WSSD.INFO NEWS

 

ISSUE 5

22 June 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 http://wssd.info

 

Editor's note: Welcome to the fifth 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 http://iisd.ca/scripts/lyris.pl?join=2002summit-l.

 

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.

 

Contents

GENERAL NEWS

 

1.       UNESCO FINALIZES PREPARATION FOR THE WORLD SUMMIT ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT (UNESCO21 June 2002)
2.       EXPECT TIGHT SECURITY AT WORLD SUMMIT (SABC News 20 June 2002)
3.       PRINCESS BASMA LAUDS DEVELOPMENT ROLE OF UN AGENCIES (The Jordan Times 20 June 2002)
4.       EU TRADE COMMISSIONER PASCAL LAMY TO HOST ROUND TABLE ON TRADE, GOVERNANCE AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT (European Commission 20 June 2002)
5.       SWEDEN URGED TO TAKE 'VIKING SPIRIT' TO JOHANNESBURG MEET (BusinessWorld Online 20 June 2002)
6.       WORLD SUMMIT MUST FIND WAYS OF HELPING POOR NATIONS (The Herald (Harare) via All Africa 19 June 2002)
7.       TOUGH TALKS AHEAD OVER POVERTY DEAL (The Mercury 18 June 2002)
8.       MBEKI PUSHES EARTH SUMMIT SUCCESS (CNN 18 June 2002)
9.       AFRICANS URGED TO TACKLE PROBLEMS FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT (Xinhua News Agency 18 June 2002)
10.   AHEAD OF G-8 MEETING, ANNAN URGES SUPPORT FOR AFRICA, ACTION ON MILLENNIUM GOALS (United Nations 18 June 2002)
11.   CONCERN HEADS OF STATE MAY SHUN SUMMIT (SABC News 18 June 2002)
12.   MBEKI VOWS TO RESCUE WORLD SUMMIT (SABC News 18 June 2002)
13.   KEEP YOUR SUMMIT PROMISES: TOEPFER (SABC News 18 June 2002)
14.   MORE THAN 420 MILLION COULD LIVE IN EXTREME POVERTY BY 2015, UN WARNS (United Nations 18 June 2002)
15.   GLOBAL WARMING NOW A REALITY (The Yomiuri Shimbun 18 June 2002)
16.   AFRICAN MINISTERS TO COORDINATE ENVIRONMENT POLICIES (The Namibian 18 June 2002)
17.   UNTREATED WATER, A HEALTH HAZARD (This Day (Lagos) via All Africa 18 June 2002)
18.   UN CALLS FOR BACKING OF MULTIBILLION-DOLLAR ENVIRONMENTAL FUND (United Nations 17 June 2002)
19.   SUBSTANTIAL BACKING FOR GEF RECIPE FOR SUCCESS AT WORLD SUMMIT ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT (United Nations Environment Programme 17 June 2002)
20.   ANNAN URGES FOUNDATIONS TO SUPPORT UN MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS (United Nations 17 June 2002)
21.   GLOBAL CLIMATE SHIFT FEEDS SPREADING DESERTS (Environment News Service 17 June 2002)
22.   ENVIRONMENTAL EXPERTS HOPE FOR CONCRETE ACTION AND A CLEAR MESSAGE FROM SUMMIT IN JOHANNESBURG (Associated Press 17 June 2002)
23.   WORLD EARTH SUMMIT ALL SET FOR MAJOR FLOP (Times of Malta 17 June 2002)
24.   CONFERENCE ON MARINE ENVIRONMENT OPENS IN ABUJA (UN Integrated Regional Information Networks 17 June 2002)
25.   WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE, BUT... (Independent 17 June 2002)
26.   PRIME MINISTER CONSULTS YOUNG PEOPLE AHEAD OF 2002 UN EARTH SUMMIT (United Kingdom 17 June 2002)
27.   MESSAGE ON WORLD DAY TO COMBAT DESERTIFICATION AND DROUGHT (United Nations 17 June 2002)
28.   ANNAN URGES COUNTRIES TO BACK TREATY AIMED AT STEMMING DESERTIFICATION) United Nations 17 June 2002)
29.   MOUNTAIN PEOPLE SUFFER MORE MALNUTRITION AND DISEASE (Food and Agriculture Organisation 16 June 2002)
30.   BROWN TRIES TO HELP 67 MILLION CHILDREN (Independent 16 June 2002)
31.   AFRICAN NATIONS FACE TOUGH WAR AGAINST DESERTIFICATION (Xinhua News Agency 16 June 2002)
32.   BALI PREPCOM HIGHLIGHTS NEED FOR STRONGER POLITICAL LEADERSHIP TO PUT SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT INTO ACTION (United Nations 15 June 2002)
33.   ENVIRON ASSESSMENT REPORT NEXT WEEK (The Frontier Post 15 June 2002)
34.   EXECUTIVE SECRETARY CALLS FOR FINANCIAL COMMITMENT FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION TO COMBAT DESERTIFICATION (United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and Drought 14 June 2002)
35.   NEW BOOK DOCUMENTS GROWING COOPERATION BETWEEN UN AND BUSINESSES (United Nations 14 June 2002)
36.   PREPARATION CONFERENCE FOR JOHANNESBURG FAILS ON NEW RENEWABLE ENERGY AND SANITATION TARGETS (Edie weekly summaries 14 June 2002)
37.   SKEPTICS TAG UPCOMING WORLD SUMMIT AS ANOTHER TALKSHOP (SABC News 14 June 2002)
38.   THE WORLD SUSTAINABILITY SUMMIT TO PRACTICE WHAT IT PREACHES (Edie weekly summaries 14 June 2002)
39.   "FURTHER COMMITMENTS IN THE WTO NEED TO ADDRESS NON-TRADE CONCERNS" (European Union 14 June 2002)
40.   ZAYED GREENERY DRIVE PRAISED (Gulf News 13 June 2002)
41.   MCCONNELL ATTACKED OVER SOLO VISIT (The Scotsman 12 June 2002)
42.   UN HUNGER SUMMIT A WASTE OF TIME, BRITAIN SAYS (The Scotsman 12 June 2002)
43.   FINAL WSSD PREP MEETING BREAKS DOWN OVER TRADE AND FINANCE (Bridges Weekly Trade Digest Volume 6 Number 22 12 June 2002)
44.   STILL HOPE OF SALVAGING SUMMIT, SAYS MOOSA (Independent Online (South Africa) 12 June 2002)
45.   NO EXTENSION TO WORLD SUMMIT: MOOSA (SABC News 12 June 2002)
46.   ASEAN EAGER TO MAKE SUCCESS OF ANTI-HAZE TREATY (The Straits Times 12 June 2002)
47.   PACT ON AGRICULTURAL BIODIVERSITY GAINS 19 NEW ADHERENTS, UN REPORTS (United Nations 12 June 2002)
48.   UNANIMOUS APPROVAL OF FINAL DECLARATION FOR WORLD FOOD SUMMIT: FIVE YEARS LATER 182 COUNTRIES CALL FOR INTERNATIONAL ALLIANCE AGAINST HUNGER (Food and Agriculture Organisation 11 June 2002)
49.   CIVIL SOCIETY GROUPS UPSET BY SPLIT IN BALI ON TRADE AND FINANCE (Business Day via All Africa 11 June 2002)
50.   WORLD ENVIRONMENT SUMMIT PREPARATIONS IN DISARRAY (New Scientist 10 June 2002)
51.   US ACCUSED OF SINKING DEAL ON DEVELOPMENT (The Guardian 10 June 2002)
52.   CONSERVATION ESSENTIAL FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT (The East African Standard (Nairobi) via All Africa 10 June 2002)
53.   TIME TO COME CLEAN ON THE DIRTY SECRET OF STARVATION (The Guardian 10 June 2002)
54.   MBEKI ENCOURAGES COMMITTED NORTH-SOUTH PARTNERSHIP (BuaNews via All Africa 10 June 2002)
55.   UNDP RESIDENT REP. CALLS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL CONSCIOUSNESS (The Independent (Banjul) via All Africa 10 June 2002)
56.   DONOR-RECIPIENT MODEL DOES NOTHING FOR THE POOR: MOOSA (BuaNews via All Africa 10 June 2002)
57.   NEPAD MUST SUCCEED IN OVERCOMING POVERTY: PAHAD (BuaNews via All Africa 10 June 2002)
58.   UN DEVELOPMENT CHIEF WARNS DISCORD THREATENS JOHANNESBURG SUMMIT (Associated Press 10 June 2002)
59.   'FAILURE' OF POVERTY TALKS ANGERS ACTIVISTS (The Observer 9 June 2002)
60.   SUMMIT PREPCOM CLOSES IN FRUSTRATION (Environmental News Service 8 June 2002)
 
EDITORIALS
 
61.   THE BATTLES OF BALI (SciDev.Net)
62.   REVISITING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT CONCEPT (David Lascelles Business Day via All Africa 12 June 2002)
63.   THE BALI PARADOXES (Rémi Parmentier, Political Director, Greenpeace International Greenpeace International 11 June 2002)
64.   "DEFEATING HUNGER IS POSSIBLE, AFFORDABLE AND IN THE WEST'S BEST INTERESTS" (Food and Agriculture Organisation 11 June 2002)
 
SPEECHES

 

65.   'WE STAND WITH AFRICA' – BUSH (The White House via All Africa 20 June 2002)
66.   FINAL COMMUNIQUÉ - NINTH REGULAR SESSION OF THE CEC COUNCIL (Commission for Environmental Cooperation 19 June 2002)
67.   LETTER FROM PRESIDENT PRODI TO MR. AZNAR (European Commission 18 June 2002)
68.   THE SECRETARY-GENERAL LETTER TO HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT OF THE GROUP OF EIGHT (United Nations 17 June 2002)
69.   DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL STRESSES PIVOTAL ROLE OF GOVERNMENT IN ERA OF GLOBALIZATION (United Nations 15 June 2002)
 
SPEECHES FROM THE WORLD FOOD SUMMIT (Food and Agriculture Organisation 10-13 June 2002)

 

70.   ADDRESS BY UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL MR KOFI ANNAN
71.   MS GRO HARLEM BRUNDTLAND (DIRECTOR-GENERAL, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION - WHO)
72.   MS ANNA KAJUMULO TIBAIJUKA (EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, UNITED NATIONS CENTRE FOR HUMAN SETTLEMENTS - HABITAT)
73.   HIS EXCELLENCY THABO M. MBEKI (PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA)
74.   MR. MARK MALLOCH BROWN (ADMINISTRATOR, UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME - UNDP)
 
ON THE WEB
 
75.   SOUTH AFRICA TO GET TOUGH ON EARTH SUMMIT PROTESTS -(Reuters Via Planet Ark 21 June 2002)
http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16510/story.htm
76.   EARTH SUMMIT MUST SET REAL TARGETS, SAY EXPERTS (Reuters Via Planet Ark)
http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16473/story.htm
77.   SOUTH AFRICA'S MBEKI VOWS TO RESCUE EARTH SUMMIT (Reuters Via Planet Ark)
http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16478/story.htm
78.   INTERVIEW - UN ENVIRONMENT CHIEF WANTS ACTION, NOT PROMISES (REUTERS VIA PLANET ARK)
http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16463/story.htm
79.   UN MARKS 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF LANDMARK GREEN SUMMIT (REUTERS VIA PLANET ARK)
http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16466/story.htm
80.   ANALYSIS - WORLD EARTH SUMMIT ALL SET FOR MAJOR FLOP (Reuters via Planet Ark 17 June 2002)
http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16442/story.htm
81.   SOUTH AFRICA SAYS FARM SUBSIDIES OBSTACLE TO UN SUMMIT (REUTERS VIA PLANET ARK 11 JUNE 2002)
http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16373/story.htm
82.   MINISTERS FAIL TO AGREE EARTH SUMMIT PLAN (Reuters via Planet Ark 10 June 2002)
http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16346/story.htm
83.   UPDATE - CURTAIN FALLS ON CONTROVERSIAL UN FOOD SUMMIT (Reuters via Planet Ark 14 June 2002)
http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16429/story.htm
84.   ANALYSIS - EARTH SUMMIT RISKS FAILURE WITH VAPID PLEDGES (Reuters via Planet Ark 12 June 2002)
http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16382/story.htm

 

 
GENERAL NEWS

 

1. UNESCO FINALIZES PREPARATION FOR THE WORLD SUMMIT ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
UNESCO

21 June 2002

Internet: http://www.addistribune.com/Archives/2002/06/21-06-02/UNESCO.htm

Attended by around sixty participants from Eastern Africa countries including Ethiopia, a three-day workshop organized by the UNESCO Addis Ababa office in cooperation with Ethio-Education Consultants (ETEC) is taking place at the Africa Hall, UNECA.

Aimed at forwarding UNESCO's recommendations as an input to its position paper for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), which is to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in August. The workshop is being conducted with the theme “peace, governance and education for sustainable development.” The theme emphasizes the role of education as indispensable means of combating poverty. In preparing for the Summit, according to Armoongum Parsuramen, UNESCO Director, Regional Office for Education in Africa, UNESCO would build on its considerable work to develop the holistic concept of “Education for Sustainable Development.” “It is through education that we can develop new values, behaviors and lifestyles,” Mr. Parsuramen said. He also noted that the absolute sine qua non is education for all and the overriding priority that must be given to helping eradicate poverty by empowering people through education. The workshop would also address how Africa or at least the Eastern Africa sub-region should strive to have a better understanding of economic development in order to be able to contribute efficiently to the WSSD, according to Mamody Lamine Conde, UNESCO Cluster Office Director and Representative. He said the workshop will adopt concrete recommendations that will occupy a place of high priority in the deliberation of WSSD and in the activities of the government of Eastern African sub-regions. “The importance of the workshop is reflected on sustainable development that naturally covers actions on the burning issue of our time, combating poverty,” Mr. Mamody said. During the workshop, participants would discuss issues, among others, promoting and applying science for development and scientific basis for decision making, the role of globalization, trade and access to markets in African countries. Consensus and recommendations reached at the workshop, according to organizers, would be forwarded to the UNESCO head office as a possible input to UNESCO’s contribution to the WSSD.

 

2. EXPECT TIGHT SECURITY AT WORLD SUMMIT

SABC News

20 June 2002

Internet: http://www.sabcnews.com/world/summit/0,1009,36842,00.html

South Africa's police service (SAPS) has compiled a comprehensive plan to protect VIPs during the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) starting from August, the SA Police Service said today. This strategy will also ensure that demonstrators comply with the country's laws during protests, said Sean Tshabalala, the SAPS VIP Protection Unit director. Tshabalala said barricades, metal and powder detectors, and police officers would be in place at venues where the summit will take place, including at summit delegates' residences. Maude Street in Sandton will be closed between 5th Avenue and West Street. Anyone wanting to use that road should have accreditation, he said, adding that these were some of the inconveniences people will have to endure."If we're talking impact, that's the impact. We are pretty confident that the summit will come, and go without any major incident," he said. Thousands of security personnel officers, most of them from the SA National Defence Force, will be deployed around the summit venues to ensure that the United Nations hosts a successful event. Tshabalala went further urging South Africans to co-operate with authorities during the summit from August 26 to September 4. -Sapa

 

3. PRINCESS BASMA LAUDS DEVELOPMENT ROLE OF UN AGENCIES

The Jordan Times

20 June 2002

Internet: http://www.jordantimes.com/Thu/homenews/homenews7.htm

AMMAN (JT) - HRH Princess Basma on Tuesday praised the work of several UN agencies charged with instituting development programmes, saying their efforts have had a major positive impact on the advancement of sustainable development, improved quality of life, and the promotion of women as full contributors to societies. The Princess was speaking in New York where she is participating in a two-day meeting entitled, "Celebrity Advocacy for the New Millennium" at United Nations headquarters.

Secretary General Kofi Annan, brought together for the second time Messengers of Peace and Goodwill Ambassadors to draw attention to their roles in supporting the UN's work around the globe and to focus on the priorities member states have set up in the Millennium Development Goals, which will guide the work of the organisation for the coming years. "Your presence here today shows vividly that when it comes to working together for a better world, there is no divide between civilisations," said Kofi Annan at the opening session. Celebrity advocates spoke out for the United Nations and nine of its offices, funds and programmes on key issues ranging from fighting poverty to improving the status of women and protecting children and refugees.  Princess Basma, on behalf of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), said no single platform could take on today's challenges like the United Nations could.  One of the most challenging and inspiring aspects of her role as a Goodwill Ambassador was to create a deeper  understanding of the linkages which exist between global policies and local realities.  As an Arab Muslim woman living in Jordan, she said she has seen firsthand the positive impact of sustainable human development approaches promoted by the UNDP.  UNIFEM has assisted countless women in the region to become better decision makers and to take control of their own lives, Princess Basma said.  In addition, she said, it was UNFPA which had made remarkable progress in affecting the quality of family life in the Arab region.  In the desperately troubled Middle East, it was such efforts, said the Princess, that created opportunities, choices and hope.  The Millennium Development Goals were agreed upon two years ago as a blueprint to improve people's lives in the 21st century, and calls for reducing the proportion of people living on less than $1 a day to half the 1990 level by 2015.  It was up to national leaders to put it in practice, but governments could not do it alone, Princess Basma said. They needed to hear the voices of people who insisted that their leaders would translate those pledges into action, she said.  Forty-four prominent United Nations Messengers of Peace and Goodwill Ambassadors from the worlds of art, music, film, sports, literature and public affairs, who help raise awareness of key United Nations issues and activities, as well as diplomats, journalists, students, representatives of NGOs, heads of United Nations agencies and the general public visiting headquarters attended this meeting.

 

4. EU TRADE COMMISSIONER PASCAL LAMY TO HOST ROUND TABLE ON TRADE, GOVERNANCE AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

20 June 2002

Internet: http://europa.eu.int/rapid/start/cgi/guesten.ksh?p_action.gettxt=gt&doc=IP/02/904|0|RAPID&lg=EN;

EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy has invited experts on governance from around the world to a seminar on Trade, Governance and Sustainable Development. The event will take place in Brussels at DG Trade's headquarters on 24-25 June, and is accompanied by an online forum open to the public. 'I want to make sure that the countries that will gather in Johannesburg for the World Summit on Sustainable Development in August decide on action that dovetails with what they will do under the Doha Development Agenda to reduce poverty through trade liberalisation. Our Brussels event should help us to make a difference to the quality of world governance,' Commissioner Lamy said.  Together with a small group of European Commission officials, participants will examine the linkages between trade, governance and sustainable development. The Commission sees policy coherence between these three areas as key to getting a good result from not only the trade liberalisation negotiations launched in Doha last year but from the World Summit in Johannesburg which starts end-August and will discuss core areas of sustainable development such as environment protection, social and economical development.  The trigger for the seminar was the Commission's White Paper on European Governance (2001). The White Paper included a set of action points on global governance and charged DG Trade with looking for answers by:

* Improving dialogue with countries outside the EU when developing policies with an international dimension

* Promoting the use of new tools such as benchmarking or corporate social responsibility to complement 'hard' international law

* Promoting discussion on how the EU can contribute to reforming multilateral institutions to make them work more effectively.

The seminar will be divided into three Working Groups. Each will examine one of the White Paper action points with a particular emphasis on how to support sustainable development.

The seminar will involve some 70 external participants from over 20 countries including ministers, ambassadors, parliamentarians and government officials, as well as representatives of business, trade unions, NGOs and academia. The diversity of participants is expected to lead to lively debate. In parallel, DG Trade has opened a virtual forum on its website to discuss the same questions as seminar participants. Anyone can take part in the virtual debate, which is open until the end of June.

Conference programme:

http://trade-info.cec.eu.int/civil_soc/meet.php?action=consult&critere=52

To join the online forum, go to:

http://trade-info.cec.eu.int/civil_soc/forum/index.php

 

5. SWEDEN URGED TO TAKE 'VIKING SPIRIT' TO JOHANNESBURG MEET
BusinessWorld Online

20 June 2002

Internet: http://bworld.net/current/TheEnvironment/envistory1.html

STOCKHOLM -- The Earth Summit starting in late August in Johannesburg must focus on clear timetables and concrete targets, said experts meeting in Stockholm ahead of the huge global summit on poverty reduction and the environment.  On Monday and Tuesday, around 250 scientists, government officials and environmentalists from 66 states met in Stockholm to mark 30 years since 114 nations agreed on a common duty to protect the global environment.  The participants gave a Viking helmet to Swedish Environment Minister Kjell Larsson -- who has repeatedly called for more action and fewer empty words on the environment -- and urged him to take along some "Viking spirit" to the Johannesburg summit.  "When you meet in Johannesburg ... keep in mind it is your children and their children that will suffer if action is not taken now," Afifa Raihana, president of Bangladeshi environment youth organization STEP, told the conference.  But since a final preparatory meeting in Bali ahead of Johannesburg ended without agreement on a draft action plan, conservationists have said the meeting's draft text is on the contrary all talk and no action and the meeting is shaping up to be a major flop.  Mr. Larsson said he expected the main struggle in Johannesburg to take place around finance and trade issues.  He said in Bali there was a logical demand from the developing countries' group, the G77, for the United States to open up its markets for their products.  "The European Union is not a saint in this area," Mr. Larsson said, but he added that the odds of the EU and the G77 countries striking agreement on trade issues were much higher than the United States finding a common note with the poorest nations.  But Dianne Dillonridgley, director of US renewable energy provider Green Mountain Energy, said the wording of the summit's final declaration was not as important as bringing sustainable development into the international limelight.  "The real story of the Johannesburg Summit is not about the text at all. It is to draw the attention of people and sectors who haven't looked at sustainable development," she said.  Sweden has for decades been a world leader in environmental issues, making the initiative for the world's first conference on the global environment which Stockholm hosted in 1972.  It is also one of the few countries living up to a promise made in the 1992 Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit that states spend 0.7% of their gross domestic product as development aid.  "During the last 30 years, 15 developing countries have halved the number of citizens living in extreme poverty," Sweden's Development Cooperation Minister Jan Karlsson said in the draft text of his speech .  "Never ever have so many people left poverty behind as during these decades. But we can do more and we have to do it faster," he said.  The United Nations aims to halve the number of people living in poverty by 2015. – Reuters

 

6. WORLD SUMMIT MUST FIND WAYS OF HELPING POOR NATIONS

The Herald (Harare) via All Africa

19 June 2002

Internet: http://allafrica.com/stories/200206190527.html

The World Summit on Sustainable Development is to be held in South Africa in September this year. Its aim is to bring out strategies and ways to help less developed nations build their economies in order to sustain present and future generations, particularly with sustainable development of their natural resources. However, as has been written before by others in different media, there is a growing gap between commitments and implementation, and the Earth Summit, is expected to focus on delivery, this being a follow-up on the Rio environmental sustainability summit held in Brazil in 1992. The archaic question is: How does a summit of this magnitude deliver? Why has there been a growing gap between commitment and implementation? Despite the efforts brought about by the International Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation decade (1981-1990), regional water shortages and deterioration of water quality is serious in many parts of the world and are likely to worsen. Global studies show projections of per capita all purpose water availability dropping from 1 000-5 000 cubic metres per year today to less than 1 000 cubic metres of water per year by 2030 in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Afghanistan. Similar regression in per capita total use water availability is forecast in developed countries such as the US, the east European countries and European Russia, where the scale will slide down from over 10 000 cubic metres of water per capita per year to anywhere between 5 000 to 10 000 cubic metres of water per capita per year. In summary, it appears the per capita water availability will be lessened by 35 percent due to population expansion alone, as compared to today's total use water availability. The international drinking water supply and sanitation decade programme does not appear to have come to grips with the fact that in less developed countries of Africa, South Asia, and Latin America, though they would approach their maximum developable drinking water supply by the year 2000, it would be quite expensive to develop the remaining water. In an industrialised country which belongs to the IDC group, competition among different uses of water - for increasing food production for new energy systems such as production of synthetic fuels from coal and shale for increasing power generation, and for increasing of other industries - will aggravate drinking water shortages. How then should the Earth Summit tackle the problem of deliverance? While many project proponents do seek public input, it is often too little, too late. More and more, the successful project must meet not only technical financial and regulatory criteria but must also meet the criterion of public acceptability. Gaining public acceptance, also referred to as informed consent, has become a critical objective in most planning projects, thus initiating resource management planning process emphasis on early and continued public comment. Why develop resource management plans? As the values and interests of society change, many different and often competing demands are placed on the country's land and water resources. Resource management planning provides a process for making equitable and efficient decisions about the future use of the resources. By integrating public comments into the planning process, a plan that balances varied public needs can be produced. Each of the resources management plans will serve as a 10-year guide for making sound resource management decisions. A challenging future? On a global level, the third millennium offers a chaotic view when considering total use of natural resources available. Debates will continue on natural resources management. History, however, teaches us that deliberate listing of real and imaginary difficulties has rarely resulted in a future collapse of society.

The World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg should bring out deliverance to sustain and develop the world economy for present and future generations.

 
7. TOUGH TALKS AHEAD OVER POVERTY DEAL

The Mercury

18 June 2002

Internet: http://www.itechnology.co.za/index.php?click_id=13&art_id=ct20020618202512615P630883&set_id=1
South Africa will lead two months of "hard-ball negotiations" and "trade-offs" to resolve outstanding questions obstructing an international deal on poverty eradication at the forthcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development. Briefing parliament on the last WSSD preparatory commission meeting held in Indonesia, environment director-general Chippy Olver said some "tough negotiation processes" now lie ahead with just over 60 days left before the summit starts in Johannesburg. Olver said the most important areas of contention were around financing development programmes and the lifting of trade barriers. President Thabo Mbeki said in his budget speech that the failure of the Indonesia meeting to resolve efforts to link trade agreements to the implementation of the outcomes of the WSSD "places increased responsibility on South Africa to find a basis for agreement". Nearly 50 important issues are still in brackets in the final preparatory document, reflecting a stand-off between the developed countries and the G77 developing countries. Olver believes once there is agreement on trade and finance other issues of contention will likely fall away.

 

8. MBEKI PUSHES EARTH SUMMIT SUCCESS

CNN

18 June 2002

Internet: http://www.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/africa/06/18/earth.mbeki.glb/index.html

CAPE TOWN, South Africa -- President Thabo Mbeki said he would launch a personal initiative to avert the threatened failure of the Earth Summit in Johannesburg.  Mbeki told parliament he would lead the search for international agreement on a draft declaration for the World Summit on Sustainable Development, often called the Earth Summit.  Last month ministers from more than 100 countries failed at talks in Bali, Indonesia, to agree a draft plan for the world's most important environmental summit, with rich and poor nations divided about the best ways to promote sustainable growth and development. The August conference in Johannesburg is being billed as the biggest-ever United Nations gathering. More than 100 heads of state and 60,000 delegates are expected to attend the summit and a parallel meeting of non-governmental organisations. Mbeki, chairman of the Johannesburg summit, said the Bali meeting made some progress, but left key decisions unanswered. "The failure to find consensus in Bali on some of these issues places increased responsibility on the president, as chairperson of the WSSD, to ensure that a basis for agreement is developed between now and August. "We will be starting a process of consultation with the major groupings in the United Nations system to explore the possibilities of finding consensus," said Mbeki. Environmental groups and non-governmental organisations have warned governments that the summit is heading for failure. Environmental groups have largely blamed the U.S. for the failure of the Bali, accusing it of being reluctant to commit to some targets for action at home in the interests of business profits. The U.S. delegation has denied those charges. The Johannesburg summit opens on August 26 and falls a decade after the landmark Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, which put environmental issues on the global political agenda.

 

9. AFRICANS URGED TO TACKLE PROBLEMS FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

Xinhua News Agency

18 June 2002

Internet: http://library.northernlight.com/FE20020618030000012.html?cb=0&dx=1006&sc=0#doc

LAGOS, Jun 18, 2002 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- South African Deputy Environment Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi Tuesday called on Africans to take advantage of the prevalent political will of their leaders to tackle the continent's problems for sustainable development.  Mabudafhasi made the call in Nigeria's capital at the final meeting of the preparatory committee for the Partnership Conference of the African Process on Development and Protection of the Marine and Coastal Environment in sub-Sahara Africa. Our leaders have demonstrated the political will through new platforms like the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) , the African Ministerial Conference on Environment and the African Process," Mabudafhasi said.  Identifying major African problems impacting on sustainable development as poverty, food and economic insecurity, violent crises and environmental degradation, the minister stressed that the challenge now is to translate these blueprints to concrete actions. Mabudafhasi, also the chairwoman of the preparatory committee for the African Process, said the Partnership Conference will regard Africans as partners to shape a common will aimed at sweeping out all impediments to sustainable growth. According to her, the African Process is another opportunity for Africans to influence the global agenda, especially on issues related to coastal and marine resources. Speaking at the opening session of the final meeting on Monday, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has challenged African leaders to make the preservation of the continent's resource and environment a priority for food security and a healthy populace. The president appealed to African nations to take advantage of the NEPAD drive to work toward a better continent both economically and environmentally. Because donor agencies and developed countries have been making effective environmental policies a condition for aiding developing nations, African countries should strive to meet such requirements, he added. The three-day talks will witness contributions from all African countries and international bodies such as the Economic Community of West African States, the Organization of African Unity and the United Nations. African leaders are expected to work out a final agreement on the African Process later this year in Johannesburg at the World Summit on Sustainable Development

 

10. AHEAD OF G-8 MEETING, ANNAN URGES SUPPORT FOR AFRICA, ACTION ON MILLENNIUM GOALS

United Nations

18 June 2002

Internet: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=3965&Cr=g-8&Cr1=

18 June - Welcoming the decision of the world's leading industrialized nations to focus on solutions to Africa's problems at their annual meeting later this month, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has called on the Group of Eight countries also to act decisively on global concerns encapsulated in the Millennium Development Goals, especially the fight against poverty. These "are goals set by the world for the world, although it is in Africa that they present the toughest challenge, and in Africa that their achievement will depend most crucially on international solidarity," the Secretary-General says in an open letter to the G-8 leaders who are scheduled to meet on 26 and 27 June in Kananaskis, Canada.  In his letter, which was released today at UN Headquarters in New York, Mr. Annan calls on the G-8 countries to stand by commitments made last November at the World Trade Organization meeting in Doha, Qatar, to conduct trade negotiations that would open markets to exports from poor and developing countries.  He appeals for them to follow-up on commitments made in March in Monterrey, Mexico, for further increases in development assistance and support international efforts to stem the spread of killer diseases and to make primary education available to all children. The Secretary-General also urges them to commit to ensuring a productive outcome for the World Summit for Sustainable Development later this year in Johannesburg, South Africa.  The "peoples of the developing world would...be bitterly disappointed if your meeting confined itself to offering them good advice and solemn exhortations, rather than firm pledges of action in areas where your own contributions can be decisive," the Secretary-General writes.  Mr. Annan is scheduled to attend the G-8 meeting to participate in the working session on 27 June, which will feature presentations from five African Heads of State who have initiated a New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).

