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
Wednesday, 4 September, 2002, 00:16 GMT 01:16 UK
UK hails summit success
Demonstrators
Demonstrators at the summit campaign for change

The UK has described the world development summit here as "a victory".

The head of the UK delegation, Margaret Beckett, the Environment Secretary, said: "The overall outcome of this Johannesburg summit is truly remarkable."

She said future generations would recognise that it was the beginning of a new direction.

But British campaign groups say there are serious gaps in the summit plan of action.

'New path'

Mrs Beckett told journalists: "We have a genuine and substantial outcome. We've got a lot more than we ever hoped for."

In a statement, she said: "We had to give it our best shot to get the best deal we could, and we did.

"It's easy to make promises about the future: it's more difficult to take responsibility for the planet.

"I am in no doubt that our descendants will look back on this summit and say we set out on a new path.

Margaret Beckett
Beckett: Summit a triumph for the environment

"This is a victory for everybody who wants to put sustainable development at the heart of everything we do."

But, with the World Summit on Sustainable Development now in its penultimate day, some members of the UK delegation are saying privately that they are disappointed to have worked so hard and achieved what some regard as so little.

They are critical of what they see as the lack of flexibility in the UK's and European Union's policies.

Robert Napier, head of WWF-UK, said: "Margaret Beckett's claim that the summit has been 'truly remarkable' is staggering.

"It is as if she had been at a different summit from the rest of us.

"The only path this summit has set us on is the global path to further environmental destruction, increasing poverty, and injustice."

Another critic of the summit was the former secretary of the UN Climate Change Convention, Michael Zammit Cutajar.


Climate change appears to have been swept under the carpet

Michael Zammit Cutajar

He is here as an adviser to the Government of Malta.

Mr Zammit Cutajar told BBC News Online: "Climate change appears to have been swept under the carpet in Johannesburg, and I'm disappointed at that."

And there is criticism from several campaign groups, particularly over the summit plan of action's section on energy.

Three international environment and development groups - WWF, Greenpeace and Oxfam - said the plan offered "nothing for the climate".

They said it delivered nothing on energy supply for the 2bn people without access to modern energy services.

It lacked any targets or timetables for the uptake of renewable energy, and did nothing to reduce subsidies to fossil fuel industries.

Days of bluster

With a food crisis threatening much of southern Africa, many delegates had come here hoping that a summit dedicated to reducing poverty and helping Africa would take some radical decisions.

But Oxfam said the WSSD was "an opportunity wasted" for poverty reduction.

It said: "After nine days of bluster, the world gets some gains on a few environmental issues, and on sanitation for the poor.

"But overall the deal as it appears today is feeble: a triumph for greed and self-interest, a tragedy for poor people and the environment."

It criticised the summit for not setting a date to phase out the developed world's agricultural subsidies and end the dumping of produce in the developing world.

It also regretted the lack of action on cancelling more debts, increasing aid levels, and tackling the crisis in commodity prices.


Key stories

SPECIAL REPORT

TALKING POINT

AUDIO VIDEO
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