Archive 2002

 

WORLD SUMMIT 2002
 

Drawbacks and Shortcomings
- Massive Pullout from World Summit -

Many groups from around the world say NO to their earlier planned participation at the World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg later this year.

Feature by John Bamau
14. May 2002
(first published in WTN, reprinting and translated publishing free, if author and source are cited)

The mainstream Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and especially those ones, who cover for the United Nations as "representing the people", gear up for the Development Summit. Some like the Global Youth Forum are even paid by the United Nations (UN) to do so and others are paid to (moderately please!) "protest". The world wonders what actually is going on, since more and more voices are heard, which call the Global Summit of this decade a non-starter.

The UN-selected groups as well as some continent-hopping professional protesters will most likely still go and sit or fight with participating governments at this summit in South Africa, but many hundreds if not already thousands of civil society organizations and individuals have terminated their plans and stepped off the road to Johannesburg. The number of resisters is growing every day. A total flop of the whole conference is immanent and after the rather failed preparation conference more likely than ever.

"Let these major forces, these players and shakers do it to each other, but for us people there are more important things to be done on the ground!" says Maria Delgado from Peru and Prof. Tsuma Hamisi in Kenya adds: "Even if I would be paid to participate, I will not go, because I do not want to be part of another scam just fooling the world - Rio was enough. In those days in Rio we still thought that concerned people of this world could make a change through such a conference with the so called "world leaders", but today we know that positive change only is brought by peoples' hard and determined work on the ground."

"Look at the deforestation issue in Kenya", he explains, "also our President was present in Rio in '92 and pledged to do everything for the benefit of the environment. Ten years later many more thousand hectares of forests have been cleared in our country and are destroyed with governmental consent. It is only now in the last months that the people were able to effectively stop the destruction by joining together and becoming active themselves, by suing the government and its accomplices in big business and by remaining steadfast. It is us, the people, who achieved just last week a court order halting the Kenyan Government's plans to excise some 70,000 hectares of forests, including forest areas which are the homeland of the aboriginal Ogiek people. We work hard to stop the Government to misuse the forest land as their chips in the upcoming election-roulette."

"Nobody will assist us anyway to travel to Jo'burg", says someone from UK, who names himself only "Bud" and who is with EarthFirst!, the more radical environmental group. "We ourselves surely will not be assisted to participate and we don't want to be supported neither by Governments or the streamlined and "fine" accredited NGOs, nor by the political mob, who is paid to just disturb the show and thereby provide for the necessary "threat" to gear up funding for the "security-forces". EarthFirst! is independent and we have a clear view and a clear agenda concerning the protection of the natural environment. Therefore, instead of wasting thousands of Dollars for air polluting travels by plane and for staying in one of those shaggy, but expensive places of an urban ghetto, we save our money and spirit for real, positive and pro-active work on the front lines of nature destruction. We don't want to be part of a conference for which moneys are stolen from the people in order to host an event, which only serves to cover the global deals and misdeads of the military-industrial complex and their bootlicking governments."

"We are sad", is the view of Aisha Saidi from Bangladesh, "because we worked so hard to make a significant contribution at the World Summit 2002 especially for the betterment of underprivileged women in development, but we realize now that we will not have the slightest chance to get even heard at the summit, whose agenda and time-tables have been structured in a way that any synergetic interaction of concerned citizens, groups or indigenous peoples is impossible. Everything is pre-set for a big show by the global rulers and nothing is left for the people to decide and implement. We therefore cancelled our bookings and continue working on our issues at home."

"I see much clearer now" says Sem Anvat, a local leader from West Papua. "When I was invited by an international NGO to participate together with them at that conference in South Africa, I was excited to be able to let the world know about the struggle of my people against the mining and timber industries, against the greed of the churches and against a colonial government. But then I learned which role I was supposed to play to get the ticket - and now I say: "Sorry, but that is nothing for me, because I do not want to lie to myself and others! I will stay where I am and continue our true and honest fight without being influenced and pacified by such meaningless favours."

