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[News and Views]

August 03, 2002

Well, hello... We're only just online and the official launch is still a few weeks away - but already there's a steady flow of people hitting the site.

So welcome and thanks for turning up so soon.

In a couple of week's time over 100 world leaders and 65,000 of the rest of us will be descending on Joburg.

Why? - to talk about sustainable development, which as Jonathan Porrit puts it "either means practically nothing to people, or practically everything".

The Daily Summit aims to be an informative, provocative and entertaining guide to what will be a chaotic, controversial, landmark event.

Let us know what you think about the site, the summit - or anything else you want to sound off about!

David Steven | 11:10 PM South African time (utc/gmt +2) |


Short of money Apparently the summit is still looking for donations - it has 70 percent of the money it needs.

The Daily Summit picks up conflicting signals on the summit's state of readiness. While many are predicting chaos, one source tells us that a British reconnaissance party was impressed with what it saw. If you are already on the ground or have some inside info - then get in touch to tell us what you think...

David Steven | 05:43 PM South African time (utc/gmt +2) |


World Summit - draft programme A draft programme for the Summit has just been released... (word doc)

David Steven | 05:24 PM South African time (utc/gmt +2) |


Australia behind Daniel Esty yeterday led an attack on Australia's environment record.

"There is no country in the world that has swung more sharply in the last 10 years than Australia. The US was not a leader in `92, it was sort of dragged along in some respects - it did well on some issues, less well on others. But Australia was right out front, in `92, on a whole set of issues. And today I would say Australia stands arm-in-arm with the US at the trailing end of efforts to address these global-scale problems and to take the environment seriously."

Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, will not be attending the summit.

Would be interesting to hear if there's been any reaction to this from down under. Tim Blair? Anyone?

David Steven | 03:14 PM South African time (utc/gmt +2) |


More money EU development commissioner, Poul Nielson is calling on the developed countries to deliver on their commitments.

"The EU and its member states have pledged, as a first significant step towards reaching the UN target of 0.7% of gross national income for Official Development Assistance, to raise the collective average from the current 0.33% to 0.39% by 2006," he says. "Concretely, this should result in an additional annual amount of aid of 9 billion euros by 2006, and about 22 billion euros between now and 2006. The developing countries must take their responsibilities by improving internal policies and domestic governance and creating an enabling climate for investment."

David Steven | 03:08 PM South African time (utc/gmt +2) |


Winners and losers "Some of our partners in developing countries worry about how they will be able to meet such new obligations and are pressing for assurances on funding," says EU environment commissioner Margot Wallstrom in an article on prospects for Joburg.

"But it is in the EU's interest to keep pushing for multilateral solutions to global problems, so we will continue to press this agenda. Johannesburg must set the political targets the world aims to deliver in the coming ten years."

She positions the summit as a direct response to the attacks of September 11.

"We all realise that poverty lies at the root of terrorism, but we are struggling to come to grips with solutions," she says. "In short, the world seems more starkly divided between winners and losers than was the case in 1992."

"The Johannesburg summit should therefore set out an ambitious agenda for change for the coming decades. It presents both an opportunity and a responsibility for world leaders."

David Steven | 03:05 PM South African time (utc/gmt +2) |


Blog update If you haven't already, check out Daily Summit's article on what a blog is and why blogging is important.

There's also an interesting article on blogs for business here and weblogs.com will give you a list of blogs that have been updated in the last three hours...

David Steven | 11:42 AM South African time (utc/gmt +2) |


Leader watch Now Vladimir Putin is reported to be skipping the summit - even though the Daily Summit understands he was one of the first world leaders to promise to go.

David Steven | 11:05 AM South African time (utc/gmt +2) |


Practice what you preach South African, Trade and Industry Minister Alec Erwin has underlined the concern of developing countries at rich country moves to protect domestic markets.

He points his finger at US protection for steel and agriculture - and at European opposition to reform of its 45 billion euros of farming subsidies. However, some signs are encouraging.

"We are more positive," he says, "especially on the trade and investment side, than we were after (the WSSD's final preparatory meeting) Bali."

The Minister's position is supported by the UK government's white paper on globalisation and the poor. "There are substantial inequities in the existing international trading system," it argues.