 

11. CONCERN HEADS OF STATE MAY SHUN SUMMIT

SABC News

18 June 2002

Internet: http://www.sabcnews.com/world/summit/0,1009,36663,00.html

With only 69 days to go before the start of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, concern is mounting among local politicians over whether heads of state from several key industrialised nations will actually attend the event. MPs have also expressed doubt as to whether without the attendance of leaders from the so-called JUSCANZ bloc, comprising Japan, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand the summit will achieve its set goals. The Johannesburg Summit, the biggest-ever international meeting of its kind, and aimed at negotiating a global plan for the economic, social and environmental future of the planet, is set to take place in Johannesburg from August 26 to September 4. Gwen Mahlangu, the National Assembly environmental affairs and tourism committee chairperson, today said MPs were "really worried" over whether heads of government from the JUSCANZ bloc would actually attend the summit. At the final summit preparatory conference, held in Bali, Indonesia earlier this month, the bloc adopted a common stance on several contentious issues that prevented agreement, particularly regarding finance and trade related matters. Mahlangu, speaking after a briefing by Chippy Olver, the environmental affairs and tourism director-general, on the outcome of the Bali conference, said the overall feeling of her committee was that "we have very little time at our disposal to bring these important countries on board". "How we are going to do this is still a very big question mark because the summit is about heads of state, and especially those from developed countries" she added. She also said: "If we leave industrialised countries out I don't see the summit achieving most of the issue that they want it to achieve."We are really worried as to why, up to now, we still don't have a commitment to attend from them, let alone a commitment to finance the processes, or at least for them to say, yes we want to attend we want to participate." Earlier, Olver told a joint meeting of three parliamentary committees that many heads of state had held back on a final decision to attend the summit. Due to the outcome of the Bali conference, "many of them will be keeping that decision in abeyance a lot of them you will not know until the last minute". He also said those who confirmed their attendance are a far smaller list of heads of state. It is understood about 30 heads of state have, to date, said they will definitely attend the summit. "The EU group is clearly making strong commitment to attend while the JUSCANZ group has not done this. I suppose that was to be expected," he told members. Olver later stressed that by this he did not mean JUSCANZ would not attend the summit, but that they had not, to date, confirmed they would do so. According to a poll carried out by the US-based National Resources Defense Council earlier this month, only 45 heads of state or government have confirmed they will attend the summit. The NRDC said the survey also showed a further 40 were "likely" to attend. The organisation said the survey was "based on contacts with more than 150 country missions at the United Nations in New York, and delegations at the final meeting in Bali." –Sapa

 

12. MBEKI VOWS TO RESCUE WORLD SUMMIT

SABC News

18 June 2002

Internet: http://www.sabcnews.com/world/summit/0,1009,36687,00.html

President Thabo Mbeki said he would launch a personal initiative to avert the threatened failure of the August World Summit in Johannesburg, which is set to be South Africa's biggest international event. Mbeki said in an address to Parliament he would lead the search for international agreement on a draft declaration for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). Ministers of more than 100 participating countries failed at preparatory talks in Bali, Indonesia, earlier this month to agree a draft action plan for the world's most important environmental summit, with rich and poor nations divided about the best ways to promote sustainable growth and development. The conference in Johannesburg is being billed as the biggest-ever UN gathering. More than 100 heads of state and 60 000 delegates are expected to attend the summit and a parallel meeting of non-governmental organisations. However, environmental groups and non-governmental organisations have warned governments that the summit is heading for failure. Mbeki, who will chair the Johannesburg summit, said the Bali meeting made progress on some issues, but left key decisions unanswered. "The failure to find consensus in Bali on some of these issues places increased responsibility on the president, as chairperson of the WSSD, to ensure that a basis for agreement is developed between now and August. "We will be starting a process of consultation with the major groupings in the United Nations system to explore the possibilities of finding consensus," said Mbeki, who usually refers to himself in speeches as "we". Officials in Bali said the meeting failed to reach agreement on "essential" areas in the action plan such as timebound commitments and ways of financing pledges in the draft. Mbeki said key issues still outstanding included ways to link the decisions of the Monetary Financing for Development Conference earlier this year with the goals of the World Summit and mechanisms to differentiate the responsibilities of different nations towards shared goals. Mbeki pushed that conference into extra time, intervening personally to hammer out a partial accord which led many international critics to call the summit a failure. Environmental groups have pinned much of the blame for the failure of the Bali conference on the US, accusing it of being reluctant to commit to some targets for action at home in the interests of business profits, charges members of the US delegation here have denied. The Johannesburg summit opens on August 26 and falls a decade after the landmark Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, which put environmental issues on the global political agenda. - Reuters

 

13. KEEP YOUR SUMMIT PROMISES: TOEPFER

SABC News

18 June 2002

Internet: http://www.sabcnews.com/world/summit/0,1009,36686,00.html

Klaus Toepfer, head of the United Nations Environment Programme, said yesterday governments should not make any new promises they cannot keep on sustainable development and must concentrate instead on existing commitments. Toepfer added that poverty reduction was the main tool in fighting environmental degradation, just as it was three decades ago. However, despite promises at the previous summit in 1992 that industrial states would provide development aid of 0,7% of their gross domestic product, aid flowing to poor countries has decreased in relative and absolute terms, he said. "We cannot dare again disappoint people, so we must be honest. We cannot give promises we really cannot deliver," said Toepfer. Toepfer was speaking during a two-day meeting in Stockholm of scientists, diplomats and environmentalists to mark 30 years since 114 nations, excluding the former Soviet bloc, agreed on a common duty to protect the global environment. "Johannesburg must not be a summit of new declarations and new programmes, it must really be a summit on implementation of concrete action," Toepfer said. Global accords on biodiversity and greenhouse gas emissions should now be put into force and actual results are needed more than new rounds of speeches, he said. Fighting poverty, with the aim of halving the number of people living in poverty by 2015, and reducing environmental damage will also be the main topics when world leaders and non-governmental organisations meet at the huge UN summit in Johannesburg at the end of August. Optimistic about US participation The final preparatory meeting in Bali ahead of the Johannesburg summit however ended without agreement, conservationists have said the meeting's draft text is all talk and no action and the meeting is shaping up to be a major flop. Environmental action group Greenpeace has accused the US and other countries of systematically removing anything smacking of action from the draft text. It is also still unclear whether George W. Bush, the US President, who last year rejected the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, would attend the 10-day summit with more than 100 heads of state. However, Toepfer said he was optimistic that Bush would participate. "I am still convinced that the United States too will be aware of the need for their leadership. I am also realistically optimistic that the United States will play their part and the decision (whether Bush will attend) will be very carefully considered," he continued. The US focus on a war against terrorism launched after the September 11 attacks last year should not prevent it from trying to promote environmental conservation and poverty reduction in developing countries, he added.  "More than ever we have to fight all together against terrorism, but we must also use this alliance against hunger and hopelessness, and for globalisation with a human face," he said. – Reuters

 

14. MORE THAN 420 MILLION COULD LIVE IN EXTREME POVERTY BY 2015, UN WARNS

United Nations

18 June 2002

Internet: http://www.un.org/apps/news/subject.asp?SubjectID=2

18 June - The number of people living on less than $1 a day could exceed 420 million by 2015 if current economic trends continue, a new report by a United Nations agency focussing on trade and development issues warns.  According to the "Least Developed Countries Report 2002: Escaping the Poverty Trap," released today by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the number of people living in extreme poverty has doubled over the past 30 years, and is currently about 307 million.  Such poverty can be dramatically slashed by simply doubling the average household living standards of the most poor, the report finds. However, international partnerships are essential if successful efforts are to be made to address poverty in least developed countries.  "Too many impoverished countries are stuck in a trap of poverty that they will not get out of through their own resources," Jeffrey D. Sachs, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Advisor on the Millennium Development Goals, explained at a press conference yesterday to launch the UNCTAD report at UN Headquarters in New York.  "And unless there is truly international partnership, of the kind that we profess but don't always act upon, the natural dynamics of international market forces underway will not relieve the mass suffering experienced by hundreds of millions of people," he added.  Joining Mr. Sachs at the press conference was Anwarul K. Chowdhury, the UN High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States. He said that the timing of the report's release was particularly significant because of its proximity to the summit of the Group of Eight richest and most powerful countries, scheduled for 26-27 June in Kananaskis, Canada.  As that meeting would be focusing on Africa's development, the analysis in the report on Africa's least developed countries would be important to participants, Mr. Chowdhury noted.

See Also: http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2002/TAD1930.doc.htm

 

15. GLOBAL WARMING NOW A REALITY

The Yomiuri Shimbun

18 June 2002

Internet: http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/newse/20020618wo74.htm

Mountaineer Ken Noguchi, 28, recalls the moment when the Sherpas he was climbing with on the Nepalese side of Mt. Everest began reciting a Lamaistic prayer that their lives be spared.  Having reached an elevation of 6,200 meters, Noguchi and his group were suddenly confronted with the roaring sound of a nearby avalanche and a huge icefall in front of them. The jagged icefall had been created by the collapse of a glacier. Countless crevasses, most of them a few meters wide, appeared in the glacier.

The group connected several ladders to form a bridge that could be laid across the crevasses. Walking over the bridge, Noguchi said, was frightening.  "This year, (the weather) was really unusual in the Himalayas," Noguchi said after returning from Nepal in late May.  Noguchi has been making trips to the country for three years to collect trash left behind by climbers. He goes in the dry season--April and May--when the weather is usually fine.  However, Noguchi said that this year, due to unseasonable snowfalls in the area, there were a series of avalanches. He added that they disturbed his sleep many times.  In late April, a British mountaineer went missing in the Himalayas. On May 12, Noguchi had a lucky escape after a 30-meter-high wall of ice collapsed in front of him.  According to meteorologists, the average temperature in the southern Himalayas is increasing faster than the average temperature on the Earth as a whole. Glaciers currently are shrinking at a rate of 70 meters to 100 meters a year. Such data points to the effects of global warming.  According to Assistant Prof. Tomomi Yamada of Hokkaido University, there are 350 glacial lakes in Nepal and the surrounding area. In the past 10 years, rapid rises in water level caused such lakes to overflow their banks and damage villages and a hydroelectric plant on three separate occasions.  One lake, Tsho Rolpa, is in danger of overflowing. Though water was drained from the lake two years ago as a preventive measure, the risk of it floods remains high.  Akiko Sakai, a researcher from Nagoya University's graduate school who has made five research trips to the Himalayas, said, "The study of glacial lakes has shifted from science to civil engineering." She stressed that irregularities in climate patterns have reached the point where they are causing such damage that action is urgently needed.  In August, the World Summit on Sustainable Development will be held in Johannesburg with the aim of implementing measures to restore the Earth's environment in the 21st century.

What can be achieved at the summit? The future of the Earth is highly dependent on bearing the following in mind:  In the past 10 years, a series of natural disasters and other irregularities believed to be the result of global warming have been reported.

Global warming used to be considered a hypothetical threat to humanity, but it has now become a reality.  Each spring in recent years, the ocean submerges part of the South Pacific island of Tuvalu. Residents believe the flooding points to an overall rise in sea levels, citing as evidence the increased frequency of unusually high tides and cyclones in the past 10 years.  Tuvalan Prime Minister Koloa Talake has said his people were victims of global warming and were in danger of losing their land due to rising sea levels.  Talake has asked the New Zealand government to provide relief by allowing Tuvalans to immigrate.  Swiss Re, a global insurer, has compiled statistics on compensation paid for natural disasters in the past 30 years. Of the 32 highest payouts, 18 occurred after 1992.  Meanwhile, a team led by Nobuyuki Tanaka of the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute has compiled a computer simulation, which indicates that about 90 percent of the optimum land for Japanese beech trees in the Shirakami-Sanchi mountain range will be lost by 2090 because of decreasing snowfalls in the area. The mountain range in Aomori and Akita prefectures has been added to UNESCO's World Heritage List.  An Environment Ministry committee has also pointed to the movement north of butterflies, dragonflies, cicadas and other insects as well as the appearance in Japanese Waters of tropical fish and crabs as signs of global warming.  In the past 10 years, carbon dioxide emissions have increased 10 percent in Japan and 9 percent worldwide. According to some environmental experts, stopping global warming would require a 60 percent reduction in the current level of carbon dioxide emissions.  The Kyoto Protocol requires developed countries to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 5 percent from 1990 levels. This is the first step in controlling global warming.  Nevertheless, the United States, which emits more carbon dioxide than any other country, has refused to ratify the protocol. U.S. President George W. Bush recently criticized a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report on the link between global warming and human activity as bureaucratic.  More than 70 countries have ratified the protocol. However, in addition to the United States, several other developed countries--including Russia, Canada and Australia--have yet to ratify the protocol.  To secure the basics necessary for the continued existence of humanity and the restoration of the Earth's environment, the Kyoto Protocol must be implemented.

 

16. AFRICAN MINISTERS TO COORDINATE ENVIRONMENT POLICIES

The Namibian

18 June 2002

Internet: http://www.namibian.com.na/2002/june/envirotalk/0269A9F67A.html

KAMPALA, June 18 (AFP) - Africa's environment ministers and experts are to meet in the Ugandan capital Kampala next month to map out a common strategy for the continent, organisers said here Tuesday. Some 350 delegates are expected to attend the five-day session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment, to be opened by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, organiser Elizabeth Gowa told Nampa-AFP.  A report entitled African Environment Outlook will articulate common environmental policy for the continent ahead of next October's World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held in Johannesburg, aimed at helping policy and decision-makers to develop national environment policies.  The conference will promote the coordination of African environment and development policies with governments, non-governmental and international organisations and the private sector, including business and industry, Gowa said.  The ministerial conference held its first session in December 1985 and meets every two to three years. - Nampa-AFP

 

17. UNTREATED WATER, A HEALTH HAZARD

This Day (Lagos) via All Africa

18 June 2002

Internet: http://allafrica.com/stories/200206180425.html

The Minister of State for Water Resources, Chief Precious Ngelale has identified use of untreated water as one of the greatest environmental threats to health in the developing countries. He made this statement in his address at the just concluded Pre-conference World Summit on Sustainable Development in Bali, Indonesia. He said water had remained a major crisis which had not been seriously tackled by the international community since the Rio Summit on environment held 10 years ago. Quoting the United Nations Environmental Programme, Ngelale said about one third of the world's population live in countries suffering from moderate to high water stress while 80 countries representing 40 per cent of world's population continue to suffer from serious water shortages. Ngelale noted that in his recent environmental lecture, entitled "Towards a Sustainable Future", the Secretary-General of UN had pointed out that more than one billion people are without safe drinking water. Highlighting the critical importance of water to Africa's socio-economic and environmental security, Ngelale said, "there is an intimate link between the health of our planet and human health. The link between poverty, health and the environment is nowhere close than with regard to water issues. Water is the key to sustainable development and good health. "Some two billion people lack the energy they need to pump water or light their homes. Ironically, this energy can be harnessed through water resources development. While over 70 per cent of the hydropower potentials of the developed countries have been harnessed, only a mere five percent of Africa's potentials have been developed. "75 per cent of the world's poor live in rural areas. Sustainable agriculture depends on the proper use of the environment as a common asset, avoiding water pollution, desertification and deforestation. In addition, water supplies and irrigation must be managed efficiently to ensure optimum results. "The importance of aquatic biodiversity to socio-economic development and environmental management cannot be over emphasized".

 

18. UN CALLS FOR BACKING OF MULTIBILLION-DOLLAR ENVIRONMENTAL FUND

United Nations

17 June 2002

Internet: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=3954&Cr=environment&Cr1=facility

17 June - The head of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) today urged governments to "swiftly and significantly" replenish a multibillion-dollar fund that has proven to be an invaluable weapon in the fight against poverty and environmental degradation. UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toepfer, speaking in Stockholm at the 30th anniversary celebrations of the conference that led to the creation of the UN agency, called on heads of State to make the replenishment of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) a top priority and a key outcome of the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development. The GEF was established for a pilot phase in 1991 in the run-up to the Rio Earth Summit of 1992 to focus on biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer and, more recently, issues like the phasing out persistent organic pollutants (POPs), according to UNEP. During its pilot phase the Facility was given $1.2 billion, and subsequently was replenished twice, for $2.02 billion and $2.75 billion, before it was re-structured in 1994. The third replenishment is due this year. The GEF has proven its worth and the funds, given to it by developed nations, have been very well spent, Mr. Toepfer said, noting that 16 independent auditors recently concluded that the Facility was an innovative, unique and successfully run body for sustainable development. "The GEF is not a new funding arm but an established one," he said. "It has been agreed that it is now due for re-vitalization so it can continue its excellent work. Let's now do this and give it the financial resources needed to carry on with its important activities."

 

19. SUBSTANTIAL BACKING FOR GEF RECIPE FOR SUCCESS AT WORLD SUMMIT ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

United Nations Environment Programme

17 June 2002

Internet: http://www.unep.org/Documents/Default.asp?ArticleID=3082&DocumentID=253

A multibillion-dollar fund, which has proved itself an invaluable weapon in the fight against poverty and environmental degradation, should be swiftly and significantly replenished, the head of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) will urge today.

Stockholm/Nairobi, 17 June 2002 - Klaus Toepfer, UNEP's Executive Director, will call on heads of state to make the replenishment of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) a top priority and a key, concrete, outcome of the World Summit on Sustainable Development. The summit is scheduled to commence on August 26 in Johannesburg, South Africa and comes after this month's G8 summit in Canada where the issue of re-vitalizing the GEF is likely to be discussed.  The GEF has, over the past 10 years, committed more than US$ 4 billion and mobilized some US$ 9 billion for more than 1,000 projects in 162 countries.  Successes include helping developing countries to cope with the impacts of global warming to ones that are assisting poorer nations to conserve wildlife, monitor and improve the health of international waters and overcome land degradation.  Mr Toepfer, speaking in Stockholm, Sweden, at the 30th anniversary celebrations of the conference that led to the creation of UNEP, will tell delegates that a well-funded GEF must be made a priority.  "The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) will be a crucial test of the world's ability and its enthusiasm for tackling the very pressing problems facing people and the planet today. In April, in Monterrey, Mexico, developed countries including countries in the European Union and the United States pledged to increase overseas development aid significantly, reversing years of decline," he will say.  "This is a real turnaround and a good start. Now these pledges need to be turned in concrete actions at Johannesburg in areas such as water, energy and biodiversity. This year we also have the replenishment of the GEF. This fund has proved its worth time and time again and the money, given to it by developed nations, has in the main been very well spent. There are several, funding options on the table. I would urge developed nations in the run up to WSSD to make serious financial commitments to the fund so that all countries, so that all delegates, leave Johannesburg satisfied that it has been a summit of implementation and not another summit of promises, another meeting of declarations. UNEP is not isolated in this. The overwhelming majority of nations believe only a substantial replenishment is an acceptable outcome," he told delegates.  Mr Toepfer said it was not just the United Nations that believed the GEF was an important funding mechanism for sustainable development. Recently 16 independent auditors concluded that the GEF was an innovative, unique and successfully run body.  He added that the GEF was also a unique partnership between UN organizations and the Bretton Woods institutions as represented by the World Bank Group.  Mr Toepfer was speaking in the wake of the final preparatory meeting for WSSD which was held in Bali, Indonesia. While some progress was achieved, in common with most delegates he conceded that far more needs to be done to ensure that the Johannesburg summit is a success.  "Out latest Global Environment Outlook, the work of over 1,000 scientists and experts around the globe, gives us the hard facts and tough choices that are needed to restore the health and natural wealth of this wonderful blue planet. Unless action is taken now we face, in 30 years time, the prospect of half the world's people living in water stressed areas, over 70 per cent of the Earth's surface impacted by roads, cities and other infrastructure developments and concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at 450 parts per million, on track for a doubling from pre-industrial levels by 2050," he said.  "But we do not need to look to the future to see how the unsustainable life-styles of the richer parts of the world, and the poverty of the poorer parts, are threatening the Earth's life support systems. Around a third of the world's fish stocks are in a degraded state as a result of over-fishing fueled by subsidies estimated at up to US$ 20 billion a year, around half the world's rivers are seriously depleted and polluted and some two billion hectares of soil, equal to an area the size of the United States and Mexico combined, is classed as degraded. Our motto is Environment for Development, for without the environment you can never have the kind of development that can last. If we are to break the current impasse we will have to balance the needs and aspirations of both developed and developing countries. The GEF, which is administered by a secretariat in Washington DC, is not a new funding arm but an established one. It has been agreed that it is now due for re-vitalization so it can continue its excellent work. Let's us now do this and give it the financial resources needed to carry on with its important activities," he said.

Note to Editors: The Global Environment Facility was established for a pilot phase in 1991 in the run up to the Rio Earth Summit of 1992. It has three implementing agencies. These are UNEP, the United Nations Development Programme and the World Bank. During its pilot phase the facility was given US$1.2 billion. It has had two replenishments of US$2.02 billion and US$ 2.75 billion and was re-structured in 1994. The third replenishment is due this year. The GEF's key focus areas have been biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer and more recently issues like the phasing out Persistent Organic Pollutants. It is also the financial mechanism for, for example, the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.

 

20. ANNAN URGES FOUNDATIONS TO SUPPORT UN MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS

United Nations

17 June 2002

Internet: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=3956&Cr=annan&Cr1=millennium

17 June - United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today urged representatives of philanthropic foundations to support the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals adopted in 2000 by world leaders at a landmark UN summit. "It is my hope that this initial meeting will lead to the creation of new partnerships, and - in cases where we are already working together - to a strengthening of our collaboration in the years ahead," the Secretary-General told a gathering in New York of representatives of several high-profile, multimillion dollar foundations. "As we in the United Nations seek to broaden and deepen coalitions for change around the Millennium Development Goals, we know that we can only do this with your full participation and support."  The targets set in 2000 include halving extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education and gender equity, reducing under-five mortality and maternal mortality by two-thirds and three-quarters respectively, reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS, halving the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water and ensuring environmental sustainability. "These goals are inextricably linked to each other and to the broader purposes of this Organization," the Secretary-General said. While acknowledging that the challenges appeared immense, he pointed to a growing global momentum towards a change in priorities. "The horrors of September 11 strengthened our sense of a common destiny, and people around the world are looking for strategies and solutions to the challenges that we as one human family face together," he said.  Among those attending the meeting were representatives of the Rockefeller Foundation, the Open Society Institute, the Gates Foundation, the Markle Foundation and the Ford Foundation. Other attendees included those from the MacArthur Foundation, the UN Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Riksbankens Jubileumffond, and the European Foundation Centre.

 

21. GLOBAL CLIMATE SHIFT FEEDS SPREADING DESERTS

Environment News Service

17 June 2002

Internet: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/oneworld/20020617/wl_oneworld/1032_1024347333

NEW YORK, New York, June 17, 2002 (ENS) - Over the next 20 years some 60 million people in northern Africa are expected to leave the Sahelian region if desertification there is not halted, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today. June 17 is the day set aside each year by the UN as World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, twin problems that must be solved if world hunger is to be relieved, Annan said. "The fight against desertification is fundamentally a fight against poverty," said Hama Arba Diallo, executive secretary of the eight year old UN Convention to Combat Desertification and Drought. Desertification, environmental degradation and poverty are closely linked, and now an Australian scientist has found that air pollution may also play a role in the Sahel drought, by hampering the northward movement of the tropical rain belt. Desertification and land degradation are worldwide phenomena with most severe effects on communities in the poorest rural areas. More than 110 countries are affected, and the livelihood of over 1.2 billion people are threatened by desertification, with 135 million around the world at risk of being displaced. In northeast Asia, "dust and sandstorms have buried human settlements and forced schools and airports to shut down," Annan said, "while in the Americas, dry spells and sandstorms have alarmed farmers and raised the specter of another Dust Bowl, reminiscent of the 1930s." In southern Europe, "lands once green and rich in vegetation are turning barren and brown," he said.

"Every year, an estimated $42 billion in income and six million hectares of productive land are being lost because of desertification, land degradation and declining agricultural productivity," Annan said today.  The secretary-general urged countries to support the UN Convention to Combat Desertification and Drought - the only legally binding treaty to address desertification and drought with a focus on sustainable development.  Diallo said that most of the 179 countries that are Parties to the convention are hosting activities today such as roundtable discussions, field trips and media campaigns at the national and local levels and involving government and nongovernmental organizations, the media, and other stakeholders.  But raising awareness of the problems is not enough - funds are needed to solve them. Diallo called on the international community to make financial commitments to enable countries affected by land degradation to implement the treaty.  "In order for the convention to move from preparation to the implementation of national action programs, predictable financial resources are imperative," he said from the secretariat's office in Bonn, Germany.  He urged leaders of the international community who will be meeting at the Johannesburg World Summit for Sustainable Development in August and September to back up their pledges made 10 years ago at the UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.  Australian government researcher Dr. Leon Rotstayn has evidence that air pollution is likely to have contributed to the what he terms the "catastrophic drought in the Sahel," a region of northern Africa which borders the fringe of the Sahara Desert. Tiny atmospheric particles, known as sulfate aerosol, have contributed to a global climate shift, he says.  "The Sahelian drought may be due to a combination of natural variability and atmospheric aerosol," says Dr. Rotstayn. "Cleaner air in future will mean greater rainfall in this region.  The majority of sulfate aerosol comes from the burning of fossil fuels and metal smelting. Smaller amounts come from the burning of vegetation in the tropics, and natural sources such as marine plankton.  Atmospheric aerosol concentrations are far greater in the northern hemisphere, cooling the atmosphere there more than in the southern hemisphere. It is this imbalance that affects the tropical rain belt. "Global climate change is not solely being caused by rising levels of greenhouse gases. Atmospheric pollution is also having an effect," says Dr. Rotstayn, who is affiliated with CSIRO, the Australian government's research branch.  CSIRO's research into aerosol and climate is in part supported by the Australian Greenhouse Office and involves collaboration with the University of Michigan in the USA and Dalhousie University in Canada. The findings on air pollution and the tropical rain belt have just been published in the international "Journal of Climate."  The researchers ran sophisticated global climate simulations on a supercomputer. They found that sulfate aerosol particles, which are concentrated mainly in the northern hemisphere, make cloud droplets smaller. This makes the clouds brighter and longer lasting, so they reflect more sunlight into space, cooling the Earth's surface below.  As a result, the tropical rain belt, which migrates northwards and southwards with the seasonal movement of the sun, is weakened in the northern hemisphere and does not move as far north.  The main impact of the weaker rain belt is in the Sahel. Since the 1960s, this region has experienced a devastating drought. Rainfall was 20 to 49 percent lower than in the first half of the 20th century, causing widespread famine and death.  Scientists also believe that air pollution over China has affected their summer monsoon rainfall belt. Northern China had successive droughts in the summers of 1997, 1998 and 1999.  A reduction in the severity of the Sahelian drought during the 1990s may be linked with emission controls in Europe and North America that lowered atmospheric aerosol concentrations during that decade, Dr. Rotstayn says.  Tropical and eastern Australia have experienced an increase in rainfall over the 20th century, and this may be related to the same effect.  "We are not yet seeing reductions in aerosol emissions in Asia," says Dr. Rotstayn. "It is possible that other forms of aerosol in the air, such as black soot emitted from Southeast Asia, could affect Australia's climate." 

 

22. ENVIRONMENTAL EXPERTS HOPE FOR CONCRETE ACTION AND A CLEAR MESSAGE FROM SUMMIT IN JOHANNESBURG

Associated Press

17 June 2002

Internet: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20020617/ap_wo_en_po/sweden_environmental_conference_1

STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Environmental officials and experts meeting on the 30th anniversary of a landmark U.N. conference expressed hope on Monday that an upcoming summit on the environment in South Africa will result in concrete action and a clear message. Delegates said much progress has been made since the first U.N. Conference on the Human Environment was held in 1972 in Stockholm but many of the same challenges remained - including the use of fossil fuels that are blamed for recent global warming, a growing population and increased industrial activity. "We must acknowledge that despite notable progress on many fronts ... we have still not made the fundamental transition to a secure and sustainable future for the human community," United Nations undersecretary-general Maurice F. Strong said in a statement that was read at the two-day conference."And I am afraid that we will not do so unless we take the decisions and actions that will break the inertia that continues to propel us along a course that is not sustainable," he said. The Aug. 26 to Sept. 4 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg is a follow up to the 1992 Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro. It is expected to focus on reshaping the world economy to make it less environmentally harmful and more socially equitable. Swedish Environmental Minister Kjell Larsson told some 300 scientists, diplomats and activists gathered in Stockholm that the challenge will be to bridge the gap between commitment and action. "We need an ambitious political declaration with a clear and unambiguous message from world leaders, an action with clear and achievable targets defined in time, means of implementation and clearly defined responsibilities," Larsson said in opening remarks. Diane Dillon-Ridgely, director of Dallas-based Green Mountain Energy Co., said the public needs to be more involved in protecting the environment. "Whatever we do at any industrial level, at any level, has a much greater impact than it did because there are more of us doing it on the planet," she said. "And if (the public) can pressure their governments, their governments would have to change what they are doing." The 1972 conference in the Swedish capital launched a new era of international cooperation in environmental issues, with participants from 113 countries, including former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara who was then head of the World Bank. The Soviet Union and other former communist countries boycotted the meetings because East Germany, which was not a U.N. member, was not allowed to take part

 

23. WORLD EARTH SUMMIT ALL SET FOR MAJOR FLOP

Times of Malta

17 June 2002

Internet: http://www.timesofmalta.com/core/article.php?id=10268

The "Earth Summit" in South Africa in August is shaping up to be a major flop with politics in the driving seat and science hardly to be seen, scientists and environmentalists say. Just days after the final preparatory meeting for the World Summit on Sustainable Development ended without agreement, Friends of the Earth (FOE) activists said last Friday the draft text was all talk and no action. "This draft plan is weak in the extreme," FOE spokesman Mike Childs said. "Without firm targets, finance and enforcement mechanisms, it threatens to be no more than hot air." FOE said the planning meeting on the tropical paradise island of Bali failed even to agree whether globalisation was good or bad for the sustainable development the whole discussion process was supposed to support. Childs's comments echo the fears of some scientists as a forecast 65,000 delegates prepare to descend on Johannesburg from August 26 in a supposed bid to drive forward world development while saving the planet. Kelly Rigg, of Greenpeace, accused the United States and other countries of having systematically removed anything smacking of action from the draft text. "Governments are walking away from their responsibilities. Now, more than ever, there is a need to work together. Now is the time to save the planet, but it is just not happening," she told Reuters from Amsterdam. The Johannesburg summit was originally intended to review progress since the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and plot the path to a future free of the grinding poverty that grips large portions of the world's population. The United Nations Environment Programme said in its annual report last month the world was at a crossroads where it had to chose between greed and humanity - with a disaster awaiting the wrong choice. "We need a concrete action plan... concrete projects... and above all a clear political declaration," UNEP head Klaus Toepfer said presenting the report. But critics say the Bali draft for Johannesburg contains none of that and could not even decide whether to mention the Kyoto protocol on limiting carbon dioxide emissions - a treaty the United States has refused to adopt. Emil Salim, chairman of the Bali talks, said there could be further debate before the summit, but also said the meeting had failed to reach agreement on aspects such as time commitments and ways of financing pledges. Scientists are dubious that Johannesburg will achieve anything other than a restating of the deep divide between the rich, mostly northern hemisphere, developed nations and the poor southern countries struggling under mountains of debt. "It is really very depressing. It doesn't look like there will be any science at Johannesburg," Professor Georgina Mace, director of science at the Zoological Society of London, told Reuters.

