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Thursday, 29 August, 2002, 14:14 GMT 15:14 UK
Rich states 'failing' poor
A child suffering from Aids in Africa
Thousands are dying for lack of funds
Rich nations are failing to meet commitments to eradicate poverty and disease in developing countries and are allowing people to die, a top United Nations adviser has told the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.

If there isn't real financial help, problems are not going to be solved in the poorest of the poor countries

Jeffrey Sachs
UN advisor
Jeffrey Sachs, representing UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, said that unless the world's rich countries started providing serious sums of money, the problems of the poorest countries would never be solved.

His own country, he said, was one of the most serious culprits.

"The richest country in the world, the United States, is the donor that gives the smallest share of its income," he said on Thursday.

"Until that changes, we are going to have a lot of declarations without results."

Funds lacking

Mr Sachs said that the current Western emphasis on penalising countries with poor governance by withholding aid was not necessarily a problem, but those countries with good record of governance did not seem to fare much better.

Multinationals are unfit to deliver water to the world

Friends of the Earth
He cited Ghana, a country often praised for its efforts to establish democratic rule.

"It is trying to fight Aids, malaria, tuberculosis, trying to fight hunger, and they do not have the resources at hand to do it. So people are dying."

He said the global fund for combating the three diseases he mentioned was operating at a tenth of its required $7bn per year.

Funds established to finance research into crops and land management system were also lacking, he said.

Private partnerships

Mr Sachs also cast doubt on the viability of partnerships between businesses and communities in the developing world being advocated by Western governments.

The partnerships are designed to help economic development and preserve the environment.

They aim to transfer cash, technology and know-how from the rich world to the poor, with the help of private funds.

The US believes these private-public arrangements represent a practical step towards sustainable development.

But environmental groups say such projects are a poor substitute for specific targets and timetables, and question the role of private firms in helping development.

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

Some were also unimpressed by a programme launched on Wednesday in Johannesburg by world business leaders 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

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.

The BBC's Barnaby Philips says that talks on the final draft, due to be signed by heads of state, look set to carry on through the weekend.

The European Union is disappointed by 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 energy targets.

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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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