"Developed countries have long preached the virtues of openness: but practice lags behind the rhetoric. Despite progress over the last 50 years, developed countries maintain significant tarriff and non-tarriff barriers against the exports of developing countries."

The white paper claims that if both developed and developing countries cut their subsidies by 50 percent, developing countries would be $150 billion better off - which is three times aid flows.

David Steven | 11:02 AM South African time (utc/gmt +2) |


The difference a day makes Yesterday, as reported here and here, the Daily Telegraph was speculating that UK deputy prime minister, John Prescott would not be allowed to go to the summit.

Today, the paper reports that Prescott will indeed be attending. Straightfaced, it blames Downing Street for the confusion - and is silent about its speculation from only a day earlier!

Update: "It looks like Two Jags has put his foot down," says Tory chairman David Davis in The Sun. "But taxpayers should be concerned by this obsession with sending vast numbers of ministers and officials to lavish conferences."

David Steven | 10:40 AM South African time (utc/gmt +2) |

August 02, 2002

US Slouch? John Dernbach, Widener University law professor accuses the US of slouching towards Johannesburg in this Foreign Policy in Focus article...

David Steven | 10:33 PM South African time (utc/gmt +2) |


Population Journalist The Population Reference Bureau is bringing 15 journalists to the summit from Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Madagascar, Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Thailand, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Brazil.

The journalists selected will be in Joburg to "cover events and interview key people" - with the PRB hoping to build awareness of the connections between population and the environment.

David Steven | 08:38 PM South African time (utc/gmt +2) |


Junket Update As we report today, the Telegraph is suggesting that Blair plans to stop Messrs Prescott, Trimble, McConnell and Morgan travelling to the summit.

The Daily Summit has discovered that sources close to Trimble are bemused by the reports. So is the report off the mark? Or are the first ministers the last to be informed?

Update: Friends of the Earth Northern Ireland have greeted the speculation about Trimble with "dismay"...

David Steven | 01:04 PM South African time (utc/gmt +2) |


Earth Getting Fat Yes, after a couple of decades slimming down, the earth is starting to get fat... [more]

Update - oh, and by the way, climate change will save British lives... [more]

David Steven | 10:49 AM South African time (utc/gmt +2) |


Junket Watch II Last week, The Daily Summit reported on British government sensitivities about the size of the delegation it is sending to the summit.

Today, The Daily Telegraph tries to keep the story moving. As even John Prescott is the easiest target. He may become a victim of Tony Blair's desire to streamline the British delegation, the paper reports.

According to the Telegraph, Rhodri Morgan, Welsh First Minister, Jack McConnell, Scottish First Minister, and David Trimble, Northern Irish First Minister, are also threatened with exclusion.

The paper quotes an unnamed 'summit insider' as asking: "There are only four chairs allocated for each country in the main debating chamber in the convention centre, so where would they all sit?"

It also reveals that ministers will be staying in the plush Michelangelo Hotel - though most of the rest of the delegation will be in a £50 a night hotel.

Intriguingly, the paper claims that Tony Blair will probably not even spend the night in South Africa, suggesting he will fly in for a photo opportunity and then head for home. Given that the PM has been pushing WSSD fairly hard, the Daily Summit predicts a longer visit...

David Steven | 10:25 AM South African time (utc/gmt +2) |

August 01, 2002

GM Goes Green General Motors is pushing clean cars ahead of the World Summit.

"We all agree that the road ahead is long and difficult," says their head of engineering. "Obviously, GM can't solve everything. But one way we can help is to remove cars from the environmental debate altogether. By introducing new measures to reduce harmful emissions and improve fuel efficiency, we will help create a healthier environment for automotive mobility, a necessary function that we can't and don't want to do without."

Beth Lowery, GM Vice President of Environment and Energy, will be attending the summit. "We want to go to Johannesburg to educate leaders about fuel efficiency leading to global sustainable mobility," she says.

David Steven | 03:08 PM South African time (utc/gmt +2) |


Rough Guide Torleif Jonasson, of the Danish UN Association, has written a guide (word doc) to the "written and unwritten rules for NGOs in the WSSD game."

