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Wednesday, 28 August, 2002, 19:31 GMT 20:31 UK
UN hails summit progress
Impoverished family in Angola
Rich and poor countries are moving closer on aid
United Nations officials say poor and rich countries are getting closer to formulating a draft agreement on the delicate issues of trade and aid at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.

Environmentalists demonstrate
Energy is still a sticking point
The UN says it hopes to have completed the provisional document by the beginning of next week, when heads of state arrive in Johannesburg.

But European countries and the United States have continued to disagree on the rate of introduction of renewable or "clean" sources of energy.

The BBC's Barnaby Phillips in Johannesburg says that there seems to be little room for compromise.

Targets controversy

The European Union is pushing for targets on the increased use of renewable energy, like wind or solar power.

It wants an international target for 15% of energy to come from renewable sources by 2010.

The EU says this would be an important step towards reducing pollution, and slowing down the process of global warming.

But the US, more dependent on oil and coal, is strongly opposed to any targets on energy.

However there is generally a sense of optimism over how the meeting is going, following a draft agreement on Tuesday to protect diminishing fish stocks.

Many environmental activists had initially been pessimistic that any real developments would come out of the summit.

Water problem

Earlier, delegates called for urgent action to provide clean drinking water and decent sanitation to billions of the world's poorest people.

Nelson Mandela opens WaterDome exhibition
Mandela: Water is the top priority in fighting poverty
Former South African President Nelson Mandela told delegates that water was the number one priority in the fight against poverty.

"In impoverishment it is the absence of clean water that strikes me most strongly," he said at the opening of the WaterDome exhibition at the summit.

According to the UN, 1.1 billion people lack access to clean drinking water, and 2.4 billion have no sanitation.

The UN hopes the summit will agree to double the number of people with access to clean water and sanitation by 2015.

The US has resisted setting new targets for action, but EU officials back the sanitation proposals.

When the summit opened, delegates were largely pessimistic that any lasting agreements could be reached, but BBC News Online's correspondent at the summit, Alex Kirby, says an agreement over fish stocks on Tuesday night has eased the dour mood.

Delegates agreed to protect the world's oceans and restore depleted fish stocks, "where possible", by 2015.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Rageh Omaar reports
"Dirty water means easily preventable diseases and death"

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28 Aug 02 | Africa
28 Aug 02 | Africa
27 Aug 02 | Africa
12 Aug 02 | Americas
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