeting improved health over the next five years and has already up to €120 million available for this purpose for 2002. Within the Doha Development Agenda, World Trade Organisation (WTO) members should resolve differences on compulsory licenses and work for pharmaceutical products to be made available to the developing world at the lowest possible prices. The EU invites the international community to join partnerships for research on new generations of products. It will continue to actively participate in the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.


Natural resources and bio-diversity

At present 25% of mammal species and 11% of bird species are at significant risk of extinction. The Union is determined to halt and reverse the current loss of natural resources and bio-diversity by 2015 and to manage natural resources in a sustainable and integrated manner. This global objective should lead to incentives for local communities, in particular in developing countries, to benefit from the conservation and sustainable use of their rich variety of natural resources. The EU is in the process of reforming its fisheries policy, with the aim of reducing fleets and total catch, and calls on other countries to do the same in order to restore stocks to sustainable levels at the latest by 2015.


Globalisation, finance, trade and aid

The European Union will continue to promote a positive agenda for globalisation, finance and trade. Important steps to ensure that globalisation benefit all have recently been taken through the Doha Development Agenda and the Monterrey Consensus. The achievements of these conferences should not be put into question in Johannesburg but ways and means to build upon them should be identified. As an example in Johannesburg, the EU is putting forward a number of positive and supportive measures on trade and investment, outside the scope of Doha Development Agenda and the Monterrey Consensus, which specifically would contribute to sustainable development in developing countries. These measures include the creation of conditions to promote investment flows to developing countries, corporate responsibility and accountability and promotion of investments in support of sustainable development through export credits and investment guarantee schemes.

As a first significant step towards reaching the objective of giving 0,7% of countries Gross National Income as Official Development Assistance (ODA), the EU and its Member States have pledged to bring the Union average from 0.31% to 0.39% by 2006. This will result in additional ODA of about €22 billion between 2002 and 2006 and a further annual €9 billion Euro as of 2006.

The EU has initiated steps to make available this increased funding announced at the International Conference for Financing for Development in Monterrey and hopes that other donors will equally make good on their pledges. Recipient and donor countries, as well as international institutions, also have to make a common effort to make ODA more efficient and effective. The EU will intensify its efforts in that regard.


Global public goods

The European Union is ready to explore ways with all partners, on top of opening markets and increasing the level and effectiveness of ODA, of generating new public and innovative sources of finance for development purposes. A further discussion and exploration of the issue of global public goods will be crucial in this context. It is in that spirit that the EU is supporting the idea of creating an intergovernmental process to further discuss the matter at the global level.

A global public good can be defined as a good which has universal benefits, covers more than a group of countries, and is beneficial for; several or preferably all population groups, both current and future generations, or at least meets the needs of the current generation without jeopardising the needs of future generations. Examples of global common goods are communicable disease control, persistent pollution control, the ozone layer and the Earth's climate system, bio-diversity and genetic resources and peace and security.


Debt sustainability

The EU will also pursue efforts to restore debt sustainability in the context of the enhanced Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative, so that poor countries can pursue growth and development unconstrained by unsustainable debt dynamics. The EU also recognise that some non-HIPC low income countries face extraordinary circumstances and that there might be the need on a case by case basis, to provide additional assistance.


Effective institutions

The EU supports the development of an effective institutional framework for sustainable development at international, regional and national levels. At international level, it is necessary to:

- strengthen the role of United Nations Economic and Social Council in the follow-up to the WSSD

- give more emphasis to implementation issues in the work of the Commission for Sustainable Development,

- to reinforce co-operation on sustainable development between UN bodies, the Bretton Woods institutions and the World Trade Organisation.

Implementation of national strategies and the development of more effective institutional frameworks for sustainable development at regional and sub-regional level are also important priorities for the EU, as is access to information (implementation of the Rio Principle 10).

Further details on the EU initiatives mentioned in this note are available from



Washington File

26 July 2002


Washington -- The implementation of longtime sustainable development goals should be the focus of talks at the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg, South Africa, says Anthony Wayne, the U.S. Department of State's assistant secretary of state for economic and business affairs. "With the blueprint from Rio, the Millennium Declaration, and the outcomes of these recent conferences in hand, we must focus our efforts in Johannesburg on implementation -- focusing on concrete actions to achieve the ambitious sustainable development goals we have already set for ourselves," Wayne said. The WSSD, which will take place August 26 to September 4, is a 10-year follow-up to the 1992 U.N. Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Wayne was one of several speakers who participated in panel discussions July 25 on sustainable development issues and the upcoming summit. The discussions, held at the Brazilian Embassy in Washington, were hosted by the embassy and the Worldwatch Institute, an independent, non-government environmental and social policy research organization. Wayne said that delegates at the summit in Johannesburg will work to finalize two texts, a plan of implementation and a political declaration. He said that although there are differences, he believes consensus can be reached.


"While we made progress in Bali, especially in key areas such as agriculture, forests, oceans, water, and health, substantial differences on text remain," he said. "These differences should not be insurmountable." Wayne also said that the "critical role" of partnerships in implementing sustainable development will receive "unprecedented attention" at the Johannesburg summit.


"Partnerships among governments, civil society, and the private sector are key to mobilizing development resources and unleashing human potential, to reducing poverty, promoting healthy environments, and fostering sustainable growth," Wayne said. "To this end, the United States will work for concrete action in seven areas we believe are essential to sustainable development: health, energy, water, sustainable agriculture and rural development, education, oceans and coastal management, and forests. We invite other governments and stakeholders to join us in partnership in these efforts." James Connaughton, chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, was also on the panel. He spoke on parts of the developing world that have improved dramatically in recent decades. "We should be looking at those successes and trying to amplify and replicate them," Connaughton said. He noted that progress depends critically on certain "necessary but not sufficient conditions: ... ruling justly, investing in people, and promoting economic freedoms." Connaughton also said that the world must recognize that each nation has to be responsible for its own development. "That doesn't mean they go it alone, but each nation has to take that task onto itself and look at sustainability because it is through that commitment that the partners around the world can join, and now there is confidence that the investments of the day are in fact themselves sustainable for the future." Another panel member, Secretary-General of the WSSD Nitin Desai, talked about previous development meetings held in Doha and Monterrey, and how Johannesburg is the third meeting on sustainable development. "I think it is very important that we understand the political significance of a successful outcome in Johannesburg," Desai said. "I would like to see Johannesburg as the critical third leg of the strengthening of multilateralism that we have had in the past." Desai said that everyone must remember that the goals for Johannesburg are not just about what developing countries have to do, but also about what industrialized countries have to do in terms of sustainable consumption and production and what all countries have to do together in terms of ecosystems management. He also said there is no major global event planned beyond Johannesburg that would allow the international community to achieve agreement on sustainable development issues. "It is very important that we engage constructively in an output in Johannesburg that is recognized by people as a forward step of action," Desai said. Wayne said: "In cooperation with Brazil and under the able leadership of South Africa, the United States will work tirelessly to ensure that the Johannesburg Summit is a success." Alan Hecht, director of international environmental affairs, National Security Council/Council on Environmental Quality, was not on the panel, but he answered questions from the audience. "This meeting [WSSD in Johannesburg] has to be successful, and I know everyone I'm working with feels the same way," Hecht said. In response to a question about the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA), Hecht said it is too early and not wise to start saying where money might go or how it may be used. Hecht did say that the MCA -- President Bush's proposal of an additional $5,000 million a year in official U.S. development aid specifically targeting poor countries that can use the money effectively -- is a very important announcement with "enormous opportunities."


"The administration is now reviewing the criteria that it will use in consultation with a wide range of people in the development community as to what might be the elements of the criteria for the countries to meet the Millennium Challenge Account," Hecht said. "The administration is also reviewing which countries might meet those. The administration is also working with Congress to be able to craft this new initiative with a minimum amount of constraint, and those dialogues are currently going on."


The other members of the first panel were Xolisa Mabhongo, political counselor at the South African Permanent Mission to the United Nations; Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, minister plenipotentiary of the Permanent Mission of Brazil to the United Nations and vice-chairperson of the Bureau of the Preparatory Committee for the WSSD; and Jan Pronk, special advisor to Kofi Annan on the WSSD. The second panel's members were John Waugh, World Conservation Union; Suani Coelho, Sao Paulo State Secretariat of the Environment; Sandra Postel, Global Water Policy Project and Worldwatch Institute senior fellow; Brian Halweil, Worldwatch Institute; and Nancy Alexander, Citizens Network on Essential Services. After the panel members' speeches and a question-and-answer period, a reception was held at the South African Embassy. Brazilian Ambassador Rubens A. Barbosa and South African Ambassador Sheila Sisulu welcomed the crowd and thanked them for their hard work and their interest in making the WSSD in Johannesburg a success.




26 July 2002


Can George W.Bush afford to miss the World Summit? A senior United Nations (UN) official is stepping up the pressure on the American president to attend the forthcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), the UN Secretary-General's special envoy for the summit says. He was speaking at a conference in Washington, looking ahead to the Johannesburg gathering. The Brazilian embassy was the venue for the latest event to mark the passing of the torch from Brazil, which hosted the World Summit a decade ago, to South Africa.   Jan Pronk, the envoy, says: "The President of the United States cannot afford not to be there. It will not be understood in other countries". However, Sean McCormack, the US National Security Council spokesperson, says: "We don't have anything to announce with regard to the President's schedule in August." While South African officials express optimism about the summit, the event at the Brazilian embassy also laid bare some of the remaining divisions and illustrated the extent to which those disagreements are about fundamental issues.



Daily Telegraph

26 July 2002


Britain is to field a delegation of 70 at the Johannesburg Earth Summit next month including Tony Blair, at least two Cabinet ministers and officials from five government departments. The announcement follows controversy over the planned delegation of 44 ministers and officials who were due to attend a preliminary meeting in Bali. In the event, only about 30 attended. Some 106 world leaders will be going to the summit, in late August and early September. Margaret Beckett, the Environment Secretary and one of the delegates, said yesterday that President Bush was not expected to say whether he would attend until the last minute. Michael Meacher, environment minister, and Clare Short, International Development Secretary, are also expected to attend the summit, which will discuss world poverty and the environment.



UN Wire

26 July 2002


WASHINGTON -- U.N. and U.S. officials said yesterday that the final declaration and action plan for the World Summit on Sustainable Development -- two texts that are still incomplete after the collapse last month of the final summit preparatory talks in Bali, Indonesia -- will be agreed on despite sharp differences among countries over economic and environmental priorities.


Opening a Worldwatch Institute-sponsored seminar at the Brazilian Embassy here, the institute's president, Christopher Flavin, called the Bali talks "difficult" and stressed the scale of changes rich and poor countries alike are being asked to make to stem environmental degradation and promote development around the world.  But Nitin Desai, the secretary general for the Aug. 26-Sept. 4 Johannesburg summit, said he noted "virtually no sense of confrontation or in-your-face-type statements" at a New York meeting called last week by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan to try to work out some of the differences stalling talks on the summit texts. Desai said all the differences among countries are negotiable, and James Connaughton, chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, agreed.  "We're working on the texts.  We will complete the texts," Connaughton said yesterday of the declaration and action plan.  Another U.S. official, Assistant Undersecretary of State for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs Anthony Wayne, concurred that the remaining differences are "not insurmountable."  Wayne said President George W. Bush's administration has pledged "to work hard to achieve agreement." Developing country representatives at yesterday's seminar offered no such reassurances.  Xolisa Mabhongo of the South African U.N. Mission was a panelist, as was Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti of the Brazilian U.N. Mission, who is also vice chairwoman of the Bureau of the Preparatory Committee for the World Summit.  Neither commented on the texts being negotiated. On the level of representation countries are planning to send to Johannesburg, Worldwatch chief Flavin spoke of a "rapidly growing list of heads of state," predicting that more than 100 heads of state and government will be in attendance and that the list will "probably include the heads of almost all the most influential governments around the world."  The head of the world's most important economic powerhouse and biggest polluter may not be among them:  U.S. Undersecretary of State for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs Alan Larson said "no decision has been made" on Bush's attendance, although he acknowledged the decision "is above my pay grade."


"There will be a good, strong delegation," Larson said in response to a question about whether Bush or another high-ranking official, such as Secretary of State Colin Powell, will lead the U.S. delegation to Johannesburg. Desai, Others Stress Implementation

Following Desai's lead, all the speakers at yesterday's event stressed that the Johannesburg summit should be about implementation, building on November World Trade Organization talks held in Doha, Qatar, and on new commitments rich countries made in the context of the International Conference on Financing for Development, held in March in Monterrey, Mexico.


Desai said he "would like to see Johannesburg as the critical third leg of the ... multilateralism that we have had" in Doha and Monterrey.  Participants in Johannesburg, he added, should "flesh out the Millennium Development Goals" and decide what to do with the commitments of Doha and Monterrey -- commitments he said would be rendered meaningless if the Johannesburg summit fails.  "What people are looking for is not necessarily new ... concepts ... but concrete programs of action," Desai said.

All the speakers who followed took up that theme.  Jan Pronk, Annan's special adviser on the summit, said Johannesburg "has to concentrate on implementation and action."  Pronk called on countries to render "operational" treaties on climate, biodiversity and harmful chemicals that are now at various stages leading to enactment.


Subsidies, Partnerships Addressed

Several speakers took up the controversial issues of rich countries' agricultural subsidies and public-private partnerships, both of which have been pointed to as among questions that have held up progress on the Johannesburg texts.

Mabhongo of South Africa lingered over such points of contention, stressing inequalities stemming from globalization and "unsustainable patterns of consumption and production" in rich countries.  He called for resources as the key to success in Johannesburg and urged the developed world to reduce agricultural subsidies and open markets. Viotti, the Brazilian U.N. Mission official, blasted the "protectionist measures" she said some industrialized countries have taken since the Doha talks, saying Johannesburg represents a chance for such countries to "re-establish confidence" in the WTO process. Asked about U.S. agricultural subsidies, U.S. Undersecretary of State Larson said only that the next round of trade talks is "the appropriate place in which those areas will be addressed." Laying out the Bush administration's Johannesburg agenda at a Washington speech in May, U.S. Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky stressed the importance of partnerships in achieving development goals.  Yesterday, Connaughton defended the approach, saying partnerships should be used to "leverage" government spending and that there is "nothing suspicious" about the controversial idea. Non-U.S. participants tepidly endorsed the idea yesterday, defending the prerogatives of government.  Desai said partnerships are important, but added that "the partnerships cannot be at the expense of commitments by governments of what they need to do."  Viotti said partnerships "should complement whatever framework for action governments agree on" and "should be seen as a complement to" and "not a replacement of" government action.



