WSSD Info. News


5-16 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 ninth 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. EARTH SUMMIT TO SPUR UKRAINE TO ACTION (The Moscow Times 16 August 2002)



  4. JAPAN PM SET TO ANNOUNCE AFRICA AID PACKAGE (The Namibian 16 August 2002)


  6. 'WE'LL TAKE SANDTON' (Mail & Guardian 16 August 2002)

  7. PM TO MAKE SPEECH AT SUMMIT (Daily Star 16 August 2002)

  8. GREENS DON'T NEED THE US (The Guardian 16 August 2002)


  10. ESKIMOS DYING TO GET TO SOUTH AFRICA (Independent Online 15 August 2002)

  11. BUSH UNLIKELY TO ATTEND EARTH SUMMIT (The Guardian 15 August 2002)



  14. SOMBRE OUTLOOK FOR JO'BURG SUMMIT (Mail & Guardian 15 August 2002)







  21. FLIGHTS OF FANCY (The Guardian 14 August 2002)

  22. EARTH SUMMIT DUBBED THE BIGGEST TALK SHOP EVER (The Nation (Nairobi) via All Africa 14 August 2002)


  24. GREENPEACE HOPEFUL OF SUMMIT'S SUCCESS (Business Day 14 August 2002)




  28. RICH 'WILL HELP THE POOR' - UN (BBC 13 August 2002)


  30. PLANET EARTH IN PERIL (Associated Press 13 August 2002)





  35. COMPANIES RICHER THAN COUNTRIES IN UN LIST (The Scotsman 13 August 2002)


  37. WORLD SUMMIT TAKES SHAPE IN JOHANNESBURG (Environment News Service 13 August 2002)



  40. WORLD SUMMIT MAY FACE ELECTRONIC ATTACKS (Business Day 13 August 2002)





  45. WORLD LEADERS AIM HIGH AT EARTH SUMMIT (Xinhua News Agency 12 August 2002)






  51. BUSH SET TO SKIP EARTH SUMMIT (Reuters 12 August 2002)

  52. EARTH SUMMIT MUST NOT FAIL - UN'S TOEPFER (Planet Ark 12 August 2002)


  54. LAND REFORM TO TAKE CENTRE-STAGE AT SUMMIT (The Herald (Harare) via All Africa 12 August 2002)

  55. ASIAN BROWN CLOUD' MENACES THE WORLD (International Herald Tribune 12 August 2002)


  57. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT STILL TOPS WORLD AGENDA (The East African Standard (Nairobi) via All Africa 12 August 2002)

  58. TOP BOSSES 'HIJACKING' ECO-SUMMIT (The Observer 11 August 2002)


  60. IN DISARRAY BEFORE IT HAS EVEN BEGUN (Independent 11 August 2002)

  61. INDIA LOOKING FORWARD TO JOHANNESBURG SUMMIT (Xinhua News Agency 11 August 2002)


  63. NIA SPOOKS GRILL SUMMIT PROTESTERS (Sunday Independent 11 August 2002)


  65. NHEMA MUM ON ZIM'S WSSD AGENDA (Zimbabwe Independent 10 August 2002)






  71. HUMANITY LOSES $250 BILLION A YEAR IN WILD HABITAT (Environment News Service 9 August 2002)


  73. HIGH HOPES FOR AGREEMENT AT WORLD SUMMIT (Daily Dispatch 9 August 2002)






  79. SUMMIT MUST YIELD TIME FRAME FOR GOALS (Business Day 8 August 2002)


  81. UN GATHERING IN JO'BURG ACID TEST OF WILL TO REFORM (Business Day via All Africa 8 August 2002)

  82. NEARLY 100 FINNS TO TAKE PART IN THE JOHANNESBURG SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT SUMMIT (Helsingin Sanomat International Edition 8 August 2002)






  88. NATIONS PLEDGE ENVIRONMENT FUNDS (Associated Press 7 August 2002)

  89. RUSSIAN PREMIER TO HEAD TEAM AT TALKS (Business Day 6 August 2002)

  90. SUMMIT WILL BOOST TRADE TALKS' (Business Day 5 August 2002)





  1. FREEDOM MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE A TASK FOR JOHANNESBURG by Amartya Sen (International Herald Tribune 15 August 2002)

  2. SEASONED THOUGHTS OF THE GREEN KING (The Guardian 15 August 2002)

  3. HOW TO SAVE THE WORLD IN JOHANNESBURG by Jeffrey Sachs (Financial Times 14 August 2002)

  4. THE EXPANDING REACH OF NONGOVERNMENT AID Barry James (International Herald Tribune 14 August 2002)

  5. ON THE ENVIRONMENT, IT ISN'T ALL BAD NEWS by Mohamed T. El-Ashy (International Herald Tribune 13 August 2002)


   100. CHALLENGES OF DEVELOPMENT Learning to manage urban sprawl (International Herald Tribune 12 August 2002)





The Moscow Times

16 August 2002


KIEV -- Chernobyl, rusting industrial relics of the Soviet era, heavy pollution and mountains of waste -- Ukraine has one of the world's bleakest environmental landscapes.  But Environment Minister Serhiy Kurykin said Thursday he hoped the Johannesburg Earth Summit later this month would bring changes by helping Ukraine fight widespread public indifference toward environmental issues.  "Ecological problems in Ukraine are very serious. We inherited from the Soviet Union piles of industrial waste and ecologically dangerous companies. We also inherited a negligent attitude toward nature," Kurykin said.  "But I hope the summit will give a powerful boost for a better understanding of ecological problems at the national level and more active practical steps. Currently, Ukraine is doing less than it could and must do."  President Leonid Kuchma plans to attend the United Nations summit on the environment and development.  One of the worst problems is radioactive contamination after the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power station in 1986, the world's worst civil nuclear accident.  Ukraine closed the Chernobyl plant in December 2000. But the surrounding land remains contaminated, Kurykin said.  Ukraine's government announced Thursday that it will increase funding by more than $80 million annually over the next three years to alleviate the human consequences of Chernobyl, The Associated Press reported.  Total funding for the program is expected to reach $657 million by 2006, up from $400 million, the level reached this year, said Vasyl Lutsko, state secretary of the Emergency Situations Ministry, AP reported citing Interfax. Kurykin said the country had made some progress in tackling the issues of air pollution and safely securing dumps of chemicals across the country. But a lot remains to be done as the country's environmental problems rarely receive proper funding.  "Ecological problems are not local, they are global. We should coordinate efforts and I hope for a positive outcome from the summit and a massive impulse for action in Ukraine and other countries," Kurykin said.




16 August 2002


The environmental group, Friends of the Earth, today called on world leaders meeting at the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development, in Johannesburg, to introduce global rules for business. "Some corporations continue to abuse the rights of people, destroy the livelihoods of communities, and pollute water and forest resources for future generations," according to a report released by Friends of the Earth. In the report, the environmental group mentions the mining giant, Rio Tinto that is prospecting for gold in the Poboya protected forest in Indonesia, despite opposition from local people. South Africa's chemical company Sasol has also come under fire. "Sasol has been influential in pushing for voluntary environmental agreements, rather than legally enforceable standards that the local community could use to hold them liable." Friends of the Earth said the call for global rules had so-far been met with "little enthusiasm" from Western governments. It had received the backing of many developing countries, though, the organisation said. "The evidence in this report highlights the real damage companies are doing to people and to our environment," Tony Juniper, the vice-chairperson of Friends of the Earth International said.  "Despite big companies' green public relations efforts, it illustrates how, for many companies, sustainable development means business as usual. "Without global rules to check this behaviour, the environment is not going to figure on the corporate bottom line and it would be naive to expect otherwise."- Sapa



The Jordan Times

16 August 2002


AMMAN - Twenty-six Arab and foreign experts are here for a leadership course in exchanging views on development issues ahead of the upcoming World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg.  Those taking part are expected to define and comprehend the challenges facing leadership in order to gain a better understanding of the obstacles to be presented at the Johannesburg conference, said Eve Thompson, director of the United Nations University Leadership Academy, which organised the event.  The development workers began sessions Aug. 14 and will travel to Johannesburg for the WSSD conference from Aug. 28-Sept. 4.  Those participating in the conference here come from 22 countries including Canada, Oman, Germany, Spain and India.  Nidal Hussein, an environmental director in Zarqa Municipality and a Jordanian participant, said he is meeting "experts from different countries and exchanging experiences on environmental issues. Later we get the chance to see the real thing in Johannesburg," he told The Jordan Times.  A follow up to the 1992 Rio "Earth Summit" and subsequent international summits, the Johannesburg gathering will call upon countries to implement the comprehensive plan for sustainable development of Agenda 21, a resolution adopted at the Rio summit.  Each country is expected to present the South African summit a national plan of its sustainable development achievements over the past 10 years, including the challenges the implementation process faces and future goals.  According to Elizabeth Dowdswell, the former executive director of the UN Environment Programme, who directed the first session, many experts are refraining from taking part in the WSSD, believing it would be a "marathon of talking" with 60,000 people participating.  "We, however, cannot risk not to go. It will be a chance to hear each country's success story case by case so we can build on them and make a change in our own countries," she said.  "The Johannesburg summit should call for the implementation of existing plans, rather than coming up with new policies," said another participant, Zeenat Adam, a Middle East specialist from South Africa working as foreign service officer in the department of foreign affairs.  Sessions began on Wednesday, and the academy hopes participants will "learn about leadership directly from leaders."  In a country like Jordan where natural resources are scarce, humans are the only assets, said Minister of Higher Education & Scientific Research Walid Maani.  Briefing the participants on the education sector in the Kingdom, Maani said local university programmes have adopted international standards and the flavour of a multiethnic society to them.  "We try to bring people together," said Maani, referring to a 15 per cent rate of non-Jordanians at private and public universities.



The Namibian

16 August 2002


TOKYO, Aug 16 (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is set to pledge fresh aid to southern Africa in response to urgent United Nations warnings that a humanitarian crisis is looming in the region due to chronic food shortages.  Japan's Yomiuri newspaper said on Friday that Koizumi would announce $30 million in emergency food aid at the U.N.'s "Earth Summit" in Johannesburg opening on August 26.  An official on the Foreign Ministry's Africa desk said the content of the package had yet to be decided.  "We're still looking at exactly how the contribution will be made and whether food aid will be included. I think there will be an announcement before the prime minister goes to Johannesburg," he said.  About 100 heads of state are expected to attend the U.N. World Summit on Sustainable Development from August 26 to September 4, along with some 40,000 delegates and media representatives.  A severe food crisis threatens 13 million people in the six countries in the region -- with Malawi and Zimbabwe the worst hit. The U.N. has appealed for a million tonnes of food.  Japan is the world's second-biggest aid donor after the United States, but the budget has been shrinking under pressure from its ailing economy. Nampa-Reuters




16 August 2002


LONDON - Jane Fonda, the actress, was there. So was Pele, the footballer. A relatively obscure U.S. senator called Al Gore swung into town and looked impressed at a symbolic "Tree of Life."  John Denver sang for a spiritual parliament. Hollywood star Shirley MacLaine meditated with the Dalai Lama. Amazon Indians, Greenpeace activists, and the Beach Boys rubbed shoulders near the legendary Copacabana Beach.  Ten years ago, the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro teemed with politicians, celebrities, and environmentalists as the United Nations hosted what was at the time its largest meeting, the Conference on Environment and Development, better known as the Earth Summit.  One hundred and eight heads of state and government, supported by delegations from 172 countries, made speeches and negotiated in a conference center out of town on treaties to save the world. Buzzwords like sustainable development, chlorofluorocarbons, biodiversity, and NGO bounced around the halls, where an army of journalists tried to make sense of them. The NGOs, or nongovernmental organizations, lobbied in their hundreds, adding to the blizzard of position papers, speeches, and statements.  Some miles away, on the Rio beachfront, thousands of Green activists gathered at an environmental fair, a rainbow of posters and T-shirts that was part '60s hippie love-in and part anti- globalization rally. In the shadow of Corcovado's towering figure of Christ the Redeemer and Sugar Loaf's massive outcrop, activists demanded protection for rain forests and endangered species, an end to fossil fuels and the nuclear industry, and the general scaling back of the ravages of capitalism.  One U.S. official described the whole event as "a circus." It was not meant as a compliment.


Ten years on, and the Earth Summit - this time called the World Summit on Sustainable Development - moves to South Africa, where it will open in Johannesburg on Aug. 26.  The issues will be water and sanitation, energy, agricultural productivity and food security, biodiversity and ecosystem management, and health. All will be wrapped under the rubric of sustainable development - or, roughly, how to manage global economic growth without environmental loss.  A decade ago, the leaders also had far-reaching plans. They agreed to treaties to combat climate change and to protect plants and animals, the rich said they would help the poor develop, and they all adopted a huge blueprint to guide themselves through it.  But there are few today who would argue that the promises of Rio have been met. "There was really quite a buzz at Rio," said Tony Carritt, who attended the summit as a reporter and is now media relations manager for the European Environment Agency in Copenhagen. "There was a feeling that things would actually happen. Then as soon as Rio was over the momentum went out of it."  Most, if not all, of the major issues facing the Earth Summit - pollution, environmental destruction, poverty - are still around. Indeed, many of the clashes between competing interests that dominated Rio are expected to be on display once again. The U.S. official's comments about a "circus" in 1992, for example, reflected Washington's dismay at hearing a drumbeat of demands that the rich West share its wealth with the poor and adopt policies that it did not necessarily see as being in its interests.  Then-President George Bush refused to sign the Earth Summit's biodiversity treaty, fearing it would hurt U.S. pharmaceutical interests, and generally found himself cast in the role of Rio party-pooper. A decade later, his son, President George W. Bush, may not even attend and has been lambasted for pulling out of the Kyoto agreement, a follow-on pact from Rio's treaty on climate change.


Veterans of Rio say, however, that the Earth Summit did have one huge effect: It put many issues that only environmentalists seemed to care about on the world agenda.  "Rio changed a lot in terms of attitude," said Nitin Desai, U.N. undersecretary general, who is organizing the Johannesburg summit. "Today one does not have to argue the case for integrating environment and development."  The issue of sharing the wealth between developing and developed countries - a key dispute at Rio - has come to dominate most global summits and international negotiations. It was most clearly on display last year in Qatar, when the World Trade Organization met to negotiate the launch of a new trade round.  "Rio was in some senses a 'first one,'" said Desai, who expects tens of thousands of nongovernmental activists to show up in South Africa to fight their causes on the sidelines of the official meeting. "One of the things that has changed is that summits are not seen just as summits of government, but of stakeholders," he said.  Global warming, the ozone layer, rain forest destruction, the spread of deserts, and the effect of poverty on the environment are all now common subject for debate, 10 years after Rio. "A lot of things that were considered screamer environmentalist are now accepted as part of the economic reality," said Abby Spring, who was press officer for the U.S. arm of the World Wide Fund for Nature at the Earth Summit.  It was not always so. Spring recalled the reaction before Rio when she tried to get journalists interested in the now widely accepted concept that pollution was changing the climate. "Reporters would hang up on you and think it was a joke," she said.



Mail & Guardian

16 August 2002


The anti-globalisation lobby fired the first public salvo in its war on the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) at a series of demonstrations on Thursday -- and warned it was mobilising for a frontal assault. Hundreds of township activists converged on Johannesburg's Jeppe Regional Court to support comrades charged with public violence in April at the home of the city's mayor, Amos Masondo. Solidarity protests were organised in London, New York, Washington DC, Toronto and Paris.  While the catalyst in Johannesburg was the trial of the "Kensington 87", the rhetoric was anti-summit.  "The WSSD is a gathering of the rich and powerful; it is a gathering of the hypocrites; it is a gathering of the exploiters... We'll take Sandton," one protest leader, Trevor Ngwane, said. Sandton is the main venue for the WSSD, starting August 26. Thursday's events indicate South Africa can expect the same vocal, and sometimes violent, protest that has accompanied major global gatherings since the 1999 Seattle summit of the World Trade Organisation. Ngwane, a former city councillor expelled from the African National Congress for his anti-privatisation stance, and 86 more Soweto residents were arrested in April when they marched on Masondo's home in Kensington, Johannesburg, demanding an end to electricity and water cut-offs. That protest, led by the Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee that is chaired by Ngwane, turned violent as Masondo's bodyguard fired into the crowd, reportedly wounding three. The trial, due to have started on Thursday, was postponed to October 23 after the defence argued it had received the prosecution docket too late to

prepare. But outside the court building up to 500 protestors under banners of, among others, the Anti-Privatisation Forum and Ngwane's crisis committee, faced lines of police armed with shotguns and shields. There were no violent incidents. Both organisations belong to a loose alliance of South African groups that mobilise around issues such as access to water, electricity and land, as well as environmental activists. They see their often-localised protests as part of a larger struggle against the ills of globalisation. Anti-globalisation groups tend to blame multinational corporations, with the governments of the industrialised West and agencies such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organisation, for problems that beset both the world's poor and the environment. The Sunday Independent reported at the weekend that the National Intelligence Agency was "particularly concerned about the plans of" the Landless People's Movement and had been questioning its leaders. The

Landless People's Movement is part of the same alliance.  All these groups are planning to march on Sandton on August 31, and are also organising what they have called a "festival of resistance to visiting heads of state" on September 2.

Ngwane told protestors: "We want it to be the biggest march in South Africa under the new regime ... since Thabo Mbeki took over."

A number of speakers attacked Mbeki and his government for policies including the privatisation of basic services and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad). Ngwane said while the WSSD ostensibly promised to alleviate poverty through sustainable development, "the very same country that is hosting it is evicting people from houses, cutting electricity. In fact they're doing exactly the opposite." Dennis Brutus, a veteran anti-apartheid campaigner and political prisoner now prominent in the international anti-globalisation movement, called the WSSD "a summit designed to increase hunger [and] hardship".

At the time of going to press the outcome of the protests abroad, which were to be convened outside South African embassies and consulates late on Thursday, was not known. A London organisation helping to organise these protests, Globalise

Resistance, said on its website: "Disconnections, evictions and the seizure of property, often carried out at gunpoint, are being spontaneously resisted all over [South Africa]. As resistance becomes progressively more organised with strong local, national and international networks forming ... more repression is anticipated." Meanwhile groups not necessarily part of the anti-globalisation lobby but with radical agendas of their own are also converging on Johannesburg. Environmental activist group Greenpeace has set up an office in Sandton and is considering its options for protest.

Greenpeace has expressed serious reservations about the summit agenda. "The failure to include concrete targets and timetables for action on sustainable development defeats the entire purpose of the Summit," Greenpeace political director Remi Parmentier said in an earlier statement. This week Greenpeace spokesperson Sara Holden would not be drawn on protest plans, reportedly saying: "I would like to give you some idea of what we have planned but I will not do so." The police, assisted by the defence force, metro police and, according to an earlier police statement, "other relevant security agencies", are preparing to counter any attempt at disruption. The police statement said: "Our information gathering is intelligence-driven and we are geared to deal with any crisis should one arise ... Stop and search operations as well as roadblocks are determined by tactical intelligence daily. The vacation leave of South African Police Service members has been cancelled for the period of the summit."

In addition, a no-go zone will be demarcated around the summit venue in Sandton. The statement says only approved marches will be allowed, and only along a pre-determined 1,8km route. "The police are present to ensure the safety of demonstrators, citizens and property. Should an illegal gathering or march take place, the security forces will take the necessary action."



Daily Star

16 August 2002


Prime Minister Rafik Hariri is to deliver an address on behalf of Lebanon during the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development, which is due to open in Johannesburg on Aug. 26. Hariri, whose address has been set for Sept. 2, is expected to speak about the impact of consumption and production trends on poverty, natural resources, agriculture, globalization, governance, health, education and the environment. An informed source called for not underestimating the importance of the nine-day meet, which has been dubbed the "Earth Summit" and is expected to be attended by most of the heads of the 189 member states of the United Nations. This summit, which is held once every ten years, was held the last time in Rio de Janeiro. Kesrouan MP Fares Boueiz, who was then serving as foreign minister, represented Lebanon at the 1992 meeting. A political source said that although many of the issues to be discussed at the summit were not political in nature, their implications are. Lebanon's attendance comes as it is hoping to benefit from financial assistance from the world's industrialized countries. The source said that Hariri is expected to make the most out of his trip by holding talks with several heads of state, including French President Jacques Chirac on the likelihood of holding the "Paris II" conference of donor states willing to help Lebanon overcome financial strife.



The Guardian

16 August 2002


There is no pleasing some people. The organisers of the Johannesburg summit on the environment bent over backwards to persuade George Bush to accept their invitation. As the most accommodating hosts, they even changed the date to suit him, bringing it forward to avoid a clash with the anniversary of September 11. But still it was not enough.  Yesterday came the clearest signal yet that the US president, leader of the world's sole superpower and the planet's greatest single polluter, will snub the UN and the 65,000 delegates to this month's world summit on sustainable development by failing to show up. He received congratulations on that from a clutch of US arch-conservatives, praising him for having the good sense to stay away. It is not official yet, but it seems Colin Powell will go in his place - confirmation, if it were needed, of the secretary of state's status as the human figleaf of the Bush administration, dispatched whenever Washington needs to put on its moderate, inclusive or "listening" face.  It all amounts to a clearer two-fingered salute than even the first Bush administration managed. Ten years ago Bush Sr dithered and delayed before finally showing up at the earth summit for a few hours. But now Bush Jr has decided to listen to those rightists who believed his dad made a mistake by flying down to Rio, giving in to the long-haired, granola-munching whiners of the environmental lobby. "Why would you want to go to a party when they want to throw pies at you?" asked Fred L Smith Jr of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, first to praise the prez. "The fortunate thing is, when 40,000 goofies get together not much happens."

That may be a crude summary of US attitudes but, coupled with the presidential absence, it suggests Johannesburg will provide the biggest demonstration yet of the new American disregard for the rest of the world. The summit will give eloquent expression to the Bush doctrine of go-it-alone unilateralism, in which America pursues its own interests first - with an avowed aversion to any multilateral efforts to make the world a better place.  There has been other evidence, such as Washington's refusal to sign up for the international criminal court. But just as Bush's tear-up of the Kyoto protocol shocked the world into realising the depth of the new administration's contempt for multilateralism, so the Johannesburg stayaway will reveal again the unilateralist heart of Republican thinking, confirming the coalition-building that followed September 11 was the exception, not the rule.

This poses a great danger for those who want to see results from South Africa. At a presummit meeting last month, European diplomats spoke openly of their fears that the US was bent on undermining the global get-together, replacing binding targets and timetables with mere "voluntary initiatives". Washington has also sought to have trade, aid and debt relief taken off the Johannesburg agenda - which would not leave much to talk about.  The summiteers are left wondering how they can hope to achieve anything if the world's sole superpower is at best barely engaged and, at worst, outright hostile? And this poses a wider challenge: for what can the nations of the world do in any sphere if the US refuses to play the international game?  They could try to battle on regardless, as they did at Bonn last year when they renewed the Kyoto protocol despite the US boycott. That is what influential US economist Jeffrey Sachs advocates. Ignore "Washington's arrogant disregard", he says.  But that kind of effort takes leadership. Most environmentalists can see only one candidate: the European Union. "This is as much a test of the EU as it is about America," says Kevin Watkins, senior policy adviser at Oxfam. "Is the EU capable of showing leadership?"  The US has left a vacuum and the EU alone has the capacity to fill it. Put together, EU nations have far greater voting strength on the World Bank and the IMF than the US (and more than Africa, Latin America and South Asia combined). It has the muscle if it wants to use it.  But so far Europe has not dared act as a coherent power bloc. And nor, says Watkins, has it set an example. With the honourable exception of Britain, the leading EU states have cut, not increased, their aid to poor countries and have not made good on their promise to help fund education in the poorest nations.  So the easy posture later this month will be to denounce the Americans for staying away from Johannesburg. A better move might be to ask whether the Europeans did enough while they were there.



The Namibian

15 August 2002


CAPE TOWN, Aug 15 (AFP) - Half the countries facing famine in southern Africa are stalling food aid from the United States fearing that genetically modified (GM) maize may cause health problems and harm their exports, but the United Nations is warning they are putting the hungry at greater risk. Judith Lewis, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) director for southern and eastern Africa, said Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe had raised concerns about receiving shipments of yellow corn, which forms the bulk of aid supplies sent by the United States.  The loudest protests have come from Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, who was quoted on international television as saying: "It is necessary to examine the maize before we give it to our people... we will rather starve than get something toxic."  Lewis said that most of the seven countries threatened with famine -- Angola, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe -- had in recent years received US-grown corn to make up for food shortfalls but that the safety objections surfaced only recently.  "The debate has suddenly cropped up. The countries are asking whether there is a health risk, and they also fear that the maize could be planted and cause cross pollination of their crops or influence meat if it is eaten by their livestock," she told Nampa-AFP from Johannesburg.

At a meeting on Monday, Zambian Agriculture Minister Mundia Sikatana accused international donors of having deceived the country for years.  He gave no indication of whether the government would accept a shipment of 23,500 tonnes of relief corn from the United States which Lusaka-based US officials said was due to arrive at the end of August.  Zimbabwe, which is home to half the region's people threatened with famine and has seen its food production plummet because of President Robert Mugabe's turbulent land reform programme, in May failed to accept a consigment of relief corn from the US and the grain was sent elsewhere, Lewis said.  A second shipment of 15,500 tonnes of US corn arrived in the South African port of Durban at the beginning of August but has not been sent on to Zimbabwe as, WFP officials say, "it is not a done deal".  "We received an import permit but the grain is still sitting in Durban, in a silo. Why? We do not know for sure," South Africa's registrar for genetically modified produce, Shadrack Moephuli told Nampa-AFP on Tuesday.  Lewis said Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Zambia had asked whether grain would be milled to prevent it from sprouting in the soil, or transferred in sealed containers, and whether the agency would mount a "vigorous campaign" warning recipients not to plant the grain.  Swaziland, Lesotho and Malawi have accepted GM shipments without any conditions.  The United States, which is expected to supply half of the million tonnes of food the WFP has called for and has so far sent 165,000 tonnes of corn, refuses to mill the grain, and the WFP says it does not have the cash to do it.  The UN World Health Organisation has certified the US corn as safe.

Jason Lott, a research fellow at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, said milling would shorten the shelf life of maize and prevent it being stored for coming months, when the real famine is expected to hit.  "This is a mixture of ignorance and malice on behalf of African leaders. The grain is safe but they are shifting the political agenda from the problems they have created to problems pushed on them by the UN and the US. Zimbabwe won't blame the famine on the farm crisis," Lott said.  A European Commission official in Brussels told Nampa-AFP the concerns were groundless as any crop contamination that could occur from the relief supplies was likely to be too small to matter.  "Unless you grow a GM crop it is highly unlikely that traces of GM would be significant. And the EU has no requirement on labelling livestock fed on GM feed," he said.  Lewis said the WFP hoped that South African President Thabo Mbeki, who will host the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development this month, would "play a mediating role" in resolving the matter.  "The dilemma is that we have food available and people who need it. We have to resolve this and get the food to the people," she said.  The agency has termed the threat of starvation in southern Africa the world's worst humanitarian crisis at the moment, saying seven million people need emergency food now, with that figure expected to rise to around 13 million by the end of the year.



Independent Online

15 August 2002


Montreal - Arctic Inuit will lobby nations at the Johannesburg Earth Summit to ratify the Stockholm Convention to eliminate the "dirty dozen" pollutants that are poisoning many of them, their leaders said Wednesday. The general assembly of the Inuit from around the Arctic - Russia, Canada, Greenland and Alaska - met in Kuujjuaq, Quebec to discuss the effects of these pollutants on their health. The Inuit are especially endangered by these chemicals, which do not break down as quickly in the cold temperatures and poison the marine mammals they eat. The Inuit are concerned about the small number of signatory nations to the Stockholm Convention, and one of their representatives, Canadian Sheila Watt-Cloutier, will make the case for the Inuit at the Earth Summit.

The Inuit praised Canada, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Iceland for signing the convention. Global climate change is another matter of great concern since reports of several communities confirm scientific studies that the permafrost is beginning to thaw.

The dozen Persistent Organic Pollutants contaminate air, ground, rivers and seas, transported by atmospheric and ocean currents.

They then are introduced into the food chain and can cause cancer in both humans and animals, as well as anomalies in reproductive organs and damage to nervous and immune systems. The highest concentrations of these substances have been discovered in the mother's milk of Inuits, scientists have found. - Sapa-AFP



The Guardian

15 August 2002


WASHINGTON (AP) - Conservative activists are praising President Bush's apparent decision to send Secretary of State Colin Powell to a U.N. conference on global ecology rather than attending the once-a-decade summit himself as his father did in 1992.

With the summit little more than two weeks away, there are no plans for Bush to go the conference, which conservatives have taken as a sign he will not attend.  ``We applaud your decision not to attend the summit in person,'' said an Aug. 2 letter to Bush from Fred L. Smith Jr., president of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and 30 other conservative activists who support Bush.

The letter warns of likely widespread anti-U.S. sentiment among the participants at the World Summit on Sustainable Development being held Aug. 26 through Sept. 4 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Other signers include Paul M. Weyrich of Coalitions for America, Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform and David A. Keene of the American Conservative Union.  ``Your presence would only help to publicize and make more credible their various anti-freedom, anti-people, anti-globalization and anti-Western agendas,'' they wrote Bush. ``We also strongly support your opposition to signing new international environmental treaties or creating new international environmental organizations at the Johannesburg summit.''  The White House has been silent so far about who will lead the U.S. delegation to the summit. Administration officials say an announcement will come soon, but Powell is expected to attend.  This is the fourth summit in four decades where world leaders and environmentalists have gathered to address the environmental costs of feeding, clothing and housing the Earth's growing population.

For environmentalists, the series of talks reached a height in 1992 at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, when Bush's father, George H.W. Bush, then the president, was among 110 world leaders who agreed to tackle problems in forestry, biodiversity and climate change.

The conservatives say those talks were a mistake for the elder Bush, one that his son is now wise to avoid.  ``Why would you go to a party when they want to throw pies at you?'' Smith said in an interview. ``The fortunate thing is when 40,000 goofies get together, not much happens.''  In 1972 at Stockholm and in 1982 at Nairobi, each of the U.S. delegations was led by the chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.  The current chairman, James Connaughton, has not said whether he will attend. More than 100 world leaders - either the head of state or a minister-level representative - have announced they will be at the summit.  Many among them share a deep concern about the state of the world's ecological systems, and some have said they also worry about a lack of leadership and lackluster U.S. support for global approaches.  Summit leaders say they will try to solidify commitments made over the past year to open markets to developing countries and increase financing to them. They also cite challenges such as 2 billion people living on $2 or less a day, more burning of fossil fuels blamed for climate change and damage to a quarter of the world's coral reefs.  Connaughton said whoever represents the United States will emphasize both the U.S. commitment to creating lasting partnerships and also the idea that each nation bears responsibility for its own development.  ``It doesn't mean they go it alone. But each nation has to take that task onto itself to look at sustainability,'' he said recently.  Some environmental leaders view this year's summit as a last, best chance to convert high hopes into deeds.  ``There is a real sense of urgency,'' U.N. Undersecretary-General Nitin Desai, who will chair the summit, told reporters this week. ``In many cases we are talking about slipping back.''  In the weeks leading up to the summit, Desai has campaigned to sow seeds of hope while also warning that disappointment will only confirm widespread pessimism about the world's ability to deal with what he says is a growing crisis.  ``We will be endangering all of the things we have achieved and we will not have another chance,'' he told summit leaders at the Brazilian Embassy in Washington earlier this month. ``There is no major global event planned beyond Johannesburg which allow us to retrieve lost ground. This is it.''  Gus Speth, dean of Yale University's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, said world leaders are running out of time because the world economy is projected to double in size every 25 years.  ``We have squandered more than 20 years on these global-scale issues and this period we're in is truly our last chance to get it right,'' Speth said.  The uncertainty about U.S. participation reflects deeper questions in the environmental community about Bush's approach to global challenges in the wake of his rejection last year of the Kyoto climate treaty.  ``People around the world are seriously concerned that the Bush administration is undermining the World Summit instead of working with other countries to benefit everyone,'' Sierra Club director Michael Dorsey said.



Bangkok Post

15 August 2002


Environmentalists from around Asia have urged the United Nations to press the world's major industrialised countries into ratifying the Kyoto Protocol at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, which will be held later this month in Johannesburg.

Gathering in New Delhi for a two-day seminar sponsored by the UN Environment Programme and the India-based Tata Energy Research Institute, the environmentalists criticised the world's largest producers of greenhouse gasses _ Australia, Austria, Canada, Russia and the United States _ for failing to cut emissions. ``A rise in natural disasters, such as flash floods and landslides in Nepal, has lead to scepticism about the role of industrialised countries in cutting greenhouse gas emissions, which cause climate change and global warming,'' said Yubaraj Ghimire, a journalist from Nepal. Indian Power Minister Suresh Prabhu said industrialised countries did not work hard enough toward tackling global warming. Mohan Munasinghe, an energy adviser to the government of Sri Lanka, said many developing countries had joined the Kyoto Protocol in good faith, adding it was unacceptable that heavy polluters were ignoring the issue. ``Developed countries must set a good example by taking responsibility for the pollution they create, he said. ``Developing countries will bear similar burdens in the future.'' Under the Kyoto Protocol, industrialised countries were required to reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions by 5.2% of 1990 levels. To carry any weight, the agreement required ratification from 55 countries, the emissions of which represented 55% of the world's total. The US and Russia, which account for 36% and 17.4% of global emissions respectively, refused to ratify the pact through fear it would halt industrial and economic growth. The National Environment Board agreed this month to ratify the protocol, which it adopted in 1997. However, environmentalists have urged cabinet to delay ratification, saying parliament should also be consulted as the agreement could have a nationwide impact. Mr Mohan said the United Nations should urgently address issues regarding climate change and conflicts over the Kyoto Protocol, saying several countries were being hampered in their moves toward sustainable development



Daily Star

15 August 2002


Arabs should show "immense" solidarity during the World Summit for Social Development  to face the challenge presented by powerful new fronts, an Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) official said Wednesday. Hosny Khordagui, ESCWA's regional advisor on the environment, was speaking after a media briefing at UN House in Beirut on preparatory activities for the summit, to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, from Aug. 26 to Sept. 4. "Arab countries should get together. They should be more supportive of each other in Johannesburg to face a new challenge, that of newly formed and strong blocs and coalitions," Khordagui told The Daily Star, in reference to alliances among mainly industrialized countries, with the European Union on one hand and the United States, Australia and Canada on the other. Khordagui, representatives of nongovernmental organizations and all other stakeholders profess to have a clear picture of events in the upcoming summit after attending the last preparatory meeting, which took place in June in Bali, where negotiations among 173 countries should have led to a final text.