"Everything is stuck in politics. That is why so few scientists are actually going there. They know nothing will come of it. There will be no targets set and no initiatives taken. We need movement and we will not get it at Johannesburg," she added. Some scientists point to the recent replacement of Robert Watson, who aggressively pushed conservation, as head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in a move largely instigated by the United States as an indication of attitudes towards environmental concerns. "He was a thorn in the side of the US energy lobby which is extremely powerful and has the ear of President Bush, so they got rid of him," Chris Rapley, director of the British Antarctic Survey told Reuters in a recent interview. "I think that speaks volumes about the US position on climate change. It is not even certain if Bush will go to Jonhannesburg," he added.

 

24. CONFERENCE ON MARINE ENVIRONMENT OPENS IN ABUJA

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks via All Africa

17 June 2002

Internet: http://allafrica.com/stories/200206170066.html

A three-day conference on the protection and development of the coastal and marine environment in sub-Saharan Africa opened in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, on Monday. Organised under the auspices of the African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN), its agenda was to work out a programme for a partnership conference to be held at the World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) to be held in South Africa in September. The conference was jointly organised with the Super Preparatory Committee of the African Process for the Development and Protection of the Coastal and Marine Environment (APDPCME). A statement by Nigeria's Ministry of Environment said the conference would seek to "integrate socio-economic as well as scientific and technical considerations into proposed interventions for addressing leading causes of degradation in the marine and coastal environment" in Africa. Participants in the proceedings, declared open by Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo, included Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, Klaus Topfer, and representatives of African governments and international organisations. During the meeting, approval of 33 projects proposed to deal with problems of coastal and marine environments in Africa is to be considered. The projects were identified during the final deliberations of the working group of APDPCME in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, in May. They cover pollution, modifications to the ecosystem, climate change, over-exploitation of fishery resources and eco-tourism.

 

25. WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE, BUT...

Independent

17 June 2002

Internet: http://news.independent.co.uk/world/environment/story.jsp?story=306067

The shortage of fresh water in the developing world is reaching critical levels. And a new dam in Brazil only serves to highlight the environmental problem. Later this year, the construction of the world's latest dam is due to be finished. As dams go, the one being built at Castanhão, in Brazil's arid north-eastern state of Ceará, is not the biggest nor the most controversial, and, in many respects, its completion will go largely unnoticed by the millions of Brazilians who stand to benefit from it. Yet the fact that the Castanhão dam needs to be built at all is testament to the growing worldwide crisis in the supply of fresh water. The latest study by the United Nations Environment Programme, which was published last month in its Global Environment Outlook 3 report, identifies water shortages as one of the most pressing problems facing the developing world. The report points out that one-third of the world's population is currently living in countries of moderate-to-high water shortages. Within the next 25 years, this is due to rise to two-thirds of the human population living in "water-stressed" regions. By 2020, the demand for water is expected to increase by 40 per cent, and 17 per cent more water will be needed to irrigate the crops that will have to be cultivated to feed a growing population. Yet already in the world today, nearly 20 per cent of the world's population do not have ready access to drinking water, while 40 per cent lack adequate sanitation. This is despite the attempts to fulfil one of the main goals of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, which identified a long-term aim of guaranteeing access to clean water and sanitation for everyone. Water, and the lack of it, is also on the agenda of the forthcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg this August. In addition to improved sanitation and pollution control, the summit will inevitably have to confront the need to control even more rivers, using dams such as the one at Castanhão. In many respects, the Castanhão dam exemplifies how a dam should be built. It involved detailed planning, and extensive consultation with the people whose homes in the nearby city of Jaguaribara were to be flooded. The planning also involved an assessment of the dam's environmental impact. Preliminary studies were carried out in the early 1980s, and the work itself began at the end of 1995, with the help of funding from the World Bank. The new city of Jaguaribara was built to replace the old one that was flooded. The street plan of Jaguaribara "Nova" precisely matches the layout of the old, flooded city, even down to the position of the local churches. Each of the 12,000 residents was consulted about their new home, and they were given the opportunity to choose whether they would like to live next to their old neighbours - most said they would. Even the dead at the local cemetery were exhumed and reburied in new graves to match the ones that were to be flooded. An ecological park has been set up adjacent to the flood site in order to preserve the native plants and animals, while three seismological stations will monitor any seismic movements related to the build-up of the 4.5 billion cubic metres of water behind the dam's concrete walls. Engineers say that the local rock and soil conditions will ensure that the dam will not silt up in the way that has affected other dams, such as the Aswan dam in Egypt. They insist that every effort has been made in its construction to minimise the dam's environmental impact. Although much of Brazil benefits from heavy rainfall, the state of Ceará in the north-east suffers badly from drought. Flying west by helicopter from Fortaleza, Ceará's capital city on the Atlantic coast, the effects of the drought quickly become apparent. Although the coastal region is relatively green and lush, the land quickly dries out as you leave the climatic influence of the ocean. After about 15 minutes of flying, you cross the line in the vegetation that marks the point at which the aridity of the hinterland becomes clearly visible. From here, hundreds of miles inland, the ground is brown and parched. After another hour or so of flying and the arid landscape is broken up by the glistening lake that is already building up behind the new dam built at Castanhão. Local Brazilians view the dam as vital to the irrigation of vast tracts of potentially fertile farmland in the state of Ceará. Brazilian engineers estimate that the dam will be able to irrigate 43,000 hectares of crops, as well as supply the needs of the two million inhabitants of Fortaleza, with its important tourism industry. The dam will also control the flooding that regularly plagues Ceará's river basins - about half of the annual rainfall of the state falls in just two months, often in torrential downpours that can sweep away crops and buildings. If Ceará needs anything, say Brazilian officials, it is a regular and reliable water supply. The state typifies the problem with water - the planet's most abundant substance is often not where you need it most. Even when water does arrive in the form of rain, it frequently comes suddenly, causing widespread and destructive flooding. It is somewhat ironic that Brazil, famous for its rainforest, also sits on one of the largest underground water sources on Earth. But the Guarani aquifer system, covering some 1.2 million square kilometres and holding a stupendous 48,000 cubic kilometres of fresh water, is in the south-east of the country, many hundreds of miles from Ceará in the dry north-east. Just extracting 20 per cent of the amount of water that drains into the Guarani aquifer each year would be enough to supply 300 litres of fresh water per day to 360 million people - if only it could be distributed across this vast, continent-sized country. Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay are working together on an integrated approach to developing a sustainable method of extracting water from the Guarani aquifer. The project is being closely watched by various international bodies, including the World Bank, which is helping to fund the initiative. "Success would be an important step towards ensuring long-term availability of freshwater and aquifer resources for people in these countries," says the GEO-3 report of UNEP. The Castanhão dam and the Guarani aquifer system, along with the truly giant Three Gorges Dam in China, represent the traditional ways of meeting the worldwide water crisis caused by population growth, industrial development and expanding agriculture. But UNEP believes that other approaches to water management will have to be considered in the future. "Planners have always assumed that growing demand would be met by taming more of the hydrological cycle through building more infrastructure," says the UNEP report. "This infrastructure has provided important benefits in the form, for example, of increased food production and hydroelectricity. There have also been major costs. Over the past 50 years, dams have transformed the world's rivers, displacing some 40-80 million people in different parts of the world and causing irreversible changes in many of the ecosystems closely associated with them." As important as dams have been in the past, planners and politicians are now having to think of other ways to meet the problem of water shortages. "Policy makers," the report says, "have now shifted from entirely supply solutions to demand management, highlighting the importance of using a combination of measures to ensure adequate supplies of water for different sectors." Greater water efficiency and better controls on water pollution are two obvious improvements that could result in real benefits. The poor management of water resources - such as over-irrigation - has already resulted in the salinity levels of about 20 per cent of irrigated land rising to a point where agriculture becomes difficult or impossible to sustain. Over the past 30 years, the pollution of groundwater sources has become a significant problem in many parts of the world. Many rivers are now suffering from high nitrate levels, caused by the use of agricultural fertilisers. And even some once-pristine rivers, such as the Amazon and Orinoco, are seeing rising levels of artificial nitrates. For a planet that is mostly water, it may seem ironic that water shortages are becoming such a limiting factor in human development. Yet only 2.5 per cent of the Earth's water is fresh water, and less than 1 per cent of this can actually be used for drinking. Even this limited natural resource is dwindling quickly, as encroaching human settlements contaminate and overexploit newly discovered sources of water. The point may soon come when, even on such a watery planet as Earth, there is water everywhere but not a drop to drink.

 

26. PRIME MINISTER CONSULTS YOUNG PEOPLE AHEAD OF 2002 UN EARTH SUMMIT

United Kingdom

17 June 2002

Internet: http://www.number-10.gov.uk/output/Page5343.asp

The Prime Minister Tony Blair has met school pupils to discuss environmental issues in advance of the World Summit on Sustainable Development. The Summit will be held in Johannesburg in August and September. Tim Green aged 10 from England, Peter Burton 10 from Northern Ireland, Stephanie Wiseman, 11, Scotland and Rhys Davies 17 from Wales made intelligent suggestions to Tony Blair and Margaret Beckett on how to make the back garden at Number 10 more sustainable. The four pupils have been nominated as WWF (World Wildlife Fund) "Earth Champions" after their original thinking on sustainable development issues won them acclaim. They are particularly concerned about renewable energy, world poverty, quality of species and habitats and access to fresh water. Prime Minister Tony Blair said: "I am pleased to have the opportunity today to hear young people's concerns about the future of the planet. These young Earth Champions are doing important work in raising awareness of key challenges for the World Summit on Sustainable Development." "We share their concerns about poverty, quality of species and habitats and access to clean energy and water. That is why we have taken action in the UK to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increased our support to developing countries to reduce poverty and increase access to clean water." Later the youngsters provided Number 10 with a bat box to cater for the remote possibility that stray bats in Downing Street may be looking for a comfortable home

 
27. MESSAGE ON WORLD DAY TO COMBAT DESERTIFICATION AND DROUGHT

United Nations

17 June 2002

Internet: http://www.unccd.int/publicinfo/june17/sgmessage-eng.pdf

Desertification and drought pose a worldwide threat with serious economic, environmental and socio-political implications. Every year, an estimated $42 billion in income and 6 million hectares of productive land are being lost because of desertification, land degradation and declining agricultural productivity, and 135 million people who depend primarily on land for their livelihood are at risk of being displaced. The fallout is felt on all continents. In Africa, over the next 20 years some 60 million people are expected to move from the Sahelian region to less hostile areas if the desertification of their land is not halted. In northeast Asia, dust- and sandstorms have buried human settlements and forced schools and airports to shut down. In the Americas, dry spells and sandstorms have alarmed farmers and raised the spectre of another “Dust Bowl”, reminiscent of the 1930s. And in southern Europe, lands once green and rich in vegetation are turning barren and brown. The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), adopted eight years ago today, integrates environmental and developmental concerns and thus is a key instrument not only in protecting ecosystems and resources, but also in alleviating poverty. However, a lack of predictable financial resources has hampered implementation. I urge developed countries to follow through on the commitments they made both in adopting the Convention and at the “Earth Summit” ten years ago in Rio de Janeiro -- including the provision of financial support through the Global Environment Facility (an alliance of the UN Development Programme, the UN Environment Programme and the World Bank), which should serve as a financial mechanism of the convention. Desertification will be among the most important issues to be discussed at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, which opens in less than three months. We need to find ways to halt land degradation, and to manage land more responsibly. We need to reverse the decline in agricultural productivity, especially in Africa, so that food production keeps pace with the number of mouths to feed. We need, in short, to implement the UN Convention to Combat Desertification as a key element in the world’s quest for sustainable development.

 

28. ANNAN URGES COUNTRIES TO BACK TREATY AIMED AT STEMMING DESERTIFICATION

United Nations

17 June 2002

Internet: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=3943&Cr=desertification&Cr1=

17 June - Marking the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said these twin scourges posed a worldwide threat and urged countries to support an international pact designed to stop land degradation. "Every year, an estimated $42 billion in income and 6 million hectares of productive land are being lost because of desertification, land degradation and declining agricultural productivity, and 135 million people who depend primarily on land for their livelihood are at risk of being displaced," Mr. Annan said in his message on the occasion. Over the next 20 years some 60 million people in Africa are expected to leave the Sahelian region if desertification there is not halted, he said. In north-east Asia, "dust and sandstorms have buried human settlements and forced schools and airports to shut down," while in the Americas, dry spells and sandstorms have alarmed farmers and raised the spectre of another "Dust Bowl," reminiscent of the 1930s. "And in southern Europe, lands once green and rich in vegetation are turning barren and brown," he noted. The Secretary-General called on States to implement the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, which integrates environmental and developmental concerns. "I urge developed countries to follow through on the commitments they made both in adopting the Convention and at the 'Earth Summit' 10 years ago in Rio de Janeiro - including the provision of financial support," he said. Looking to the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development, which will review progress since the Rio conference, he called for delegates to grapple with how to halt land degradation. "We need to reverse the decline in agricultural productivity, especially in Africa, so that food production keeps pace with the number of mouths to feed," he said. "We need, in short, to implement the UN Convention to Combat Desertification as a key element in the world's quest for sustainable development." In his message on the Day, the President of the General Assembly, Han Seung-soo of the Republic of Korea, also underscored the value of the treaty. "The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification is a cooperative quest of the human community to address the environmental and social causes of desertification and its consequences, in particular poverty, food insecurity and forced massive migrations," he said. "I urge all countries to join their efforts to stop desertification, which will help secure [a] healthy and green Earth for us and our future generations."

 
29. MOUNTAIN PEOPLE SUFFER MORE MALNUTRITION AND DISEASE

Food and Agriculture Organisation

16 June 2002

Internet: http://www.fao.org/english/newsroom/news/2002/6763-en.html

ADELBODEN, SWITZERLAND, 16 June 2002 -- A disproportionately high number of the world's hungriest and chronically malnourished people reside in mountain regions, Dr. Jacques Diouf, Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said today. In a statement delivered on his behalf by Jacques Eckebil, FAO Assistant Director-General for Sustainable Development, at the International Conference on Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development in Mountains, held in Adelboden, Switzerland (16-20 June 2002), Dr Diouf said malnutrition and food insecurity in mountain regions contribute to increased disease and disability and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people who flee drought and famine. Mountains are crucial to life. In addition to hosting more biodiversity than any other eco-region on earth, mountains provide most of the world's freshwater. More than 3 billion people rely on mountains for water to drink and to grow food, produce electricity and sustain industries. However, policies and decisions concerning the management of those resources are made often from afar, leaving those who live in mountain communities with the least amount of influence and power. There are 815 million chronically undernourished people in the world, according to FAO. Although mountain people represent about 12 percent of the world's population, mountain communities may carry a much larger portion of the burden. Millions of people in the Andes, Himalaya and other large mountain areas of the world suffer from goitre and cretinism, because glaciation, melting snow and heavy rainfall regularly leach fragile mountain soils of their iodine content. At the same time, in many mountain communities, Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of preventable blindness in children, while raising the risk of disease and death from severe infections. According to FAO, the high levels of malnutrition and hunger in mountain areas have much to do with the inaccessibility, complexity and fragility of mountain environments, and the extent to which mountain people are often marginalized. In the Ethiopian highlands as well as in the Upper Rwaba watershed of Burundi, for example, inequities of land distribution coupled with population growth have increased poverty and food insecurity. In the Peruvian Andes, two of every three households don't possess enough arable land to grow the foods required to meet their nutritional needs. Every day, mountain people face immense physical barriers -- rugged terrain, poor communications systems and inadequate roads. Heads of State and Government attending the World Food Summit: five years later held in Rome from 10 to 13 June this year, renewed their global commitment to reduce the number of hungry in the world no later than 2015. The Summit's Declaration recognised in particular the extent of poverty in the mountain zones and emphasised the vital role of mountain zones and their potential for sustainable agriculture and rural development in order to achieve food security. The need to build partnerships between developing countries in this regard was stressed. The United Nations declared 2002 the International Year of Mountains to increase awareness of the global importance of mountain ecosystems and the challenges faced by mountain people. The conference in Adelboden is one of a series of major global events scheduled for the Year. The opportunity to address mountain issues evolved from the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, where mountains became the singular focus of Chapter 13 of Agenda 21, the blueprint for sustainable development. It is expected that the Adelboden conference will help set the stage for policies and laws meant to protect mountain ecosystems and to create the conditions in which mountain people can thrive. This Adelboden declaration will be presented at the World Summit on Sustainable Developmentto be held in Johannesburg at the end of August this year, as well as at the Bishkek Global Mountain Summit to be held in Kyrgyzstan in October. FAO is the lead United Nations agency for the International Year of Mountains. FAO's partners include other United Nations agencies, non-governmental organizations, Mountain Forum, mountain people's organizations and more than 67 national committees representing countries around the world, with many more countries preparing to join. FAO's priority is to stimulate long-term, on-the-ground action by supporting the creation and ongoing efforts of national committees dedicated to the International Year of Mountains.

 

30. BROWN TRIES TO HELP 67 MILLION CHILDREN

Independent

16 June 2002

Internet: http://news.independent.co.uk/world/politics/story.jsp?story=305760

Gordon Brown, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, is today making a fresh attempt to tackle poverty in the Third World, after the failure of negotiations in Bali a week ago. He is urging his fellow finance ministers from the world's richest countries, who are meeting in Halifax, Canada, to launch a campaign to provide schooling for 67 million children who cannot get any education. He also hopes to persuade them to take steps to reduce hunger and disease, and to provide more aid. On Wednesday in London he privately met Paul O'Neill, the US Treasury Secretary, to try to get him to sign up to a "Marshall Plan" for the world's poorest countries - after first seeking advice from the rock star Bono. Mr Brown acknowledges that the U2 singer - who has helped to convince President Bush to increase aid, and has recently accompanied Mr O'Neill on a tour of Africa - is particularly "effective" in persuading the US administration to take action. Mr Brown, who has a long-standing personal commitment to tackling Third World poverty, accepts that the failure of the talks in Bali - the final negotiations to prepare for a special Earth Summit in Johannesburg in August - was a serious setback. But he insists there is an unprecedented opportunity for "a new deal between the developed and developing world". Under the deal, he says, rich countries would provide "vastly increased resources" in aid to poor countries in return for measures to tackle corruption and poverty and to open up their markets to trade and investment. "This generation has the power, resources, technology and science to deliver the world from poverty," he said before his meeting with Mr O'Neill last week. "But, at the end of the day, it is going to come back to the political will of individual countries to take action." At today's meeting, Mr Brown will urge his colleagues to back a new World Bank plan to fast-track aid to 23 countries - containing more than half of the 113 million children now out of school in the Third World - in return for plans to increase primary education. He also wants them to take similar steps to tackle avoidable diseases - mainly from drinking dirty water - that kill 10 million children in poor countries every year, one of the main issues that will be on the table in Johannesburg. And he wants rich countries to make long-term commitments to double their aid.

 

31. AFRICAN NATIONS FACE TOUGH WAR AGAINST DESERTIFICATION

Xinhua News Agency

16 June 2002

Internet: http://library.northernlight.com/FB20020616710000019.html?cb=0&dx=1006&sc=0#doc

LAGOS, Jun 16, 2002 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- To African countries, the celebration of the 8th World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought due on June 17 means that they face a more tough war against the scourge for sustainable development on the continent.  According to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and Drought (UNCCD), desertification is land degradation in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas resulting from various factors, including climatic variations and human activities.  United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has warned that desertification now threatens the livelihood of more than a billion people living in over 110 countries worldwide.  "Every year, an estimated 42 billion U.S. dollars in income and 6 million hectares of productive land are being lost because of desertification, land degradation and declining agricultural productivity," Annan said.  Annan pointed out that desertification will be among the most important issues to be discussed at the World Summit for Sustainable Development in August-September 2002 in South Africa.  Desertification has its greatest impact on the African continent. A UNCCD report said that 325 million African people, representing nearly half of the African population are threatened by desertification.  Racked by frequent and severe droughts, two thirds of the continent's land is desert or dry lands. Many African countries are land-locked, have widespread poverty, need external assistance, and depend heavily on natural resources for subsistence, the UNCCD said.  Africa's desertification is strongly linked to poverty, population and food security. In many African countries, combating desertification and promoting development are virtually one and the same due to the social and economic importance of natural resources and agriculture.  "There is a complex cause-effect relationship between desertification, population growth and poverty. Poverty is both a cause and a consequence of land degradation, and the poor are both agents and victims of the process," the UNCCD report said.  Food security also is put at risk when people already living on the edge of facing severe droughts and other calamities. In the last year alone, thousands of people in eastern Africa had to abandon their lands when drought rendered farming unsustainable.  In west Africa due to growing population every year, local residents have little choice but to over-exploit the land along the southern fragile fringe of the Sahara desert to meet their domestic needs. As an aftermath, the desert is fast encroaching.  Studies indicated that Nigeria is yearly losing about 350,000 square meters of its productive land mass to desert encroachment.  Local experts warned that if urgent and drastic measures are not taken to fight the headache, it will be too late when the catastrophe crops up one day in Africa, where more than half of the continent's arable land has been lost to desertification.  Serving as the foundation for desertification control initiatives, affected African countries have evolved National Action Programs (NAP) respectively for sustainable development with the participation of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). To ensure the NAPs against desertification as top priority, many countries have done their utmost to promote an enabling environment by adopting appropriate, legal, political, economic, financial and social measures.  These countries include Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Chad, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Mali, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda and Zimbabwe.  Under the NAP in collaboration with the UNCCD, Nigeria has financed the shelter belt project, which involved the planting of some 150 million trees along a length of 1,500 kilometers and a width of 1 kilometer as green "Great Wall" against further desertification.  Recognizing the importance and necessity of international cooperation and partnership in combating desertification, sub- regional Action Programs have also been launched.  The sub-regional projects include the Permanent Inter-State Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS) for the West, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) for the East, and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) for the South.  African nations are also developing a regional action program for establishing networks so as to promote the integrated management of Degradation prone lands on the continent. Meanwhile, the African nations called for the developed countries to offer the poorest continent capacity building and financial support against desertification at all levels within the framework of sustainable development.  Analysts also say it is time for the international community to use the opportunity provided by this year's theme of "Land Degradation" to drum up international support for the institutionalization of a global fund on desertification.  "The fight against desertification is fundamentally a fight against poverty said Hama Arba Diallo, executive secretary of the UNCCD secretariat.  As Africans look forward to a successful celebration, the real work still lies ahead though it has a good start.  "We will continue out war against the scourge of desertification by taking careful and friendly actions which each of us must take and then address ourselves to our common task of preserving our planet," said one African leader.

 

32. BALI PREPCOM HIGHLIGHTS NEED FOR STRONGER POLITICAL LEADERSHIP TO PUT SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT INTO ACTION

United Nations

15 June 2002

Internet: http://www.johannesburgsummit.org/html/whats_new/feature_story15.html

15 June, New York— Round-the-clock negotiations during the Bali PrepCom produced agreement on three quarters of the final implementation document for the World Summit on Sustainable Development, yet special efforts will be needed to bridge the remaining differences to make the Summit a success. Speaking at the closing plenary session, representatives from developing and developed countries vowed to continue to work toward a satisfactory outcome at the Summit, which will be held in Johannesburg from 26 August-4 September. Calling the negotiations a complex, difficult, and stressful process, Venezuelan Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Ana Elisa Osario, said the Group of 77—which represents more than 130 developing countries—had made significant compromises and concessions in order to reach agreement in Bali, but in the end, felt there was a lack of reciprocity from its negotiating partners. In particular, she said the G-77 would not allow a rollback of earlier commitments, had not lost hope for the Summit. "We still have the willingness to work toward Johannesburg." The European Union also said it would remain engaged in the Summit process. Spanish Environment Minister Jaume Matas said the European Union was prepared to table new proposals to break the remaining impasse. "We are committed to moving from words to action."  Although Matas said there were significant agreements that were already reached, and the number of disputed provisions had been reduced, the talks in Bali had not met expectations. "We have come to Bali to seek concrete agreements with targets and timetables that could save lives and guarantee sustainable development. We have not achieved that, or as much as we wished." United States Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs, Paula Dobriansky, said the difficulties of the deliberations should not be a surprise, considering the task at hand. "Even though we have not been able to agree on every part of the text, I welcome the fact that we have not tried to paper over differences of opinion or avoid tough issues by adopting vague and what could constitute "diplomatic" language." Planned as an "implementation Summit," the Johannesburg Summit is intended to find ways to generate actions that bring about real improvement in peoples lives and the natural ecosystems that support them. The plan of action under negotiation in Bali will be only one of the Summit's outcomes, and will be accompanied by a political declaration that will be adopted by world leaders, and by partnership initiatives by and between governments, citizen groups, and the private sector to carry out the commitments that governments agree upon. It was a bittersweet ending for the Bali PrepCom, where countries had already agreed on a host of actions needed improve living conditions for billions of people and to protect the environment, but could not agree on a range of provisions concerning time-bound targets and the means of implementation for the programme of action, which include contentious trade and finance issues. Johannesburg Summit Secretary-General Nitin Desai said the Bali PrepCom had actually achieved a great deal, pointing out that far more of the outcome document for the Summit has been agreed upon that ten years ago at this stage for the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. But he said the negotiations has gone as far as they could in Bali, and that the remaining differences were over difficult issues that required political solutions at a higher level. He urged countries to work, between Bali and Johannesburg, to create "the political space" that is needed in order to resolve the outstanding issues. PrepCom Chairman Emil Salim, who tried to forge a completed consensus in Bali, said he was disappointed that agreement on a finalized text could not be reached, but noted that significant agreements had been reached in Bali. "This is not the end of the road," Salim said. "It is the beginning." He noted that negotiations for most major international conferences, with the exception of the International Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrery, Mexico, are almost never completed before the event. In the Bali negotiations, countries agreed to "strongly reaffirm" their commitment to the Rio Principles and the implementation of Agenda 21, the results of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. Countries also committed themselves to achieving the goals of the United Nations Millennium Summit, which include, among others, a commitment to halve the proportion of people living on an income of less than $1 a day by 2015. But there are still many areas of disagreement. While most countries have called for the establishment of new targets and timetables for a host of issues, such as for providing proper sanitation, increasing the share of renewable energy, reducing the use of toxic chemicals, and restoring fish stocks, other countries maintain that present efforts should be geared to meeting the targets and timetables that are presently outstanding. There are also disagreements over the use of the phrase "common but differentiated responsibilities," a term adopted in Rio to delineate the idea that although all countries shared the same goals and objectives, they had vastly differing capabilities and resources to achieve them. Resolution of the outstanding issues including official development assistance, the elimination of subsidies, follow-up of Monterrey and Doha, and further replenishment of the Global Environment Facility have been left for Johannesburg.

 

33. ENVIRON ASSESSMENT REPORT NEXT WEEK

The Frontier Post

15 June 2002

Internet: http://frontierpost.com.pk/home.asp?id=20&date1=6/15/2002

ISLAMABAD: Country Assessment Report for the forthcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa from August 26 to September 4 this year is being finalized by the Ministry of Environment, Local Government and Rural Development, said a press release on Friday. The WSSD is being billed as the largest UN gathering and more than 100 heads of state and 60,000 delegates are expected to attend.  The entire global community is preparing for the summit, which aims to provide a workable agenda for sustainable development to the World.  Pakistan Government also attaches great importance to this summit and a high level delegation led by Barrister Shahida Jamil, Federal Minister for ELGRD would be participating in the meeting and presenting the country assessment report of Pakistan which take stock of the progress made in Environment and development since Rio, 1992 and suggest future strategies for sustainable Development in Pakistan. A National Steering Committee under the chairpersonship of the Minister of Environment is supervising and guiding the preparatory process for WSSD.  An executive committee for monitoring and in house preparation comprising of relevant stakeholders in the public, private and civil society representatives is also working on the regular basis.  The next meeting of the steering committee is scheduled for the coming week, and the representatives of all the important civic organizations and NGO's working on environment will be participating in it to give their input for the country assessment report.  Meanwhile, a high level delegation led by Barrister Shahida Jamil, Federal Minister for Environment would participate in the "World Summit on Sustainable Development" (WSSD) to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa from August 26- September 4. The Minister will present the country assessment report of Pakistan summit which will take stock of the progress made in Environment sector since Rio, 1992 and suggest future strategies for sustainable Development in Pakistan.

 

34. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY CALLS FOR FINANCIAL COMMITMENT FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION TO COMBAT DESERTIFICATION

United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and Drought

14 June 2002

Internet: http://www.unccd.int/publicinfo/pressrel/showpressrel.php?pr=press14_06_02

Bonn, 14 June 2002 - On the eighth anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and Drought (UNCCD), Mr. Hama Arba Diallo, executive secretary of the convention's secretariat, called on the international community to make financial commitments to enable countries affected by land degradation to implement the UNCCD. "In order for the convention to move from preparation to the implementation of national action programmes, predictable financial resources are imperative," he noted. He pressed the leaders of the international community meeting at the World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) in August-September 2002, to follow on their pledges made ten years ago at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro.  "Desertification will be among the most important issues to be discussed at the World Summit on Sustainable Development,"said Mr. Kofi Annan, the United Nations Secretary General. The Draft Plan of Implementation for the World Summit on Sustainable Development called on the Second Assembly of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to consider "making GEF a financial mechanism of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification."  As the only convention to stem directly from a recommendation of Agenda 21, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification is a key instrument in addressing both poverty alleviation and environmental protection within the framework of sustainable development. "The fight against desertification is fundamentally a fight against poverty," said Mr. Diallo. It is the only legally binding universal convention to address desertification and drought with a focus on sustainable development, which has since reached maturity and become truly global in reach. A fifth regional annex for Central and Eastern Europe, adopted in 2000, entered into force in September 2001, complementing the existing four annexes for Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia, and the Northern Mediterranean.  Desertification affects over 110 countries. "Every year, an estimated $42 billion in income and 6 million hectares of productive land are being lost because of desertification, land degradation and declining agricultural productivity," Mr. Annan said. Over 135 million are at risk of being driven from their land as a result.  The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought will be celebrated worldwide on June 17. Most of the 179 countries Parties to the convention will launch activities such as round-table discussions, field trips and media campaigns, at the national and local levels involving governmental and non-governmental organizations, the media, and other stakeholders 

 

35. NEW BOOK DOCUMENTS GROWING COOPERATION BETWEEN UN AND BUSINESSES

United Nations

14 June 2002

Internet: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=3936&Cr=global&Cr1=compact

14 June - "Building Partnerships" - a new book which documents the growing cooperation between the UN and the business community in tackling a range of development challenges - was launched today by the United Nations and the Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum.  The new publication "offers the most comprehensive review of collaborative arrangements between the entire UN system and the business community that we have undertaken so far," Shashi Tharoor, the Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, told a press briefing held in conjunction with the launch. "It is not only a source of rich information about particular projects and initiatives that are increasingly taking shape throughout the UN, it is also a handbook for practitioners explaining what can be done and how it can be done in cooperation to implement broader UN goals." Mr. Tharoor said the book told the story of how the UN was learning to work with the private sector while developing innovative ways to make business part of the solution to the kinds of problems faced by the world - a priority of Kofi Annan's tenure at the Organization's helm. "I would go so far as to say that the Secretary-General has made this a central theme of his efforts to renew the Organization, and this book shows that a great deal is happening," the Under-Secretary-General said.  Georg Kell, Executive Head of the Global Compact, agreed. "Kofi Annan's leadership has been crucial; right from the beginning of his first term he has made very clear that opening up the Organization to non-State actors - business, labour, NGOs [non-governmental organizations], civil society at large - is essential if we are gain relevance in the twenty-first century."  Mr. Kell said managing the UN's new involvement with businesses had presented numerous challenges, not least safeguarding the world body's integrity and image. "We also had to learn how to distinguish between different forms of engagement... to distinguish between philanthropy on the one hand and strategic engagement around values - both of which require totally different approaches and both of which, we believe, should be separated by a firewall," he said.  The book's author, Jane Nelson of the Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum, pointed to the "growing focus on corporate citizenship, good corporate governance, and corporate responsibility." The book, she said, documented innovative approaches to tackling global problems. She cited the example of MTV, "which reaches millions of young people around the world, [and] has a big programme working with UNAIDS about getting messages out about HIV/AIDS from the young people themselves."