Gulf News

26 July 2002


A two-day forum which concluded yesterday called for media freedom and easy access to information for journalists in Arab countries on sustainable development. The delegates, including 60 Arab journalists from abroad, were attending the First Media Forum on Environment and Sustainable Development in the Arab Region. They said there is a greater need for more media freedom and easy access for journalists to any information that may help them reflect a real public opinion on the issue of sustainable development. The forum, held under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Deputy Chairman of the Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency (ERWDA), discussed a number of work papers in order to come out with an approach that may reflect the perspective of the Arab media on the issue at the World Summit for Sustainable Development. The summit is will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, from August 26 to September 4. The forum was jointly organised by UNDP, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), UAE Ministry of Information and Culture, Council of Arab Ministers for Environment, ERWDA and the Federal Environmental Agency (FEA). The forum also discussed the Arab declarations on environment and sustainable development and the regional media role in highlighting these efforts and initiatives.


The forum elected a permanent Arab Consultative Media Committee from among the members of the UNEP, ERWDA and the Arab Journalists Union to present and highlight the Arab environmental and development issues and initiatives not only at the summit but in future too. It called for the establishment of an Arab Media Monitoring Mechanism to follow up and document the environment and sustainable development issues. This committee will look into the economic, social, environmental and political aspects of sustainable development. They want it to stress on the human being as a target for development. "All media institutions in the Arab world have to inform the public of issues discussed at the Johannesburg World Summit," the participants recommended. Journalists were also urged to inform the general public to what extent such issues affect notions of development and land use in the Arab world. The delegates called upon the Arab governments to provide space for freedom for the public to express their views on environmental issues and exploitation of the environment. They also urged regional governments to employ information technology for the purpose of environmental awareness. The participants said that all Arab governments and organisations concerned must provide assistance to local journalists in order to follow up the summit sessions and keep the public informed.


They said: "Arab governments have to give freedom to journalists to allow them to analyse information and have access to any information that may help them in reflecting a real public opinion on the issue of sustainable development." They also asked the governments and media institutions to provide training courses to young journalists on environmental journalism to prepare a generation of media people capable of handling issues of sustainable development. Referring to higher educational institutions, the participants advised that they have to integrate environmental education in their curriculum to improve environmental awareness among the future generations. They advised: "Governments and national institutions must initiate environmental databases that can be updated and made accessible to all decision-makers to help them lay down suitable environmental policies." They also called for an immediate joint Arab media meeting after the Johannesburg Summit to evaluate the performance of the Arab media during the summit. They urged the Arab media to coordinate with the international media in reflecting the Arab point of view on issues of desertification, water shortage, pollution and other related issues during the summit.Meanwhile, the UNDP, the main organiser of the forum, yesterday  announced the name of a new UN Goodwill Ambassador at the forum. He is George Kardahe from Lebanon, a famous MBC quiz show presenter who conducts the Arabic version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?




25 July 2002


More funding for the event. The Swedish government has thrown its weight behind the success of the upcoming United Nations World Summit on Sustainable (WSSD) 2002 taking place in Johannesburg from 26 August to September 4. Speaking at an official signing ceremony held today at the Johannesburg World Summit Company (Jowsco), Helena Nilsson, Sweden's ambassador to South Africa, said: "It is only natural for Sweden to assist South Africa financially in its ambitious and highly commendable undertaking to host the World Summit on Sustainable Development. This should be set out in an action plan future generations can pick up on. I am excited about being part of this crucial summit."  The Swedish government has contributed R10 million towards Jowsco's summit preparations, in particular general logistics.  Sweden has a long-standing interest and engagement in global sustainable development and environmental issues, which manifested in the hosting of the first UN World Summit on Human Environment in Stockholm in 1972. At the WSSD, Sweden will seek to promote a global alliance aimed at establishing a more equitable future based on renewed confidence between north and south and rich and poor. "The keynote theme of the conference will be sustainable development in its three dimensions: social, economic, and environment. The poor, who have most difficulty in replacing one source of income for another, are the hardest hit by the damage made to our environment. The international community's goals with regard to sustainable development must acquire a concrete form in Johannesburg next month," added Nilsson.  The Development Co-operation signed between South Africa and Sweden - amounting to approximately R200 million annually - focuses on education, democratic governance, urban development, economic co-operation, culture and research. Moss Mashishi, the CEO of Jowsco, said that the company appreciated the tireless commitment demonstrated by Sweden to South Africa and sustainable development at large. "They have been a fundamental aspect of South Africa's development and transition and have displayed utmost support and dedication towards nature and the environment."




25 July 2002


The latest SABC/Markinor Opinion 2002 poll shows that only 15% of all South Africans are aware that the country is hosting the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). The summit - which is being held to find ways of tacking world poverty while protecting the global environment from the damaging side-effects of development -- is considered one of the most important international events for the last ten years. Over 100 heads of state and international 45 000 delegates are expected at the summit.

The SABC/Markinor Opinion 2002 survey was done nationally in April and May this year. In this study, 3 500 respondents polled. The results are representative of the adult South African population. As can be expected, awareness about the summit was the highest in Gauteng -- with a quarter (24%) of adult residents in the province being aware of the WSSD. In fact, a third of all South Africans who are aware of the WSSD, live in Gauteng. Nearly seven in every ten of those aware of the WSSD say not enough information about the summit has been made available to the public. There is a correlation between awareness of the WSSD and education - six out of every ten (61%) who are aware of the WSSD have matric or grade 12 or a tertiary qualification. While most of those polled believe South Africa is capable of hosting the biggest international summit held in ten years, 28% see it as a waste of money and do not believe the gathering will find real solutions to world problems. The large majority of those South Africans aware of the WSSD feel proud that the country is hosting such a big event. The number of large events hosted in South Africa recently has definitely contributed to the view that the country has the necessary infrastructure and skills.




25 July 2002


The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has thrown its weight behind calls for the reform of international financial and development institutions. The Human Development Report, commissioned by the UNDP, calls for concrete reforms to increase the role of developing countries in international institutions and make them more open and accountable to the people and countries whose lives they affect. The report was released yesterday. South Africa has been using its position as chair of the Group of 77 developing nations and as one of the driving forces behind the New Partnership for African Development (Nepad) to push for the reform of the international trading and world governance systems. It is also hoping that the World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) will adopt a programme of action that will open the markets of wealthy countries to goods and services from the developing world - and increase international spending on development aid.


Rich countries make the decisions

The report points out that nearly half of the voting power in the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) rests in the hands of seven wealthy countries. And, although all countries have a seat and a vote in the World Trade Organization (WTO) in practice, decisions are taken in small group meetings and heavily influenced by Canada, the European Union, Japan and the United States. In 2000, 15 African countries did not have a single trade representative stationed at the WTO. South Africa has been trying to assist other African countries - as well as Caribbean and Pacific states - in their trade and development negotiations with the EU and the US. The report highlights a number of reforms that could address some of the more obvious imbalances in global decision-making. These include: eliminating the UN Security Council veto, reforming the selection process for the heads of the IMF and World Bank and new programmes to help the poorest countries better represent their interests at the WTO.


Fair chance to be heard

"People need to believe their elected representatives will have a fair chance to represent their interests on decisions or policies that impact on their lives and the wellbeing of their families," said Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, chief author of HDR 2002.

The report says that recent global civil society campaigns -- on everything from reducing poor country debt to accessing essential medicines under intellectual property agreements - have pointed at ways to reach more collaborative solutions to global problems in an interdependent world. More than 1,000 civil society organizations across the world worked together in a campaign to establish an International Criminal Court (ICC). Rather than feeling threatened by such global activism, the international community should see it as an opportunity to inject new energy and popular legitimacy into global decision-making, the report argues.


More to democracy than activism

"Global civil society movements have been behind some of the most significant global policy shifts of the last decade," Fukuda-Parr stated. "But civic activism is not a substitute for democratic principles in formal decision making structures. Just as consulting with a few non-governmental organisations is not a substitute for a parliamentary debate at the national level, democratic principles require that all countries get a hearing in global institutions and decisions." Ironically, South Africa is keeping a wary eye on civil society ahead of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). African civil society has been among the most vocal critics of Nepad - which South Africa would like the summit to adopt as the development programme for the continent. They have  insisted that they have not been consulted enough on the drawing up of the development programme. And, there is some concern that some elements of the international civil society movement will try and disrupt the summit with a protest against globalisation and the international financial institutions. As the host country, South Africa is determined that the summit will run smoothly.

The Human Development Index (HDI) 2002 ranks 173 countries by a composite measure of life expectancy, education and income.

Sub-Saharan Africa rates the lowest

The picture with regard to poverty is bleak in sub-Saharan Africa. As many as 23 of the region's 45 countries are failing on more than half the targets, and another 11 - such as Angola and Somalia - do not even have the relevant data. The bottom 24 countries on the Index are all in sub-Saharan Africa. South Africa is number 107 on the index. A drop in life expectancy, due to Aids, is holding South Africa's development index back. Norway is at the top of the HDI.



RTE Interactive

25 July 2002



The Minister for the Environment, Martin Cullen, has said the big challenge for Ireland and the world is to ensure that policies on sustainable development are implemented rather than discussed. He was speaking at the publication of the Government's policy document for the upcoming World Summit, which takes place in South Africa next month. The melting of ice caps is just one indicator that the earth's temperature is rising and that greenhouse gases are contributing to a dramatic change. The Earth Summit in Rio ten years ago was supposed to herald a new dawn in which protection of the environment was of equal importance to economic development. With a follow-up to Rio taking place in Johannesburg, South Africa next month, the Government published its policy paper claiming significant progress in 10 years but arguing we now need to implement. Many environmentalists attended today's event. They point to the fact that Ireland's record on reducing greenhouse gasses has been terrible. We are currently 100% over the intended target. The environmentalists' policy platform will be published on 22 August. Meanwhile, Mr Cullen has dismissed reports that money raised by the plastic bag levy will go into the road-building programme. Martin Cullen said the levy would raise about €2 million this year, but said legislation prevented it going anywhere other than the environment fund. He said suggestions that it would be spent on roads were laughable. The bag tax was introduced earlier this year and has been highly successful. Environmental groups claimed it was a late but welcome move.



Mail & Guardian

25 July 2002


South Africans will constitute about 10 000 of the 65 000 delegates who will descend on Johannesburg for the World Summit on Sustainable Development next month.  As South Africa is the host country local NGOs may each send three delegates to the civil society component of the summit. Next week the recognised sectors of South African civil society will meet to discuss the policy positions they will take to the summit. Desmond Lesejane, the CEO of the South African Civil Society Secretariat, says there is unlikely to be any agreement in South African civil society on political policy positions, especially on the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad). He says large components of civil society fear that Nepad's economic framework imposes a neo-liberal agenda and a dependence on foreign investment for success. Debt cancellation will also be one of the big issues.


In addition, Lesejane is concerned that the South African government does not have a proper programme for sustainable development, a requirement that came out of the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. Many African civil society groups feel that South Africa did not address issues of poverty and development enough during the preparatory talks for the summit in Bali a month ago; in particular the voluntary partnerships touted between governments, the private sector and the civil society. Non-governmental groups had hoped some form of commitment to these issues would come out of the Bali talks. "We have to have more than voluntary partnerships. Much unhappiness was expressed at Bali at the concept of voluntary partnerships. Civil society is saying we need clear mechanisms in place to ensure the implementation of halving poverty by 2015," Lesejane says.  "My concern is that we have to get compliance and implementation from the government at the summit. Voluntary partnerships are not enough. This will be the big challenge at the summit for us." The South African government has not yet listened carefully to the voices of civil society, he says. "They are quick to listen to business; it takes them longer to hear our voices."  But Lesejane also blames civil society for the problem.  "We don't know how to lobby and network properly. We tend to talk to each other on public platforms ... Here we have a situation where all views must be accommodated. Ideologically, to expect a monolithic bloc is unrealistic."



Bridges Weekly Trade News Digest Volume 6  Number 28

24 July 2002


Gathering for the first high-level meeting since the fourth preparatory session (PrepCom IV) for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD, 26 August - 4 September, Johannesburg, South Africa), delegates met in New York on 17 July to discuss some of the key outstanding issues in the draft Plan of Implementation (see BRIDGES Weekly, 12 June 2002). While the mood of the meeting was generally described as "optimistic", little concrete progress was made, with countries largely reiterating their previously- stated positions. At the initiative of South Africa and chaired by Foreign Minister N. Dlamini Zuma, 25 countries were invited to attend the 'Friends of the Chair' meeting in New York. The participants were selected based on geographical representation and common interest in the outstanding issues. Many other delegations also attended, following concerns by some regarding the choice of countries. The meeting focused on six major clusters, including time-bound targets, the Rio Principles (in particular those related to common but differentiated responsibilities and precaution), finance, globalisation and trade, good governance and technology transfer. South Africa furthermore identified market access for developing countries and agricultural subsidies as key outstanding issues. The meeting was meant to provide a platform for exchange of views, rather than negotiations, as not all delegations were present.  Overall, the meeting was described as a positive step towards reaching agreement on some of the major stumbling blocks. Substantively, however, countries generally restated their positions already expressed in Bali, leading some to suggest that much work still remained. One source also noted that the supposed progress was rather "deceptive", with delegations largely restricting themselves to making general comments, and that any possible value of the New York meeting was political rather than substantive. Subject to a decision by South Africa, countries tentatively agreed to continue the consultative process, including designation of facilitators for the six issues areas and conducting further consultation in the "Vienna setting" [i.e. only one person speaks on behalf of each interest and/or regional group]. Informal negotiations similar to those in Bali are expected to be held immediately prior to the Summit. South Africa furthermore urged Ministers to be present in Johannesburg from 26 August to help finalise the negotiations. In deviation from usual practice, South Africa is reportedly trying to involve Ministers in the actual negotiations of the political declaration rather than leaving discussions to the negotiators. In related news, EU ministers meeting on 20 July to discuss their approach to WSSD stressed the importance of a successful Summit for the global trade talks launched in Doha last year. "If Johannesburg fails, we will probably see very negative effect in the global trade arena," warned EU Development Commissioner Poul Nielson. "Doha would have a very difficult start indeed if this were the background," he added.