But those attending in Bali witnessed a fierce power struggle among three main poles  the European Union, a group chaired by the United States and the Group of 77, which is an alliance of developing countries. Each coalition was negotiating in its own interest rather than trying to serve global concerns. The Bali negotiations almost collapsed due to disagreement among the three poles over major sustainable development issues such as climate change and replenishing funds for developing countries.

"Seventy-five percent of the text was produced in Bali and 25 percent was left for negotiations in Johannesburg, but this 25 percent comprises the most difficult and critical issues," Khordagui said. "We should not expect a bed of roses." According to Khordagui, the 13 Arab countries that belong to ESCWA need to be strong and unified to direct the attention of world leaders in Johannesburg to their priorities, which are mainly peace and security, scarcity of water and poverty. "It should be firmly stated that the lack of peace and security has hindered development in the region," he said. "Our reports show clearly that money intended for development went toward weapons purchasing. "And we should expect that industrialized countries will try to omit talking about peace and security by saying they are political issues with nothing to do with development." According to Khordagui, Arab countries should understand the need to establish regional partnerships or they will be left "on their own." Industrialized countries, he said, seem determined to change a course adopted at the Rio summit 10 years earlier consisting of forming international partnerships and dispersing assistance intended to achieve sustainable development, a compulsory matter. The new approach, which will most likely be adopted in Johannesburg, is a "type two partnership," which basically turns international cooperation and assistance into a voluntary exercise. "The West is pushing for type two partnerships, and this has the disadvantage of allowing countries to select, based on their own judgements, the states they want to work with," Khordagui said. "This has the danger of leaving several countries out of development." "From here stems the need for a regional strategy of sustainable development, the formulation of new mechanisms of cooperation and the strengthening of our own institutions." In preparation for the summit, also known as Rio+10, ESCWA produced 18 reports on sustainable development. ESCWA also issued a report showing that over the past decade in the Arab world, medical and educational services improved, the fertility rate decreased, women were empowered and environmental awareness increased.



Mail & Guardian

15 August 2002


The biggest attempt to tackle the Earth's worsening environment problems and help the planet's poorest gets underway in less than two weeks, but already the prospect of failure hangs over the Johannesburg summit. Wrangling over textual nuances, squabbling over financial commitments and a doctrinal row between Europe and Washington could hollow out the the summit, transforming the second Earth Summit into a ludicrous exercise in hot air. "Johannesburg should be the opportunity for a decisive change of direction," says Crispin Tickell, director of the Green College Centre for Environmental Policy and Understanding at Oxford

University. "(But) so far the progress has been unsatisfactory, and the prospects... do not look good." Between 40 000 and 60 000 people are scheduled to attend the August 26-September 4 meeting, whose last three days will climax with a summit of heads of state or government. The gathering is a 10-year followup to the fabled Earth Summit on sustainable development at Rio de Janeiro.

Trumpeted as mankind's new dawn, the Rio Summit gave birth to an array of agreements on staving off climate change, preserving biodiversity and curbing pollutant chemicals that linger in the environment for decades. A decade down the track, none of these accords has been implemented. And the most important of them -- the Kyoto Protocol on global warming -- has been almost gutted by the astonishingly complex rulebook that took almost four years to negotiate. It has also been snubbed by the United States, the worst carbon polluter of all. Agenda 21, the "action programme" of 2 500 proposals on sustainable development set down in Rio, has been a bible that has gathered dust on bureaucrats' shelves. In the meantime, a mountain of evidence, from UN agencies, scientists and credible environment groups, highlights the effects of man's parasitic use of the Earth. The charges range from species extinction, soil erosion by intensive farming and water depletion to overfishing, rampant destruction of tropical forests, worsening air and sea pollution and urban sprawl. "Humans are as qualified to be stewards (of the Earth) as goats are to be gardeners," says the conservation pioneer James Lovelock. Johannesburg will seek to put Agenda 21 back on track and also push ahead with another lofty goal, set down at the UN's Millennium Summit, to halve the number of poor and hungry by 2015 and boost access to clean water and power. How to achieve this is of course the big problem, for the New Age generosity that prevailed in Rio has melted like an alpine glacier faced with atmospheric warming. "At discussions on global finance and the economy, the environment is still treated as an unwelcome guest," UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said last month. US President George Bush's administration is opposing all attempts for anything other than voluntary, rather than binding, summit text on matters such as aid and incentives for alternative energy. In Rio, rich countries pledged to contribute 0,7% of their gross national product (GNP) in development aid. Today, the European Union's share remains under half of that -- 0,33% of GNP -- while that of the United States is a mere 0,11%. The wealthy nations club, the OECD, spends six times more on farming subsidies than it does on development assistance. Non-government groups are holding their own "Global Forum", from August 19 to September 4, where criticism of the wealthy West will be fierce. "The decisions (at Johannesburg) must yield clean air, clean water, renewable energy and a healthier environment, not rhetoric," says Marcelo Furtado of Greenpeace International. - Sapa-AFP



Business Day

15 August 2002


DESPITE the empty boxes littering the Nasrec stadium and a somewhat lackadaisical team of security guards manning the entrance gates, the organisers of the Global People's Forum insisted yesterday that they would have everything ready when the event starts on Monday.  The Global People's Forum will play host to an estimated 40000 people from civil society groups that hope to influence the talks at the United Nations' World Summit on Sustainable Development later this month.  The forum has had funding problems, triggered partly by claims of financial mismanagement against former head Jacqui Brown, who was fired in March. But the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) ruled yesterday that she must be reinstated as the head of the civil society secretariat. The secretariat is the formal structure tasked with organising the event.  Yesterday the secretariat's CEO, Desmond Lesejane, admitted that the organising group was still R5,6m shy of its R90m budget. Briefing journalists and diplomats at Nasrec yesterday, he insisted that the shortfall would not adversely affect events at the forum.

Diplomats expressed relief that what they tactfully called the secretariat's organisational "hiccups" had not derailed the forum, which they saw as finally being on track.  The United Nations Development Programme's environmental head in SA, Eddy Russel, said that this would be the first time that an organised civil society event had accompanied a major UN conference.

The World Wildlife Fund, the conservation organisation, has launched a global multimedia campaign to urge political leaders to take action at the world summit.  The WWF's campaign, dubbed "SOS Planet", uses the website www.wwf.orgsosplanet for people to send messages to world leaders.  Visitors to the site can send e-mails to a central WWF address, and the most appealing ones will be displayed on the WWF's display at Nasrec. The messages will then be symbolically handed over to an as yet unidentified world leader at the summit.  The WWF is asking governments to ensure that 10% of the world's energy comes from renewable sources by 2010, and commit to securing supplies of water by conserving existing water resources.




15 August 2002


South Africa and the United Nations (UN)have invited governments to come to Johannesburg two days ahead of the official start date of WSSD for informal talks. The aim is to clear the way for them to reach an agreement on the draft plan of implementation - which must be adopted by the summit. The informal discussions will be held at the summit venue, the Sandton Convention Centre, on August 24 and 25. Governments may arrive the day before for consultations with their regional groupings or special interest groups such as the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the European Union (EU). But, as the summit gets closer, some government and UN officials, as well as environment and development activists, are growing more and more concerned about how difficult it is proving to reach agreement. They are not at all confident the draft plan of implementation will be settled ahead of the WSSD.  However, there is no official report on the state of talks because in terms of UN protocols, governments are not allowed to negotiate about the plan of implementation outside of the official UN channels. While 75 percent of the plan of implementation was agreed at the final preparatory for the summit -- meeting held in Bali earlier this year - the outstanding issues are deal-breakers.

Consensus on eradication of poverty

There is broad consensus that central focus of the summit should be the eradication of poverty and that discussion should focus on the implementation of all three pillars of sustainable development: social and economic development and the protection of the environment, says the South African Minister for Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Valli Moosa. There is also agreement that the development of Africa should receive priority and that the New Partnership for Africas Development (Nepad) should receive the support of the summit. Moosa says that the outstanding areas of agreement include: targets and a timetable for the provision of adequate sanitation and the use of renewable forms of energy; the phasing-out of trade subsidies; and the need for new resources for international development programmes. Broadly speaking, developing countries want the summit to come-up with a programme to detail and fund international poverty relief programmes and kick-start their economic development. The advanced economies want the summit to focus on protecting the global environment - and are reluctant to commit themselves to any new financing for development or trade agreements. They argue that the World Trade Organisation should deal with trade talks and that a range of financing for development initiatives is already in place. The United States - the world's biggest polluter and contributor to development financing - seems to be determined to stay outside any international commitments. Latest reports indicate that US President, George Bush, will almost certainly not be attending the WSSD.  Moosa remains determinedly optimistic that the summit will reach an agreement on a plan of action. However, some governments and environmental and development activists fear that any compromise agreement may not be strong enough to improve the lot of the world's poor or protect the global environment.




15 August 2002


JOHANNESBURG - The contortions that international investment cause in the lives of citizens of poor countries is epitomised in Arundathi Roy's compelling description of Indian workers labouring in the dead of night to lay cables for a multinational electricity corporation by the light of a candle.  Roy's polemic against the illusion that globalisation brings progress -- best summarised in her brilliant essay, The Cost of Living - is likely to power much of the debate that will take place at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa this month.  But, paradoxically, the sheer power and precision of her prose, a damning critique of infamous alliances between governments and multinationals in the developing world, may also have an unintended effect. It may also overshadow the way in which thousands of people across southern Africa have, against the odds, managed to make the global economy work for rather than against them.  About 6,000 people in the far north of Zambia, keep their families alive, and protect some of the most pristine forests on the continent, by farming with wild bees to make some of the purest honey in the world for Sainbury's, Waltrose and the Body Shop.  In Mozambique, among the poorest countries in the world, people living in a remote forest called Djabula - the Forest of Joy - are trying to protect the sacred groves where their ancestors are buried from an army of demobilised soldiers called ninjas.  The ninjas come at night to cut 300-year-old trees for the country's insatiable charcoal industry.

They are inspired by a young crafter from Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, who encourages the residents of forests like Djabula to collect dead sandalwood, instead of cutting live trees, which he sculpts into artefacts that feature in Elle Decor and at the New York International Gift Fair.  On the other side of the subcontinent, in the desert of Namibia, a group of young tour guides have inserted one of Africa's most ancient treasures into the global economy: a collection of 3000-year-old rock paintings that have been described as the richest in the world.  They bring foreign and domestic tourists to these sites and, in the process, provide for hundreds of families who were abandoned by a tin mine that shut down 30 years ago.  And in the Okavango Delta of Botswana, small communities of impoverished rural people are able to make up to 300 U.S. dollars per capita each year - more than they would make in the formal economy - by leasing their land to the developers of 'Big Five' safari game lodges.  Examples like these, scattered across the continent in which World Summit on Sustainable Development will take place, provide a classic example of what Hernando de Soto calls, in his book -- the Mystery of Capital.  And the IUCN-World Conservation Union plans to highlight such enterprises in Johannesburg as part of the big conservation organisation's drive to fuel a debate that aims to reform, as well as oppose, the way the global economy works.  ''The words international poverty too easily bring to mind images of destitute beggars sleeping on the curbs of Calcutta and hungry African children starving in the sand.. I resent the characterisation of such heroic entrepreneurs as contributors to the problem of global poverty,'' says De Soto.  ''They are not the problem. They are the solution . in the midst of their own poorest neighbourhoods and shantytowns there are - if not acres of diamonds - trillions of dollars, all ready to be put to use if only we can unravel the mystery of how assets are transformed into live capital.'' The South African branch of the IUCN-World Conservation Union is running a major campaign at the summit to highlight the way in which innovative entrepreneurs are able to compete in a global system by using their traditional skills and natural surroundings in ingenious, and sometimes gentle, ways.  ''Entrepreneurs the world over - excluded from the mainstream for historical, geographic, cultural or economic reasons - have taken it upon themselves to create their own livelihoods. On a global scale, this 'other way' may be less well known. But it works,'' says a booklet published by the IUCN and the WK Kellog Foundation in time for the World summit in Johannesburg.

While the incisive work of Roy, perhaps the most famous and persuasive of the anti-globalisation campaigners, focuses on the deals between corrupt governments and unscrupulous multinationals, the IUCN projects demonstrate resilience of ordinary people and the possibility of working within the system to oppose it, to benefit the poor.  ''The global economy in which these enterprises are expected to flourish is characterised by distortions and inequities that are a threat to their global trading potential in spite of the opportunities that a global economy purports to offer,'' says Lutske Newton in a communique issued by the IUCN.  While opposing the global economy and the current trade regime is important, the IUCN also believes it is vital to nourish and support indigenous enterprises like those that are already working within international markets to debunk images of Africa as a destitute and unproductive basket case.  There are many ways to do this, says Newton. But the summit will make a massive contribution to the efforts of ''heroic entrepreneurs'', like those showcased by the IUCN, if it resolves that ''further trade liberalization should contribute to sustainable development, lead to better access for (people in) developing countries to world markets and reduction or elimination of trade distorting subsidies''.




15 August 2002


NELSPRUIT, South Africa - When the thousands of delegates to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) jet into Johannesburg later this month, they will fly over a landscape that is littered with state-of-the-art laws, conventions and policies designed to protect and nurture the ecoystems of Southern Africa.  They may also notice that these landscapes are literally burning.  Satellite images from space and a view from the window seat of a Boeing 727 show that countries like Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique are literally alight as people resort to slash-and-burn agriculture, veld fires to promote spring-time grazing and the chopping of hardwoods for charcoal.  And these images, taken from the very tableau against which the summit will take place, will probably cause the passengers to reflect on how best to bridge the vast gap that exists between policy and performance when it comes to dealing with desertification, loss of bio-diversity and global warming. They are three of the big issues at the summit.  Professor Christo Fabricius, head of the Department of Environmental Sciences at Rhodes University in South Africa, says: ''Southern African countries have all adopted the major conventions designed to protect the ecosystems of the subcontinent, which are still among the most biologically rich in the world. The problem is the big gap between policy and practise".

''There are many reasons for this but one thing stands out very clearly from our research. That is where grassroots movements by people who live in and with their ecosystems are active to protect the living environment, the gap is smaller and this is because local people come up with more appropriate action plans to deal with threats to their environment,'' he says.

All of the governments in Southern Africa have signed the major conventions that will be up for review in Johannesburg, including those on climate change, biodiversity, desertification and greenhouse emissions.

In addition, the New Partnerships for African Development (NEPAD), a continent-wide blueprint for economic renewal, states explicitly that a ''healthy and productive environment'' is a prerequisite for the objectives of the programme to be achieved.

NEPAD, along with the Africa Union that was formed last month to replace the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), thus in principle endorse conventions, laws and policies that aim to deal with desertification, wetland protection, coastal management, global warming, wildlife protection and good environmental policy.  ''But this is all talk. Africa is a very diverse continent and has many problems associated with stable governance. These big continental initiatives try to create a common ground and approach to the conventions. They tend to fail, they're really all talk shows," says Oussenyou Diop, the regional coordinator for a programme called Managing the Environment Locally in Sub-Saharan South Africa (MELISSA).  The more effective approach is to try and create partnerships between local actors who can devise local environmental action plans that are relevant to specific conditions and thus more adapted and effective."  Saliem Fakir, director of the South Africa office of the IUCN-World Conservation Union, agrees that one of the major issues to surface at the summit will be the gap between policy and effective action by governments of Southern Africa. They have yet to implement the conventions that were set in motion at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992.

Most governments in the region are having problems in implementing their own policies. They lack capacity, have a high staff turnover and in many cases now rely on lobby groups think tanks, consultants, big business and NGOs (non-governmental organisations) to formulate and implement policy for them," says Fakir.  What we are seeing is that, given this vacuum in government implementation, action by civil society is becoming an important instrument for environmental protection. It is this kind of action that needs to be encouraged to turn policy into practice in this part of the world."  Steve Johnson, former co-ordinator of the Natural Resource Management Unit of the Southern Africa Development Conference, says it is no coincidence that those countries with a strong network of community based organisations active in the environmental field have the best results in terms of policy implementation.  Namibia and Botswana provide good examples. The governments of these countries have passed legislation that enables and encourages local residents to take ownership of, and to make commercial use of, resources that exist in their natural environment. The result is a bottom-up groundswell that pressures governments to protect their living environment.

And, says Fakir, protest politics and legal action by citizens in South Africa has proved to be an extremely effective weapon in terms of forcing government to adopt more effective policies.  He points to the Treatment Action Campaign, which is placing strong pressure on the government of South Africa to adopt more effective policies to curb the AIDS pandemic. The citizens also have launched a set of highly successful class actions against asbestos companies that have forced government to introduce a new mining and mineral policy that contains extensive environmental safeguards.  The proponents of civil action to ensure that policy becomes reality rather than rhetoric all note that local people have more at stake than their governments. The reason is simple," says the Johannesburg Memo, drafted by a group of environmental activists and intellectuals under the auspices of the Heinrich Boll Foundation.  The direct victims of the degradation of living systems are typically part of the majority beyond the corporate-driven consumer classes,'' says the Memo. ''Essentially urbanite, the consumer (and bureaucratic) class lives in a cocoon which shields their senses and their existence from the decay of forests, fishing grounds, water tables, topsoils and plant diversity in the countryside.  Geographically or psychologically, the scenes of accumulation and the scenes of destruction, the places of comfort and the places of distress, are usually separated from each other by large distancesà And this is why the awareness about the human despair and despair caused by the fraying web of life can so easily be ignored," adds the Memo.  Fabricius states that this is precisely why local action by citizens is either more effective, or an indispensable counterpart, to governments in terms of promoting sustainable development.  ''Big programmes like NEPAD and the Africa Union assume a level of stability and homogeneity in Africa that has never existed. They tend to impose blueprints on a highly fluctuating situation with a diversity of opportunities," he says.  What we need, in order to close the gap between policy and practise, are adaptive and flexible strategies of the type that local communities are far more adept than bureaucracies at devising," adds Fabricius.




15 August 2002


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Conservative activists are praising President George W. Bush's apparent decision to send Secretary of State Colin Powell to a U.N. conference on global ecology rather than attending the once-a-decade summit himself as his father did in 1992.  With the summit little more than two weeks away, there are no plans for Bush to go the conference, which conservatives have taken as a sign he will not attend.  "We applaud your decision not to attend the summit in person," said an August 2 letter to Bush from Fred L. Smith Jr., president of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and 30 other conservative activists who support Bush.  The letter warns of likely widespread anti-United States sentiment among the participants at the World Summit on Sustainable Development being held August 26 through September 4 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Other signers include Paul M. Weyrich of Coalitions for America, Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform and David A. Keene of the American Conservative Union.  "Your presence would only help to publicize and make more credible their various anti-freedom, anti-people, anti-globalization and anti-Western agendas," they wrote Bush. "We also strongly support your opposition to signing new international environmental treaties or creating new international environmental organizations at the Johannesburg summit."  The White House has been silent so far about who will lead the U.S. delegation to the summit. Administration officials say an announcement will come soon, but Powell is expected to attend.  This is the fourth summit in four decades where world leaders and environmentalists have gathered to address the environmental costs of feeding, clothing and housing the Earth's growing population.  For environmentalists, the series of talks reached a height in 1992 at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, when Bush's father, George H.W. Bush, then the president, was among 110 world leaders who agreed to tackle problems in forestry, biodiversity and climate change.

The conservatives say those talks were a mistake for the elder Bush, one that his son is now wise to avoid.  "Why would you go to a party when they want to throw pies at you?" Smith said in an interview. "The fortunate thing is when 40,000 goofies get together, not much happens."

Global approaches

In 1972 at Stockholm and in 1982 at Nairobi, each of the U.S. delegations was led by the chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.  The current chairman, James Connaughton, has not said whether he will attend. More than 100 world leaders -- either the head of state or a minister-level representative -- have announced they will be at the summit.  Many among them share a deep concern about the state of the world's ecological systems, and some have said they also worry about a lack of leadership and lackluster U.S. support for global approaches.  Summit leaders say they will try to solidify commitments made over the past year to open markets to developing countries and increase financing to them. They also cite challenges such as 2 billion people living on $2 or less a day, more burning of fossil fuels blamed for climate change and damage to a quarter of the world's coral reefs.  Connaughton said whoever represents the United States will emphasize both the U.S. commitment to creating lasting partnerships and also the idea that each nation bears responsibility for its own development.  "It doesn't mean they go it alone. But each nation has to take that task onto itself to look at sustainability," he said recently.  Some environmental leaders view this year's summit as a last, best chance to convert high hopes into deeds.  "There is a real sense of urgency," U.N. Undersecretary-General Nitin Desai, who will chair the summit, told reporters this week. "In many cases we are talking about slipping back."

Sowing seeds In the weeks leading up to the summit, Desai has campaigned to sow seeds of hope while also warning that disappointment will only confirm widespread pessimism about the world's ability to deal with what he says is a growing crisis.

"We will be endangering all of the things we have achieved and we will not have another chance," he told summit leaders at the Brazilian Embassy in Washington earlier this month. "There is no major global event planned beyond Johannesburg which allow us to retrieve lost ground. This is it."  Gus Speth, dean of Yale University's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, said world leaders are running out of time because the world economy is projected to double in size every 25 years.  "We have squandered more than 20 years on these global-scale issues and this period we're in is truly our last chance to get it right," Speth said.

The uncertainty about U.S. participation reflects deeper questions in the environmental community about Bush's approach to global challenges in the wake of his rejection last year of the Kyoto climate treaty.  "People around the world are seriously concerned that the Bush administration is undermining the World Summit instead of working with other countries to benefit everyone," Sierra Club director Michael Dorsey said.




14 August 2002


New York, 14 August-Johannesburg Summit Secretary-General Nitin Desai today called the $2.9 billion replenishment of the Global Environment Facility a positive indication that countries are serious about putting resources behind efforts to promote the plan that will emerge from the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg later this month.  Desai said that not only did donor countries agree on the largest replenishment ever of the GEF, they also agreed to expand the use the facility to finance efforts to implement the Convention to Combat Desertification, which is working to preserve and restore drylands for productive purposes, and for efforts to eliminate persistent organic pollutants.  More than 100 world leaders, along with thousands of government delegates, NGOs and business leaders, have indicated that they will participate in the Summit, an historic opportunity to forge a global consensus on an action plan to reverse environmental degradation and improve living standards.

The new GEF replenishment, agreed upon by 32 developed and developing countries in Washington, funds operations over the next four years, from 2002 to 2006. In addition to the new areas of desertification and persistent organic pollutants, the GEF will continue to finance projects aimed at protecting biodiversity, mitigating climate change, protecting international waters, and replacing ozone-depleting chemicals. Mohamed T. El-Ashry, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the GEF, said that "the level of replenishment is strong evidence of the participants' commitment to the global environment and the GEF, and should contribute to the success of the World Summit on Sustainable Development."

The replenishment of the GEF has been a contentious issue during the preparatory process for Johannesburg, and one of the unresolved portions of the draft Plan of Implementation calls for a substantial replenishment of up to $3 billion. The issue of using the GEF to finance the implementation of the Convention to Combat Desertification, heavily pushed by African countries, was also unresolved. "This agreement is a huge step forward, and will have a major effect on moving the negotiations forward on the remainder of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation," Desai said. "This shows that the negotiations are not about empty words and promises. Countries are prepared to put their money where their mouths are, to really achieve results on the ground."

Although the GEF started before the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, the first major infusion of resources to the facility came after that Summit, and the GEF represents one of the major successes of the post-Rio era in addressing areas of environmental degradation. During its first decade, GEF allocated $4.2 billion, supplemented by $11 billion in co-financing, for more than 1,000 projects in 160 developing countries and countries with transitional economies. GEF is the only new funding source to emerge from the 1992 Earth Summit and today counts 173 countries as members.

The 32 donors participating in the new replenishment are: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Cote d'Ivoire, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States.



The Guardian

14 August 2002


At a brainstorming conference last January for this month's earth summit, environment minister Michael Meacher said that Britain needed a "big idea" to take forward to Johannesburg. Dan Morrell, founder of UK eco-business Future Forests, suggested that the UK delegation should make its trip "carbon neutral" by planting enough trees to offset the greenhouse gases from their plane rides and hotel stays.  The prospect of government delegates, buinessmen and charities flying off to save the world, but at the same time significantly adversely affecting the environment, is riddled with irony, but when Future Forests wrote to Defra offering to help Meacher and the government team ease their carbon conscience with a small voluntary carbon "tax", there was no response for months.  In April, after many follow-up calls, a letter from the office of the secretary of state for the environment, Margaret Beckett, said that they were "looking into it".  Just getting the 65,000 delegates to the Johannesburg summit throws into sharp relief the environmental impact of foreign air travel. Aviation, fuelled by cheap flights, is the fastest-growing source of greenhouse gases and is set to account for 10% of man-made greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.  Commercial aircraft fly in the sensitive upper atmosphere, which means their exhaust gases cause between two and four times the amount of global warming than the carbon dioxide alone creates at sea level. Even at the lower end of these figures, each passenger on a long-haul flight produces 124kg of carbon dioxide for each hour of the journey.  It is difficult to calculate precisely how much each passenger emits on a flight, and therefore an individual's effect on the global warming, in part because climate change science is very complex but also because it depends on the type of plane, its route, how much cargo it is carrying and how full it is. Future Forests reckons the thousands of delegates flocking to Johannesburg in two weeks' time could emit roughly 500,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

This is about what 135,000 car drivers in Britain would generate in an entire year. It would take one million Indians a year to produce the same amount. The estimated 6.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide that Meacher and each of the 70 UK delegates will be responsible for emitting on their return flight is more than half of the average UK citizen's carbon dioxide emissions in a year.

The British government might be accused of tardiness, but others have leapt at the chance to do something. The Norwegian government, Powergen, the UN global environment fracility, and Volkswagen have chosen to go with the Johannesburg Climate Legacy (JCL) scheme, co-run by Future Forests and the US-based Climate Neutral Network. This aims to cancel out the delegates' 500,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide by raising £3.4m for renewable and energy efficiency schemes to reduce emissions in communities across the host country, South Africa.  A handful of small web-based companies in the US, Britain and Europe are now inviting anyone with an environmental conscience to calculate their emissions and contribute to different projects by offsetting their carbon emissions. The intention is to reduce carbon in the atmosphere by enabling people to understand the links between their lifestyles and environmental impacts.

Each scheme offers something slightly different and each calculates the financial "offset" differently. Until now, Future Forests have had a straightforward approach to helping people go "carbon neutral". For £6, they promise to "plant enough trees to absorb over their lifetime the amount of carbon dioxide you produce in one month".  But despite glamorous backers such as Atomic Kitten, Pink Floyd and Damien Hirst, the company has been criticised for allegedly paying foresters unrealistically low prices to plant and maintain each tree, and failing to plan ahead for when the trees get old and die.  Director Jonathan Shopley argues that the critics are wrong. "We don't believe trees are the solution," he says. "It's the fact that they help people make the link between personal action and climate change, and hopefully think about other things they can do, such as energy efficiency."  As for the decaying tree conundrum, Shopley says the planters guarantee to keep trees in the ground for 99 years, and he is optimistic for the future. "In 99 years' time, I expect we'll be in a hydrogen economy, and the carbon uptake of those trees will have done its job," Shopley predicts.  But the criticisms seem to have hit home. Tree-planting is not on Future Forests' agenda for the earth summit delegates. The climate legacy partners have identified 27 sustainable energy projects to benefit from the funds generated. These will not only provide jobs, but also ensure that there is a significant increase in local renewable energy capacity and, thereby, a permanent reduction in the demand for carbon dioxide emitting fuels.  One project in South Africa would provide 50,000 solar home kits to bring light to rural homes and replace sooty paraffin lamps or petrol-powered generators. People would be given training to run the supply and to service the solar kits under franchise. The idea is that income, skills and control of energy supply would be retained within the community.  Meanwhile, Climate Care, another company specialising in offsetting carbon emissions, offers to invest in a range of sustainable development projects. Money raised by this company goes to the supply of energy-efficient lightbulbs to people in Mauritius, a reforestation programme in Uganda, and a small-scale hydro electricity scheme in Bulgaria

"Two years ago, people didn't have a clue what we were talking about," says Morton. "This is rapidly changing. Now they understand carbon offsets and that they can actually do something."  Morton is working with British Airways and with the Association of British Travel agents, who will offset all the emissions made by their 1,500 delegates to the annual industry meeting in Cairo.  Meanwhile, the government was still dithering this week but had, it seems, agreed in principle to sign up. At the very least, Michael Meacher, who was told last week he couldn't go but is now back on board, is expected to make an individual statement and to pay the voluntary levy.



The Nation (Nairobi) via All Africa

14 August 2002


Even before the World Summit on Sustainable Development gets underway in South Africa later this month, there are more scepticism than hope about its ability to address environmental problems and the plight of the poor people. Those sceptical about the whole process argue that ten years since the 1992 Rio Earth Summit promised a better world, little or no achievements have been made. More than 55,000 people are expected to attend the summit. "It is going to be the biggest talk-shop ever, which will not offer any substantive outcome for the environment, the poor people and their poor nations," says Andile Mngxitama, land rights co-ordinator at the National Land Committee, South Africa. "The agenda of the United Nations has been taken over and is now being directed by multi-lateral organisations such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organisations," he adds. Like Mngxitama, other cynics say governments especially those in developed countries have failed to meet the commitments they made after the Rio summit. "Developed countries have not ratified crucial environmental protection protocols developed after the Rio summit. We spend so much money and time discussing these documents, and when it comes to implementation, nothing happens," a frustrated environmentalist from a local NGO says. Environmentalists claim that countries such as United States, Australia and New Zealand are even pushing for the weakening of targets set on various environmental commitments.

They say developed countries dominate World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), and developing countries are therefore unlikely to get much out of the Johannesburg meeting. This is the kind of frustration facing some people especially after the goals of reducing poverty, implementation of Biosafety and Kyoto protocols have moved no where near the practical realm.

Analyst say although these protocols have been developed, Third World countries are not going to benefit as their developed partners who call the shots, are not willing to ratify them. The biosafety protocol, which is expected to help developing countries protect the health of their people and environment from any consequences of genetically modified foods and associated technologies, is yet to come into force. It has not done so because developed countries such as the United States, the leading producer of GMO foods, have not ratified it. Up to now, less than 15 countries of which over 70 per cent are from developing countries have ratified the protocol. And yet, 50 ratifications are required before it comes into force. Observers argue that countries like USA do not want to ratify it because it fears the move might impact negatively on its farmers. This has left many countries like Kenya and those in Southern Africa to grapple with the issue of GMO foods, because they cannot enforce the protocol or afford to implement it. Scientists say one of the spin-offs to developing countries if the protocol comes into force, is the possibility of capacity building to deal with biotechnology issues. Another is the transfer of technology to bridge the gap between north and south. While the scenario on the biosafety protocol remains gloomy, matters are even worse with the Kyoto protocol, which deals with climate change matters. The instrument is yet to come into force since countries such as the United States, the biggest emitter of carbon monoxide, and Australia, have refused to ratify it. Instead, they want their industries to be given leeway to develop their own guidelines. In fact, it is understood that the United States and a few developed countries threaten that discussions at the Johannesburg summit might breakdown if the Kyoto issue is discussed. So powerful is its interest that the issue had to be relegated on the Johannesburg WSSD agenda. According to the Kyoto protocol developed countries agreed to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by at least 5.2 per cent by the year 2008 to 2012. This is based on the fact that industrialised countries are the leading emitters of carbon monoxide from fossil fuels, which is responsible for global warming. But only a few of them have agreed to ratify the protocol. Instead they propose that developing countries plant more trees to absorb the excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. And they are even ready to fund such projects. Although some developed countries have promised to ratify the protocol before the Johannesburg meeting, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) thinks the chances of it coming into force soon are slim. On the country level, governments like the Kenya one have abused the environment despite committing themselves to protecting it. The decision by former minister for environment, Mr Francis Nyenze, to excise 167,000 forests land was a slap in the face to the commitments the government made at the Rio summit. Environmentalists argue that as long as there is no mechanism in place to make countries accountable to such commitments, then  meetings of WSSD nature will be waste of time and taxpayers money. Apart from these shortcomings, failure by developed countries to avail 0.7 per cent of their Gross National Product (GNP) as official development assistance to developing countries is another area that is creating cynicism. "In spite of rich countries promising to increase their aid levels to 0.7 per cent of GDP, this have decreased since Rio, and are now as low as 0.24 per cent of GDP," notes WWF in a press statement. The assistance is intended to help developing countries reduce poverty levels by the year 2015. "One of the biggest problem is when it comes to implementation of resolutions and commitments passed at this meetings. Most of the developed countries are still haggling on how agreements at WSSD will be implemented," During the preparatory meetings meant to thrush out issues to be discussed in Johannesburg, Angie Kapelianis of South African Broadcasting Corporation, says the issue of the implementation of WSSD agreements was a stormy one. "It is difficult to understand whether the developed countries think they are the most to pay or to loss in the whole deal," she says. Despite three preparatory conferences on implementing the outcome of WSSD, no agreement has been reached on how several nicely worded recommendations are to be to be funded. Plans are underway to set a side a few days to thrush out the issue before the head of states arrive at the meeting to sign the Johannesburg WSSD global deal.



Standard Times (Freetown)

14 August 2002


The Rio Earth Summit in 1992 raised considerable expectations. It agreed on an ambitious and comprehensive strategy to address developmental and environmental challenges through a global partnership. Ten years down the line, the 2002 World Summit on sustainable development (WSSD) will provide an opportunity to revitalize the spirit of Rio, shape a renewed political commitment to sustainable development, and above all, make concrete achievements on delivering not just on Rio but also on the millennium Development Goals. The European Union (EU) will, as it has done through the preparations, play an active role in Johannesburg to getting concrete results. We are doing this through active dialogue with partners, including those from developing countries. The EU wants the WSSD to send a clear political message on the need to make globalization more sustainable for all, and just as importantly, also to agree on measurers to achieve this. Since the UN conference in Rio '1992 (Conference on Environment and Development) North- South relations have fundamentally changed. Today, there is a wide agreement on the fact that economic, social and political developments require an integrated approach. The achievements of the major UN Conferences in the 1990s have built a new framework for development policies, with the overreaching objective of poverty eradication, and which focuses on human, social and environmental aspects as well as sustainable management and use of natural resources. Based on these developments, the United Nations Millennium Summit in 2000 adopted a set of comprehensive goals in order to eradicate poverty- the Millennium Development Goals-, which set out concrete objectives for the year 2015. Visions like achieving universal primary education, combating diseases like HIV/AIDs and ensuring environmental sustainability can only be realized by a common effort of industrialized and developing countries and the international community.

