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BTL: Johannesburg Earth Summit Fails to...

...Significantly Advance Environmental Protection and Poverty Eradication. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Salih Booker, executive director of Africa Action.
Environmental Protection and Poverty Eradication

Interview with Salih Booker, executive director of Africa Action, conducted by Scott Harris

After 10 days of debate, deliberation and protest, the World Summit on Sustainable Development came to a close in Johannesburg, South Africa on Sept. 4. Although there were some areas of agreement, many of the 40,000 participants felt that the conference failed to advance the commitments made at the Rio Earth Summit a decade earlier. Delegates in Johannesburg, including 100 heads of state, examined ways in which to reverse the destruction of the planet's ecosystem while reducing growing global poverty.

One of the few specific accords reached in Johannesburg called on nations to cut by half the proportion of impoverished people who lack sanitation by 2015. More vague statements were made pledging to minimize chemical pollution by 2020 and to better protect endangered species. However, the U.S. and other industrial and oil producing nations blocked an agreement which would have set specific goals for reducing the consumption of fossil fuels.

When U.S. Secretary of state Colin Powell addressed the summit on its closing day, his speech was interrupted by protesters angry at American policy on the environment, including President Bush's refusal last year to sign the Kyoto global warming treaty. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Salih Booker, executive director of Africa Action, who assesses the outcome of the World Summit on Sustainable Development and his hope for future progress on protecting the environment and eradicating poverty.

Contact Africa Action by calling (202) 546-7961 or visit their Web site

Related links:

Food First
South Africa Indymedia

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