David Steven | 02:38 PM South African time (utc/gmt +2) |


NGO's are Big Business According to recent figures, the South African NGO sector contributes 1.2% of South African GDP and provides over 10% of formal, non-farming jobs - which is more than the mining industry...

David Steven | 08:51 AM South African time (utc/gmt +2) |

July 31, 2002

Space for mavericks The Daily Summit today dropped in on The Southern Business Challenge, which will be bringing the voice of progressive entrepreneurs from developing countries to the World Summit.

Founder Malini Mehra, from the Centre for Social Markets, is challenging governments to create space for the mavericks that drive economic growth. But she is also challenging Southern businesses to be at the forefront of creating sustainable societies.

“We need to steer a path between ‘business as usual’ on one side and anti-globalisation protest on the other,” she says. Southern business is the "missing link" that can push policy-makers to undertake the reforms needed to deliver sustainable development.

The Daily Summit will be talking to some of the Challenge’s entrepreneurs as they argue their case in Joburg…

David Steven | 07:54 PM South African time (utc/gmt +2) |


More Leader Watch This pdf will tell you who is slated to represent which country at the summit.

David Steven | 07:11 PM South African time (utc/gmt +2) |


Making it difficult... Confused by the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 outcomes? Why not let the UN's FAQ befuddle you further?

"Type 2 outcomes or partnerships share the same objectives as Type 1 outcomes and that is implementation of Agenda 21. However, direct linkages in terms of modalities and goals may differ from issue to issue. On certain issues, a broad political agreement in Type 1 could provide basis for launching Type 2 outcomes. In other instances, the agreed document might contain details of the implementation initiatives that would provide a direct link for partnerships. Given the broad range of issues being negotiated, it would not be difficult to link a Type 2 initiative with the negotiated outcome. While maintaining the flexibility of these linkages, it would be possible to somehow anchor all Type 2 outcomes in Type 1 outcomes."

David Steven | 07:07 PM South African time (utc/gmt +2) |


Will he? Won't he? The Daily Summit hears that efforts continue to persuade George Bush to show his face at the summit. However, the money is still on Colin Powell to act as Bush's substitute.

However, the Environment News Service (cheesy slogan: "we cover the earth for you") reports speculation from a National Security Council spokesperson that the insultingly junior Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs, Paula Dobriansky, may be sent instead of either Bush or Powell.

David Steven | 06:39 PM South African time (utc/gmt +2) |


Leader Watch The UN now expects (pdf) 106 leaders to attend the summit. 58 Heads of State, 40 Heads of Government, 7 Vice-Presidents and one Crown Prince are expected to turn up. 108 leaders attended the Rio Summit 10 years ago.

“The Summit is clearly a must for world leaders,” said Summit Secretary-General Nitin Desai. “It is evident that most leaders see the importance of attending the Summit to revitalize efforts to pursue sustainable development. They see this as a major chance to make something happen.”

David Steven | 06:34 PM South African time (utc/gmt +2) |


The Straw Dog Straw dogs are draft documents that allow negotiators to have something to take apart. Victor’s Straw Dog covers the “current list of hot issues in South African civil society.”

According to Victor, South African civil society is most interested in local issues. It doesn’t think it’s been properly consulted on NEPAD and worries that it is tainted by structural adjustment policies.

It wants reform of the WTO, and opposes the Global Compact and self regulation by business. Partnership with business is regarded with suspicion. “Why should business, while it represents nothing but the intention to make profit, be part of governance structures rather than simply subcontractors to government?” Straw Dog argues.

African Civil Society also wants rich countries to go beyond debt relief to acknowledge the “ecological debt” they owe the developing world - a further reflection of the North/South gulf that may dominate the summit.

David Steven | 06:30 PM South African time (utc/gmt +2) |

July 30, 2002

Side events List of week one's approved side events...

David Steven | 02:30 PM South African time (utc/gmt +2) |


Type 1 - Type 2 Jan Pronk has also been talking to the BBC.

He says the UN will seek two types of agreement at the summit – type one which all countries sign up to, and type two, which are more ambitious but voluntary.

"It will let them set up networks with other countries, with business, and with non-governmental organisations," adds Pronk. "That's pragmatism, the only possible approach. This is a UN conference, and countries have been told they'll have to negotiate an outcome. It is a risky strategy. But you have to take risks."