"Such summits are the top of today's pseudo-democracy, which can be pictured by eight hungry wolves and one sheep sitting around a fireplace while voting "democratically" what they will have for dinner!", says Kersten Kiefer with a sad smile in Germany. Dr. Kiefer, who holds a PhD in psychology and works within a virtual university programme together with scholars and students in developing countries, continues: "The safeguarding of interests prior to and within such processes and the total majority of the taker-societies - together with their stirrup holders in the so called third world - is always secured long before any such event happens and is paid for. I received the invitation to the summit, but I have given up since long to participate in such megalomaniac conferences, where you are invited to serve as mere props or scapegoat, while only the players in the background really have their fun." And she  wonders: "Who actually knows or is aware of the "World Scientists' Warning To Humanity", issued 10 years ago, just after Rio, by the vast majority of the living laureates of the Nobel Prize in the sciences as well as by more than 1500 leading scientists from all continents? It can be found easily on the internet, it's still standing there and is still valid. But today's actual reality is already worst than then and the prospects for the future of humanity and its natural environment have become much more bleak."

"The summit will just be another public relations gimmick by and for those who continued to collect our knowledge and vision over the last thirty years since Stockholm [the first global summit] in order to produce them as their own bright ideas and to feed them back to us, while secretly putting the strategic countermeasures in place against those of our demands, which don't fit into their money oriented concepts", Claude Dechamps, an obviously frustrated board member of a community based organization in the south of France wrote in her latest newsletter." And: "The UN, who even flies now selected "slum-dwellers" from the fifferent slums of the world to Nairobi to pose at the ongoing UN Global Cities conference has lost any credibility. It's high time that the people withhold that part of their taxes, which their governments dish out to the UN for staging such shows".

In a similar way a member of the San people in Botswana - a people who just have been driven out again from their ancestral homeland of tenthousand years, which is part of the Kalahari ecosystem - expresses himself in an interview: "Here [in Botswana] we have a government, which even dares to steal our waterpumps to get rid of us, and over there in South Africa, where they actually hunted and killed us as vermin until 1920, they have now even taken our language [Khoisan] and our pictures to mark their state symbol [The new SA state seal - the Coat of Arms]. This is to cover up that they continue to harrass, to persecute and to oppress us, while they will never give back to us our lands and our freedom. Nature anyway is destroyed there - and soon will be here. Global Summit - what is it? - will it give back to us our land and our dignity?"

"Who will benefit from the summit?", asks Patricia Hutton  in an e-mail from Canada and she continues: "I don't believe that anything good will come out from a conference, organized, financed and steered by a cartel of nation governments, which can not even agree to do something effectively against the manmade changes of the world climate. Mrs. Hutton, who worked over 15 years with a non-churchbased medical charity in South-America, believes: "The poor people in the suburbs of Johannesburg might get some bred crumbs from the table of dining and wining "leaders", but their own way out of poverty will remain blocked or at least unsecured and they will have to destroy their last own natural resources, because their livelihood has been destroyed and their resource base has been exploited by others." "Can the summit answer questions like this one:", she closes and asks: "What is the world community during the summit effectively going to discusss, to agree and to do in order to for example stop the Sudanese Government in Khartoum from driving ten-thousands of people from their rural homes, because the Government wants to continue to dish the land out for oil-exploitation to Canada, the US, Russia and Europe - in order to get the petro-dollars and to buy arms? As long such problems can and will not be tackled and can not be solved by such a conference, it is at its best an academic excercise, but one for which we should neither spend money nor time. Even postponing the conference is no solution!"

So far there was only one voice who claimed to be happy to participate in August. An employee of one of the financially strongest conservation organizations from the US stated: "Well, it's my job - I am paid to be present and to lobby for our tasks. We actually preserve the last wilderness areas by buying them. I am fully occupied to enlarge our successful operations. I am looking forward to meet influential likeminded people and to spent some interesting time in South Africa, where we want to invest more."