The positive outcomes of the 4th WTO Ministerial meeting in Doha in November 2001 and of the International Conference on financing for development in Monterrey in March 2002, provided further important elements towards reaching the Millennium Development Goals. In the "Doha Development Agenda" and the "Monterrey Consensus", a framework was agreed for improving market access, for upgrading multilateral rules to harness globalization, and for increasing financial assistance for development. The development countries must now deliver on their commitments and the EU, as the world's leading partner of developing countries and as the biggest provider of development aid, is fully determined to do so. The EU and its Member states have pledged, as a first significant step towards reaching the UN target of 0.7% of Gross National income for Official development assistance, to raise the collective average from the current 0.33% to 0.39% by 2006. Concretely, this should result in an additional annual amount of aid of 9 billion pounds sterling by 2006, and about 22 billion pounds sterling between now and 2006. The developing countries must take their responsibilities by improving internal policies and domestic governance and creating an enabling climate for investment. All countries must work together, recognizing their common but differentiated responsibilities, to ensure that growth is separated from environmental degradation and that the needs of the present generation are satisfied without destroying the capacity of future generations to cater for their needs. In the light of the Doha and Monterrey achievements, the World Summit on sustainable development, to be held from 26 August to 4th September 2002, as a unique opportunity to close the implementation gap let after Rio, and to renew political commitments by all stakeholders. Making development polices sustainable implies tackling problems with foresight, an approach that the European Union aims to promote and has embraced in its Treaty, in the agreements it has signed and in the policies it has adopted. Therefore, the EU wants the WSSD to take - after Doha and Monterrey- further steps towards the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, and to build upon them, particularly in crucial areas such as sanitation and energy. The EU intends to play an important role in ensuring that the outcome of Johannesburg addresses the three pillars of sustainable development (economic, social, environmental) and enforces coherent global management.

All the players will have a role e.g.: developing countries by implementing sound policies, good governance and the rule of law, industrialised countries by ensuring that markets are open to all. All the stakeholders should commit to a sense of common ownership, which is indispensable in the follow- up of the Summit. The WSSD should adopt concrete commitments with a precise time frame, carried out on the basis of effective partnership. One of the implementing mechanisms could be well-developed partnerships between governments, the private sector and civil society. There should however be a clear link between the political goals and the partnerships decided by the WSSD so that everyone can see how the political goals are being achieved.

The EU wants the WSSD to send a clear political message on the need to make globalization more sustainable for all and to agree on measures aimed at promoting this goal. In order to be clear and coherent in its approach to the WSSD, the EU strategy for Johannesburg follows an integrated approach: We start by putting our own house in order and thus provide leadership in translating rhetoric into action. This internal strategy for sustainable development was endorsed by the Gothenburg Council in June last year, where poverty eradication and promotion of sustainable production and consumption partners were identified as overriding objectives for the Summit. In addition to that the Community has to make its contribution to promote sustainable development beyond its borders. Putting this into practice, the EU wants to promote progress in five keys areas- water, energy, health, agriculture and biodiversity. The EU water initiative, for instance, plans to bring together, in partnership with countries and regions, public and private funds, stakeholders and experts to provide sustainable solutions to problems of water management. Reaching the political goal of halving the number of people without access to clean water and sanitation by 2015 would provide a major contribution to improved health and economic development. At the European Council in Seville, the EU reaffirmed its commitment to be a constructive force at the Johannesburg Summit. We will use all opportunities to achieve a positive outcome; the people and this planet deserve no less.



Business Day

14 August 2002


THERE were factors that pointed to a more desirable outcome for civil society at Johannesburg's World Summit on Sustainable Development in comparison to its 1992 predecessor. But there was still only hope, said Steve Sawyer of Greenpeace International yesterday. He said the quantity, quality and severity of climate change as illustrated, for instance, by floods, had now penetrated public consciousness. There was also a growing convergence of opinion between nongovernmental organisation (NGOs), governments and business of the need for urgent action. "We find ourselves fighting side by side with business at times," said Sawyer. He said NGOs and business agreed at times on issues such as the actions or lack of action by governments. With regards to the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement designed to tackle global warming and climate change, Sawyer said it was not an issue of "if" but "when". Governments spent the past four years trying to reach consensus. While the protocol was still inadequate in the opinion of Greenpeace, it was seen to represent a step forward, he said. The organisation hoped for a commitment to be inked at the summit this month to provide energy access, in the next 10 years, to 2 -billion people worldwide who are without electricity. Another target was to have 10% of global energy generated through renewable energy by 2010. Speaking at a pre-summit conference on sustainable energy hosted by the Sustainable Energy and Climate Change Partnership (SECCP), Sawyer was more optimistic about renewable energy developments worldwide in terms of wind power. "Some of these have actually hit economic take-off," he said. At present consumption levels, it was now predicted that 24% of the world's electricity could be generated through wind power by 2020. "Wind power growth has dramatically outstripped expectations," said Sawyer. It was the fastest-growing energy sector with the 25000 MW of wind power installed worldwide last year, growing to about 30 000 MW. Mary Metcalfe, Gauteng's agriculture, conservation, environment and land affairs MEC, who also spoke at the event yesterday, stressed the potential of renewable energy to support the development of microenterprises, particularly in rural areas, as well as improving the lives and health of women and children. She said that in Gauteng, the political position of the African National Congress called for a target of 10% renewable energy within 10 years. SECCP-project co-ordinator Richard Worthington, said they wanted commitment of 20% of global primary energy from renewable recourses by 2020.



The Guardian

14 August 2002


Prague appears to be drowning, its Hapsburg palaces engulfed by the river that runs through the historic centre on which they are built. In Austria the Danube, more brown than blue, has punched through dams and 1,000 buildings are under water in Salzburg. About 50 people have died in Russia - victims of flash floods along the Black sea coast. Meanwhile over Asia hangs a two-mile thick haze of pollution which, according to the United Nations, is blocking out sunlight and could reduce the rice harvest - a crucial staple for the continent's 3bn people. These are not local difficulties, but connected by how the weather appears to be changing.

From Bangladesh to Alaska to Malawi, altered climate conditions have caused droughts, floods, landslides and melting polar caps. Rising temperatures are triggering unprecedented levels of tropical diseases. Development, in its current form, appears to be degrading the environment. Belching carbon dioxide, a gas produced when fossil fuels are burnt, into the atmosphere means the earth is heating up. The 1990s were the hottest decade of the entire millennium. The last five years were among the seven hottest on record. Some argue that this is not all bad as East Anglia might bathe (though not this year) in Tuscan sunshine all year round. But this small gain could see London submerged by the Thames.

In Rio a decade ago the world solemnly resolved that all this would never happen. The 1992 UN summit saw two conventions signed - on climate change and biodiversity - and a programme called Agenda 21 agreed, that would ensure that growth and greenery could flourish. On most counts, Rio has not delivered. Tropical forests and coral reefs are both quietly disappearing. Emissions of carbon dioxide are up by 10% worldwide, despite the Kyoto agreement which promised a cut of 5% by 2012. George Bush's administration shares much of the blame for the lacklustre performance. It has preferred to question the science and refused to sign up to Kyoto, while Europe and Japan did. Even its own experts have disowned the Bush White House. The US, the world's biggest polluter, emits nearly a fifth more carbon dioxide than a decade ago. American intransigence has lowered expectations of the UN Earth Summit in Johannesburg this month. Its high-minded goal is to promote economic progress in the developing world without depriving future generations of resources.  Poor countries cannot industrialise, urbanise and then consume power at the rate rich countries do at present. It would be unsustainable for China's 1bn people to guzzle gas at the rate Americans do. Different models of development are needed. The future needs to be a low-carbon one. Adopting the EU's target for 10% of energy production from renewable sources, such as solar or wind power, for the globe in 2010 would be a good start. To kick start this, nations like Britain - which hand over billions of pounds every year for fossil and nuclear fuel projects in developing countries -could redirect the money to renewable schemes. To some extent governments should be shamed by the growing number of companies voluntarily committing themselves to greenhouse gas reduction targets - oil giant BP has already cut emissions 10% below 1990 levels. There are contradictions that need to be addressed - like why the costs of meeting Kyoto, about $56bn, could not be found by simply cutting fossil fuel subsidies worth $57bn. For the 65,000 delegates heading for Johannesburg, there is much to talk about and much more to do.




14 August 2002


Environmental investigator released from prison after three-month detainment Greenpeace Calls for Protection not Criminalisation of Independent Investigators Ex-poacher turned conservationist Joseph Melloh was released today from a Congolese prison where he had been detained for three months following an investigation of the area of forests logged by Swiss-German logging company, Congolaise Industrielle du Bois (CIB). During today's sentencing hearing in Brazzaville, the judge sentenced Melloh to 45 days in jail - all of which he has already served. Greenpeace, along with Swiss photographer Karl Ammann, had campaigned for Melloh's release. Greenpeace co-financed Joseph's visit to Pokola together with the German ENGO Rettet den Regenwald.

"Joseph Melloh's investigation was aimed at contributing to forest law enforcement in the Congo," said Filip Verbelen, Greenpeace Forest Campaigner. "But in fact the law turned against him, condemning him to three months in prison on a charge that was unfounded." Melloh, who has become a leading figure in uncovering the illegal bushmeat trade in Central Africa, was arrested on May 14th in the Congolese logging town of Pokola. He was picked up by the police for conducting interviews with residents of Pokola and for filming CIB forestry operations. "While we are delighted that Joseph Melloh has been released, his case clearly highlights the current problems that exist globally around monitoring the activities of logging companies in the field," said Verbelen. "Corporate forest crime costs forest nations several million US$ each year - yet most of these nations have no formal framework - nor the institutional capacity - for independent monitoring of the companies operating in their forests." Greenpeace argues that independent on-the-ground monitoring of logging companies - whether leading to a positive endorsement of a company or to the exposure of illegal and destructive practices - is fundamental to achieving sustainable forest management globally. "Like neighbouring Cameroon, we are now calling on the government of Congo to commit to formal independent monitoring of logging company activities," said Verbelen. "Without this kind of commitment, then current political processes like the World Bank's programme on Forest Law Enforcement and Governance will mean very little." At the Johannesburg Earth Summit , Greenpeace is calling on world governments to commit to the development of a global framework on corporate responsibility, which should include issues of transparency, independent verification and corporate liability.



United Nations Development Programme

14 August 2002


Wednesday, 14 August 2002: The challenge of reconciling the powerful forces of international trade and investment with efforts to reduce poverty and protect the environment is a key issue facing the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, opening on 26 August.  A recent high-level round table in Abuja, Nigeria, hosted by the Government and sponsored by UNDP, assisted by several partners, examined the issue, focusing on partnerships between government, civil society and the private sector for sustainable development in the oil, gas and minerals sector and the water and sanitation sector.

Globalization driven by trade and investment has brought benefits for some developing countries, but a number of countries have seen rising poverty levels and growing environmental problems. Among these are the decline of major ecosystems, degradation of agricultural land, diminishing supplies of water and a growing prevalence of climate-related natural disasters, such as droughts and floods.  "While trade and investment can provide the opportunities and capacities needed to sustain economic growth and development, if not properly managed, they can lead to increased rates of extraction of natural resources and unsustainable patterns of consumption and pollution," said a welcoming statement from President Olussegun Obasanjo of Nigeria.

Egbert Imomoh , senior corporate advisor with Shell International, discussed his company's experiences in partnerships in Gabon, Nigeria, Thailand, Mexico and the Philippines. Nigeria, for example, is a major exporter of oil and gas, but the standard of living in the Niger Delta, where the exports originate, is very low. Shell has embarked with local partners on programmes aimed at reducing poverty and promoting economic empowerment, supporting activities such as technical assistance for local farmers, income-generating projects for women, and vocational training.  Discussions on water and sanitation highlighted successful partnerships and also raised concerns about the power wielded by large multinational corporations. Kwabena S. Manu of Mime Consult Ltd. in Ghana presented a pilot project to involve local private firms in developing small town water supply systems. The project aims to strengthen the capabilities of local firms and ensure community management and provision of services to poor areas.

The round table adopted a declaration calling for trade and investment policies that "capture the positive synergies between economic growth, social development and environmental protection."

The declaration endorsed eight principles, the first stating that, "Sustainable development should be the goal of trade and investment policies. These policies must be aimed at fostering stable growth and reducing poverty, while ensuring environmental sustainability."  The principles also call for developing countries to be provided market access and fair terms of trade, participation of the poor in designing trade and investment rules and policies, and steps to build the capacity of developing countries to participate in creating fair trading systems.  The declaration also stated that partnerships between governments, civil society and the private sector can play a vital role in promoting sustainable development through trade and investment. A number of such partnerships are expected to be forged at the Johannesburg Summit, and the round table sought to contribute to these efforts.

The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the UN Conference on Trade and Development, and the International Centre on Trade for Sustainable Development provided assistance to UNDP in organizing the round table, the fourth such event on the road to Johannesburg.




13 August 2002


The world is now in earnest about working to end poverty, according to the United Nations official running the Earth Summit, Nitin Desai.  He believes the meeting will succeed, despite criticism of its huge and unwieldy agenda.  A decision by President Bush to attend would be "a very important indication of support".  Mr Desai said the way the world was developing lent the summit an unmistakeable urgency.  He was speaking to BBC News Online about a report, Global Challenge, Global Opportunity: Trends in sustainable development, published by the UN department of economic and social affairs. Mr Desai heads the department.  He is also secretary-general of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, starting in Johannesburg on 26 August.  Mr Desai said the report's inescapable message was the urgency of reversing the present trend towards an unsustainable future.  He said: "The second message for Johannesburg is that we have to look at all these problems as a package and act on all of them simultaneously. He insisted there was a new seriousness about ending the abject poverty of hundreds of millions of people, though he acknowledged that the rich world still tolerated preventable mass child mortality.  "We don't bother to prevent those deaths because we don't make the connections", he said.  "We think of health in terms of therapeutics, not public health.  "But I think the political will is there. Development is now as sexy as the environment, absolutely."  Mr Desai rejected any suggestion that the summit agenda was overcrowded.  "I ask people: 'What do you want to drop?'", he said. "I don't get an answer - because the issues are all so closely linked."  "I see a lot of commitment, and the countries involved have invested so much, they'll find a way. I'm pretty hopeful.  "If Mr Bush decided to come, that would be a very important indication of support. But the US is very heavily involved anyway.  The report lists some encouraging advances. The average number of children born by women in developing countries has fallen in 30 years from more than six to under three.  Poverty is falling in Asia and Latin America, and hunger is slowly declining: about 800m people are chronically malnourished, 40m fewer than in 1990.  The number of under-five-year-olds dying from diarrhoeal diseases is estimated to have fallen from 4.6m annually in 1980 to 1.7m in 1999.

But it lists some ominous trends too. Indoor air pollution kills more than 3m people a year, mainly children in poor countries.  Africa contends with increasing rates of malaria, as well as "by far the leading cause of death" south of the Sahara, HIV-Aids.  Its forests are vanishing at 7% each decade, Latin America's at 5%. An estimated total of 90m hectares of global forests was destroyed in the 1990s, an area larger than Venezuela.  Most deaths in the poorest countries are from communicable, environment-related diseases, and could easily be prevented.  More than 1bn people lack access to safe water, and 2.5bn do not have adequate sanitation.  Food production and consumption are rising. And it is producing food that drives the depletion of natural resources.  Hungry countries will rely increasingly on food imported from Europe and North America.  Water shortages are growing: by 2025 they will affect about half the world's people.  There are "many signs of climate change". World population is growing, and demands for higher living standards: together they "will pose enormous strains on natural resources".



All Africa

13 August 2002


Actual progress on the ground is far slower than hoped and in many cases we are going backwards, Nitin Desai, Secretary-General of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) said Tuesday announcing the release of a new United Nations report: Global Challenge, Global Opportunity. The report by the U.N. Department for Economic and Social Affairs, which Desai heads, found that capacity to produce enough food is diminishing, especially in developing nations where almost 800 million people are chronically undernourished, although the number is declining. "The real threat that we face now is the insidious global spread of poverty and environmental stress, and that is the real security threat that we need to address," said Desai who will chair the WSSD Summit. The report, which focuses on trends among the earth's natural resources and human development, found that 40 percent of the world's population face water shortages, global sea levels are rising in a "clear indication" of global warming, many plant and animal species are at risk of extinction, "including half of the large primates, man's closet relatives." During the 1990s, the report said, 220 million acres of forests an area larger than Venezuela was destroyed, almost all in tropical regions in Africa and Latin America. Every year, more than 3 million people die from the effects of air pollution. The purpose of the report, said Desai speaking to reporters in a telephone press conference, "is to provide a sense in quantitative terms of where are we now and where are we moving to; and from that we hope that we can derive a sense of urgency on the steps we need to take to correct these trends."

Part of the challenge, said Desai, "was to try and put all of these things in a compact way." For instance, he said, take the death rates from respiratory illness and the high rates are in sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and developing Asia compared to other parts of the world: in Tanzania, according to the report, children younger than five are three times more likely to have been sleeping in a room with a traditional cook stove (fueled by wood or dung or crop residues) than healthy children. In Gambia, children carried on their mother's backs as they cook over smokey stoves contract pneumonia at a rate 2.5 times higher than unexposed children.

Desai says this is a problem that can be fixed, given commitment and resources. Improved biomass cook stoves are the most feasible option, the report says. The "Upesi Stove" developed in Kenya with its clay liner in a mud and stone hearth uses 40 percent less fuel and emits 60 percent less smoke. "We now know that we are talking about 3 million people in the world dying essentially because of one form or the other of air pollution" said Desai. "If you had a disease that was taking away 3 million people a year you surely would treat it as some sort of emergency which requires an urgent response." Improving agricultural yields is a "top priority" according to the report. Close to 30 percent of the 1.5 billion hectares of agricultural land in the world "is in some ways under stress. On this issue, says Desai, "the focus is very much on Africa." A new rice variety combining the hardiness of African rice varieties with the productivity of Asian rice varieties "is going to be launched in or around Johannesburg at the time of the Summit," said Desai.

Another especially important initiative for Africa is the convention on desertification. "We have some real prospects of being able to fund some of the activities that countries will want to undertake as part of their obligations under the Convention on Desertification." Developing nations have urged financial specificity on development goals at the upcoming WSSD, and also want discussion on lowering trade barriers to expand market access. In the view of the United States however, and several other wealthy nations, this would reopen agreements reached at the World Trade Organization meeting in Doha, Qatar and the summit on financial development held in Monterrey, Mexico. According to Desai, a July 17 "friend of the chair" meeting between nations on both sides of the issues has made dialogue instead of argument possible. "The issue of how do we reflect the outcome of Monterrey and Doha in what comes up in Johannesburg is an issue, but I do not see it as an insuperable one. People recognize that Doha and Monterrey have set down certain markers when it comes to trade and finance and we are to work within the framework provided by those markers." Desai said he was pleased with U.S. support The Bush administration "is very fully engaged in the summit." President Bush who is planning a January trip to Africa is not expected at the Johannesburg Summit. Secretary of State Colin Powell will lead the U.S. delegation, according to State Department sources. President Bush's absence notwithstanding, a number of heads of state and government are expected in Johannesburg. These include the prime ministers of Britain, Canada, Italy and Japan, French president Jacques Chirac, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder of Germany, the presidents of Mexico and Brazil and numerous African presidents.



Associated Press

13 August 2002


(AP) A U.N. report sets the stage for this month's Earth Summit with a sobering assessment of a planet where sea levels are rising, forests are being destroyed and more than 2 billion people face water shortages.  The report, released Tuesday, reviewed the most authoritative data from U.N. and international organizations about the use of natural resources. Fossil fuel consumption and carbon emissions continued to rise in the 1990s, particularly in Asia and North America, according to the study. Signs of climate change linked to global warming were more apparent, including more frequent and intense droughts in parts of Asia and Africa and rising sea levels.  During the 1990s, the report said, 2.4 percent of the world's forests were destroyed, almost all in tropical regions in Africa and Latin America. The estimated total area destroyed - 220 million acres - is larger than the size of Venezuela. U.N. Undersecretary-General Nitin Desai, who will lead the Earth Summit in Johannesburg from Aug. 26 to Sept. 4, said the report underscores that the world is at a crucial crossroads in the new millennium. "If we do nothing to change our current indiscriminate patterns of development, we will compromise the long-term security of the Earth and its people," he said. More than 100 world leaders are expected to attend the summit and adopt a plan aimed at accelerating economic development while preserving the environment. The report by the U.N. Department for Economic and Social Affairs, which Desai heads, focuses on five key issues: water and sanitation, energy, agricultural productivity, biodiversity and human health. The need to feed a rising global population - now over 6 billion and projected to reach 8 billion by 2025 - is exacerbated by an increase in food consumption, from 2100 calories to 2700 calories a day in developing countries, and from 3000 calories to 3400 calories a day in industrialized nations, the report said. At the same time, it said, the capacity to produce enough food is diminishing, especially in developing countries.  The report found that global water use has increased six-fold over the last century, at twice the rate of population growth, and that agriculture represents 70 percent of this consumption. The greatest drain on the world's freshwater supplies is inefficient agricultural irrigation systems.

Meanwhile, about 40 percent of the world population face water shortages; by 2025 that figure is expected to increase to 50 percent, the report said. "A top priority at the summit is the need to agree on policies and programs that improve agricultural yields in order to meet our long-term food needs," Desai said. "Equally pressing is the goal of expanding sustainable agricultural practices, including the introduction of efficient irrigation systems."  Despite some recent improvements, 1 billion people still lack access to safe drinking water and 2.5 billion lack adequate sanitation facilities, the report said.  More than 3 million people die every year from the effects of air pollution and 2.2 million people die from contaminated water, it found.

The great majority of those who die from polluted air are children in developing countries who suffer from respiratory infections, the report said.   The report praises some small-scale programs that address problems such as urban air pollution and child mortality linked to unsafe water. But it said these gains will be lost if action is not taken soon on a much larger scale.




13 August 2002


UNITED NATIONS - More than 100 world leaders plan to attend this month's Earth Summit in Johannesburg, but President Bush has not said whether he will come, a top U.N. official said on Tuesday. "The official reply I get in Washington is, 'No decision has been taken on this matter,'" said U.N. Undersecretary-General Nitin Desai, who is organizing the World Summit on Sustainable Development opening in South Africa in 13 days. "I would certainly look forward to the presence of President Bush there. But I would stress that the United States is very thoroughly and effectively engaged in this process. They are not standing on the sidelines," Desai told reporters. The Aug. 26-Sept. 4 conference is meant to build on the 1992 Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit, which set out global goals for environmental protection, and the 2000 Millennium Summit in New York, which established goals for battling hunger, poverty and disease. Bush left Washington for his Texas ranch on Aug. 6 and is planning to stay there until early September. He has given no indication he will attend the summit, but U.S. officials say their delegation has not been announced, although Secretary of State Colin Powell plans to attend. Bush will face fierce criticism whether he shows up at the summit or not.


He is already under fire from many of America's closest allies for pulling out of the Kyoto protocol, a global treaty on global warming, after arguing the pact would harm the U.S. economy and insisting there was no proof linking industrial pollution to climate change. The United States is the world's largest emitter of the greenhouse gases -- like carbon dioxide and methane -- that scientists widely blame for an alarming warming trend. If he fails to attend, he is certain to come under fresh fire for turning his back on the world's environmental woes. During the run-up to the summit, activists have been lining up to accuse Washington of trying to undermine the meeting by strongly opposing ambitious and potentially costly environmental and development goals. At the summit, the United States is expected instead to emphasize private sector partnerships and the importance of economic growth over binding global agreements to fight environmental problems and poverty. At least in part due to the hard line taken by Washington during negotiations, the drafting of a blueprint for environmentally friendly development, to be adopted at the summit's close, has been painfully slow. Because of this, Desai said the 189 U.N. member-nations had been asked to send delegates to Johannesburg three days early, "in the hope of moving issues forward, so that when we start the formal conference on Monday, we will have made some significant progress in identifying how we resolve this." Desai said he remained confident the conference would reach agreement on the complex issues ahead of it. "The real threat that we face now is the insidious global spread of poverty and environmental stress. That is the real security threat that we need to address," Desai said.



Voice of America

13 August 2002


A top Brazilian official says his country may not join the proposed western hemisphere free trade zone if the United States does not eliminate trade barriers to Brazilian products. The official, who spoke Tuesday, said he expects difficult negotiations ahead.

Trade, Development, and Industry Minister Sergio Amaral gave a cautious appraisal Tuesday of Brazil's prospects in the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas.  The U.S.-promoted FTAA was first proposed in 1994, and aims to establish a hemisphere-wide free trade zone in 2005. Negotiations to achieve this goal received a boost last week when President Bush signed legislation giving him expanded authority, commonly known as "fast track", to negotiate trade deals.  But speaking to foreign reporters in Rio, Trade Minister Amaral said despite Fast Track, Brazil is concerned about U.S. trade barriers on its products, especially in agriculture and steel. For this reason, Mr. Amaral said, his government views FTAA trade talks with caution. "Brazil is cautious, because the main export products to the United States face some kind of trade restrictions," he said. "Sometimes very high tariffs, for instance on orange juice; sometimes very small quotas; sometimes safeguards like on steel; sometimes a very significant subsidy [or] domestic financial support for producers that in effect take Brazilian products out of the U.S. market."  Brazil also is concerned over provisions in the new Fast Track law that require the Bush administration to consult with Congress before agreeing to make concessions on some 500 products. These include items such as frozen meats, fruits, orange juice and other products, which Brazil is hoping to export freely into the U.S. market under the FTAA.  Mr. Amaral said he hopes the new Congressional requirements do not undermine the prospects for an FTAA agreement. "We hope that this new procedure will not prevent the United States from putting on the table the real issues that prevent trade in the Americas from expanding as they might," he said. "Brazil has made substantial efforts to restructure its private sector, to take more sound macroeconomic policies. We are competitive in some areas, and we are prepared to negotiate FTAA, provided the real issues are put on the table."  If not, the trade minister warned, Brazil will have "no interest" in participating in the FTAA.  The United States is Brazil's major trading partner. Last year, Brazilian exports to the U.S. market grew by seven percent, to just over $14 billion. Mr. Amaral's warnings were also underscored in a speech Tuesday by Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso. Mr. Cardoso called on world leaders to discuss ending what he called "excessive protectionism," saying that opening markets is the best way to improve the distribution of wealth in the world. The Brazilian leader spoke before a government commission preparing for the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg later this month.



The Earth Times

13 August 2002


Klaus Toepfer, the head of the Unitd Nations Environment Programme, is being widely reported to be the leading candidate to head a new global agency for the environment, if such an agency is created at the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development.  The European Union is vigorously pushing for such an organization, to be called the World Environment Organization. Toepfer--a German national who was formerly his country's environment and urban-affairs minister--is rumored to be actively lobbying for the job. He has stepped up his travel schedule in recent months. He has also staked out for himself a major role at the WSSD, which will be held in Johannesburg, August 26-September 4.  Efforts to reach Toepfer for comment about his travels were unsuccessful. His New York spokesman, James Sniffen, did not respond to an e-mail query sent Monday evening.  The other candidate mentioned in connection with the new environment agency is Nitin Desai of India, Secretary General of WSSD. Desai is currently head of the UN's Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA); he is scheduled to retire from the UN early next year. Toepfer is known to personally dislike Desai. According to widely circulated reports, Toepfer and UNEP have been sniping at Desai's efforts concerning the Johannesburg summit, which is expected to attract some 85,000 participants.  There is no certainty that the summit will authorize the creation of a new World Environment Organization. There is already a feeling in many quarters that the Global Environment Facility--jointly managed by UNEP, the World Bank and the UN Development Programme--is doing an adequate job.  Moreover, Toepfer's stewardship of UNEP has been perceived as less than successful. His arrogance and attitudes concerning third-world people have brought him opprobrium. And he is less than popular in political circles in his native Germany. Their backing would be important for obtaining any new high-level international post for Toepfer.  Indeed, Germany had considered replacing Toepfer a couple of years ago when he underwent heart surgery.  Earlier this week, a group of influential conservatives in Washington wrote a letter to President George W. Bush opposing the creation of a new global environment agency. It is unlikely that the Bush administration would support such an agency in any case.



Gulf News

13 August 2002


A report released by the United Nations today highlights the disturbing toll of current patterns of development on global living standards and the Earth's natural resources. Published on the eve of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), the report, 'Global Challenge, Global Opportunity', underscores the need for increased efforts to support sustainable development to better manage global resources.  Today's report comes as over 100 world leaders prepare to attend the summit, to be held in Johannesburg from August 26 to September 4, where they are set to finalise a new global implementation plan to accelerate sustainable development, and to launch a series of innovative partnerships to promote sustainability. "Global Challenge, Global Opportunity highlights the choice we face between two futures," said Nitin Desai, Secretary-General of the WSSD at the UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs, which published the report.  "If we do nothing to change our current indiscriminate patterns of development, we will compromise the long-term security of the earth and its people. At Johannesburg, we have an opportunity to build a more secure future, by embracing a more sustainable form of development that will improve lives today, and build a better world for our children and grandchildren." The report examines a number of issues that UN's Secretary-General Kofi Annan has identified as central to the negotiations at the summit, including water and sanitation, energy, agricultural productivity, bio-diversity, and human health. In a sobering assessment of current trends in these areas, the report finds that at present, 40 per cent of the world's population faces water shortages. Global sea levels are rising, a clear indication of the impact of global warming. Many plants and animal species are at risk of extinction, including half of the large primates, man's closest animal relatives. Also 2.4 per cent of the world's forests were destroyed during the 1990s, and every year more than 3 million people die from the effects of air pollution. The report finds that global water use has increased six-folds over the last century, twice the rate of population growth, and that agriculture represents 70 per cent of this consumption.

"Despite some recent improvements in this area, 1 billion people still lack access to safe drinking water. By 2025, half of the world's population, 3.5 billion people will face serious water shortages, particularly in North Africa and West Asia, as groundwater supplies are consumed faster than they can be replenished." Meanwhile, fossil fuel consumption and carbon emissions continued to rise in the 1990s, particularly in Asia and in North America.  Demand for food is rising as the world population grows, and the capacity of food production to keep pace is diminishing, especially in the developing countries.  "This situation creates a long-term threat to food security, particularly in regions of the world where land has been degraded due to over-cultivation or desertification," it says.  On health issues, the report notes that a significant proportion of mortality in least developed countries is caused by the environment-related diseases.  It added: "Malaria is increasing due mainly to the reduced effectiveness of available medications, but the spread of the disease has also been assisted by development factors which favour the breeding of mosquitoes, including irrigation systems and deforestation." Desai said: "Governments, corporations and civil society must come to Johannesburg with a commitment to improve people's lives on a sustainable basis. At the summit a number of major partnership initiatives will be launched.  "However, many more such programmes must be set up and implemented if we are to reverse the destructive patterns of development highlighted by this report." Desai cited the innovative WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for All) Initiative as an excellent example of the new partnerships. It involves 28 governments, NGOs, development banks, UN agencies and major businesses in a global effort to provide water and sanitation to over 1.1 billion people by 2015. On a positive note, the report identifies the emergence of sustainable development practices on a small scale that are beginning to be replicated to address issues such as eco-system preservation, urban air pollution and child mortality linked to unsafe water.  But these gains are imperiled, say the summit representatives, if greater action is not taken soon to reverse the more disturbing trends noted in the report



The Scotsman

13 August 2002


A MASSIVE 29 of the world's 100 biggest economic entities represent shareholders rather than voters, according to a United Nations report released yesterday, with oil giant ExxonMobil gaining a higher ranking than nuclear power Pakistan.

The report shows that some multinational behemoths have more financial clout than many large countries, with the energy giant 45th on the list, two places ahead of General Motors, which in turn is one place ahead of Peru and three spots ahead of New Zealand.  The UN Conference on Trade and Development ranked countries according to gross domestic product (GDP), while the corporations are ranked based on "value added" - the sum of pre-tax profits, salaries, amortisation and depreciation for the year 2000.  The data was released just days ahead of the start of the World Summit in South Africa, where world leaders are due to discuss the issue of sustainable development. The US tops the list with a GDP of £6.4 trillion, more than double that of second-placed Japan. Britain is fourth, behind Germany, with £927.5 billion. China, which is one of the world's fastest growing economic superpowers, comes in 6th, with a GDP of £702 billion, ahead of both Italy and Canada. Scotland, although not included in the list, would sit between Egypt and Iran in 39th place, with a total GDP of about £64 billion.

Oil giant Royal Dutch/Shell comes in at 62nd place, with a total of £23.4 billion, only two places behind Kuwait, which is one of the world's largest oil producing countries, with £24.7 billion. Rival BP is just a few rungs further down the ladder in 68th place.

Other economic entities running neck and neck include tobacco giant Philip Morris in 85th place and the Dominican Republic - one of the largest cigar producing nations - in 83rd. Argentina, despite its recent economic woes, comes in at 17th, with a GDP of £185.3 billion.  UNCTAD said the top 100 multinational corporations accounted for 4.3 per cent of the world's gross domestic product in 2000, up from 3.5 per cent in 1990. Other corporations on the list include car makers Ford, Toyota and Volkswagen, tobacco company Philip Morris, pharmaceutical manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline and US retailer Wal-Mart. British telecommunications firm BT props up the index at 100th with a value of £11.1 billion, just one place behind GSK.



