Thank god for five renegade leaders,says the Guardian's John Vidal, prepared to stand alone at the summit against the rest of the world's leaders (who all dress and think alike: blue suits, rimless glasses, and a belief in free markets).
Vidal's five "outspoken renegades" are President Hugo Chavez, of Venezuela, Dr Sam Nujoma of Namibia, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Felipe Roque, Cuban foreign minister, and President Yoweri Museveni, of Uganda.
The Economist thinks the summit was "good in parts." It is most excited by the "unglamorous" water and sanitation target, but believes the summit achieved a "modest success" on a number of issues that fall at the intersection of poverty and the environment.
"It might seem odd to have set a target for water and sanitation, but not for energy - but this was probably right," it argues. "Digging boreholes or building lavatories pose no great technological challenges: political will is the real barrier to progress on these issues. Energy poverty, in contrast is more difficult. The technology is evolving rapidly. Forcing expensive, complicated and soon-to-be-outdated methods on poor villagers has little to recommend it."
The magazine is also predictably pleased with the focus on partnerships. "Some will no doubt prove to be public relations stunts," it says, but it expects the successful ones "to have more impact than all the fine words spewed at the Rio talks."
In the news the summit was honourable and reasonably successful. Real work begins. Environmentals wary of nanotechnology. Counting the cost. Malaysia finds Summit 'acceptable'. More on the EU's determination to go it alone. Indigenous peoples disgruntled. Opportunity lost. Mugabe pleased with his reception. Mbeki pleased with summit. NGOs attacked over dam. Summit produced 290,000 tons of CO2.
Edward Goldsmith is Ronald Bailey's mirror image (see below). Writing in the Ecologist's summit special (which, weirdly, only arrived in Joburg as most of us were beginning to pack for home), Mr Goldsmith, the magazine's founder, argues that the world's problems start with modern science ("a puerile and megalomaniac dream") and economics (a supremely arrogant "religion of progress").
Poverty is not the problem, Mr Goldsmith believes, but development is. "Until recently," he writes, "people could feed themselves very satisfactorily without money, and usually maintain themselves in excellent health." Development requires a "cancer-like expansion," which leaves behind an "atomised mass of socially deprived and alienated individuals," many of whom are delinquents, drug addicts, and criminals.
The only solution, he says, is to put development into reverse. "This will mean that most of us will live in largely, but not entirely, self-sufficient villages, geared to small-scale, low-tech production of food and artefacts."
Daily Summit implied that the indigenous people's lobby was very pleased with the summit outcome. Not so fast - Tom Goldtooth, the national director of the U.S. Indigenous Environmental Network, says that "it's appalling, appalling. There has been no progress at all."
Mr Goldtooth is especially cross about global energy policies which he believes are "a form of cultural and ethnic genocide against our people."
As a result, Mr Goldtooth sees dire consequences for humanity. "Our Mother Earth is going to be taking actions on her own to straighten things and balance things out," he says. "Unfortunately it's the human beings who will be the weakest of all of the creatures who will feel the devastation. The earth is out of balance and she is going to put her own self to rights."
Our intrepid correspondent is making his weary way home. Tomorrow we will begin to evaluate some of the important outcomes of these last hectic 10 days. In the meantime the Daily Summit will continue to bring you updates on the main news stories and commentary as they come in.
In the news the final text has been hammered out (link here). The accord passes after dischord. Don't underestimate the power of targets. Governements no longer rule the world. Mugabe vows crackdown on farmers. South Afirca relieved at successful summit. Poverty continues outside Sandton. Nujoma questioned by over 'anti west' speech. Summit costs kept under wraps. Powell shrugs off hostile reaction. 750 limos from the EC at the summit. OAS urges resumption of aid to Haiti.
The political declaration was two documents, not one – with a "corrigendum" hastily tacked onto what I think was the third draft declaration to be circulated.
The political declaration was supposed to be an inspiring document, capturing the "mood" of change in a few short paragraphs.
The South Africans took responsibility for preparing it and, although they have received general praise for the way they handled the negotiations, Daily Summit reckons they bungled this final job.
The declaration does have a few colourful passages, but generally the language is stodgy and clotted, the aspirations banal, and the commitments anodyne. The most memorable passage, with its reference to the King James bible, is typically clunky.
"Unless we act in a manner that fundamentally changes their lives, the poor of the world may lose confidence in their representatives and the democratic systems to which we remain committed, seeing their representatives as nothing more than sounding brass or tinkling cymbals." it says.
The corrigendum (defined here, as "an error to be corrected, especially a printer's error") adds two paragraphs of bits and pieces that countries wanted included at the last minute.
One addition had the representatives from the world's indigenous peoples dancing with delight. Reaffirming their "vital role" in sustainable development was the breakthrough they'd been waiting for, one said. Apparently, the term 'indigenous peoples" has never been used without qualification in an official inter-governmental document.
Even at 1 a.m. this morning the security had melted away from Sandton. Your correspondent is now having to adjust to a life without photo IDs, x-ray machines, and a Kafkan system of one way systems, no-go areas, and VIP-only entrances.
This afternoon, the work crews are packing up the summit. Sandton is, once again, a free zone – as its concrete wall is winched, piece by piece, onto trucks.
Within the Convention Centre, itself, the scene is of the aftermath of some bizarre party, to which the guests bought paper rather than alcohol. A few tonnes of outdated press releases, newspapers, announcements, invitations, speeches and draft agreements are strewn across every surface.
Even the special edition of "Positive News" doesn't look so cheerful this morning. "An acute State of Emergency exists on earth, imperiling its climate, its life support systems and the lives of billions of people," opens its leading article.