See Also: http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2002/pi1425.doc.htm

 

36. PREPARATION CONFERENCE FOR JOHANNESBURG FAILS ON NEW RENEWABLE ENERGY AND SANITATION TARGETS

Edie weekly summaries

14 June 2002

Internet: http://www.edie.net/gf.cfm?L=left_frame.html&R=http://www.edie.net/news/Archive/5628.cfm

The fourth and final preparation conference (Prep Com IV), held in Bali in the run up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg in August, consisted of a minority of nations blocking firm commitments on issues such as renewable energy and sanitation, according to enraged environmentalists. Governments and the UN, however, are more optimistic about the prospects for a positive outcome at Johannesburg.  UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has stated that the Johannesburg Summit should have five main themes: increasing access to drinking water, energy, agriculture, biodiversity and ecosystem management, and health. According to Annan, these are issues which the world has the technology and the resources to solve, and therefore, governments just need to show the political will, a UN spokesperson told edie.  On emerging from three days of international ministerial talks in Bali, the final part of a conference in which 5,000 people from 170 nations took part, UK Secretary of State for the Environment Margaret Beckett was upbeat about the results of the discussions. "Both developed and developing countries are now well on the way to a successful Earth Summit in Johannesburg," she said. "Much has been achieved here in Bali. The talks at times were tough. We were close to achieving more," said Beckett. "We are building a global partnership to manage the forces of globalisation so that its benefits are available to all. This is not an easy task, as these negotiations have shown. We have to bring everyone with us and that takes time and, frankly, a lot of talking." Non-governmental organisations (NGOs), however, were deeply disappointed with the outcome of the talks. "From the NGO perspective, there was considerable disenchantment," Stephen Turner of WaterAid - who was at the Bali conference - told edie. He stated that Canada, Australia and Japan, led by the US had effectively blocked any new agreements. These include an agreement on halving the proportion of people without access to sanitation by 2015, a target to increase renewable energy's share of the global energy market to 15% by 2010, and targets on reducing biodiversity loss. According to Turner, the US has reasoned that there should be no new agreements as there has been insufficient movement on existing agreements, particularly from the governments of countries suffering from the problems. "It's alarming that a small number of governments can block the wishes of the majority of countries on what is such a basic human need," said Turner. However, the UN spokesperson pointed out to edie that there is already a goal for increasing access to safe drinking water, agreed at the Millennium Summit two years ago, as well as a great number of agreements also worked out in the run-up to Johannesburg, including those on river basin management, and increased participation in water infrastructure management on the local level. On the final day of the two-week conference, President of Indonesia Megawati Soekarnoputri called for international co-operation to help developing countries utilise resources in a sustainable manner. She pointed out that there is a tendency to blame one another, which has become part of any discussion on sustainable development, resulting in conflicts and instability. Closely co-operative endeavours are the only answer, she said. According to Nitin Desai, Secretary General of the World Summit, the process had been 'decision by exhaustion', but a great deal had been achieved. However, political will to find common ground on the outstanding issues is needed. That is the challenge between now and Johannesburg, he said.

 

37. SKEPTICS TAG UPCOMING WORLD SUMMIT AS ANOTHER TALKSHOP

SABC News

14 June 2002

Internet: http://www.sabcnews.com/world/summit/0,1009,36429,00.html

The WSSD takes place in Jo'burg later this year. As South Africa prepares for the World Summit in August, more and more skeptics are viewing the upcoming summit as a fruitless talkshop, which will produce no real action plan to save the environment and to eradicate poverty. The Summit is already billed as the biggest UN summit ever and meant to gather more than 100 heads of states and 60 000 delegates - all there with one goal - to help save the planet and at the same time half the number of people living in hunger by 2015. Critics, however, are not convinced that countries are serious about reaching that goal.  At the last preparatory talks held in Bali, Indonesia, negotiations ended in a deadlock on the last day when ministers could not agree on key issues such as trade and finance. Rich countries like the US, Canada and Australia are accused of stalling environmentally friendly policies. Environmentalists say no solution will be reached in Johannesburg while countries try to selfishly protect their own interests. Jessica Wilson, an environmentalist, says: "I do not think there is a serious commitment." Environmentalists also disagree with the content of the so-called Bali commitment. This document forms the basis of the action plan for future sustainable development. They question the emphasis on increased production and favour a more localised, people-centred approach. The South African government members will be using various global meetings over the next few weeks to promote the Johannesburg Summit.

 

38. THE WORLD SUSTAINABILITY SUMMIT TO PRACTICE WHAT IT PREACHES

Edie weekly summaries  

14 June 2002

Internet: http://www.edie.net/gf.cfm?L=left_frame.html&R=http://www.edie.net/news/Archive/5632.cfm

This summer, South Africa will showcase the largest environmental clean-up scheme to tens of thousands of business leaders, government officials and members of non-government organizations from around the world.  The "Zero Waste" event will take place at the Johannesburg World Summit, which will be supported by The United Nations as well as the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) and the South African Government. The primary aim of the campaign is to divert 90% of the waste from being sent to landfills and to make sure none is sent to incinerators in order to eliminate POPs, such as dioxin and furans.  The city will demonstrate South Africa's and the U.N. Environment Programme's leadership, setting an example of an eco-conscious society and educating thousands of its citizens and visitors alike in concepts of sustainability and how to implement minimisation, reuse, recycling and composting practices in their everyday life. The campaign will be led by The Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) and Earthlife Africa. "We congratulate the WSSD sponsors and organizers for committing to Zero Waste. Holding the decade's premier environmental gathering as a Zero Waste event provides a real life example of the kind of solution needed to save the global environment at this critical time," said Ann Leonard, GAIA's international co-coordinator. Along with the measures to minimize waste from the venue, the campaign aims to boost employment in the environmental sector, as penetration of reuse, recycling and composting in society produces far more jobs than more traditional forms of waste management. In addition, training to realise the greening of the event will be provided to everyone involved in the scheme including catering services and restaurant businesses. Although the summit has been criticised for causing the emission of large amounts of greenhouse gas, for example through delegates travel to Johannesburg, its organisers aim that the event should be carbon neutral. Companies are being asked to offset their emissions through funding the development of sustainable projects throughout South Africa.

 

39. "FURTHER COMMITMENTS IN THE WTO NEED TO ADDRESS NON-TRADE CONCERNS"
European Union

14 June 2002

Internet: http://europa.eu.int/rapid/start/cgi/guesten.ksh?p_action.gettxt=gt&doc=IP/02/867|0|RAPID&lg=EN&display=

The Doha Ministerial Declaration includes the provision that non-trade concerns will be duly covered in the WTO negotiations on agriculture. The participants in the Ministerial meeting held in Rome on 14th June stressed their determination that this commitment will be fully honoured. Every country has a legitimate right to pursue non-trade objectives such as strengthening the socio-economic viability and development of rural areas, food security and environmental protection. These objectives cannot be achieved by market forces alone. In the modalities for further commitments that will be established next March in the WTO Agricultural Negotiations, non-trade concerns of both developing and developed countries are elements of vital importance to be duly taken into account in order to establish an agricultural trading system which is fair as well as market oriented. Each country must therefore be able to accommodate such concerns through a variety of instruments.  54 Ministers and Representatives from Members and Observers of WTO gathered in Rome to coordinate their views on the part that non-trade concerns should play in the WTO negotiations on agriculture. The meeting was organised by the European Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Franz Fischler, Mr. Tsutomu Takebe, Minister of Agriculture of Japan, Mr. Kim Dong-Tae, Minister of Agriculture from the Republic of Korea, Mr. Anil Kumarsingh Gayan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Co-operation of Mauritius, Mr. Lars Sponheim, Minister of Agriculture of Norway and by Switzerland, and attended by another 48 Ministers and representatives from Members and Observers comprising developed countries, economies in transition, custom territories and developing countries including least-developed countries, land-locked countries and small island developing states, all of whom have a keen interest in securing their systems of agriculture in the context of the multilateral trading system. After the adoption of Doha Ministerial Declaration, the negotiations on agriculture have now entered the crucial phase of the establishment by 31 March 2003 of the modalities for further commitments on market access, domestic support and export competition. In this context, Ministers focused their discussion on policy measures and instruments to address non-trade concerns, in particular rural development, food security and protection of the environment, as well as the scope of modalities which should be designed to duly cover non-trade concerns, building on the outcome of the NTC Conferences held in Ullensvang, Norway in July 2000, in Mauritius in May 2001 and in Doha in November 2001. Ministers underlined the diversity of situations both with respect to their priorities and production conditions, and that a one-size-fits-all approach will not be appropriate to address non-trade concerns, but shared their genuine interest in ensuring that further trade reform should be pursued in harmony with the safeguard of legitimate non-trade concerns. On rural development, while the priorities of various countries are diverse, all the countries need to preserve or develop the economic and social environment necessary to maintain rural population. Agricultural activity plays an important role in this endeavour. On food security, all countries have to ensure food security for their people, through a mixture of domestic production, imports and, where appropriate, public stockholding. On environment all countries reaffirmed the importance of agriculture for issues such as conservation of biological diversity, maintenance of farmed landscapes, clean energy and protection against disasters. Reaffirming their commitment to strengthening the multilateral agricultural trading system through the continuation of the reform process as foreseen in Article 20 of the Agreement on Agriculture and the Doha Declaration, Ministers emphasised that these non-trade concerns cannot be adequately addressed without domestic agricultural production, and that the multilateral rules need to acknowledge and secure, through a variety of instruments, the continued coexistence of various types of agriculture in both high- and low-potential areas based on each country's specific conditions and historical and cultural background. It was also recognised that addressing non-trade concerns calls for resources and that, for vulnerable developing countries, in particular least-developed countries, land-locked countries, small island developing states and vulnerable economies in transition, preferential market access is a key means to obtaining these resources.

 

40. ZAYED GREENERY DRIVE PRAISED

Gulf News

13 June 2002

Internet: http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=54217

A senior United Nations official has praised the UAE for its environmental protection initiatives and programmes. Dr Klaus Topfer, Executive Director of United Nations Envi-ronment Programme (UNEP), who presented President His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan with a memento on Tuesday, said UNEP is impressed by UAE's initiatives for the protection of the ecology. The memento was presented to him in recognition of his greenery drive and his efforts to protect the environment. The UN official also visited the Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency (ERWDA) offices in the capital and held talks with the officials on the various issues. He also discussed the partnership between the UNEP and ERWDA on the Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Collection Initiative with Mohammed Ahmed Al Bowardi, ERWDA's Managing Director. The meeting discussed the issues relating to the launching of the initiative at the 'World Summit for Sustainable Development' scheduled to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa from August 26-September 4. The ERWDA-UNEP partnership will be seeking to identify other partners and collaborating agencies, including academia and NGOs. They will also be seeking to finalise an agreement on the mechanism for implementing the initiative and make agreements with the funding agencies and partners. The mechanism for operation will include the identification of collaborating centres, establishment of a management board and the setting up of a secretariat for the initiative in Abu Dhabi. Dr Topfer described the Abu Dhabi Initiative as bold and fundamental in understanding the global environmental situation and in decision and policy making with respect to environment issues, and stressed he strongly supports the initiative and that UNEP puts its resources at its disposal. "The Abu Dhabi Initiative is set to lay the foundations of an environmental data collection, classification and analysis regime to be used by decision-makers and other interested bodies." He said that during his meeting with Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Deputy Chairman of ERWDA, he conveyed to him UNEP's appreciation of efforts being exerted by the country and the President personally to achieve sustainable development not only at the local level but at the level of developing countries as well. The initiative serves as an innovative catalyst to mobilise worldwide action to provide high-quality and comprehensive environmental data that policy and decision-makers need at the macro (global/intergovernmental), mezzo (country/regional), and micro (local) levels. It will also enhance the co-operation and coordination between decision-makers, planners and policy-makers at macro, mezzo and micro levels of the global community. Dr Topfer said the initiative is the answer to all the problems the UAE has been facing with international environmental agencies. The initiative also aims at providing a value-added service to the world community by working with, and building on the good works of several development and developing countries to fill an important gap in the global structure of environmental collaboration and decision-making for policy-makers, planners, business and NGO leaders across countries," he added. The initiative outcomes are expected to be: easily accessed regional environmental quality data sets, annual environmental reports and regional review meetings, tools to facilitate discovery, integration, assessment, transaction cost reduction, and use of the environmental data sets, searchable and interactive manuals, data catalogues and Internet websites, shared information on data quality and finally tools to reduce transaction costs. The anticipated benefits to be derived from the initiative are: better foundations for critical environmental decision-making, enhanced quality and usability of environmental data and indicators, concise and rational understanding of the global, regional and national environmental context, improved capacity building and cooperation for environmental data collection and analysis, ability to do comparative analysis and to identify environmental best practices and strengthened environmental data systems and policy making around the world.

 

41. MCCONNELL ATTACKED OVER SOLO VISIT

The Scotsman

12 June 2002

Internet: http://www.thescotsman.co.uk/index.cfm?id=639862002

JACK McConnell, the First Minister, came under attack for pulling rank last night after it emerged he has decided to go to the world environment summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, this summer, leaving his environment minister and external affairs minister at home.  The Scottish Executive announced that Mr McConnell will fly to South Africa in August to take part in the World Summit on Sustainable Development as part of a big British delegation.  His decision to travel to the event with Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, and British Cabinet ministers represents a major development for the Scottish Executive because it is the first time a First Minister will have represented Scotland at an international summit of such importance. But Mr McConnell's visit was ridiculed by opposition parties, who claimed he had deliberately elbowed aside two senior Liberal Democrats to secure the trip for himself. Jim Wallace, the Deputy First Minister, is also the minister responsible for external affairs, but will not join the First Minister in Johannesburg.

Ross Finnie, the other Liberal Democrat in the Cabinet, is the minister with responsibility for the environment, but he will not be going either. A spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives said: "It would be nice to think that Jack has just realised that the Liberal Democrats have achieved nothing in the Executive and this is why he has elbowed them aside. "But it is far more likely that he just wants to hog the limelight for himself by going on jaunts around the world." An SNP spokesman added: "This is another example of the First Minister sidelining his Liberal Democrat coalition partners, it just shows how little power they really have." However, a Scottish Executive spokeswoman insisted last night that both Mr Finnie and Mr Wallace had agreed that Mr McConnell should go. She said that the event was a major world summit and it was appropriate for the First Minister to represent Scotland . The spokeswoman said: "In February, Jack McConnell made a major environment speech when he said he wanted Scotland to be represented at the highest level at the summit. "He is going because of the importance he attaches to the environment. As part of that, he also now chairs the Cabinet sub-committee on sustainable development. "Both Ross Finnie and Jim Wallace said he should go to the summit. They have agreed to it," she added. The Executive realise that Mr McConnell's decision to join a major British delegation for the first time at such a big international event will raise questions about the cost to the taxpayer. The Executive spokeswoman stressed, however, that Mr McConnell will be travelling with a small number of officials - probably just one or two - and no other ministers, in an effort to keep the cost to the taxpayer as low as possible. The exact details have yet to be sorted out between the Department for the Environment and Rural Affairs, the Foreign Office and Downing Street. However, it appears at this stage as if the Prime Minister will lead the delegation which will also include Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, Margaret Beckett, the Rural Affairs Secretary, and Michael Meacher, the environment minister. The London-based ministers are expected to take between 30 and 40 officials with them for the ten-day summit, but probably only Mr Meacher and Ms Beckett will stay for the whole time. Mr McConnell is expected to stay for just two or three days, but one of his officials may stay for the duration.

TRAVEL COSTS EXECUTIVE TO FOOT BILL

THE Scottish Executive will be expected to meet the cost of Jack McConnell's trip to Johannesburg - probably about £5,000. This will include flights to Johannesburg from London for the First Minister and his two officials with the rest of the UK delegation, accommodation and expenses. The British government will almost certainly charter a plane to take the 40 or 50-strong delegation plus the media to the summit. This will keep the cost of return flights down to about £700 or less per person. The Sandton Sun Hotel is the best in Johannesburg and if Mr McConnell is not staying in the British High Commission with the Prime Minister and other senior ministers, he and his officials may end up there. The hotel usually charges about £100 a night for accommodation but is expected to triple its prices for the duration of the conference.

 

42. UN HUNGER SUMMIT A WASTE OF TIME, BRITAIN SAYS

The Scotsman

12 June 2002

Internet: http://www.thescotsman.co.uk/index.cfm?id=640602002

BRITAIN has condemned a United Nations' World Food Summit as a waste of time and said the international body would have to get its act together if it was serious about reducing global hunger. Yesterday's broadside followed UN dismay at the failure of top world leaders to attend this week's summit, which was called to to urge governments to honour a 1996 pledge to halve world hunger by 2015. While dozens of developing world leaders have poured into Rome for the conference, most wealthy Western countries only sent their agriculture ministers. Britain did not even do that, only dispatching a junior official to watch proceedings. "I'm not sending a minister because I don't expect it to be an effective summit," said Clare Short, the International Development Secretary, laying into the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). "It's an old-fashioned UN organisation and it needs improvement," she said in an interview with BBC radio in London on the second day of the four-day UN meeting. UN officials said Western powers did not send top level delegations because they were indifferent to the hunger issue. But summit's standing has not been helped by the appearance of Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwe president, demanding help to deal with rising hunger while brazenly ignoring the impact of his own regime's assault on commercial farms. The FAO hopes the Rome gathering will encourage wealthy nations to open the purse strings and work harder to cut the number of hungry people to 400 million by 2015 from today's estimated figure of 800 million. But while delegates renewed their pledges to this goal, they have failed to old arguments over how to go about it. A senior UN official urged leaders yesterday to stop talking about hunger and start fighting it, warning that up to 13 million people faced starvation in southern Africa without emergency food aid. "This crisis, coinciding as it does with the summit, challenges us right now to demonstrate to those suffering across the region that we will not forget them," said James Morris, head of the UN aid agency, the World Food Programme (WFP). The WFP says a mix of drought, poor government and the AIDS pandemic has wrought havoc with harvests in six African countries. "This is the largest single food crisis in the world today," Mr Morris told a news conference. He added that the best and cheapest way of tackling the problem of global hunger was to target the estimated 300 million children who go to bed each night underfed. "We can feed a child in school for 19 US cents [13p] a day. For a very small investment we can change a child's life," he said. Ms Short said, by contrast, that if the UN body improved food management in developing nations the hunger problem would ease, arguing that many hungry people lived in countries that had enough food. "The FAO needs to tighten up its act," she said. The results of the Rome summit will go forward to the agenda of the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in August, dubbed "Earth Summit Two". But the failure last week to agree to a draft action plan for the South African event only added to scepticism over grand gatherings where actions rarely seem to live up to the ideals. Led by Cuba, developing countries yesterday demanded greater access to international markets and an end to export subsidies in rich countries, saying free, fairer trade was the only way to end hunger. They called on the United States, the EU and other exporting nations to give poor farmers a chance. "We are poor. You are rich. Level the playing field!" said Teofisto Guingona, foreign minister of the Philippines. "Do not impose subsidies for exports. Do not dump products that kill our farmers and fisherfolks," he said. "Do not in the name of free trade deny us time to integrate our resources, and deny us access to your rich markets." The issue of freer markets has dominated the summit's official agenda. The EU pushed for the summit to consider food a human right. Despite Ms Short's approach, several EU leaders have acknowledged that high export subsidies, in the EU and elsewhere, were part of the world's hunger problem.

 

43. FINAL WSSD PREP MEETING BREAKS DOWN OVER TRADE AND FINANCE

Bridges Weekly Trade Digest Volume 6 Number 22

12 June 2002

Internet:http://www.ictsd.org/weekly/02-06-12/story1.htm

Delegates at the fourth and last official preparatory meeting (PrepCom IV, 27 May - 7 June, Bali, Indonesia) for the forthcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD, 26 August - 1 September) fell far short of their intended goal to finalise the Plan of Implementation for WSSD, with issues related to trade and finance, globalisation and the relationship between multilateral environmental agreements and WTO rules proving to be some of the biggest stumbling blocks (see BRIDGES Weekly, 4 June 2002). Many civil society groups, however, welcomed delegates' failure to finalise the text, saying that an unfinished text was better than a bad deal.  Trade and finance discussions move behind closed doors In an effort to broker agreement on the remaining bracketed (i.e. unresolved) sections of the Plan of Implementation, negotiations for most of the second week were conducted in a 'Friends of the Chair' contact group in which the so-called "Vienna rules" were applied. These procedures held that only one person spoke on behalf of each interest and/or regional group, including, inter alia, the US, EU, and G- 77/China. New Zealand and Switzerland alternated, as did Canada and Australia This format was introduced following strong protest from New Zealand, Switzerland, Canada and Australia who had reportedly not been invited to some sessions. NGOs were not permitted to attend these meetings. Discussions on section V (Globalisation) and trade and finance issues in section IX (Implementation) were held in a separate group involving the US, EU and G-77/China and other countries, which was also closed to NGOs.Trade and finance discussions end in deadlock Several attempts were made to find compromise language on trade and finance in the Implementation section, including a facilitator's text put forward by chair of the contact group on trade and finance John Ash on 5 June, a compromise text prepared jointly by EU and G-77/China ministers on 6 June and a text compiled by Mohammed Valli Moosa (South Africa) on 7 June. While the Moosa text was tentatively accepted by the G-77/China and supported by Mexico, Norway and New Zealand, the EU objected to the provision on subsidies, favouring language to "encourage reform of subsides" rather than "to reduce or phase out, as appropriate". For its part, the US rejected the Moosa text as it was, proposing over a dozen amendments. The G-77/China, however, refused to enter into further negotiations, arguing that the text already represented the bottom line and that they were not prepared to make any more concessions. Following the collapse of the talks, discussions in the lead-up to and at WSSD will be based on the 5 June facilitator's text. NGOs largely blamed the intransigent position of the US, Australia and Canada -- in particular their refusal to move beyond the agreed language of Doha and Monterrey -- for the failure to reach a compromise, with some describing these three countries as the "Axis of Environmental Evil". Others also speculated that developing countries held out for so long because they had considerably more bargaining power in the WSSD context than during negotiations in Doha and Monterrey. That is, developing countries had little to gain from an agreement that imposed additional environment-related obligations and conditions on how to use ODA and conduct trade, but did not provide additional financial support and/or increased trading opportunities. Some furthermore noted that the lack of progress reflected the difficulties in integrating the three pillars of sustainable development, with little coordination between those dealing with trade (Doha), finance (Monterrey) and environment/foreign affairs (PrepCom IV). One small gain on fisheries Civil society groups claimed one small victory in the area of trade and environment when delegates agreed to "eliminate subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and to over- capacity". As some pointed out, this language goes far beyond the mandate on fisheries subsidies agreed at Doha which simply instructs WTO Members to begin negotiations with the "aim to clarify and improve WTO disciplines on fisheries subsidies". These negotiations are currently underway in the WTO Negotiating Group on Rules (see BRIDGES Trade BioRes, 16 May 2002) Some movement on WTO-MEA relationship While delegates succeeded in finalising the use of the contentious term 'coherence' in most paragraphs of section X on an "Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development" (see BRIDGES Weekly, 4 June 2002, referenced above), they failed to agree on a formulation in the context of the relationship between multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) and WTO rules. In the end, various options remained in the text, including coherence, complementarity, coordination, no hierarchy and mutual supportiveness between the rules of the multilateral trading system and MEAs. Delegates did, however, agree on a formulation with regard to the Convention on Biological Diversity and agreements related to trade and intellectual property rights, settling on "enhancing synergy and mutual supportiveness". The MEA-WTO issue will again be taken up in Johannesburg as part of the implementation text and is also expected to be proposed as an element in the political declaration by the EU. Where to go from here? Informal talks on trade and finance issues are expected to be held in New York in July. Also, a pre-summit meeting -- most likely symbolic rather than substantive -- has been scheduled for the end of June in Brazil to muster political support for WSSD (see BRIDGES Weekly, 4 June 2002, referenced above). In addition, PrepCom Chair Emil Salim (Indonesia) was nominated to conduct further informal consultations in the lead-up to WSSD, including preparing elements for a political declaration to be released later this month. With less than three months to go until WSSD, much work remains to be done to resolve the last outstanding issues. In the final plenary, the EU, supported by Mexico, stressed the importance of a "substantial chapter on globalisation" while G-77/China named new and additional financing and increased market access in their list of priorities for WSSD. Some suggested that the current impasse might be resolved by taking the trade and finance provisions out of the implementation document and moving them into the political declaration. One observer also suggested that countries should not try and cover all trade and finance issues, but rather restrict themselves to their key priorities, focusing in particular on the relevant provisions in Agenda 21 that have not yet been implemented. In the lead-up to WSSD, civil society groups are likely to use the current deadlock to step up their efforts to raise awareness amongst delegates and the general public regarding the 'limits' of globalisation. As several NGO sources noted, PrepCom IV has highlighted a growing awareness among the sustainable development community that the "blind pursuit" of trade liberalisation needed to be checked. A number of sources agreed that the added value of WSSD and its influence on related discussions in other fora, including the WTO, might not lie in the details of the texts to be adopted in Johannesburg, but rather in encouraging the questioning of the underlying paradigms of globalisation and the legitimisation of anti-globalisation concerns through the intergovernmental process of WSSD.

 

44. STILL HOPE OF SALVAGING SUMMIT, SAYS MOOSA

Independent Online (South Africa)

12 June 2002

Internet: http://www.itechnology.co.za/index.php?click_id=31&art_id=ct20020612103946954W230247&set_id=1

Environment Minister Valli Moosa said there was still hope of salvaging the World Summit on Sustainable Development after preparatory talks failed to come up with a draft action plan. Pinning his hopes on informal talks to resolve differences between parties before the major UN summit on poverty and the environment begins in August, Moosa said South African ministers would lobby their global counterparts hard behind the scenes to ensure the summit's success. "Of course I'm disappointed that an agreement has not been reached," he said. "The formal talks are over but there is much that can be done informally between now and Johannesburg... There will be lots of political discussion." Ministers meeting last week on Indonesia's tropical resort island of Bali failed to agree on a draft action plan for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), to be held in Johannesburg from August 26 to September 4. 'There is far more consensus than disagreement' Dubbed Earth Summit 2, the conference will seek to find ways to slash poverty and narrow the north/south income gap without inflicting irreparable harm on the environment. The key areas in focus will include water access and sanitation, energy use, food security, health and biodiversity. Moosa said he was satisfied that "the broad outline is in place. There is far more consensus than disagreement". "It is very, very usual for preparatory committees of big UN conferences not to reach agreement beforehand, especially taking in mind that this will be such a big summit," he said. South Africa says more than 100 heads of state and 60 000 delegates are expected to attend the WSSD and related meetings in Johannesburg. "I am reasonably confident. The mood is one of wanting to reach an agreement," Moosa said. Profits ahead of the planet's health He added that in Bali countries may have been less compromising because it was not a "do-or-die" setting, but the pressure in Johannesburg could force negotiators to be more accommodating and forge a deal. Moosa said the broad lines of disagreement were between the developed and developing world, but he did not single out any individual country. Environmentalists have accused the US in particular of diluting the action plan in a bid to put profits ahead of the planet's health and the fight against poverty. On Monday Moosa slammed rich countries for subsidising their own farmers at the expense of those from the Third World, saying the issue was a major bone of contention ahead of the summit. "The place to negotiate this is at the World Trade Organisation... But surely a summit on poverty eradication should mention the lack of market access for developing world agricultural products," he said in a statement.

 

45. NO EXTENSION TO WORLD SUMMIT: MOOSA

SABC News

12 June 2002

Internet: http://www.sabcnews.com/politics/government/0,1009,36301,00.html

Valli Moosa, the environmental affairs minister, says he sees no need for an earlier start or later finish to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), set to take place in Johannesburg later this year. Briefing the media at Tuynhuys in Cape Town after Cabinet's fortnightly meeting today, Moosa said the WSSD, which runs from August 26 to September 4, had "an entire week before heads of state and government arrive". Coming 10 years after the Rio Earth Summit, the WSSD is widely seen as a vital opportunity for international leaders to commit their respective countries to meaningful environmental and poverty alleviation targets.

Moosa was replying to a question on whether the volume of work carried over from the United Nations' final preparatory meeting for the WSSD, which finished in Bali on June 8, would make such an extension necessary. Negotiations at the Bali conference broke down on several key issues, with no agreement reached on large portions of the sustainable development action plan that the UN was hoping would be largely decided on before the WSSD started. Major sticking points included, issues related to trade and finance, particularly access to markets and subsidies. Moosa said he was "reasonably satisfied" with the progress made in Bali. "It is unrealistic to expect agreement on all issues, three months before the summit. South Africa will now continue engaging the rest of the world in informal processes," he said. World leaders who gather in Johannesburg in August will have the task of finishing off and ratifying the 158-point plan, which aims to achieve goals set by a UN summit in 2000. These include cutting in half by 2015 the number of people living on less than one dollar a day, as well as the number who are unable to reach, or afford safe drinking water.

 

46. ASEAN EAGER TO MAKE SUCCESS OF ANTI-HAZE TREATY

The Straits Times

12 June 2002

Internet: http://straitstimes.asia1.com.sg/asia/story/0,1870,125543,00.html?

JAKARTA - Asean countries, fresh from signing a landmark deal to battle haze, made clear yesterday that they would not pay lip service to the treaty, with several member states riding on the momentum to come up with new initiatives to fight cross-border pollution. During the Asean Ministerial Meeting on Haze in Kuala Lumpur, member nations agreed on these proposals to tackle the pollution problem.  But environmentalists doubted whether the treaty would have any effect on Jakarta, which because of problems of corruption and law enforcement, has done so little to address problems of forest and land fires that choked the region with haze over the last decade. This did not, however, quell regional optimism in a binding agreement, signed in Kuala Lumpur on Monday, that for the first time sets out the obligations of member states and details the preventive measures and responses expected of them. Member states were eager to set things in motion even though the treaty had yet to be ratified by individual parliaments.