Daily Star

13 August 2002


Local nongovernmental organizations are predicting the failure of the Johannesburg World Summit, in which the planet's heads of state attempt to forge a safer future for us all. The summit, from Aug. 26 to Sept. 4, is also called Rio Plus 10, as it is supposed to materialize and set the framework for the vision reached by world leaders 10 years ago in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. That vision was summarized in the vague, but now commonly used terminology of "sustainable development," which simply means that economic growth should take the environment into account if life is to continue on this planet. Ten years ago, world leaders came to the realization that if economic development continued at the same rate, with consumption and production maintaining the same pace and pattern, future generations would be robbed of natural resources. In an attempt to spare some forests as well as clean air and water for our grandchildren, the 117 heads of state concluded the Rio meeting with the signing of two conventions on climate change and biodiversity as well as the Agenda 21 program, an implementation tool for sustainable development. As part of the Agenda 21 program, the largest and most important forum of world leaders, gathering some 65,000 people in Johannesburg, should also specify how the capacities of local authorities will be built and poverty eradicated. The Johannesburg summit is also expected to specify how the principles of democracy, transparency and public participation will lead to sustainable development, a concept for which the assembly at Rio created the name of governance. After the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, several preparatory meetings took place to devise the sustainable development guidelines and timetables that should ultimately reduce emissions responsible for climate change and protect remaining forests and the biological diversity of the planet. But local NGOs that attended the last preparatory meeting in Bali last June, where ministers of 173 countries met to draft the text of their final agreements, strongly doubt that these goals will be achieved. Like other NGO representatives, Greenpeace Lebanon campaigner Zeina Hajj came back from Bali with very low expectations, as the meeting, which was supposed to produce the document to be ratified in Johannesburg, was plagued with disagreements. "Bali witnessed a fierce power struggle between three groups  the United States and company, the European Union and the G77 countries," Hajj told The Daily Star, adding that the United States chaired a group with Australia and Canada, which was often named by the NGOs as "the axis of environmental evil" and the "filthy three." "Each group was fighting to get benefits out of the summit that serve its national interests. Sustainable development is a global goal (but) we cannot achieve it if countries are going to pursue their national interests," Hajj said. The Greenpeace representative also said that there were times when the European Union sided with the United States against the G77  a sort of "poor man's G8"  and other times when it sided with developing countries, depending on the issues in question. "For example, the EU and the United States disagreed with the G77 countries over corporate liability," Hajj said. The developing countries wanted big corporations, which often ... caused environmental disasters, to be obliged to show more responsibility, said Hajj. But industrialized countries, from which big corporations emanate, wanted to exclude such a clause from Johannesburg's final declaration, thus failing to define any concrete steps to deal with this issue in the final draft. It was just stated in a theoretical way, that "there should be corporate liability."

Disagreement, as Hajj said, resulted in the final production of a "weak text" and yet another list of "theories and empty promises," rather than the "implementation guidebook of sustainable development" that the Johannesburg declaration was supposed to be.

The idea of such a weak declaration disturbed Hajj, who said that Greenpeace preferred the "collapse of Johannesburg" over the production of another United Nations sponsored list of theories and unattainable visions. Other fields of disagreement were in the energy sector and the reduction of emissions, a core issue of sustainable development which the United States sabotaged by withdrawing from the follow-up of the Kyoto Protocol to limit global warming. "The EU was trying to include clauses on introducing renewable energy sources like solar and wind energy, but the axis of evil countries aggressively opposed any mentioning of such terms," Hajj said. "You know until now, it is unknown if President (George W.) Bush will attend the conference. He bluntly stated, and I quote: 'You need to convince me to go there, I will only go to benefit the American people and not necessarily the world,'" Hajj added. For the head of the Arab NGO Network for Development, Ziad Abdul Samad, the main disagreement, which will lead to the failure of the summit, is between the G77 and the G8 countries over international financial aid.

Abdul Samad said that while G77 countries argued that financial assistance from rich to poor countries will help development and the eradication of poverty, G8 powers were pushing the idea that the key to growth was more free trade and neoliberal policies.

"The G8 are pushing forward the new slogan of 'no aid, more trade,' whereas G77 countries argue that trade will put more pressure on natural resources and will increase the unwise exploitation of energy," Abdul Samad said. G77 countries had a legitimate demand, according to Abdul Samad, as industrialized countries were not fulfilling the promises they made in Rio to give seven-tenths of 1 percent of their gross domestic product in international aid. Despite the fact that the GDP of rich countries has grown over the past 10 years, development aid to poor countries has actually plummeted from 0.35 percent of national income in 1990 to 0.22 percent in 2000. Abdul Samad added that governance was another conflicting issue between industrialized and developing countries as rich states argued that good governance, which covers principles of democracy and transparency, should be a condition underlying financial assistance. "But G77 countries say that good governance signifies improvement of international democracy and transparency and does not pertain to individual countries," Abdul Samad said. "In any case we, as NGOs, will lobby against any injustice or clauses that don't advance sustainable development."



Environment News Service

13 August 2002


JOHANNESBURG, August 12, 2002 (ENS) - With just two weeks before the start of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan  has sent world leaders a letter strongly encouraging their active participation at the summit in Johannesburg.  "Your presence would send a strong message of global solidarity and signal commitment at the highest level to a sustainable future for all," the Secretary-General wrote.  To date, 106 heads of state and heads of government have indicated that they will attend the high level segment of the conference September 2-4, but U.S. President George W. Bush is not among them.  In his letter, Annan told the leaders that the summit will be an opportunity to reinvigorate a global commitment to sustainable development and to maintain the positive momentum generated at the World Trade Organization meeting in Doha, Qatar, and the UN's International Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey, Mexico.  South Africa has so far raised 80 percent of the money needed to host the summit the Johannesburg World Summit Company (Jowsco) has announced.  The official summit opens at the Sandton Convention Centre August 26 and concludes on September 4. The total budget is estimated at R550 million ($US55 million), of which the South African government is expected to contribute R200 million (US$20 million).  Jowsco CEO Moss Mashishi told reporters at the National Press Club in Pretoria last week that contributions from governments and private corporations were "looking quite good" in terms of initial predictions, but he did not give exact figures.  Mashishi said, "We just had advance team briefings which were attended by 109 countries - a pretty high number."  About 6,000 delegates are expected to attend the official UN meeting. An estimated 5,000 media representatives will cover the event, according to the South African Press Association. About 10,000 representatives of nine key interest groups will also get accreditation to enter the official conference at Sandton.

Another 15,000 people are expected to attend a civil society conference at the Nasrec Expo Center south of Johannesburg, while 800 business people will gather for a forum at Sandton's Hilton hotel.  At least 500 events parallel to the summit are planned in an around Johannesburg, from arts exhibits and cultural performances to a Water Dome based close to the official conference center. Sponsored by the Africa Water Task Force and endorsed by African Water Ministers, the Water Dome will be active from August 29 through September 2. It aims to create water awareness by allowing all stakeholders to showcase their water related activities, policies, initiatives, new technologies, and products.

If participants at the World Summit on Sustainable Development ever feel they have lost touch with the world outside the meeting, a Virtual Exhibit webcast during the summit will restore the connection, bringing real world problems and solutions to the Sandton Convention Center.  The exhibit will allow live links to sustainable development projects all across the globe, and will allow people at the summit - presidents, prime ministers, leaders of nongovernmental organization and businesses - to talk to people in the field. Anyone with access to the Internet, anywhere, can watch. Johannesburg Summit Secretary-General Nitin Desai has called Johannesburg "the first truly interactive world summit."  "We hope to bring the world to Johannesburg. We want to make the thousands of summit delegates aware that there are people in the field doing innovative things in the pursuit of sustainable development and give those people a chance to participate in the summit process."  Local governments from all over the world will make their views known at a four day session August 27 to 30. More than 500 mayors and representatives of local authority associations will meet in the summit district of Sandton during the first week of the event to challenge summit delegates and agreements.  About half of the world's population, an estimated 2.7 billion people, live in urban areas. Increasing fossil fueled transport, declining water and air quality as well as poverty and unemployment are issues challenging local governments throughout the world today.  A strategic plan known as "Local Action 21" is planned to be launched at the end of the local government session in Johannesburg. It will be presented by the local government representatives in concert with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).  "Local authorities are already moving from agenda to action - despite the difficulties," reports Konrad Otto-Zimmermann, secretary general of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), the association leading the local government preparations for Johannesburg.  The main obstacles - the lack of access to financial resources, the inflexibility of tax structures, weak decision making power, and lack of capacity - have continued to keep local governments from exploiting their high potential to address key sustainable development issues.  Still, in Johannesburg local governments will be highlighting their accomplishments since the last UN environment and development summit, in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Since then more than 6,000 municipalities worldwide have addressed issues of sustainable development within Local Agenda 21 processes agreed at the Rio summit.  "Achievements on the local level could be even more impressive, if cities did not face so many obstacles in taking local action," says Otto-Zimmermann.  UNDP Administrator Mark Malloch Brown expressed his conviction that local governments will play a key role in Johannesburg. "Only if we succeed in convincing national governments and organizations that the crucial and heaviest workload for sustainable development is to be done at the local level, do we have a chance at leading the summit to a successful end."



Associated Press Writer

13 August 2002


CAPE TOWN, South Africa - Less than two weeks ahead of a world summit on the environment, rich and poor nations remained deeply divided over how to develop the planet on a sustainable basis, South Africa's environment minister said Tuesday.

The World Summit on Sustainable Development, due to take place from Aug. 26 to Sept. 4 in Johannesburg, is a follow up to the 1992 Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It will aim at stemming the depletion of the planet's resources and extending basic services to billions of poor people.  Four preparatory meetings have failed to produce consensus on a draft declaration to be adopted at the U.N. summit.  South African Environment Minister Valli Moosa told reporters while there "had been some movement," there was still disagreement about the degree of responsibility developed and developing nations should take for conserving the environment, and who should pay for it.  While countries had agreed to goals such as halving the number of people who lacked clean water by 2015, there was no unanimity on proposals to set similar targets to widen access to proper sanitation and commit countries to using renewable energy sources, he said.  Countries also disagreed whether the summit should address the issues of market access and distorting subsidies, and whether sustainable development should be linked to good governance.

Government negotiators hoped to reach an acceptable compromise during informal negotiations scheduled for Aug. 24-25.

Moosa was optimistic of a favorable outcome, saying he was unaware of a single country that planned to boycott the summit. "I think countries can find each other," he said. "What we want the summit to achieve is to emerge with an implementation plan and program" to conserve the environment.  In the buildup to the summit, U.N. agencies and other organizations have released a series of new reports warning that the earth's resources are being eroded at an unprecedented rate, and detailing how billions of people lack clean water, sanitation and other basic services.




13 August 2002


The biggest attempt to tackle the Earth's worsening environment problems and help the planet's poorest gets underway in less than two weeks, but already the prospect of failure hangs over the Johannesburg summit. Wrangling over textual nuances, squabbling over financial commitments and a doctrinal row between Europe and Washington could hollow out the summit, transforming the second Earth Summit into a ludicrous exercise in hot air."Johannesburg should be the opportunity for a decisive change of direction," says Crispin Tickell, director of the Green College Centre for Environmental Policy and Understanding at Oxford University. "(But) so far the progress has been unsatisfactory, and the prospects... do not look good." Between 40 000 and 60 000 people are scheduled to attend the August 26-September 4 meeting, whose last three days will climax with a summit of heads of state or government. The gathering is a 10-year follow-up to the fabled Earth Summit on sustainable development at Rio de Janeiro.Trumpeted as mankind's new dawn, the Rio Summit gave birth to an array of agreements on staving off climate change, preserving bio-diversity and curbing pollutant chemicals that linger in the environment for decades. A decade down the track, none of these accords has been implemented. And the most important of them - the Kyoto Protocol on global warming - has been almost gutted by the astonishingly complex rulebook that took almost four years to negotiate. It has also been snubbed by the United States, the worst carbon polluter of all. Agenda 21, the "action programme" of 2500 proposals on sustainable development set down in Rio, has been a bible that has gathered dust on bureaucrats' shelves. In the meantime, a mountain of evidence, from UN agencies, scientists and credible environment groups, highlights the effects of man's parasitic use of the Earth. Johannesburg will seek to put Agenda 21 back on track and also push ahead with another lofty goal, set down at the UN's Millennium Summit, to halve the number of poor and hungry by 2015 and boost access to clean water and power. How to achieve this is of course the big problem, for the New Age generosity that prevailed in Rio has melted like an alpine glacier faced with atmospheric warming. "At discussions on global finance and the economy, the environment is still treated as an unwelcome guest," UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said last month. US President George W. Bush's administration is opposing all attempts for anything other than voluntary, rather than binding, summit text on matters such as aid and incentives for alternative energy. In Rio, rich countries pledged to contribute 0,7% of their gross national product (GNP) in development aid. Today, the European Union's share remains under half of that - 0,33% of GNP - while that of the United States is a mere 0,11%. The wealthy nations club, the OECD, spends six times more on farming subsidies than it does on development assistance. Non-government groups are holding their own "Global Forum", from August 19 to September 4, where criticism of the wealthy West will be fierce. "The decisions (at Johannesburg) must yield clean air, clean water, renewable energy and a healthier environment, not rhetoric," says Marcelo Furtado of Greenpeace International. - Sapa-AFP



Business Day

13 August 2002


PROTESTERS seeking to disrupt the World Summit on Sustainable Development may decide to make their mark electronically.  SA has not yet experienced the severity of cyber attacks suffered by some foreign firms. But the summit will put local companies in the firing line from protesters using hackers to cause chaos, warns Martin May, the regional director of Enterasys.  "This is SA's chance to show we are capable of hosting a worldclass event, but we have to be aware of the possible threats and make sure we have the necessary protection in place. Invaluable data will be flooding into our country's networks and we have to protect it," May said. Prime targets for hack attacks are likely to be the official summit websites, agrees Mohammed Haffejee, IT executive of the Johannesburg World Summit Company (Jowsco).  "We are expecting people to try to hack us to make a name for themselves. Some could be malicious and some will be thrillseekers, but we are preparing for both," Haffejee said.  May believes attackers will also try to disrupt local power and telecommunications services, as well as corporate networks. But even an attention-grabbing move to deface a website could cause major headaches for delegates.  Jowsco is working with national intelligence agents to install security measures. However, the technologies will not be disclosed to avoid alerting hackers to the barriers they will encounter, which include firewalls to prevent unauthorised access, and intrusion detection software to sound the alarm if security is violated.  One likely form of electronic sabotage is a denial of service attack, where thousands of computers can be hijacked and harnessed to bombard a network with queries. The combined effect can be sufficient to cause a collapse. Such attacks have brought down Yahoo and eBay.



United Nations

12 August 2002


New York, 12 August-Youth representatives will have a chance to make a major contribution at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg later this month, according to Summit Secretary-General Nitin Desai, and will have a seat at the meetings that shape action as well as the roundtables with Heads of State and Government. With the focus of this year's International Youth Day on sustainable development, Desai told an audience in New York that youth are far more willing to show a personal commitment to sustainable development than others since "they will live in the future. They have to worry."  "One of the reasons," Desai said, "why we are not getting what we want is due to very short-term political thinking over long-term  considerations. This is one area where youth groups can come in with strong convictions, not theoretical, to demand that action must be taken. Youth can make a very powerful contribution here." Noting that youth groups had already been involved in the preparations for Johannesburg, and have held extensive preparations of their own, Desai called on the youth representatives to "come to Johannesburg and make a difference."  Desai said that youth could play an especially big role on the cutting edge of sustainable development, which is at the local level, where largely abstract policy formulations are boiled down to the point where people are forced to take certain decisions. Youth are well placed to make a difference in Johannesburg, as Ghazal Badiozamani, from the Summit Secretariat, said 40 countries will have youth representatives on their delegations.  United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in his message for the commemoration, said the engagement of young people "is crucial" to the preparation and the follow-up to the Summit.  "While it is the responsibility of governments to ensure these commitments are translated into action, they cannot do it alone. They need to be spurred on by the voices of people everywhere. That is where young people come in. Just as youth have been active in the preparations for the Johannesburg Summit, so must they remain active in the follow-up, and keep making their voices heard as the main stakeholders in our planet's future."  This is the third year that International Youth Day will be observed, and the theme for the Day is "Now and for the Future: Youth Action for Sustainable Development." Youth--defined by the United Nations as the age group between 15 and 24 years old -- make up one sixth of the world's population. The majority of these young men and women live in developing countries, and their numbers are expected to rise steeply into the twenty-first century.  Since the 1992 Earth Summit, youth have been recognized as a major group in all sustainable development conferences. The Rio Conference found that "The creativity, ideals and courage of the youth of the world should be mobilized to forge a global partnership in order to achieve sustainable development and ensure a better future for all."




12 August 2002


Delegations from the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Ireland administrations are to attend the Earth Summit later this month - although they have no seats at the conference table.  The members - including Wales' First Minister Rhodri Morgan and Scotland's Jack McConnell - will be included in the official UK party.  More than 60,000 delegates from 174 nations are expected at the summit in South Africa.  'Lavish junket'  UK Environment Minister Michael Meacher was initially not included in the official UK party, but was included after protests.  Downing Street was said to be concerned the trip would be seen by the press as a lavish junket at the taxpayers expense.  A Downing Street spokeswoman told BBC News Online there would be "no more than 70" delegates from the UK in Johannesburg "at any one time" during the two week summit.  But she refused to say how many UK delegates would be attending in total.  'Valuable lessons'  Rhodri Morgan, who is taking three officials with him to Johannesburg, has defended his decision to attend.  He said Wales had "valuable lessons" to share with other countries about "sustainable development".

We have to learn to live differently, and we have a key role to play in sharing the lessons we have already learned with other nations . "We also know all about the alternative - unsustainable development if you like," he added.  "Our communities and landscape still bears the scars of that kind of development, which didn't consider the long term future.  "We have to learn to live differently, and we have a key role to play in sharing the lessons we have already learned with other nations."  Mr Morgan is sponsoring an event at the summit aimed at creating a global network of regional governments to promote sustainable development.  He is also due to give a speech on corporate trust and responsibility and meet representatives of other regional  governments.

'Small delegation'

Scotland's first minister, Jack McConnell, is to head a 10 strong delegation from Scotland, including environomental campaigners and business leaders.  A spokesman said Mr McConnell would be taking three officials with him, including a special adviser and private secretary and would be "paying for" two other members of the delegation.  Mr McConnell said: "The Scottish civic delegation will make sure that the views of Scottish people are heard and that Scotland's participation brings real benefits on the ground in Scotland."

Mr McConnell plans to visit to a township school to promote an eco-schools programme.

He will also make a speech on environmental justice and promote overseas investment in Scottish higher education.   A spokesman for Northern Ireland's First Minister, David Trimble, said the Stormont administration would be present at the earth summit but no decisions have been taken about who specifically will go.  He stressed that the delegation would be "small".  Meanwhile, in an apparent swipe at Mr Meacher, International Development Secretary Clare Short insisted the Earth Summit was primarily about tackling Third World poverty and not environmental issues.  'Lone voice'  The row comes as Mr Meacher launched an attack on the government's record on sustainable development.

Mr Prescott will lead the delegation

He claims Labour has failed to put the issue at the heart of its policies.  In an interview in the Sunday Times Mr Meacher claimed that he was a "lone voice in the wilderness" of the cabinet when it came to the environment.  He said: "I make no bones about it. I don't think the government as a whole is yet ready to take the magnitude of decisions I think are necessary."  He indicated the sort of direction that he wanted to take policy by pointing to a little publicised European initiative to ban big engine cars from city centres.  Mr Meacher also expressed deep reservations about a new airport planned for wildlife haven Cliffe in north Kent.

'Catastrophic'  Friends of the Earth director Charles Secrett praised Mr Meacher's stance.  But Clare Short told BBC Radio 4's the World This Weekend: "This isn't an environmental summit. It's a summit about sustainable development.  "The biggest challenge to the world is to guarantee to the poor of the world development in a planet that we keep sustainable."



Associated Press

12 August 2002


STOCKHOLM, Sweden - A top United Nations official on Monday called for world leaders to move "from declarations to action and implementation" in helping developing countries manage scarce water resources.  U.N. Environment Program head Klaus Toepfer said 1.1 billion people still lack access to safe drinking water and 2.4 billion lack access to adequate sanitation.  Meanwhile, he said, water use is expected to increase by 40 percent and 17 percent more water will be needed for food production to meet the needs of the world's growing population by 2020.  "Without adequate clean water, there can be no escape from poverty," Toepfer said in opening remarks at an annual symposium on water issues in the Swedish capital, Stockholm.  Water is one of five central issues on the agenda of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, which opens Aug. 26 in Johannesburg, South Africa, according to a news release.  Toepfer said water pollution, poor sanitation and water shortages will kill millions of people this year and leave millions more "in bad health and trapped in poverty."  Leaders at the Johannesburg summit, which has been billed as the largest U.N. convention ever, should "take decisions that move us from declarations to action and implementation," he said, calling for increased funding to help developing countries manage water in an environmentally sustainable manner.  About 900 business leaders, academics and activists from 100 countries were discussing issues like water pollution and resource management at the four-day Stockholm Water Symposium, which is part of the annual World Water Week.  This year, a final conference declaration was expected Thursday with recommendations for the Johannesburg summit.  South African Waters Affairs Minister Ronnie Kasrils warned against taking water for granted, pointing to the link between poor sanitation and diseases like cholera and diarrhea.  "Water generally hasn't been singled out (as an issue) because water is everywhere," Kasrils said at a news conference.




12 August 2002


NEW DELHI, Aug 13, 2002 (AsiaPulse via COMTEX) -- India is looking forward to the forthcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg for the global community to come out with an action plan to ease the growing pressure on scarce natural resources.  India's Environment Minister T R Baalu will lead the Indian delegation for the summit which has on its agenda issues ranging from poverty eradication to unsustainable pattern of consumption and production. The summit to be held later this month will be attended by nearly 160 countries.  The federal Environment Ministry has prepared a document "Agenda 21 -- An assessment" outlining India's performance on sustainable development approaches as agreed at the 1992 Rio Earth summit.

The document to be soon released by Baalu highlights the challenges regarding improving the quality of life while at the same time ensuring sustainable management of natural resources.  It paints a grim picture on how at the present level of production and consumption the oil reserves of the country would last only for another 18 years and the natural gas reserves for 25 years.

On the water front, the current estimated surplus of about 500 billion cubic metres of water may be a short lived affairs since the water demand of about 1,180 billion cubic metres could overtake the availability by 2050.



Xinhua News Agency

12 August 2002


NAIROBI, Aug 12, 2002 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- With only two weeks to the second Earth Summit in South Africa's Johannesburg, leaders from both developing and developed countries have voiced high expectation for the event, hoping that the summit will map a way forward for a planet battered by poverty, diseases and depletion of natural resources.  "The Johannesburg summit offers a great opportunity to give new energy to international cooperation and to strengthen global solidarity, " says Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson in an article contained in a special edition of Our Planet magazine published Monday by the UN Environment Program (UNEP).  "It is an opportunity to make real progress in achieving the goals set out in Rio ten years ago. It is an opportunity that we are not allowed to miss," he notes.  The UN summit, also known as World Summit on Sustainable Development, is a follow-up to the first Earth Summit in Brazil's Rio de Janeiro in 1992. It is scheduled to open on Aug. 26 and end on Sep. 4.  During the meeting, some 60,000 delegates including over 100 heads of state and governments will examine the progress the world has made in sustainable development over the past ten years and are expected to endorse action plans on water, energy, health, agriculture and biodiversity.  "The world has changed since the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, but unfortunately, in many respects, not for the better," Brazilian President Fernado Henrique argues in the magazine.  He cites global environmental degradation, unchanged pattern of production and consumption in the developed world and the reluctance of developed countries to transfer clean technologies to developing countries among others.  The president also pointed to the fact that the Kyoto Protocol which aims at curbing greenhouse gas emissions to check the trend of global warming has not been ratified by chief polluters of the world.  "Africa, a continent dear to us all, symbolizes how much people can suffer because the world has failed to find an alternative way of achieving development," he says, stressing that the Johannesburg Summit must launch innovative initiatives for sustainable development.  "We need to promote the sustainable use of water, to find new sources of renewable energy, and to clarify the link between poverty and the depletion of natural resources," the president notes.

In his article, Thabo Mbeki, president of South Africa, flags up the need to address the world's existing patterns of production and consumption.  "If the Chinese citizen is to consume the same quantity of crude oil as his or her United States counterpart, China would need over 80 million barrels of oil a day, slightly more than the 74 million barrels a day the world now produces," says the summit' s host.  A global consensus has been established that sustainable development rests on three interdependent pillars: the protection of the earth, social development and economic prosperity.  The period since the Rio Earth Summit has been one of unprecedented global economic growth. Growth in the world economy in the year 2000 alone exceeded that during the entire 19th century.  "Yet people continue to die of hunger; babies are born, grow up and die without being able to read or write; many fellow humans do not have clean water to drink; and people die of curable diseases, " he notes.  He pointed to the fact that the gulf between rich and poor members of the human race continues to widen.  Meanwhile, there are fewer fish in the seas, more carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere, more desertification, more soil erosion and more species extinction, he says.  "The Johannesburg World Summit must take further our pledge at the Millennium Summit to eradicate poverty. It must also speak to he who consumes more than the earth can give," Mbeki notes.

Colin Powell, the US secretary of state, writes in the magazine that delivering environmentally-friendly development is vital for delivering a more stable world.  He claims that sustainable development is a "compelling moral and humanitarian issue", adding that it is also a "security imperative."  "Poverty, environmental degradation and despair are destroyers of people, of societies, of nations. This unholy trinity can destabilize countries, even entire regions," he says.  Powell, who is expected to head the US delegation to  Johannesburg, says that the summit "is a time of great  opportunities to expand peace, prosperity and freedom."

But even before the meeting starts, environmentalists have  accused a group of nations led by the US of blocking plans to set

any targets and effectively emasculating a draft text on proposed  actions. Many fear that any failure of setting targets in the final Plan of Implementation to be endorsed by world leaders at the summit will make the plan nothing but empty rhetoric.

Klaus Toepfer, executive director of UNEP, noted that failure in Johannesburg cannot be contemplated as the risks are too great.

"What has to be achieved at the summit is a concrete plan and targets of implementation," He said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua, noting that there must be absolutely clear commitments from governments.  " Unless a new course is chartered for planet Earth, we risk a new 'Iron Curtain', dividing not East and West, but the haves and the have-nots, with all the ramifications of increased tensions, jealousies and hatreds between and within countries," he said.  He revealed that more than 70 percent of the Plan of Implementation has been agreed by countries of the world, and what has not been agreed mainly link with means of implementation such as setting timetables.  "It is extremely necessary to have concrete targets and  timetables for implementation and link them with means of  implementation," he noted. Toepfer called on developed countries to back and cooperate

with developing countries to fight against poverty to give them  the means of implementation. This should include increasing official development aid, market opening, decreasing trade subsidies, debt reduction, speeding up clean technology transfer and helping developing countries in their capacity building, he noted.  "What we are doing in Johannesburg is to develop this world toward peace, cooperation and solidarity," the UNEP boss said.



Xinhua News Agency

12 August 2002


NAIROBI, Aug 12, 2002 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- The World Wild Fund for Nature ( WWF) Monday launched a global multi-media campaign to urge political leaders to take action at the upcoming second Earth Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The campaign, tagged "SOS Planet," consists of a website ( which allows visitors to send their personal SOS message to world leaders, television and print advertising.  The campaign aims at alerting global audiences to the urgent need for action, said the conservation organization in a statement.  On Aug. 23, a concert, dubbed SOS PLANET: Concert for People and the Environment, will be held in the Johannesburg Stadium, which forms part of the opening ceremonies of the Earth Summit, also known as the World Summit on Sustainable Development.  Artists performing include Mandoza of South Africa, Salif Keita of Mali, Femi Kuti of Nigeria, the Pretenders of Britain, Siamoon of Germany, DJ Jean of the Netherlands and Mumiy Troll of Russia.  Through this concert, the WWF expects to reach the youth with messages of hope and a call to action, said the statement.  "With governments being slow and reluctant to commit to any concrete action to secure sustainable development, alleviate poverty and agree measures to save the environment, the WWF gives people from around the world the opportunity to urge world leaders to take action now," said Claude Martin, director general of the WWF.  The summit presents an excellent opportunity to tackle some of the most urgent challenges for the survival of the planet, he said.  "World leaders need to know that people want to see them commit to a concrete agenda to ensure poverty is reduced and nature will be saved," he said.  The WWF is asking that governments commit to enabling access to clean, affordable and reliable energy services, and to ensuring that 10 percent of primary energy supply comes from new, renewable sources by 2010, said the statement.  The organization also asks that governments commit to securing water for people and nature by conserving the world's sources of water, increasing peoples' access to water and sanitation, and improving the efficient use of freshwater.  "SOS Planet is a wake-up call to world leaders letting them know that people around the world want them to act now," said Martin.




12 August 2002


Pretoria, Aug 12, 2002 (BuaNews/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) -- The success of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) will depend on the commitments of governments, civil society and business, says transport minister Dullah Omar.  Speaking at the Fifth Annual Africa Rail Conference in Midrand today, Mr Omar said concrete outcomes from the summit were imperative for the world's economic development.  The minister was addressing delegates at the conference held to explore ways of developing railways in Africa.  'Africa is currently faced with the challenge of eradicating poverty and halving the number of impoverished people by 2015, governments alone cannot achieve that, the partnership of civil society and business is needed,' said minister Omar.  He said governments; business and civil society had no choice but to make this partnership a reality.

He added the gathering in Johannesburg from 24 August to 4 September should restore hope and certainty among people of the world. Ten years from now governments should be able to look back at the summit with pride and say it was a landmark in their efforts to create a sustainable future for all.  The summit is expected to draw more than 65 000 delegates from around the world.



Xinhua News Agency

12 August 2002


UNITED NATIONS, Aug 12, 2002 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Marking the International Youth Day, United Nations officials called on young people Monday to be fully engaged in sustainable development policies in order to foster a world free of poverty, disease and war for future generations.  In his message on the International Day, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said the involvement of young people is "crucial" to the success of the World Summit for Sustainable Development, which is to open in Johannesburg, South Africa, later this month.  Annan noted that although governments were responsible for ensuring that international commitments on the issue were translated into action, they must rely on young generations to participate in this effort.

"I call on all of us to make the best possible use of young people's imagination, energy and indomitable spirit, in the cause of sustaining the future for succeeding generations," he said.  Echoing this view, the UN high commissioner for human rights, Mary Robinson, said that the cause of sustainable development, a key concern among young generations, could be reinvigorated by their attendance at the Johannesburg summit.  Robinson added that youth should continue to campaign for peace and the respect of human rights while demanding action on poverty, education, food, adequate housing and a safe environment.  "I would like to encourage young people to continue their inspirational efforts," she said. "To campaign now for human rights and equality for all is to lay the groundwork for sustainable development for all, development that will not compromise the needs, dreams and possibilities of future generations."  The International Youth Day has been commemorated worldwide on Aug. 12 every year under a resolution adopted in 1999 by the UN General Assembly.



Daily Trust (Nigeria)

12 August 2002


Aug 08, 2002 (Daily Trust/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) -- All non-governmental organisations (NGOs) with special concern and interest on the environment and sustainable development in the country have entered a coalition, forming the Nigerian NGOs for Sustainable Development (NNSD), with a view to monitoring and implementing the ideals of a global development agenda.

This formation became necessary following the need to bring to practical reality, Agenda 21, a national and global policy for sustainable development which was formulated by the Rio '92 UN conference on Environmental and Development, but which failed to integrate environment issues into development process.  The NNSD which has N94, 500.00 as contribution by member organisations for the immediate take off, has been given the mandate by the Federal Ministry of Environment to monitor and implement the ideals of the forthcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) billed to take place in Johannesburg (South Africa) from August 26 to September 4, 2002.  In a statement made available to Daily Trust and signed by the secretary general and chairman of the steering committee of NNSD, Uche Agbamisi and Priscilla Achakpa respectively, the mandate became necessary "due to the fact that there can be no sustainable development without full involvement of all stakeholders," adding that NNBD will monitor and implement the WSSD Agenda 21 during and after the Johannesburg summit.  Other highlights of the NNSD formation according to the statement includes lobbying for debt relief, reparation of state fund, NEPAD, poverty, youths and gender issues, HIV/AIDS and the dissemination of information and empowerment of the generality of the population.



Xinhua News Agency

12 August 2002


BEIJING, Aug 12, 2002 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji will visit Algeria, Morocco, Cameroon, South Africa, and attend the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development from Aug. 25 to Sept. 6.  Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan made the announcement here Monday.  According to Kong, Zhu is to pay an official visit to Algeria, Morocco, Cameroon and a working visit to South Africa, at the respective invitations of Prime Minister Ali Benflis of the Democratic People's Republic of Algeria, Prime Minister Abderrahmane Youssoufi of the Kingdom of Morocco, President Paul Biya of the Republic of Cameroon and the government of the Republic of South Africa.  He will also head the Chinese government delegation to attend the UN summit to be held in Johannesburg from Sept. 2 to 4, in which he will make remarks in the general debate and roundtable conference, Kong said.  Zhu will exchange views with leaders of relevant countries on international and regional issues of common interest to enhance friendship, expand common consensus, strengthen mutual trust and promote cooperation, he said




12 August 2002


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - When the United States' delegation heads to the Johannesburg Earth Summit this month President Bush will probably still be on holiday at his Texas ranch.  The U.S. delegation faces international anger over Bush's rejection of the Kyoto treaty to combat global warming and other moves seen as isolationist and out of step with world concerns.

Delegates to the August 26- September 4 meeting will debate ways to raise living standards in the developing world without destroying what is left of the planet's resources.  But the United States will emphasize deals with the private sector and stress the importance of economic growth over binding global treaties to fight environmental problems and poverty.  "If the president takes a vacation while the rest of the world works on the environment and sustainable development, it will be a pretty clear signal," of disinterest, said Kalee Kreider, global warming program director for the National Environmental Trust in Washington.

"He'll be pilloried if he does come and pilloried if he doesn't," said Steve Sawyer, climate policy advisor at the environmentalist group Greenpeace.  Bush left Washington for his ranch in Texas on August 6 and is planning to stay until early September. He has given no indication that he will attend the summit. U.S. officials decline to confirm his absence and say the delegation has not been announced, although Secretary of State Colin Powell is planning to attend.  U.S. officials are hoping a flurry of announcements on new "partnerships" among governments, the private sector and other groups will pave the way to progress on issues including clean drinking water, forests and food security.  "The preparations and the U.S. strategy have had the attention at the highest level within the White House," said a senior Bush administration official. "It's something that strikes at the core values of the president."

"The Bush administration is committed to its success," assistant Secretary of State John Turner said in Senate testimony July 24.

The World Summit on Sustainable Development is billed as the largest U.N. summit ever with an estimated 60,000 participants from more than 100 countries.  French President Jacques Chirac and British Prime Minister Tony Blair are among the world leaders expected to attend the meeting which will seek ways to reach goals set earlier of curbing pollution and halving global poverty by 2015.  Environmentalists accuse the Bush administration of ignoring international desire for progress on issues such as global warming and energy conservation, and of hijacking the sustainable development theme to promote a trade agenda.