That's what it is most likely all about: The so called stakeholders from the front pages of the media want to continue to be the fat "steak-holders"!, as one cartoonist termed it. But the time seems to be near, when again the deprived "stick-holders" team up and provide some serious lessons to those who divide the earth among themselves only and to those, whose NGOs stand for: Nothing Goes On!

At the end of the last millennium the sentence "Imagine tomorrow war would be declared - but nobody would engage himself!" - used to be an epigram, sprayed among other graffiti along the Berlin Wall and elsewhere. Today: "Imagine tomorrow there is a global conference - but nobody joins it!", seems to become the slogan for the World Summit on Development 2002. Some of the "Nobodies" - such they are at least in the view of more than 6 billion people - might still meet each other in Johannesburg,  but the global bandwagon has left the people behind again. What wonder that quiet many of the - presumed wiser - heads of state themselves are reluctant to confirm their participation, even after Klaus Toepfer, the UNEP boss, wrote personal letters to some, who are considered to be important - like the German Chancellor Schröder - and urged them to come.

Still UN Secretary General Kofi Annan reiterates his Mantra of WEHAB (Water and sanitation, Energy, Health, Agriculture, Biodiversity) as the five areas where solutions are long overdue to be found. But only the officials, who still pat on each others back, and those, who directly are busy to make money with the conference event, or those who got the expensive tickets for the preparation conference in Bali, an island still unfree and occupied by Indonesia and its military, continue to proclaim that the Global Summit will make the world a better place. For them maybe yes, but if for the billions of impoverished people is not only another question - it is at least already out of that specific question, which is answered daily by the natural world itself: It just disappears!

Nature and Humanity disappear with lightning speed, while "global leaders" continue to meet and meet and meet and - if at all - today only gather in extremely policed states.

---
John Bamau is a regular writer on environment and development issues
Copyright: WTN 2002 (reprinting and translated publishing free, if author and source are cited).
------------------------------

Please read also:

Massive police presence planned for summit

April 19 2002

SATURDAY STAR

By Elijah Mhlanga

Protesters at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg later this year are likely to confront a massive police and army presence.

This is central to the security plan drawn up by the Johannesburg World Summit Company which next week will table the document at the inter-ministerial session in parliament.

The summit, which opens on August 26 and concludes on September 4, will bring together more than 130 heads of state from around the world.

More than 60 000 people are expected to attend events related to the summit, such as the non-governmental conferences.

Gatherings of world leaders have in the past been marred by mass protests which have turned violent resulting in deaths.

The justice, crime prevention cluster will scrutinise the plan to ensure that the security strategy has provisions to handle crisis situations. The cluster involves the safety and security, defence, finance and intelligence departments.

Although the directors-general of the related departments have approved the security plan for the summit the ministers have yet to scrutinise the plan and approve it.

Based on the outcome of next week's meeting government would mobilise state forces.

Resources would be combined to control the expected demonstrators from anti-globalisation organisations, including anti-Aids groups and environmentalists.

Source:
http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?click_id=14&art_id=ct20020419172804301S630198&set_id=1

----------------

CIVIL SOCIETY UPSET ABOUT SUMMIT PREPARATIONS
Civil society is particularly upset about the failure of PrepComm III.
Some NGOs were even thinking that in the end, it might be better to have
NO summit at all rather than a flawed one. Explore some of the NGO
positions at http://www.worldsummit2002.org/guide/civilsociety.htm

----------------
JOHANNESBURG SUMMIT PREPARATIONS BOG DOWN

NEW YORK, New York April 8, 2002 (ENS) - World governments made little headway during
two weeks of preparatory talks for this autumn's Johannesburg world sustainability summit that
ended in New York on Friday, raising fears of damage to the whole process. Still, progress was
made with the official launch of an international sustainability reporting system, the Global Reporting
Initiative.

For full text and graphics visit: http://ens-news.com/ens/apr2002/2002L-04-08-03.html

-----------

And pls - if interested - read also:

Summit delegates will shop till they drop

April 05 2002 at 07:38PM

By Yolanda Mufweba

Delegates to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) are in for a tourist spectacular in Johannesburg later this year.