For the agreement to come into force, six out of the 10 Asean countries had to ratify it. Thailand, which has had its fair share of the haze problem over the years, was working out contingency plans to prevent forest fires during the dry season.  Sources said that the measures are believed to include improvement in irrigation methods, enlarging water-catchment areas, and imposing a ban on illegal logging and encroachment by villagers into the forests. Bangkok was also expected to streamline government agencies to better handle the problem in a coordinated manner. A Thai official told The Straits Times: 'In the past, haze was seen as an Indonesian problem. There is growing recognition in Asean now, including Indonesia, that it is a problem with far-reaching regional impact.' That appears to be reflected in some of the measures outlined in the treaty. Under the agreement, a coordinating body - the Asean Coordinating Centre for Trans-boundary Haze Pollution Control - will be set up to monitor air pollution. The signatories also agreed to help the transit of personnel and equipment through their territories to help combat haze-inducing fires in other countries. Countries where the pollution originates must 'respond promptly' to requests for information and consultations sought by another country threatened by the haze.  Ms Rosnani Ibarahim, the director of Malaysia's Environment Department, said Asean countries are serious about the pact after suffering through the haze crisis in 1997 and 1998. Perhaps an indication of the seriousness of the discussions was the number of unconventional ideas thrown up at the two-day ministerial meeting.

The Philippines suggested the formation of a regional 'quick-action squadron' of fire fighters that could be quickly sent to hot spots.

Indonesia, meanwhile, is looking into peat soil research, as its forest fires sometimes lasted for weeks due to the presence of a deep layer of peat on the forest floor. Environmentalists in Jakarta maintained, however, that it was unlikely the Indonesian government would play ball. 'The treaty is necessary for high-level leverage against the government but in practical terms it is not significant,' said Mr Agus Setyoso, the Deputy Director for Forestry Programmes from the World Wide Fund for Nature.

He added that it would not be effective on the ground given that Jakarta still had not met many of the requirements such as supplying equipment and funding positions for the 1997 Regional Haze Action Plan.  Local forestry departments in both Sumatra and Kalimantan admit they do not have the tools or the people to fight large-scale fires.  Another problem is law enforcement. Plantation and industrial forest owners use fires illegally to clear land and are rarely prosecuted.  Although Indonesia has access to satellite mapping showing fire locations, under existing Indonesian laws no fire starter can be prosecuted until the police have proven that the fire was deliberately lit by the landowner. Indonesia's representative to the meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Ms Liana Bratasida, who is a deputy minister for environment conservation, said that Jakarta will 'slowly come around to doing things'.

'It will involve a mindset change for the government, bureaucrats and people that start the fires,' she said. 'We will have to do what other Asean countries are doing whether we like it or not.' Singapore's Environment Minister Lim Swee Say, voicing optimism that the treaty will work, told reporters in Kuala Lumpur: 'It is a clear expression of the political will and commitment in wanting to strengthen our partnership within Asean to prevent the regional haze from happening again.'

CLEARING THE AIR

During the recent Asean Ministerial Meeting on Haze in Kuala Lumpur, member nations agreed to:

Þ       To ratify the Asean Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution signed on Monday as soon as possible.

Þ       To agree on a set of interim arrangements to conduct cross-border fire and haze-disaster simulation exercises among some member countries.

Þ       To intensify early-warning efforts and surveillance programmes, and consider banning open burning and strict enforcement of controlled burning in anticipation of a slight to moderate haze between July and October due to the El Nino phenomenon.

Þ       To set up sub-regional firefighting arrangements in other areas besides those in Sumatra and Borneo.

Þ       To appreciate support provided by international organisations to its efforts in preventing and monitoring forest fires.

Þ       To urge the World Summit on Sustainable Development to demonstrate strong political commitment to combat land and forest fires worldwide.

Þ       To call on the Global Environment Facility to continue supporting its regional efforts in addressing transboundary haze pollution through a full-sized regional programme.

 

47. PACT ON AGRICULTURAL BIODIVERSITY GAINS 19 NEW ADHERENTS, UN REPORTS

United Nations

12 June 2002

Internet: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=3910&Cr=biodiversity&Cr1=

12 June – Representatives of 19 countries attending the World Food Summit in Rome have signed a treaty that aims to protect genetic resources for food and agriculture, the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), which organized the conference, announced today. The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture now has 45 signatory countries, plus the European Community. Canada, Cambodia, Eritrea, Guinea, India, Jordan and the Sudan have all ratified the pact, which requires ratification by 40 countries to enter into force. Genetic resources for food and agriculture are essential in the development of sustainable agriculture and food security, according to FAO, which estimates that throughout history 10,000 species have been used for human food and agriculture, while today only about 150 plant species make up the diets of the majority of the world's people. The treaty will provide incentives to continue conserving and developing genetic resources, which FAO warns are being lost at an alarming rate. Covering all plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, the treaty establishes a multilateral system for access and benefit sharing for 64 major crops and forages important for global food security. Together these provide around 80 per

cent of the world's energy intake.

 

48. UNANIMOUS APPROVAL OF FINAL DECLARATION FOR WORLD FOOD SUMMIT: FIVE YEARS LATER
182 COUNTRIES CALL FOR INTERNATIONAL ALLIANCE AGAINST HUNGER

Food and Agriculture Organisation

11 June 2002

Internet: http://www.fao.org/english/newsroom/news/2002/6142-en.html

ROME, 11 June 2002 -- A total of 182 countries renewed their commitment to reduce by half the number of hungry people in the world no later than 2015, according to the final declaration of the World Food Summit: five years later. Heads of State and Government unanimously approved the Declaration on the opening day of the four-day Summit, calling on governments, international organizations, civil society organizations and the private sector "to reinforce their efforts so as to act as an international alliance against hunger." These efforts are aimed at ending the tragedy of more than 800 million people going hungry around the world. The countries invited the Council of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to "elaborate, in a period of two years, a set of voluntary guidelines to support Member States' efforts to achieve the progressive realization of the right to adequate food." The Declaration said, "With a view to reversing the overall decline of agriculture and rural development in the national budgets of developing countries, in official development assistance (ODA) and in total lending in international financial institutions, we call for an adequate share for those sectors of bilateral and multilateral ODA, lending by International Financial Institutions and budgetary allocations of developing countries. "We urge developed countries that have not done so to make concrete efforts towards the target of 0.7 percent of gross national product (GNP) as official development assistance to developing countries." The Declaration stresses that a "speedy, effective and full implementation of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, which should be fully financed through additional resources, is critical." In addition, all countries are urged to implement the outcome of the Doha Conference regarding the reform of the international agricultural trading system. The President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, said in his address that " all issues blocking the access of developing countries into the markets of developed countries have to be addressed. Speedy movement on this matter would yield early dividends with regard to the achievement of the goal of sustainable food security. We cannot go back on the gains of the Doha Development Round." The Prime Minister of Spain, José M. Aznar López, said on behalf of the European Union that "the time has come for a new association between governments, civil society and the private sector aimed at the reduction of hunger in the world." A favourable political, social and economic environment is an essential requirement in the pursuit of food security and in combating poverty, he said. Good governance and the rule of law should be strengthened within a democratic framework. "We understand that the responsibility for assuring food security is primarily incumbent on national governments, with the participation of civil society and the private sector." The President of the European Commission, Romano Prodi, said that the European Union is in favour of greater open markets for agricultural products. Measures that are distorting agricultural imports should be reduced, he said. He expressed his concern about the recently approved United States 'Farm Bill'. The Prime Minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi, said that industrialized countries have to open their markets for developing countries. No country should be excluded from the global economy, he said, adding that Italy has proposed a new programme to the G8 countries. The initiative would help developing countries reform their public administration, fiscal system, national statistics and judicial, public health and educational systems. Countries implementing the programme could achieve a high degree of transparency, democracy and efficiency. The President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, said: "Unless significant and fundamental changes occur in our countries, disparities in income levelsand economic growth rates are likely to continue and to lead to social unrest. There is, however, considerable opportunity to accelerate income growth rates in the slow-growing countries, especially those of sub-Saharan Africa, and to raise per capita incomes." He pointed out that Uganda not only produces enough food, but "we also have plenty for export." Mr Museveni said that the main causes of food shortages are wars, protectionism in agricultural products in Europe, the US, China, India and Japan and protectionism in value-added products. The President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, said that the international community needs to assist developing countries in dealing with problems of food security. Increased efforts and capacity building in agricultural research and extension, biotechnology, pests and disease control, disposal of expired agrochemicals and environmental conservation will help developing countries to increase their agricultural production and productivity. The US Secretary of Agriculture, Ann Veneman, said that the United States "is well on its way to cutting hunger at home by half by the year 2010." She said that the United States is the world's largest food aid donor and the leading donor responding to the food crisis now facing southern Africa. "Today we reaffirm the US commitment to ending global hunger," she said. "Open markets will do a far better job of getting food to people than excuses for unnecessary trade barriers can ever do," she said. The goal of ending hunger could be achieved with the help of both longstanding and new technologies, including biotechnology. The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, said that the World Trade Organization's Agreement on Agriculture still does not sufficiently take into account the concerns of the poor and vulnerable. "A right-to-food approach to the Agreement would stress the human rights principle of non-discrimination and consequently encourage affirmative action for the poor, allowing certain special trade rules for the protection of vulnerable people."

 

49. CIVIL SOCIETY GROUPS UPSET BY SPLIT IN BALI ON TRADE AND FINANCE

Business Day via All Africa

11 June 2002

Internet: http://allafrica.com/stories/200206110098.html

GOVERNMENT was not phased yesterday by the failure in Bali last week of delegates and ministers from a string of countries to agree on key aspects of the World Summit on Sustainable Development. But organisations representing civil society were "disheartened", saying failure to reach agreement at the last preparatory meeting before the summit, "raised questions" about the summit. If the disagreements are not resolved in Johannesburg in August, it will mean that the much-vaunted summit could well turn out to be yet another talk shop. "This means it is imperative that civil society attends the summit to help drum up global support for the struggle against environmental and social injustice," said Earthlife Africa representative Muna Lakhani.

On Saturday in Bali, ministers and civil society representatives of more than 170 countries did not agree on financial details of future trade and financing provisions after the summit. They agreed only that the Johannesburg summit should focus on social and economic development and environmental protection, remaining vague on financing commitments and target dates.

The stalemate on trade and financing provisions boiled down to developing nations insisting that strategies to reduce poverty should not ignore "the basic causes of poverty", such as unfair trade. World Conservation Union director Saliem Fakir said a bloc of developed nations felt that Monterrey, rather than the Johannesburg summit, was the appropriate forum for trade issues. "The US, in particular, says don't bring the World Trade Organisation into this summit." Environmental affairs and tourism department spokesman Onkgopotse Tabane said developing nations insisted in Bali that to halve poverty by 2015 a resolution taken at the Rio Summit a decade ago the causes of poverty must be heeded. These included unfair terms of trade and lack of international market access for agricultural products. But he said the lack of agreement was of no real consequence for the summit. Environmental Affairs and Tourism Minister Valli Moosa attended the summit with three other SA ministers. Fakir said lack of agreement on a key issue could lead to "watering down of the text" at the end of the summit for the sake of consensus. Earthlife Africa branch co-ordinator Richard Worthington warned that pressure on heads of states at the summit was now "much greater than before. It is very disappointing that such important detail couldn't be settled (in Bali). It will now become a major area of focus in August."

At the heart of the dispute in Bali lay the developing world's contention that to bring down poverty in the world it was necessary for developed nations to indicate "who and how the good intentions would be financed". Worthington said since the lofty ideals at Rio a decade ago, the US had "not come close to a quarter of undertakings made at the time. The four developed countries have been resisting setting targets and committing to specific programmes all along." Lakhani, who attended part of the Bali proceedings, said the attitude of the US, Canada, Australia and Japan was: "We don't care what happens to people, as long as we continue to make a profit." "This is particularly shortsighted. It is this very profit drive to the exclusion of all else that got the world in the mess it is in at the moment in the first place." The aim of the preparatory Bali meeting, which began two weeks ago, was to wrap-up an official agenda and draw up a consensus document to show the need for global partnerships to achieve sustainable development. Other aims were to "reconfirm" the need for an integrated and focused approach and to pinpoint the main challenges faced by the international community regarding sustainable development. SA would continue with "informal consultations" with other nations on the areas of disagreement in the next three months before the summit. The setback in Bali would make for "very interesting" debate, Worthington said.

 

50. WORLD ENVIRONMENT SUMMIT PREPARATIONS IN DISARRAY

New Scientist

10 June 2002

Internet: http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99992381

Preparations for the giant World Summit on poverty and the environment later this summer are in disarray after the failure of two weeks of pre-conference negotiations. Talks concluded on the Indonesian island of Bali late on Friday 7 June could not break the deadlock between rich and poor nations over how to reconcile conflicting goals of global trade, cutting poverty and protecting the environment. "We came to Bali to seek concrete agreement, with timetables and targets, that could save human lives and eradicate poverty. We have not achieved that," said Spanish environment minister Jaume Matas, representing the European Union.

The World Summit on Sustainable Development will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa, at the end of August. Billed in advance as the largest ever intergovernmental gathering, it is intended as a follow-up to the Earth Summit, held ten years ago in Rio de Janeiro.  Commitments under discussion, but not agreed in Bali, include restoring ocean fish stocks and halving the number of people without access to sanitation by 2015, and cutting subsidies for polluting energy sources in rich countries by 2007. Other programmes discussed include bringing electricity to the two billion people currently "unplugged".

NO TIMETABLES

But leading industrial nations, led by the US, opposed all mention of global targets and timetables. And they have refused to pledge aid money for summit programmes without action by poor countries to fight corruption and open markets to international trade - issues the US lumps together as "good governance". Meanwhile, green groups charged that, in the fight between trade and aid, the environment was being left out of the picture. "The US and its friends might as well come from Mars for all they care about the future of the planet," said Friends of the Earth's Daniel Mittler. Conference officials put on a brave face. They said that 80 per cent of the plan of action, the main intended outcome of Johannesburg, was agreed. Summit secretary-general Nitin Desai, a veteran of eight UN conference negotiations, including Rio, said: "We are going to the final stage with more agreed than in any of the others."

And the independent conference newsletter, Earth Negotiations Bulletin, noted that green groups complaining about the breakdown had earlier urged that no deal in Bali was better than a bad deal. "By collapsing the negotiations around some of the more emotive issues, negotiators have done the NGOs [non-government organisations] a favour by providing a focus for their campaigns on trade, globalisation, debt and finance for the environment and development," it said.

 

51. US ACCUSED OF SINKING DEAL ON DEVELOPMENT

The Guardian

10 June 2002

Internet: http://www.guardian.co.uk/bush/story/0,7369,730606,00.html

Urgent attempts are to be made by the UN to try to resuscitate the world's largest ever meeting on poverty and the environment, following the collapse of preparatory talks in Bali at the weekend.  There are less than ten weeks to go until the start of the Johannesburg World Summit on sustainable development, which is expected to attract more than 100 world leaders and 60,000 delegates.  But the chances of agreement between rich and poor countries before the start of the meeting is unlikely, and governments are expected to be embarrassed by their perceived failure to address the most pressing poverty and environmental issues.  Yesterday, the blame for the collapse of the talks was put on rich countries, led by the US, who refused to compromise in several key areas including trade and finance.  "The US came with more than 200 delegates and tried to water down or rewrite agreements already made and to avoid all binding commitments," said Oxfam International. "The grouping of poor countries was hopelessly fragmented."  Friends of the Earth International accused the US of "hijacking" the meeting, with the help of Australia, Japan and Canada, and "trying to force through a free-trade agenda and doing all it could to prevent commitments." Other groups, including Greenpeace, issued a joint statement calling the meeting "a disaster for the poor and the environment." The August meeting in Johannesburg, a follow-up to the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, is intended to set a development path for the world over the next decade.  No new international treaties are expected to be signed, but it is considered vital to help reduce poverty, which in some parts of the world is on the increase.  Kofi Annan, the secretary general of the UN, has argued that the summit should address basic areas such as water, housing and energy. At present, 800 million people do not get enough to eat, 1.1 billion lack  access to safe water, 2.4 billion have no basic sanitation, and a similar number have no electricity. The US, by far the world's largest aid giver, continued its post-September 11 agenda in Bali by insisting that aid from rich countries should be conditional on "good governance".  Rich countries also refused to make any binding commitments for transnational companies to become more socially responsible, or to reform the world's trading system.  But the UN and developed countries refused to accept that the Bali talks had failed.  The environment secretary, Margaret Beckett, said: "There are many who will think that we could have done better, and that is a view that I completely share. The differences are real - but there is a tremendous will to close the gap.  "We are building a global partnership to manage the forces of globalisation so that its benefits are available to all. I am confident that what we have achieved takes us down the road to a successful summit in Johannesburg." However, many observers now believe the best result possible from Johannesburg would be a new focus on Africa and a series of government initiatives, backed by industry, to introduce new technologies like solar power and computers to poor countries.

 

52. CONSERVATION ESSENTIAL FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

The East African Standard (Nairobi) via All Africa

10 June 2002

Internet: http://allafrica.com/stories/200206100118.html

The environmental movement has come a long way from the days when Greenpeace activists hugged trees to demonstrate their commitment towards preserving forests. However, the job of harmonising economic growth with social progress, protection of the environment and natural resources remains a daunting one. Said UN Secretary General Koffi in his World Environment Day message last week: "In 1992 at Rio de Janeiro, the international community achieved a conceptual breakthrough. No longer, it was hoped, would environmental issues be regarded as a luxury or afterthought. Rather, they would become a central part of the policy making process, integrated with social and economic development." Malawi's President Bakili Muluzi did not attend the Rio meeting to hear the message. Had he done so, he may have found ways of managing famine and the vagaries of weather patterns that are now afflicting his country. Instead, he blamed the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a food crisis and a reform agenda that has failed to improve the lives of his people. Muluzi was echoing comments made by two of his ministers who claimed the IMF asked his government to sell maize from strategic reserves to enable the state food agency to meet obligations on a commercial loan. "If the IMF policies had not failed, we would not be where we are," said Muluzi. Too bad he missed Rio and its message regarding the need to integrate environmental issues like rainfall patterns with policies that address social and economic development. Former Prime Minister of Norway Gro Harlem Brundtland defined Muluzi's predicament more concisely in her report, Our common future. Africa, she said, tragically illustrated the ways in which economics and ecology interact destructively. However, she added, triggered by drought, its real causes lay deeper. "They are to be found in part in national policies that gave too little attention too late to the needs of smallholder agriculture and to the threats posed by rapidly rising populations." Brundtland's report mooted the sustainable development concept. It noted that in the end, sustainable development was not a fixed state of harmony but rather, a process of change in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development and institutional change are made consistent with future as well as present needs. Painful choices have to be made but in the final analysis, the report notes, sustainable development must rest on political will. In the political will department, Muluzi could probably have done better for his people. When bargaining with IMF, he probably should have been more pragmatic. When states and stakeholders come together at the World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held in South Africa later this year, he should be there aggressively negotiating a position for his country. So too should other African leaders.

Many of the environmental problems Africa faces today are unlike the ones which confronted the continent at independence. However they are of concern when one realises how since the 1950s and 1960s more people have fewer resources and are living out increasingly poverty riddled scenarios. It used to be that rapid world-wide economic development realised over the past 200 years was based on classic economic concepts which assumed air and water were free resources and land together with minerals were inexhaustible. Today, it is said that the increasing toxicity of the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the earth we walk on is so critical to the lives and well being of all of us that political bargaining is nothing less than an exercise in negotiating the survival of society. Several stumbling blocks loom in the path towards sustainable development. Says Gunnar Sjostedt of the Swedish Institute of International Affairs, Stockholm. One has to do with the rise in potential for mass destruction- overtly through military means and, subtly, through the effect that economic development can have on environment. A second drawback says the editor of a book, International Environmental Negotiation, lies in the growing disparity in social, political, economic and technological disparity between the North and the South. If this trend continues, within 50 years, 80 per cent of the world1s population will live in grossly underdeveloped areas. The remaining 20 per centy will be morally choking on human poverty and physically choking on a degraded environment. The main actors in international negotiations are national government and their agents. It is true that African governments could not actively negotiate with colonial powers in establishing development patterns focused mainly on economic growth, with the export of key commodities and natural resources as a major feature. It is also true that reinforcement in a post independence era came in the form of aid programmes from industrialized countries and the lending policies of the World Bank and IMF. However, in the year 2002, African governments should be capable of developing sustainable national environment policies. They should take advantage of their right to participate in treaty-making processes which codify measures that control the process. While the basic treaty making elements usually involve lawyers, it is scientists who ring the alarm when new threats to the environment manifest themselves. In the year 2002, Africa has many who can make valuable inputs at the pre-negotiation phase. Can Muluzi along with other African leaders make use of these resources? Can they make their presence felt at the forthcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development? Political will is critical. Can they muster enough to negotiate a way forward that takes Africa beyond famine, drought, poverty, HIV/Aid and the range of chronic environmental problems beleaguering this continent? It is not good form to complain and blame others after the fact.

 

53. TIME TO COME CLEAN ON THE DIRTY SECRET OF STARVATION

The Guardian

10 June 2002

Internet: http://politics.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,9115,730514,00.html

This week's World Food Summit will once again avoid the real issues If you want to see a hideous sight in the next few days, head for Rome where the second World Food Summit will be taking place. Held over from last year following September 11, it will feature 60 heads of state and thousands of bureaucrats and politicians. Even as they pledge yet again to feed the 800 million people who go hungry every year, they will be tucking into the world's finest produce.  Parma hams, wild salmon and canapes are a world away from the roots and berries that S, a Malawian woman I met last month, will be eating this week. She, like tens of thousands of people in southern Africa, has completely run out of food through no fault of her own; her life, from now until next April at the earliest, depends on northern governments and charities sending their surplus food across the world. The UN believes that 11 million people now face severe malnutrition if not starvation in the region. They say four million tonnes of grain will be needed but so far governments have pledged less than 100,000 tonnes. Thousands have already died, tens of thousands more inevitably will.

The global food situation has barely improved since 1996 when the first food summit was held and politicians hollowly pledged to halve the proportion of hungry people by 2015. If present trends continue, 122 million people will have died of hunger-related diseases by then, and the UN admits it will take 60 years to reach even that modest target. Governments, in short, have utterly failed to address one of the world's greatest scandals. The first paradox is that the world has never grown so much food; there is no overall scarcity and food has seldom been so cheap. The simple equation in the politics of food today is that hunger equals poverty. What we see now is the relatively new phenomenon of increasing hunger amid ever-greater plenty. Just because a country produces more food does not mean it has no malnourished people. The US grows 40% more food than it needs, yet 26 million Americans need handouts. India's grain silos have been bursting for the past five years and a record surplus of 59 million tonnes has been built up, yet almost half of all Indian children are undernourished, tens of millions of people go hungry and many hundreds of poor farmers have committed suicide. The second paradox is that farmers in poor countries are, in this time of global plenty, abandoning agriculture because they just cannot compete with the heavily subsidised foods which are flooding into their countries on the back of world trade rules and IMF conditions that force them to open up their markets. Farmers in Indonesia have been queuing to sell their rice even as the government imports it from Vietnam. In Pakistan, many farmers have reportedly burnt their harvests in desperation because the prices they can command are too low. The local rice market in Ghana has collapsed under US and Thai imports. From Haiti to Mexico and Mozambique to Tanzania, small farmers are selling up, unable to compete with the barons of world agriculture and unable to take advantage of the increasingly global trade in food. The US has recently introduced a farm bill which will increase subsidies to the largest agri-businesses by $18bn a year for 10 years. The effect this will have on third world farmers in incalculable.  It is easy to foresee the slanging match which will take place in Rome. Much of the talk will be how to "feed the world" and increase food production; the spectre of more than two billion more people to feed within 30 years will be raised and out will come all the arguments for miracle GM technologies and the further intensification of farming.  Rich countries will be admonished for not having increased international or domestic resources for agriculture in the past five years and for having presided over a steep decline in official aid for farming in poor countries. Some of the most food- insecure countries will in turn be accused of governing badly and doing little to help their people while at the same time increasing their military expenditures.  But all this will be peripheral to the main agenda which is being pushed massively in all global talks these days, and which led directly to last week's collapse in Bali of the final meeting before the Johannesburg summit on sustainable development.  The US, EU and other OECD countries will ruthlessly use Rome to push the case for further and faster economic liberalisation of markets. When it comes to food, this means countries are being forced to surrender their food security, to sell off their emergency stocks and to dismantle the state marketing boards which traditionally control prices in times of need.  What will not be up for discussion in Rome, at least in the main meeting, will be the alternative to the present system which has led to this mess. Governments will pay little attention to the potential of fairer trading systems. No commitment will be made to remove food and agriculture from the World Trade Organisation or to end the dumping of cheap food in poor countries which undermines small farmers and local markets.

No attempt will be made to end the trading cartels which dominate the world food market and no money will be pledged to stimulate local food production. Traditional, publicly funded plant breeding techniques will continue to be starved of cash. The right to food will not be addressed and the dirty secret that rich countries profit handsomely from the daily hunger of hundreds of millions of people will be ignored.  But the delegates might like to chew on one of the thousands of initiatives which are taking place around the world to help the poor help themselves. In northern Darfur, one of the most drought-prone areas of Sudan, 14,000 households have learned to increase the yields of a wide range of crops and vegetables just by collecting water in a different way and by introducing simple donkey ploughs and better manuring techniques.  Households have doubled the area they farm and yields have exceeded traditional cultivation methods by up to 400%, reports the Inter-mediate Technology Development Group. It did not take much money, it did not need expensive new technologies or any global agreement, just a little education, a recognition that hunger is caused by poverty and a commitment to help the poor, rather than the rich.

 
54. MBEKI ENCOURAGES COMMITTED NORTH-SOUTH PARTNERSHIP

BuaNews via All Africa

10 June 2002

Internet: http://allafrica.com/stories/200206100673.html

Pretoria- President Thabo Mbeki says countries of the North and the South should work together in solving problems to effect the necessary changes, as represented by the continent's recovery plan, the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad).

The President was addressing delegates at the World Food Summit in Rome, Italy, today. 'The premise of this partnership must be an unambiguous commitment to solving problems together, in a spirit of joint responsibility among governments and between them and the private sector and civil society,' he said. President Mbeki commended the United's Nation's Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) for its cooperation with Nepad's institutions. 'The partnership provided technical support to help elaborate the programme of action with regard to African agriculture,' he said. He said Africa had established a framework through Nepad within which the World Food Summit plan of action would be implemented. 'Nepad,' President Mbeki said, 'identifies agriculture as a priority sector.' The move would ensure that the area is extended under sustainable land management and reliable water control systems, increased levels of investment in agricultural research and increased food supply while reducing hunger.

One other aspect includes improving rural agriculture and market access. Complimentary to this, all issues blocking access into the markets of the developed world had to be addressed, the President noted. 'Speedy movements on this matter would yield early dividends with regard to the achievement of the goal of sustainable food security.' The three-day Summit, which kicked off today, will see President Mbeki holding bilateral talks with UN secretary-general Kofi Annan. It will focus on reviewing advances made since the last summit held in the same venue, six years ago. It also coincides with the envisaged food shortage in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. Last week, the UN warned of starvation in six SADC countries, including Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi and Swaziland. President Mbeki said the continent was convinced that the world had capital, technology and the human skills to achieve the critically important goals set in the 1996 summit and the 2000 Millennium Declaration. 'What is called for is bold leadership, informed by the noble principle of human solidarity,' said President Mbeki.

Moreover, he urged that what was agreed upon at this year's summit must strengthen the Johannesburg Declaration and Plan of Action of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) to be held in Johannesburg from 26 August to 4 September.

'The Johannesburg Summit should affirm the centrality of agriculture and food security to the objective of sustainable development in a meaningful way,' Mr Mbeki said.

 

55. UNDP RESIDENT REP. CALLS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL CONSCIOUSNESS

The Independent (Banjul) via All Africa

10 June 2002

Internet: http://allafrica.com/stories/200206100192.html

The UNDP Resident Representative has expressed an overriding need to rekindle efforts with a view to integrating environmental issues into the development process. Speaking at the opening ceremony of a four-day sensitization workshop on 'Sustainable Development and Multi-lateral Environmental Agreement' at the Kairaba Beach Hotel, as part of activities commemorating World Environment Day. Dr. John O. Kakonge said ten years after Rio Summit, it is an opportune moment to take stock of our achievements and failures not only to improve on future performance but also prepare for the World Summit for Sustainable Development slated for August in Johannesburg, South Africa. He remarked that a successful implementation of Agenda 21 presupposes a simultaneous move on all fronts by all actors, including women, farmers, youths, civil society and scientists. He said such efforts has to take account of the daunting environmental challenges, including deforestation, soil erosion, the poaching of animals, overgrazing and the concomitant loss of bio diversity. Highlighting some areas of importance in the implementation of Agenda 21 (The development agenda of the world for the 21st century), Dr. Kakonge expressed the need to understand the relationship between Agenda 21 and the World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD), environmental awareness campaign, traditional environmental knowledge and the additional financial resources for its implementation. In her keynote address, the Secretary of State for Natural Resources, Fisheries and the Environment, Susan Waffa Ogon, said the National Environment Management Act (NEMA) was enacted in 1994 to control and manage environmental issues, which makes it a duty of every Gambian to maintain a descent environment. She said the Rio Summit had helped trigger the world community to take cognizance of the fact that sustainable management of natural resources is a key to poverty reduction. According to her, The Gambia Environment Action Plan (GEAP) was adopted in 1992 and it forms the main policy framework for environmental planning and decision making. The workshop was organised by The Government of The Gambia, The UNDP and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The recommendation emanating from the workshop will constitute an essential imput into the country paper, which will be presented in Johannesburg.

 

56. DONOR-RECIPIENT MODEL DOES NOTHING FOR THE POOR: MOOSA

BuaNews

10 June 2002

Internet: http://library.northernlight.com/FE20020610670000090.html?cb=0&dx=1006&sc=0#doc

Pretoria, Jun 10, 2002 (BuaNews/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) -- The donor-recipient paradigm in which the rich give handouts to the poor does nothing for real economic development, says environmental affairs minister Mohammed Valli Moosa.

'It is therefore not a sustainable poverty eradication strategy,' the minister said in a statement.  He said by allowing poor countries to sell their agricultural products in rich countries, one of the biggest obstacles to poverty would be eradicated.  'While aid is important and must be expanded, what is far more important is for rich countries to do business with poor countries or at least allow producers in poor countries a fair opportunity to compete with producers in rich countries,' he said.  Minister Moosa has returned from the fourth and final Preparatory Committee-PrepComIV- meeting in Bali, Indonesia, where ministers from developed and developing countries had assembled.  The meeting, also attended by representatives of civil society, was aimed at providing greater clarity on the final agenda for the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) that will take place in Johannesburg from 26 August to 4 September.  By Saturday, consensus was not reached on the 'Draft Plan of Implementation for the WSSD'.  According to Minister Moosa, main areas of disagreement revolved around the 'economic platform'- the trade and financing provisions of the Plan.  'Developing countries insist that a poverty eradication strategy should not ignore the most important causes of poverty,' he said, adding that some of those included unfair terms of trade and, in particular, the lack of market access for agricultural products from poor countries.  He said South Africa was of the view that a summit on sustainable development that had poverty eradication as its theme must deal with those issues.  However, Minister Moosa said it was pleasing that there was a global consensus on the main framework for the Summit.  The Summit must focus on all three pillars of sustainable development, namely, social development, economic development and the protection of the environment, the minister said.  The overall target of the Summit is the Millennium Development Goal of halving poverty by 2015 and the need to agree on a concrete programme of action in the areas of water and sanitation, energy, health, agriculture and food security, education and biodiversity.  Others include the need to agree on a global partnership between rich and poor countries, and between governments, business and civil society for sustainable development.  'It is becoming clearer that the outcome of the WSSD has the potential of constituting a message of hope to the world,' he said. 