Oh and by the way, our much vaunted definitive answer on corporate responsibility hasn't proved so definitive after all. The US had a last ace up its sleeve and played it with uncertain effect. We'll try and clarify this tomorrow - and provide a summit retrospective. But for now, we await the South African president who is on his way to speak to us now...
It was strangely restful sitting at the very back of the summit's final plenary.
First, we heard from a long list of countries who wished to express reservations of one kind or another about the proposed agreements. There were three types of list. From some developing countries, passionate cries that the summit could and should have done more. From, the United States a long list of items it didn't really agree with, delivered at breakneck speed, and greeted by more boos. And from a middle group, small, but detailed and technical concerns.
Then a long, long, long adjournment, while horse trading continued to arrive at a political declaration anodyne enough that everyone could agree to it. At last, the meeting was called back to order, and then the plan of implementation was adopted without argument and at great speed.
But still the summit refused to die. For another cruel hour – speakers thanked the South Africans, civil society and each other, while speculating about how happy we will all feel if the summit's fine commitments are somehow achieved.
No-one, of course, thanked the media (why would they?) – and as the delegates celebrate and the NGOs commiserate, we wait for one last press conference with Thabo Mbeki…
And now it is over! At 7.44 this evening, the World Summit's plan of implementation was adopted - and at 7.54, the third draft of political declaration was adopted too (against Daily Summit's earlier prediction)...
European, Latin American and many other developing countries are using today's closing plenary to commit themselves to a voluntary alliance on renewable energy. Especially nerdish Daily Summiteers will remember that you first heard about this "coalition of the willing" when we interviewed EU Environment Commissioner, Margot Wallström, just after she had to fold on the renewable energy target...
In the news. Seasons becoming muddled. Meacher and Prescott quiet. Powell has an understudy. Australia stands with US on Kyoto. Oil executives seek a 'kinder face'. Summit rejects energy targets. Blair refutes Daily Mail accusation. Ireland leads on plastic bags. Canada and Russia save protocol.
Daily Summit hears that a new draft of the political declaration was released half an hour ago. We are trying to track a copy down as the word is there are still serious obstacles to be overcome if this or any declaration is to be adopted.
The day so far. "Thanks President Bush for making the US so unpopular," reads the scrawl on an American flag erected by US NGOs outside the press conference room here in Sandton.
Indeed, this has been a horrible day for the world's only superpower. Last night, the US suffered a serious setback on corporate responsibility (see here, confirmed by Daily Summit here) and one that seems to raise questions about the competence of its negotiators.
This morning, meanwhile, its Secretary of State was heckled throughout his speech to the summit, mostly by his fellow countrymen (see here).
Daily Summit made the trip beyond the Sandton perimeter to where the US delegation has its press office, expecting some reaction from them on recent events. Courteously received as always, your correspondent came away empty handed. Not for the first time, this nation of great communicators had nothing to say...
At last, Daily Summit has the definitive answer on corporate responsibility. A few moments ago the secretary of the main committee, here at the World Summit, confirmed to us that last night's 'interpretative note' on corporate responsibility has no legal status and will not appear in the notes from what was an action-packed meeting (see here).
This means that the door now seems to be definitively open for new international agreements to regulate the conduct of multi-national businesses.
We read this as an impressive victory for Friends of the Earth and an embarrassing defeat for the US government. The US delegation was only persuaded to make a deal, when it was offered this interpretative note as a sweetener. However, this hard won concession has turned out to be a mirage (we think).
Daily Summit can confirm that there is utter confusion over the state of the corporate accountability text agreed last night.
Full details of what happened are in an earlier post but we have now confirmed with the UN Secretariat that even they are unclear about what happened last night.
Meanwhile, in the story that no-one is covering, the political declaration is in real trouble. As far as we understand, a second draft has still not been produced as promised by Minister Zuma last night. The Secretariat is now considering not having a political declaration at all and instead opting for the much weaker form of a president's declaration.
This would be a humiliation for the South African government and a serious step back for the summit as a whole.
It's not conspiracy here, it's cock-up as the process threatens to fall apart.
Secretary of State Colin Powell was treated in a shameful manner, as he was heckled and booed at numerous points in plenary during his ten minute speech at the World Summit today. Secretary Powell's speech was remarkably uncompromimsing however as he delivered a series of messages the US knows the world doesn't want to hear.
Mr Powell strongly supported the US position on genetically modified crops, Zimbabwe, renewable energy, climate change, trade as a means to development, and private sector involvement in the provision of public services.
Protestors were bundled from the chamber as Mr Powell spoke and Minister Zuma demanded an end to "unacceptable" behaviour.
His voice husky, and looking shaken, Mr Powell said his African ancestors would have understood what he was doing in Johannesburg.
Much of his audience certainly did not however, and it is now abundantly clear why it would have been impossible for President Bush to have attended this summit.
Daily Summit will bring you reaction to this extraordinary speech as the day continues.
Following a controlled use of force which saw protestors shoved to the ground on occasions, the civil society demonstration has now been moved the quarter of a mile from Sandton Square to Speakers Corner.
Charles Secrett, Friends of the Earth, is still in the crowd, though Daily Summit believes that Vanadana Shiva escaped before the police cordon tightened around the group...
Police have now pushed demonstrators into the main road outside the perimeter of the Sandton Convention Centre, using a certain amount of force. It is unclear what their tactics are now as the South African government has been at pains to avoid illegal marches in the street. The traffic is now partially blocked and the demonstrators await the next move from the police.
If anyone is to be arrested it is the many cameramen on the march who, in search of the perfect photo, are very reluctant to move when the police want them to.
"True civil society is here today," Vandana Shiva tells the Daily Summit at today's demonstration, joining with Friends of the Earth's Charles Secrett saying that if "other groups don't join us now, we're sure they will have to join us soon".