Globe & Mail

24 July 2002


OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Jean Chrétien is now expected to attend an international environmental summit in Johannesburg that many feared was turning into a dud because Western leaders had not signed up to attend. Sources said yesterday that Mr. Chrétien expects to be at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in early September -- which will mean time away from an internal Liberal war in which Mr. Chrétien is fighting to keep his job. Mr. Chrétien's planned attendance was dismissed by some observers as little more than an attempt to improve his image on environmental issues. But others said it will provide another chance for Canada to push its oft-rejected bid to have the Kyoto accord include credits for clean energy exports. Mr. Chretien's summit trip could also fit into his political strategy of developing a fall policy agenda that would highlight his work as prime minister while he faces an unofficial leadership contest with former finance minister Paul Martin and a leadership review vote next February. Mr. Chrétien has said that the environment, notably Canada's decision on ratifying the Kyoto agreement on greenhouse gas emissions, will be a big part of that agenda. Until recently, the Johannesburg summit appeared to be lacking the high-level participation from Western countries that gives added profile to such events -- and had nothing like the top-level attendance of the landmark 1992 Rio summit. Only last week South African President Thabo Mbeki engaged in an arm-twisting session with representatives of 27 countries, including Canada, pushing for more leaders to attend.


British Prime Minister Tony Blair had been the only leader of a G8 country to commit early, and U.S. President George W. Bush is still not going. But now Mr. Chrétien plans to attend, and a UN spokesman said French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder are also now expected to go. However, the summit is already viewed by some environmentalists as a disappointment in the making, with no new environmental limits or major initiatives to be dealt with. "I'm not really sure what they are going to accomplish there," said the Sierra Club's Angela Rickman. She suggested Mr. Chrétien might be more concerned with propping up his environmental legacy. "I think he's really sort of stinging about people comparing him unfavourably to Brian Mulroney [on the environment]." But John Kirton, a University of Toronto expert on international summits, said he believes the Prime Minister is hoping to use his appearance at the summit to lobby for support from developing countries for the credits for clean energy exports that Canada wants added to the Kyoto accord. "I suspect it's related to his decision to ratify the Kyoto accord with an asterisk for clean energy," Mr. Kirton said. Canada has so far met with vehement European resistance to the credits, and an environmental summit in South Africa may be a good place to lobby Asian and African countries to support the idea. He might also garner goodwill if his decision to attend helps build momentum that pushes others to agree to go, he said. Mr. Kirton said the developing countries would like to see Canada included in Kyoto, and they may help push European countries for concessions that would allow Canada to sign. But environmentalists such as Matthew Bramley of the Pembina Institute say that is unlikely, and Kyoto will probably go ahead without Canada.



Yomiuri Shimbun

24 July 2002


U.S. President George W. Bush has decided not to attend the upcoming U.N. World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg because of his tight schedule, White House officials said Monday.  Observers said the absence of the U.S. president was likely to seriously affect the course of the U.N. summit, the largest of its kind in history.  Washington has not yet decided who to send in Bush's place, but U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and Assistant Secretary of State John Turner were the most likely candidates, according to sources close to White House.  The summit, to be held from Aug. 26 to Sept. 4 in Johannesburg, is a follow-up to the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. About 170 countries are expected to participate in the Johannesburg summit. So far, leaders from 45 countries, including British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, have decided to attend the international gathering.  Leaders from around the world will discuss what progress has been made in the last decade on Agenda 21, the global plan of action for sustainable development that was adopted at the Rio summit. They will also discuss ways to solve problems concerning environmental protection and developing countries.  Former U.S. President George Bush took part in the summit 10 years ago.



European Commission

24 July 2002


European Commission President Romano Prodi today urged world leaders to attend the upcoming World Summit in Johannesburg and take decisions on global action for global sustainable development. "It is time to move from words to deeds. This requires leadership and commitment. The EU is determined to face its responsibilities and play a leading role in securing tangible results in Johannesburg. Poverty and environmental degradation are global problems requiring global solutions. Ten years after the Rio Conference, action is overdue. With the Millennium Declaration, the Doha development agenda and the Monterrey Consensus we have taken important steps forward in securing international commitment. We have agreed to improve market access and increase development aid. In Johannesburg developed and developing countries must work hand-in-hand to make globalisation work for everyone by agreeing on objectives and partnerships to make development sustainable and reverse environmental degredation. We will take important initiatives in the areas of water and energy. I call on others to follow our lead." President Prodi will attend the Summit in Johannesburg, which will last from 26 August to 4 September. The European Commission will also be represented by Environment Commissioner Margot Wallström and Development and Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Poul Nielson.


The summit marks the 10th anniversary of the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. It comes after several recent landmark events the UN's Millennium Declaration which set ambitious goals on poverty eradication and environment protection; the Doha Development Agenda, launched at a World Trade Organisation Ministerial Meeting in November 2001; and the UN Conference in Monterrey on financing for development in March 2002.  Commissioner Margot Wallström underlined the need to move the sustainable development agenda forward through concrete action: "The Earth Summit in Rio in 1992 was a landmark for sustainable development. The task before world leaders in Johannesburg is not just to reaffirm their political commitment to sustainable development but also to practice what they preach. We need to map out a development path for the world that simultaneously tackles poverty and the unsustainable use of our natural resources "  Commissioner Poul Nielson urged developed countries to reaffirm and honour the commitments agreed both in Doha and Monterrey. "Over the past year, we have agreed a framework for increasing aid and market access. The developed countries must now deliver on these commitments. The EU, as the world's leading trade and aid partner for developing countries, is fully determined to deliver on its commitments. Any hint of appearance on backtracking on announcements made in Doha and Monterrey would create a very poor negotiating climate for Johannesburg".


Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy added: 'In Johannesburg, we must focus on how best to achieve the goal of sustainable development. Launching the WTO Doha Development Agenda was a step on the road. We must make every effort to take further important steps in Johannesburg"



Danish Presidency of the EU

23 July 2002


The environment is to have a key position at the World Summit on Sustainable Development. This was the unambiguous position at the informal meeting of Ministers for the Environment in Sønderborg, ending on 21 July.  ""I have had three days' discussions about sustainable development with my ministerial colleagues from the EU Member States and the candidate countries. What they have said has definitely given me reason for optimism. There is a really good atmosphere and a very clear understanding that we shall have to work hard to achieve good results for the environment at the Johannesburg Summit. It must be absolutely clear, both in the communication concerning Johannesburg, and in the very declaration from the Summit that the environment plays a crucial role regarding sustainable development" states Minister for the Environment Hans Christian Schmidt after the meeting.  During Saturday's working session on the process up to and during the World Summit for Sustainable Development, the Environment Ministers expressed the view that Europe is to assume global leadership in Johannesburg in order to gain support for a global deal on how the developing countries' needs for better living conditions may be taken into account, while at the same time ensuring that the environment is considered to the greatest extent possible.  The global deal is to be based on Agenda 21 and the principles for "common, but differentiated responsibility", "public participation" and the "precautionary principle" from the 1992 Rio Summit together with the pledges of free trade and access to markets that were made in Doha last year and the pledges of increased development assistance that were made in Monterrey earlier this year. The Ministers are agreed that the Summit should result in a clear, political declaration. Similarly, a specific plan of action containing clear targets and time schedules for a number of special themes such as water, sanitation and energy should be adopted. One of the special themes ought to be a ten-year work programme for sustainable production and consumption.  "Europe's Environment Ministers attach great importance to these matters. We shall work hard to achieve success at the Johannesburg Summit. There is a real possibility that success in Johannesburg may lead to considerable progress for the environment. Even though we cannot take anything for granted as yet, the Danish EU Presidency is of the opinion that there is reason to believe that we shall be able to conclude a global deal at the World Summit. At any rate, it is a fact that at the meeting here in Sønderborg, the Ministers for the Environment have demonstrated that a European commitment to achieving success is definitely present", said Minister for the Environment Hans Christian Schmidt at Saturday's press conference in Sønderborg.  During Sunday's working session, the Environment Ministers discussed in particular the EU internal dimension: the action for sustainable development in the EU's own policies. The EU has taken great steps forward in terms of sustainable development, but much remains to be done. Particularly with regard to areas such as climate change, biodiversity and chemicals, the Ministers for the Environment are agreed that the EU must make an effort with a view to making further progress.  "The internal dimension is the dimension that ensures cohesion. The dimension that ensures that what the EU says is consistent with what the EU does. This is the dimension that is to lend greater importance to what the EU says about sustainability", said Minister for the Environment Hans Christian Schmidt.  The Environment Ministers were agreed, among other things, that resource effectiveness in Europe is to be increased, that environmental consideration is to be integrated in sector policies in a cost-effective manner, for instance by using financial control instruments more consistently, that the
EU is to measure whether action taken is moving in the right direction and that the EU is to become better at using technological developments.  "Sunday's consultations reaffirmed that the EU has a huge potential. The EU may become a region taking the lead in terms of decoupling economic growth from increased environmental impact. This potential implies perspectives
that are altogether decisive in a period of time when the world is discussing sustainability so intensely as is the case right now", said Minister for the Environment Hans Christian Schmidt.



United Nations Development Programme

23 July 2002


New York, 23 July 2002: The Equator Initiative has selected 27 extraordinary community projects as finalists for the Equator Prize 2002, which will be awarded on 30 August 2002 at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg. The finalists (Box 2) are drawn from a pool of 420 nominations from 77 countries. An eminent Jury (Box 1) of respected international leaders, including Noble Peace Prize laureates Rigoberta Menchu Tum and former Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, will select six winners, who will be presented with a cash prize of US$30,000, each. "The challenge for global biodiversity conservation is how to move from international commitment to local action," says Professor Calestous Juma of Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and an Equator Prize Jury member. "The projects shortlisted for the Equator Prize 2002 are extremely important because they demonstrate the incredible creativity of community-level solutions to the challenges of biodiversity loss and poverty."  "The Equator Initiative addresses a critical gap by highlighting successes, promoting innovative partnerships, and stimulating "community to community" exchange across the Equator Belt," said Mark Malloch Brown, Administrator of United Nations Development Programme, and, with Senator Timothy Wirth of the UN Foundation, co-creator of the programme. "Fortunately, creative and effective approaches to halt poverty and protect biodiversity are being pioneered by courageous people throughout the tropics. Yet awareness of these solutions and understanding why they work remains limited."  Representatives of each of the 27 communities have been invited to the World Summit and participate in the "Community Kraal" at the Ubuntu Village, hosted by the Equator Initiative and other partners. The "Community Kraal" will be a venue for learning and dialogue between communities. Successful experiences that can be applied globally will be disseminated broadly, including on the BBC's Hands On Series, which will showcase all of the Equator Initiative nominees participating at the Johannesburg World Summit.


About the Equator Initiative

The Equator Initiative (, launched on 30 January 2002, focuses on the region between 23.5 degrees north and south of the Equator, an area that contains both the world's greatest concentrations of human poverty and biological wealth. The initiative promotes a worldwide movement to reduce poverty and conserve biodiversity by recognizing local achievements, fostering sharing between developing countries, and supporting policy strengthening.  Seven partner organizations have joined with the United Nations Development Programme to form the Equator Initiative and recognize the outstanding work of local people - BrasilConnects, Government of Canada, International Development Research Centre, IUCN - The World Conservation Union, The Nature Conservancy, Television Trust for the Environment, and the United Nations Foundation.


About the Equator Prize 2002

The Equator Prize 2002 recognizes outstanding projects in developing countries that address the range of environmental and human challenges. The communities considered are using local knowledge to combat poverty and environmental degradation in ways that cut across the World Summit on Sustainable Development themes of Water, Environment, Health, Agriculture, and Biodiversity. These projects document the resilience and ingenuity of communities in the face of hardship and show the success of collaborative approaches to biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction.



African Eye News Service

23 July 2002


Mokopane, Jul 23, 2002 (African Eye News Service/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) -- Excited teens from across the globe have gathered in Limpopo until July 31 to take part in the 9th Cathay Pacific International Wilderness Experience.

This years event has been billed as the "mini earth summit' because the 42 participants, aged between 16 and 18, will be given the opportunity to discuss issues being raised at the forthcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD).  "This years programme has gained significance because it's being held before the WSSD," said Cathay Pacific spokeswoman Tracey King.

"The youngsters will be able to voice their opinions and expectations of the summit," she added.  The event aims to instill an awareness and appreciation of the environment and an understanding of how humans impact on the ecological process.

The delegates represent 13 Asian countries and are accompanied by media representatives from nine countries.  The event is being held at Entabeni Game Reserve in Naboomspruit near Mokopane.  Internet publishing house Wildnet Africa will report on the event via the net in conjunction with Entabeni Game Reserve and Cathay Pacific Airways. For more information visit



Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture

23 July 2002


WASHINGTON, Jul 23, 2002 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) participated in the launching of the Monterrey Coalition in New York City on July 23. The Coalition is an alliance of leaders in development created to ensure that commitments made during the International Conference on Financing for Development, held in Monterrey, Mexico, in March of this year, benefit the rural poor, and to propose new and pragmatic solutions for the sustainable development of agriculture.  At the press briefing, Coalition spokespersons called for the recognition of agriculture as an essential element of sustainable development.  IICA, the specialized agency for agriculture and rural development of the Inter-American System, supports its 34 Member States in their pursuit of sustainable development, food security and prosperity in the rural communities of the Americas.  IICA's Director of Strategic Partnerships, Felipe Manteiga, stated that the Coalition is a crucial step toward the success of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), to be held next month in Johannesburg, South Africa.  "IICA's participation in Johannesburg will focus on the importance of promoting sustainable agricultural development, food security and prosperity in rural communities," he said.  IICA, he added, is in a unique position to connect the rural community to global knowledge and trade through the use of information and communications technologies. "We are proud to further the objectives of the WSSD, in harmony with the rural development of our Member States."  At the press briefing, the spokespersons focused on the overall objective of improving rural livelihoods, making it possible for the world's poorest to meet the needs of their families and, at the same time, protect the environment as part of the global sustainability cycle. According to IICA's Director General, Dr. Chelston Brathwaite, "It is important to help farmers and the agri-food industry compete in the global environment while protecting our children's ecological heritage. Our Institute provides a unique platform for implementing national and hemispheric projects intended to increase rural development opportunities, eradicate poverty and hunger, and preserve the environment."



Xinhua News Agency

23 July 2002


DAR ES SALAAM, Jul 23, 2002 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Tanzania would stress environmental sound management of biotechnology during the forthcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg next month, local newspaper Guardian reported on Tuesday.  The media quoted the national draft report for WSSD as saying that the country should call for increased awareness on opportunities and benefits of research on biotechnology for increased food production and health.

The draft, being held ten years after the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, emphasized that exploitation of biotechnological resources should be taken with care because of the concerns on the impact of modern biotechnological products.