 

57. NEPAD MUST SUCCEED IN OVERCOMING POVERTY: PAHAD

BuaNews via All Africa

10 June 2002

Internet:http://allafrica.com/stories/200206100679.html

Pretoria - Foreign affairs deputy minister Aziz Pahad says it is imperative for the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) to succeed or there will be no poverty eradication in Africa. Briefing journalists in Pretoria today on President Thabo Mbeki's visit to Rome, Italy, to attend the World Food Summit, Mr Pahad said the President would review South Africa's developments on food security. President Mbeki, foreign affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, public enterprises minister Jeff Radebe, deputy minerals and energy minister Suzan Shabangu, and agriculture and land affairs minister Thoko Didiza are attending the conference.

The delegation will also attend the meeting of the Nepad Implementation Committee. Mr Pahad said the delegation would hold discussions pertaining to their departments' crucial roles towards Nepad and poverty eradication. 'South Africa is still an exporter of agricultural products, and what we are doing with Nepad is to use this conference to promote South Africa's development in investment, agriculture and rural development,' Mr Pahad said. He said the conference was timely and important because the World Food Programme (WFP) estimated that about 13 million people in Africa were facing starvation. Mr Pahad said the conference also indicated internationally that the African leadership was committed to eradicating poverty, achieving food security and promoting sustainable development. Among the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries heavily affected by starvation are Malawi, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Swaziland and Mozambique, and according to the WFP, the problem is set to worsen by the end of the year. Deputy Minister Pahad said about 2.3 million faced starvation in Zambia, 355 000 in Mozambique, 144 000 in Swaziland, 3.2 million in Malawi and 444 000 in Lesotho. 'This matter should be given special attention at the food conference in Rome and the position of Nepad on agriculture is also of paramount importance,' said Mr Pahad. He said the event was crucial for South Africa, as it would lay the basis for the forthcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) Conference and what Africa 'must do on food security in the next five years.' The World Food Summit, which kicked off today, and ends on Thursday, is also expected to discuss issues around market access for agricultural products, water control systems and the increase of investment levels in agriculture.

 

58. UN DEVELOPMENT CHIEF WARNS DISCORD THREATENS JOHANNESBURG SUMMIT

Associated Press

10 June 2002

Internet: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20020610/ap_wo_en_po/italy_un_development_2

VENICE, Italy - An upcoming U.N. summit on sustainable development is in danger of collapsing in discord unless governments act quickly to ensure political commitments, a U.N. official said Monday. World leaders plan to meet in Johannesburg, South Africa, in August to craft a blueprint seeking to cut poverty and protect the environment. But a preparatory session in Bali, Indonesia, ended last week with delegates from rich and poor nations deadlocked on key issues including aid money and how it should be spent.

"Bali was a fire alarm for Johannesburg, but the building has not yet burned down," said Mark Malloch-Brown, head of the U.N. Development Program. "If ... people quickly don't regroup and start pulling some plans together, then we're going to be in trouble," said Malloch-Brown, who joined religious leaders, scientists and environmentalist at the final port call of a five-day voyage around the Adriatic Sea. "We're about to enter the summer, where government officials have shown themselves almost incapable of agreeing on anything," he said, adding that the summit "has been timed in an unfriendly way for European holidays."

Among the goals: cutting in half by 2015 the number of people living on less than one dollar a day or unable to reach or afford safe drinking water. In Bali, developing nations complained that rich countries have not kept financial commitments made at the U.N. Earth Summit in 1992. Wealthy nations, in turn, were wary of setting new objections with many from the Rio summit's meeting still unfulfilled. "That difference of opinion, if left unsolved, can blow up at Johannesburg," Malloch-Brown said. The United States, some European nations and the G-7 countries - the world's seven leading industrial countries - need "a push" to make new international commitments, he added. Malloch-Brown's agency has urged for a "credible action plan" in Johannesburg to deal with problems in five sectors: water, energy, health, agriculture and biodiversity. "That's going to be the real measure of success," he said.

 
59. ‘FAILURE' OF POVERTY TALKS ANGERS ACTIVISTS

The Observer

9 June 2002

Internet: http://politics.guardian.co.uk/foreignaffairs/story/0,11538,730149,00.html

Crucial talks aimed at tackling world poverty ended in anger last night, with environmentalists branding them a 'fudge'.

The UN international conference in Bali, designed to produce a global development blueprint for the next decade, was condemned as a wasted opportunity that had failed the world's poor.  Negotiations were aimed at securing an action plan for the Earth Summit in Johannesburg in August, billed as the most important environmental talks for 10 years and expected to draw the largest-ever gathering of world leaders. The Friends of the Earth described the outcome of the Indonesian talks as a 'foul result' for the global environment and accused governments of ignoring Third World poverty while bowing to the demands of multinational companies.

At risk of becoming lost are proposals to cut by half the total of 1.1 billion people without access to safe drinking water and those living on less than $1 a day by 2015.  Craig Bennett, spokesman for Friends of the Earth, said: 'If the governments of the world cannot work together to make the Earth Summit a success, we will all suffer the consequences - with climate change, forest destruction, water shortages and increasing world poverty.'  However, Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett denied the meeting had been a failure. But speaking before her first-class flight back to the UK after a fortnight's stay at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, she admitted: 'We didn't achieve quite as much as we could have, given the goodwill that exists. We ran out of time.'  The moves will put further pressure on the Government to justify sending a 28-strong delegation to Indonesia, costing the taxpayer at least £180,000.  Negotiations broke down over how to cut poverty and protect the environment, with delegates from rich and poor nations deadlocked on issues such as aid money and how to spend it. Former Indonesian Environment Minister Emil Salim, who chaired the conference, said: 'The meeting has failed to reach a compromise on essential issues.'  More than 6,000 delegates, including 118 environment and economic Ministers, had been tasked with preparing a development blueprint to be voted on in Johannesburg.

Environmental groups pinned much of the blame on the US, accusing it of being reluctant to accept targets that would hit US business profits and for blocking proposals aimed at providing money for development programmes.

 
60. SUMMIT PREPCOM CLOSES IN FRUSTRATION

Environmental News Service

8 June 2002

Internet: http://ens-news.com/ens/jun2002/2002-06-08-01.asp

BALI, Indonesia, June 8, 2002 (ENS) - Ministerial level negotiations on the political declaration for the World Summit on Sustainable Development have failed to yield an agreement, particularly on issues relating to trade and finance. The remaining unresolved text will be forwarded to Johannesburg to be dealt with at the Summit which opens August 26.  WWF, the international conservation organization, expressed disappointment with the outcome of this last preparatory meeting. "Conflict and disinterest has been apparent as different nations and blocs pursue their own narrow interests at the expense of the poor and the planet's future," the group said. Emil Salim of Indonesia who chaired the 10th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, known as PrepCom IV, said that 80 percent of the text has been agreed, but key contentious issues remain.

Finance, trade, globalization and implementation top the list of outstanding issues, along with climate and labor standards.

"This meeting shows we must wake up, something is not well," Salim told tired delegates in the early hours this morning. "There are still important differences between North and South, principal disagreements between developed and developing countries."

"Can we close these differences?" Salim asked. "These are the main troubles that will dictate whether we will meet in Johannesburg and reach for consensus or not."  Ministerial level negotiations continued throughout the day behind closed doors where discussions stalled.  In his closing statement, delivered well after midnight, Summit Secretary-General Nitin Desai of India said decisions were being made "by exhaustion" or "by asphyxiation" in the crowded conference rooms.  U.S. chief negotiator Dr. Paula Dobriansky called for implementation of concrete actions but came in for much criticism from environmentalists.  Agreement foundered on the question of whether or not the rich nations would pay for implementation of pledges made 10 years ago at the UN Earth Summit in Brazil. A deal between the European Union and the G-77/China group of developing nations appeared likely, that would have trumped objections raised by the United States, Canada and Australia. But even that deal stalled on the issue of subsidies for agriculture.  While contentious issues remain, Desai reminded delegates of what they had achieved. "I have participated in eight UN negotiations," Desai said. "We are going to the final stage with more agreed than in any of the others."

"What is left is very difficult and will take a great deal of work to resolve," said Desai, "work at finding political space for compromise. What it requires is the political will to find common ground. That is the challenge between now and Johannesburg to find that space in the areas that have not yet been agreed."  The environmental organizations blame the industrialized countries for the failure to reach agreement at the preparatory conference. "Bullying by rich nation blocs has rarely been so heavily employed in international negotiations, and seldom has so little been produced by way of concrete results," the WWF said today.

"This meeting could have been a step to a better world but, instead, the governments showed neither leadership nor vision," said Kim Carstensen, head of the WWF Delegation to Prepcom IV. "In particular the United States, Australia and Canada have employed systems of horse trading and corridor deals," he said.  Effigy of the U.S., Canada and Australia called the "Axis of Environmental Evil" was the focus of a protest demonstration on the beach Thursday. Greenpeace International political director Remi Parmentier said, "The shameful hypocrisy of the rich countries have brought this unfortunate episode to a close, but all of the key issues are still in play for Johannesburg. It's not too late for governments to take their responsibilities seriously and agree a meaningful action plan in Johannesburg. They must seize the next 80 days." Greenpeace launched its Countdown to Johannesburg today, to urge a real action plan, "which tackles poverty and the environment, and climate change, with concrete goals, time-tables and means of implementation," the group said. The WWF is calling on the powerful nations to re-examine the way they do business and to take concrete action on key issues including clean water and energy access. The group said, "There is an urgent need to move towards clean and affordable energy for the world's poor, and to secure their access to clean water through sound management of river basins."

 
EDITORIALS
 
61. THE BATTLES OF BALI

SciDev.Net

June 2002

Internet http://www.scidev.net/archives/editorial/comment20.html

Tough negotiations during preparations for the forthcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development suggest that science may benefit from a search for areas of consensus. But wider, more problematic, areas must not be ignored. The prospects are dwindling fast that any significant international agreement will emerge from the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), which takes place in Johannesburg later this year. In one sense, science could in principle be a beneficiary of the political deadlock; as political leaders look around for issues on which they can agree, the importance of science and technology in achieving sustainable development is an obvious and attractive one. But it would be naïve to believe that science and technology can prosper in isolation from the broader political issues that will be on the agenda of the World Summit, and are proving so difficult to make progress on. For these broader issues contain the key to successful implementation of efforts to boost the role of science and technology. There is certainly a practical need to address urgent topics, ranging from the search for cost-effective sources of renewable energy to the pursuit of environmentally-sustainable ways of increasing food production. To that extent, Calestous Juma of Harvard University, in his article ' Think locally, act locally', is right to stress the need to ensure that, in our preoccupation with global issues affecting the fate of the planet, we do not ignore the fact that sustainable policies will only work if they address problems as they exist at the local level.  At the same time, however, as Juma insists, we must keep the global picture in mind. For it is at this level that, within a globalised economy, both the incentives for and constraints on action tend to determine the gap between principles and practice.

GLOOM OVER PROSPECTS

The main reason for despondency about the outcome of the WSSD is that fact that, at the end of the final preparatory meeting for the Summit in Bali, Indonesia, over the past two weeks, several large industrialised countries, led by the United States, remained locked in dispute with the developing world over precisely these broader issues.  The former, for example, are insisting on a commitment to good governance and the reduction of corruption, while the latter remain focussed on issues such as the need for more generous financial support and technology transfer agreements. Faced with the prospect of a major public relations flop that could undermine the whole credibility of the United Nations as a negotiating forum, its secretary general Kofi Annan was rumoured at one stage to be contemplating shifting the whole focus of the Johannesburg meeting. Rather than end up with a meeting that merely endorsed previous commitments, some of his advisers were recommending that the meeting should, instead, focus on that part of the WSSD preparations that does seem to be moving forward relatively smoothly. This is the section devoted to so-called 'Type 2' partnerships, made up largely of ad hoc agreements involving a selection of partners devoted to pursuing specific goals.

DIVERTING ATTENTION

The attraction of this approach is obvious; focussing attention on the success of practical projects that address achieve sustainable development could provide a convenient smokescreen for any failure to achieve significant commitment to change at the political level. Science could well benefit from such a shift in focus. It is already striking, for example, that the draft recommendations for Johannesburg that proved to be relatively uncontroversial in Bali include a number of general clauses underlining the importance of science and technology in the promotion of sustainable development, as well as some specific proposals about how this should be achieved. The draft 'plan of implementation' for Johannesburg that was the main focus of negotiations between government representatives endorses a number of ways of improving policy and decision-making through, for example, enhanced collaboration between natural and social scientists, and between scientists and policy makers. Other statements agreed by the negotiators in Bali include the need to establish partnerships between scientific, public and private institutions, and to integrate scientists' advice into decision-making bodies "in order to ensure a greater role for science, technology development and engineering sectors".

In the specific case of Africa, which is likely to be a key focus of attention in Johannesburg, the draft proposals commit those signing the declaration at the end of the WSSD to "support African countries to develop effective science and technology institutions as well as research activities capable of developing, and adapting to, world-class technologies".

SQUARE BRACKETS

All well and good, particularly if these commitments can be turned into viable and effective programmes. But even these sections of the draft plan have their share of square brackets — the indicator of contentious proposals that have not yet been agreed because of differences of opinion between negotiators.  For example, many of the specific proposals on science and technology, such as the need for research into cleaner production and product technologies, will require extra funding. But there is no commitment to this in the draft, which, when it describes the need to provide resources for public funding of such research, continues to carry square brackets around the proposal that these should be "new and additional" to what is already available.  Similarly in the passage on helping African countries adapt to the impact of climate change, there remains a split between those who feel that signatories to the document should agree to provide such countries with adequate resources do to this, or merely "assist" them "in mobilizing" such resources. Elsewhere in the draft proposals, similar disagreements continue to cloud statements on issues ranging from intellectual property rights to the terms of technology transfer, topics that tend to recur (and create a stumbling block) in all international negotiations of this nature.

THE LARGER PICTURE

Discussions over the outcome of the WSSD will inevitably intensify to fever pitch over the two and a half months remaining before the conference opens. There is much that the scientific community can do in this period to capitalise on the consensus that already appears, in principle, to surround its demands for a greater role in the sustainable development debate. One such task, for example, will be to ensure that an effective display of its potential to play this role is made during the 'science summit' that, it has just been announced, will take place on the margins of the main meeting (See 'Science forum planned for World Summit').

But it is also important not to ignore the bigger picture. Science in general — and science for sustainable development in particular — is one of those 'public goods' whose fate (as even the United States has long accepted, even if it is reluctant to accept the term) cannot be left to market forces alone. Indeed the whole sustainable development debate has highlighted the inadequacies of market forces and international trade agreements, both of which focus primarily on increasing trade rather than meeting social need (or protecting the natural environment). If the political outcome of Johannesburg is to make any impact, it must find ways of establishing a consensus, both in principle and in practice, on how these inadequacies can be remedied, not just on practical palliatives. That is the real challenge of the few weeks that are left.

 
62. REVISITING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT CONCEPT David Lascelles

Business Day via All Africa

12 June 2002

Internet: http://allafrica.com/stories/200206120363.html

David Lascelles is a former Resources Editor of the Financial Times, for whom he covered the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

Environmentalists worldwide march under banner of idea that is, in fact, flawed IT's hard to contest the virtues of sustainable development, the banner under which environmentalists march these days: it's good for the planet, it's ethically correct, and it's now irreversibly rooted in the policies of the industrial world. However, since we shall have our brains washed with the concept over the coming weeks with the Johannesburg Earth Summit, it behoves us to treat it with caution. Not least of the many problems associated with it is that it does not brook dissent: sustainable development is so self-evidently "good" that it escapes rigorous scrutiny. But sustainable development is a flawed concept. First of all, what do we actually mean by it? A handy definition is organising human activity so that it does not impoverish the planet for future generations. But, by its very nature, human activity consumes resources. To be sure, you can consume less of things, or replace them with renewables. However, you can never make sustainable development anything more than a relative concept. Humanity will always leave its mark. The vagueness of the concept also raises questions about the value of events like the forthcoming summit. Where is the line drawn on sustainable development? At environmental issues (managing of resources), economic issues (placing a value on sustainability)? Are human rights, poverty and globalisation included? If so, where do you stop? The agenda has got so wildly out of hand it has lost any sharpness. Come August, Johannesburg will be packed with activists confusing the debate. One reason for the modest results of the original Earth Summit in Rio in 1992 was that the "action plan" it produced was so vast it gave little spur or guidance. However, even narrowing the concept down to the core issues of economics and the environment, does it make sense to strive to make the world more "sustainable"? Somewhere within the sustainable development movement there lurks, I suspect, a fear of change and an absence of trust in the ability of nature and humankind to adapt. To press for sustainability is to try and slow the process of change.

Some may say that that is not a bad thing. But change is deeply rooted in nature, it lies at the heart of evolution. We should not fear it, but view it as a driver of progress. Despite all the fears one hears about "the day the oil runs out", that is the last thing that will ever happen. The world will have moved on from oil long before the last drop is sucked out of the ground. To try to stop change will create greater distortions and damage than allowing change to happen. My other main reason for doubting the value of sustainability is it does not engage man's true nature. We are all willing to support its goals, but the great majority of us will not make the personal sacrifices necessary to achieve them. How many of this newspaper's readers are driving their cars less, turning off the tap while they brush their teeth, or buying electricity off wind farms? More especially, sustainability will fail to engage the business community. That is a bold prediction because, at the moment, things seem to be moving the other way. More and more companies are committing themselves to "corporate social responsibility" and adopting "sustainable" practices. The ethical stock indices are proliferating, ethical funds are growing in size. But much of the activity is driven by public relations rather than real commitment. And many of the companies taking that route have not fully thought through the implications if sustainable practices conflict with the creation of value for shareholders, which they frequently do. When that crunch comes, those companies will face tough choices. By the same token, investors will have to think hard if investment in "ethical" companies fails to deliver superior returns. And so far, there is little evidence it does. Companies with a high ethical reputation do not enjoy any "green premium" on the markets, and the performance of ethical indices is patchy. But there is another sense in which sustainability is incompatible with business. There is a belief in the sustainability movement that businesses move along a fixed track: that makers of piston engines will always make them, light bulb makers will always make light bulbs, and so on. This produces the argument that piston engine makers and light bulb makers will one day wake up to find that their markets have been killed off by global warming.

The real business world is rather different. Far from operating on a fixed track, it is in a constant process of adaptation and change. Business success comes from spotting new opportunities and shutting off ones that look to be dying. The reality of the stock market is investors are looking out for companies that can make better mousetraps, or develop keener strategies than rivals, not necessarily ones that can go chugging on for ever. And if "sustainable" firms earn no reward in the stock market, why should they bother? The danger in the drive for sustainability is that it will impose huge costs on society in the form of additional taxes and regulation that will produce only marginal gains. It has been calculated, for example, a tenth of the money needed to fight global warming would solve global health and sanitation problems. If our aim is to make the world a better place to live in, let us get our priorities right. Sustainability is neither practical nor desirable as it would entail devoting vast sums to a vague and unachievable concept. If Johannesburg is to make any contribution to this debate it can by bringing some hard-nosed realism to our environmental priorities, and how we should confront them: a brief and practical plan. To conclude with yet another giant action programme to satisfy the burgeoning sustainability agenda would be little more than a waste of time.

 
63. THE BALI PARADOXES by Rémi Parmentier, Political Director, Greenpeace International

Greenpeace International

11 June 2002

Internet: http://www.greenpeace.org/earthsummit/docs/bali_outcome_oped.pdf

The choice of the Sheraton and Hilton hotels to host government delegations at last week’s Bali conference on the eradication of poverty and environmental abuse was not the only paradox. The Bali conference organised by the United Nations to prepare the Johannesburg Earth Summit of August 2002—less than three months away—was profoundly contradictory on at least three accounts. Bali Paradox 1: Failure can be the key to success. No consensus was reached in Bali amongst the 173 countries represented, an obvious failure of governments to make good on the promises they made at the Rio Earth Summit ten years ago. But the failure to find consensus on a very weak negotiating text was a far better outcome from Bali than would have been the case

had the document been endorsed. The Bali conference revolved around a draft “action programme” prepared in advance by the chairman of the Preparatory Committee for the Earth Summit, Dr. Emil Salim, a former Indonesian Environment Minister. It was called an “action programme” despite the fact that most of the “action” had been removed. The UN bureaucracy and many governments actively campaigned for the adoption of this document despite its weakness. Up to the last minute, the possibility of the rejection of the Chairman’s text was considered unrealistic and irresponsible by UN officials because it would represent “a failure”. In contrast, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) opposed the weak agreement. They were critical of the Chairman’s proposal because it contained no clear targets or time-tables or adequate means of implementation, and generally failed to live up to the UN General Assembly mandate for Johannesburg adopted by the member states in December 2000. The main problem was that Dr. Salim tried too hard to please everyone. The result was that his proposal was merely the expression of the lowest common denominator. As the United States had announced in advance that they would oppose clear targets or any binding time-table, these were absent from the Chairman’s proposal. In other words, he took a don’t make waves approach, which is fine if one only wants to go through the motions, but not if one wants a real action programme. When the negotiations collapsed on Friday night, NGOs were not, of course, happy about the failure to agree plans to accelerate the drive for sustainability. But at the same time, there was an air of optimism because the “failure” of Bali means that all options are open for consideration in Johannesburg. “Failure” has opened the possibility of success. A proposal to increase by 2010 to 15% the share of new renewable energy, for example, is now on the table and can be adopted in Johannesburg if there is the political will to do so. Bali Paradox 2: Europe and the US sacrifice the “free”-trade mantra they impose on the rest of the world The Bali negotiations broke down ultimately because the United States and the European Union continue to promote economic double standards that undermine developing countries’ confidence in the multilateral trade regime. Whilst they demand from developing countries total obedience to the World Trade Organisation’s free trade mantra, the United States and the European Union continue to maintain their own subsidies in sensitive sectors, and the US have even increased them recently (steel, agriculture). Repeating their February 2002 Monterrey commitment to put an extra US $ 30 billion on the table for financing development (conditioned by a strict obedience to free trade) is not enough. The US and the European Union are obviously doing their best to look like good guys. But developing countries are right to point out that the Monterrey package represents only one sixth of the agriculture subsidies in rich countries. Unless the European Union and the US put an end to their own unsustainable subsidies and give developing countries an honest chance to compete on the famous

“level playing field”, confidence in the multilateral trade regime will continue to erode. The rich few have very little time to show that they acted in good faith with the WTO Doha commitment of November 2001. Unless they agree in Johannesburg to put an end to their hypocritical subsidies, Seattle is likely to pale in comparison with the 5th WTO Ministerial in Cancun, in September 2003.

Bali Paradox 3: Leaders are not expected to lead One reason the UN bureaucracy pushed so hard for the adoption of the Chairman’s text, despite its faults, was the fear that Heads of State and Government would shy away from Johannesburg unless agreement on the action programme had been reached in Bali. Is this fear an admission of the inability, or unwillingness of our “leaders” to lead? What kind of leaders do we have, if they are afraid to show up in the absence of a pre-cooked (and in this case half-baked) deal? Real leaders will see the absence of a ready-made deal as an opportunity for them to shine. A not-to-be-missed opportunity to lead the way (isn’t this in their job descriptions, after all?) as opposed to rubberstamping what others have agreed on their behalf. In this sense, the Earth Summit will be a test – if they don’t come to Johannesburg, perhaps it is time to elect some

real leaders. In a few short days, European leaders will hold a summit in Seville, Spain, and the G8 summit will take place in Kananaskis, Canada. These meetings will give us a taste of what is to come. Will the Europeans demonstrate that they are able to lead? Will they agree to play a stronger, more action-oriented role in Johannesburg (in contrast to Bali, where they sat too quietly and were ready to watch their key positions get negotiated away)? Will they take the opportunity to confirm the presence of the Fifteen in Johannesburg at the highest level? And will G8 leaders then follow their lead in sending Heads of State and Government to Johannesburg? Are George Bush, Jean Chrétien of Canada, Junichiro Koizumi of Japan and Vladimir Putin prepared to personally appear and be accountable for the outcome of the Summit? When the Bali conference came to a close, Greenpeace launched its Countdown to Johannesburg to mobilise civil society and empower governments in the eighty days left before the Earth Summit (www.greenpeace.org/earthsummit). That governments would not even seriously consider acting on some of the key societal challenges without vigorous prompting by NGOs is nothing new. But in the aftermath of September 11, when leaders promised a new ‘global deal’ to address the inequities between rich and poor countries, it is deeply disappointing.

 

64. "DEFEATING HUNGER IS POSSIBLE, AFFORDABLE AND IN THE WEST'S BEST INTERESTS"
Food and Agriculture Organisation

11 June 2002

Internet: http://www.fao.org/english/newsroom/news/2002/6361-en.html

Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs brings academic perspective to symposium on FAO's proposed Anti-Hunger Programme

Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs was recently named Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University in New York City. Special adviser to the UN Secretary-General on the Millennium Development Goals, Dr Sachs came to Rome to address a symposium on "Building a Consensus on Action against Hunger" during the World Food Summit: five years later at FAO headquarters. Below he shares some of his views on the subject.

FAO has identified lack of political will as one of the reasons for inadequate progress against hunger since the 1996 World Food Summit. Political leaders must cope with a world in which much is beyond their control. What are the key factors for success?

I think there are many complex factors that will need to be taken into account. Serious analysis shows that hunger can be conquered and at a really modest cost compared to the benefits. The background study that FAO has done, the Anti-Hunger Programme: Reducing hunger through agricultural and rural development and wider access to food, shows that an extra US$24 billion spent annually on rural infrastructure, research, emergency food assistance and other rural priorities would make a tremendous difference in the reduction of poverty and hunger. If that incremental expense could be divided roughly in half between the rich and poor countries, it would come to additional donor assistance of a mere 0.05 of one percent of the GNP of the rich countries. It is certainly an achievable objective. I think that FAO's study, while preliminary, is very well done. It shows what can be done, it is encouraging, and it demonstrates that these actions are affordable.

Any solution to world hunger must involve increased aid flows, yet official development assistance to agriculture declined by almost 50 percent during the 1990s. Do you see any sign of increased generosity on the part of Western governments that might eventually reverse this trend?

The declining trend in development assistance for agriculture has been dramatic and is part of a downward trend in development assistance for all sectors. It is alarming and has been going on now for the past 20 years. It explains why we haven't met the goals of reducing hunger and poverty. But the rich countries are waking up. At the Monterrey Conference on Financing for Development in March, for the first time in a generation, there was a clear commitment by the US and Europe to reverse this downward trend with their pledge of an additional US$12 billion in annual assistance. This is not enough money to realize the Millenium Development Goals, but it is a turning of the corner and shows a commitment to face up to the real challenges. I think we have to keep pressing to reach the magnitude that we need. At least we have on the agenda the need to increase the assistance for poverty alleviation.

Most people in most developing countries depend on the food and agriculture sectors for their livelihoods. FAO's position is that in order to defeat poverty and hunger, these sectors must be bolstered first. Yet, others make the same case for the health, education and trade sectors. What do you think should be the first priority and why?

I believe there needs to be a comprehensive, multisectoral approach. FAO is absolutely right that agriculture must be stressed, especially in Africa where it makes up such a large part of the economy. But we also want to make sure children are in school and that people are healthy so they can be healthy farmers. It is also true that over the next 30 years, increases in world population will be largely in urban areas. So we need to concentrate on both rural and urban areas. My job as special adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on the Millennium Development Goals is to look across the sectors and to help meld together a strategy that will achieve the eight goals. One part will be to work with FAO to address the problem of hunger.

An International Alliance against Hunger would involve very different constituents: the private sector, non-governmental organizations, the UN system, development banks, governments, academia and private individuals. Practically speaking, do you think such disparate entities can work together?

I do. More importantly, they are going to have to. The problem of hunger can't be solved by any one set of actors. There is no question that government must play a role, but this won't work if it is all top down. Local NGOs in the community health and farm sectors play a key role in the delivery of services. At the international level, there has to be donor financing, assistance from FAO and other organizations, scientific input from the CGIAR system (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research) and other scientific bodies. The private sector must be involved in order to make technology available at low cost or free to developing countries -- just as the pharmaceutical companies, who were holding patents on important drugs, have agreed to make them accessible through differential pricing. Agricultural companies that produce vital inputs like high-quality seeds and other products need to make a long-term commitment to do the same. My job is to work with all of them to push partnerships forward in a productive way. I should also mention my own sector, academia, which also has a lot to offer.

Is it possible to think of money spent on development assistance as an "investment" in the normal sense of the word, and how does one calculate return on such an investment?

Of course it is. Monetary value is only one part of our values. It is important not to put everything in economic terms. Still, in my work with the World Health Organization, we studied the economic costs of disease burden and calculated that an additional US$66 billion put into health services would yield a return of US$360 billion in benefits. I stress, however, that calculating these economic benefits should not deflect from the huge humanitarian element in these issues.

See Also: http://www.fao.org/english/newsroom/news/2002/6385-en.html

 

SPEECHES

 

65. 'WE STAND WITH AFRICA' - BUSH
The White House via All Africa

20 June 2002
Internet: http://allafrica.com/stories/200206210001.html

Remarks by President Bush to the 3rd Biennial Leon H. Sullivan Summit Dinner, Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Washington, D.C.