According to Ms Shiva, the groups are withdrawing from the summit dominated by the WTO and corporations. Private sector involvement in the provision of water and bio-technology was "a crime against people and the earth"
"When governments and companies fail to deliver," said Mr Secrett, "you have to withdraw consent from what they're doing"
As we speak, police are gradually forcing demonstrators off the steps in Sandton Square where they have been sitting for over an hour. The police strategy seems to be to attempt to sweep demonstrators from the square with a minimum of physical confrontation. Demonstrator leaders are reacting by advising the crowd to wander round the square in small clumps.
Some of you may balk at reading the long post below. So here's the bottom line: (1) the implementation plan has been agreed; (2) text connecting health to human rights is included; (3) text connecting environment and human rights has been weakened; (4) no-one (literally) knows what has been agreed on corporate responsibility; (5) the political declaration is far from being ready; (6) chaos reigns.
At 12.59 tonight, the plan of implementation was finalised - days after observers had predicted.
The last few hours of the negotiations saw frantic activity behind the scenes, with - as far as Daily Summit could ascertain - South Africa acting as a broker, while the Canadians and the G77 group of developing countries developed mutually acceptable text on health and human rights.
At a committee meeting delayed for around three hours, Dr Dlamini Zuma, South African Foreign Minister, presented compromise text on three paragraphs (6d, 47 and 58) which she told the meeting were to be "taken as a package."
The crucial passage now commits the world’s governments to take action to ensure health systems can deliver basic health care services to all "in conformity with human rights and fundamental freedoms, and consistent with national laws and cultural and religious values." This seems to be a significant victory for the human rights lobby, though Daily Summit awaits its reaction later this morning.
The meeting chair asked for objections to this text and swiftly announced it passed, having failed to notice that a country delegation was requesting to speak. Fortunately, this delegation required only a minor clarification and, to applause, the last obstacle to agreement was resolved. Soon after, the plan as a whole had been endorsed by the committee.
The drama was not over, however, with the meeting degenerating into chaos as corporate responsibility reared its head once more (see our fullish coverage of this issue).
Ambassador Ashe, from Antigua and Barbuda, read out an "interpretative note" from the informal contact group that had considered this issue. According to the note, the group considered that the text on corporate responsibility referred only to existing international agreements, despite the text itself referring to the "full development and effective implementation of intergovernmental agreements and measures."
Contrary to Friends of the Earth's briefing and our earlier post, Daily Summit now believes the contact group had always intended to fudge this issue. It gave with one hand in the text (yes, new agreements can be developed on corporate responsibility) and took with the other in the interpretative note (no, they can't).
The plot then thickened (yes, seriously). After the note was read out, the chair, facing a sea of hands, invited the Ethiopian delegate to speak. He made a delightful intervention, asking for the logic of the contact group’s illogical stance to be explained.
Ambassador Ashe made a half-hearted attempt to clarify, but the Ethiopian gentleman persisted. Either the text or the interpretative note must be discarded, he said, as the text called for development, while the note made it clear "there will be no future to develop." Clearly, the text could not be changed (it had just been adopted), so "if the group wants to comment, let them come back with a logical comment," he concluded.
At this point, the Chair mumbled a decision on the matter, further obscuring a wonderfully confused situation. The consensus afterwards was that he seemed to have taken responsibility for adding the interpretative note to the meeting record, over Ethiopia's objections.
Norway, however, was not satisfied and its delegate developed a new critique. "Informal contact groups do not exist [gloss: their informal status facilitates discussion - and they have no formal standing] and they should not be referred to," she said. "We would like to have this statement added to the record."
So, in the end, an illogical statement from a non-existent group was (probably) entered into the meeting record, but so was an objection to this action. And the status of the corporate accountability text? Anyone's guess - though it is hard to see how the interpretative note holds any force.
And, with that, the meeting was over…
Except it wasn't. More hands had gone up, with delegates now asking about the political declaration [quick catch-up: this is the short "mood" document that accompanies the dull, but worthwhile, implementation plan.]
Minister Zuma said that the South Africans had now received as many suggestions on the draft her government prepared and circulated on Monday morning "as there are people here in this room." Despite this, a new draft would be ready in the morning, she promised.
"But how will we discuss and agree it?" delegates asked. The Chair seemingly had no idea, repeatedly blocking questions. Daily Summit notes that (a) the new draft is not ready; (b) delegations are sure to have comments on draft 2; (c) there is no process for reaching agreement on this declaration; (d) the summit's closing ceremony is at 3 pm today, just 12 hours away.
Yes, it seems that some very tired people are doing their best to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. A few days ago, the summit seemed on course. Now, time is running out fast…
The missing 4000. At 12.59, the plan of implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development was finally approved by the summit's main committee - in advance of its formal approval in plenary tomorrow.
There are 4012 media representatives accredited to the summit - I'd be very suprised if 12 of them were present at this crucial milestone...
Here's how it goes - nothing happens. Time passes. Then, suddenly a flurry of activity, as a piece of new text appears. Clumps form as delegates crane to get a view of the relevant paper - and then break down as they starting asking: "what does it mean?"
Currently, it all comes down to whether to connect women's health and human rights. Why does it matter? It depends who you ask. The pro-rights side says it’s about gross abuses of women’s rights (i.e. female circumcision), as well as access to basic health care. The anti-rights people say the words are code for the right to abortion - and that such matters should be decided at national level.
Wednesday approaches fast - and we still seem some way from agreement. But who knows? Seasoned observers tell me the end could come surprisingly fast…
It's a can of worms - another paragraph, linking environment and human rights, has been weakened at the last minute, after a row between the EU and the G77. A plenary was supposed to start to discuss all these issues at 9.00 - but at 10.20, everyone is still waiting. This indicates some kind of action is going on behind the scenes...