On biological diversity, the draft pointed out that Tanzania has signed and ratified nearly all international conventions on matters pertaining to biodiversity from way back in 1951 to 1996 being one of the world's few countries with high diversity of flora and fauna.

The draft also reported some species to be prone to extinction due to uncontrolled exploitation and low awareness amid scanty information on endangered as well as endemic species.  The draft unveiled some of the issues that Tanzania faced at present time, including insufficient intuitional framework for coordination, limited government capacity for environmental management, insufficient involvement etc.  WSSD in Johannesburg will bring together hundreds of political leaders and other decision-makers to direct action towards meeting the difficult challenges of improving peoples lives while conserving natural resources. The ten-day summit, to be held from August 26 to September 4, will however, focus primarily on the implementation of the commitments made in the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, according to the United Nations Development Programme which has been supporting national activities leading to WSSD.  All countries are required to prepare a report on the implementation of the Earth Summit agreements on the meeting. Tanzanian government currently is trying to finish its final report to WSSD, and the draft is for seeking the opinion from the public.



The Earth Times

23 July 2002


With 75 percent of the program for the upcoming Johannesburg Summit on Sustainable Development agreed upon, Nitin Desai, the summit's Secretary General, feels that one foot has already made its way through the door. "Normally, we would always walk into the conferences with a lot of things undecided," Desai said.  The program areas and activities agreed upon include issues involving the summit's main themes--water, energy, health, agriculture and biodiversity. "The 25 percent that remains unresolved is about broader and across the board matters of principles, finance, globalisation, trade, governance and technology," he said.  The disputes over the unresolved issues extend to and continue over targets and timetables.  "What is debated is should there be a timetable, a fixed time by which they would have to do this," Desai said.  Desai feels that establishing targets and timetables is vital for ensuring the success of the summit. "What people are looking for is a degree of seriousness of commitment. There has to be some kind of assurance; countries committing themselves to doing certain things by a certain date," he said.  Desai emphasized that the Johannesburg summit will be about implementation and in that case clear targets to focus attention on and timetables become very useful tools for measuring whether we are getting there or not.  "We must convince the world that we are serious and that we are holding ourselves responsible. We have to convince these people that we mean business and that these great conferences can actually lead to results," Desai said. "How do we do that? By saying that we will do this and that by such and such time."  Behind-the-scenes activities are underway. A group of 25 countries now acting as "Friends of the Chair" between now and the Summit will discuss some of the outstanding issues. The result of those discussions could be an approach that might help expedite the negotiating process in Johannesburg.  Presidents and prime ministers from Germany, UK, Italy, France, Russia, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Canada, USA, Nigeria, Senegal, Egypt, Uganda, Ghana, Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, Mexico, Jamaica, China, India, Japan, Indonesia and Jordan will name a senior person to speak for them.  Desai emphasized that this is not specifically a negotiating group. "The group will not negotiate, but it will be able to exchange views, and suggest approaches which might help us clear up these issues of targets and timetables," he said.  According to Desai, world leaders are showing keen interest in the summit and the number of participants is rising to the organizers' expectations. Nearly 85,000 delegates and other participants are expected to attend the summit, August 26-September 4.  "Do not ask me about Washington. Other than that, we have good indications from everybody else. We are getting there," Desai said. President George W. Bush has reportedly declined the UN's invitation to attend Johannesburg; UN Secretary General Kofi A. Annan is also said to have privately decided against attending.  Once in Johannesburg, summit-related activities will be taking place outside the borders of the UN conference. "In addition to what governments are going to talk about and negotiate, I expect to see a wide range of initiatives launched by the corporate sector, NGOs and local authorities," Desai said. "This is a summit that is aiming at bringing the community of stakeholders together and in some sense try to take multilateralism to a new level."



Associated Press

23 July 2002


MEXICO CITY - Facing the possibility that demand could soon exceed supply, top energy officials from 21 nations agreed Tuesday to work on a long-term energy plan, including looking for new, cleaner production methods.  In a statement released at the end of their daylong meeting, members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation ( news - web sites) Forum promised to work together to ensure that their countries can produce enough energy to fuel economic growth.  The energy ministers met in Mexico City to discuss ways to support responsible energy policies ahead of a U.N. World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg later next month.  Mexico Energy Secretary Ernesto Martens said that ministers concurred that they would need more investment and better government to meet future needs.  "We agree that these objectives require immediate, concrete actions," he said.


Calling the energy sector "vital for our economies," Mexican President Vicente Fox ( news - web sites) said ministers should work on "new directives to shape a long-term vision."  "Meeting the needs of growing energy demands is a principal goal that our economies face," he said.  As California struggled with energy shortages, U.S. President George W. Bush ( news - web sites) and Fox agreed last year to work toward a regional energy plan that would include countries from Panama to Canada. On Tuesday, Fox said regions should continue to cooperate to satisfy energy needs and share technology.  With the world's ninth-largest oil reserves, Mexico relies on the energy sector to provide 40 percent of the government's income.  Faced with dwindling resources for new projects, Fox has called for allowing greater private investment in the state-run oil company, Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex. The proposal has met opposition in Congress, where many lawmakers see the oil industry as a sacred government institution.

On Tuesday, Fox urged Mexico to find ways to modernize the country's energy sector, saying it was key to "assure the economic progress and meet the promise to ... improve the quality of life for Mexican families."  Martens also raised the possibility that Mexico could increase its oil reserves in the near future, and called on the 21 APEC nations to work together in areas like regulatory reform and energy savings.  "All of these areas of cooperation offer our economies important support," he said.

The APEC members range from Australia and China to Chile and Canada. Their economies make up 60 percent of global gross domestic product - a measure of all goods and services.



The Earth Times

22 July 2002


Secretary General Kofi A. Annan of the United Nations may have privately decided not to attend the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in late August, according to people familiar with the UN.  They said that part of Annan's reported thinking concerning Johannesburg had to do with the decision of President George W. Bush not to go to Johannesburg. But a spokesman for the Secretary General said Monday evening that, as far as was known, Annan still planned to attend. Still, there were reports in the corridors of the UN that Annan was less than satisfied with the preparatory process leading to Johannesburg that he was inclined not to go. The summit will mark the 10th anniversary of the 1992 Earth Summit- more formally known as the UN Conference on Environment and Development--which was held in Rio de Janeiro. But rather than be just a tedious review of the progress--or lack thereof--since Rio, Annan identified the following issues as priorities at Johannesburg: Water, energy, health, agriculture and biodiversity.  These issues, according to the Secretary General, will help contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals that were spelled out at the UN's summit of world leaders in September 2000. The overarching objective of those goals was to dramatically alleviate global poverty. (More than 2 billion of the world's current population of 6 billion are officially termed "poor" by the World Bank, which means they earn the equivalent of less than $1 a day.) A number of nongovernmental organizations who had invested high hopes in Johannesburg said Monday that they were concerned the draft document for the summit--scheduled to run from August 26 to September 4--was far from complete. "It's Rio Minus 10," said one dissatisfied representative of a civil society organization.  He said that NGOs were also troubled by the pervasive role played by business groups. "At times it appears that this will be a business summit, not a UN one," he said.  The reference was to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development whose World Business Action Council--created in cooperation with the International Chamber of Commerce--has been energetic in promoting the interests of corporations. Several Web sites have been launched. And business groups are planning to hold many seminars and exhibitions at Johannesburg. There were also reports yesterday that President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa was concerned about the lethargic preparations for the Johannesburg Summit, which he views as a potential triumph for his country. He has reportedly formed a working group to expedite arrangements for the summit.  If Secretary General Annan fails to turn up for the summit--which is technically his own summit since it's sponsored by the UN--it would be widely considered as a slap to Mbeki's face. And it would fuel talk that Kofi Annan marches to George W. Bush's tune.



The Earth Times

22 July 2002


As preparations continue for the 2002 Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held in late August, summit leaders continue to tackle questions on how best to devise solution-oriented strategies for the issues to be discussed at the Summit.  The summit's Secretary-General, Nitin Desai of India, said that six key areas that still remain unresolved. He identified them as: How best to implement the principles adopted at the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992; how to subsidize solutions to global problems to be discussed at the summit; how to handle matters regarding trade and globalization; how to handle issues of good governance; how best to devise targets and timetables for reaching the stated goals of the summit, and how to incorporate technology into the discourse of sustainable development. The United Nations Secretary General, Kofi A. Annan of Ghana, has said that the overarching priorities of the Johannesburg Summit would be: Water, energy, health, agriculture and biodiversity.  "The real test is whether we can convince the world that great world conferences can make a difference on the ground," Desai said.  The summit is scheduled to formally start on August 26 summit and end of September 4. Nongovernmental organizations will gather two days earlier--on August 24--for their own conferences in Johannesburg. Altogether, the Johannesburg Summit is expected to attract more than 85,000 participants, with guests ranging from world leaders, business executives, scientists, media persons and representatives from international NGOs.  Referring to recent world conferences in Doha, Qatar, and Monterrey, Mexico, Desai emphasized the need to "consolidate gains" from previous multilateral meetings. "Johannesburg should not be seen as only the follow up for the implementation of the Earth Summit -- it is also vital for the whole framework of multilateralism."  With most of the Johannesburg Summit's agenda having been decided, the six remaining areas identified by Desai continue to serve as reminders to international leaders of the difficult road ahead in realizing the goals of the meeting. There is general agreement that the next few weeks will be critical in determining whether consensus regarding the agenda can be reached for summit participants to most effectively consider strategies for achieving sustainable development.



The Post via All Africa

22 July 2002


Jul 22, 2002 (The Post/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) -- THE African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of countries have decided to present a common position at the forthcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD).

It was resolved at the third ACP heads of state and government summit that closed on Friday in Fiji Islands, that the ACP President-in-Office be mandated to represent the ACP group at the WSSD to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa from August 26 to September 4.  The heads of state and government have to this effect, instructed the secretary general to take necessary steps in preparing for the WSSD by preparing a statement to be presented by the president and to facilitate consultations among ACP states.  The WSSD is a follow-up on the Earth Summit of 1992 that hoped to make environmental issues a central part of the policy-making process, integrated with economic and social development.  It was hoped then, that the environment would no longer be regarded as a luxury or afterthought. The leaders have also mandated the council of ministers to organise regular consultations between ACP states and others or regional and international organisations on issues of major interest to the group.


Other decisions from the summit include the conclusion of economic partnership agreements (EPAs) with the European Union. Negotiations are expected to be launched on September 27 this year.  According to the resolutions, the ACP has recognised the need to engage actively and proactively in multilateral negotiations under the Doha work programme of the World Trade Organisation and EPAs negotiations.  The communique also stated that the ACP was aware of the need to pursue policies conducive to the expansion of ACP trade.  It was not that intra-regional trade was increasingly important for ACP states and that further consolidation and deepening of existing sub-regional trade agreements would contribute to increasing market access opportunities in demand-dynamic export markets.  The ACP leaders stated that they were convinced that regional trade arrangements could be instrumental for diversification of exports which would enable ACP states derive higher revenues from export of higher domestic value-added products.



Future Harvest

22 July 2002


NEW YORK, Jul 22, 2002 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- With less than thirty days to go before global leaders convene in Johannesburg, South Africa for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), a new coalition of organizations, the Monterrey Bridge, challenged countries to uphold promises made earlier this year at the International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD). Specifically, the coalition is calling for tangible action to combat rural poverty. At a press conference in New York today, the Monterrey Bridge also addressed the importance of bringing environmentally sustainable food production to the table at the World Summit on Sustainable Development and beyond.  On behalf of the coalition, Judith Symonds, Executive Director of the Future Harvest Foundation, issued the following challenge: "We call upon participants at the WSSD to ensure that the goal of feeding the world's poor is integrated with efforts to protect biodiversity. There are numerous examples from around the world on how this can be done effectively. There is no time to loose. World leaders must commit the financial resources to expand upon these success stories and apply their learnings globally."  Symonds' call built upon the presentations of three earlier speakers -- the Honorable Cassio Luiselli, the Undersecretary of Environmental Regulation at the Mexican Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources, SEMARNAT and Yolanda Kakabadse, President of IUCN -- The World Conservation Union and Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and Special Advisor to the Secretary General for the Millennium Development Goals.  After reminding attendees of the pledges world leaders made earlier this year at the FfD conference in Monterrey, Mexico, Luiselli discussed the need to increase agricultural production by an estimated 40 to 100 percent in the next 20-30 years and described the negative effects on local biodiversity of many agricultural policies and practices currently in place will have.  Kakabadse followed by discussing the need for grassroots participation in efforts to protect biodiversity -- in ways that also contribute to food and livelihood security. She gave examples of how local grassroots solutions have worked with great success in diverse parts of the world. To celebrate these efforts, Kakabadse announced the 27 finalists for the Equator Prizes 2002, to be awarded by the Equator Initiative. A partnership of UNDP and BrasilConnects, Canada, IDRC, IUCN, TNC, TVE and UNF -- these $30,000 prizes will be awarded at the WSSD and will recognize six innovative rural communities that have reduced poverty while preserving biodiversity. Sachs concluded the discussion by tying the discussion back to the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals and discussed the new WEHAB (water, energy, health, agriculture biodiversity and sustainable ecosystem management) framework as a way to ensure they are met. Sachs focused on the importance of the As and Bs (agriculture and biodiversity) in the WEHAB equation and called on the private sector to proactively get involved in the process at the WSSD and beyond.


The Monterrey Bridge coalition includes: Centro Mexicano para la Filantropia (CEMEFI), Fundacion Mexicana para el Desarollo Rural (FMDR), the Equator Initiative, Future Harvest, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation of Agriculture (IICA), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), IUCN - The World Conservation Union, Pronatura, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).



Business Day

22 July 2002


Johannesburg, Jul 22, 2002 (Business Day/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) -- Organisers expect fewer to attend

STRONG signals are emerging that the forthcoming Johannesburg World Summit will fall well short of meeting SA's and the United Nation's (UN's) goals for a broad breakthrough agreement.  Rather than breaking new ground, the final political declaration expected to emerge from the largest UN event is expected to reaffirm existing initiatives.  Trying to break new ground with specific targets for development and environmental goals, with commitments for new financing and trade liberalisation are out of the question in Johannesburg.  While all 193 UN members have been invited, the organisers expect only 100 at the summit starting late next month. Environmental groups close to the negotiations say only 70 heads of state can realistically be expected.


