BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Somali Swahili French Great Lakes Hausa Portugeuse
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Africa  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Saturday, 24 August, 2002, 02:34 GMT 03:34 UK
Mbeki urges action at development talks
Thabo Mbeki at the Save the Planet concert in Johannesburg
Mbeki: "Global inequalities are growing"
South African President Thabo Mbeki has called on world leaders to come up with practical ideas when they meet at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg next week.

He was speaking at a pop concert in Johannesburg, intended to inaugurate a parallel gathering of non-governmental environmental groups.


We have seen millions of people drawn into the ranks of billions of others who are very poor

Thabo Mbeki
Denouncing failures in fighting poverty and disease since the first Earth Summit in Brazil 10 years ago, he said action rather than words was needed to bring hope to the poor of the world.

Government officials from around the world begin preparatory talks on Saturday - they hope to overcome major disagreements over key issues to be tackled at the talks.

The Johannesburg summit is expected to draw 40,000 delegates and 100 world leaders.

Security has been tightened to protect visitors from the city's notorious crime and violence, as well as protests promised by anti-globalisation activists.

Differences

"What we want now are practical programmes of action to ensure sustainable development that benefit the poor of the world," Mr Mbeki told the crowd at the Save the Planet concert.

South African policeman searches a driver at a roadblock in Johannesburg
Security has been tightened ahead of the summit

Since the Rio summit a decade ago, the South African president said, "we have seen millions of people drawn into the ranks of billions of others who are very poor.

"Indeed, since the Rio summit we have witnessed growing global inequalities as well as more migrations, epidemics, conflicts and instabilities."

This year's summit is meant to find ways to halve poverty and hunger by 2015 and to reduce damage to the environment.

However, BBC News Online's environment correspondent in Johannesburg, Alex Kirby, says the conference is already beset by low expectations and warnings that it will be little more than a talking shop.

Important differences between the participants remain - most notably a disagreement between the European Union and the US on poverty relief objectives.

US President George W Bush has already decided not to attend the summit.

And, according to the French news agency AFP, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has said he will wait to see what comes out of this weekend's preparatory talks before deciding whether to attend.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Hilary Andersson
"It's been called the biggest summit ever"

Key stories

SPECIAL REPORT

TALKING POINT

AUDIO VIDEO
See also:

23 Aug 02 | Science/Nature
22 Aug 02 | Africa
06 Aug 02 | Africa
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Africa stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Africa stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes