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Tuesday, 27 August, 2002, 08:48 GMT 09:48 UK
Morgan prepares for earth summit
Johannesburg, South Africa
Johannesburg is hosting the environmental summit
First Minister Rhodri Morgan is preparing to lead the Welsh delegation out to the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

But before leaving Cardiff on Thursday to begin the journey to South Africa, Mr Morgan met a young Welsh delegate who will also be heading to the summit.

Over 40,000 delegates from all over the world are expected to attend the 10-day summit in Johannesburg which opened on Monday.

First Minister Rhodri Morgan
Rhodri Morgan leaves for Johannesburg on Tuesday

Rhys Davies, 17, a student at Ysgol Gyfun Llanhari near Llantrisant, has been chosen as the WWF Cymru's young representative in Wales.

He won the Earth Champion role after his school entered a competition devised by the charity and the BBC's youth programme Newsround.

While in Johannesburg, Rhys and the other Earth Champions from around the UK will hold interviews with key delegates at the summit, and write reports for the WWF's Our World website.

They will also meet children from the host country to discuss sustainable development and visit projects in the region.

Rhys is just one of a number of young Welsh environmentalists to attend the global summit.

Three teenagers were selected by the Centre for Alternative Technology for the trip out to South Africa after fellow students selected them from a Wales-wide contest.

And a representative for the Born Free foundation is Josie Russell, whose mother Lin Russell and sister Megan were bludgeoned to death in Kent by Michael Stone in 1996.

Josie Russell
Josie Russell is a Born Free Foundation delegate
Josie, then aged nine, was also attacked but survived and now lives with her father in Nantlle, north Wales.

The CAT teenagers - Natasha Parry, 14, Yasmin Tariq, 18, and Rhys Richardson, 17 - are participating in a young people's summit which runs alongside the main 10-day event.

As well as attending meetings at the summit, the teenagers will visit the landlocked country of Lesotho.

They are also hoping to meet up with First Minister Rhodri Morgan during their trip.

Wales takes sustainability lead

Mr Morgan and the Welsh Assembly delegation will host their own event during their stay in Johannesburg.

The First Minister is also due to give a speech on corporate trust and responsibility and meet representatives of other regional governments.

At present, Wales is one of just three regions with an administration which has a legal responsibility to promote sustainable development.

Although Wales, like Scotland and Northern Ireland, is part of the official UK delegation, it will not have a separate seat at the conference table.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Wales' Abigail Neal
"The eyes of the world are on the Earth Summit in South Africa."
See also:

19 Aug 02 | Wales
16 Aug 02 | Wales
26 Aug 02 | Politics
26 Aug 02 | UK
26 Aug 02 | Africa
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