"There' effort by the administration to turn this conference about protecting the environment and reducing poverty into a conference about trade," said Stephen Mills, international program director of the Sierra Club.  "What the Bush administration will find in Johannesburg is the priority of many countries is sustainable development and protecting the environment," he said. "This is another example of the United States withdrawing from global cooperation."  Bush pulled out of the Kyoto agreement last year, saying it would cripple the U.S. economy and gave unfair exemptions to developing countries.  Washington signed the pact in 1997 after Bush's father, former president George Bush, agreed to limit greenhouse gases in a last-minute trip to the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

Environmentalists say the current Bush administration's policies mark a retreat from long-time global leadership on the environment -- demonstrated by steps such as creation of the Cabinet-level Environmental Protection Agency 1970.  Greenpeace's Sawyer said Washington had abandoned leadership in most environmental areas with the exception of some ocean issues such as whaling and fisheries.  "U.S. environmental policy has been atrocious, retrograde and unfitting of a country that claims any type of moral political leadership in the world," he said.  U.S. Senator James Jeffords of Vermont, a political independent and chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, scolded Bush administration officials at a hearing last month.  "We're not trying very hard to keep up with the spirit of some of our (environmental) commitments," he said.  Powell underscored the U.S. emphasis on economic growth and partnerships at a conference on sustainable development on July 12. "Sustainable development begins at home," he said. "We must work together to unleash human productivity, to reduce poverty, to promote healthy environments.  "Growth is the key," he said.


Powell continued:"Partnerships are key -- we are already deploying the power of partnerships."  He cited a Congo Basin Forest Partnership launched by South Africa and the United States as an example of the sort of agreements envisioned by Washington.

The initiative aims to enlist private companies, non-governmental organizations and other governments to fight deforestation in the Congo Basin and establish national parks.  Powell was quoted this month by the U.N. Environment Program as saying the environment was a key issue in global political stability.  "An unholy trinity of poverty, ecological degradation and despair threatens to destabilize whole regions," he said.  U.S. officials say Washington remains interested in the formal declarations and agreements that may emerge from the summit, but its focus was on "concrete results" demonstrated by the partnerships.  Involving private companies, the senior U.S. official said, would open the door to "hundreds of billions" of dollars in investment. He said global efforts were still needed in areas including the battle against AIDS.  Environmentalists say such partnerships are likely to become more common -- they have received support within the United Nations and other countries. But broad international agreements are still needed to meet specific targets on issues such as pollution and poverty. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said it was worried that the U.S. stress on partnerships could be a way of dodging commitments by governments.  "The risk with the U.S. approach is that there won't be any way of measuring the achievements of partnerships. There may be businesses who are not very serious in their commitments," said Kim Carstensen, deputy head of the WWF delegation to Johannesburg.  Recent U.S. corporate scandals raise questions about whether firms involved in partnerships could be trusted without strict disclosure requirements and accountability measures, said the Sierra Club's Mills. "This idea of corporate self-policing doesn't work," he said.



Planet Ark

12 August 2002


LONDON - The Johannesburg "Earth Summit", seen by many environmentalists to be a flop even before it starts, must be made a success for the sake of world security, United Nations environment chief Klaus Toepfer said.  "Johannesburg must be a precautionary peace conference. We are not allowed to fail," he told a news conference.  The World Summit on Sustainable Development starts on August 26 and runs to September 4.  It is expected to attract some 60,000 delegates including more than 100 heads of state and government who will be asked to agree and endorse action plans on water, energy, health, agriculture and biodiversity.  But even before the meeting starts, environmentalists have accused a group of nations led by the United States of blocking plans to set any targets and effectively emasculating a draft text on proposed actions.  Toepfer said the security of the world was at stake at the summit because the gap between rich and poor - north and south - had widened considerably in the decade since the first earth summit in Rio de Janeiro.  "That creates tensions and instability," he said, noting that even U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell had accepted the connection between sustainable development and world security.



The Star

12 August 2002


TOKYO (AP) - Ministers from 13 nations, including Malaysia, met Monday in Tokyo to discuss ways to cooperate in the development of East Asian countries as part of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's efforts to promote regional growth.

Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi hosted the one-day meeting of foreign and development ministers from the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Officials from Japan, China and South Korea also attended. The meeting stems from Koizumi's hope that East Asia can become a model for the rest of the world by coordinating development across a region - an initiative he proposed during official visits to Southeast Asian countries in January, an official from Japan's Foreign Ministry said on condition of anonymity.  Japan - the world's second biggest aid donor - slashed its development aid budget by a record 10 percent due to a prolonged economic slump.  But such aid is still considered a cornerstone of Japanese diplomacy. At the meeting, ministers will discuss the role of development assistance in promoting economic progress and ways countries can cooperate to ensure that aid is used more efficiently, a Foreign Ministry press release said.  Their conclusions will be drawn up in a document at the end of the session, some of which may be presented at the World Summit on Sustainable Development at the end of August in South Africa, the ministry said.  The ASEAN countries are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Phillippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. - AP



The Herald (Harare) via All Africa

12 August 2002


ZIMBABWE'S Land Reform Programme, expected to be emulated by most African countries as a means of ending poverty, will take centre-stage at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in South Africa later this month. The discussion of the issue at the world summit might become a springboard to ending the world's discontent over agrarian land reforms in Africa.

Over 100 world leaders have confirmed their attendance at the summit. United Nations Development Programme director of communications Mr Djibril Diallo told The Herald last week that the land redistribution issue and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) would be high on the agenda at the World Summit. The priority areas on Agenda 21, which were not deliberated fully during the last four United Nations preparatory committee meetings attended by ministers, would be debated at the highest level by more than 100 leaders in Johannesburg, South Africa, later this month. In a draft plan of implementation for the summit, the Commission on Sustainable Development said Africans should be encouraged to invest in the land by giving them ownership and providing access to resources, financing and means to market their produce. "Sustainable land use policies should encourage planning on a scale large enough to maintain healthy ecosystems. Advice and training is also needed in technologies and farming systems that conserve and rehabilitate land. Hunger is already a constant threat to many people and the world's long-term ability to meet the growing demand for food and other agricultural products is uncertain. "Increasing human demand for land and its natural resources is creating competition and conflicts. If we are going to meet human requirements in a sustainable manner we must resolve these conflicts and find more effective ways of using land and its natural resources." Mr Diallo said by doing so, Africa would manage land capably to achieve sustainable agriculture and rural development. In Africa, the main tenets of UNDP's strategy for the summit preparatory process include assisting the countries to adequately prepare for global negotiations so that they could exploit opportunities offered by the summit and to form partnerships with governments, private sector, donors and central statistical offices for the implementation of key priority areas. UNDP is also seeking global endorsement and a broad range of partners' support for Capacity 2015, a programme to promote sustainable development. Agenda 21 is a blueprint for sustainable development adopted by heads of state who attended the historic United Nations conference on environment and development in 1992. Zimbabwe is the first African country to embark on an aggressive land resettlement and agrarian reform exercise, which has benefited thousands of land hungry people. Individual countries are expected to present their national plan or country reports on achievements in sustainable development during the last 10 years. These include issues of health, education, poverty alleviation, the environment, agriculture, land distribution, water and other areas of priority, Mr Diallo said. "Agriculture plays a crucial role in addressing the needs of a growing global population and is inextricably linked to poverty eradication, especially in developing countries. Sustainable agriculture and rural development are essential to the implementation of an integrated approach to increasing food production and enhancing food security and food safety in an environmentally sustainable way. "The Johannesburg summit offers a historic opportunity to confront growing threats to human well-being. A third of the world's people live on an income less than a dollar a day, use of fossil fuels is rising rapidly, patterns of production and consumption continue to eat up natural resources faster than they are being replenished.

"The summit will call upon States to implement the comprehensive plan for sustainable development on Agenda 21, a resolution adopted at the Earth Summit in Rio. Each country is expected to present its plan on its achievement in sustainable development over the past 10 years," said Mr Diallo. He was speaking at a world summit's preparatory meeting for African journalists.

The meeting aimed at ensuring multi-media coverage of the summit, an Africa media declaration on the Earth Summit and a strategy and plan of action on the media and sustainable development in Africa. Mr Diallo said UNDP was committed to ensuring that the summit provided fresh impetus for the international sustainable development process. UNDP Capacity 21 regional co-ordinator for Africa Ms Ndey-Isatou Njie said there were a number of processes that have created an ever-increasing demand for land. She urged journalists to push an African agenda and ensure that the summit adopted Africa's Millennium Development Goals. The goals include promoting gender equality and empowerment of women, reduction of child mortality, improving maternal health, combating HIV/Aids, ensuring environmental sustainability and developing a global partnership for development. Ms Njie said it was hoped that the summit would develop further an open, rule-based, predictable, non-discriminatory trading and financial system. It should also deal comprehensively with the debt problems of developing countries through national and international measures in order to make debt sustainable in the long term. Since 1990, 10 million people became poor annually in Africa. In Zimbabwe about 25,1 percent of adults were HIV/Aids carriers and more than 900 000 children were orphaned by Aids, according to a UNAIDS study. The director of environment in the Ministry of Environment, Youth and Public Health (Senegal) Mrs Fatima Dia Toure said her country was behind redistributing land to poor people. "Although I may say land problem in Zimbabwe is a national issue, we believe the whole continent needs to empower the indigenous people by sharing natural resources to the people to improve lives. This issue needs to be tackled in a big way. In a big way, I mean the summit should support our need to distribute these natural resources to our people. "Until our people have been empowered in such a manner, Africa will remain under developed. And as such we are going to the summit with all our eyes open to ensure we get practical on some of these issues," she said.



International Herald Tribune

12 August 2002


PARIS A vast blanket of smog has been documented over much of Asia and the Indian Ocean, with alarming implications for the global climate, regional weather patterns, agricultural crops and economic progress, according to a study being released Monday by the UN Environment Program.  Scientists call it the Asian Brown Cloud. It is an accumulated cocktail of pollution from Asia's great cities, a dramatic increase in the burning of fossil fuels in vehicles, industries and power stations, forest fires in Indonesia and the emissions from millions of inefficient cookers burning wood or cow dung.  Klaus Toepfer, the executive director of the environment program, said that the thick haze illustrates the challenge facing the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg later this month: How can developing nations grow economically without overburdening Earth's environment and creating an uninhabitable planet for future generations?  "The huge pollution problems emerging in Asia encapsulate the threats and challenges that the summit needs to urgently address," Toepfer said.  Residents in Asia know by their stinging eyes and itchy noses that pollution has been building up for several years. Just how much has now been revealed by the study by 200 scientists involved in the Indian Ocean Experiment, started in 1995, using data from ground stations, balloons, aircraft, two ships, satellites and computer models. The blanket of pollution, 3 kilometers, or nearly 2 miles, thick, hovers over most of the tropical Indian Ocean, South, Southeast and East Asia. It consists of sulfates, nitrates, organic substances, black carbon and fly ash, among several other pollutants.  The report said that Asian megacities with "unacceptably high emissions of health-endangering gaseous and particulate matter" such as Calcutta, Delhi, Bombay, Karachi and Dhaka were responsible for much of the cloud. These cities are among the most polluted in the world. "More research is needed, but these initial findings clearly indicate that this growing cocktail of soot, particles, aerosols and other pollutants is becoming a major environmental hazard for Asia," Toepfer said. "There are also global implications not least because a pollution parcel like this, which stretches 3 kilometers high, can travel half way around the globe in a week."

The report cautioned that scientists were only at the very early stages of their understanding of regional climate changes, and that it would take at least a decade of further observations and studies to complete a full picture. But the initial findings indicate that the cloud not only significantly reduces the amount of solar radiation reaching the surface, with a consequent decline in the productivity of crops, but also traps heat, leading to warming of the lower atmosphere. It suppresses rainfall in some areas and increases it in others, while damaging forests and crops because of acid rain. The haze also is responsible for hundreds of thousands of premature deaths from respiratory diseases, the report said.  Other effects may include a cooling of the land surface, an increase in the frequency and the strength of thermal inversions that trap more pollution, and the disruption of monsoon rainfall. In recent years, the report notes, "there have been two consecutive droughts in 1999 and 2000 in Pakistan and the northwestern parts of India" accompanied by "increased flooding in the high rainfall areas of Bangladesh, Nepal and the northeastern states of India. In Bangladesh, there have been severe floods at intervals of seven to 10 years, most recently in 1988 and 1998. During the 1998 floods, as much as two- thirds of the land area was inundated and nearly 1.6 million hectares, or nearly 4 million acres of cropland was damaged."

More research is needed, the study said, to find out:

Whether the cloud contributes to or diminishes global warning.

How it affects global concentrations of ozone and other pollutants.

What effect it has on soil moisture and water supplies.

The report likened the Asian pollution to the infamous London smogs of the past caused by coal-burning, and the petrochemical smogs of Los Angeles. It said great improvements had been made in both those cities either by strict emission controls or by switching from coal to natural gas, and it said similar steps would have to be taken in Asia to prevent the pollution getting out of hand.




12 August 2002


STOCKHOLM - Efforts to halve the number of people worldwide living in poverty by 2015 will fail unless access to clean water is radically improved, a group of leading scientists and politicians said Monday. Klaus Toepfer, head of the United Nations Environment Program, said 2.2 million people die each year due to diseases such as cholera and dysentery caused by contaminated water. "Without adequate clean water, there can be no escape from poverty," Toepfer said at the World Water Symposium, a gathering of some 900 politicians, scientists and industry representatives from 100 countries.

The five-day conference, organized by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), is due to end a week before the massive United Nations "Earth Summit" on sustainable development starts in Johannesburg. Water is one of the five key themes United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has picked for Johannesburg. The importance of clean drinking water has been stressed many times, but now other demands for water such as irrigation and sanitation are rising up the international agenda, experts said.

"In Johannesburg we're going to have an almighty struggle for targets and timeframe for sanitation... I think we will probably win on that," South Africa's Water Minister Ronnie Kasrils told a news conference. After decades of uneven water distribution during the apartheid era, South Africa has included the right to water in its constitution, and is now finding ways to improve water distribution such as fixing badly leaking pipes. In many cities across Africa, plumbing is so outdated and the infrastructure is so weak that 40 to 60 percent of the water may easily leak away, Kasrils said. The United Nations set a target to halve the number of people living in poverty by 2015 in its millennium declaration.



The East African Standard (Nairobi) via All Africa

12 August 2002


World Summit for Sustainable Development, dubbed Johannesburg 2002 Summit, due late this month through to September, will be an important opportunity for African biotechnology stakeholders. Decisions made at the summit will result in new initiatives that could create climate for further development of biotechnology. Such decisions will include:

Better access for developing countries to global markets;

Increased investment for developing economies;

Resource commitment such as support for the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad);

Technology development and transfer from developed to developing countries to facilitate the strengthening of the local industry to achieve the goals of poverty alleviation.

Emphasis needs be placed national and global strategies to ensure;

Appropriate caution and judgement in the developing and application of biotechnology.

The implementation of suitable risk assessment systems to minimise the potential risk in human and animal health and environment resulting from the commercial use of biotechnology and resulting products.

The establishment of appropriate and enforceable regulatory systems at national and global levels to ensure safe international trade and the use of biotechnology products.

This includes the ratification and implementation of bio-safety protocol and an increased level of public awareness and acceptance of the process and the products of biotechnology.

The summit is also likely to discuss genetically modified foods/crops, which many African countries are now adopting.

Experts confirm that these products provide higher nutritional value better taste, longer conservation and above all they are drought resistant. In 1992 during the Rio Earth Summit, important issues were raised and conclusions reached on sustainable development.

Two major conventions were reached and signed, including the Convention on Climate Change and Bio-diversity. Furthermore, participating governments and other interested parties accepted the blueprint for achieving sustainable development.

There was a consensus that northern hemisphere countries would allocate resources and technology to the poor southern hemisphere countries to enable them build their capacity in more effective way. But little has been achieved a decade later.

The year 2000 General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the awaited resolution on the holding of ten-year review of the Rio Summit and called it WSSD. This month's meeting will, therefore, set the stage for the development of fresh policies which will be implemented in the years to come. The 2000 summit was to ensure a balance between economic, social development and environmental protection as components of sustainable development. The choice of an African city as the venue for the WSSD is significant in the sense that the continent is in need of sustainable development. It also signifies the role South Africa has played in trying to establish partnership between Africa and the rest of the world.



The Observer

11 August 2002


Tony Blair's delegation to this month's Earth Summit in Johannesburg includes senior company bosses whose firms have repeatedly been accused of polluting the environment.  The news triggered uproar from green groups last night amid renewed concern that the summit was being hijacked by big business.  Included in the Prime Minister's official delegation to Johannesburg are UK multinationals that have been involved in rows over important wildlife habitats globally and even allegations they ignored human rights abuses.  Among the delegation is Bill Alexander, chief executive of Thames Water, Sir Robert Wilson, executive chairman of mining company Rio Tinto, and Chris Fay, non-executive director of Anglo American, another of the world's mining giants.  Campaigners warned that the decision to include multinational companies as part of a UK delegation designed to help save the planet seriously risked undermining its green credentials.  Downing Street, still smarting from criticism over its misguided attempt to drop Environment Minister Michael Meacher from the delegation, has refused to release the entire official line-up for fear of further attack.  The three companies, among Britain's largest firms, have been involved in a number of high-profile and damaging accusations over their environmental record.  Thames Water, the largest water company in the UK with 12 million customers, has been prosecuted by the Government's Environment Agency watchdog for pollution on more than 20 occasions since 1996.

During 2000 the firm appeared in court five times for six offences and was fined a total of £288,000. Earlier this year it was fined £12,000 after it admitted polluting tributaries in Gloucestershire.  Thames Water has also been fiercely criticised in the past for operating in Indonesia while President Suharto - whose rule was marked by allegations of human rights abuses - was in power.

Meanwhile Rio Tinto, the largest mining conglomerate in the world, is the focus of one of Australia's highest profile environmental rows ever.  The company's plans to mine uranium in one of the planet's most valuable wildlife sites - Kakadu National Park, a World Heritage Site - has enraged environmentalists. Clashes involving protesters have led to more than 500 arrests.

And mining giant Anglo American has also been embroiled over claims concerning its planned operations in Peru and alleged pollution in Zambia.  A spokesman for Friends of the Earth said: 'This is further evidence that Blair is determined to cosy up to big business at whatever cost.'  Supporters of the summit argue that, for the negotiations to succeed, delegates from all backgrounds must be present; 1 September has been designated as business day at the summit where leaders will meet to discuss issues on global trade.  Britain's delegation also includes members from non-governmental organisations campaigning over environmental and sustainable development issues.  A spokesman for Thames Water last night confirmed that Bill Alexander was scheduled to arrive in Johannesburg on 2 September and would be making a speech outlining how private water companies could make a contribution to the environment.  He said: 'We are committed to sustainability. The Suharto regime played no part in Thames Water's operations in Indonesia. We are there helping some of the poorest people in Jakarta have access to cheap water.'  A spokesman for Rio Tinto said: 'We are performing pretty well in the environment, although we haven't always done so and we would be the first to admit that.'  He said that Wilson would be outlining an action plan to help clean up the mining industry at the summit.  A spokeswoman for Anglo American said: 'I don't think we have been particularly targeted for our environmental performance. We take our environmental performance extremely seriously.'




11 August 2002


A government too concerned with headlines will scupper the planet. Tony Blair is planning to snub the vital Earth Summit in Johannesburg by paying it only a fleeting visit in three weeks' time. The Prime Minister will stay at the conference barely long enough to make his own speech, despite having repeatedly promised to "provide leadership'' at it. The disclosure - which Downing Street refused to confirm or deny last night - follows attempts to stop Michael Meacher, the Environment minister, from attending the summit. But Downing Street had to back down after Friends of the Earth offered to pay the fare of the minister, regarded as the member of the Government with the best grasp of the issues at Johannesburg. The World Summit on Sustainable Development, as it is officially called, offers the best chance in 20 years of tackling increasing world poverty, which condemns one billion people to live on less than one dollar a day and is responsible for the deaths of three million children a year from the effects of drinking dirty water. Ministers warn that if the summit fails it will set back progress for decades, with incalculable repercussions for world stability. Mr Blair was the first leader to commit himself to going to the Earth Summit two years ago, when he spoke of his determination to ensure its success. He has since encouraged his deputy John Prescott to visit more than 30 heads of government and nearly a hundred environment ministers to urge them to attend. He has insisted that the issues at the summit "demand leadership'', pledging Britain to provide it. At a similar summit five years ago, Mr Blair said, in a speech credited with changing government policy: "If there is one summit my children would want me at, it is this one. They know our decisions here will have a profound effect on the world they inherit." Yet he is planning to visit the conference in Johannesburg for just a few hours on Monday 2 September before leaving for a photo opportunity at an energy or water project in South Africa. Mr Blair's plans will particularly disappoint other delegates because Britain has played a constructive role in the run-up to the summit. The Prime Minister and Mr Prescott have both pushed President Bush to take a more positive attitude, and Gordon Brown has campaigned for cuts in Third World debts and increases in aid. But the Mr Blair's enthusiasm has cooled in recent months as the negotiations have run into difficulties. Officials say that he is wary of being associated with anything less than a resounding success and that he now has other preoccupations, notably the impending war with Iraq. Last night Mike Childs of Friends of the Earth said: "Tony Blair has been saying how important the summit is and how it needs real leadership. But after trying to stop Michael Meacher from going, it now emerges that the Prime Minister will only be there for a few hours. It is time he brought his actions into line with his words.''




11 August 2002


Many observers believe the Johannesburg summit marks the moment when the environment movement matures, when "green" politics embraces global poverty, world trade and fair access to resources. Now, 10 years after the Rio summit put climate change and environmental decline on the world agenda, the Johannesburg summit will embrace water rights, fisheries, HIV/Aids, chemicals, corporate responsibility and energy. The effects of globalisation are central to the summit. More than 1,000 scientists commissioned by the United Nations reported that unchecked global free trade would produce a series of environmental and political crises, including mass migration and further conflicts over resources such as water.

Yet faced with such challenging questions, the Earth Summit is already in disarray, even before it has begun. Environmentalists and anti-poverty campaigners have clashed with the globalisation lobby, led by President George Bush and the World Trade Organisation, with Tony Blair in an increasingly uneasy position as their cheerleader in Europe. The so-called G77 group of nations, which includes countries such as Norway and Sweden, supports calls for the summit to draft treaty obligations on corporate responsibility requiring companies to meet basic standards on green, labour and social issues. The reformers also want industrialised states to accept that they owe an "ecological debt" to the South, based on the North's much higher use of resources. Under such proposals, the WTO's free trade rules will no longer be allowed to override environmental or social treaties. Yet the resistance by the US bloc to these measures is likely to be fatal. The US is pressing for "partnerships" based on private sector-led voluntary deals - a proposal the UK appears to support. Although the Government insists it wants deals on poverty, water, energy use, education, tourism and forestry, a strong global treaty is very unlikely to emerge.



Xinhua News Agency

11 August 2002


NEW DELHI, Aug 11, 2002 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- India is looking forward to the forthcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg for the global community to come out with an action plan to ease the growing pressure on scarce natural resources.  Environment Minister T.R. Baalu is schedule to lead the Indian delegation for the summit, which has on its agenda issues ranging from poverty eradication to unsustainable pattern of consumption and production.  The summit to be held later this month will be attended by nearly 160 countries.  The Indian government has prepared a document "Agenda 21 -- An Assessment," outlining India's performance on sustainable development approaches as agreed at the 1992 Rio Earth summit.

The document to be soon released by Baalu highlights the challenges regarding improving the quality of life while at the same time ensuring sustainable management of natural resources.  It paints a grim picture on how at the present level of production and consumption the oil reserves of the country would last only for another 18 years and the natural gas reserves for 25 years.

On the water front, the current estimated surplus of about 500 billion cubic meters of water may be short lived since the water demand of about 1,180 billion cubic meters could overtake the availability by 2050.

The critical forest cover in the country has remained stagnant around 20 percent of the geographical area against the norm of 33 percent.  Besides 270 million tons of fuelwood, 280 million tons of fodder and 12 million cubic meters of timber are being removed from forests annually which are far beyond sustainable limit, asserts the document.  Even as the urban civic infrastructure is bursting at seams with an annual production of 36 million tons of urban waste, seven to eight million people are being added to urban population every year.  In urban areas, diarrhea accounts for 28 percent of mortality, respiratory infections accounts for 22 percent and nearly 50 percent of urban child mortality is due to poor sanitation and lack of access to clean drinking water, reveals the document.  Forty percent of households living in urban slums are without access to safe drinking water and 90 percent have no access to sanitation facilities.  Water and sanitation is assessed to be contributing 13 percent of Disease Adjusted Life Years lost due to adverse environmental factors with indoor air pollution contributing 7 percent and urban air pollution 2 percent.  With population going up by about three times from 1947 and 2000, the per capita availability of land declined from 0.89 hectares (HA) to 0.30 HA during this period even as the country was supporting 16.5 percent of the world population on only 2.5 percent of world's geographical area.



The Star

11 August


Alexandra residents should open their hearts and show hospitality to overseas visitors during the World Summit on Sustainable Development. This was the message from government leaders who participated in a unique mini-world summit in the township on Sunday. The WSSD, which begins next week, takes place in Sandton, about 3km from Alex.Organisers said the aim of the mini-summit was to inform the residents about the agenda of the WSSD and its relevance to the people of Alexandra.'We are delighted that our leaders have committed themselves' One of the organisers, Pule Phalatse said: "What we are saying is that while heads of countries will be here discussing issues such as access to water and sanitation, under-development and health, we are affected by the same problems. "We are saying they must come and see the work we are already doing, such as the cleaning of the Jukskei River and greening of the area. "We are delighted that our leaders have committed themselves to helping us as long as we come up with clear projects." Gauteng Premier Mbhazima Shilowa urged ordinary people to identify issues that leaders could raise at the main summit.Social Development Minister Zola Skweyiya said it was the most significant event since 1994 and that Alex residents had to strive to be hospitable and show a good image of the country to visitors.





Sunday Independent

11 August 2002


The National Intelligence Agency (NIA) is on a mission to scuttle the plans of activists to disrupt the world summit, to take place in Johannesburg at the end of this month. The agency is particularly concerned about the plans of the Landless People's Movement (LPM), a South African land rights group. The group's senior leaders, spread across all provinces, have repeatedly been questioned by NIA agents about the goals and intentions of the LPM over the last three months.

'We are going to protest'

The movement, which does not align itself with any political party - much along the lines of social movements in Latin America - says it will be assembling its 10 000 members, along with activists who will fly in from other countries, at the summit to protest against the failure of South Africa's land reform process. The activists plan to set up a large camp at Shareworld near Soweto for the duration of the summit. Lorna Daniels, a spokesperson for the ministry of intelligence, said all the agency's security efforts were "aimed at ensuring the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) takes place in a secure environment with as little disruption as possible." "Of course we support people's constitutional right to demonstrate, but we are concerned that protests remain legal." She said the NIA expected a range of organisations to lodge protests. "We want to encourage and ensure that protests, including that of the LPM, are conducted peacefully. We must ensure the safety of heads of state." 'I don't want that'

Activists have been told by provincial NIA agents that the intelligence ministry has asked them to prepare a report, at very short notice, on the LPM's plans to disrupt the gathering. The agents have also been asking questions about the links between the LPM and the National Land Committee, an NGO affiliated to the South African NGO Coalition (Sangoco).  Andile Mngxitama, the NGO's fiery land rights co-ordinator, is widely regarded as the brains behind the movement. Letitia Solomons, the LPM vice-chairperson and former New National Party councillor in Leeu-Gamka in the southern Cape Karoo region, was first visited by agents Helen Pio and Freddy Afrika in March. She has been questioned on four occasions since then. "They asked about what the LPM was doing, and I said we will definitely be at the summit and we are going to protest." The NIA's centralised monitoring system certainly seems to be working - activists have been told by NIA agents about the activities of their colleagues in provinces thousands of kilometres away.

Security measures have been significantly stepped up ahead of the summit, expected to be attended by some 60 000 delegates and hundreds of heads of state. Mangaliso Khubeka, the LPM's chairperson and son of labour tenants who were evicted after generations on a farm in Ingogo, near Newcastle, was questioned in Pietermaritzburg, 300km away, last month. "They asked me what it is I want. I want to plough. How can they say they're having a summit on sustainable development? What development are they talking about? "We don't have land," he said. "We see no sustainable development; people are hungry. We have no land or jobs." The LPM has been calling for government to convene a land summit to debate the land reform process since last year.

While Thoko Didiza, the land affairs and agriculture minister, has agreed to do so, there is no indication yet of when a land summit will take place. "Everyone is seeing what happened in Zimbabwe," said Solomons, whose farmworker parents were evicted from a farm near Leeu-Gamka in Western Cape in 1997 after 33 years. "If they are not going to speed up the land reform process, the same thing is going to happen here. And I don't want that." The holiday leave of South African Police Service (SAPS) members has been cancelled for the period of the summit, and stop-and-search operations and roadblocks will be determined by tactical intelligence on a daily basis, according to a statement released by the SAPS this week. Barricades and access control points will be put in place around the Sandton Convention Centre from August 21 to September 5.

People and vehicles entering the area bordered by Rivonia Road, Alice Lane and West and Fifth streets will be screened. A "mega-search park" will be created in which vehicle inspections will be conducted to ensure security in Sandton, at 21 hotels, at the Ubuntu Village at the Wanderers and at Nasrec in Soweto. All flight plans of flights in Gauteng will be required to be submitted 24 hours in advance to air traffic notification services, and security at all major airports, especially Johannesburg International, has already been increased. Notification for gatherings and marches will have to be provided to the Johannesburg metropolitan council in advance, and must take place along a predetermined, 1,8km route in Sandton. "We aim to change misperceptions about safety and security in South Africa in general and in Gauteng in particular and hope that our efforts will help to attract the attention of foreign tourists and investors," said Perumal Naidoo, the provincial police commissioner. "Should an illegal gathering or march take place, the security forces will take the necessary action," Naidoo said.




10  August 2002

Trade unions were quick to communicate with the WSSD government negotiators today in response to the recent positive news that 32 donor nations have pledged almost $3 billion to replenish the Global  Environmental Facility (GEF), an unprecedented amount of money, as a major boost to the Johannesburg Summit. While the replenishment will significantly increase the capacity of regions and organizations to implement 'environmental' outcomes of the WSSD, trade unions warn of the danger that the eventual GEF expenditures could merely reinforce RIO92 mistakes by failing to integrate the agency's programmes

with the social and economic pillars of sustainable development.   Replenishing the GEF must usher a new vision to make the Facility a prime mover of sustainable development in its broadest sense, they say, inviting

the WSSD Governments to heed what they have already agreed to in the Action Plan text, adopted last June in Indonesia, which called for the integration of the three pillars, and for poverty eradication, as well as  measures to address the stark inequalities that have hindered sustainable development since RIO92.

A trade union delegation of more than 300 members is expected to participate in WSSD deliberations later this month, as representatives of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), the Trade

Union Advisory Committee to the OECD (TUAC) and the Global Union Federations (GUF). Delegation representatives said statements that the new GEF funds would meaningfully address poverty issues were unfounded because there are NO CONCRETE MEASURES in place to ensure such outcomes. They


** NEW INSTITUTIONAL LINKAGES TO THE INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGNANISATION (ILO) are required to ensure proper implementation of the social dimension. Unlike the economic and environmental pillars, which each have inter-governmental bodies to oversee their implementation, the social pillar remains an only orphan. Trade Unions at WSSD will also urge governments to draw in the new "WORLD COMMISSION ON SOCIAL DIMENSION OF GLOBALISATION", into the WSSD framework and for it to help oversee the integration of programmes for sustainable development, over the next decade.

**GREATER COOPERATION AMONG ILO, UNEP, WHO, and the GEF are a prerequisite, given the nature of the 'poverty /health /environment' triad at WSSD, and of the need for strategic cross-sectoral planning  combined with financial backing. These agencies must be given a clear mandate to cooperate during

the post-WSSD period in joint approaches to foster three-pillar integration into their respective implementation plans."

**EMPLOYMENT, WORKPLACE STRATEGIES, and SOCIAL IMPLEMENTATION must be placed on the GEF's radar screen.  While a primary environmental focus for GEF can remain, in practice its programmes must be made to function in tandem with the goals of addressing poverty, social exclusion and employment for women, youth and vulnerable groups.

In their communication to WSSD negotiators, the trade unions urged that Governments support the  development of 'sustainable impact assessments', as a remedy to current segmented 'environmental' or 'economic' impact assessment approaches. They also said the GEF could become more involved in

research and development to promote a better understanding of the social impacts of changes and to foster integrated planning with environmental implementation. The unions said that the GEF could play a  facilitating role in the development of social and employment indicators and to promote them, along

with national environmental reporting and in peer reviews of progress.  This, they say, would go a long way toward identifying 'Just Transition' measures for the purposes of addressing the impacts of change on the

most vulnerable sectors of society, in the decade to come. 


The trade unions proposed the inclusion of the following text for the eventual WSSD Political Declaration.

They urge it to say:

"We set these agreements in the context of an integrated approach to ecosystems management to encourage greater international coherence. As to the social dimension of sustainable development, we call on all governments to ratify and fully implement currently agreed international Instruments,

which address issues of social inequalities, poverty, and lack of access to resources, services and employment, in particular those adopted by the International Labour Organisation and by other  Intergovernmental bodies. We also commit to working with the World Commission on the Social Dimension

of Globalisation to implement the social dimensions of WSSD outcomes".



Zimbabwe Independent

10 August 2002


Aug 09, 2002 (Zimbabwe Independent/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) -- Zimbabwe is likely to use the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) meeting to be held in South Africa this month for political grandstanding and to promote its internationally-condemned agrarian reform programme, the Zimbabwe Independent heard this week.  The final list of participants at the summit and Zimbabwe's standpoint at the conference have not yet been concluded although other countries sent their position statements as early as last month.  The Ministry of Environment and Tourism has sub-contracted a number of non-governmental organisations to carry out the awareness campaign for the summit to be held at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

Pro-government organisations are understood to be lobbying for inclusion.  Publicity awareness is being carried out by ZERO, a regional NGO dealing with environmental issues, and the contract for production of campaign materials such as T-shirts and posters has been awarded to Action Magazine.  Sources privy to the preparations for the summit said the final list of participants would be drawn up early next week. Other NGOs that have so far indicated their intention to attend the summit include the International Union of Conservation Networks and ITDG.  Although Tourism minister Francis Nhema had initially indicated last week that the country would be defending its land reform programme at the summit, yesterday he said the final position would only be known next week.  "We are in the process of finalising the actual document we will be taking to South Africa," he said.

