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Thursday, 29 August, 2002, 05:33 GMT 06:33 UK
Summit launch for new aid schemes
Solar ovens on display in Johannesburg
The EU is promoting renewable sources of energy
Western governments at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg are due to announce a series of partnerships with businesses and communities in developing countries on Thursday.

Led by the United States, they will promote partnerships worth millions of dollars as a means to help economic development and preserve the environment.

Multinationals are unfit to deliver water to the world

Friends of the Earth
However, environmental groups say such projects are a poor substitute for specific targets and timetables which other governments are prepared to support.

Meanwhile, negotiations on many of the most contentious issues at the summit are continuing behind closed doors in the hope that a final document for the summit will be ready for next week.

Question of trust

The BBC's Barnaby Philips reports that the Americans see public-private partnerships as practical steps towards sustainable development.

Bangladeshi child
The summit aims to halve global poverty by 2015

They propose redirecting funds from existing programmes and funds to new schemes meant to meet the summit's goal of halving poverty by 2015.

The summit's UN organisers welcome the schemes as a potentially important innovation but environmentalists fear that they will merely provide an excuse for governments to dodge such responsibilities as affordable drinking water or electricity.

"Multinationals are unfit to deliver water to the world," said Friends of the Earth in a statement.

On Wednesday, world business leaders launched a programme in Johannesburg to promote greater investment by multinationals in developing countries.

Business Action for Sustainable Development (BASD) - which brings together international chambers of commerce - said its initiative would put pressure on developed countries to allow better market access for the developing world's products.

Energy dispute

Our correspondent says that talks on the final draft of the summit agreement, due to be signed by heads of state next week, look set to carry on through the weekend.

1. Nearly 80% of energy comes from fossil fuels (oil 35%, coal 23.5% gas 20.7%)

2. Nuclear 6.8%
3. Hydropower 2.3%
4. Waste and renewable combustibles 11.1%
5.Others 0.5%

The European Union is disappointed with the American refusal to agree on targets for cleaner energy and sanitation in the developing world, and trade issues have also still to be resolved.

The EU wants an international target for 15% of energy to come from renewable sources such as wind and solar power by 2010.

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

Washington came under new pressure on Wednesday when the environmentalist group Greenpeace joined forces with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) to urge it to sign the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.

US members of the WBCSD - a corporate lobby and one of the partners in BASD - include ChevronTexaco in oil and gas and DuPont in chemicals.

Lennart Bage, Intl Fund for Agricultural Development
"Broad based development has to start in the communities"

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See also:

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