Another sign of diminished international interest is that the Johannesburg World Summit Company (Jowsco) has slashed the number of people they expect in Johannesburg for the event by almost a third. Earlier this year it expected 65000 people, now it says 45000 is likely.  The level of international interest could depend to a large extent on whether President George Bush decides to attend.  Hilary French, director of global governance at the Worldwatch Institute, a Washington DC-based independent environmental research group, says that "to not attend will send a terrible signal", about lack of concern for environmental issues.


An urgent meeting last week, chaired by Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, reached no agreement. Although it was not billed as a negotiating session, a press release issued afterwards said "convergence" was achieved on contentious issues. But it gave no evidence that this was the case.  Indeed, the only real progress was what the top UN bureaucrat in charge of the summit negotiations called, "a real change in attitude and atmosphere", from the previous negotiating round.  The previous round on the Indonesian luxury resort of Bali showed no progress. Now the deal between the 27 countries in New York last week seems to have been an agreement to set sights considerably lower.  Developing countries want firm financing and trade liberalisations timetables and commitments to meet the UN's eight Millennium Development Goals. The US, reluctant to make new commitments, does not want to talk about trade and finance matters, saying that these have been discussed elsewhere.  And then there is no agreement on how two basic principles should govern the talks. "Common but differentiated responsibilities" was agreed on in the climate change convention in the late 1980s. But some developed countries, including the US, are worried that it could be used to bind them to commitments.  The "precautionary principle", which was part of the Rio Declaration of the 1992 Earth Summit, is also proving a quagmire as a strict interpretation would inhibit progress in biotechnology. The US and a number of developing countries, including SA, are resisting the strict European interpretation of this.



Ascribe News

22 July  2002


WASHINGTON, Jul 21, 2002 (ASCRIBE NEWS via COMTEX) -- The Millennium Project, an international think tank comprising more than 1,000 futurists, scholars, business leaders, scientists and policymakers from more than 50 countries, acting under the auspices of the American Council for the United Nations University, today announced the release of its 2002 "State of the Future" report.  This annual report provides an assessment of the global situation and future trends; normative, exploratory, and long-range scenarios, and annotated bibliographies of hundreds of scenarios; as well as special studies on future issues of science and technology, environmental security, and an in-depth analysis of international policies and goals.  The report consists of a series of executive summaries in 90 pages accompanied by a CD-ROM of approximately 2,000 pages with complete details of the Millennium Project's cumulative work since 1996. The cost of the report is $49.98.  The Millennium Project's "State of the Future" report addresses the international situation on 15 global challenges, with sensitivity to regional perspectives, prospects for the future, policies and actions to address them, as well as indicators to measure progress. These include: sustainable development, water, population and resources, democratization, global, long-term policymaking, the globalization of information technology, the rich-poor gap, threats to health, decision making capacities, conflict resolution, improving women's status, transnational crime, energy, science and technology and global ethics.  The Millennium Project also produces the annual "State of the Future Index." This comprehensive index aims to measure world progress on the 15 global challenges addressed in the "State of the Future" report. Based on historical data of key indicators and analysis of trends, it quantitatively forecasts whether the future promises to be better or worse. The Millennium Project is overseen by an International Planning Committee A planning committee of 37 members from 21 countries oversees the Project's direction. The Project's administrative principals are director Jerome C. Glenn, senior fellow Theodore J. Gordon, and director of research Elizabeth Florescu. The Washington, DC, office of the Millennium Project acts as its coordinating and publishing facility,  "The AC/UNU's Millennium Project on the State of the Future combines, as it should, flights of imagination into the far future with tightly focused analyses of present challenges," commented Michael W. Doyle, Assistant Secretary-General, United Nations, about the report. "It is an indispensable volume for those who seek both the inspiration and enlightenment needed to meet the challenges that will make a productive future possible."


About the Millennium Project

The Millennium Project is a worldwide think tank comprising more than 1,000 futurists, scholars, business leaders, scientists and policymakers from more than 50 countries, acting under the auspices of the American Council for the United Nations University. The Millennium Project is dedicated to exploring global futures by interviewing and surveying individuals at corporations, universities, NGO's, UN organizations, and governments to understand world change and to identify actions to reach the best possible future for humanity as a whole. In addition to its flagship "State of the Future" report, The Millennium Project also produces studies in other specialized areas, including counter terrorism strategies, science and technology, environmental security, United Nations Millennium Summit analysis, early warning and decision making, long-range goals for governance, "African Futures 2025" and "Future Research Methodology." The Millennium Project's work has been recognized by leading organizations and has been named one of the best foresight organizations by the US Department of Energy, is annually selected among "Top Picks" by the Future Survey, and is recognized as one of the leading "Best Practices" by United Nations Habitat.

For further information visit




20 July 2002


European Union (EU) ministers met today to plot a course for the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development, with a key official saying failure at the summit could jeopardise global trade talks. The gathering of European Union environment ministers in Soenderborg, Denmark, was greeted by a small but loud demonstration of anti-EU and anti-globalisation activists. Police detained several of the mostly young protesters after minor scuffles. The EU wants the WSSD to issue a clear action plan and timetables to provide access to water, sanitation and electricity to developing nations and set aims for reducing environmental harm. Poul Nielson, the EU Development Commissioner, said that if the rich world failed to make such commitments and show how they would be met, poorer nations would be unlikely to play ball in trade talks launched last year in Doha, Qatar.

"If Johannesburg fails, we will probably see very negative effects in the global trade arena," he told a news conference after the meeting of EU environment ministers. "Doha would have a very difficult start indeed if this were the background."

The trade talks launched at Doha last November aim to further open up world trade and at the same time make sure that developing nations benefit by getting greater access to markets, such as agriculture, in rich states. With just six weeks to go before the start of the two-week Johannesburg gathering, which marks the 10th anniversary of the Rio Earth Summit, diplomats have made only modest progress on agreeing the political declaration and action plan that should be issued at its conclusion.


EU takes aim at United States

EU diplomats said the United States was reluctant to accept the targets and timetables it was suggesting, preferring instead to concentrate on voluntary initiatives from industry to help the poor while protecting the environment.

Nielson said the United States withdrawal from the Kyoto treaty on global warming and a farm bill which Washington produced last month to give bigger subsidies for United States farmers were examples of where the world's richest nation had irked the poorest.

"It isn't a simple question of just blaming the United States, but its whole attitude to working with multilateral agreements makes it more difficult (to get an agreement for Johannesburg)," Nielson said. Margot Wallstrom, the EU Environment Commissioner, said the developed world had failed the poorer countries since Rio, when it promised to work for sustainable development - increasing prosperity for all without destroying the environment.  "The world is split 10 years after Rio into winners and losers," she said. "There is mistrust and a lack of confidence of the developing countries towards us and the United States in particular."

The environment ministers were spending the weekend in talks to define the EU's negotiating position on the environmental aspects of the summit. According to the EU's executive Commission, the bloc has five priorities: drafting a 10-year plan for sustainable production and consumption; reversing the decline in biological diversity; action to deal with hazardous chemicals; delivering clean water and sanitation to the world's poor; increasing the use of renewable energy. - Reuters



Asia Pulse

19 July 2002


CANBERRA, Jul 19, 2002 (AsiaPulse via COMTEX) -- Australia is to send a high-level ministerial group to Johannesburg for next month's World Summit on Sustainable Development to help resolve climate and environment problems.

The Australian delegation is yet to be finalised but Environment Minister David Kemp has indicated state ministers and non-government groups may accompany him to South Africa.  The summit, dubbed Rio+10 in recognition of the 10-year anniversary of the UN-sponsored Rio Earth Summit, is expected to nut out a political declaration, timetables and targets to improve the state of the world's environment and people.  Dr Kemp will lead the delegation to the meeting, which is expected to comprise more than 180 countries and house 55,000 people.  Sorting out long-standing disagreement on the Kyoto Protocol is at the top of the UN list of issues demanding attention.  The main challenge for world leaders is to work out how countries can raise living standards while also protecting the environment. Negotiations to date, most recently in Bali, reached an impasse, with the UN now calling for countries to bridge gaps ahead of the main meeting in Johannesburg.  It has identified sticking points as climate change woes and issues related to globalisation, trade and the timing of targets.  In a speech to yesterday's New York meeting UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan issued a challenge to world leaders to put words into action.  "Johannesburg is a test for multilateralism and for the international community," he said.  "It is a test for all leaders who profess to care about the well-being of our planet and its people.  "Johannesburg must send a message of solidarity and concern, and must produce real change, on the ground in people's lives, where it matters most."  Progress since the Rio earth summit had been slower than expected and slower than what was needed, he said.  The Australian government has for years faced international criticism for its bugbear with the Kyoto Protocol on climate change and will face more scrutiny at the coming meeting.  In a fact sheet on the summit, Environment Australia said preparatory work was a priority and had been underway for 18 months.  Two departmental officers were sent as observers to this week's special preparatory meeting at United Nations headquarters in New York aimed at resolving world differences on the environment.  The Johannesburg meeting begins on August 26.



Mail & Guardian

19 July 2002


South Africa on Tuesday asked delegations from the 189 UN member states expected at next month's Earth Summit in Johannesburg to arrive two days early to hammer out a deal on sustainable development. The government called on delegates to arrive on August 24 "to expedite the negotiations", according to a statement released by the United Nations. 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 first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, aims at coordinating economic growth plans and environmental protection in order to guard against global depletion of natural resources. About 65 000 people representing governments, activist movements and non-governmental organisations are expected to attend the summit, with the United Nations saying 58 heads of state and 40 heads of government had expressed interest. French President Jacques Chirac, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder have all announced plans to travel to Johannesburg, while US President George Bush's attendance is in doubt. The United States and European countries are still divided over the need to set fixed objectives to reduce world poverty, although they have agreed to jointly block developing countries' demands for an end to farm subsidies in rich Western nations and for the creation of more aid packages. UN officials said that at a preparatory meeting held in New York two weeks ago delegates from 27 selected nations bridged gaps on several issues, prompting calls for additional pre-summit talks in Johannesburg.



Government of Botswana

18 July 2002


Teaching people new ways of caring for natural resources is one of the pre-requisites to achieving sustainable development in the 21st century, Felix Monggae, the chairperson of the Botswana Civil Society Committee, said in Gaborone .  Addressing a news conference, Monggae said the conservation and management of natural resources should be put at the forefront of all development initiatives to avoid the depletion of the earth.  Monggae, who is also the chief executive officer of the Kalahari Conservation Society, said deforestation, pollution, hazardous wastes, solid wastes and sewage are some of the factors that contribute to poverty. He said the strategies applied in alleviating poverty could only be accomplished if resolutions of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit on environmental issues are followed. He said it is important to involve groups such as those of women, youth, non-governmental organisations, trade unions, local authorities, business communities, industries, scientists and farmers that objectives of poverty alleviation could become a reality.  Monggae's news conference was partly called to present to the nation, the position of the country's civil societies to be present at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), slated for Aug. 26 to Sept. 6 in Johannesburg .  The press conference was also to inform the nation about the societies' thoughts on poverty alleviation. Monggae announced that Botswana's civil society has set up a committee that will seek and come up with measures of alleviating poverty without harming the natural resources.  The WSSD would aim to come up with solutions to problems that impede poverty alleviation.  The summit is held at a time when the world's environment is under threat and the quality of life for people in developing countries is seen as a threat to the long-term security of the developed world.



DW - World

17 July 2002


Will the much-awaited Earth Summit in Johannesburg yield results? German environment minister Trittin is hopeful despite growing differences between the EU, the US and the developing world.  A decade after the landmark Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro first put environmental issues on the global political agenda, the next UN World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), kicking off in Johannesburg on August 26, is expected to take things a step further. The agenda will be stretched as a flurry of topics clamour for attention, ranging from poverty, the environment and energy politics to water economics, globalisation and sustainable development.

Hopes dim for Earth Summit

Despite the high hopes pinned on the summit, there's no denying that the initial enthusiasm about tackling global environmental problems has waned as sharp differences between the United States, the European Union and the developing world have emerged.

So much so that there are now fears that the Johannesburg summit might merely echo broad principles adopted by different countries rather than bring about real change. German environment minister Jürgen Trittin, who is at a meeting in New York today to prepare the ground for the Johannesburg summit, said at a press conference that the summit can not be allowed to be dominated by expressions of overall goals. He said binding environmental and political aims as well as clear targets and timetables need to be agreed upon. One of the key proposals by the German government and the EU is to increase the use of renewable energies to generate electricity by 15 percent by the year 2010. Another is to halve the number of people who have live with poor sanitation and have no access to clean drinking water.  The proposals are mainly directed at rich industrial nations, which Trittin said are believed to be mainly responsible for global climate change.

Opening markets

One potential sticking point is a call from developing countries for a greater commitment by richer nations to open their markets to trade and the transfer of technology. But last month at a meeting on the island of Bali, a US administration official made it clear that the United States was not prepared to go beyond commitments it had already made.  Trittin admitted that in this respect it wasn't just the United States holding firm. Some Europeans are also reluctant to open their markets. "The main problem is the huge subsidies that some industrial countries give some of their economic sectors. OECD countries spend $335 million (331.9 million euro) a year for agricultural subsidies alone, preventing several products from developing countries getting access to the market", he said in an interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper. In Europe, Trittin said, France, Ireland and Spain were especially reluctant to give up their agricultural subsidy systems.

Will the US get on board?

There is one big question on many minds: can the US and EU start reading off the same page when it comes to the Earth's environmental future? So far the US has shied away from any kind of binding commitment regarding environmental protection and has incurred the wrath of several developing and European countries who blame it for putting the brakes on environmentally friendly policies on water and sanitation, energy, agricultural productivity, bio-diversity and health. Trittin told the Süddeutsche Zeitung, "the US as usual has problems with such multilateral commitments". In a sign that the US may maintain its rigid stance, US Commerce Undersecretary Grant Aldonas told Reuters on Tuesday that next month's summit may not produce a concrete plan for sustainable development, but still could be a successful breeding ground for new ideas. Trittin sanguine despite differences

Despite the yawning gap between US and European viewpoints, Trittin says he sees hope that a compromise might be reached with the Americans. "Once the Europeans reach an agreement with the developing countries about access to markets, it will be easier to spur the Americans to commit themselves to concrete aims," he told the Süddeutsche Zeitung. After all the US wants to be successful in Johannesburg too."





Taipei Times

2 August 2002


Chi Chun-chieh is an associate professor at the Institute of Ethnic Relations at National Dong-Hwa University.

This month, representatives from a majority of the world's nations and many non-governmental organizations will gather in Johannesburg, South Africa, for the World Summit on Sustainable Development. This is the first such meeting to be held since the first world summit, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992, and it has therefore been dubbed "the second world summit" or "Rio + 10."