He could not be drawn into revealing if the country would incorporate its land reform programme in its draft.  "At the moment I do not know who is going, since we are currently working on the document which will be made public next Thursday," he said.

However, it is thought likely that government hardliners will press for the inclusion of a reference to land reform and allow pro-government NGOs to do the talking.  Observers say the government's approach to land distribution violates sections of the principles of Agenda 21, which was adopted at the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit in 1992.

Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration states that: "In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by states according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation."

Britain is thought to be looking at this provision to respond to any attempt by Zimbabwe to engage in populist posturing.

Zimbabwe's agrarian reform has seen new settlers destroying forests and poaching game.



Xinhua News Agency

10 August 2002


JOHANNESBURG, Aug 10, 2002 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- South Africa has earmarked one third of the total budget to tighten security to keep world leaders and delegates safe and secure in the forthcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development, The Citizen reported Saturday.  Johannesburg World Summit Company's communications executive, Thandi Davids said about 33 percent of the total budget of 551 million rand (about 55.1 million US dollars) was being used in security, the report said.

What will be tightly secured during the summit are the Convention Center and the 23 hotels where the leaders of states are going to live, the report said.  The South African security authority has made every possible means to create a safe environment for the summit, the report said.  Sean Tshabalala, director of the VIP Protection Unit of the South African Police Service, said at a press conference in June, that South Africa would deploy a bomb disposal unit, a dog unit, dedicated detectives and other special task forces in a bid to prevent any possible airborne attacks, mortar attacks and sniper attacks.

"Four concentric rings of security will be established around the Convention Center in Sandton, Johannesburg, and 23 safe island sites would be located within the zone," he said.  And UN security guards will also join in the mission, he added.

It is reported that 8,000 policemen, soldiers and intelligent agents would protect the safety and security of leaders and delegates.

Johannesburg is known for its high crime rate in the world. Therefore, it is a hard job for the South African security authority to take various kinds of measures to ensure the safety and security on the occasion.  The issues of combating crime, detection, prosecution and corrections are the mandate of the national government with the various agencies undergoing transformation and undertaking major initiatives to improve the performance of the criminal justice system.  As part of crime prevention efforts, Tshabalala said, "We will keep foreign criminals out, make it extremely difficult for local criminals to commit crime and catch the criminals at the shortest possible time if crime is committed."  However, the toughest job for the South African government may not be the crime, but the protests and demonstrations during the summit.  Tshabalala said that South Africa is a democratic country and the people have the right to express their ideas and are free to hold demonstrations.  However, he said, they should get the special permission two weeks in advance.  Till now, the South African government remained tight-lipped on what demonstration would take place during the course of the summit.  According to Director Henriette Bester of the South African Police Service, five applications for marches have been received, and four of them have already been approved. The fifth was still on negotiation.



Xinhua News Agency

9 August 2002


UNITED NATIONS, Aug 9, 2002 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is scheduled to pay an official visit to five African countries later this month, culminating at the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, a UN spokesman announced here Friday.  The spokesman, Fred Eckhard, told a press conference here that the official trip to Africa will begin with the secretary-general' s arrival in Angola on Aug. 25. The UN chief will then head to Botswana on Aug. 27 before traveling to Lesotho on Aug. 28-29.  He is scheduled next to visit Mozambique from Aug. 29 to Sept. 1 before attending the world summit on Sept. 1-4., the spokesman said.  Annan, a native of Ghana, will spend two weeks there on vacation before the tour begins, Eckhard said.  On his way back from Africa, the secretary-general will on Sept. 5-6 stop in Paris, where he is expected to hold talks with Glafcos Clerides, the Greek Cypriot leader, and Rauf Denktash, the Turkish Cypriot leader, Eckhard said.



Canada NewsWire

9 August 2002


OTTAWA, Aug 09, 2002 (Canada NewsWire via COMTEX) -- The Government of Canada today submitted to the United Nations Canada's National Report to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). The Summit will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa, from August 26 to September 4, 2002. Sustainable Development: A Canadian Perspective outlines Canadian actions on sustainable development over the past 10 years and highlights remaining challenges and some of the current efforts to meet those challenges.  Canada's report was released jointly by Environment Minister David Anderson, International Cooperation Minister Susan Whelan and Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham. The report was prepared following an extensive process of consultation with Canadians to determine the major issues for Canada to pursue at the Summit.  "Canada's National Report provides an accurate assessment of our national progress towards sustainable development over the past decade," said Minister Anderson. "It involved collecting the views, accomplishments and challenges of the different segments of society to determine how Canada as a whole has done in meeting our sustainable development goals and what challenges remain."

Report highlights include:

- governments, private sector firms and Canadians from all walks of life have become more environmentally conscious than ever before;

- on average, Canadian quality of life has increased and Canada has recorded sustained economic growth accompanied by low inflation;

- governments at all levels have introduced important changes and policy initiatives to promote sustainable development;

many private sector firms have become leaders in environmental stewardship; and Canada has done well according to the United Nations  Development Program's Human Development Index - ranking first in the world for six consecutive years from 1995 to 2000.

The report also  features Canada's international assistance programs that contribute to advancing sustainable development abroad.

"Canada recognizes that real sustainable development progress must ensure that environmental, economic and social programs are integrated and mutually reinforcing," said Minister Whelan. "We work in partnership with developing countries to make sure that their development is effective and sustainable."  Canada will increase its international assistance budget by $1 billion over the next three years, including $500 million to promote sustainable development in Africa. Canada has committed to an 8 per cent annual increase in its aid budget which will double Canada's contribution to development assistance by 2009-2010.  "The WSSD is largely centred on the recognition that sustainable development is everyone's responsibility," stated Foreign Affairs Minister Graham. "That's why Canada is promoting the importance of partnerships to provide innovative Canadian approaches and technologies and to work hand-in- hand with developing countries to advance sustainable development."  Canada has shown leadership in advancing key international agreements and conventions such as the protection of biological diversity and the ozone layer, climate change, and the sound management of chemicals and persistent organic pollutants. Canada paved the way for the adoption of the Africa Action Plan at the recent G8 Kananaskis Summit and hosted meetings of G8 Environment Ministers and Health and Environment Ministers of the Americas that promoted the integration of initiatives involving the environment, health and development.

The WSSD is an opportunity for the world to deliberate on steps needed to advance sustainable development. It will bring together heads of state and government, national delegates and leaders from non-governmental organizations, industry, media and others.

Canada is focusing on areas where it can contribute the most. These include: global sustainable development with an emphasis on Africa, strengthening international environmental governance, exploring the links between health and environment, promoting sustainable development of natural resources, and promoting partnerships to achieve sustainable development, in particular with the private sector, civil society and developing countries.

An independent third party was commissioned to coordinate public input to a first draft of Canada's National Report. Further contributions were then received from provinces and territories, members of the public, stakeholder organizations, a Reference Group of experts and stakeholder representatives, and federal departments. These comments were considered during preparation of the final report.  The full text of Sustainable Development: A Canadian Perspective can be viewed at




9 August 2002


Pretoria, Aug 09, 2002 (BuaNews/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) -- The upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) will have to produce workable and sustainable plans to eradicate poverty, social and economic development backlogs facing the world, especially developing countries. Environmental and tourism minister Mohammed Valli Moosa said this in Parliament in Cape Town yesterday, during his address on the country's state of readiness to host the summit later this month.

The summit to draw a workable plan for global sustainable development will be held in Johannesburg from 24 August to 4 September. Outlining the agenda for the United Nations' largest summit, Minister Moosa said a series of agreements had been reached on key areas.  These included environment protection, food security, healthcare, biodiversity and eco-system protection.

He said for the summit to succeed, the delegates needed to address outstanding issues such as defining the link between sustainable development and good governance, the provision of adequate sanitation and the use renewable forms of energy, among others. Mr Moosa said with the current unfair development trends, the world was on a suicidal path if the leaders and civil society could not come up with plans to save the planet and its resources for future generations. Inequalities between the rich north and the poor south should also be addressed, he said, adding that the world consumption of natural resources left much to be desired.

'The great economic advance of Europe and other countries of the north have been accompanied by an unprecedented destruction of the global environment for the benefit of few people.'  According to him, many of the world's fish stocks have been depleted, while large quantities of carbon dioxide are pumped into the atmosphere by industrial plants and motor vehicles, leading to global warming.  'Many plants and animal species are becoming extinct, river and underground water resources are being polluted and forests are being destroyed,' he said.



Xinhua News Agency

9 August 2002


PARIS, Aug 9, 2002 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- The upcoming Earth Summit must not fail and the European Union is engaged in numerous fields so as to make it a success, European Commission President Romano Prodi said in an article published Friday.

"The world cannot live with a crippled summit that presents mediocre results, even less with a failure," Prodi said in the article printed in the French daily Le Monde.  The United Nations Summit for Sustainable Development will be held from August 26 to September 4 in Johannesburg, South Africa.  "In Johannesburg, a confirmation is expected from the European Union of its constant engagement in the pursuing with multilateral solutions, of its willingness to protect the environment and of its interest in the problems of the Third World," said Prodi.  "The European Union is ready to be engaged in numerous initiatives that we envision to take thanks to the technic and savoir-faire of our enterprises, the enthusiasm of our non- governmental organizations and the association with the developing countries and regions," he said.  These initiatives concern potable water and its treatment, energy and health, said the president of the executive body of the 15-nation bloc.  Without the engagement of Europe, he said, the Earth Summit  would not be a success, because "Europe alone has both the  political conscience and the necessary economic means for this end. " The European Union, which has promised to "considerably increase its development aid" at the Monterrey summit in Mexico earlier this year, must answer to the expectations to show that it does not intend to leave the globalized world economy governed by the unique force of the market, he said. "It is time to re-establish the confidence between the North and the South through concrete associations and controlled engagements," Prodi said.  The Earth Summit in Johannesburg, the second of its kind since the Summit in Rio de Janeiro 10 years ago, will discuss how the world will face major challenges to reverse the ecological degradation and falling living standards that afflict much of the world.  Some 65,000 people, from heads of state to representatives from civic organizations, will attend the summit, the largest ever held by the United Nations.



Environment News Service

9 August 2002


WASHINGTON, DC, August 9, 2002 (ENS) - The economic value of wild ecosystems far outweighs the value of converting these areas to cropland, housing or other human uses. A study in Friday's issue of the journal Science says habitat destruction costs the world the equivalent of about $250 billion each year. The research team estimates that a network of global nature reserves would ensure the delivery of goods and services worth at least $400 trillion more each year than the goods and services from their converted counterparts. This means the benefit to cost ratio is more than 100 to one in favor of conservation - a "strikingly good investment," the researchers wrote. "The economics are absolutely stark. We thought that the numbers would favor conservation, but not by this much," said lead author Andrew Balmford of the University of Cambridge Zoology Department.

Although habitat destruction continues unabated throughout the world, mounting evidence suggests that this trend is a bad economic bargain. From tropical forests to ocean reef systems, about half of an ecosystem's total economic value is lost when that ecosystem is converted from its wild state to human use, according to the Science study.  Balmford and colleagues compared the difference in the value of economic benefits provided by relatively intact ecosystems and by converted versions of those ecosystems. Although they reviewed more than 300 case studies of such conversion, they only identified five examples that met their rigorous standards for comparing benefits.

"A single year's habitat conversion costs the human enterprise, in net terms, on the order of $250 billion that year, and every year into the future," the team concludes.  The economic value of an ecosystem can be measured in terms of the "goods and services" - including climate regulation, water filtration, soil formation, and sustainably harvested plants and animals - that the ecosystem provides.  Pricing these goods and services is difficult, since they include items that are not bought and sold as part of a market driven, conventional economy. Economists assign values to non-marketed services using a range of techniques, from estimating the cost of replacing these products to assessing how much individuals and nations would be willing to pay for each ecosystem service.  Balmford and his team analyzed the case of a tropical forest in Cameroon converted to small scale agriculture and commercial plantations, another of a mangrove system in Thailand converted for shrimp farming, and another case of a Philippine coral reef dynamited for fishing.

In each case, the loss of ecosystem services such as storm and flood protection, atmospheric carbon sinks, sustainable hunting, and tourism outweighed the marketed benefits that came with conversion.  The total economic value of the intact ecosystems ranged from 14 percent to almost 75 percent higher than the converted ecosystem values.  For example, the study cites a project in Canada, which converted freshwater marshes into one of the country's most productive agricultural areas. The study team calculated that the area would be worth about 60 percent more if the wetlands were maintained for the social benefits of hunting, trapping and fishing.  According to the Balmford model, the value of sustainable management of a logging operation in a Malaysian tropical forest for flood protection, carbon stocks and endangered species assets was worth 14 percent more than the benefits of high intensity timber harvesting.  Despite these figures, the net benefit to the public of conservation is generally ignored, compared to the short term, private economic gains that often accompany conversion, the team wrote.  "We've been cooking the books for a long time by leaving out the worth of nature," said Robert Costanza, an ecological economist at the University of Maryland and an author of the "Science" study.

Costanza was one of the first scientists to draw attention to the concept of estimating dollar values for natural habitat. He and a team of researchers estimated in 1997 that the average global value of wild nature was $33 trillion a year.  But Constanza said even he was surprised by the results of this new study.  "We concluded that there is at least a 100 to one global benefit cost ratio to maintaining wild nature instead of developing it. None of us guessed it would be that high," Costanza said. "Every year we continue to convert habitat, it's costing us $250 billion over any profit that comes from development."  Lack of information about the economic worth of ecosystem services, the failure of markets to capture and value these services, and tax incentives and subsidies that encourage land conversion all contribute to continued habitat destruction, wrote the "Science" authors.  "We need to tackle all three of these, and there's no reason not to tackle all three at once," said Balmford. "However, in terms of immediate bang for buck, directly challenging subsidy schemes is a good way to improve both economic efficiency and the environment."

Researchers and policy makers are exploring several different ways to bring nature into the marketplace, Balmford said. Devices such as carbon taxes and credits, premium prices for certified, eco-friendly products, and even direct payments to the communities that live in globally significant conservation areas are under consideration.  The last proposal is somewhat controversial, but it may provide a way to compensate those communities for their reduced opportunities to exploit ecosystem resources, while reflecting the major global benefits of conservation, Balmford explained.  "There's a growing feeling that if what you're really after is conservation benefits, you may sometimes need to pay for that directly," Balmford notes.

The study estimates that by spending about $45 billion a year to conserve natural habitat on land and in the oceans, the net return on the services produced by nature would be between $400 and $520 trillion.  About $6.5 billion is now spent to sustain natural areas around the globe. Half of that is shelled out by the United States.  "We have to keep track of our natural capital. We've been liquidating it and not including the costs in our calculations," Costanza said. "The environment and the economy are tightly interdependent."  The Science study highlights the need for further data on the economic worth of wild nature, as there are few signs that global ecosystem loss is slowing down.  On the eve of the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, natural systems are changing from their intact state at a rate of 1.2 percent per year, or 11.4 percent in the decade since the last sustainable development summit in Rio de Janeiro.  "People are hearing a message that nature is being eroded, but it takes a while to sink in, even for me," Balmford said. "One third of the world's wild nature has been lost since I was a child and first heard the word conservation - that's what keeps me awake at night."




9 August 2002


GENEVA - Natural disasters ranging from earthquakes to cyclones kill some 90,000 people a year but many lives could be saved with better precautions, the United Nations said Friday. Early warning systems and better planning of land use could mitigate both human and economic losses from such hazards, which take the hardest toll on poor countries, it said in a report.

The United Nations hopes the report, "Living with Risk--A Global Review of Disaster Reduction Initiatives," will be endorsed by the World Summit on Sustainable Development, which it will host in Johannesburg, South Africa, later this month, and become a blueprint for disaster planning and risk reduction. "There is nothing inevitable about death in an earthquake," said Kenzo Oshima, UN undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs. "Earthquakes don't kill people, unsafe buildings kill them."

"Tragically too many people who have perished in a so-called 'natural' disaster did so because they, or their leaders, failed to see the hazard and take steps to avert tragedy," he added. Risk assessment, proper land use and education could prevent deaths and property losses, according to the 400-page report, released a day after landslides and floods in Nepal, central China and Russia killed more than 50 people. Based on interviews with some 200 experts, the report catalogs lessons learned from the United Nations' International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction, which ended in 1999. While earthquakes, hurricanes, droughts and floods had terrible consequences--killing some 880,000 people, affecting the homes, health and livelihoods of a further 1.88 billion and inflicting $685 billion of damage on the world's economies in the last decade--they were often predictable, it said.

Poverty and crowded living conditions, with poor communities in particular living in high-risk locations such as flood plains and seismic areas, increased human vulnerability to their effects, it warned. Around six times as many people are affected by natural disasters each year than by armed conflicts around the world. Asia suffers disproportionately. Some 43% of all natural disasters over the past decade took place in the region, according to the UN report. But Africa comes off worst in per capita terms, particularly when drought and famine are included, it said.



Daily Dispatch

9 August 2002


CAPE TOWN -- Despite a lack of international consensus in several key areas, the World Summit on Sustainable Development will prove to be an "event of deep significance to humanity", says Environmental Affairs Minister Valli Moosa.  The summit, the biggest gathering of its kind ever held, starts in Johannesburg in just over two weeks.  Speaking in the National Assembly yesterday, Moosa said that following a meeting of a group of countries in New York last month, he was confident all outstanding matters could be resolved at the summit.  As many as 65000 delegates and over 100 heads of state are expected to attend the mammoth event, aimed at producing a global action plan to bring about environmentally sensitive development and the eradication of poverty.

Four United Nations preparatory conferences held over the past year have failed to produce an agreed-upon working document for the summit.  Moosa told MPs that one outcome of the New York meeting, convened by President Thabo Mbeki and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, was that negotiations would start in Johannesburg two days ahead of the official August 26 opening.

"At the meeting, it became clear that while tough negotiations will take place at the summit, there is a genuine commitment on the part of most countries to a constructive search for solutions.  "As a result of these consultations, South Africa accepted a proposal made by, among others, the G77 group, that negotiations begin two days before the actual start of the official summit, on 24 August.  "We are confident that all the outstanding matters can be resolved," he said.

At this point, there was broad consensus that the summit should:

* focus mainly on the eradication of poverty;

* primarily be about implementation and delivery;

* strike a "balanced emphasis" on the three pillars of sustainable development, namely social development, economic development and the protection of the environment;

* have as its main areas of action access to water and sanitation, access to energy, health care, food security, and biodiversity and ecosystem protection.

* agree that implementation must involve partnerships between governments of the North and the South, and between governments and the private sector and civil society;

* agree that Africa must enjoy priority in the action plans, with Nepad serving as the delivery vehicle; and,

* endorse and rededicate itself to the decisions of the Rio Earth Summit, including Agenda 21.

However, there are several outstanding areas of disagreement.  "These include the application of the principle of 'common but differentiated responsibility' among countries for sustainable development; the setting of targets for the provision of adequate sanitation, and the use of renewable forms of energy."  They further included the phasing out of environmentally harmful and trade distorting subsidies; the mobilisation of already committed funds and the need for new and additional resources; and the link between sustainable development and good governance.  Moosa said the world was on a development path that was "unsustainable".  "If we all consume as much as the average American citizen does, the world will implode."  Patterns of consumption were not just unsustainable, they were also unfair.  "The entire African continent is responsible for a mere three percent of carbon emissions into the atmosphere, yet pays the same high price for climate change as the rest of the world. So poor Africans are subsidising rich Americans, Europeans and Japanese." -- Sapa




9 August 2002


Britain is set to become the first country sending delegates to the Johannesburg Earth Summit to agree to help cover the environmental cost.  Green campaigners say this month's 10-day summit on how to encourage sustainable development may do the environment more harm than good.  So now each delegate is being asked to contribute to the Johannesburg Climate Legacy, which aims to raise £3m to be spent on saving energy and reducing carbon dioxide emissions across South Africa.

The Earth Summit, also known as the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), runs from 26 August to 4 September.

A total of 60,000 delegates from more than 170 countries are due to visit South Africa for the continent's biggest ever international gathering.  As well as burning thousands of gallons of fuel, their long-haul flights will generate 500,000 tons of carbon dioxide gas - a major contributor to global warming. The environmental pay back contribution for Britain's delegation would total £3,000.  But the government is likely to donate more in an attempt to pre-empt unfavourable publicity.  Fears of repeats of the criticism of government "junkets" which accompanied pre-summit talks in Bali apparently prompted Number 10 to cut the delegation's numbers from 100 to 70. The delegation will be led by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, with environment minister Michael Meacher, Rural Affairs Secretary Margaret Beckett and International Development Secretary Clare Short joined for the signing ceremony by Tony Blair.  With the ministers will be 45 officials and five security officers.  Chairman of the Green Party in England and Wales Penny Kemp said video-conferencing could have cut the numbers  "Meeting in small numbers you get a lot more done."

Mike Childs from Friends of the Earth, warned: "If politicians go there and have not got the ability or guts to get a decent deal, questions will be asked about whether it was all worth while."



United Nations

8 August 2002


New York, 8 August- With less than a month before the start of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has sent world leaders a letter strongly encouraging their active participation at the Summit in Johannesburg. "Your presence would send a strong message of global solidarity and signal commitment at the highest level to a sustainable future for all," the Secretary-General wrote. More than 100 world leaders have already indicated that they will attend the Summit, which Mr. Annan said will be an opportunity to reinvigorate a global commitment to sustainable development and to maintain the positive momentum generated at the World Trade Organization meeting in Doha, Qatar, and the UN's International Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey, Mexico.  The Summit will take place from 26 August to 4 September, with the world leaders assembling in Johannesburg for the last three days, from 2-4 September.  The world leaders are expected to adopt a political declaration, that, Mr. Annan said, should be visionary and sets out the international community's commitment to protect the planet and promote the well-being of its people." It is also expected that many Heads of State and Government will announce specific initiatives to promote sustainable development during the Summit. Calling the progress in implementing the outcomes of the 1992 Earth Summit "slower than desired," Mr. Annan wrote, "I think you will agree that stronger and more vigorous action is needed, which is why the Johannesburg Summit is of critical importance." The Secretary-General acknowledged that more work was needed to resolve several issues on the draft Plan of Implementation remaining from the last preparatory meeting, but said that a 17 July meeting in New York was constructive and positive, and that "a broad measure of agreement was reached on several of these issues." He added that some differences remained but "there was renewed confidence and optimism that they would be overcome."  About three-quarters of the Plan of Implementation have been agreed to in negotiations so far, but the remaining issues are considered critical to achieving the consensus on the Plan. These issues include questions relating to trade and finance, globalization and good governance.




8 August 2002


The Deputy Prime Minster, John Prescott, has said that speculation, misinformation and inaccurate reporting has reached new heights, even for the British press over the critically important 'earth summit' in Johannesburg. The Deputy Prime Minister's statement reads as follows:

"Speculation, misinformation and inaccurate reporting has reached new heights, even for the British press over this critically important 'earth summit' in Johannesburg. "Debate on the printed page over which ministers are going, how big the delegation is and whether the Prime Minister's Director of Communications has intervened will not deter the UK delegation from the real issues.  "This is the first time ever that an international conference, involving nearly 180 countries, has looked at such a broad spectrum of issues. At Johannesburg we will cover a huge range of matters under the heading of sustainability - from development issues, like poverty reduction, through to finance, from trade through to environment. "Because of the complexity of the conference, this is the very reason we need the most effective delegation. Led by the Prime Minister, the UK delegation always punches above its weight and influences final outcomes. We have been working for months and years towards this summit, from Kyoto, through Doha, Monterrey and now on to Johannesburg."



Associated Press

8 August 2002


TOKYO - Japan will offer an aid package to help seven Asian countries lower emissions of greenhouse gases and stem global warming over the next few years, an official said Thursday. Environment Ministry official Soichiro Seki said Tokyo's proposal will mostly consist of training and joint research projects in anti-pollution measures for China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines. Details are to be worked out in talks with each country after the plan is unveiled at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, later this month, Seki said. He declined to say how much Tokyo planned to spend. Environmental issues are expected to figure prominently in discussions at the conference, which aims to combat poverty and promote economic growth in developing nations. With its proposal, Japan hopes to win credit for cutting back greenhouse gases that would put it closer to its own emissions reduction targets under the 1997 Kyoto protocol. The international accord, negotiated in Japan, commits industrialized countries to reduce heat-trapping gases blamed for warming Earth's atmosphere. Nations that sign on agree to roll back emissions to 1990 levels.  Fifteen European Union  formally signed the Kyoto protocol in May and Japan ratified the accord in June. The United States opposes the accord, calling it too burdensome for American industry



Associated Press

8 August 2002


COTONOU, Benin - Government ministers from the world's least developed countries are urging development partners to intensify efforts to fight poverty ahead of a U.N. conference on sustainable development. The ministers from 49 countries wrapped up a three-day meeting Wednesday in this West African country with an appeal for a "reinforced partnership" between wealthy and impoverished countries. A joint statement appealed for greater access to loans to finance key development programs in poverty-stricken countries. "No country is poor by choice," Benin President Mathieu Kerekou said in closing remarks. "Our countries have once again expressed publicly their political will to organize themselves methodically to get out of the category to which their historical heritage has confined them." The meeting was organized ahead of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, due to take place from Aug. 26 to Sept. 4 in Johannesburg, South Africa. It was attended by World Trade Organization Director General Mike Moore and U.N. Undersecretary-General Anwarul Chowdhury



Business Day

8 August 2002


Johannesburg, Aug 06, 2002 (Business Day/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) -- A challenge will be how to implement Rio's Agenda 21 on development and environmental issues . THE World Summit on Sustainable Development should be a success in terms of its sheer scale as the biggest United Nations (UN) event on record.  An estimated 45000 participants and more than 100 leaders are expected to descend on Johannesburg at the end of this month to attend the gathering, say the organisers, the Johannesburg World Summit Company .  But the question remains what criteria should be used to judge the outcome of the summit as the entire exercise, the summit and its 500 side events, makes it a massive multipronged affair. Coming up with a benchmark for success is difficult. It could be anything from raising consciousness on environmental issues to a project implementation list.  A benchmark by which some environmental and business groups will be assessing the summit is whether or not the implementation plan and the final political declaration break new ground, and if specific time frames and responsibilities are allocated for certain actions.  But Crispian Olver, environmental affairs and tourism department's director-general, says that it is not whether new ground is broken that should be the benchmark of success.

It is, instead, the extent to which the existing international agenda on the environment, development, aid and trade can be linked and implemented. He says that in view of the extensive agenda on the environment that came out of the Rio summit 10 years ago and subsequent agreements there is a need to consolidate the agenda and to ensure that commitments are not only kept, but that the focus is on implementation.  Olver says SA has already successfully drawn a link between the Rio summit, World Trade Organisation meeting in Doha and the "development" round to trade negotiations, the UN's Financing for Development conference in Monterrey, Mexico, earlier this year. Its importance, he says, is that it can become the basis for implementation.

With the US's new protectionist measures on steel imports as well as its increase in agricultural subsidies there is mounting concern about whether the promised development trade round will materialise.  Olver said SA has already been successful in meeting its four foremost goals for the summit.  In the 77-page draft implementation plan for the summit, it says it has been able to inject what he calls a "balanced approach to sustainable development", which includes the social, economic and environmental dimensions. The balanced approach means that the implementation plan is not overwhelmingly about the environment, but also makes poverty a primary focus.  He says the plan also places Africa and the New Partnership for Africa's Development on the agenda and finally ensures that the summit is about implementation of what has been decided.  Olver says one aspect of the summit is finding ways to implement the ambitious Agenda 21, which covers a range of development and environmental issues, that came out of the Rio summit 10 years ago and finding ways to ensure that the UN's eight millennium development goals on basic means of reducing poverty are met.

One of the few extra goals that could come out of the summit is access to improved sanitation, which could be added to the objective of halving the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water.  As it would inevitably mean a commitment of extra resources, the US has been reluctant to add new development goals, but there are signs that it might now be willing to consider adding the goal of sanitation.  Saliem Fakir, the SA director of the World Conservation Union, which consists of business, environmental groups and nongovernmental organisations, says the extent to which the international agenda can be advanced and new issues introduced, will be the most practical measure of the summit's success.  He says that the push for compromise threatens to water down the outcome of the summit. If the summit is to be considered a success there is a need for a new target on renewable energy generation, and a big push needs to be given to trade liberalisation under the Doha round.

The more strident environmental groups want greater discussion on corporate accountability, targets and time frames on halting the loss of biodiversity, preventing the collapse of fish stocks and protection of ecological systems.  On the fringes of the summit, business through Business Action for Sustainable Development, will be keen to get across that it is part of the solution and has set standards on reporting on environmental and social issues.  A summit declaration might not be sufficient for any definition of success if it does not contain targets, goals, and resource commitments as an allocation of responsibilities, if the exercise is indeed about implementation.  That might be the most crucial part of the summit, says a close observer from business, Laurrain Lotter of the SA Chemical and Allied Industries Association.




8 August 2002


AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The 50,000 delegates from nearly 200 countries set to throng the Johannesburg summit this month will have no problem finding a common language to thrash out a strategy for sustainable development. They'll be immersed in the eco-jargon that splits experts from the lay community -- most of whom have no idea what the broad, vague phrase "sustainable development" actually means. Virtually every discipline comes with its own code words designed to divide the uninitiated from the seasoned pro.  "Often they are carefully designed words with specific meanings. Some become part of language and some fail to get there," said Nick Nuttall, head of media services at the United Nations ( news - web sites) Environment Program in Nairobi.

"They're an attempt to define very big subjects in very short words which can really mean nothing. They're a compromise."

Most people may not consider themselves "stakeholders" in the summit, but the wide-reaching impacts are likely to go far beyond the governments who sign any pact agreed to in Johannesburg to the companies and communities who will benefit from -- or pay for -- sustainable development.  "I avoid using 'stakeholder' and use 'all sections of society'," UNEP's Nuttall said. "There's a lot of corporatization of the language. It sounds a lot like 'shareholder'."  With half the world's leaders and hundreds of NGOs (nongovernmental organizations) attending, the U.N. conference officially titled the World Summit on Sustainable Development, but nicknamed Earth Summit 2 or Rio+10, may set new standards.

And that's not to mention the alphabet soup of acronyms at what will be the largest ever MSP (multi-stakeholder process) on WEHAB (water, energy, health, agricultural biodiversity and sustainable ecosystem management).  The term "sustainable development" first emerged from the 1970s environmental movement, but it languished in obscurity for a decade until a United Nations commission took up the task of linking environmental responsibility to economic growth.  "We looked for a joint phrase and came up with 'sustainable development'," said Gro Harlem Brundtland, who led the group that produced the landmark 1987 U.N. report "Our Common Future."  The team led by Brundtland, a former Norwegian prime minister and current head of the World Health Organization ( news - web sites), defined sustainable development as "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."


But squeezing the term into the international environmental lexicon was another matter.  "We spent a long time translating it into all the languages of the world -- it was especially difficult in German," she told Reuters.  Whatever its early problems, "nachhaltige Entwicklung" has become common currency in environmentally progressive Germany, which voted its Green party into power in 1998.  The Brundtland commission and "Our Common Future" laid the groundwork that led to the 1992 Rio "Earth Summit" and the guiding "Agenda 21" action plan that sought to guide policy makers trying to reduce world poverty, improve access to water and energy, yet spread the social benefits of economic growth.  Despite the early U.N. efforts, the "sustainable development" moniker failed to catch on with either the public or development groups, according to the forthcoming book "Walking the Talk" from the Geneva-based World Business Council on Sustainable Development.  "Environmental groups do not appear to like the concept because they did not 'invent' it and because it has the word 'development' in it," wrote author Stephan Schmidheiny.

Development groups dislike it for "being too green, feeling that all the emphasis is on the needs of the future rather than the needs of the present."


Critics have derided the U.N. bureaucracy and green groups for engaging in 'ecobabble', a derogatory term defined as using the technical language of ecology to make the user seem ecologically aware.  Environmental groups, for their part, accuse companies and states of "greenwashing" -- disseminating disinformation to create an environmentally responsible public image.  In the hands of partisans, even a common, everyday word can become political dynamite.  No word has sparked more controversy than "partnership" -- an issue high on the Johannesburg agenda, with some governments promoting it in a bid to share the responsibility and costs of any new activities with the hundreds of companies or nongovernmental groups expected to swarm the conference.

"I learned in (pre-conference meetings) just how loaded some of these terms are. It turns out the word 'partnership' is suspect in a lot of circles," said Frances Seymour, a program director at the Washington environmental think tank World Resources Institute.

Green groups say countries such as the United States have seized on the 'partnership' label to push for more business openings for companies instead of signing on to new multilateral development and environmental agreements.

"It's code that the U.S. is using to avoid intergovernmental agreements and binding targets and timetables," said Steve Sawyer, climate adviser for Greenpeace International.  Countries and companies in Johannesburg will also parade advances in "ecoefficiency," another broad term they use to signify "efforts to optimize energy and raw material efficiency to produce an economic and ecological benefit derived from a reduction of environmental impact."  While companies such as German chemical giant BASF and Mexican cement maker Cemex tout their gains in ecoefficiency, not everyone is convinced.  "It sounds like doublespeak to me, where people try to attribute some environmental qualities to something, but can't get specific about what they really mean," Sawyer said.



Business Day (Johannesburg) via All Africa

8 August 2002


Summit could be a springboard to end global development's winter of discontent. AS OUR winter ends, the people of the world will gather in Johannesburg at the United Nations World Summit for Sustainable Development. This massive event which is one of the most ambitious attempted in the world, but undertaken with confidence by democratic SA needs to answer a number of questions, practically. One of these is whether it is possible for the rich and the poor in the world to share and pursue common objectives, for mutual benefit. Another is whether the rich are willing to agree that the priorities of the poor are also their priorities. Yet another question is whether the rich will moderate their immediate material gratification, to protect the global environment as a public good for the benefit of present and future generations.