Despite the city's lack of environmental beauty, the City of Johannesburg has allocated areas of interest that would attract the delegates.

An amount of R50-million has been set aside for expenses on tourism by the city which will be used to upgrade roads, lights, electricity, tourist sites, transport and tours in and around the city.

'People should feel that they have really seen the urban jungle'
"Johannesburg is a business destination. Unlike Cape Town and Durban we don't have beaches and scenery - our biggest pull is that Johannesburg is considered the shopping mecca of the business sector," said Mandy Jean Woods, director of communications, marketing and tourism for the City of Johannesburg.

About 74 percent of visitors to the country are African tourists who shop in the city and re-sell to markets elsewhere.

Shopping routes to major retailers, shopping centres and a variety of shopping areas are on the map.

Places such as Sandton, Eastgate, Rosebank, Southgate, the Oriental Plaza, Bruma Flea Market, Mellville, Parktown and Yeoville will be on the shopping route.

"We know that when people come here, often the first thing they do is shop; their business here is to shop," said Enrico Fourie, programme manager of communications, marketing and tourism for the City of Johannesburg.

'Despite what people think, Johannesburg is actually a tourist destination.'
When shoppers do feel the need to relax, a visit to Klipriviersberg Heritage site and Melville Koppies Heritage Conservation site will allow delegates to see some fauna and flora as well as Sotho/Tswana villages.

"These are areas of great interest - it's just that it's been very low-key. We are revamping the area and training staff to work not only for the summit but to be successful after the summit," Fourie said.

Johannesburg central business district, which is being revived, is also on the map.

"People should feel that they have really seen the urban jungle, especially the inner-city architecture of buildings," Woods said.

Township tours of Alexandra and Soweto include shebeens and craft markets, schools and muti shops.

The Johannesburg Zoo and the zoo gardens will have night tours and outdoor art exhibitions.

Another art-focused tour will take delegates to various art galleries in and around the city.

A one-day "struggle" route which has marked sites related to Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, Hector Petersen and other historic people will provide visitors with a wealth of information about South Africa's history.

"There are a variety of routes available to suit the delegates. This is the strongest product we have, so we should offer people a combination of options," Woods said.
-------<snip>-------
If you still want to continue to read the article, pls go to its
Source:
http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?sf=14&click_id=13&amp;art_id=ct20020405193820627S530395&amp;set_id=1
---------
EIGHT BAWL
Environment ministers from the Group of Eight -- the world's
industrialized powers -- met over the weekend for a round of talks in
preparation for the World Summit on Sustainable Development, to be
held later this year in Johannesburg, South Africa.  Although the
issue of climate change was not on the agenda (much to the dismay of
some environmental organizations), yesterday's session was dominated
by discussions of the Kyoto Protocol, and especially of the U.S.
failure to support it.  The other G-8 nations -- Canada, Great
Britain, Russia, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan -- have all
tentatively agreed to approve the treaty, and have, with varying
degrees of tact, criticized President Bush's isolationist stance and
his claim that the agreement would harm the U.S. economy.  The talks
also focused on how to encourage the private sector to invest more in
sustainable development.

straight to the source:  San Francisco Chronicle, Associated Press,
Tom Cohen, 15 Apr 2002
<http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/news/archive/2002/04/15/international0441EDT0461.DTL
>

straight to the source:  Planet Ark, Reuters, David Ljunggren, 15 Apr 2002
<http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/15470/story.htm>

do good:  Take action to send your leader to the World Summit
<http://www.gristmagazine.com/dogood/politics.asp?source=daily#summit>

----------

GLOBAL YOUTH FORUM OPENS GATE TO JOHANNESBURG SUMMIT

ARHUS, Denmark, March 26, 2002 - Globalization and poverty, sustainable
development and population pressure, clean air and water - these weighty but
vital issues are the focus of attention for the 100 young people from 60 countries
here at the Global Youth Forum.