I'm so honored to be with you all to pay tribute to an exceptional man and to further a great cause. Leon Sullivan understood an important principle: If we want to live in a world that is free, we must work for a world that is just. (Applause.) The free people of America have a duty to advance the cause of freedom in Africa. American interests and American morality lead in the same direction: We will work in partnership with African nations and leaders for an African continent that lives in liberty and grows in prosperity. I want to thank Andrew Young for his service to our great country. I appreciate his friendship. I also want to welcome my friend, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the stage, and I want to congratulate him on receiving the prestigious Leon H. Sullivan Summit Award. You have picked a good man. (Applause.) I want to thank Jack Kemp for supporting this organization. I appreciate his -- (applause.) It has been my honor tonight to meet the Sullivan family, headed by a fantastic lady, Grace Sullivan -- (applause) -- who has raised beautiful children, people who are willing to follow the example of their dad. We were -- Hope and I were talking about that we had a lot of common. You know, we both have got famous fathers and strong mothers. (Laughter.) I appreciate very much Julie and Howard and meeting the grandkids. It's a thrill to be here. Your dad and your grandfather was a great American. It's the only way to call it. (Applause.) I appreciate so very much members of my Cabinet and my inner circle being here. Of course, the great Secretary of State, Colin Powell. (Applause.) Secretary of Treasury, Paul O'Neill. (Applause.) The National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice. (Applause.) I see the Deputy Director of HUD, my friend, Alfonso Jackson. (Applause.) I also appreciate members of Congress who are here tonight; members of the Diplomatic Corps. It's good to see the ambassadors from the African nations, many of whom I've had a chance to spend some quality time with. It's great to see Coretta Scott King here, as well. (Applause.) Thank you all for coming and supporting this important dinner. Thank you for giving me the chance to talk about my administration's plans for the continent of Africa. I'm really grateful, though, that the Secretary of State and Treasury are here. See, it was last May that Secretary Powell became the first member of my Cabinet to travel to Africa. And this May, Secretary O'Neill was the latest member of my Cabinet to travel to Africa. (Applause.) He and Bono were quickly dubbed "The Odd Couple." (Laughter.) But they soon found out that the rock star could hold his own in debates on real growth rates and that the Secretary of Treasury is second to none in compassion. (Applause.) I knew that the trip had had an effect on our Secretary when he showed up in the Oval Office wearing blue sunglasses. (Laughter.) Here's what we believe. Africa is a continent where promise and progress are important. And we recognize they sit alongside disease, war and desperate poverty -- sometimes even in the same village. Africa is a place where a few nations are havens for terrorism, and where many more -- many more -- are reaching to claim their democratic future. Africa is a place of great beauty and resources, and a place of great opportunity. So tonight I announce that in order to continue to build America's partnership with Africa, I'll be going to the continent next year. (Applause.) Can I come to your place -- I think the President has in mind a particular stop. (Laughter.) Put me on the spot here, right with all these cameras. (Laughter.) I look forward to the trip, I really do. It's going to be a great trip. And I look forward to focusing on the challenges that we must face together. Everyone in this room is joined by a common vision of an Africa where people are healthy and people are literate. A vision that builds prosperity through trade and markets. A vision free from the horrors of war and terror. America will not build this new Africa, Africans will. (Applause.) But we will stand with the African countries that are putting in place the policies for success through important new efforts such as the Millennium Challenge Fund. And we will take Africa's side in confronting the obstacles to hope and development on the African continent. One of the greatest obstacles to Africa's development is HIV/AIDS, which clouds the future of entire nations. The world must do more to fight the spread of this disease, and must do more to treat and care for those it afflicts. And this country will lead the effort. (Applause.) My administration plans to dedicate an additional $500 million to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV. (Applause.) And as we do so, we will work to improve health care delivery in Africa and in the Caribbean. This will allow us to treat one million women annually and to reduce the mother-to-child transmission by 40 percent within five years or less in the countries we target. Every year -- it's important for my fellow Americans to understand this statistic -- every year, approximately 2 million HIV-infected women give birth. More than one in three will pass the virus on to her baby, meaning that on the continent of Africa there are close to 2,000 more infected infants every day. We will begin to save many of these young lives by focusing our efforts on countries where the problem is most severe, and where our help can have the greatest impact. We will pursue proven and effective medical strategies that we know will make a difference. And when the lives of babies and mothers are at stake, the only measure of compassion is real results. In places with stronger health care systems, we'll provide voluntary testing, prevention, counseling, and a comprehensive therapy that we know is highly effective in reducing virus transmission from mother to child. We know it works. In places with weaker health care systems, we'll provide testing and counseling, and support one-time treatment programs that reduce the chances of infection by nearly 50 percent. Most importantly, we will make a major commitment to improve health care delivery systems in these countries. We will pair hospitals in Africa with hospitals in America; we will deploy volunteer medical professionals to assist and train their African counterparts; and we will recruit and pay African medical and graduate students to provide testing and treatment and care. As health care delivery systems improve in these nations, even more progress will be possible. And as we see what works, as we're confident that our money will be well spent and results will matter, we will make more funding available. (Applause.) I want to thank the members of Congress who have supported this initiative. I particularly want to thank Senators Helms and Frist and Congressman Jim Kolbe of Arizona. I'm also pleased that organizations exercising on -- exercising leadership on this issue will join our efforts, particularly the Pediatric AIDS Foundation, headed by Elizabeth Glaser. And I will call upon other industrialized nations and international organizations to join as well, so that we can bring the hope of life to hundreds of thousands of African children. This $500 million commitment is the largest initiative to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV by any government in history. (Applause.) It's important for you to know that this funding will complement the nearly $1 billion we already contribute to international efforts to combat HIV/AIDS; the money will complement the $2.5 billion we plan to spend on research and development of new drugs and treatments; and it will complement the $500 million we've committed to the Global Fund to fight AIDS and other infectious disease. Lack of education is the second great barrier to progress in Africa. Tonight I announce that my administration plans to double -- to $200 million over five years -- the funding devoted to an initiative I put forward last year to improve basic education and teacher training in Africa. (Applause.) Here's what we believe we can achieve. With that money we will train more than 420,000 teachers; provide more than 250,000 scholarships for African girls -- (applause); and partner with historically black colleges and universities in America to provide 4.5 million more textbooks for children in Africa. (Applause.) As we do so, we'll make sure the school system is more open and more transparent, so African moms and dads can demand needed reform. Education is the foundation of development and democracy -- in every culture, on every continent. And we'll work to give Africa's children the advantages of literacy and learning so they can build Africa's future. The third great obstacle to Africa's development is the trade barriers in rich nations -- and in Africa, itself -- that impede the sale of Africa's products. The African Growth and Opportunity Act is a tremendous success. My administration strongly supports efforts in Congress to enhance AGOA. And to encourage more U.S. companies to see Africa's opportunities firsthand, I propose holding the next AGOA Forum in Africa to coincide with my visit. (Applause.) We will continue to explore a regional free trade agreement with the Southern African Customs Union. Africa also stands -- also stands to gain even greater benefits from trade if and when we lower trade barriers worldwide. And so I'm committed to working in partnership with all the developing countries to make the global trade negotiations launched in Doha a success. (Applause.) And we look forward to advancing all of our development priorities with African countries at the upcoming World Summit in Johannesburg. Expanding global trade in products and technologies and ideals is a defining characteristic of our age -- capable of lifting whole nations out of the cycle of dependency and want. In this country we will work to ensure that all Africa -- all of Africa is fully part of the world trading system and fully part of the progress of our times. It is important for my fellow citizens to know we will build trade with Africa because it is good for America's prosperity; trade is good for building prosperity in Africa, and it is good for building the momentum of economic and political liberty across that important continent. (Applause.) And, finally, for Africans to realize their dream of a more hopeful and prosperous future, Africa must be free from war and free from terror. (Applause.) Many African nations are making real contributions to the global war on terror -- particularly my friend, President Obasanjo. I can remember his phone call right after September the 11th and, Mr. President, I want to thank you for your condolences and your support. I've asked Congress this year to provide an additional $55 million in funds to help African nations on the front lines of our mutual war to defend freedom. The United States is committed to helping African nations put an end to regional wars that take tens of thousands of lives each week. We will help African nations organize and develop their ability to respond to crises in places such as Burundi. We'll work closely with responsible leaders and our allies in Europe to support regional peace initiatives in places such as the Congo. And we will also continue our search for peace in Sudan. My policy towards Sudan seeks to end Sudan's sponsorship of terror and to promote human rights and the foundations of a just peace within Sudan itself. My envoy for peace in Sudan, former Senator John Danforth, has made progress toward a cease-fire and improved delivery of humanitarian aid to such places as the Nuba Mountain region of Sudan. Since September the 11th, there's no question the government of Sudan has made some useful contributions in cracking down on terror. But Sudan can and must do more. And Sudan's government must understand that ending its sponsorship of terror outside Sudan is no substitute for efforts to stop war inside Sudan. (Applause.) Sudan's government cannot continue to talk peace but make war, must not continue to block and manipulate U.N. food deliveries, and must not allow slavery to persist. (Applause.) America stands united with responsible African governments across the continent -- and we will not permit the forces of aggression and chaos to take away our common future. We jointly fight for our liberty; we chase down cold-blooded killers one at a time, and we do so for the common good of all people.

Leon Sullivan wrote and spoke of a vibrant partnership between America and Africa that, in his words, would help mold Africa into a new greatness, glorious to see. Tonight, his vision must be our mission. Together, we can chart a new course for America's partnership with Africa and bring life and hope and freedom to a continent that is meeting the challenges of a new century with courage and confidence. May God bless the people of Africa, and may God continue to bless America. Thank you for having me. (Applause.)

 

66. FINAL COMMUNIQUÉ - NINTH REGULAR SESSION OF THE CEC COUNCIL
Commission for Environmental Cooperation

19 June 2002

Internet: http://www.cec.org/news/details/index.cfm?varlan=english&ID=2485

Ottawa, Canada, 19 June 2002 -- We, the environment ministers of Canada, Mexico and the United States, members of the Council of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC or "the Commission"), met for our annual regular session on 18 and 19 June 2002. We reviewed activities of the Commission over the past year and received input and advice from the Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC) and the public. As nations prepare for the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development, we uphold the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC) and the CEC as examples of successful regional
environmental cooperation supporting sustainable development in our three countries. Our discussions centered on continuing to collaborate through the CEC, and particularly with JPAC, to address environmental priorities in the areas of energy and environment, environment and human health, and partnerships for sustainable development.
ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Protecting our environment as we seek to expand the generation, distribution, and trade of energy between our three countries is a
complex challenge. We received a briefing on the activities of the North American Energy Working Group and agree to pursue our efforts in a complementary fashion to those of the Working Group. We thank the CEC Secretariat and the Electricity and Environment Advisory Board for their timely and useful study of the opportunities and challenges associated with North America's evolving electricity market. Our three countries are already working to address these challenges through the CEC and other bilateral and trilateral efforts. We have given serious consideration to the recommendations of the Secretariat, the Advisory Board, issues raised by the public, and to the question of how the CEC can contribute most effectively to meeting these challenges. We also
look forward to receiving further JPAC input on this issue. Based on these considerations, we have agreed to:
* Establish a North American Air Working Group to provide guidance to the Council and facilitate future cooperative work on air related issues. 
*  Conduct a comparative study of the air quality standards, regulations, planning, and enforcement practices at the national,
state/provincial, and local levels in the three countries, building on previous research and work undertaken by the CEC on air management systems of the three countries.
*  Conduct a survey to obtain information on the comparability of North American environmental standards governing construction and operation of electricity generating facilities.
*  Identify, explore and address issues related to barriers, challenges, opportunities and principles under which emissions trading systems might evolve.
*  Continue the Secretariat's work on renewable energy, including continuing the dialogue on the transparency and scientific and technical basis of renewable energy definitions.
*  Support further analysis related to the environmental aspects of development of renewable energy markets; public awareness and education; consistency of databases; emerging renewable low-impact energy technology development and commercialization; transmission and distribution of emerging renewable electricity; and promotion of energy efficiency and combined heat and power.
*  Make further progress toward a shared North American emissions inventory by producing a shared emissions inventory for electricity generating stations, a summary report of emissions, and an analysis of the availability and comparability of additional useful data by the end of 2004.
ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH
Children's Health and the Environment. Nowhere are the links between environment and health more important than
when we look at children.  We remain committed to integrating children's environmental health considerations throughout the work of the CEC and have asked for continued advice from JPAC in this area. Based on advice from the public and JPAC, and following discussion with the Expert Advisory Board on Children's Health and the Environment, we have agreed to a cooperative agenda to protect children from environmental risks. Over the next two years, we will focus on the following elements of this long-term agenda:
*  Selecting and publishing a core set of children's environmental health indicators for North America;
*  Advancing understanding of risk assessment approaches with a view to increasing collaboration on addressing potential risks posed by toxic substances; and
*  Enhancing the understanding of the economic impacts of children's environment-related illnesses in partnership with other international organizations.
We welcome the offer of the Expert Advisory Board to take a leadership role in focusing attention on children's environmental health in the education and training of health care professionals in North America, and stand ready to work with our health counterparts to support this initiative. Moreover, we join the health and environment ministers of the Americas, as well as the G?8 environment ministers, in calling for partnerships to exchange information and develop international indicators on children's health and the environment.
SOUND MANAGEMENT OF CHEMICALS
Since 1995, the Sound Management of Chemicals (SMOC) program has helped protect our environment and health with a focus on reducing persistent toxic substances, notably DDT, PCBs, mercury and chlordane. SMOC is a highly successful working example of the implementation of Agenda 21 through regional partnerships and cooperation, including capacity building. Building on success of the SMOC program, we have agreed to develop a new North American Regional Action Plan (NARAP) targeting lindane. A persistent organic pollutant--one of the most abundant and pervasive insecticide contaminants in our environment--lindane is known to have a number of harmful effects. These are of particular concern in colder northern climates and for children who are placed at increased risk through direct application of lindane-containing products for head lice and scabies control.
In order to better understand pathways of exposure and assess our progress in controlling pollution, we have adopted a new environmental monitoring and assessment NARAP in support of the SMOC initiative. Data gathered and assessed in the implementation of this NARAP will also provide critically important information to support other CEC programs
and the national programs of the three CEC partners.  We acknowledge the contributions made by the public in the areas of
education and capacity building for the SMOC initiative, look forward to additional JPAC advice, and encourage the SMOC Working Group to take these considerations into account.
HAZARDOUS WASTE
Last year, we directed that a continental approach be developed for the sound environmental management and tracking of transboundary hazardous waste movements.  Based on recommendations from the Enforcement Working Group and
Hazardous Waste Task Force, we have agreed to:
*  Continue development of a common North American approach for environmental sound management of hazardous waste;
*  Proceed with a pilot project to track hazardous waste movement between Canada and the United States by means of an electronic notification system; and
*  Conduct a feasibility study for a pilot project on electronic tracking of hazardous waste movements between Mexico and the United States, with particular attention to capacity building in Mexico and starting with a prioritized list of substances.
NORTH AMERICAN POLLUTANT RELEASE AND TRANSFER REGISTERS (PRTRS)
We consider improved comparability among our respective national PRTRs to be of great importance, since these provide everyone--the public, industry and governments alike--with a better understanding of the sources, management, and opportunities to reduce pollutants affecting the environment and human health. We commend Mexico for the efforts it is making to implement a mandatory and publicly accessible PRTR.  We have approved the Action Plan to Enhance the Comparability of North American PRTRs, including measures to:
*  Adopt the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) codes for the national PRTR reporting systems of Mexico and the United States;
*  Pursue comparability in the manner in which data on persistent, bioaccumulative, toxic substances--particularly, mercury, dioxins and furans and lead--are collected in the three national PRTR programs, subject to the technical, economic, and regulatory capacities of each country.
*  Use activity-based reporting thresholds that are nationally determined to ensure consistency of approach across the three systems.

*  Support Mexico's efforts to operationalize a mandatory PRTR reporting system and provide public access to data on a chemical-specific and facility-specific basis.
NORTH AMERICAN PARTNERSHIPS FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
Partnerships among governments, the private sector and civil society are key to advancing sustainable development. It is important that we draw on the energy, enthusiasm, and potential of all--in particular, that of local communities and the private sector. We have reviewed a number of key partnerships and initiatives supporting cooperation on sustainable development:
NORTH AMERICAN BIRD CONSERVATION INITIATIVE (NABCI)
Birds are a key indicator of the health of our continent's ecosystems. More than a thousand species of birds are found in Canada, Mexico and the United States. Many use habitats in more than one country as they migrate. Over the past century the populations of many birds have declined significantly, often because of habitat loss or deterioration.  NABCI seeks to foster greater cooperation among the nations and peoples of the continent to achieve regionally based, biologically driven, habitat-oriented partnerships--delivering the full range of bird conservation across North America for all birds and all habitats. We have reviewed NABCI's progress and reiterate the CEC's continued support for this initiative. We acknowledge the importance of regionally based partnerships for project delivery and the use of networks and databases that promote conservation delivery and projects that demonstrate NABCI
principles. We look forward to working closely with the Biodiversity Conservation Working Group to strengthen the CEC's Conservation of Biodiversity program.
TRADE AND ENVIRONMENT
We remain committed to engaging civil society in understanding the complex links between trade and environment. We welcome the establishment of the Advisory Group on Assessing the Environmental Effects of Trade and the Call for Papers for a second symposium on assessing the environmental effects of trade in North America. We have agreed to:
Examine links between trade and the environment through a second symposium on the subject, to be held in early 2003. The Council views the symposium as providing an opportunity to compare approaches underway at the national and international levels on environmental assessments of trade in North America, further engage the public in this work, and identify opportunities for policy integration in support of sustainable development. Take the necessary steps to facilitate public input on the work on Chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) underway by the Chapter 11 Experts' Group of the NAFTA Free Trade Commission. We agreed to work with our trade counterparts to arrange a forum where interested parties can express their views on the operation and implementation of the Chapter. As we approach the tenth anniversary of NAFTA and the NAAEC, we have
decided to undertake, by 2004, in collaboration with JPAC and a wide selection of organizations and institutions, a retrospective of our achievements over the past ten years, including the environmental effects of NAFTA, with a view to charting our path for the next decade. We reiterate our support for the CEC's work on the environmental assessment of trade in the agricultural and energy sectors. We look forward to further work in these areas, particularly analysis of emerging policy issues.
FINANCE AND THE ENVIRONMENT
The Council considered the status of current work in the area of finance and environment. Its discussion was framed by a general overview of the broad-ranging interrelation between finance and environment.  In light of this, we have decided to:
*  Encourage efforts, in cooperation with the private sector and other institutions, to develop methodologies and information links to provide environmental information in a form more useful to financial institutions and to encourage the use of environmental information in credit, investment and asset risk management decisions;
*  Consider how to advance work on existing requirements regarding disclosure of environmental information pertaining to financial
reporting; 

*  Encourage further development of the concept of a North American Green Procurement Initiative; and
*  Through a sustainable agriculture fund, encourage small and medium-size sustainable agricultural enterprises.
*  We look forward to the results of the JPAC workshop on finance and environment, to be held in Monterrey in December 2002.
CORPORATE ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP
We believe public-private partnership, which includes governments at the national, state/provincial and local levels, is the best way to promote the widespread adoption of pollution prevention and the use of environmental management systems. To that end, we discussed the role of corporate environmental stewardship programs in recognizing and rewarding environmental leaders in business and government who make public, verifiable commitments to a high level of environmental protection.
We also discussed the role of our respective pollution prevention roundtables in advancing pollution prevention in North America, and we reviewed an update from the Parties on environmental management systems.  
Following these discussions, we have agreed to:
*  Recognize and support the concept of partnership amongst pollution prevention roundtables or with other relevant organizations in North America;
*  Identify further work in the area of pollution prevention, focusing on where the CEC can add value to activities proposed by the pollution prevention roundtables;
*  Explore, as appropriate, collaboration with the pollution prevention roundtables as well as other relevant organizations on the
implementation of the information network for pollution prevention in North America; and
*  Sponsor a CEC workshop in 2003 on the implementation of environmental management systems in small and medium-size enterprises to identify and draw on regional experiences and lessons learned.
WORLD SUMMIT ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) presents a crucial opportunity for the international community to reaffirm its commitment to integrating the economic, social and environmental goals of sustainable development. We affirm the importance of the international consensus reached at the WTO Ministerial in Doha and the Monterrey meeting on Financing for Development as a foundation for sustained growth and development, and express our commitment to provide constructive and substantial input to the WSSD. We have agreed to share with the Summit some of the relevant results and experiences gained through the CEC as an example of regional environmental cooperation in the context of economic integration. We have also explored our mutual
interests in the importance of partnership initiatives at the WSSD.
JOINT MEETING WITH THE INTERNATIONAL JOINT COMMISSION AND INTERNATIONAL BOUNDARY AND WATER COMMISSION
We held discussions with representatives of the (US-Canada) International Joint Commission (IJC) and (US-Mexico) International
Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) for the first time. We shared related concerns and discussed a number of areas where coordination could be useful to enhance collaboration between these institutions. We have instructed the Secretariat to strengthen its working relationships with the IJC and IBWC at the staff level and explore possibilities for collaborative activities.
CEC BUDGET AND NEXT MEETING OF COUNCIL
The Parties will continue to support the CEC at the level of US$9 million for the year 2003. We will meet in June 2003, in Washington, DC, for the next Regular Session of Council. The CEC was established by Canada, Mexico and the United States to build cooperation among the NAFTA partners in implementing the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC), the environmental side accord to the NAFTA. The CEC addresses environmental issues of continental concern, with particular attention to the environmental challenges and opportunities presented by continent-wide free trade. The Council, the CEC's governing body, is composed of the federal environment ministers (or equivalent) of the three countries, and meets
at least once a year. Attending this ninth session of Council were Canadian Environment Minister David Anderson, Mexican Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources Victor Lichtinger, and US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christine Todd Whitman. The Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC) is a 15-member, independent, volunteer body that provides advice and public input to Council on any matter within the scope of NAAEC.
For more information on any of the topics reviewed by Council, visit http://www.cec.org

 

67. LETTER FROM PRESIDENT PRODI TO MR. AZNAR

European Commission

18 June 2002

Internet: http://europa-eu-un.org/article.asp?id=1452

In just a few days we will meet in Seville. We will have the opportunity to address to take decisions on three key priorities: immigration, enlargement / institutional reform, and the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development.

Action now in each of these areas will reinforce the prospects for long-term prosperity, peace and stability for the European Union and for our partners around the world over the years to come. I set out below some reflections on each of these points.

IMMIGRATION

At the beginning of June I wrote to you offering my strong support for your decision to push the issue of illegal immigration to the top of our agenda in Seville. Immigration-related issues have increasingly become, in the eyes of the majority of our citizens, associated with questions of security; questions which our citizens expect Europe to answer as we builds an area of freedom, security and justice. We must address these concerns...Detailed and often complex work on legal immigration and asylum has been underway for a number of years. It is part of the balanced set of objectives that we agreed in Tampere in autumn 2000. Yet that work risks getting bogged down unless we are seen to be responding in a determined way to widespread public concern about illegal immigration. There is much we can do if we act together and mobilize our considerable assets, both internally and externally, to tackle this problem. However, focusing on illegal immigration must not lead us to neglect other equally important aspects of the migration question, particularly the issue of ensuring the harmonious integration of our existing immigrant population. We must send a clear message to our citizens. We will be tough on illegal immigration and the trafficking of human beings it so often entails because this is a crime and an affront to human rights. But legal immigration is good for Europe. It is source of vitality and energy which an ageing Europe needs. The multicultural nature of our societies is now a reality and we must be willing to embrace all the adjustments necessary to make multiculturalism and ethnic diversity succeed, respecting the fundamental values of our free and democratic societies.

ENLARGEMENT AND INSTITUTIONAL REFORM

In Seville we will take stock of the considerable progress made under your Presidency in the enlargement negotiations. We must now give the process a further push as the home strait of the negotiations comes into view. This includes deciding in due course on the issue of direct payments under the Common Agricultural Policy where I believe the Commission's approach offers the best prospects for success. Ensuring that enlargement is a lasting success is a key goal of the Convention on the future of Europe. However, the results of its work will depend on Treaty changes, flowing from the Inter-Governmental Conference, which will take effect only after enlargement has happened. This poses a challenge. The Nice Treaty has introduced the institutional reforms needed for enlargement to happen, but many practical issues affecting our day to day work remain. How will responsibilities be divided in a Commission from 2004 of between 25 and 30 Members? How will Council or even our Summits function effectively when a "tour de table" may take up to four hours? How can we ensure a strategic direction and coherent action within an enlarged Union?

Each Institution is starting to address these issues. The report of Mr. Solana and the Presidency's proposals, which I very much support, are launching the Council on this path. Equally, the Corbett report opens interesting avenues for the European Parliament.

This provides us with a unique opportunity to get things right in time to welcome the new Member States, providing we work together to ensure a common and coherent logic underpins whatever we may propose individually. As far as the Commission is concerned, I believe that we need to reorganize responsibilities within the College around a limited number of essential tasks and rationalize our decision-making process. Such steps can ensure that better organization can go hand in hand with a better, more effective and democratic form of governance at a European level. The Commission brings to this its experience of reshaping its administration and its efforts to improve European Governance, most recently through the Action Plan on Better Regulation, which, I sincerely hope, will prompt us in Seville to set ourselves the target of concluding an interinstitutional agreement before the end of 2002. Thus we would improve the quality of Community legislation and the relevant procedures for its adoption. Only a concerted action will allow us to achieve both "better organization" and "better regulation" of all institutions.

JOHANNESBURG

The European Council must give a renewed boost to the preparation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg if we are to achieve the ambitious objective that we set a year ago in Göteborg. We cannot allow the multilateral agenda to derail because of the US farm bill and developing countries' doubts about European sincerity in granting market access, finance and to reduce our trade distorting subsidies. The recent FAO World Food Summit in Rome was a disappointment. A failure in Johannesburg could have wider repercussions on growth and trade. I welcome the fact that several of us already decided to go to Johannesburg. The large number of European companies participating in this Conference and taking part in initiatives in support of sustainable development in the third World will be encouraged by our presence. We should together spell out clearly our firm determination to live up to our commitments. I would underline three key messages in this respect. First, we have to reassure the world that we are serious in implementing the commitments taken in Monterrey and Doha, although the WSSD cannot be a parallel negotiation about trade and finance.  Second, we should ensure that a strong Political Declaration which would support the Doha Development Agenda process is agreed and indicate how the increased funds pledged in Monterrey will be used in a sustainable manner. Thirdly, strong emphasis has to be put on implementation. The European Union is ready to follow the priorities of Secretary-General Kofi Annan, namely water, health, energy, agriculture, biodiversity. Trade and globalization is also a key factor. The European Union should combine forces to put on the table in Johannesburg credible EU-wide initiatives on water and energy, with particular emphasis on Africa. Finally, I would like to take the opportunity of this letter to congratulate you, along with Council and the European Parliament, on the remarkable progress that you have made towards closing the "delivery gap" that we had identified within the Lisbon strategy. We have had real successes - key measures within the financial services action plan agreed, a new Community R&D programme worth more than EUR17 billion over four years and the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol are just a few of the highlights. I very much believe that our recent work, for example, on getting the right framework for quality public services, and initiatives such our eEurope 2005 Action Plan will help to consolidate those successes.  Nevertheless, despite real progress, better economic prospects and a stronger euro, many people still find themselves facing considerable uncertainty as the effects of last year's sharp economic slowdown continue to cost jobs and hurt businesses. Our response must be to hold steady to the commitments taken in Barcelona. The adoption of the Broad Economic Policy Guidelines for 2002 must send a reassuring signal as regards the credibility of economic policy co-ordination that supports our single currency, as well as enabling us to envisage the dynamic development of our policies over time. It is the process of long-term, structural change, combining economic, social and environmental reforms, alongside stable economic conditions, which has actually helped the Union to cope better with recent shocks and will ensure high growth and employment. It is against this background that I am looking forward to our discussions at the end of this week. I can assure you that the Commission will be working with you ensure that our meeting is a success.

 

68. THE SECRETARY-GENERAL LETTER TO HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT OF THE GROUP OF EIGHT

United Nations

17 June 2002

Internet: http://www.un.org/News/dh/g8/sgletterg8.htm

Excellencies, I would like to thank you for inviting me, along with five African Heads of State, to join you for a working session during your Summit meeting in Kananaskis later this month. I am much looking forward to that meeting. Your decision to focus on Africa's problems is particularly welcome, at a time when Africans themselves have devised a New Partnership for Africa's Development that reflects at once their determination to tackle their own problems and their acute need for international support. The special needs of Africa were clearly recognised by world leaders in the Millennium Declaration, and the United Nations system as a whole is firmly committed to supporting African efforts. And yet, as Secretary-General of the United Nations, I also have wider concerns, which I know you will share. All of us must be concerned by the struggle against international terrorism, which requires the active  cooperation of all States, using the machinery of the United Nations to ensure that they give each other all necessary support in upholding the rule of law. And all of us must be concerned to see the world economy return to a path of sustainable economic growth. Both those objectives concern humanity as a whole, and not least the peoples of the developing world. They have suffered disproportionately from the slowdown in the world economy, and they are also the primary victims of terror and violence. Equally, even the richest and most powerful countries, such as those represented at your meeting, are unlikely to achieve lasting security, either in the economic or the physical sense, so long as billions of people in other countries are denied those benefits. I therefore hope that your meeting will bear in mind the objectives set by the Millennium Summit two years ago, and in particular the eight Millennium Development Goals, all of which are aimed at dramatically reducing the amount of extreme poverty and human misery on our planet during the first 15 years of this century. These are goals set by the world for the world, although it is in Africa that they present the toughest challenge, and in Africa that their achievement will depend most crucially on international solidarity. All of us have a vital interest in seeing these goals achieved, and I trust we can all accept them as the common framework for measuring our progress. Our prospect of achieving them depends first and foremost on the peoples of the developing countries, and above all on their leaders. Those peoples clearly recognise that, unless they themselves have the will to resolve their conflicts, eliminate corruption, uphold the rule of law, give priority to the needs of the poor, create an investment-friendly climate, and use their natural resources in a sustainable manner, no one else will be able to do these things for them. But even the best efforts of these countries to break out of the cycle of poverty, ignorance, disease, conflict and environmental degradation are likely to be insufficient unless they can count on the support of the international community. And it is to your countries that they look most urgently for that support.  The peoples of the developing world would therefore be bitterly disappointed if your meeting confined itself to offering them good advice and solemn exhortation, rather than firm pledges of action in areas where your own contribution can be decisive. They would hope, in particular,

1- That you would commit yourselves to help them resolve conflicts and build peace, both by strengthening their capacities and institutions and, when appropriate, by contributing to UN peacekeeping operations.

2- That you would hold firmly by the commitments you made in Doha last November, to conduct a round of trade negotiations offering real benefits to developing countries, notably by giving full access to your own markets for their textiles and agricultural products - both raw materials and processed goods - as well as helping the poorest countries develop their capacity to export. This requires that you take care neither to allow the political will manifested in Doha to dissipate, nor to derail the negotiations by adopting protectionist measures, whether barriers to imports or subsidies to domestic producers.

3- That you would build on the recent success of the Monterrey conference by working towards the additional $50bn a year of official development assistance that is the minimum needed if the Millennium Development Goals are to be met - and by ensuring that that money is spent in a coherent and coordinated fashion, so as to have maximum impact.

4- That you would also make sure that sufficient resources continue to be devoted to helping heavily indebted countries - so that their external debt can be reduced to, and maintained at, genuinely sustainable levels.

5- That you would make specific commitments to implement the report of your Task Force on Education for All, and would make sure that this applies to girls as well as boys.

6- That you would continue and strengthen your support for the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, as well as other efforts to combat endemic or epidemic diseases, including through access to affordable drugs, and through the research and development of ways to prevent and treat diseases that particularly affect tropical countries.