Another is whether the rich are ready to use the considerable means at their disposal to underwrite with actual resources the positive answers to these questions. There are many in the world who believe the rich are unwilling to answer these questions in the affirmative. Some among these made their point forcefully and sometimes in a disturbing manner, in demonstrations at Seattle, Prague, Davos, Genoa and elsewhere. They demand practical responses to deeply felt concerns. They will not be satisfied merely by good declarations, such as may emerge from the Johannesburg summit. The daily hunger and human pain of the poor of the world also lead these billions to make the same demand. They ask that out of Johannesburg must come a real message of hope and not a mirage. Those who have spoken out put on the credit side of their balance sheet the fact that the World Summit on Sustainable Development will be held on a continent that exemplifies the global challenge of poverty and underdevelopment that all humanity faces.

As a country that shares and is inspired by the potent and humanising feeling of hope, we agreed to host the summit. We were, and are, convinced that the people of the world are determined to achieve global sustainable development.

The balanced and successful combination of social, economic and environmental objectives constitutes the aim of sustainable development. These goals cannot be compartmentalised or separated one from the other. They are three sides of the same triangle.

The summit will be the culmination of determined efforts to confront critical issues facing humankind. These have been discussed since the Rio Earth summit of 1992 and beyond. Johannesburg stands at the apex of these global activities, which focused on building a better world for all.

These initiatives are represented by such conventions as the United Nations Millennium Summit, the Rome World Food Summit and the Monterrey Summit on development financing. They include the World Trade Organisation's Doha development round and the Group of Eight summit in Kananaskis, Canada. At these conferences, the leaders of the countries of the world committed themselves to shared global prosperity, the eradication of poverty and underdevelopment, and sustainable development.

Given this build-up, the ordinary people of the world expect that out of Johannesburg will emerge a credible plan of action that is inclusive, relevant, practical and implementable. They expect this action programme will be expressive of a new and durable global partnership for human dignity and a healthy relationship between human beings and the natural world. They expect action now.

For its part, Africa as the host continent, will present its united view about itself in the form of Nepad, the New Partnership for Africa's Development. It will therefore speak of the imperative for its people to enter into a partnership among themselves, for peace, democracy, human rights, the rule of law and prosperity.

It will speak of the need for Africa to enter into a mutually beneficial partnership with the rest of the world. It will speak of a partnership involving governments, the private sector, the labour movement and civil society. It will speak of the requirement for mutual accountability within Africa and between Africa and the world. Even as we hope that something new will come out of Johannesburg, we are mindful of what has happened globally since Rio 1992. Since 1990, every year, 10-million more people have joined the ranks of the poor. More than 1-billion fellow human beings remain undernourished. No fewer than 1,5-billion people live in water-scarce areas. Every year fish stocks decline by about 660000 tons. Rising oceans increasingly threaten island states.

In some parts of Africa the desert is advancing by 10km a year. The gap between rich and poor continues to widen at a faster pace. Even as you read this, millions in southern Africa face death from famine, despite the existence of huge food stocks elsewhere in the world. Johannesburg provides a rare opportunity, which will not come again soon. This is a time for all humanity and all leaders to get together, to engage in an historic act of creative human solidarity and intelligence, to build a truly peoplecentred, caring world community. The banners that will soon adorn Johannesburg will proclaim people, planet, prosperity. Will they be the trumpet of a prophecy that heralds spring, or will they be mere banners flapping in the wind? Mbeki is President of SA and inaugural African Union Chairman. He will be World Summit Chairman.



Helsingin Sanomat International Edition

8 August 2002


Businesses more involved than before in development projects. Nearly 100 people from Finland will attend the World Summit for Sustainable Development which takes place in the South African city of Johannesburg in late August and early September. The official Finnish delegation of 40 people will be led by President Tarja Halonen.  Another group of 40 Finns will go as experts representing non-governmental organisations, businesses, and research institutes. In addition there will be security guards and other assistants.  Three government ministers will also participate: Environment Minister Jouni Backman (Soc. Dem.), Development Cooperation Minister Suvi-Anne Siimes (Left Alliance), and Foreign Trade Minister Jari Vilén (Nat. Coalition). In addition to the three ministers, about a dozen Members of Parliament will be travelling to the summit. A total of about 70,000 guests are expected at the Johannesburg summit. In addition to the official meeting there will be an NGO event and a business forum. he topics are at least as massive as the meeting itself: ways to reduce poverty, getting a grip on the globalization of the economy, protection of the environment and natural resources, as well as the problems faced by Africa.

This is one of the most significant international meetings ever held. This is why I feel that it is good that many people take part in it. It shows that there is genuine interest", said Environment Minister Jouni Backman on Wednesday at a seminar of the preparatory committee in Helsinki.  In addition to talks between national governments, there are plans to introduce new models of action involving companies and NGOs.  Suvi-Anne Siimes said that Finland will be taking part in a few partnership projects. She said that there is to be cooperation on energy and climate questions in Central America, and forestry cooperation in Brazil. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs is also involved in the projects. In addition, three universities are to take part in EU cooperation with the universities of developing countries. The Ministry of the Environment has been involved in preparations for a project on consumption issues. Most projects are still looking for partners, and all agreeements are purely voluntary.

The United States has been the most enthusiastic in promoting partnerships, and the developing countries are concerned that the US might be trying to evade the commitment of raising development cooperation funding to 0.7% (of GDP)", Siimes said.      This new method of operations raised a good deal of interest in the seminar of more than 100 people. "How can we keep out big corporations, such as the water company Vivendi, who only want to expand their markets", pondered Kaarin Taipale, an architect and the chairwoman of an international environmental organisation of municipalities. On the other hand, Juhani Santaholma, head of the energy group of the International Chamber of Commerce, warned that there may not be extensive formation of these partnerships if they are not made more attractive from a business point of view. Finland has been involved in the preparation of the part of the programme of the meeting aimed at pushing consumption in a more sustainable direction. At the seminar, there was no answer forthcoming to a question from the audience concerning whether or not there are any plans underway to adapt the standard of living prevailing in the West to a more internationally fair level.



The Earth Times

8 August 2002


At the end of the last millennium, the United Nations tackled important development issues that promised to help end human misery. Foremost among these were human rights, population, the environment, women's rights, human settlements, food security and children's welfare. Having completed a warm-up of conferences on these issues in the l990's, member states have scheduled an Olympic-scale grand finale at the World Summit on Sustainable Development. Nearly 60,000 participants are expected to gather from August 26 to September 4 in Johannesburg so that nations can showcase their achievements. In strictest terms, this meeting will not simply be a follow-up to the 1992 Earth Summit held in Rio, a landmark event that first brought critical issues like global warming to the world's attention. The intersection between the environment and development is the central theme of the WSSD, but its aim is much more ambitious: to steer the world on a new course toward equitable, sustainable development. Since experts generally agree that the topic covers almost every known social, economic and environment problem, Johannesburg could turn into a disorderly free-for-all, but there are easily identified ways to steer the summit in the right direction.

Nitin Desai, Secretary General of the WSSD, is keenly aware that refereeing a global consensus on sustainable development requires a strong hand. Governments will finalize negotiations on a Johannesburg Political Declaration and a policy document based on Agenda 21, the vision for the 21st Century agreed upon in 1992. Taking new trends such as globalization and HIV/AIDS into account, delegates will assess past achievements and plan a new course of action. They must avoid renegotiating international agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol while responding to NGO calls for a new treaty on corporate accountability. A wide range of concerns such as poverty, education, health, tourism, energy and transport, oceans, freshwater resources and natural disasters will get due attention while controversial ones like finance and trade are likely to be the main attractions of late-night negotiations.

Thus far, a pragmatic tone has dominated the preparatory committee meetings and is in tune with the UN's call for the summit to focus on deliverables to accelerate progress. Secretary General Kofi Annan has identified key areas where concrete results can be obtained. All of his recommendations make good sense and are strategic actions affecting a variety of development processes. For example, progress has been achieved in the last decade in improved access to clean water and sanitation, but accelerating implementation would bring additional benefits far beyond health, such as extending working life and raising the living standards of the poor. Equally important is Annan's call to reduce over-consumption of energy resources, reverse climate change and provide modern energy to more than two billion people. Another strategic action would be to increase investments in health, including management over toxic and hazardous materials, air pollution and tackling tropical disease like malaria. Annan further advocates a renewed commitment to preserve biodiversity.

NGOs will have an opportunity to add to this list during the Civil Society Global Forum to be held from August 19 to September 4 less than ten minutes away from the official meeting. Trade unions will very likely push harder for corporate accountability on indoor environmental problems likes occupational health and safety-an issue that has generally been skirted in official documents. NGOs from the South will present their Algiers Declaration that claims racism is an obstacle to sustainable development. They site the trans-boundary shipment of toxic waste to poor developing countries as evidence of post-colonial practices. Children will have a collective voice as representatives present a consensus statement based on a Children's Environment Conference held in Canada. Among their demands is a ban on CFCs and other toxic chemicals. High on the list of priorities for the indigenous peoples will be control over customary land. The oil exploration pending in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is an example of a priority issue. REDEH, a Brazilian-based communications NGO, and the Women's Environment and Development Organization will facilitate a Women's Action Tent devoted to a wide range of concerns including sexual and reproductive rights and women's political representation. Responding to calls for businesses to become more environmentally responsible, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development will plunge into the controversies with evidence that businesses too are eco-friendly. The Council plans to commit businesses to redress child labor and uphold high environmental standards.

Attempting to provide some coherence to these debates, the UN has outlined three themes, or "pillars," of sustainable development. These are: 1) combating poverty and promoting sustainable livelihoods, 2) sustainable consumption and production and 3) protecting the integrity of life-support eco-systems. These topics help focus attention on how environment and development interrelate and suggest useful pathways for the future. For example, the comprehensive UN progress report on Agenda 21 states that environmental degradation, natural disasters and disease have disproportionately affected people in poverty. Without additional resources to protect their sea walls and coral reefs and as climate change contributes to rising sea levels, small islands like Tuvalu can expect the majority of its rural population to become environmental refugees. The report also notes that sustainable development cannot be achieved without major changes in the world's consumption and production patterns. Industrial societies, particularly the US, currently consume a disproportionate share of the earth's natural resources and contribute the major portion of green house gases. Closely related to this problem is the accelerated damage to forests, fisheries and watersheds due in part to changing land-use and poor ocean management.

Given the near universal scope of the WSSD agenda, it may appear ludicrous to suggest that there is something missing. Yet that is clearly the case. Put bluntly, the WSSD is precariously balanced on three pillars with a weak foundation. The call to make this conference "practical" is driving some governments to play by traditional rules and backtrack on past international agreements like the Rio principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities." The grand mission of setting the world on a new course toward sustainable development has been trivialized in many instances as technocratic solutions while attention to mobilizing political will and finances fall by the wayside.

The Johannesburg summit can still succeed, but delegates must turn their attention back to basics and keep an eye on the big picture. The first challenge is to make sure that the public grasps the main message of the WSSD: Earth and all its living creatures are heading for ground zero, and everyone must start behaving "as if human beings intended to stay on this planet." Then, they need to be convinced that a UN summit will help set things right in the world. The urgency of the matter was well expressed by Secretary General Kofi Annan in his lecture at the London School of Economics earlier this year when he said, "Sustainable development may be new conventional wisdom, but many people have still not grasped its meaning. One important task is to show that it is far from being as abstract as it sounds. It is a life-or-death issue for millions upon millions of people and potentially the whole human race." Thus far, in many countries, the WSSD has failed to build a foundation for the most important element of sustainable development-a broad-based political leadership with popular support. But there is a more serious rift in the structure of the conference; even among the faithful attending the event, a mistrust of the UN's call for partnerships persists. Partly in response to criticisms that UN meetings are little more than one-time events that are quickly forgotten, the UN designed events to promote networking. Citing successes such as the Global Health Initiative it has encouraged partnerships involving stakeholders including businesses, youth and women's groups. However, the organization is facing a standoff with some NGOs for brokering forced relationships. For example, Friends of the Earth has accused the UN meeting of being hijacked by corporations pursuing the WTO trade agenda. Other NGOs have shown their disdain for partnerships based on what they perceive to be "unequal power relations" by turning their backs on the private sector altogether. They argue that in the absence of a serious redistribution of power, community groups that join hands with dominant allies will carry the burden of development projects while having little say in decision-making. Before all partners give up hope, there is still a chance to build teamwork. Taking the stakeholders' reluctance to heart and addressing the issue head-on may be the only way to bridge this growing chasm.

The WSSD process must also be better grounded in scientific knowledge about how to make sustainable development work. International conferences can, and often do, contribute to an essential body of "how-to" knowledge. Out of the international exchange of views and review of the global condition, a clearer picture of why policies succeed or fail should emerge. But to date, few country reports provide the in-depth policy analyses required to make that happen. Part of the problem is poor funding for research to help governments analyze the impact of their policies on social change. Another concern is the paucity of scientific tools for understanding the interaction between global processes and human behavior. We are years behind in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS and the looming epidemic of tobacco-related diseases in developing countries is hardly recognized. Economics, the preferred policy tool, is still a poorly tuned craft. Even the World Bank with its elite corps of economists would not claim to have the power to predict the final scenerio of globalization. Invoking the Precautionary Principle is a major step forward, but governments and the UN also have to put more financial resources into filling in the knowledge gaps. Researches on sustainable development and the environment require comprehensive, longitudinal methodologies and should include political and social as well as scientific analyses. For example, more research is needed to discover cheap energy resources that can be used to replace the current carbon-based ones, but little is known about which policies would make them acceptable to manufacturers or consumers, particularly in developing countries. Science and technology policies also need serious rethinking about how knowledge is generated, protected, and shared globally. If nations are heading for global interlinking eco-systems, then governments need to keep the flow of knowledge circulating freely. That means overcoming barriers that prevent major groups like women, indigenous peoples and farmers from contributing to and accessing information and enlisting their help to solve the sustainable development puzzle. Although the WSSD draft plan acknowledges the importance of increased investments in science and technology, few governments are forthcoming with the political will to achieve these goals.

Finally, delegates need to place greater faith in the power of a human rights approach to sustainable development. The human rights concept has evolved from a narrowly defined legalistic, "western" approach to an international standard of conduct with far reaching legislative implications. Although often appearing in different guises, the ethical basis of sustainable development has been on the UN agenda for decades. We need to draw upon this rich tradition and rethink human rights so that it lays the intellectual foundation to tackle such problems as the environment, self-determination, peace and corporate accountability. Human Rights Covenants clearly state that all people have the right to economic development and that this right is universal as well as indivisible from other civil and political rights. Other sources closer at hand are the 27 core principles of the Rio Declaration adopted at the 1992 Earth Summit. The Rio Declaration stands out for its clarity of vision and anticipation of the 21st century challenges to sustainable development. Yet this important historic document has struggled to stay alive in this WSSD process. Principle 1 states that "Human beingsâ?|are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature." Principle 3 expresses that "The right to development must be fulfilled so as to equitably meet developmental and environmental needs of present and future generations." And it notes that States should cooperate in a spirit of "global partnership to conserve, protect and restore the health and integrity of the Earth's ecosystem." It is time to invite the spirit of the Rio Declaration to Johannesburg so as to breathe life back into the proceedings. A world summit that is devoted to changing the course of human history must rally the moral consciousness of every citizen, and this particular world summit is still a potential winner.




7 August 2002


PRETORIA, South Africa - With 19 days to the start of the biggest U.N. gathering in history, organizers still don't know how many people will arrive for the Johannesburg Earth Summit nor what it will cost to stage. But Moss Mashishi, chief executive of the Johannesburg World Summit Company, told reporters he was confident the 10-day event would go off smoothly and within the $52.2 million budget. U.N. officials have said the World Summit on Sustainable Development, also known as the Earth Summit, will be the biggest gathering of its kind in history. The summit will examine progress since the first Earth Summit in Brazil 10 years ago and will seek to map a way forward for a planet battered by disease, poverty, pollution and the overuse of resources including water.

"Today it's 19 days to the summit. We are under a huge amount of pressure," Mashishi said. Arrangements ranging from the deployment of 8,000 additional police and soldiers, transport and even entertainment for participants ranging from environmental activists to heads of state, were in place and needed only to be implemented, he said. Bookings had accelerated over the past week and organizers were still working on a projection of around 60,000 participants and officials. "Nobody can really tell you an exact number of how many people are coming," Mashishi said. "We work on projections and in our consultations with the U.N. and various other parties...we are around the 60,000 mark for the number of people we expect to take part in the summit." A summit official said privately that the latest internal estimate was that around 45,000 people actually would arrive in Johannesburg on summit-related business between the start of preparatory talks on August 24 -- the official opening is on August 26 -- and the closing ceremony on September 4. But with hundreds of parallel events planned at five separate venues around Johannesburg, it was impossible to know in advance how many people would turn up, the official said. Mashishi declined to give details of the fund-raising drive, but said organizers had commitments for 75 to 80 percent of the estimated cost of the event and plans to raise the rest. "We will be able to rework post-summit what the total figures will look like, but both the corporate and government responses have been good. On the whole it looks quite good in terms of the initial projections we had," he said




6 August 2002


Senior United Nations managers have been warned not to engage in lavish entertaining during the forthcoming environment summit in Johannesburg.  UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's chief of staff S Iqbal Riza urged his senior staff to remember that the conference was being held as famine threatened southern Africa.  Some 65,000 people have registered to attend the conference in South Africa and about 100 heads of state are due to attend at the end of this month.  The UN appear determined to ensure the summit does not appear too lavish It is being held 10 years after the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, but is already being dismissed as the biggest talking shop in history, with doom-mongers predicting the summit has little success in achieving the sustainable development goals it will set.  Some 20 UN bodies will be attending, each with their own delegation, and the UN is clearly keen to pre-empt any criticism that might come their way from any of the 6,000 journalists expected to cover the event.

In the memo, a copy of which was secured by BBC News Online, there was also a warning to managers not to allow an unnecessarily large number of UN staff to attend the summit "which could be perceived as an obvious waste of personnel and financial resources".  "We must keep in mind that this conference is taking place in the midst of a major food crisis in southern Africa, affecting 13 million people," Mr Iqbal Riza said further down the memo.  "It would be wise to refrain from excessive levels of hospitality, and any event sponsored by the United Nations should be of modest, even frugal, dimensions," he said.

The recent UN World Food Summit held in Rome was criticised for the lavish food and hospitality available at the event.

About 13 million people are at risk of starvation in seven countries across southern



The Guardian

6 August 2002


Delegations from 174 countries which are meeting for nine days to try to cure the world's environment and development problems later this month will have to do it without the help of Britain's environment minister, Michael Meacher.  The conference, seen by many as a talking shop and too unwieldy to produce concrete results, takes place 10 years after the first Earth Summit in Rio and is designed to assess progress and give new impetus to the political process.  A staggering 65,000 people have registered to attend the conference in Johannesburg, which will be turned into a fortress for nine days with 27,000 police enforcing security. Every hotel room and boarding house and many holiday flats have been taken over by the government to squeeze everyone in.

At least 10,000 of those attending will be government officials, and 6,000 will be journalists. Each head of government will be allotted 10 minutes to speak.  There are 20 UN bodies, each with their own delegation. A second parallel conference attended by environment groups, big business, the landless poor, and hundreds of lobby groups, from bird-watchers to the oil industry, has already attracted 15,000 registrations. Each of these groups will also send separate delegations to lobby the main conference. It is so complex that no one is sure it will work, still less achieve anything.  But the conference takes place against an alarming backdrop of famine in Southern Africa, caused partly by climate change which is reducing rainfall, and the steady destruction of the earth's natural resources, and lack of clean water and sanitation. The failure to reach many of the UN's development targets and reduction in world poverty by promoting development and education will be top of the agenda.

Poverty targets

More than 100 heads of state will arrive in the last two days of the conference to sign a declaration designed to set new targets on poverty and development aid. Among the issues that Tony Blair will be pushing is the plight of two billion people in the world who are without electricity, many in rural Africa.  The problem is that unlike Rio there are no great new conventions to be signed. At the first summit the Climate Change Convention, designed to combat global warming, and the Biodiversity Convention, to protect vulnerable species and protect the natural world, were agreed and signed, giving high hopes of a brighter future.  In addition developing countries got together and set up an agreement to combat the spread of the world's deserts. An attempt was made to get a forest convention, but this proved impossible and despite years of subsequent talks failed to materialise.  Apart from those agreements, a vast document called Agenda 21, a blueprint for the environment and development in the 21st century, was agreed and signed. Every local authority was supposed to create a plan for sustainable development under the slogan "think globally, act locally". Many in Britain have adopted Agenda 21 policies with varied success.  This time the agenda has changed. Big businesses, particularly multinationals, are now charged with pouring money into developing countries and creating partnerships with local people to aid development. The idea is to improve social, environment and economic advancement all in one go, under the catch-all phrase of sustainable development. This is really what the summit is supposed to be about, how to encourage economic development of the poorest countries without further damaging their environment and destroying yet more natural resources like forests. A phrase that will be repeated again and again in Johannesburg will be "not leaving the earth for our children in a worse state than we found it".

As at Rio the main problem will be seen as the role of the US. There have been many preparatory meetings, but the US delegation, numbering more than 130, has been accused by environment groups of obstructing any attempts to impose new targets and timetables on relieving poverty and promoting development.

So little progress had been made after the "last" preparation meeting in Bali in June that many feared that Johannesburg would be a complete failure. Another meeting was hastily arranged for New York last month to try to pin down some concrete proposals.

Still undecided is whether George Bush will attend. The conference, which was to have been in the first two weeks in September, was moved back to run from August 26 to September 4, to avoid the September 11 anniversary and allow the president to attend.

Like his father, who was US president during the Rio conference, Mr Bush is less than enthusiastic about the environment and development aid. In 1992 George Bush senior refused to sign the Biodiversity Convention in case it cost the US money but he did go to Rio and endorsed the Climate Change Convention.  His son is even more antagonistic towards the environment, and although the US remains part of the climate convention, the new president pulled out of the subsequent Kyoto agreement which would have given the convention teeth.  The rest of the world has continued with Kyoto, a snub to the US, which is now seen as an international environmental pariah, at least in the eyes of the green movement.  As at the Rio summit there will be a split between the northern developed countries which regard Johannesburg as a vital step to safeguarding the environment as well as promoting development, and the developing world, which looks on it as an opportunity for more aid to promote industry and clean technology.

Leap forward

But in the 10 years since Rio the aims of development and environment groups have got much closer. There has been a vast growth in the environment movement in developing countries. They do not want to repeat the mistakes of the industrial revolution of Europe and the US where air pollution and toxic wastes wrecked large areas. The developing countries want to leap from the 19th century to the 21st without the mess in between.  To this end they find a sympathetic ear in Mr Blair, who wants to switch the lights on in Africa using technologies like wind and solar power. This will have the dual effect of allowing a leap forward in education using computers and other technology, and at the same time prevent the further destruction of trees used daily for fuel.

The other great issues are lack of clean water and sanitation, which cause millions of deaths a year among children from avoidable diseases. Africa is particularly prone to virulent forms of malaria, which is spreading to ever increasing areas of the globe because of climate change.  Biodiversity and its continued destruction are again on the agenda and how to keep the food supplies going for ever increasing human populations. The world's population of 6 billion population will grow to 8 billion in less than 50 years.

With multinationals and environment groups sending delegations as large as any government's, trade and globalisation will be a simmering issue. Many see the greater emphasis in Johannesburg on big business helping to solve the world's problems as a further erosion of the power of governments, and a lack of political will to make the summit a success.

On a global scale

· Proper name World Summit on Environment and Development

· Also billed as The world's largest ever conference

· Held in Johannesburg, South Africa, to review progress 10 years after the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992. Runs August 26 to September 4

· Second conference for environment, development and industry groups runs alongside

· Total of 65,000 delegates

· Security is provided by 27,000 police.

· Currently 174 countries are represented

· 106 heads of government will attend, including Tony Blair

· British delegation cut from 100 to 70

· The BBC is expected to send a team of 100

· George Bush still undecided whether to attend




6 August 2002


Two leading Welsh politicians will be taking Wales' message to the Johannesburg summit later this month. Plaid Cymru MP Simon Thomas and European Parliamentary leader Jill Evans MEP will be taking Wales's message to the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development which starts on 26 August, but will first discuss its implications for Wales, and also Wales's role in the summit, in an open meeting on the Eisteddfod Maes, on Thursday, August 8. Invitations have been sent out to a variety of organisations and societies in Wales, including the National Assembly for Wales's First Minister, Rhodri Morgan, to attend the discussion on the Maes. It is also open for the public to participate. The Johannesburg Summit is a follow up to the first earth Summit held at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, ten years ago, and aims to review the progress made over the last ten years. Simon Thomas MP said: "Rio was full of goodwill and good intentions but has subsequently lacked in action and results. "The summit needs to recognise the importance of smaller nations such as Wales - the success of the summit depends on the goodwill and cooperation of these smaller nations and regions. This summit is therefore an opportunity to turn globalisation and world politics on its head, and for leading nations to empower smaller ones to take action on sustainable development." Jill Evans MEP said: "There has been limited progress since Rio. Hopes for success at the Johannesburg Summit have declined every time the parties to international agreements failed to fulfil their promises and powerful countries like the United States try to highjack the process. So a great deal is at stake in Johannesburg and only political will can make it successful. "The debate on sustainable development in Johannesburg must focus on respect for all people - their values, cultures and environment. It is not just about economic growth but about changing the global agenda so that economic and trade policies serve rather than dictate social, environmental and cultural objectives. It is a unique opportunity to improve the conditions of life for people everywhere in the world, including Wales. "Wales has an important role to play in promoting environmental, social, economic, linguistic and cultural diversity. Sustainable Development is more than just the environment - it also includes cultural developments." The open meeting will be held at the Societies Tent on the Eisteddfod Maes, 2.30-4pm, Thursday, August 8.



Associated Press

7 August 2002


WASHINGTON (AP) - The United States and 31 other countries pledged a total of $2.92 billion on Wednesday to support the work of an environmental fund over the next four years.  The Bush administration's pledge of $500 million to the Global Environmental Facility will go to support the organization's work to promote clean and efficient energy, biodiversity programs and water cleanup efforts.  The U.S. commitment includes support of $107.5 million annually plus an additional $70 million in 2006, the fourth year, if the fund meets various performance targets.  "This pledge and the policy reforms and performance targets that have been agreed by donors are vitally important steps forward," said John Taylor, Treasury undersecretary, in a statement.  The environmental fund, based within the headquarters of the World Bank in Washington, has allocated $4.2 billion over the past decade to support 1,000 environmental projects in 160 developing countries.  Mohamed T. El-Ashry, the head of the organization, said Wednesday that the level of financing demonstrated by the United States and other major donors was "strong evidence of the participants' commitment to the global environment."  He said it would set the stage for a successful World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held at the end of August in Johannesburg, South Africa.

On the Net: Global Environment Facility:



Business Day

6 August 2002


MOSCOW's Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov will lead the Russian delegation to the World Summit on Sustainable Development, SA and Russian sources have confirmed.  This will be the first visit to Africa for Kasyanov, and the first time a Russian official of his rank has visited SA. President Vladimir Putin is expected to visit SA next year, Russian officials say.  The high Russian profile for Africa was unveiled during meetings which Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma held in Moscow last month.  She delivered a personal message for Putin from President Thabo Mbeki.  Dlamini-Zuma also confirmed that a much-delayed meeting of SA and Russian economic and trade officials had been scheduled for November 18 in Pretoria.  The two-day session will address tariff and nontariff obstacles affecting SA meat and fruit exports. Last year, trade turnover between SA and Russia was R620m, a 19% drop from the R795m recorded in 2000. SA exports to Russia were worth R284m, down 30% from their 1999 level of R406m.  A new session of the SA-Russia joint commission on space and technology is also planning to develop projects in laser medicine, telescopy and rocket launches, which experts from the two countries have been discussing.



Business Day

5 August 2002


TRADE and Industry Minister Alec Erwin expressed confidence at the weekend that the World Summit on Sustainable Development starting this month would reinvigorate talks on securing a fairer trade deal for developing nations.  Recent worrying protectionist tendencies were discussed at the last cabinet brainstorming session, with concern expressed about the danger that the global economy was entering "a period of greater protectionism". Erwin said if this was so, the Doha round of World Trade Organisation talks might be affected. This round is intended to correct imbalances in global trade to give a fairer deal to developing countries. The summit will bring together many key players. A discussion on the WTO negotiations is expected to take place as well as a reference to the round in the summit conclusions.  Erwin said SA ministers would devote "considerable energies" to the summit, and a number of ministers had cleared their schedules so they could devote time to the gathering.  He said that recent US farm legislation and President George Bush's tariffs to protect America's steel industry had sent a negative signal and "made it more difficult for an efficient producer like SA to enter those markets". The European Union (EU) recently tabled agricultural proposals that went in the right direction, but these were "relatively cautious". Erwin expressed concern that even these modest proposals received some negative response.  On the positive front, the US and the EU had publicly committed themselves to the WTO agenda "and we need to keep them to that". A key aim of the summit would be to get players to recommit themselves to the Doha round "in intent and in content". Erwin hoped that multilateral institutions and nongovernmental organisations could be persuaded to help build up the capacity of developing nations to participate fully in the complex WTO negotiations, as well as in the development of the African Union and in debt relief.  Following recent discussions with the EU and the US "tentatively we have very positive wording" for the conclusions of the summit. It would not go beyond commitments made at Doha, but would reinforce the commitment to the spirit and content of Doha.



The Earth Times

5 August 2002


The World Conservation Union (IUCN) Environment Centre in Johannesburg will host a series of 100 events during the World Summit on Sustainable Development, from August 26 till September 4. The events, designed to enable and encourage discussion on issues of major concern, will feed into the formal WSSD proceedings, and develop new ways of implementing sustainable development. The objective of IUCN is to help in achieving meaningful results at the summit.  IUCN is the largest science-based environmental organization. "It will be offering a variety of strategic events during the WSSD in an effort to provide delegates, NGOs and the public at large with sound information on how different forms of development can relieve both poverty and environmental stress," said Achim Steiner, the IUCN Director General, in a statement released on Monday. "Kofi Annan's five priority areas for action at the WSSD-water, energy, health, agriculture and biodiversity-offer us all a useful focus for moving beyond rhetoric and declarations to implementing initiatives on the ground," Steiner said.  The highlight of each day at the IUCN Environment Centre will be a high-level "Features Dialogue" that will feature provocative and informed speakers to address the key issues of relevance to the negotiators attending the summit, such as water and the rest of priorities outlined by Annan. These dialogues, coupled with round-tables, workshops and partnership negotiations will be open to registered delegates.  IUCN is a worldwide partnership of 72 states, 107 government agencies, 743 NGOs, 34 affiliates and some 10,000 scientists and experts from 181 countries. Its mission is to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world in conserving the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.  Steiner said that IUCN has helped over 75 countries to prepare and implement national conservation and biodiversity strategies. It will draw from its field experience gathered from over 300 projects currently implemented in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America to showcase at the summit how conservation and development go hand in hand




5 August 2002


Robin Harper will be shadowing Mr McConnell. Scotland's only Green MSP has promised to "keep a beady eye" on the country's first minister at the world summit in South Africa.  Robin Harper said he would be attending the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) to "shadow" First Minister Jack McConnell.  The event is being held in Johannesburg between 26 August and 4 September. Mr McConnell will represent Scotland at the gathering, which will bring together tens of thousands of participants.

The summit marks the 10th anniversary of the first world summit on the environment, which was held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.  Mr Harper, a list MSP for the Lothians, said: "This is the most important event for the future of the planet there has ever been.  "I feel it is important to be there to represent the 85,000 Scots who voted Green at the last election and to keep a beady eye on the executive delegation."  He said he was disappointed at the "slow progress" on tackling environmental issues in Scotland and the UK.  "I'm hoping the summit will be a wake-up call to governments," said Mr Harper.  "They seem to think they can get away with business as usual as the global environment collapses about us."




5 August 2002


Global efforts for environmentally friendly development are vital in creating a more stable world, Colin Powell, the US Secretary of State, said in a UN publication released today. Sustainable development is a "compelling moral and humanitarian issue", Powell said in an article to be published ahead of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg later this month. "But sustainable development is also a security imperative. Poverty, environmental degradation and despair are destroyers - of people, of societies, of nations," Powell wrote. "This unholy trinity can destabilise countries, even entire regions."

About 65 000 delegates, observers and campaigners and 58 heads of state are expected at the meeting - a follow-up to the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 - from August 26 to September 4. Powell, writing in a special edition of the UN Environment Programme's Our Planet magazine, said that since the last summit there had been "ups and downs" and uneven progress but also some "real improvements". The proportion of people living on less than $1 a day has fallen from 29% to 24%, while infant mortality has dropped by more than 10%, he said. He also noted reason for optimism. "The spread of democracy and market economies, combined with breakthroughs in technology, permits us to dream of a day when, for the first time in history, most of humanity will be free of the ravages of tyranny and poverty," Powell said.


Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary General has recommended the Johannesburg summit focus on five key areas: water, energy, health, agriculture and biodiversity, Klaus Toepfer, the UNEP Executive Director, said. "We expect as an outcome in Johannesburg altogether a clear plan of implementation with concrete targets and timetables and means of implementation," Toepfer told reporters today. However, some countries are reluctant to include fixed targets at the South African conference, worried that overly ambitious timetables could lead to the risk of disappointment, he added. Delegates have been asked by the host country to arrive two days before the summit opens to try to "expedite the negotiations". The US vision for the Johannesburg conference is based on three pillars - "commitment, good policies and partnerships", Powell said. "Sustainable development requires institutions, policies, people and effective partnerships to carry our common effort beyond Johannesburg and far into the future," he added. The Powell article is among a number of written contributions by politicians, heads of state and other leading figures for the magazine, expected to be published on August 12. - Sapa-AFP





International Herald Tribune

15 August 2002


The writer, master of Trinity College, Cambridge, was awarded the 1998 Nobel Memorial Prize for economics. This comment was distributed by Los Angeles Times Syndicate International.

CAMBRIDGE, England: The Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro 10 years ago, which did a lot to advance environmental consciousness in public discussion, also helped to generate the understanding that environment and development are inextricably linked.