For full text and graphics visit:
http://ens-news.com/ens/mar2002/2002L-03-26-05.html

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ONE WORLD, ONE MORE AGENCY
What the world needs is another regulatory agency.  That is the
conclusion of legal and environmental experts at the Tokyo-based U.N.
University, who believe a new world environmental organization, as
well as an international environmental court, could help make sense
of the more than 500 environmental agreements and agencies operating
around the world.  In a report, the U.N. University folks called for
the idea to be debated at September's Earth Summit in Johannesburg,
South Africa.  The report said that the global body would be
analogous to the World Trade Organization (although with a very
different mandate).  It said such a body was necessary because
although environmental problems are increasingly international in
nature (think global warming), the current system of international
environmental governance is "too complicated [and] steadily getting
worse."

straight to the source:  Planet Ark, Reuters, 02 Apr 2002
<http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/15267/story.htm>

do good:  Take action to send your leader to the World Summit
<http://www.gristmagazine.com/dogood/politics.asp?source=daily#summit>
----------
 

'Earth Summit for All' online

The next Earth Summit ('Rio-plus ten') is taking place this year at
Johannesburg. Over 60,000 people are expected to be attending this, the
biggest conference Africa has ever seen. There will be delegates from
governments and big business, as well as non-governmental organisations
(NGOs) such as Friends of the Earth and the World Development Movement. Ten
years on from the last Summit at Rio in 1992, many people are calling the
last decade one of missed opportunities. The catastrophic rates of climate
change and species loss have not been arrested, in fact they have
increased. The Jo'burg Summit is too important an opportunity to be missed.
 

The Open University is developing 'Earth Summit for All', a new web portal
that aims to build partnerships for projects which can be launched at the
Summit, the first one of the internet era. It will provide an opportunity
for ordinary people and NGO delegates to hold on-line discussions and
collaborate in advance of the Summit, as part of the 'multi-stakeholder'
dialogues. It provides a tool for developing the all-important practical
projects needed to solve the major environmental and social problems that
the Summit will be tackling. A starting set of projects for discussion may
include Global Green Information Networks with 'green ratings';
Co-operative and Community Networks; Fair Trade Networks; a Global
Emergency Aid and Development Fund; Media Initiatives for Peace; Schools
for Sustainability.

How will the on-line discussions work? Our software builds upon the
innovative approaches to participative democracy developed by the Open
Source Software community (see http://www.slashdot.org) 'Earth Summit for
All' emphasizes public polls to promote consensus, and to enable people to
make their views count, even if they prefer not to make written comments.
The ethos is collaboration and consensus-seeking, rather than conflict and
competition.

At earlier summits, Rio and Stockholm, the central focus was on governments
and binding treaties between them. In Johannesburg, that will be much less
the case. The preparatory meeting in New York that just ended puts a great
emphasis on partnerships with civil society. 'Earth Summit for All' aims to
be a catalyst to such partnerships. It uses the tools of internet
technology to put the interested public and NGOs in touch with one another,
to help develop practical projects for the Summit.

'Earth Summit for All' will be launched publicly in late April, 2002 and
will be located at http://www.earthsummit.open.ac.uk. For further
information, email admin@earthsummit.open.ac.uk

---

SEE THE OFFICIAL WEBSITE FOR THIS EARTH SUMMIT II
http://www.joburgsummit2002.com

Check especially their latest fact sheet of updates! This is regarded as
the biggest United Nations convention the world has ever seen and shall
shape the future of a globally defined, sustainable development agenda.

<>  <>  <>  <>  <>  <>  <>  <>
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UNIC/16/2002                                       18 March 2002
 

South Africa launches wash campaign where cholera has struck

Nairobi, 18 March 2002 The Government of the Republic of South Africa is
launching its national campaign on WASH  "Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for
all"  together with the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council
in Ladysmith, located about 390 kms. South East of Johannesburg in
KwaZulu-Natal Province.