Newsflash - tonight the negotiations have taken a surprising turn as the text on corporate accountability is thrown into disarray by the US.
The text we all thought was agreed refers to a resolution to "actively promote corporate responsibility and accountability through the full development and effective implementation of intergovernmental agreements and measures."
However, the US has now asked for a chairman’s clarification stating that this refers only to "existing" agreements, neatly blocking the development of new ones.
Without making any statement on the merit of the proposal, Daily Summit believes this is a low blow - as the word "existing" was removed from the text a few days ago and there were no moves to re-introduce it in the negotiations proper.
It is possible that this is a negotiating ploy – as text linking reproductive health to human rights still remains open. The scuttlebutt here is that the US negotiator on this issue used to lobby for the Vatican on Capitol Hill.
Talks are about to open in plenary and Daily Summit – about to head for home until a few minutes ago – will keep you informed.
This morning, when everyone was talking about a great deal done, suddenly seems a long way away...
Your correspondent gate-crashed the VIP area at this evening's closing ceremony for the Water Dome, where some of the great and the good made speeches, while the rest of the great and the good drank wine and chatted noisily, either to each other or on their mobile phones.
Top of the bill was the Prince of Orange, who some readers may be surprised to know, is one of the world's leading advocates for water. Daily Summit's eye was caught by the Roundabout Outdoor Playpump, which uses "child play" (rather than labour) to pump water from boreholes into a 3500 litre tank for use by a whole community...
In the news leaders call for concrete steps. King of Morocco urges cancellation of debt. Chrétien aims for a green legacy. Rio casts its shadow. Renewable energy is for the rich. Blair calls for the healing of Africa. Activists say plan is weak. Mandela greets a string of house guests.
Lots of people have been asking what will happen to Daily Summit now. Well, the summit continues through tomorrow (we have wind of a big story for early tomorrow morning) and we'll be reporting the aftermath from Joburg on Friday. After that, we'll keep the site ticking over for a week or so - and it'll stay online for at last a year after that...
It's far from over here - and there may be a few more twists to this story yet!
"So the rush is on to denounce the summit as a failure," writes Bryan Lipscombe, a Daily Summit reader. "Rio was denounced as a failure, and now is often held up as a success, but isn't that missing the point? All conferences are a usually a mix of steps forward and lost opportunities ..and this is a summit of many conferences! The real success or failure is what happens next, whether people and groups think and act differently and what actually gets done as a result."
"Speaking as a 'local' Agenda 21 practitioner whose job is a direct consequence of the Rio Summit, there has already been a real benefit from the publicity and exposure...Formal agreements are nearly always a compromise down so denounce the agreement by all means. However if pressure groups simply denounce the summit itself as failure, they may help put in jeopardy future summits and with them the opportunity they present to inform, inspire and empower by raising our horizons."
Northern Ireland First Minister, David Trimble gave a sparsely attended press conference today where, speaking from experience, he told journalists that "sustainable development requires a political solution and a local solution."
Mr Trimble took the opportunity to attack Robert Mugabe and the "ghastly mess" he has made of Zimbabwe. He also stressed "development" over "sustainable development," and warned against romantic views of "peasant agriculture." Developing countries needed to get people into the cities and the formal economy, he said.
In the news leaders produce grand eloquent rhetoric and ugly spats. Zimbabwe farmers claim Mugabe is lying. Russia saves Kyoto? Deal held up over women's rights. Summit fails to set targets or timelines on renewables. Alberta not happy about Kyoto. Environment deal hammered out. The expense of farm subsidies. Powell flies into condemn Iraq. Aziz is ready to talk.
It still ain't quite over as arguments continue over language in the plan of implementation linking women's health to human rights - the proposal is being opposed by the Holy See, the US and some developing countries. The ten words on which it all hinges are: "in conformity with all human rights and fundamental freedoms."
Meanwhile Russia and China have said they will ratify the Kyoto protocol...
Volunteers were also disgruntled because they had not been given one of the Summit bags (see their worries over money below). A noisy scrum formed outside Sandton library and soon 30 or 40 police were in attendance and the Canadians had been forced to cancel their press briefing which was supposed to be taking place inside.
While there were no bags for the volunteers, there were some for the police, with a Commander walking away with a box of twenty that he proceeded to distribute to his men...
The UK appears to be mounting a concerted media strategy today to portray the summit as a success, with an official describing the glass as "80 percent full" and Margaret Beckett, UK environment minister, telling the media that the "remarkable" outcome was better than she had though possible over the weekend.
Journalists did not seem to be impressed, with one referring to an agreement most countries would just throw in the bin, and another telling Daily Summit off the record that he knew the summit was going to be a disaster before he arrived, with the events of the past week serving to confirm this impression.
The UK has provided a detailed brief on what they think has been achieved and what gaps remain. Daily Summit will try and get hold of an electronic copy so that readers can judge for themselves...
In the news the summit ends without a deal on energy. EU collapses over renewables. Mugabe makes good copy. A rundown of agreements and issues arising. Blair's speech underlines weakness. Corporate promises likely to ring hollow. Blair's fourteen hour timetable. Africans score own goal against Blair. Three children rise above world leaders. Capitalism is the best way to save the planet. China ratifies Kyoto.
Two demonstrations took place in Sandton Square earlier today (see live reports below), but became intermingled as police forcibly removed them to a car park and then confined them for a short period. The key players were as follows:
The Tibetan delegation, who were denied accreditation to the summit after Chinese protests. They held a silent vigil.
The Greenpeace Youth delegation, who protested against official US "negativity" at the summit, and unfurled a banner that obscured the Tibetan monks.
Jan Pronk, the UN Secretary General's Special Envoy and Bob Brown, an Australian Senator who came to support the Greenpeace demo. Mr Brown desribes himself as under arrest and spoke angrily about the police action.