At the time of the first summit, most people were concerned about the destruction of the global environment and filled with expectations for the opportunities offered by this first joint global effort. Ten years on, however, it seems the expectations of most people have come to nothing, since most evidence shows that the global environment has continued to deteriorate over the past 10 years. Over the past 20 years, there have been many warnings in the media that issues such as deforestation, global warming, environmental pollution and population growth in developing countries are the major causes of the destruction of biohabitats and biological extinction. These are all issues that we were very clear on long before the Rio summit, but we appear to have become immune and numb to such news. What's more, this kind of information has not only been unable to point out the true causes behind these issues, but sometimes it even misdirects our recognition of these issues. For example, pointing out how lumber companies cause biohabitats to shrink by their continued deforestation in parts of Eastern Europe and Africa without discussing what the relationship is between these activities and the timber and paper we use, and even the beef we eat, simply creates an impression that those lumber companies are at it again, continuing their destruction. In this way, our daily activities and consumption are never examined, and so we never feel as though we need to make any adjustments to our daily lives.


The rapid population growth of developing countries is repeatedly reported and distorted in the same way. First of all, the reasons why the population in these areas continues to increase so rapidly has never been seriously discussed in the media. Secondly, this kind of information has created the erroneous impression that the large populations in developing countries are the main cause of environmental destruction and biological extinction. Many studies, however, have found that poverty is the main reason for rapid population growth. At the same time, even though the population growth rates in rich countries are low, their average lifestyles consume several dozen of times more resources than do the lifestyles of populations in poorer areas. Rich countries also create more of many kinds of waste, and therefore much more destructive than people in developing countries with rapid population growth. All the above issues were discussed at the Rio summit, which concluded that improvement of the uneven global distribution of wealth and changes to the lifestyles of people in the rich areas are the two crucial factors in the improvement of the global environment. Over the past decade, however, we have not seen any of these necessary changes, but instead we have seen an even larger concentration of wealth, including the appearance of many extremely rich American capitalists, while we still see no improvements to the problems of poverty and hunger in developing countries. The crux of the problem is, in fact, the above-mentioned conclusion from the Rio summit, which came to nothing more than slogans for moral persuasion without any real binding power whatsoever. We only have to make a comparison with the WTO agreement which was signed during the same period to see clearly that only global agreements regarding wealth accumulation are given serious treatment, since these agreements are supported by legislation and punishments. But agreements such as "Agenda 21," which deals with the health of the global environment and which was signed at the Rio summit, the agreements on global climate change and the Convention on Biological Diversity are all non-binding agreements. Looking ahead to this second World Summit on Sustainable Development, therefore, we expect representatives from various countries to discuss and criticize the lack of global efforts in the area of environmental protection over the past decade. We also hope that the summit will create a treaty with real regulatory power when it comes to world poverty, the uneven global distribution of wealth and various root causes of environmental destruction. If this does not happen, we will still hear warnings about biological extinction 10 years from now, and we will also continue to remain cold to this kind of news.



By Jamie Pittock


31 July 2002


Jamie Pittock is Director of WWF International's Living Waters Programme

Government leaders meeting at the World Summit on Sustainable Development will take decisions that shape how water is managed over the next ten years. WWF is concerned that Summit preparations have so far only focused on water delivery and sanitation, while ignoring the crucial issue of water supply.


The world is facing a freshwater crisis. People already use over half the world's accessible freshwater, and may use nearly three-quarters by 2025. Over 1.5 billion people lack ready access to drinking water and, if current consumption patterns continue, at least 3.5 billion people - nearly half the world's projected population - will live in water-stressed river basins in just 20 years.

On top of this, contamination denies some 3.3 billion people access to clean water, and 2.5 billion people have no water sanitation services. In developing countries an estimated 90 per cent of wastewater is discharged without treatment into rivers and streams. Each year there are about 250 million cases of water-related diseases, with some 5-10 million deaths.


Not only people are threatened by water shortages and pollution. Freshwater ecosystems, which harbour the greatest concentration of species, are amongst the most vulnerable on Earth. Half the world's wetlands have been destroyed in the last 100 years. Two-fifths of the world's fish are freshwater species - and of these, 20 per cent are threatened, endangered, or have become extinct in recent decades. In North America, freshwater animals are the most endangered wildlife group, dying out five times faster than species on land.

Water is an issue that affects us all. It is vital that world leaders meeting at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) come up with a plan to address the world's dwindling freshwater resources. But in a 21st century version of the cargo cult, it seems our leaders believe that the global crisis can be solved by building more taps and toilets - 750 million and 1.25 billion more, respectively, by 2015 under the draft WSSD Plan of Implementation - without actually ensuring there is any water available to make them work.  Improved water distribution and sanitation services are obviously needed to help combat poverty, disease, and pollution. However, water shortages in many countries are primarily due to poor management: water sources have not been conserved and water is not used efficiently. These problems are not limited to developing countries. The Colorado River in North America and Murray River in Australia are amongst the Earth's major rivers that are regularly sucked dry.


Degradation of water sources leads to less freshwater being available, and is largely due to poor management of river basins. Culprits include deforestation and overgrazing, which lead to erratic water runoff and desertification. Water diversion and inefficient water use are also a problem. Irrigated agricultural systems, which consume 70 per cent of the world's diverted water, lose up to 80 per cent of their water through leakage in earthern channels and inefficient application onto fields. In developing countries, up to half the water delivered to cities is lost in leaking pipes. Water is also lost through unchecked spread of exotic weeds and inappropriate, and often subsidised, agricultural practises such as growing water-thirsty crops in dry areas.

Problems with water diversions are often exacerbated where ground water or rivers cross political borders, and where there are no effective water sharing agreements. An infamous example is the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, where the governments of Turkey, Syria, and Iraq compete to use as much water as possible. Although dams can now divert all of the flow of these rivers, 20 more dams are under construction. In the meantime, the Mesopotamian Marshes - which once covered an area nearly half the size of Switzerland and were central to the livelihoods of the half a million Ma'dan or Marsh Arab people - have been all but destroyed.


Conserving freshwater ecosystems through better management would not only help maintain the amount of water available, but also its quality. Streamside forests and wetlands can purify water by trapping pollutants. In addition, a major cause of the spread of malaria and water-borne diseases such as schistosomiasis, for example, is the expansion of dams and irrigation schemes.

Healthy freshwater ecosystems also enhance food security. In Africa, 21 per cent of the population's protein comes from freshwater fisheries. These fisheries are destroyed by dams, but could be improved through better habitat management. Furthermore, traditional sustainable ways of growing food crops that work with nature, such as planting on floodplains after annual floods recede, are being lost to ineffective irrigation developments.


Despite the many benefits of river basin conservation and efficient water use, these have only been mentioned rhetorically in WSSD preparations to date, without any serious commitments by governments to targeted and measurable actions. Nothing in the draft plan will prevent more rivers from being over-exploited. Indeed, two blocks of governments are openly antagonistic to measurable progress in conserving water bodies. The United States, Canada, Japan, and Australia are objecting to the adoption of measurable targets and funding allocations for sustainable water management, while a small group of influential developing countries led by Turkey is seeking to prevent agreements for managing international or transboundary rivers, fearful that they may constrain their plans to fully exploit rivers in their territories.


To further complicate matters, some organizations are arguing that the solution to the world's water problems lie in establishing new agreements and institutions. However, the disputes and legal problems currently slowing implementation of the environmental treaties born at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit do not bode well for a new water treaty, which is not really necessary - there are already existing institutions for sustainable management of freshwater which, if embraced by the international community, could lead to immediate improvements in global water management.


One way to conserve water sources and ensure equitable sharing is to establish and enhance stewardship programmes for managing individual rivers and water bodies. Such initiatives bring together governments and stakeholders to share water and look after the river basin environment in order to sustain water quantity and quality and to conserve fish and other resources. An example is the Murray Darling Basin Commission in Australia, which brings together six state governments and the community. Following growing and unsustainable diversion of water - now at 80 per cent of the river's flow - in 1996 the Commission facilitated a decision to cap water extractions, requiring new commercial water users to be supplied from efficiency savings rather than new diversions.

River basin organizations have the added benefit of promoting international cooperation, peace, and security. There are 261 major transboundary water bodies, many without an effective, or even any, cooperative management organization. These should be a priority for international efforts in establishing stewardship programmes.


Governments should also remember that there is already a successful international treaty for promoting wise use of freshwater ecosystems that includes a framework for sustainable development, conservation, and poverty alleviation. The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, which includes 133 nations as members, is a model for transparent and effective multinational action to conserve freshwater habitats. More than most other agreements, it actively engages government, non-government, and multilateral agencies in partnerships to enhance cooperation and joint work, and focuses on the importance of engaging local and indigenous peoples in conservation.

Despite embodying all that the WSSD wishes to achieve, the Ramsar Convention receives just one rhetorical reference in the draft WSSD Plan of Implementation. In the same way that other Conventions have been specifically singled out, the mandate of and funding for the Ramsar Convention should also be enhanced in the draft plan to allow it to do even more towards sustaining the vital role of wetlands in providing water for people and nature.

There is still time for government leaders to address the critical issue of conserving the world's scarce freshwater supplies. Hopefully, the final WSSD Plan of Implementation will adopt simple and practical targets for conserving water sources and using water more efficiently.



International Herald Tribune

30 July 2002


The writer is dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. This comment was adapted for the International Herald Tribune from an article in the July/August issue of Foreign Policy.

NEW HAVEN, Connecticut President Jimmy Carter asked a group of us in his administration to prepare what became the "Global 2000 Report to the President." Our task was to project what population and environmental outcomes would unfold by 2000 if societies did nothing to change course. Our estimates were frighteningly on target. And two decades later, rates of environmental deterioration continue essentially unabated.

Information on global environmental trends is far more sophisticated today but no more reassuring. Most people will soon live in water-stressed areas. Half the tropical forests are gone. Bird and mammal species are disappearing at a rate 100 to 1,000 times the rate at which extinctions naturally occur. Seventy percent of marine fisheries are either fished to capacity or overfished. Most threatening of all, global climate change is well under way.  The World Summit on Sustainable Development, to be held in Johannesburg in August, is the latest opportunity to plot a course for effective environmental policies. But it would be wrong to think that it will take decisive action. This summit promises to be anything but revolutionary.  In fact, 20 years of international environmental negotiations have been disappointing. It is not that what has been agreed upon - for example, in the conventions on climate, desertification and biodiversity - is useless. But these treaties are mostly frameworks for action. They do not drive the needed changes. Vague agreements, minimal requirements, lax enforcement and underfunded support plague the new field of international environmental law. The principal attempt to reach a binding, action-forcing agreement - the climate convention's Kyoto Protocol - only modestly contributes to a climate solution and has yet to be adopted a decade after the convention was signed.


These weaknesses should not be a surprise. Environmental negotiations have given maximum leverage to countries with an interest in thwarting international action. The United States successfully weakened the Kyoto Protocol; Brazil has worked to keep a forest convention at bay; Japan and other major fishing countries watered down the international marine fisheries agreement. Similarly, the institutions created to address these issues - the United Nations Environment Program and the Commission on Sustainable Development - are among the weakest multilateral organizations. It is time to remedy the shortcomings of the past. We have tended to mistake negotiation for action. We need, first, to address more directly and aggressively the main drivers of environmental deterioration. An escalation of proven, noncoercive approaches to population control could lead to a leveling off of global population at about 8.5 billion people in this century. But this will not happen without adequate support for the 1994 Cairo Plan of Action - a United Nations commitment to improving women's health, welfare and status that is now being underfunded by half.


Poverty is an important destroyer of environment. The poor often have no choice but to lean too heavily on a declining resource base. Also, developing countries distrust the intentions and policies of advanced nations. The rich world has to recognize these challenges. Enhanced development cooperation provides the only context to address both development and environmental objectives.  Transformation of the technologies that dominate manufacturing, energy, transportation and agriculture is key to reducing pollution and resource consumption while achieving expected economic growth. But the required changes in technology and consumption will not happen unless there are environmentally honest prices. Full-cost pricing is everywhere thwarted by the failure of governments to eliminate environmentally perverse subsidies. There is no reason to expect major environmental improvement while such distortions persist.  If the world is to attack these problems, it must radically revise its approach to global environmental governance. Progress depends on new procedures for forging international agreements and on new institutions, including a World Environment Organization that could be as effective as the World Trade Organization is in its sphere.  The political system alternates between incremental drift and rapid change. The global environment has been addressed incrementally, but a phase shift is needed - something akin to the outpouring of domestic environmental concern in America in the 1960s and 1970s. Is it possible that the world is witnessing the birth of such a change in the anti-globalization protests, in the unprecedented initiatives undertaken by both private corporations and local communities, in the growth of nongovernmental organizations and their innovations, in scientists speaking up and speaking out and in the outpouring of environmental initiatives by the religious community?  We must certainly hope so. The alarms sounded 20 years ago have not been heeded, and soon it will be too late to prevent an appalling deterioration of the natural world.



The Guardian

29 July 2002


Clare Short is secretary of state for international development

As the world's largest aid donor, the European Union could be making a huge contribution to the international fight against poverty. Unfortunately, its development programme is an embarrassment.  Unless Europe targets spending more effectively at achieving the internationally agreed millennium development goals of halving poverty, getting all children into school, reducing child and maternal mortality, and focusing on sustainable development, Britain and the other member states should "renationalise" their aid budgets.  Globally, untying aid, focusing it where the poor are and backing reformers would increase the value of existing aid by 50% to $87bn - and massively improve public confidence. We therefore need to target parts of the international system which can do most to achieve this.  The worst offender for highly ineffective aid spending is the European commission. With an annual spend of about €6bn, it has programmes in almost every developing country. And 25% of the UK's aid budget - more than €1bn in 2000 - is transferred to the EC each year.  Some of its work is now of high quality but, overall, EC programmes are not focused on reducing poverty. The proportion of EC aid spent in low-income countries has fallen from 70% in 1990 to 38%.  Commissioners Chris Patten and Poul Nielson have made a start on tackling inefficiency. The turnaround in the quality of EC programmes in the Balkans is one example. But they would be the first to admit that procedures are still too slow and complex. The confusing political direction set by member states and the European parliament means that EC spending is not focused on the reduction of poverty.  In the past few years we have worked to tackle some of the most glaring problems, and the EC now at least has an agreed objective of reducing global poverty. But the radical progress we need has not been achieved. We must grasp every opportunity for reform.


