United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan addresses 01 September 2002 in Sandton, the venue of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg, a meeting of Business Action for Sustainable Development(AFP Photo)...
Earth Summit: World leaders speak but no George
There can be no question that this Earth Summit which will set the global environmental agenda for the next ten years is a very important gathering. And there can be no question that this is the third such major world gathering that little George has refused to attend (He refused to attend the global warming gathering in Kyoto and also the human rights gathering in Africa. Israel also refused to attend the human rights gathering. Everyone else was there.)
The world is rapidly changing and the United States is not leading. The United States is barely present.
It is a very sad state of affairs when little George is so focused on warring against Afghanistan and Iraq that he cannot be bothered with working toward positive goals that effect the entire world and not just the United States.
The United States tried isolationism prior to World War I and World War II with devastating effects. There is no world war on the horizon but there is the very real prospect that our children are going to have to suffer greatly for the indiscriminate and arrogant plundering of the planet that continues under the leadership of little George Bush.
Hey, George. This is the 21st century, not the 19th or 20th. It is the third millennium not the first or second. It is time to lead the world to peace instead of playing with your war little war machine. It is time for you to play the role of a world leader not the role of a world bully. It is time for you to establish a cabinet position on global affairs.
Mbeki demands summit action
BBC News Monday, 2 September, 2002, 11:40 GMT 12:40 UK
Mr Mbeki appealed to delegates to "set concrete goals and targets" to help developing countries and protect the planet.
"Nothing, whatsoever, can justify any failure on our part to respond to this expectation," he said.
Negotiators said on Monday they were close to a final deal on a package of measures after settling differences on climate change, trade and sanitation for the poor.
After Mr Mbeki spoke, world leaders took to the podium to deliver five-minute addresses.
More than 100 heads of governments and their representatives have gathered for the last three days of the World Summit on Sustainable Development.
As world leaders took turns to speak, their ministers resumed negotiations on Monday morning to try to reach a final declaration by the official end of the summit on Wednesday.
Disputes remain - particularly with the United States - over targets for boosting the use of clean forms of energy such as wind and solar power.
Discussions are also stuck on a clause in the document referring to the provision of health services.
The US and some of the more conservative countries have opposed any wording which could be seen to support the provision of family planning services - and in particular safe abortion - to poorer women in developing countries.
Mr Mbeki said that although illness, poverty and conflict were prevalent around the globe, the means to solve the world's problems already existed.
"Why do millions die every year from avoidable and curable diseases when sciences, technology and engineering have the means to save these human lives? Why do we have wars when we established institutions to end war?" he asked.
His words were echoed by United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, who called on rich countries to "lead the way" towards saving the planet.
"They have the wealth, they have the technology and they contribute - disproportionately - to global environmental problems," he said.
The secretary general said current methods of production which damage the environment and leave humans suffering had to be revised before they "prove to be a dead-end road for everyone".
UK Prime Minister Tony Blair urged all countries to ratify the Kyoto agreement on climate change, warning that the world would face "catastrophe" if it failed to act.
He also called on developed countries to open their markets - particularly agriculture - to developing countries.
"Poverty damages the poor most but it also deprives the whole world of the benefits of the talents of poor nations and their people," he said.
Organisers had hoped that a complete package would be agreed before the leaders started addressing the summit.
One of the remaining stumbling blocks was resolved when the US agreed to accept a reduction in targets on the number of people left without access to proper sanitation.
However, there is resistance from the US and oil-producing states to calls from the European Union for a timetable on increasing the use of renewable energy.
South Africa's Foreign Minister, Nkosazana-Dlamini, told journalists on Sunday night the draft plan was not going to be a strong document.
"To be honest, if you are negotiating with the world, you can't get everybody to accept a strong argument," she said.
The eventual plan, which will be non-binding, will set the environmental agenda for the next 10 years.
How can we manifest peace on earth if we do not include everyone (all races, all nations, all religions, both sexes) in our vision of Peace?
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