BMW, who have paid a small fortune to use Sandton Square for an exhibition on clean energy, and who became involved after a senior Greenpeace spokesman falsely accused them of having arranged to have the demonstrators arrested.
The police who, as throughout this summit, were calm and disciplined, but willing to use a minimum of force to swiftly impose order.
And, of course, the media, with your correspondent gradually being joined by a sizeable press pack, including a number of camera crew, all of whom filmed the American Youth and ignored the silent Tibetans.
As the demonstration continues a furious row has broken out between BMW and Greenpeace. A Greenpeace spokesman was telling the media that BMW, who have a large exhibition in Sandton Square, had requested that the police arrest the demonstrators.
BMW spokesman, Guido Prick, angrily rejected this accusation saying that BMW had supported the demonstrators and are opposed to their arrest. The two debated noisily as the Daily Summit recorded their conversation.
Jan Pronk has just finished speaking to the crowd and has signed a petition from the US Youth Plan of Action, which denounces the United States' attitude to the summit.
It seems that we have two demonstrations in one here, with the US Youth demonstrating alongside the Tibetan protestors.
Daily Summit has managed to talk to a police representative who confirmed that the demonstrators were forcibly removed from Sandton Square but he believes they will be free to leave as long as, in his words, "they are happy to disperse peacefully in to the streets"
In an extraordinary development, Jan Pronk, UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the World Summit on Sustainable Development, has arrived at the demonstration, gone through the circle of police surrounding the demonstrators and is now posing for photographs in front of their petition.
Australian senator, Bob Brown, has confirmed to the Daily Summit that he believes he and some of the other demonstrators are under arrest and that they were, in his words, "bundled" from Sandton Square by police just a few moments ago.
Newsflash - Tibetan demonstrators arrested - in an ongoing incident and after a silent vigil, a number of Tibetan demonstrators are under arrest in front of Sandton library. Their number includes a 5 year old child, 4 monks, an Australian senator, Bob Brown and a small group of other Tibetans and foreigners
The demonstrators are out numbered by a large number of police circling them. Your correspondent is on the scene and will provide further details shortly...
According to Geoffrey Lean, Tony Blair's speech yesterday underlined the weakness of the summit. Writing in the "Summit Star", the Independent journalist says the British Prime Minister made the mistake of trying to "cover the whole gamut of issues in bland banalities."
The World Summit has been hijacked "by governments, corporations and organisations for their own ends at the expense of civil society and the environment," says Friends of the Earth, World Hearings on Sustainable Development, Biowatch and the Environment Council.
An inter-governmental conference hijacked by governments - whatever next?
Never a truer word - "I don't remember all the paragraphs of the text," said Margot Wallström, EU Environment Commissioner, a few hours ago, "and I'm glad that I don't. If we go out of this building and continue to use this mumbo jumbo language, then we will scare people away."
In the excitement on energy, it's worth remembering that the action plan is now concluded. Work is needed on the political declaration, but much of the summit's business is complete. Tomorrow we'll review what has been accomplished...
Earlier this evening, we posted a quick hello to new visitors, but this is now buried down the page. So - welcome, enjoy the site, tell your friends, and hit the comments to give us your reaction to the summit so far...
It's been a good fight this evening, with the EU and NGOs actively working with the media, while the US, developing countries, and business stayed out of the field.
Friends of the Earth have again shown themselves to be in the ascendant, as their spokeswoman, Kate Hampton, "owned" the issue, in the same way that Craig Bennett and Charles Secrett dominated discussion on corporate responsibility.
It was interesting to see the EU working so hard to get its story across. However, Daily Summit predicts that most of tomorrow's media will follow the NGO line and judge the summit a failure, with the agreement on energy the main evidence for the prosecution.
"We are bitterly angry that the OPEC countries, Japan and the United States have combined in this way to help wreck the world's environment and endanger the security of our common home," says Friends of the Earth in a quick-fire press release on tonight's energy decision.
"The deal is as stupid and self-destructive as the man who climbed into an oven and switched up the heat. The resulting text is so bad that those countries who care about the environment should simply refuse to have anything to do with it."
NGOs have been briefing that tonight's energy deal has the "fingers of the fossil fuel industry" all over it - so Daily Summit contacted Steve Lennon for comment.
Mr Lennon is Managing Director of Resources and Strategy for energy company, Eskom, and convenor of the business sector's Energy Conservation Group. "This is quite consistent with what the business sector has been saying. We are in favour of targets on renewable energy at a national level, but not negotiated global targets," he said.
"Our priority is to optimise what we have right now on the one hand, by improving access to energy using existing infrastructure. On the other, and in parallel, we are strongly in favour of developing the energy sources of the future."
Mr Lennon claimed that business had had a minor input into the negotiations and, indeed, Daily Summit was the first to inform him that a deal had been struck. "There is no business conspiracy on this issue," he said.
Daily Summit is sure that the energy industry has been influential on this issue - but suspects that the OPEC countries were by far the most effective lobbyists.
(Updated) Great excitement as the EU delegation - not wanting to leave the field to the NGOs - descended on the press room for an impromptu press conference to explain their capitulation on energy.
The EU Environment Commissioner, Margot Wallström, rejected Daily Summit's suggestion that there had been a trade-off between sanitation and renewable energy, claiming that the EU had been left isolated and had no choice but to accept a result that was less than ideal.
The alternative would have been "to break up the whole summit," as the EU was isolated on energy in the same way the US had been on sanitation. However, she defended the agreed text, saying it showed a commitment to putting energy at the core of sustainable development and that it was a boost for renewable energy, albeit a small one.
Hans Christian Schmidt, Minister for the Environment, Denmark, concurred, adding that he thought the overall summit agreement had been successful, agreeing targets in areas observers had said would not be possible.