First, make poverty reduction the overriding objective. Too often the political consensus reached by the council of ministers and the European parliament is to maintain spending at historical levels in regions where the sole motive is that the EU has a general political interest there. Large resource transfers to middle-income countries with high lev els of poverty simply prop up the status quo and do not generate reform.  The events of September 11 highlight the links between poverty and insecurity and the need for the EU to widen its horizon beyond the near-abroad, and focus its scarce resources where they can make the most difference in tackling poverty and instability.  We need a clear commitment to the millennium development goals in the EC. This requires a major refocus ing of its aid spending on poverty reduction and a stronger commitment to development in trade, the environment and other policies. Programmes should operate at the highest EU standards, not the lowest.  Second, we need to focus EC programmes where they can add value, and cut back other activities. That means a hard look at why EU member states have EC programmes as well as national ones.  If EC programmes can be better delivered through national agencies or other multilateral ones, then it is hard to justify their continuation. Likewise, if the EC can find a way of being effective then we should also use it more as a channel for national funds.  Third, we need to streamline radically the instruments used by the EC, which have created complex and slow procedures. EC development legislation is byzantine, with overlapping regulations governing external programmes. On top of this, the annual budget process encourages complexity through its tendency to promote special interests.  I would instead like to see a single regulation for EC development spending that ends the unhealthy focus on geo-political regions and encourages a global approach to poverty reduction - with resources allocated where they will do most to achieve this - backed up by clearer measurement of effectiveness and quality of performance.  This would give the commission more freedom to manage EC programmes effectively without micro-management from member states and the parliament.  I welcome recent reforms of EC development programmes. They are beginning to make a difference. But as they roll out we also run up against their limitations. We have until 2006 when a new external affairs budget will be set.  My personal view is that we should demand a massive improvement in EC programmes and a return to at least 70% of resources spent on low-income countries. If this is not achieved, we should demand renationalisation of the aid programme.  If the EC cannot add value to the work of member states then this is what the principle of subsidiarity dictates.



Business Day via All Africa

29 July 2002


Colleen Du Toit is Director of the Southern African Grantmakers Association. Eugene Saldanha is Director of the NonProfit Partnership

AN UNEXPECTED convergence has emerged suddenly in the often stormy courtship between SA's nonprofit and business sectors. The findings of a recent research report suggest that it is time the two sectors seek co-operation in the interests of sustainable development and business growth. The report comes at a time when SA's corporates are grappling with the implications of the second King report, which suggests a social responsibility framework for business in terms of the "triple bottom line" of financial, social and environmental accountability. And next month's World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg is expected to give further impetus to the debate. Significantly, the nonprofit study reveals that corporate investment in development is quantitatively substantial, even while its actual effect on poverty is qualitatively uncertain. The King report states that "sustainability" or "social, ethical and environmental issues can no longer be regarded as secondary to more conventional business imperatives". The report recommends ethical, integrated and strategic approaches to social investment spending, and specifically locates the whole "sustainability" question within a framework of "African humanism" or ubuntu, which recognises the importance of interdependent relationships, in this case between an enterprise and the community in which it exists. In the international arena, the "global compact", emphasises the need to build cross-sectoral partnerships in support of poverty alleviation and sustainable development. This compact calls for alignment of corporate policy and practice with values upholding enlightened human rights, labour and environmental standards.


Much closer to home, the New Partnership for Africa's Development initiative is underpinned by concepts of mutual partnership between government, business and civil society. Given these overarching moves towards cross-sectoral co-operation, it seems that this is the ideal time for SA business and nonprofit players to "seize the day" as suggested by King. The perception within the nonprofit sector is that lack of finance is the key impediment to effective delivery. The new study shows that the "lack" is really in the area of leadership and management capacity. It is now time for nonprofit organisations to capacitate themselves to take advantage of SA's very progressive policy environment, and the considerable resources available to them. The "lack" is not funding, it is strategy, management and information. While the challenge for the organisations is to move quickly to become effective implementers of development, corporate donors need more integrated strategies, implemented through closer social engagement.


The corporate sector should recognise that both its business and social responsibility activities will increasingly happen in an environment demanding real accountability. Business and the nongovernmental or nonprofit sectors are traditionally viewed as adversaries, locked in a combat of values and scarce resources. But both globally and nationally, that terrain is changing.

While there is no doubt that there will always be a need for the "watchdog", or civil regulation role of nongovernmental organisations, the urgent need is for on-the-ground, tangible development. Given a state apparatus still too weak to meet all needs, the call must be for multisectoral co-operation in the interests of successful sustainable development programmes.

It is in moving to meet these challenges that the rationale for business/nonprofit organisations co-operation emerges.

For instance at the micro level, such co-operation can look for solutions to local social and environmental problems, while at the macro or policy level, business and nonprofit organisations can work to develop mutually acceptable best practices, monitoring and evaluation methodologies, and specifically SA indicators and standards for monitoring the effect of their sustainability initiatives.



Foreign Policy in Focus

26 July 2002


John Dernbach, law professor at Widener University, is the editor of Stumbling Toward Sustainability, a new book published the Environmental Law Institute ( This commentary for Foreign Policy in Focus ( was adapted from testimony he delivered to a joint hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee on July 24, 2002.

It has now been ten years since the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, or Earth Summit, in Rio de Janeiro. At that conference, the United States and other countries agreed to implement an ambitious plan for sustainable development--both at home and internationally. The World Summit on Sustainable Development (Aug. 26-Sept. 4, 2002) in Johannesburg will provide an international assessment of what has happened over the past ten years, and lead to decisions about where to go next. The U.S. has unquestionably begun to take some steps toward sustainable development, largely because of our environmental and conservation laws. Yet, on balance, the United States is now far from being a sustainable society, and in many respects is further away than it was at the time of the Earth Summit in 1992. Unlike many other developed countries, the United States has not used a strategic process to move the country toward a sustainable future and has not educated the American people about the opportunities and challenges of sustainable development. With 5% of the world's population, the United States was at the time of the Earth Summit responsible for about 24% of the world's energy consumption and almost 30% of the world's raw materials consumption. Since the Earth Summit, materials use has increased 10%, primary energy consumption has increased 21%, and energy-related carbon dioxide emissions have increased by 13%. Over and over, increases in materials and energy efficiency, and in the effectiveness of pollution controls for individual sources, were outweighed by increases in consumption. Despite a significant increase in municipal waste recycling in the past decade, for example, American generation and disposal of municipal solid waste per capita have been growing since 1996. According to Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson, "four more planet Earths" would be needed for "every person in the world to reach present U.S. levels of consumption with existing technology." Yet the U.S. standard of living--equated with high levels of consumption and "the good life"--is widely envied and emulated throughout the world.


National Sustainable Development Strategy is Needed

The federal government should adopt and implement a national strategy for sustainable development, with specified goals and priorities, to harness all sectors of society to achieve our economic, social, environmental, and security goals. The strategy would lead to a stronger, more prosperous America with a higher quality of life because we would be pursuing these goals in ways that support each other in greater and greater degrees over time, rather than undermining each other. The strategy could be modeled on that of the European Union or states such as Oregon and New Jersey, and specifically address climate change, biodiversity, international trade, and other major issues. A set of indicators to measure progress in achieving goals would make the strategy more effective and meaningful. In addition, the U.S. needs to recognize that its substantial consumption levels, coupled with domestic population growth, have serious environmental, social, and economic impacts. Americans also need to understand that human well-being can be maintained and enhanced by more efficient and effective use of materials and energy. A shift in taxes from labor and income, on one hand, to materials and energy consumption, on the other, would encourage both greater efficiency and reduced negative environmental impacts. The challenge for the United States is to be an attractive example of what sustainable development can mean. In this respect, international leadership begins at home. The U.S. needs to take a stronger and more constructive leadership role internationally, not only on terrorism but also on the broad range of issues related to sustainable development. Congress should repeal or modify laws, policies, and subsidies that encourage unsustainable development. Protection of natural resources and the environment must focus more holistically on the resources to be protected, and on understanding those resources. Transportation, public health, and other social infrastructure and institutions should be designed and operated to promote economic, environmental, and social goals at the same time. In virtually every area of American life, a few people and organizations are exercising leadership for sustainability. The United States would take a large and decisive step toward sustainability if individuals, businesses, educational institutions, local and state governments, federal agencies, and others would simply adopt and build on the leading sustainability practices of their counterparts. A properly conceived and implemented strategy would lead to that result.


Toward a Brighter Future for Our Children and Grandchildren

We now face growing environmental degradation around the world and an increasing gap between rich and poor. These are related problems, and they hinder or undermine everything else we care about--security, economic development, social well-being, and even effective governance. Put differently, poverty and environmental degradation are deeply destabilizing because they stifle or reduce opportunities and quality of life for many, many people. In the next 50 years, global population is projected to increase by three billion people, and the global economy is likely to grow by four or five times. As difficult as things now are, environmental degradation and the gap between rich and poor are likely to get much worse if we continue with business as usual. Should that be our legacy for our children and grandchildren? We know what we need to do to move toward sustainability, and we also know why. As Americans, we are called to face these challenges, and to seize this opportunity.



International Herald Tribune

24 July 2002


The writer, director-general of WWF International, based in Gland, contributed this comment to the International Herald Tribune.

GLAND, Switzerland Humanity's use of natural resources - the so-called ecological footprint - has exceeded the regenerative capacity of Earth since the 1980s, and is now about 20 percent too great. If governments do not take action to halt this trend, then during the lifetime of our children human welfare will go into further decline. This is the key conclusion of a recent report by the environmental monitoring group, WWF International.  The ecological footprint is the total area of the planet that humans require for agriculture, grazing land, timber production, marine fishing and infrastructure, together with the area necessary for absorbing the carbon dioxide produced by burning oil, coal and other fossil fuels. At the current rate of consumption, the ecological footprint of all humankind will reach twice the regenerative capacity of Earth by 2050.  This gargantuan overconsumption is at the expense of the natural capital of the planet - the forests, the freshwater ecosystems and oceans - not to mention the livelihood of communities that directly depend on these resources. We can already see the effects: Since 1970, the Living Planet Index - a measure of the health of our planet's ecosystems - has declined by about 35 percent. Freshwater ecosystems have been particularly hard hit. They have declined 55 percent in the last 30 years.


The Earth has about 11 billion hectares (28 billion acres) of productive land and sea space, after all unproductive areas of ice caps, desert and open ocean are discounted. Divided between the global population of 6 billion people, this total equates to just 1.9 hectares per person. Yet the WWF report shows that the ecological footprint of the world average consumer in 1999 was 2.3 hectares per person, or 20 percent above Earth's biological capacity of 1.9 hectares per person.

People in different countries have vastly different ecological footprints. That of the average African or Asian consumer was less than 1.4 hectares per person in 1999, the average Western European's footprint was about five hectares, and the average North American's was about 9.6 hectares.

There are four fundamental changes that must be made to return to a sustainable development pathway.

First, we must improve the resource-efficiency with which goods and services are produced.

Second, we must consume resources more efficiently, and redress the disparity in consumption between high and low income countries.

Third, population growth must be controlled by promoting universal education and health care.

Fourth, it is imperative that we protect, manage and restore natural ecosystems to conserve biodiversity and ecological services. This will help maintain the planet's biological productivity, for the benefit of present and future generations.


We live on a bountiful planet, but not a limitless one. Bringing the human footprint back within the carrying capacity of Earth is the real challenge for the World Summit for Sustainable Development that opens in Johannesburg in August. The delegates should remember that the year 2050 is within the lifetime of most of our own children. Our overconsumption of natural resources today will affect the living standards not of an abstract "future generation" but of people we know and care about.


A government's responsibilities should include taking care of the long-term prospects of both the society it represents and the world in which that society lives. Yet from the behavior of many politicians, one could almost think their countries are on a different planet, so little bothered do they seem by the impact of their actions on their own and other societies.


A striking example of the narrow and short-term approach adopted by many governments is the way in which European powers support their fishing industries through massive subsidies. This practice has encouraged huge overfishing, which has led to the near-collapse of European fish stocks in recent years, notably in the North Atlantic Ocean and the Baltic Sea.


The overfishing is not limited to European waters. West African countries share one of the world's most productive coastal fisheries. European fishing fleets have increasingly been attracted to these waters. Technologically sophisticated trawlers and unfair access agreements with African countries strapped for foreign currency have had a devastating impact on the fish stocks.

What the Europeans are doing is exporting the excess capacity of their vastly over-sized fishing fleet of some 95,000 boats. In propping up their own unsustainable fishing industry - at taxpayers' expense - they are helping to destroy the livelihoods of African communities. If European governments do not act by reforming their Common Fisheries Policy by the end of 2002, the socioeconomic consequences will be disastrous, and not only in West Africa.  The delegates to the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg must also realize that without vision on the part of governments and their active engagement in sustainable development, the whole system of peaceful coexistence may be at stake. Attempting to solve one's own problems by exploiting the environmental wealth of other societies cannot be the way forward.  Sustainability on a global scale will undoubtedly become a key issue of the coming decades. Governments which fail to see this, and which fail to redesign their policies appropriately, will put at risk the future of the planet - their own people included, of course. They will also call into question the very purpose of government.



The Earth Times

21 July 2002


Pamela Hartigan is Managing Director of The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship in Geneva.

Another UN Summit, this one on Sustainable Development, convenes next month in Johannesburg to mark the decade since Rio (Rio + 10). About 80,000 delegates representing governments, multilateral and bilateral agencies, businesses, activists and journalists are due to attend.  I have been to two not dissimilar global UN events. One was the 1994 UN International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held in Cairo. The other was the 1995 UN Conference on Women held in Beijing. Both times I was representing a UN organization, the World Health Organization. At the Cairo Conference, my first experience at such an event, I would have been lost had it not been for a well-weathered colleague from my organization who took me under her wing. She carried the official draft report of the ICPD document through the hallways clutched to her chest. I think she had memorized every word in the tome. The final document had 16 sections, and each is about five pages of single-spaced type.  I came to understand that the phrases in brackets in a UN Conference draft document were those with which one or more governments had found issue. The main purpose of UN Conferences is to negotiate the language in those brackets. UN technical agencies such as WHO attend the conferences to provide information to member governments about the technical accuracy and/or implications, in our case, for health, of the bracketed issues being debated. Our role is to dispassionately present the "factsî, neutrality being at a premium. I wondered how I would ever be neutral and dispassionate about women's reproductive health and reproductive rights. I was clearly not cut out for the job.  But in Cairo and again in Beijing, I trailed after my colleagues for 10 days. The Conferences lasted that long! Every day was like the previous one, highlighted only by passionate speeches from world leaders who were free to come and go with their respective entourages. But for the most part, we remained trapped in the rooms where the delegates debated the bracketed language in the document until consensus was reached. This went on often until the wee hours of the morning. There I sat, for hours, waiting in case anyone from any country had a technical question on health. I had not had so much fun since 10th grade English literature class when we dissected every word in Ulysses by James Joyce. It was actually a bit like watching cement set.