7- And that you would commit yourselves to making a success of the World Summit for Sustainable Development, which must mark a real step forward in implementing the commitments given in Rio ten years ago - notably in the five priority areas of water and sanitation, energy, health, agricultural productivity (especially in Africa) and biodiversity - as well as the pledge in the Millennium Declaration "to free all of humanity, and above all our children and grandchildren, from the threat of living on a planet irredeemably  spoilt by human activities, and whose resources would no longer be sufficient for their needs". In conclusion, Excellencies, let me say that this historic summit, at which the most privileged countries in the world will focus on the plight of the poorest, represents a historic opportunity for progress. I am sure all of you will be mindful of the heavy responsibilities that that implies. Please accept, Excellencies, the assurances of my highest consideration. Kofi A. Annan

 

69. DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL STRESSES PIVOTAL ROLE OF GOVERNMENT IN ERA OF GLOBALIZATION

United Nations

15 June 2002

Internet: http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2002/dsgsm166.doc.htm

Following is the address by Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette to Carleton University, Ottawa, on 15 June:

I am delighted to join you for this wonderful occasion, and I am honoured to receive an honorary degree from one of Canada's great universities.  I want first to congratulate the graduates of the Faculty of Public Affairs and Management.  This is your day, and I am very pleased to salute all of you for the work you have done, and for the service I know you will render to society in whatever career you choose. My own choice to enter public service -- which, by the way, was accidental  -- taught me, first of all, to trust my instincts.  But I also made that choice at the time when government was considered central to a society's future, and was an exciting place, full of ideas and opportunities. You are about to apply your skills and knowledge in a world that recently has grown again more aware and more appreciative of the role that government can play in meeting the basic needs of the citizenry.  After a period in which government was considered less an enabler of progress than an obstacle to it -- a period in which many were tempted to think that technology, the free market and the New Economy held all the answers -- we have been cruelly reminded of the value of government in providing the most basic condition for human progress, namely, security.         The institutions of State -- policy, defence forces, courts of law -- have rarely been more appreciated, and their neglect rarely more rued.  As the president of a minor American college -- Harvard -- recently reminded us:  the people running up those stairs in the Twin Towers on September 11th were public servants. We have, in short, come to recognize that there are things that only government can do -- including creating rules, setting policies, upholding laws and contracts.  This is true for the developing world as much as for the developed one.  In fact, for every country suffering from an intrusive or authoritarian State, there is another country suffering from too little government.  There, the consequence is often the kind of chaos and anarchy which not only prevents lasting peace or development, but provides the breeding ground for violent or terrorist groups. The answer, therefore -- in the developing and the developed world -- is not more or less government, but enough government -- enough to protect citizens from arbitrary violence, and to create the rules and societal framework that allows each of us to pursue our hopes and aspirations.            That is why the United Nations has made good governance a key element of all our work for peace and development.  Where bad governance has taken root, the effects have been devastating.  Where the rule of law is replaced by arbitrary rule; where civil society is denied full participation in public life; where minorities face official discrimination; where States cannot assure the provision of such fundamental public goods as roads, education and health; or where corruption instead of contracts is what spins the wheels of commerce -- these are some of the hallmarks of bad governance.  They rob people of choice and opportunity and render development difficult, if not impossible.

Good governance, by contrast, whether national or global, is based on shared values:  on the universal values found in the United Nations Charter, in all the major religions and in the constitutions and founding documents of many nations around the world.  Such values are no mystery to anyone:  they include equality, tolerance, dignity, freedom, justice and the peaceful resolution of differences.  Good governance is for all of us. It follows from these values that good governance is honest, accountable and trustworthy.  It is competent and effective, with transparent institutions.  It is local and decentralized, so that it can reflect as closely as possible the needs and aspirations of ordinary men and women.  It promotes -- and, in turn, depends on -- democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights, from freedom of speech to the advancement of women.  Most of all, good governance is based on the will of the people:  on the legitimacy gained through regular, free and fair elections; on popular participation in decision-making; and on consensus-building throughout society. As I said at the beginning, I have spent my entire career in public service, and I have been privileged to serve Canada in many capacities before assuming my present post at the United Nations.  But that also means that I have gained as strong an appreciation of the limits of public service as of its rewards and satisfactions.  I have learned a great deal about the importance of opening the public sector to the ideas and initiative of the private sector, and about better connecting government and the public sector to the citizens they serve.  That is why I believe strongly in opening the doors of opportunity in the public sector to people from the private sector, non-governmental organizations and academia -- and vice versa. To reinvent government -- to make it more effective, more accountable, and bring it closer to the citizens it serves -- requires energetic and educated people such as yourselves.  Remember that public service is not about bureaucrats protecting the bureaucracy.  Good public policy requires values, commitment, care for what you do, and a sense of responsibility to the greater public which relies on government to create the framework for the private pursuits of prosperity and security.  You may be thinking -- Aha!  She is trying to persuade us all to go into government service.  That is not -- or not only -- what I am saying.  Government can't -- and shouldn't -- do it all.  Each part of society has a responsibility to the public interest, and in every profession you can find ways of contributing to the welfare of your community. We live in an age where boundaries of many kinds are coming down -- in culture, in politics, between peoples and among all sectors of society.  It is no longer meaningful to speak of the private sector as if it does not bear responsibility for developments in the public sphere, nor to speak of the role of government as if it can continue without responding and adapting to the energy and creativity of the private sector.  In this age, a society's success will, in large part, be measured by its ability to combine ideas from the public and private sectors, simultaneously strengthening the role of the State and the role of private enterprise and civil society. This new understanding of the role of government must be applied at the global level in this era of globalization.  Today, insularity is less and less of an option.  Cooperation between governments in pursuit of common aims has never been more vital.  Today's interdependence -- of people and products, information and ideas -- means that more and more of the challenges we face can no longer be addressed at the national level alone.  More and more, the forces of modern life escape the control of national governments. We need to manage common affairs in common -- we need to arrive at common principles with which to address challenges that all peoples have in common.  In a world without walls, we can no longer think and act as if only the local matters, as if we only owe solidarity and allegiance to those within our own city or State. This poses a real challenge not only to political leaders, but to all of us as citizens and, in particular, you in the younger generation.  We need to rethink what belonging means and what community means in order to be able to embrace the fate of distant peoples and share our wealth and privilege with them, as well.  This may sound idealistic, but it is really a basic matter of realism. Of course, it will not be easy.  We all feel a deeply rooted sense of loyalty to those closest to us -- families, friends, fellow citizens of city and country.  To say that we -- and here I think, in particular, of those of us privileged to live in the developed world -- should include citizens of poor and distant countries in our circle of concern -- to suggest that we have an obligation to help them achieve their rights and opportunities -- is to ask a lot.  But I believe the era we live in leaves us with little choice.  Either we help the poor and developing countries today, out of a sense of moral obligation and enlightened self-interest, or we will find ourselves compelled to do so tomorrow, when their problems have become our problems, in a world without walls.  September 11th , among other terrible lessons, taught us this one, too. If I have focused today on the role of government and the privilege of public service, it is not only because that has been the career that I chose for myself.  I have shared with you some ideas about the role of the State in this new age, because I believe the transformation in our societies wrought by globalization has made the State more important, not less; more necessary to our prosperity and security, not less. Ultimately, however, the quality of life in our societies depends not only on the dedication and motivation of those who choose public service as their careers, but also on the commitment of all citizens to respect and serve the public good -- whether they find themselves in the private sector, NGOs or academia.  The choice, in other words, is yours, and I am confident that you will discover that serving the public good is a wonderful way of enriching and improving your own lives.

 

SPEECHES FROM THE WORLD FOOD SUMMIT

Food and Agriculture Organisation

10-13 June 2002

For more information on the World Food Summit please visit: http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsummit/english/index.html

For more speeches made at the World Food Summit please visit: http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsummit/top/podiumfull.asp


70.
ADDRESS BY UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL MR KOFI ANNAN

Internet: http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsummit/top/detail.asp?event_id=12672

Prime Minister Berlusconi, Heads of State and Government, Director-General Diouf, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen.

At the World Food Summit here in Rome in 1996, the international community set the goal of cutting by half the number of hungry children, women and men by 2015. Nearly a third of that time has already passed and progress has been far too slow. We have no time to waste if we are to reach our target, which is also, one of the Millennium Development Goals agreed by world leaders in September 2000. Every day, more than 800 million people worldwide - among them 300 million children - suffer the gnawing pain of hunger and the diseases or disabilities caused by malnutrition. According to some estimates, as many as 24 000 people die every day as a result. So, there is no point in making further promises today. This Summit must give renewed hope to those 800 million people by agreeing on concrete action. There is no shortage of food on the planet. World production of grain alone is more than enough to meet the minimum nutritional needs of every child, woman and man. But while some countries produce more than they need to feed their people, others do not, and many of these cannot afford to import enough to make up the gap. Even more shamefully, the same happens within countries. There are countries which have enough food for their people and yet many of them go hungry. Hunger and poverty are closely linked. Hunger perpetrates poverty, since it prevents people from realizing their potential and contributing to the progress of their societies. Hunger makes people more vulnerable to diseases. It leaves them weak and lethargic, reducing their ability to work and provide for their dependents. The same devastating cycle is repeated from generation to generation and will continue to be so until we take effective action to break it. We must break this cycle and reduce hunger and poverty over the long-term. About 70 percent of the hungry and poor of the developing world live in rural areas. Many of them are subsistence farmers or landless people seeking to sell their labour, who depend directly or indirectly on agriculture for their earnings. We must improve agricultural productivity and standards of living in the countryside by helping small subsistence farmers and rural communities increase their incomes and improve the quantity and quality of locally available food. For that, we must give them greater access to land, credit and relevant technology and knowledge that would help them grow more resistant crops, as well as ensuring plant and animal safety. But success will also depend on developments beyond the farm gate, such as improvements in rural health care services and education and in rural infrastructure, which includes roads, supply of irrigation water and food safety management. Such improvements would also do much to stimulate private sector investments in downstream activities, such as food processing and marketing. We must secure a central place for women, who play a critical role in agriculture in developing countries. They are involved in every stage of food production, working far longer hours than men, and are the key to ensuring that their families have adequate supplies of food. Nowhere are strategies for sustainable agriculture and rural development more important than in Africa, where nearly 200 million people - 28 percent of the population - are chronically hungry. Indeed today, for the first time in a decade, several countries in the southern African region face a risk of outright famine over the coming months.

We must, therefore, bring all our innovative thinking to bear on helping Africa fight hunger. The African-owned and led New  Partnership for Development must be supported as a potentially important tool in that fight. We must also fulfil the promise given at last November's meeting of the World Trade Organization in Doha and make sure that the new round of trade negotiations removes the barriers to food imports from developing countries. For instance, the tariffs imposed on processed food, like chocolate, make it impossible for processing industries in developing countries to compete. We must also evaluate carefully the impact of the subsides that are now given to producers in the rich countries. By lowering food prices in the poorest countries, they may help alleviate hunger in some cases and in the short-term only. But, dumping surpluses can also have devastating long-term effects - ranging from disincentives for national production to unemployment - while making it impossible for the developing countries to compete on the world market. However, even if markets in developed countries were opened further, these countries would still need help to take advantage of these opportunities, especially in the agriculture sector. The application of some international norms and standards cannot be met without technical assistance and further investment. The fight against hunger also depends on the sustainable management of natural resources and the ecosystems, which contribute to food production. With world population expected to reach well over seven billion by 2015, pressure on the environment will continue to mount. The challenge of the coming years is to produce enough food to meet the needs of one billion more people, while preserving the natural resource base on which the well-being of the present and future generations depends. But the hungry poor also need direct help today. Food aid can make a big difference, both in emergencies and in situations of chronic hunger. Direct nutritional support to pregnant and nursing women helps their babies grow into healthy adults. School feeding programmes not only feed hungry children but also help to increase school attendance - and studies show that educated people are best able to break out of the cycle of poverty and hunger.

My dear friends, if we want to reverse the current trends and reduce hunger by 50 percent by the year 2015, we need a comprehensive and a coherent approach that addresses the multiple dimensions of hunger by pursuing simultaneously wider access to food and agricultural and rural development. We need an anti-hunger programme that could become a common framework around which global and national capacities to fight hunger can be mobilized. We know that fighting hunger makes economic and social sense. It is a key step towards achieving all the development goals that we agreed to at the Millennium Summit. It is fitting, therefore, that this Summit comes in the middle of a crucial cycle of conferences aimed at helping us improve the lives of people everywhere - from trade in Doha, via the financing for development in Monterrey, to sustainable development in Johannesburg. Hunger is one of the worst violations of human dignity. In a world of plenty, ending hunger is within our grasp. Failure to reach this goal should fill every one of us with shame. The time for making promises is over. It is time to act. It is time to do what we have long promised to do - eliminate hunger from the face of the earth.

 

71. MS GRO HARLEM BRUNDTLAND (DIRECTOR-GENERAL, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION - WHO)

Internet: http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsummit/top/detail.asp?event_id=12734

Food insecurity, hunger and malnutrition dominate the health of the world's poorest nations. Alleviation of hunger and malnutrition is a fundamental pre-requisite for poverty reduction and sustainable development. More than 570 million of the world's women suffer from anaemia. Their babies are small, they are weakened and tired, and their lives are at risk. Some 60 percent of the 11 million childhood deaths in developing countries each year are associated with malnutrition: 160 million children under five are stunted due to protein energy malnutrition; 740 million people suffer from iodine deficiency disorders; 250 million children under five suffer from vitamin A deficiency. The results are more than the deaths: hundreds of millions of children have lower defences against infectious diseases; children who do not develop to their physical and mental potential. As a result, they lose out at school, in the work place and, ultimately, in life itself. Through the Millennium Development goals, we have committed ourselves to cut abject poverty by half by 2015. We will only achieve this if we can drastically reduce malnutrition. This will involve serious agricultural reforms and changes in trade. It will involve new policies and distribution systems that will make this food available to the poorest.

It will involve tackling the wasting diseases, including HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria. It will involve fortification of basic food products at a price that is affordable for the poorest. It will involve more scientific research and better stewardship and governance by national leaders. The dual scourge of hunger and malnutrition will be truly vanquished not only when granaries are full, but also when people's basic health needs are met and women are given their rightful role in societies. The other major causes of malnutrition, not only food shortage, must feature prominently in the way we move ahead. Malnutrition is also a matter of food safety. Contaminated food is a major cause of epidemic diarrhoea, substantially contributing to malnutrition and killing about 2.2 million people each year, most of them children. Investing in food safety carries big returns. It reduces the expenses of food-borne disease. It contributes to poverty alleviation through increasing the quality and length of life, while augmenting people's productivity, and improves global health and global trade. We should also focus on the other side of the malnutrition coin: the negative health effects connected with an unbalanced diet, too high an intake of calories and not enough exercise. Obesity, diabetes and heart diseases are no longer reserved for the affluent and over-privileged. The rapidly growing epidemic of non-communicable diseases, already responsible for some 60 percent of world deaths, is clearly related to increased consumption of industrially-processed fatty, salty and sugary foods. In the slums of today's mega-cities, we are seeing non-communicable diseases caused by unhealthy diets and lifestyle, side-by-side with undernutrition. This double burden of disease is rapidly becoming a serious brake on the development efforts of many countries. But the rapidly changing global dietary patterns have wider consequences. Increasing meat consumption is also affecting our environment and the nature of agricultural production. Economic development and globalization need not be associated with increasing inequity, hunger and chronic disease. On the contrary, we can harness the forces of globalization to reduce inequity, to reduce hunger and to improve health in a more just and inclusive global society. But for that we need new thinking and new action. We need a longer-term perspective that places the health of people and the health of our planet at the centre. We have the knowledge. We know how to enable the poor to get the food they need. We know how to avoid micronutrient deficiencies. We know how to encourage breast-feeding of infants. We know how to ensure safe food from farm to plate. We know what constitutes healthy diets. We have the tools to make changes. From this Summit, I also hear that we have the will. Let us now work for a world where all can eat and live healthy lives in dignity.

 

72. MS ANNA KAJUMULO TIBAIJUKA (EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, UNITED NATIONS CENTRE FOR HUMAN SETTLEMENTS - HABITAT)

Internet: http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsummit/top/detail.asp?event_id=12770

Excellencies, Heads of State and Government, Dr Jacques Diouf, Director-General of FAO, Honourable Ministers, Ambassadors, Distinguished Participants, Ladies and Gentlemen. It is a great honour and pleasure for me to address you at this important event, World Food Summit: Five years later. As you are all aware, Excellencies, food security is multifaceted in character and therefore necessitates concerted action by stakeholders at all levels. From the perspective of UN-HABITAT, whose principal mandate is that of promoting the sustainable development of cities and other human settlements, both urban and rural, promoting food security remains a central challenge in delivering the Habitat Agenda. Why is this so? Simply because from time immemorial, the availability of food has always influenced the wellbeing of settlements, and even dictated their viability. Food is clearly an important consideration in the sustainability of human settlements. How we plan our cities and towns, and how we provide socio-economic infrastructure, particularly as regards food distribution, is one of the key concerns in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda.

In the United Nations Millennium Declaration, world leaders committed themselves to improving the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by the year 2020. They renewed this commitment at the Special Session of the General Assembly for an overall review and appraisal of the implementation of the Habitat Agenda, Istanbul+5, in June 2001 and accepted that the implementation of the Habitat Agenda is an integral part of the overall fight for the eradication of poverty. Poverty as we all know is a state in which basic needs, namely food, clothing and shelter are not adequately met. It is normally exacerbated by ill health, inadequate income and education, as cause and effect. If this is accepted, the implementation of the Habitat Agenda, as regards providing adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development in an urbanizing world, is relevant to this Summit. Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen. In most of the developing world, poverty might be predominantly a rural phenomenon, but as you know, we are living in an urbanizing world. People are on the move to cities. As we prepare ourselves for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, has recently observed that the "future of humanity is in cities". Of the world's 6 billion people, 50 percent are now in the urban areas. In Europe and North America, urbanization is more or less completed at about 80 percent. In Latin America, over the last 25 years, urbanization has also been very rapid, and is now above 75 percent. In Asia and Africa, urbanization stands around 36 and 37 percent respectively. Thus, contrary to common belief, (primarily as a result of rural conflicts) Africa is already relatively more urbanized than Asia. These realities have great implications on food security, and on strategies to achieve it. The planning of our cities and other human settlements has to be borne in mind, if we are to secure food security at national, community and household level. Partly because we have not been prepared for this dramatic demographic shift, rapid urbanization has been accompanied by what is now referred to as the "urbanization of poverty". As we might all be aware, a substantial proportion of the urban poor, not only lack decent shelter but are also usually unable to satisfy their food and nutritional requirements. Many are usually near nutritional deprivation due to severely limited ability to procure adequate food requirements. As a result, where and when they can, a number of urban households are turning to urban agriculture not only as a hobby but as an important means to supplement their food supplies or as a way of augmenting declining purchasing power of the formal earnings. Unable to find part time employment, housewives have also found gardening a useful way to supplement household income. While there might be some immediate benefits in urban farming as a coping strategy, it is not without serious challenges to sustainable development of settlements. For, to accommodate urban and peri-urban agriculture will require allocation of more land. Obviously, this will have implications not only on the size of cities but also on the value of food produced on expensive urban land. The problem of providing adequate infrastructure to sprawling cities is well known, not to mention high transportation costs, and associated pollution. Furthermore, given the relatively higher pollution rate in urban areas, the levels of contamination in horticultural products, for example, ought to be carefully investigated. The same is the case for urban livestock production, which also, because of high population concentrations, could increase risks for disease epidemics. From this perspective, the apparent opposition and at times hostility from municipal planning and by-laws to urban agriculture should not be dismissed offhand but warrant more careful analysis and consideration. We, at UN-HABITAT, believe that the practice of urban agriculture could make significant contributions to urban food security, provided the above urban planning and health concerns are taken into consideration. In this regard, we have started to cooperate with FAO on how to promote safer and more sustainable urban and especially peri-urban agriculture and agricultural practices. We would like to work towards an integrated city development strategy which takes into account a city and its hinterland, the link between the rural and urban development dimensions in the sustainable development of settlements. I am pleased to inform you that work in this direction has already started and is being supported by a number of donors. For example, in preparation for the Summit, with support from the European Union and the Government of The Netherlands, workshops on food security were organized for African Parliamentarians in Yaounde, Cameroon and in Nairobi, Kenya in collaboration with the Coalition of African Organizations for Food Security and Sustainable Development (COASAD). The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada has also supported a follow-up workshop on the topic of "Urban Policy Implications of Enhancing Food Security in African Cities" organized jointly by UN-HABITAT, FAO and SIUPA (the Strategic Initiative on Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture). These workshops focused on examining aspects of urban policies that impact on food production, supply and distribution in cities and how to make these policies more enabling of food security. The aim was to sensitize national and local leadership, as well as stakeholders at all levels, of what is possible and what is not, and create awareness among them on the necessity to review and revise relevant laws, by-laws and regulations, as appropriate.

The importance of agricultural marketing was particularly emphasized. It was concluded that the growing importance of urban agriculture is living testimony that urban migrants have given up farming as an occupation, but simply have moved closer to markets for their produce. In many countries, more efficient agricultural marketing services to farmers could go a long way to reduce the rapid rate of rural urban migration. Excellencies, one of the conclusions of the First World Urban Forum hosted by UN-HABITAT last month in Nairobi was that policy-makers and planners need to focus on managing urbanisation rather than fighting it. And that development policies and strategies should deal with urban and rural areas, together, as essential components of a well-functioning economic region, considering their inter-linkages and mutual benefits. In this context, UN-HABITAT promotes and advocates integrated development planning of settlement systems (urban and rural) to facilitate easier transportation and distribution of food between and within cities, towns and rural areas. Let us hope that through cooperation between our countries, cities and organizations, we will succeed in solving the problem of food security, as well as the problem of slums and poverty.

Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen. I assure you that UN-HABITAT is fully committed to promoting sustainable development of human settlements, including food security for all people at all times, according to the principles adopted in the Habitat Agenda, the goals of the Millennium Declaration and in line with the recommendations and commitments of this Summit.

I wish this Summit great success and I thank you for your kind attention.

 

73. HIS EXCELLENCY THAB0 M. MBEKI (PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA)

Internet: http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsummit/top/detail.asp?event_id=12683

Chairperson, your Majesties, your Excellencies, Heads of States and Governments, His Excellency, Mr Kofi Annan, His Excellency, Jacques Diouf, Ministers and Distinguished Delegates. This important meeting in Rome is a declaration of hope to the peoples of the world that the leadership on our common universe is committed to eradicate poverty, to achieve food security and promote sustainable development as we advance to a fully inclusive and equitable global economic system. The experience of the past five years indicates that there has been some progress albeit slow towards the achievement of the vision contained in the Rome Declaration on World Food Security. The current situation is that we are reducing the number of hungry people by six million against a target of 22 million per annum, as mentioned by the Director-General. The key shortfall is the decline of investments in agriculture and rural development, relating both to domestic and foreign resources. Furthermore, civil strife, conflicts, migration, natural disasters and unfair trade practices and an unfavourable economic climate have resulted, particularly in Africa, being faced with a real threat of famine. If we are to achieve the targets set in the 1996 Plan of Action and confirmed in the Millennium Declaration, we have to recommit ourselves both individually and collectively to the full implementation of the programmes agreed in 1996, to eradicate poverty and hunger. In our country level assessments it was clear that in cases where there was strife and other problems, institutions for implementation could not be established. Where peace prevailed time was needed to adopt the necessary policies, the programmes and institutions, as well as to attend to such matters as gathering the necessary baseline information for purposes of effective planning of implementation and monitoring. This has given us the necessary foundation for us to move forward faster during the period ahead of us. As a continent, we have established a framework through the new partnership for Africa's development, NEPAD, within which the World Food Summit Plan of Action will be implemented. NEPAD identifies agriculture as a priority sector. In this regard, we want to ensure that we extend the area under sustainable land management and reliable water control systems; to improve rural agriculture and market access; to increase levels of investment in agricultural research; and increase food supply while reducing hunger. Complementary to this, we urge that all issues blocking our access into the markets of the developed world have to be addressed. Speedy movement on this matter would yield early dividends with regard to achievement of the goal of sustainable food security. Of great importance, we must all commit to a partnership of mutual accountability between the north and the south to effect the necessary changes as represented, for instance, by NEPAD. The premise of this partnership must be an unambiguous commitment to solving problems together, in a spirit of joint responsibility among governments and between governments and the private sector and civil society. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Director-General of the FAO and his colleagues for working so well in partnership with the NEPAD institutions, providing technical support to help elaborate the Programme of Action with regard to African agriculture. The mission that has brought us here today started in earnest at the 1996 World Food Summit where we stated that: "We reaffirm the right of everyone to have access to safe and nutritious food, with an immediate view to reducing the number of undernourished people to half the present level, no later than 2015." In the Millennium Declaration in 2000, we stated that: "We are committed to making the right to development a reality for everyone and to freeing the entire human race from want." We are convinced that the world has the capital, it has the technology and the human skills to achieve the critically important goals we set ourselves both in the Rome and the Millennium Declarations. What is called for is bold leadership, informed by the noble principle of human solidarity. We cannot go back on the gains of the Doha Development Round. Rather, we should break the impasse caused by differences about what needs to be done to attain food security. We have to realize fair trade, new resource mobilization, and ensure that the objective to defeat underdevelopment and poverty permeates our intervention strategies. What we agree here must strengthen the Johannesburg Declaration and Plan of Action of the World Summit for Sustainable Development. The Johannesburg Summit should affirm the centrality of agriculture and food security, to the objective of sustainable development in a meaningful way. I trust that all of us will pay the necessary attention to this matter in the interest of the thousands of millions in the world who are hungry. We therefore look forward to welcoming you in Johannesburg in August and September this year. I thank you very much Mr Prime Minister.

 

74. MR. MARK MALLOCH BROWN (ADMINISTRATOR, UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME - UNDP)

Internet: http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsummit/top/detail.asp?event_id=12769

Mr President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen. As we gather here to review the progress achieved since the World Food Summit of 1996, we are forced to face the fact that more than 800 million people in the world go without enough food every day. While the total number of undernourished people dropped in the 1990s, the rate of decline was far too slow to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of halving by 2015, the proportion of people suffering from hunger. Despite progress in several large countries such as China, Indonesia, Nigeria and Thailand, many others are lagging. This is especially true of Africa. In about half of the countries south of the Sahara, the proportion of undernourished people continues to affect one-third or more of the population.

Combating hunger and achieving the other United Nations Millennium Development Goals are closely intertwined. A malnourished person cannot fulfil his or her individual potential; a nation of undernourished people cannot develop. Take the issue of gender equality; women's status in society has a very important bearing on the nutrition of the family; empowering them through education, greater control over resources and genuine participation in decision-making will be essential to reduce hunger. Or look at the relentless spread of HIV/AIDS, which is having a devastating impact on food production in the worst affected countries, trapping many people in a vicious cycle of hunger, poverty and disease. Simply put, from providing universal primary education to reducing maternal mortality, all the MDGs are at risk if we cannot successfully tackle the hunger goal. But that target should similarly not be tackled in isolation: if we are to meet it, we will have to make progress in other areas as well from reducing poverty to improving access to clean water. The Secretary-General has asked me as Administrator of UNDP and Chair of the UN Development Group to act as "scorekeeper and campaign manager" for the MDGs, working closely with the UN Funds, Programmes and Agencies, the International Financial Institutions, OECD/DAC and other partners from civil society to the private sector, to build a coherent plan of action in support of these ambitious but very achievable goals and targets. There are four key dimensions to this effort.

First, working through UNDG, UNDP has been helping integrate the MDGs into all aspects of the UN system's work at country level. A dedicated UNDG working group is now working to ensure these are reflected in all future programming and operational instruments with the aim of better aligning the programme work of the UN with the priorities set out in the Millennium Declaration. As a first step, the MDGs are being addressed through revised guidelines for the CCA and UNDAF. Second, while the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs is leading an effort to monitor global progress, UNDG, working through UN Resident Coordinators, is helping publish regular reports on the status of each MDG at country level. These are helping to trigger vigorous public debate on key priorities of human development at the national and sub-national levels. The first nine pilots are already complete, and preliminary work has begun on another 40. We intend for every country covered to have completed at least its first MDG Report by 2004. Third, those reports will be complemented by new research led by Professor Jeffrey Sachs, the special adviser to the Secretary-General on MDGs, working with agencies from across the UN system and scholars and policy-makers across the world in their areas of expertise, to help flush out just what policies, resources and partnerships will be needed to meet the MDGs by 2015. On the hunger goal, this effort will be anchored by FAO, with strong support from WFP and IFAD; and we hope and expect that this work, building on the strong existing analysis by FAO prepared for this conference, will help guide similar efforts on the other MDGs as well as driving critical follow-up research at country level. Fourth and finally, all this work will provide critical information to drive a series of advocacy and awareness-raising campaigns across the world; in developed countries targeted on increasing support through aid, trade and debt relief; in developing countries to help build a national consensus on the urgent need for action on the MDGs through policies, programmes and resource allocations. Working primarily through partners; civil society, the media and government; these campaigns will be driven at the country-level by local actors based on local priorities but linked to the same underlying goals. Through these interlinked initiatives, therefore, we hope to not only spread awareness about the MDGs among policy-makers and general public alike, but also accelerate progress towards meeting them. By doing so, the aim is to make them the linchpin of the global deal which emerged in Monterrey under which sustained policy reform, more and better spending on basic social services, and better governance capacity in the developing world are matched by direct support from the rich world in the form of trade, aid and investment and technology transfer in areas from health to information and communications technologies. Because the fact is we simply cannot bequeath to future generations a world that is so rich, yet offers so wretched an existence to so many of its people. Unless we act resolutely to reverse this trend; unless we shatter the complacency that blinds the world to the fact that so many of its citizens are left deprived of not only their rights and dignity but any prospect of lifting themselves and their families out of hunger and poverty; unless we take firm and resolute action to achieve all the Millennium Development Goals, then future generations will rightly condemn the selfishness and short-sightedness of their forebears. Thank you.

 

ON THE WEB

 

75. SOUTH AFRICA TO GET TOUGH ON EARTH SUMMIT PROTESTS -(Reuters Via Planet Ark 21 June 2002)

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76. EARTH SUMMIT MUST SET REAL TARGETS, SAY EXPERTS (Reuters Via Planet Ark 19 June 2002)

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77. SOUTH AFRICA'S MBEKI VOWS TO RESCUE EARTH SUMMIT (Reuters Via Planet Ark 19 June 2002)

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78. INTERVIEW - UN environment chief wants action, not promises (Reuters via Planet Ark 18 June 2002)

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79. UN MARKS 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF LANDMARK GREEN SUMMIT (Reuters via Planet Ark 18 June 2002)

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80. ANALYSIS - WORLD EARTH SUMMIT ALL SET FOR MAJOR FLOP (Reuters via Planet Ark 17 June 2002)

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81. SOUTH AFRICA SAYS FARM SUBSIDIES OBSTACLE TO UN SUMMIT (Reuters via Planet Ark 11 June 2002)

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82. MINISTERS FAIL TO AGREE EARTH SUMMIT PLAN (Reuters via Planet Ark 10 June 2002)

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83. UPDATE - CURTAIN FALLS ON CONTROVERSIAL UN FOOD SUMMIT (Reuters via Planet Ark 14 June 2002)

http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16429/story.htm

84. ANALYSIS - EARTH SUMMIT RISKS FAILURE WITH VAPID PLEDGES (Reuters via Planet Ark 12 June 2002)

http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16382/story.htm

 

 

 

 

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