Both the Commissioner and the Minister underlined the EU's failure to win allies on this issue, with Ms Wallström implying that the EU, as the world's biggest donor, should have been able to bring more pressure to bear on the developing countries.
One campaigner was not impressed with EU negotiating targets. "They have failed as negotiators," he said. "They did not get their goal and if they worked for a business they would be fired."
However Ms Wallström sees a way forward through voluntary initiatives at a national and regional level, suggesting that the EU now intends to build a "coalition of the willing" on this issue.
More detail on energy (updated) - the agreed text aims to improve access to "reliable and affordable energy services," principally as a way of reducing poverty.
The text calls for action to develop "advanced, cleaner, more efficient, affordable and cost effective energy technologies, including fossil fuel technologies as well as renewable energy technologies, hydro included, and their transfer to developing countries on concessional terms."
It also demands action to "substantially increase the global share of renewable energy sources… recognizing the role of national and voluntary regional targets."
Why are NGO's furious?
First, because of the support for subsidies (concessional terms) for "cleaner…fossil fuel technologies" and hydro. Second, because there is no target for increasing the use of renewable energy. Third, because language on reducing subsidies for fossil fuels is very weak. And fourth, because some of the language may open a small window through which support for nuclear power can creep.
NGO anger is certainly genuine, but their shock is a little less convincing. Daily Summit picked up clear signals a week ago that the EU wouldn't hold out for renewable targets and gave greater priority to access to energy for the poor. We are also convinced that, at some deep level, there was a trade-off between the energy and sanitation issues…
A text on energy has been agreed, which has no target on renewables, and which is fairly permissive on subsidies for fossil fuels and large hydro-electric schemes. There is a hint that subsidies for nuclear power may be included, but the EU is seeking clarification that this is not the case.
The issue came down to a long fight between the US, OPEC, and Japan on one side, and the EU on the other - with the EU eventually caving after it apparently concluded that to hold out any longer would imperil the whole summit.
There is some suggestion that the EU traded a target on sanitation for the renewable energy target, as Daily Summit has been predicting all week. This was denied by the UK delegation this morning, however.
What is absolutely clear now is that NGOs will mount a concerted media campaign to paint the whole summit as a failure, and governments (most of whom seem pleased with the overall agreement) now stand little chance of getting their story across...
As always at the beginning of the week, we're getting lots of new visitors. So welcome and thanks for coming.
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"There was loud applause from some sections of the audience as Mugabe spoke to the Earth Summit in Johannesburg," reports Sky News - but only Daily Summit is telling you that journalists laughed and clapped too...
In the news, Blair on Mugabe. Mugabe on Blair. Summit launches new toilet paper. Summit document almost completed. Opec blocking energy deal? Schroder urges more to sign Kyoto. Deabte continues on GM food and famine. Mbeki and chair of Rio Tinto.
It ain't over until it's over, and the negotiations continue here in Sandton. The battle continues over renewable energy, with a new text being drafted as we speak. Since the so-called "WTO takeover" was averted last night, the media are lacking a clear, bad news story, so expect enormous coverage for this issue if, as Daily Summit expects, a very mild target is adopted in this area…
"I would put my main effort on local governance," he said. "but I accept there is a role for international agreements. It's going to be a long battle putting these agreements together, though."
Update: Another source tells me there was discord in the business delegation on this issue and while Sir Mark was fairly relaxed about the proposals adopted, other business leaders think they "open up a Pandora's Box."
"If you're an environment NGO, you could measure the amount of air time environment was given at this summit and be disappointed," Valli Moosa, South African environment minister told Daily Summit, when we showed him Friends of the Earth's reaction to the summit (reported below).
"However, I think the summit has been phenomenally successful," he continued. "Most importantly, at a crucial time, it has given a major boost to multilateralism - which is a concept that has been questioned over the last two years. We now have a high level global commitment to sustainable development, at a time when we face massive environmental challenges."
The summit had exposed the dangers of globalisation, which could be "cold and heartless," and exacerbate the differences between the rich and poor, he added. It had given the message that global initiative could improve the lives of people, while shifting the focus to action and the delivery of well-defined targets.
"I have lived with this summit for 18 months," Mr Moosa said. "It has been much more successful than I thought I it would be. There was an understandable cynicism at the beginning - but everyone's spirits are lifted right now."
Daily Summit was caught out by news that reproductive health was one of the summit's unresolved issues.
The contentious text obliges governments to provide health care for all in a way "consistent with national laws and religious values." The Women's Caucus has been rallying support for text that reads "in conformity with all human and fundamental freedoms."
According to WSSD Gem, opposition to the change is being led by the US, Catholic and Muslim countries.
Your correspondent has just been interviewed by ItWeb, a South African technology website. Set of very interesting questions on technology and the media. We'll provide a link to the interview when it goes live…
Tony Blair and Jacques Chirac made a total hash of their joint press conference which finished a few minutes ago.
They kept the media waiting for half an hour, while the room was rewired so that they could speak while standing up (probably a hundred press conferences have been conducted with the great and the good sitting down).
An official was then heckled when he announced that the leaders would not be speaking about the summit, but only about an Franco-Anglo initiative to encourage private financing of development.
After the leaders had finished speaking, further chaos ensued. It transpired that the microphone used to ask questions was no longer working. Mr Blair gamely tried to hear what reporters were shouting, but the translators in their booths were silenced, to President Chirac's growing frustration.
Suddenly the leaders were whisked off and had managed to get up two flights of escalators before the British press pack, led by a surprisingly agile Geoffrey Lean, made it out of the room.
The whole thing, Daily Summit thinks, was stage-managed to death…
In the news, Annan welcomes heads of state. Mbeki calls for action. Blair warns about Greenhouse gas emissions. Powers for WTO curtailed. Cooking smoke as bad as Aids. Oil producers foil green energy plan. Kids present to Summit. Conflicts blur central purpose. Biodiversity pact agreed.