But, I was told, the entire process was worthwhile because activists all over the world would be able to wave the document that their respective governments had signed and hold them responsible for honoring the language to which they had agreed. Hmm....

In hindsight, I suppose I was too impatient with the process of never-ending intergovernmental consensus building, too convinced of the futility of it all, knowing that there was no way to ensure that governments signing the document lived up to their commitments. I was also frustrated by the overriding stress on the advocacy role for NGOs instead of one where NGOs were purveyors of concrete and feasible alternatives. In any case, it is no wonder that I now delight in working with social entrepreneurs. The sad irony is that while the community of social entrepreneurs has many hundreds of years of accumulated practical experience with solving current problems related to sustainable development, they are seldom given the platform to share with the world their methods and results so that others can emulate what they have done.


Worse still, those very actors, be they governments or representatives of business, that will be sitting around the table in Johannesburg next month to expound on their efforts to contribute to sustainable development, often impede social entrepreneurs in carrying out their innovative work.  My colleagues at the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship and I have just returned from weeks of travel to different parts of the world to carry out due diligence on our next round of candidates for the Schwab network of outstanding social entrepreneurs. What these individuals are doing is already difficult enough without artificial impediments, given their aim to innovate and achieve transformation for the social good. But governments and businesses sometimes kill or threaten the survival of the goose that lays the golden eggs of sustainable development. Let me provide just two current examples of social enterprises that have been contributing to sustainable development in the decade since the Rio Summit.  Javier Hurtado Mercado is a Bolivian social entrepreneur who in 1987 established Irupana, an enterprise that works directly with 1,700 indigenous farming families living in the Yungas region. Irupana focuses on buying and processing certified organically grown produce directly from those farmers, cutting out the middleman, and distributing those indigenous foods to Bolivian consumers. Hurtado started Irupana with US$4,000 and one product, toasted coffee (he says he is still the best coffee toaster in Bolivia). Today, Irupana produces and distributes 80 products including coffee, tea, bread, honey, marmalades, chocolate, dried fruits, a variety of cereals, granola bars, and dairy products to 18 Irupana stores and 300 outlets that stock Irupana products, as well as supermarkets in Bolivia's large cities. Approximately 4,000 customers a day buy Irupana's products. Organic goods sell at higher prices in local markets, as they are targeted to middle and upper income consumers, thereby allowing Irupana to pay prices to producers that are about 25 percent higher than those for non-organic produce. Moreover, Hurtado encourages the indigenous families with which he works to keep a portion of their produce for themselves, ensuring their improved nutrition and health. He employs knowledge of organic agriculture, as well as extremely high standards of production, to create a product that will command a price premium in local markets. Last year, Irupana's sales expanded by 32 percent, despite the economic situation in the region.  Hurtado's ultimate goal is to establish a new model of social enterprise financing for Bolivia, one where Irupana is owned by its factory workers and the farmers themselves, as well as other interested investors. Irupana is now attracting international buyers, and one European organic food buyer has signed a contract to buy 60 tons of Irupana's cereals every year for the next three years. I spent 4 days visiting Irupana, and trekked 40 kilometers up and back to the Andean community of Churubamba, 3,000 meters above sea level, where a community of 30 of the 1,700 Indian families live that supply Irupana. We slept two to a bed for those nights in one of the small huts in the village. Hurtado is clearly more than just a buyer. I was continuously struck by how he interacts with the farmers, both men and women. He explained carefully and clearly how they might improve their products, subtly guiding them to come up with their own answers. He is funny, smart and ultimately very humble. He gets involved in all aspects of their lives, not just farming, listens to them patiently, teases them affectionately, and they engage with him.  So what is the problem? Irupana, according to the government, is a business. Fair enough, so it is, but it is also performing vital social and environmental roles that government cannot play as effectively. Should it be taxed then at the same rate as, say, Carrefour, the French hypermarche that dominates the Bolivian market? According to the Bolivian tax system, it is no different . But, argues Hurtado, Irupana will be crushed if it has to pay conventional business taxes. What makes the issue more painful is the knowledge that the bigger and more powerful the enterprise, the greater the chances that it will find ways to minimize such taxes . Governments attending the UN Conference in Johannesburg might forward their global agenda, and save their budgets money, by reorienting their attention from treaties and wordy professions of ideals to the kinds of practical incentives regimes and supports that the world needs to foster, rather than impede, sound social enterprises such as Irupana.  Just next door, in Quito, Ecuador, another social entrepreneur, Maria Elena Ordoez, founded Arcandina (Andean arc) to create multi-media products targeted at children that are both entertaining and educational. In particular, Arcandina focuses on conveying practical messages on environmental conservation and the unique Latin American fauna and flora by using some of the main endangered species as muppet characters. Maria Elena and her colleagues are convinced that through Arcandina, they can empower a new generation that believes in its ability to effect positive environmental changes, altering the dangerously unsustainable course upon which we are currently embarked. This is not a crazy idea. Using me as a test case, and in just a few hours of exposure to Arcandina, I found myself as absorbed in its power to entertain and educate as any member of its target group, children between ages 7 and 14. Others seem to be similarly enchanted by the characters, the music, and the messages. Earlier this year, Arcandina was recipient of the National Wildlife Federation Award for "the most outstanding international production aimed at children."


Arcandina began in Quito in 1996, then went national. Between 1996 and 2000, Arcandina was transmitted nationally in Ecuador by Teleamazonas. Each program reached approximately 88,000 children. These youngsters gave it a 16/20 rating, and what was most unusual in Ecuador, the television station and Arcandina received approximately 8,400 requests over a 6 months period from children calling in about the episodes, and wanting more information about environmental issues.


But in 2000, Teleamazonas abruptly decided to drop Arcandina, despite its obvious success with its primary audience. According to one source, an Ecuadorian journalist, "Arcandina is no longer transmitted in this country because the values associated with environmental conservation are not considered to be commercially profitable". Today, Ecuadorian television for children is non-existent outside violent cartoons. Parents across the country vilify the medium but have not moved to change the situation. Ironically, while Teleamazonas let Arcandina fall through the cracks in 2000, Telemundo, a Latin American television production and distribution company, picked Arcandina as the one high quality children's program it wanted to buy for wide distribution in the Americas. Thus, while the Arcandina show stopped being aired in Ecuador, its programs have continued to be popular in several Latin American countries. It is the first Ecuadorian program that has been broadcast daily for more than two years in the United States and Puerto Rico.  I have provided just two current examples from Latin America but the experiences of social entrepreneurs everywhere from Eastern Europe, Asia, and Africa to the Western Pacific are not dissimilar. Government and business representatives attending Johannesburg, and their counterparts elsewhere, might well reflect long and hard on how they might better support social entrepreneurial efforts like those of the Maria Elena Ordoezes and Javier Hurtados of the world, who work at the "bleeding edge" of the market for sustainable development. Experience in the 10 years since Rio makes abundantly clear to those on the ground the futility of focusing on macro and geopolitical issues and consensus building, while neglecting the home-grown realities in oneís own backyard that constrain citizen's efforts to offer viable alternatives to unsustainable development.




The Earth Times

21 July 2002


Mark Malloch Brown is Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme

At the end of August, global leaders will come together in Johannesburg for the World Summit on Sustainable Development, marking the 10th anniversary of the Rio Earth Summit.

That historic event in Rio de Janeiro a decade ago set out a clear and farsighted vision to protect and preserve our environment while ensuring that future development is sustainable.  The Millennium Summit two years ago, gave us shared, timebound set of targets in the form of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), with the overarching aim of halving extreme poverty by 2015.

And the Monterrey Conference on Financing for Development earlier this year set out a path for achieving both sets of goals: through a new Global Deal by which rich countries provide the trade opportunities, aid, technology transfer and other support to poor countries that have the commitment to undertake serious political and economic reform aimed at achieving those Goals.


Now, in Johannesburg, we have an opportunity to build on this strong foundation, and map out practical plans of action that both close the ìimplementation gapî that opened up after Rio and lay a strong foundation for global and national efforts to meet the MDGs over the next 13 years.  What we need are concrete plans that will help developing countries make progress in all these areas. And a key focus for those plans must be not simply about providing access for developing countries -- to markets, or technology or even wealth -- but about building strong, democratic institutions at all levels of society.

Because we know -- as will be spelled out in UNDP's Human Development Report 2002 -- that tackling poverty and the other deprivations from disease to environmental degradation that both contribute to and exacerbate the plight of the poor; that poverty is at root a question of building and providing access to sound, transparent, accountable institutions capable of protecting the environment while delivering services from clean water to basic health care to justice to economic opportunity to the poor.

That is why capacity development is at the core of UNDP's ongoing reforms -- and why it is so central to broader UN efforts to help meet the Secretary-General's five priority areas for Johannesburg -- Water, Energy, Health, Agriculture and Biodiversity -- all of which will help contribute to the achievement of the MDGs.

Because as a global community we now better understand sustainable development. We recognize "subsidiarity" and the promise of participation at the local level. We recognize the power of an enabled civil society, which both stands guard against inequity and finds innovative solutions. We recognize the power of women as key catalysts of change. We appreciate that the private sector is strategically placed to help make the critical shifts towards sustainable consumption and production. And we all agree that we need comprehensive and far-reaching action and results.


There is a lot of work to be done. In March, UNDP released a new report on the MDGs entitled "How Many Countries Are On Track?"  The good news is that for universal primary education and gender equity in education, many developing countries have already achieved the goals or are on track to do so. Because of the importance of education to so many areas of development, this situation strengthens the possibilities for progress towards the other goals. Furthermore, over 60 percent of the world's people live in 43 countries that have met or are on track to meet the goal of halving the number of people who are hungry.

The bad news is that in other areas more than half the countries for which data are available will not achieve the goals without significant acceleration in progress. Many of these are least developed countries in sub-Saharan Africa. While 50 countries have achieved or are on track to achieve the safe water goal, 83 countries with 70 percent of the worldís people are behind. With regard to income poverty, more than 40 percent of the worldís people live in countries that are on track to meet the goal.

The situation is perhaps most serious for under-five mortality. While 66 countries are on track to meet the goal, 83 countries with around 60 per cent of the worldís people are lagging behind -- in 10 countries; under-five mortality rates are actually increasing.


One of the most startling conclusions is the fact that not all the goals can even be monitored since there are insufficient data to assess the reduction of poverty and maternal mortality or the incidence of HIV/AIDS. There is clearly an urgent need for improved statistics on even these most basic aspects of development.

UNDP, working through the UN Development Group, is now helping to map out a broader UN strategy around the MDGs that ranges from incorporating them into the UN's country level operational work and planning instruments, to supporting new research and advocacy campaigns around the MDGs, to the preparation of new country level MDG Reports that will measure progress in every developing country. The first nine of these are complete with 40 currently underway and every developing country due to have completed its first by 2004.  But real progress will depend on building new partnerships for action that can use this work as a platform to move forward.  Partnerships improve transparency and foster innovation. They allow a more comprehensive analysis of issues than any one stakeholder group can achieve. They allow markets and business to deliver on public goods. They help leverage additional resources. And perhaps most importantly, they offer new forms of governance that recognizes the comparative advantage of governmental, inter-governmental and non-governmental partners.

For sustainable development, we need to focus in particular on creating more effective partnerships with the poor to empower them to implement their own solutions to key national and global development challenges. Some of the most effective partnerships of this kind bring small non-government organizations and community-based organizations to work closely with multilaterals and multinational businesses.  For the past 10 years, for example, UNDP's Capacity 21 programme has been helping countries build these kinds of multi-sectoral partnerships in over 80 countries and in Johannesburg it will be relaunched and expanded to focus more on the MDGs and the deadline of 2015 for achieving our overarching aims.


Developing countries are not waiting for help. Initiatives like the New African Partnership for Development show how governments are taking responsibility for their own challenges and addressing the needs of their citizens directly. But there can be no escaping the need for greater commitments through trade opportunities, technology transfer and development assistance. And this assistance is clearly an investment� both in terms of direct benefits to the millions who will live longer, healthier and more productive lives as a result, and also in promoting global human and ecological security.


We must also increase our efforts to empower women. Gender equality as it relates to education is a Millennium Development Goal but we all recognize that the issue pervades all our overarching objectives. In the words of the Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, "What begins as the neglect of interests of women ends in causing adversity for the health and survival of all."


Finally, since the poor suffer most from the degradation of their land, air, water and biological resources, achieving the MDGs requires attention to links with the environment and energy. This is clear with regard to the first goal of reducing income poverty by half by 2015 since most of the rural poor depend directly on the environment and natural resources for their livelihood -- and are in need of greatly enhanced energy services to pull themselves out of poverty.

To achieve the maternal and child mortality goals we must find ways to prevent the estimated 3.4 million deaths of children each year due to inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene -- and the more than two million additional deaths due to indoor air pollution. Similarly, since rural women play a key role in managing their natural resources such as food, water and fuelwood, and are disproportionately impacted by the degradation of those resources, achievement of the gender equality goal will also depend on improvements in environmental management.  And the energy sector offers especially promising potential. Measures that promote renewable energy and increase energy efficiency will simultaneously support multiple development objectives, including job creation and poverty reduction, while also protecting the environment and helping to mitigate climate change.

There is much to do. In Rio ten years ago, the wall between environment and development came down, but we have not yet been able to take the next step of integrating those priorities into concrete plans of action that deliver results where they are most needed: for the very poorest. By re-igniting that global commitment in Johannesburg and launching powerful new partnerships aimed at delivery rather than rhetoric, the World Summit offers a unique opportunity to launch a new, coordinated global effort towards sustainable development and the achievement of the MDGs.



76. FEATURE - URBAN JUNGLES TO TEST UN RESOLVE AT SUMMIT � Reuters via Planet Ark 1 August 2002



79. FEATURE - IS A "SIXTH" EXTINCTION LOOMING? - Reuters via Planet Ark 23 July 2002

80. EARTH SUMMIT FAILURE COULD IMPERIL TRADE TALKS - EU � Reuters via Planet Ark 23 July 2002
81. EU TO STRIVE TO MAKE EARTH SUMMIT A SUCCESS � Reuters via Planet Ark 23 July 2002









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