The need to think about the environment cannot really be dissociated from the nature of the lives that people, especially deprived people, live today. If people have a miserable living standard, then the promise of sustaining that pitiable standard in the future can hardly be very thrilling. The goal has to include rapid reduction of today's deprivations, while making sure that what is achieved today can be sustained in the future.  Global cooperation is needed both to alleviate today's deprivations and to safeguard our future. And that is exactly what the World Summit on Sustainable Development, which begins Aug. 26 in Johannesburg, is trying to achieve.  But do the prospects of effective global cooperation look promising? One issue that has received much attention is the need for development aid, and the extent to which richer countries are willing to help poorer ones. On this front, things do not look particularly promising.  The International Conference on Financing for Development, held in Mexico last March, produced a document quite upbeat on powerful rhetoric but rather bashful on the likely magnitudes of financial assistance. The chasm between expectation and delivery is beginning to look big. In general, from the financial perspective, the outlook for the Johannesburg summit meeting cannot be seen as rosy.

But fruitful global cooperation can take many different forms - not just general financial assistance.  On the environmental side, we need to make up ground that has been lost by the slowing down of international agreements and the reneging on past understandings (for example, by the United States on the Kyoto Protocol). On the economic side, the importance of reducing entry barriers in the richer countries for products from the poorer ones deserves much greater practical acknowledgment. Johannesburg offers an excellent opportunity for both.  There are also many institutional reforms urgently needed for the global economy. To illustrate, there is a strong case for making patent laws more efficient as well as less contrary to equity. The existing laws do not facilitate the actual use of desperately needed medicines in less affluent countries.  There are also many positive things that the poorer countries can do for themselves, without any financial help from the rich, who need not be seen as the moving agents of change.  We can even question the general strategy of defining sustainable development only in terms of fulfillment of needs, rather than using the broader perspective of enhancing human freedoms on a sustainable basis. The essential freedoms must, of course, include the ability to meet crucially important economic needs, but there are also many others to be considered, such as expanding political participation and broadening social opportunities.  Indeed, it is not at all obvious why the enhancing of democratic freedoms should not figure among the central demands of sustainable development. Not only are these freedoms important in themselves, but they can contribute to other types of freedoms. Open public discussion, often stifled under authoritarian regimes, may be pivotally important for leading a fuller human life and also for a better understanding of the importance of environmental preservation.  There are many rewards of seeing people as "agents" who can exercise their freedoms rather than merely as "patients" whose needs have to be fulfilled. Being less anxious about getting big financial assurances from richer countries is among those rewards. Important as financial assistance may be, there are also other ways forward, which can be helped by more focus on agency.  Johannesburg offers a major opportunity for that approach as well. Our relations with the world depend crucially on our view of ourselves. 



The Guardian

15 August 2002


Ahead of the UN Earth summit, Mark Tran finds the seminal thinker on sustainable development Alexander King pessimistic about the future of the planet

The summit on sustainable development in Johannesburg will be the biggest UN convention ever; the cast of presidents, prime ministers, and development experts has the task of coming up with concrete plans to reduce global poverty without irreparably damaging the environment.

Noble as that goal is, Alexander King, a pivotal figure in the sustainable development movement, holds out little hope for success. King, 93, may not be a household name these days, but he was highly influential in popularising sustainable development.

In the 1960s, King co-founded a thinktank called the Club of Rome with Aurelio Peccei, an Italian businessman. The thinktank of scientists, economists, businessmen, international civil servants and politicians would probably have stayed an obscure club of the great and the good had it not been for the publication of its first and most famous report: Limits to Growth.

The study was based upon the first research to make serious use of computers in modelling the potentially destructive consequences of rapid world population growth. Not only was Limits a publishing phenomenon, selling 12m copies in 37 countries, it also created a furore among the chattering classes that rippled to the wider public.

"The press, particularly in the Netherlands, misread it and put it forward as a plea for zero growth," King said. "The message was in fact less dramatic. It warned that unless important changes of policy were made, the continuation of existing trends would lead to catastrophic events. Its intention was thus essentially prophylactic."

The report had its origins in a series of discussions organised by King and Peccei, who were unsure that the market or technology could overcome environmental problems. They then asked a group of computer scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to run models to examine what would happen if people continued to consume resources at a rapid pace. The study became the basis of Limits to Growth.

The report ranks up there with Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, written in 1962, in its significance for the environmental movement. Silent Spring exposed the hazards of the pesticide DDT, questioned humanity's faith in technological progress and laid the seeds for the green movement. Ironically, King helped coin the abbreviation for DDT, dichlor dethyl trichlorethane, when he and a group of British scientists were working on mosquito repellents during the second world war.

"The adoption of these three letters into the common usage worldwide is, no doubt, my greatest claim to fame as well as infamy," King writes in his unpublished autobiography, Let the Cat Turn Round - One Man's Traverse of the 20th Century.

King now lives quietly in a block of flats in Notting Hill, London. A stroke down his right side means he walks with a cane and is sometimes hard to understand, but the Glaswegian accent still comes through. Since his wife, Sally, died two-and-a-half years ago after suffering from Alzheimer's, he has written two autobiographies, one about his public life, one about his personal life.

"What else is an old man of 93 to do," he says. "I have a very good memory and remember my school and university days."

The professional and personal lives intersect in the career paths of his children. King may not be sanguine about the future of the environment, but his children and grandchildren are carrying on the fight that he started 30 years ago. Jane, his first daughter, now works on a computerised world model, Ecco, which is many times more complex than that used for Limits to Growth.

A second daughter, Catherine, is head of the department of public health and epidemiology at the Institute of Child Health at Great Ormond Street hospital and leads a European team on the transmission of Aids from mothers to babies. One of her sons, named Alexander, founded the Institute for Environmental Management, to which most important UK firms adhere.

It is the relationship with his wife that forms the core of the second, personal autobiography, which he finished six months ago. But naturally our conversation circles the famous tome that has been translated into several languages, including Japanese, Korean and Spanish. To this day, he insists that Limits to Growth, pilloried by economists and academics as a prophecy of doom, was misunderstood.

King says some of the report's contents started leaking six months before publication, with its findings plastered in the papers and on TV. Headlines such as "Zero growth necessary to avoid world collapse" ignited the debate. Seizing on what he assumed was the report's conclusions, Sicco Mansholt wrote an open letter to the president of the European commission, Enrico Malfatti, whom he was soon to succeed.

Mansholt called for radical reforms that virtually amounted to a plea for zero growth. In April 1972, one month after Limits was published, King and Peccei sent a letter to the commission making clear that Mansholt had got the wrong end of the stick. But by then, the zero growth label had stuck like glue.

"Long before the physical limits were reached," King wrote in a recent essay, "the global system would encounter serious social, political and cultural problems; before non-renewable resources became critically scarce, the world would experience great difficulties from population pressures and migrations and environmental disasters. Alas; despite all our disclaimers the club's image continued to be dominated by its supposed zero-growth advocacy."

King still remembers the derision directed at the Club of Rome at the time. "The Economist magazine said at the time: 'The Club of Rome wants to increase its membership by 100. Can there be 100 people that stupid,'" he recalls.

Thirty years after the publication of the report, King admits three shortcomings. First, Limits was far too pessimistic about the shortage of raw materials, a fact now underlined by the low price of commodities like coffee, copper and even oil.

In a related second point, Limits to Growth underestimated the positive effects of technology, which was able to find substitutes for raw materials. Third, the report did not sufficiently take into account market forces and their influences.

On the plus side, King thinks the report made an important contribution: trends such as population growth and environmental problems interact and lead to effects that could not be understood if looked at separately. The rather fancy word for this holistic approach to growth was the Problematique, which does not denote just a single, specific problem, but a cluster of interrelated and mutually interacting problems.

Despite all the conferences the UN has organised on the environment and sustainable development, dating back to the late 1960s, King is pessimistic about the chances of progress from these grand meetings.

"There is still so much disagreement about such things as global warming," King says. "The world is heating up, that is pretty obvious, but many people believe it is a cyclical phenomenon rather than something more permanent. Kyoto [the accord on reducing greenhouse gases] is only the beginning and wouldn't do much in practice even though it is highly desirable."

If governments and environmentalists have proved unable to promote sustainable development to any considerable degree, with whom does King think are we left? Surprisingly, he believes the biggest hope lies with the large oil corporations.

"The big oil companies are likely to see the problem sooner than governments," King argues, although he thinks that little will be done until there is a crisis or when "we have really bad effects from global warming".



Financial Times

14 August 2002

The writer is director of the Earth Institute and professor of sustainable development at Columbia University

The cynics are already deriding the World Summit on Sustainable Development that opens in Johannesburg at the end of the month. Another expensive gabfest, they complain. But it is important to note that much of this criticism comes from rightwing US politicians who have worked for more than a decade to undermine almost every United Nations initiative. The subject of the summit is deadly serious. No amount of US hostility should deflect the world from a serious consideration of our environmental future. The right wing seeks to cast doubt on the dangers posed by global climate change, species extinction and ecosystem degradation, presenting such fears as a rehash of old, failed forecasts. Haven't we been warned about the risks of famine, disease and environmental collapse since Malthus's predictions at the end of the 18th century, it asks; and hasn't technology always bailed us out? The answer is complicated.

Technology has indeed averted disaster, but only for those who have access to modern technologies built around first-world science. For a billion or more people in the poorest regions of the world, Malthusian catastrophes are a frequent visitation. Millions every year die prematurely as a result of poverty. Climatic shocks such as this year's drought in southern Africa, delayed monsoons in south Asia and an emerging El Niýo cycle put hundreds of millions more at risk. Moreover, technology does not arrive as manna from heaven. It is the result of significant investment by the public sector as well as the private sector. It was US government-led efforts of the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, the US Department of Agriculture

and the universities that contributed indispensably to US food productivity and a string of breakthroughs in medical technology and public health. But these scientific advances have not reached the impoverished peoples of much of tropical sub- Saharan Africa and south Asia, where disease and agronomic conditions are very different. Nor have scientific advances yet resolved the global bind over energy use and climate change.

Free-market fundamentalists are right to deny erroneous claims that we are about to run out of energy on a global scale. The world consumes about 6bn tons of fossil fuels a year worldwide and still has perhaps 10,000bn tons of coal reserves alone, not to mention other fuels. The problem, of course, is that reliance on coal dramatically exacerbates the risks of man-made climate change. Technological advances here too could bail us out - for example, if the carbon emissions from coal burning could

be captured in magnesium ores and stored beneath the earth's surface, as Klaus Lackner, professor of geophysics at Columbia University, has ingeniously suggested. But this too would require considerable research and development from government as well as private sources, and current levels of investment have been tiny. The other great hope for heading off ecological catastrophe is the slowing of rapid population growth. It took thousands of generations of our species to arrive at the billionth human being in about 1830, but just 170 years more to add an additional 5bn. The sheer momentum created by the current young age structure of the world's population will carry the total up another 2bn or so by mid-century, even if, from now on, every woman were to give birth to just two children. Of course, the world's population is likely to grow faster than this: hundreds of millions of women in the developing

world are still having more children than the replacement rate. Here, again, the US right wing undercuts policies that could promote

sustainable development. The attacks on family planning programmes not only threaten 30 years of US efforts but aim to torpedo the invaluable work of the UN as well, by crippling the United Nations Population Fund.

Family planning is not, to be sure, the only policy tool for reducing rapid population growth in poor countries. Extensive experience and research has shown that poor women have fewer children when they are literate, have opportunities for market employment, and have access to health care for their children. High child survival rates give the parents enough confidence to limit the number of children. In this sense, increased education opportunities for girls, expanded healthcare coverage of the world's poor, as well as expanded family planning programmes, should all take centre stage at Johannesburg.

A successful summit in Johannesburg would therefore undertake a number of commitments. The governments would commit to take seriously the challenges of sustainable development - not only for the one-sixth of humanity living with high income but also for the five-sixths of humanity in the developing world - and especially the one-sixth of humanity whose lives are a daily struggle for survival. They would acknowledge the real risks that population growth and economic activity have generated, ranging from man-made climate change to the depletion of fisheries to the degradation of fragile ecosystems around the world. They would pledge to pay careful attention to the emerging scientific knowledge that is increasingly documenting these risks. For the poorest of the poor, they would pledge food aid, expanded access to healthcare and family planning services, clean water and sanitation, and a scientific effort to address the problems of tropical disease and agriculture. And for the world as a whole, they would declare a global effort to mobilise science and technology to ease the harsh trade-off between energy use and climate change so that the still bountiful reserves of fossil fuels could be used safely while other clean technologies are adopted during the century.

All of this the world should do with or without the US at the table, just as it has decided to move forward with the Kyoto Treaty - limiting carbon emissions - despite Washington's arrogant disregard. Sooner or later, the Americans too will wake up to global realities.



Barry James International Herald Tribune

14 August 2002


Although the decade between the World Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and its successor in Johannesburg later this month is marked by the failure of governments to prevent the degradation of the environment or to rescue humanity from poverty and hunger, the last 10 years have seen an enormous upsurge in civic groups concerned about these critical global issues.  The groups are broadly known as nongovernmental organizations, or NGOs. They will participate in a giant Global Forum parallel to the World Summit for Sustainable Development, seeking to put pressure on government leaders, and will account for a large proportion of the more than 60,000 people expected to be drawn by the event, which runs from Aug. 26 to Sept. 4. "As citizens, we have a lot of power and influence that we can use for the benefit of society," said Serryn Janson, international director of the worldwide program of the Earthday network. "Our lack of coordination is a problem, but that reflects social chaos." She said many NGOs would use the summit conference as "a trigger point to create networks around critical issues," to prevent these issues from falling into "a black hole" once the conference is over. "There is a lot of disillusion about the process," she said. "But change has to come from the bottom up, not the top down. As citizens we have a lot of power and influence that we can use for the benefit of society."

The groups form part of what is broadly referred to as "civil society," to distinguish it from governments or international governments. The voluntary organizations flourish best in open societies where citizens contribute to the common good on their own time and with their own money, independently of the actions or desires of the state. That is why independent NGOs always have a tough time in totalitarian countries, and still are considered subversive in China. Some, like anti-slavery organizations or women's suffrage groups, have been around for more than a century. Most have sprung up in recent years to deal with the issues of environment, development, poverty and human rights that will discussed at the summit meeting. The Union of International Associations in Brussels counts nearly 17,000 internationally operating organizations and thousands more of a national, religious or single-issue nature. The United States has about 2 million voluntary organizations, most created since the 1970s, and about 100,000 associations have sprung up in Eastern Europe since the fall of communism. Some of the groups are concerned with single issues, others are multifaceted organizations like the World Wide Fund for Nature, which has 5 million members.

The NGOs have gained influence with the spread of information technology. Jody Williams, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for her work in heading an international coalition to ban land mines, said her main weapon was e-mail. There are thousands of Web sites devoted to environmental and development issues. One of the biggest global organizations, Friends of the Earth, is heading a coalition of groups at the summit meeting demanding that multinational corporations be regulated to prevent environmental and social abuse. Since the business lobby rejects any such controls, there could be a showdown. According to Worldwatch Institute, the environmental and societial research organization, "it is clear that the Earth Summit ushered in a new era of global transnational citizen activism that is radically transforming the landscape of international diplomacy." "Once the staid province of diplomats, UN negotiating sessions now attract a diverse and colorful crowd of participants-from NGOs and business representatives to farmers and local officials," Worldwatch noted. "Innovative new forms of global governance have emerged since Rio that tap into the dynamism of these different groups."

Volunteers from civil organizations like the International Red Cross or Doctors Without Borders are often ahead of national or UN forces in getting aid to conflict zones, and they often lose lives in the process. Kofi Annan, the secretary-general of the United Nations, calls the NGOs "the conscience of humanity." But the organizations are often criticized, too. Their role in nearly three-quarters of official aid projects arouses concern among some developing countries that rich countries are relying on the volunteers to wriggle out of intergovernment agreements. The international NGOs are sometimes criticized in poor countries as being a new way for the rich countries to perpetuate their influence. Critics in the developing countries say the organizations create dependencies, and distort economies by hiring the best local staff at salaries government and business cannot afford to pay.

Nor is the NGO movement immune from scandal, blame and sectarian taint. A report earlier this year said humanitarian workers from about 40 organizations had used their power and bribes of food to obtain sexual favors from minors among refugee communities in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. American religious or missionary charities have been widely criticized for cultural insensitivity. Some NGOs are criticized for using most of their income on pay for senior staff, and for selecting missions according to their profitability. Three organizations affiliated with the Unification Church, which is headed by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, have been granted NGO status by the United Nations. Another Moon group, the World Association of Non-Government Organizations, falsely poses as the world voice of the voluntary associations. While Friends of the Earth demands regulation of the big corporations, the NGOs themselves are unregulated. Apart from a Council of Europe convention signed by only a few countries, they are covered by no international law. But Adlai Amor, the spokesman for the World Resources Institute, said the NGOs do a pretty good job of keeping an eye on one another. The scandal in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, for example, was uncovered in a joint report by the Save the Children Fund and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Given their diversity, it would be difficult to devise regulations that fitted all the NGOs. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature, for example, is partly an intergovernmental body. At the other end of the spectrum are groups that are radically anti-establishment. Some of the organizations are the acknowledged scientific leaders as well as agitators in their field. The Climate Action Network, for instance, has been an important voice in international climate negotiations Some governments will include NGOs among their delegations, and the bigger civil associations will be closely associated with the summit meeting through formal partnerships with the United Nations or its agencies. But most of the smaller NGOs will be at the Global Forum, on the opposite side of Johannesburg from the main conference - kept at a distance from the government leaders, who will be isolated behind an impenetrable security barrier.

Nevertheless, the NGOs have an influential role because they are frequently more effective than big international organizations on the ground in their own countries in combating environmental and social threats. "Some NGOs are inside the tent and directly influencing the process," said Seymour of the World Resources Institute. "Others are outside the tent, but they exert influence through their publications and in hallway interventions. They will be an important element in how the conference is spun to the general public. There the NGOs are going to play a critical role." Trade unions, as well as NGOs, deal with issues like poverty eradication and development, and the two are natural allies in opposing sweatshop and child labor, and in some cases the expansion of multinational corporations, whose power has grown enormously since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the onrush of globalization. The NGOs sometimes take on the role of unions where these are corrupt, inefficient or under government control, or left powerless by the freedom of capital to move around the world without restraint and without contributing to the good of society. In Canada, four unions have created their own NGOs to support development work, and unions play an important role in national development programs in several European Countries.

The NGOs and the unions often share common environmental aims. For example, the Vienna-based International Friends of Nature, founded in 1895 to enable workers to spend their leisure time in a healthy, natural environment and present in 20 countries, is closely associated with both the environmental organizations and the trade union movement. While many NGOs are willing to participate in partnerships with business and international or government organizations, others are viscerally opposed to what they see as a corporate takeover of the development process and creeping privatization of "common goods" like water and health services. This means that Johannesburg is probably going to see the same kind of anti-globalization protests that have dogged other international meetings in recent years. In addition, South Africa has some of the world's liveliest NGOs, and they are likely to be vociferous in protesting problems that not only will be discussed at the summit conference, but which can be found in abundance on the very doorstep of the meeting, such as access to clean water.



International Herald Tribune

13 August 13, 2002


The writer is chief executive officer and chairman of the Global Environment Facility, which works through United Nations agencies and the World Bank to provide grants to developing countries. He contributed this comment to the International Herald Tribune.

WASHINGTON As leaders prepare for the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg later this month, some critics argue that progress on environmental problems has been elusive. There is some truth in that. In the last decade, environmental problems have mounted across the globe. Yet over the same 10 years, society has marshaled its resources to address these challenges. The original response was slow. But it is gathering speed, with technological breakthroughs and a growing awareness that a clean environment is essential for development.

Of course, we should greatly intensify efforts to tackle poverty and environmental degradation. They endanger our health, security and the innumerable benefits that come to us from nature. But we should also remember our real accomplishments. We have slashed emissions of chemicals that deplete the ozone layer and threaten human health. Industrialized nations largely eliminated chlorofluorocarbons and halons, the major ozone-threatening gases, by the end of 1995. Fourteen countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia have reduced their consumption of ozone-depleting substances by more than 90 percent. And many developing countries are ahead of the timetable that gives them until 2010 to phase out those gases.

We are relying less on dirty fuels. Five million energy-efficient lights have been installed in poor countries and those with transitional economies. Wind power generation capacity has increased from near zero to 1,700 megawatts. Virtually unknown in 1992, solar home systems using photovoltaic technology now provide power to more than a million rural households. At least 30 major companies have committed to investing $10 to $15 billion in renewable energy over the next five years. Countries are also appreciating the value of working together to solve their common problems, instead of competing against each other. In an unprecedented collaboration, 17 Black Sea and Danube basin countries have pledged to reduce organic and toxic discharges into their waters by 30 percent in the next decade. Similarly, six Central American countries and Mexico are linking their national parks, biological and forest reserves to form the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, the first biological preserve to traverse an entire region.

The private sector is playing an increasingly constructive role. This is an acknowledgment that preserving the environment is both good business and a moral obligation. Companies such as Royal Dutch Shell, Dupont and BP Amoco are working to reduce their negative impact on climate change and increase the options for cleaner energy. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has helped to launch the global alliance for improved nutrition, an innovative public-private partnership that seeks to fortify food in a cost-effective way to improve the health, cognitive development and productivity of people in poor countries.

One of the linchpins of these innovative, cooperative efforts is the Global Environment Facility. As the official financing "engine" for the international agreements on biodiversity, climate change, and persistent organic pollutants, the agency earmarks funds for projects with global environmental benefits in 160 countries. It has provided $4.2 billion in grants and leveraged $12 billion in additional financing. The agency has also given 3,000 small grants of up to $50,000 each directly to nongovernmental organizations and community groups in 60 countries for projects that reconcile global environmental benefits with sustainable livelihoods for local people. The Johannesburg summit meeting should set firm commitments to reform inappropriate policies and mobilize additional financial resources to improve the environment. It should also set clear goals and targets for action, and identify means for monitoring progress. With this kind of impetus from the international community, we can build on the strengths we have developed over the past 10 years and move ahead with confidence that sustainable development goals are indeed achievable.




12 August 2002


Sustainable Development - the theme of International Youth Day 2002-is a theme at the heart of youth concerns. Young people, North and South, acting in solidarity, play a critical role in advocating for and contributing to sustainable development in all societies. Young people, with their own worldview can influence decision-makers to implement the deep changes that are needed to guide our world to a sustainable future.  It is vital that the World Summit on Sustainable Development, which opens in Johannesburg in two weeks time, reinvigorates the global commitment to sustainable development first laid out ten years ago in Agenda 21 of the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.Sustainable development was defined at Rio as:  "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

If we are to achieve that vision of development we must eradicate poverty and hunger, change unsustainable modes of production and reverse environmental degradation.  Young people have the energy and commitment to make it happen. They know that if development policies are to work for them and their children, they must be based on the principle of equal human dignity and the universal acceptance of all human rights and freedoms. Young people should continue to campaign for peace and against the widespread denial of human rights and freedoms, including to the most vulnerable of today's youth. They should demand action on poverty, on the rights to education, food, adequate housing, and a safe environment. They should demand action also on health including on HIV/Aids, a pandemic that affects them disproportionately. They should continue to press for the elimination of discrimination against any member of our single human family. And they should claim their rights to participate and to be heard at the national and international level. The impact of the work that young people are doing around the world, and around the clock is being felt. I witnessed the power of youth at last year's World Conference against Racism in Durban. The global youth movement against racism formed there is spearheading anti-racism action in many countries. Young people in Guyana, for example, have convinced shops, businesses, schools, sports clubs and the police force to turn their buildings into "race-free zones." Their entrepreneurial spirit has transformed the consciousness of their community and laid the foundation for eradicating racism and promoting tolerance.  On this third International Youth Day I would like to encourage young people to continue their inspirational efforts. To campaign now for human rights and equality for all is to lay the groundwork for sustainable development for all, development that will not compromise the needs, dreams and possibilities of future generations.


100. CHALLENGES OF DEVELOPMENT Learning to manage urban sprawl

International Herald Tribune

12 August 2002


PARIS This is the second of five articles leading up to the World Summit for Sustainable Development, which begins Aug. 26 in Johannesburg. A broad avenue in Madrid and a place name are all that remain today of a radical project to revolutionize city living. The avenue is named after Arturo Soria and the place is Ciudad Lineal - the Linear City. Soria envisaged cities that would one day stretch along central transit spines from Cadiz to Leningrad and from Brussels to Beijing, with everyone within easy reach of trolleys or trains on one hand and the countryside on the other. He thought the key factor in urban living was not distance but traveling time. "We have to urbanize the countryside and ruralize the towns," he used to say.

His city started out in the direction of Paris in the 1890s, but the project was abandoned after only a few kilometers for lack of investment, and Ciudad Lineal has long since been swallowed up by the capital city spreading over the Castilian plain. The Linear City would have provided an alternative model to the one that is invading most of the inhabited world today: an unstoppable blight called urban sprawl, affecting rich and poor countries alike. Urbanization begs big questions about society, the economy and the environment for the 10-day World Summit for Sustainable Development, which begins Aug. 26 in Johannesburg. The UN conference is expected to draw government leaders and senior officials from more than 180 countries, with tens of thousands of delegates representing international organizations, nongovernmental issue groups, local governments and businesses. In Soria's time, there were only 16 cities with more than 1 million people - the biggest was London with 7 million -and only about 7 percent of the world's population could be described as urban. In the last 40 years, the world's population has doubled, but in urban areas it has increased five-fold, and this expansion is speeding up exponentially.

Within the next five years, well over half the world's population will be living in cities, according to the United Nations, and by 2030 nearly 5 billion people will live in urban areas. Developed countries already are highly urbanized, and the most striking phenomenon today is the rapid growth of urbanization in poor countries with inadequate infrastructures. As the global population expands from 6.2 billion to nearly 8 billion in the next quarter century, 90 percent of that increase will occur in the urban areas of poor countries. Africa is on the way to having more than 70 cities with more than 1 million inhabitants. Within a few years at least 23 cities will count more than 10 million people and several - including Bombay, Lagos, Dhaka, Sao Paulo and Karachi - will be snapping at the heels of Tokyo for the title of the world's biggest metropolis. Tokyo has more than 26 million residents but appears to have reached a peak, and some cities in the developed world are actually losing population. Soria's vision is becoming a reality only to the extent that cities are merging into vast metropolitan areas along transportation links such as the northeast corridor in the United States, or the Tokyo-Osaka-Nagoya complex, of more than 40 million inhabitants. The shift toward urbanization, accompanied by the massive migrations now taking place, is so swift and total that there is still no adequate conceptual apparatus to manage the process. As David Harvey, an American theorist on urban planning, said in a lecture to the Megacities Foundation in the Netherlands a couple of years ago, "The qualities of urban living in the 21st century will define the qualities of civilization."

Judging by the present state of cities, he said, people may not find the coming civilization particularly congenial. A deadly mixture of concentrated poverty, social strife, violence, wasteful consumerism and crumbling infrastructure conjures up for many "a dystopian nightmare in which all that is judged worst in the fatally flawed character of humanity collects together in some hell-hole of despair." The first question for the Johannesburg summit meeting: How can the trend toward megacities coexist with the need to protect the global environment? Cities contribute in an important way to global warming. Satellite studies show that megacities create large zones of heat that encourage smog, trigger thunderstorms and reduce the productivity of the land. At the same time, the rise in sea levels that is likely to ensue from climate warming will threaten the coastal areas and river deltas where most of the biggest cities are situated. Cities produce about 80 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions responsible for warming, according to a report by Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore. Other questions for Johannesburg: Are there better models for urban development than automobile-induced sprawl? Can new cities in regions painfully short of resources and cash develop sewage and waste disposal systems in time to avert serious outbreaks of communicable disease? Is there any hope of finding work for urban youth and averting the social tinderbox caused by frustration and poverty? How can "governance," the management of society, be strengthened to ensure that the expansion of cities is an orderly process rather than an uncontrollable chaos. To keep up with urban growth, the equivalent of 1,000 cities of 3 million inhabitants will have to be built over the next 40 years -almost as many cities as exist today.

Urbanization has often meant a rejection of the crowded city, as in the suburbs of America or the "garden cities" of England, communities built in harmony with their natural landscape. "When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe," said Thomas Jefferson. In fact, North America is about 77 percent urbanized, only slightly behind Europe, but its extensive conglomerations of single homes and malls swallow up thousands of square miles of farmland every year, and suburbs are still expanding at a much faster rate than central cities. But the American suburban model is ultimately the least sustainable in the world, according to the British architect Lord Richard Rogers. In a speech to the Megacities Foundation, he said that a sustainable city is not a suburban sprawl based on the automobile, but is "compact, polycentric, ecologically aware and based on walking." "Above all, it promotes social inclusion," he said. "This is no utopian vision. Cities that are beautiful, safe and equitable are within our grasp."

At the UN's Habitat conference in 1996, governments agreed that cities cannot be successful economically, politically or culturally if divisions between rich and poor continue to widen, and if the poor are disfranchised with no rights to their land. The key to sustainable development, the conference found, was to allow city dwellers, particularly poor people, to organize to provide their own services and infrastructure. One of the big subjects of debate at Johannesburg will be about partnership, a word that has various levels of meaning. A powerful corporate lobby takes the word to mean greater opportunities for trade and privatization. But non-governmental organizations say partnership means giving ordinary people a joint role in making decisions and setting policies, whether or not corporations are involved in providing services. Given good planning and an eye for the aesthetic, high-density living in the future does not have to be bleak. Europe, which has the highest proportion of urban dwellers in the world, shows that a high degree of urbanization is not incompatible with a high standard of living. Barcelona is a densely populated city but is widely regarded as an example of successful urban planning. In 1999, it became the first and so far the only place to be awarded the prestigious Royal Gold Medal of the Institute of British Architects for its intelligent use of architecture and high-quality urban planning to revitalize city life.



DW World

8 August 2002


Klaus Töpfer has directed the U.N. Environmental Program since 1998. In an interview with DW-WORLD, Germany's former environmental minister explains how environmental issues can get back on the world's political agenda. At the end of August the largest international conference on the environment will convene in Johannesburg, South Africa. It is the most important meeting of environmentalists and politicians since Rio in 1992.  In the weeks leading up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development, environmental leaders around the world will be reflecting on many of the issues on the conference's agenda. But many are also asking what the summit will actually achieve and how much of an impact it will have on the way countries deal with their environment.  Klaus Töpfer, the director for the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), is an outspoken proponent of the conference. The former environmental minister under Helmut Kohl's Christian Democrats (1994-1998) is convinced that -- regardless of changing political parties and international conflicts -- environmental issues should remain an integral part of global policy-making discussions. In an interview with DW-WORLD, Töpfer expressed his firm belief in the success of the Johannesburg Summit.

Interview with Klaus Töpfer:

In the aftermath of September 11th, the focus of world politics is on the fight against terror and on security. How can environmental issues be brought back on the agenda of international politics?

Environmental politics are an absolute necessity in the fight against those conflicts. We are aware that to overcome poverty - the most toxic element in the world - we need to combine economic development with environmental considerations. We at the United Nations Environmental Program therefore decided to change our motto to "UNEP: Environment for Development". We believe that environment is instrumental in development. And development, on the other hand, is instrumental in decreasing tensions - the conflicts in the world.

Therefore, more than ever, this Johannesburg summit is important for the world. And I sincerely believe that this summit is something like a peace summit in that we have to do whatever is possible to make it a success.

How could the conference in Johannesburg achieve these goals in concrete terms?

Rio de Janeiro 10 years ago gave us clear and wonderfully visionary texts and declarations. Unfortunately, it was not clear enough how to implement these goals. And therefore Johannesburg must be the summit of implementation and not of another declaration. That means we need concrete targets, concrete timetables and concrete conclusions with regard to the means of implementation.

One example is the need for developing renewable energies. Let's make a concrete target out of it and say 10 percent, 12 percent, 15 percent of energy consumed worldwide should come from renewable sources in the next 10 years. This is a concrete target and timetable. If we agree on this, then Johannesburg really makes a difference.

Are these targets realistic?

I think so, yes. We have to be realistic. What is really missing in this world of globalization right now is accountability and responsibility. I don't want to go into day-to-day politics. But you see the decrease of credibility, for example, in the economic field. You see all the developments now on the stock markets, that people are convinced that this is unaccountable behavior. So it's important that we go into this summit saying: This is not only the far-reaching target we need. But this is also achievable. And we want to monitor it, we want to benchmark it. Then people can say: They're not only going to another conference, another summit where they spend a lot of money and wield a lot of papers.

I really believe more than ever that in Johannesburg it's the clear signal that's important: Don't be visionary alone, do it as well, but link it with concrete and achievable targets.

Don't you sometimes become frustrated in light of the U.S. administration's policy, which doesn't seem to really care about environmental issues?

Frustration is not a reaction. Frustration is also not a chance to solve problems. We have to analyze the problems and ask what is possible to do. And the first and foremost: do your "homework". It's good, for example, that the EU ratified the Kyoto Protocol. That this was done in Japan, as well, and that now Russia has also started the ratification process, so that the Kyoto Protocol can enter into force.

We see in the U.S. that there's much more going on than one or the other is aware of. You can see differences between the different states. If you go, for example, to California, you'll see what is happening there, and in other states as well, and that's fascinating, that's quite forward-looking. And also if you see this on the federal level, there is a new stimulation for renewable energy, there is a new stimulation for increasing energy efficiency.

All this seems to me not to be enough. But they are steps in the right direction and I sincerely hope that it will be very clear in the near future that doing this does not weaken the economic basis, but strengthens it.

And which means of control and sanctions should be put in place to make governments respect the environment and obey international environmental agreements?

Indeed, we have to do much more in this field. We have quite a lot of different conventions, legally binding, ratified by parliaments. We have protocols - legally binding, ratified by parliaments. But the mechanisms of enforcement and compliance are weak. There was a lot of discussion in the Kyoto Protocol. There is a solution, which is better than what one or the other expected. But we have to do more in this field. So let's go further in globalizing these control instruments.

Historical and cultural traditions lead to different approaches to environmental care. Japan, for example, doesn't want to cease whale hunting because it regards whale fishing as part of its cultural tradition. How could a common denominator be defined in international environmental politics?

First and foremost, it's a very important and a good development that more cultural diversity is integrated into the topic of sustainable development. People don't want to be linked with their language; they want to be linked with their behavior, their traditions. If you see the development of indigenous knowledge, how can we handle this wisdom of indigenous people with regard to medicine and the knowledge of biodiversity? These are positive signals that cultural diversity is a stabilizing factor for globalization and exactly this is necessary.

I'm very happy that UNEP can have an event in Johannesburg under the title "Cultural Diversity, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development." And I am extremely happy that President Chirac and other presidents accepted our invitation and we will do a lot in this direction.

Oliver Schilling conducted this interview.


Return to Johannesburg Summit portal