The World Development Movement has joined the NGO chorus denouncing the summit as a failure.
It claims that the UN is now subordinated to the WTO, despite last night's "breakthrough" on this issue. It is also cross about lack of progress on issues not even on the table in Joburg - such as action on climate change over and above Kyoto commitments.
South African environment minister, Valli Moosa told Daily Summit that the World Summit has been "a phenomenal success" while Charles Secrett, director of Friends of the Earth UK, explains his group's analysis of summit outcomes. More on this soon...
The British delegation has just completed its daily press briefing. Negotiations were described as protracted, tough and detailed - but the UK seems confident that a result will be achieved sometime soon.
The US gave way on the sanitation target late last night, handing the UK victory on its top priority. It seems certain the UK will declare the summit a success when agreement is finally reached - based in particular on the agreements on fisheries, chemicals and sanitation.
Daily Summit had confidently predicted that the sanitation target would be traded for EU agreement to drop targets on renewable energy. This does not seem to have happened - prompting questions about what the US has got out of this summit.
The UK delegation revealed that text on reproductive health was still under discussion - Daily Summit is trying to track down what the issue is here.
In the news UN source claims energy is the only target left - more here, . Blair rebuffs Bush on climate change. Summit to debate GM food aid. Blair not to meet Mugabe. Wider role for WTO. Chrétien lashes US and Europe on farm subsidies. A word from Kofi Annan. $3 million from US to save coral reef. Robinson speech on Human Rights and the Environment. Summit has depended on Afrikaner rule.
Tony Blair has also focused strongly on climate change in his speech to the conference, as the European attack on US policy continues.
"The whole world must face up to the challenge of climate change," he said. "Kyoto is right and it should be ratified by all of us. Markets must also be opened up to agriculture products from developing countries," he continued.
The British Prime Minister underlined Britain's commitment to poverty reduction, saying that "development for us is a priority - Africa for me is a passion." Speaking of the children he had met on his recent visit to Mozambique, he described their opportunities as stunted by poor health, education, housing and sanitation.
"If Africa is a scar on the conscience of the world, we have a duty to heal it" he concluded.
Friends of the Earth have rushed out their interpretation of the summit - and it is overwhelmingly negative.
Their corporate accountability success rates 5/10; energy and climate change, water and sanitation, and biodiversity 3/10; trade and globalisation, consumption and production, and the Rio Principles 2/10; aid and debt, and subsidies 1/10; and ecoloigical debt 0/10.
It is becoming clear that NGOs are prepared to speak as one voice and declare the summit a failure - the FoE total mark is 22/100, and the headline "not satisfactory: must do better."
Dr Sam Nujoma, President of Namibia, has accused rich countries of "creating AIDS" and demanded they spend more money on research to find a solution to the epidemic.
Speaking just before Tony Blair, he has denounced the British campaign for sanctions against Zimbabwe and called - to applause from the floor - for sanctions against the country to be lifted immediately.
Pakalitha Mosisili of Lesotho, meanwhile, has praised the growth of democracy around the world, and credited Lesotho's experiment with democracy for bringing peace and stability to his country. Famine is now challenging Southern Africa, he said, appealing for more development assistance.
"Progress has been slow since Rio," according to the EU's Romano Prodi. Mr Prodi called for major reductions in agriculture subsidies - it will be interesting to see how Jacques Chirac of France reacts to this when he speaks later this morning. Mr Prodi also called for Kyoto ratification - a call emphatically underlined by Gerhard Schroder of Germany, who devoted much of his speech to climate change.
Mr Schroder argued that recent bad weather conditions showed that global warming is now a global reality. "Highly industrialized countries must ratify this protocol or at the very least makes an equal contribution in carbon emissions," he said, in what, in the light of Tony Blair's recent speech in Mozambique, seems to be part of a concerted European attempt to put pressure on the United States.
The summit has failed, according to unnamed environmental groups in Alex Kirkby's review of the summit so far.
"Environmental groups are already saying that the compromises made to reach agreement represent a step backwards for the planet and for the poor," he writes.
We are now entering a critical stage, where groups compete to "tell the story" of what has happened over the past week. Daily Summit will be tracking the conflicting interpretations over the next few days…
As the world's leaders begin their speeches (strictly 5 minutes only, at pain of having their mikes cut off by the Chair), negotiations have stalled - though Daily Summit suspects this is only a minor hiccup.
The stumbling block, at present, is renewable energy - as Ministers argue about what energy source should be considered renewable. Water and sanitation, and corporate accountability have squeaked through - the latter a major coup for civil society. Controversial language on the WTO has also been excised as reported last night.
Talks resume at 11.00 - with no air of panic discernible, at least as yet.
"Yes, my friends, this disease is killing me slowly. I am going to die because of my mother. I want to be a doctor, but instead I am going to die." - a young child with HIV speaking on the Mountain of Hope in Soweto today.
The signals are that agreement is now very near on the plan of implementation, though Ministers are still meeting and the last issues to be resolved are inevitably the most knotty.
The trade between the US and the EU for a target on sanitation in exchange for a weak (or no) target on renewable energy has not yet been made - and there's some talk of kicking the issue of agricultural subsidies up for discussion by heads of state.
The stronger language on corporate accountability has not yet gone through, but it is looking more and more likely that it will - marking a significant victory for civil society at a summit many of its members believe is controlled by corporations.
If a deal is struck, expect the most heat to be generated around language that suggests multilateral environment agreements (MEAs) must be compatible with WTO rules.
This text is probably fairly meaningless - as there is a commitment to unpack the whole vexed issue of the relationship between world trade and environment rules in the forthcoming round of trade talks (a commitment that, at the time, was seen as a concession to environmentalists).