David Steven | 12:32 PM South African time (utc/gmt +2) |


Bush challenged Kofi Annan's special envoy to the summit, Jan Pronk, yesterday claimed that President Bush cannot afford to miss the summit, adding that "nobody will understand if he doesn't show up" to a summit he predicts will lead to a clear plan of action and concrete commitments.

Pronk draws attention to the famine in Southern Africa currently threatening 16 million people, saying credibility will be lost of if the summit fails to commit $600 million to relief efforts. The Daily Summit hears Clare Short is banging this drum too - more details as they emerge.

David Steven | 10:32 AM South African time (utc/gmt +2) |

July 29, 2002

Porrit pours scorn Jonathon Porritt, chairman of the UK Sustainable Development Commission, pours scorn on the summit process, claiming that politicians are willfully ignoring hard scientific evidence that we are running out of planet. "What we have is ideology-based policy," he says, "with science deployed in a partisan and self-interested way to justify political expedience." The draft summit text, meanwhile, is "anaemic and duplicitous."

Porrit's solution?

First, rid markets of "perverse" farming subsidies. Second, make polluters pay. Third, allow poor countries to drive the development agenda. Fourth, slow population growth. Fifth, rein in capitalism.

However, these steps would "demand a quality of political leadership that earth scientists and green activists currently can only dream about."

David Steven | 08:15 PM South African time (utc/gmt +2) |


North/South Also in Doyle's piece, Indian Commerce Minister, Murasoli Maran, leads the developing world's attack on the rich world's inconsistent support for the free movement of goods, labour and services.

"The North is entering its shell of protectionism," he says. "They want to prevent the South from using the only competitive advantage they have: abundant labor."

David Steven | 09:48 AM South African time (utc/gmt +2) |


Pessimism watch Reuters’ Alistair Doyle files a largely pessimistic piece about the summit’s prospects. “Governments are scrambling to salvage next month's gathering,” he says.

According to Doyle, preparations for the summit are far behind schedule, the agenda is gargantuan, and the rift between developed and developing countries seems to be widening.

Mats Karlsson, World Bank Vice President, defends the length of the summit draft. "If we make progress against poverty by 2050,” he says “we would have a world economy that's three to four times the size of today. You cannot consume four times as much water. You don't have the technology to consume four times the amount of energy."

David Steven | 09:44 AM South African time (utc/gmt +2) |

July 28, 2002

Word from Nigeria "Only 15 per cent of the world population, in high income countries, account for 56 per cent of the world's total consumption, while the poorest 40 per cent, in low-income countries, account for only 11 per cent," says Nigerian Minister of Environment, Alhaji Muhammad Kabir Sa'id. "While most people consume more today, the consumption expenditure of average African household is 20 per cent less than it was 25 years ago!"

David Steven | 09:41 PM South African time (utc/gmt +2) |


Awareness According to a SABC/Markinor poll, only 15 percent of South Africans know the country will be hosting the summit...

David Steven | 10:29 AM South African time (utc/gmt +2) |



 

[sidelights]

New Page 1

THe Summit Awards
Our prizes for the people who made the summit...
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DAMMING DEVELOPMENT
Is sustainability good for you?...
[more]

 

WHOSE RESPONSIBILITY
The bottom line on corporate responsibility...
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FURNACE OR BONFIRE
Do we live in a Malthusian world?...
[more]

 

A HUMAN VOICE
The lowdown on the blogging phenomenon...
[more]

 

 

charles secrett
Executive Director of Friends of the Earth
[more]

 

Shahida Jamil
Federal Minister for the Environment, Govt of Pakistan
[more]

 

Jane Goodall
Primatologist and conservationist
[more]

 

Naomi Klein
Author of "No Logo"
[more]

 

Michael Dorsey
Director of the Sierra Club
[more]

 

Matt Thomas
Head of Renewables, npower
[more]

 

Tladi John Nlovu
Summit driver and entrepreneur
[more]

 

Lloyd Anderson
Director of Science, The British Council
[more]

Summit Archive
15 September
08 September
01 September
25 August
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11 August
04 August
28 July
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