Ladysmith has had 8,268 cases of cholera since November 2001, according to
government estimates.  The Minister for Water Affairs and Forestry, Mr.
Ronnie Kasrils, pledged 25 million rand (about US $2 million) to the
campaign in the region for the provision of emergency water services
infrastructure in January this year.  These funds are over and above the
annual amount of over 332 million rand (about US $28 million) for basic
water supply and sanitation services in the cholera-prone rural areas of
KwaZulu-Natal province.

Working closely with the Department of Health which has conducted an
intensive health and hygiene education programme for the affected
communities in the Uthukela district, the Department of Water Affairs and
Forestry (DWAF) is also assisting with water sampling and distribution of
disinfectants. It has partnered with the Geneva-based Water Supply and
Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) to draw more attention to the
problem and to encourage other communities and countries to learn from its
experience.

The WSSCC launched the global WASH campaign during the International
Conference on Freshwater in Bonn last December, where Minister Kasrils
joined Sir Richard Jolly, Chair of the WSSCC and other officials in a
"handwashing" ceremony.  This symbolized the fact that the simple, hygienic
act of handwashing with water, or even ash, after going to the toilet, can
cut diseases by one third and save many lives from diarrhoea and other
preventable diseases.

"The South African launch of WASH is a landmark event, not just for this
country but also for other nations which are plagued by the devastating
impacts of the lack of adequate sanitation affecting more than 2.4
billion mostly the poor in the developing world," said Mr. Gourisankar
Ghosh, Executive Director of the WSSCC.  "It is also a question of human
dignity, especially for women and girls, who normally have to wait until
dark to defecate because of the absence of these facilities in many
countries."

Mr. Ghosh was joined at the launch by Minister Kasrils, the Premier of
KwaZulu-Natal Province, Mr Lionel Mtshali of South Africa, councillors,
multiple stakeholders including representatives of district municipalities,
mayors, local authorities, community members, DWAF officials, UN
representatives and the South African Breweries, an ally in a
public/private partnership to promote better water and sanitation services.

A locally manufactured playpump, an innovative design that pumps water
while children are innocently at play, was also inaugurated, along with a
"Working for Water" booklet, a WASH T-shirt and other campaign materials
produced by DWAF and the WSSCC.  Participants, which also included school
children, were entertained by a "cholera roadshow" aimed at educating them
and communities about safe water, sanitation and hygiene practices in order
to cut down the incidence of disease.

South Africa is one of 60 countries that signed the Bonn Ministerial
Declaration during the International Conference on Freshwater (December
2001) attended by over 2000 participants from more than 100 countries.  The
Ministerial and Bonn Conference Declarations both assigned high priority to
water and sanitation as vital keys to sustainable development.  They
pressed for a sanitation goal to be added to the international development
targets mentioned in the UN Millennium Declaration of 2000.  This will be
one of the issues to be addressed at the forthcoming African Sanitation
Conference being organized by the WSSCC and the South African Government in
Durban (29 July-1 August) just a few weeks before the World Summit on
Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in August/September 2002.

***

For more information on the WSSCC and the WASH Campaign, please contact:

Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council
20 Avenue Appia, CH-1211, Geneva 27, Switzerland.
Tel. +41 22 791-3517/3544 - Fax. +41 22 791 4847
E-mail: wsscc@who.ch; Internet: www.wsscc.org

In New York: Ms. Eirah Gorre-Dale, WSSCC, c/o UN DESA, Water, Natural
Resources and SIDS Branch, Division for Sustainable Development, DC2-2018,
New York. N.Y. 10017.
Tel. +1(917) 327-2420 - Cell. +1(914) 309-5491 - Fax. +1(917) 327-3391
E-mail: gorre-dale@un.org

In South Africa, Mr. Babs Naidoo, DWAF, Private Bag, x 313, Pretoria 0001,
South Africa.
Tel. +(012) 336 8264 - Cell. +(082) 807 3547 - Fax. +(012) 324 6592
E-mail: NaidooB@dwaf.gov.za

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