But if it doesn’t mean much, why include it? Daily Summit reckons that governments will come to see this as a huge tactical error - as these few words dominate the next few days and further contribute to the WTO's already toxic reputation.
The next stage is the political declaration, which will be two or three pages at most. It is supposed to translate into ordinary language the much longer plan of implementation - and add a higher level message from the summit.
Expect text on the importance of the multilateral system, globalisation, targets and timetables, delivery mechanisms, poverty and market access.
The process of putting it together may not run smoothly. The South Africans have prepared a draft, but our understanding is that few delegations have seen it yet. In addition, the world's leaders will not all be here at the same time, making it somewhat harder to achieve consensus…
The Children's Earth Summit has finished its deliberations and today presented its declaration at the Mountain of Hope in Soweto.
"Rio was about talking. Joburg must be about walking," delegates said, highlighting pollution, education, health, basic rights and poverty as the most important issues.
As well as demanding action from governments, delegates committed themselves to creating change in their own lives, by becoming role models and mentors in their own communities.
The Mountain of Hope is a project run by Sowetan social entrepreneur, Mandla Mentoor. "It is a vision initiated by pioneers in Soweto operating from a backyard and creating livelihoods by turning waste into creative and economic assets," he said earlier in the week.
Among the politicians at today's ceremony was Scotland's First Minister, Jack McConnell. In an interview with Daily Summit, the First Minister spoke of the work of Mr Mentoor.
"He is a strong community leader, working with young people, who has managed to create something special - that truly is a mountain of hope," he said.
Mr McConnell is focusing on environmental justice while at the summit. "If we are to turn round the quality of life of people born in the communities who have least," he argued, "then we need to tackle environmental issues as well as the economic issues. Environmental justice is about improving the local environment, but it's also about power and responsibility. It's about helping people take responsibility for their own lives, and giving them the power to do something about it."
A joint press conference between Jordan and Israel on a project to pipe water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea caught the eye this evening.
"The Dead Sea is receding one metre a year," said Roni Milo, Israeli Minister for Regional Co-operation. "We cannot wait 50 years to do something."
The Jordanian Minister of Planning, Bassem Awadallah, agreed. "This is a natural disaster in the making," he said. "We would be criminals if we did nothing about it."
He also explained that both Israel and Jordan agreed on the need to involve the Palestinians in the project, though Daily Summit surmises that the Palestinians had refused to participate in this press conference.
Afterwards, Dr Awadallah told Daily Summit that the two countries have co-operated successfully in Johannesburg to raise alarm bells about water. He also argued that Jordan has played a generally constructive role in the negotiations on the summit text, acting as a "voice of moderation" within the Arab Group.
Although Dr Awadallah is an especially engaging speaker, soundbite of the conference went to Mr Milo. Referring to Israel's work on desalination and to oft-repeated fears that water will cause conflict between states in the 21st century, he told the assembled journalists that "the price of water is now less than the cost of war."
Dr Dlamini Zuma, South African Foreign Minister, has just provided an upbeat assessment on the progress of negotiations - implying that she expected agreement later tonight or early tomorrow morning.
"The implementation plan is almost finished," she told a press conference, "while the political delcaration is ready for ministers to start looking at."
Outstanding issues are the precautionary principle (which the minister said would soon be settled), renewable energy, sanitation, "some little trade issues," and a few governance issues.
Daily Summit had a chance to ask the minister about her mood as she was bundled off into a lift. Her good temper, she told us, was born of a need to keep the spirits of negotiators up - but relief also played a part as the negotiations near conclusion.
We'll be trying to find out whether our other sources share her positive interpretation of the current state of play.
Daily Summit has been interviewing people all week, so it was a shock to be on the receiving end of Larry Bensky's questions on KPFA a few moments ago. Your correspondent fielded questions on the summit's process, global warming and Iraq, using the last one to talk about the development and poverty issues that have dominated the summit...
If you're heading here from KFPA, welcome and we hope you enjoy the site. We're entering a critical stage at the summit, with crucial meetings going on as we speak. We also have a report to come from the culmination of the Children's Earth Summit in Soweto this afternoon and some thoughts from a young South African on GMOs.
Hit the comments link below this post if you heard the interview and wish to discuss any of the issues that were raised...
Larry Bensky from KPFA, a Californian radio station, has been in touch, out of the blue, to ask for an interview - so you can hear me at 94.1 FM if you're within range, or with luck listen in on the web.
Gro Brundtland was the first women to lead a modern democratic state (Norway), while the Brundtland Commission pioneered the concept of sustainable development in 1987.
Dr Brundtland reacted angrily to suggestions that some countries were unwilling to commit to strong targets because they lacked faith in the UN to deliver.
"UN agencies are not the ones to deliver development," she told us. "They are facilitators for the co-operation between governments and other actors. Who are the democratically responsible actors in the world? Governments. The biggest governments with the most money are most responsible. They must accept that responsibility."
"We will not allow a fundamental issue like land resolved in accordance with some amorphous, fuzzy notion of the rule of law as dictated to us by some kangaroos from Australia," says Zimbabwean Information Minister Jonathan Moyo.
Apparently, the contact group on trade and finance broke up in some disarray at 1.30 last night after waiting for hours for the EU delegation to turn up.
EU environmnt ministers are said that have been locked in discussion about subsidies, especially farm subsidies, and were having to consult with their superiors. The US and G77 were not amused and Ambassador Ashe inevitably adjourned until this morning.
Tempers are reported to be fraying as fatigue kicks in...
The UK correspondents are wreathed in smiles because they've managed to get wind of a Tony Blair announcement on corporate transparency the day before he makes it (here, here and in the Observer whenever it gets its issue online, for example).
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