Sumario: August 30, 2002: European Union: New momentum needed to reach World Summit results (Johannesburg)
The European Union wants to inject new political momentum into negotiations at the World Summit for Sustainable Development. Last night the EU proposed some 15 issues on which countries have been unable to reach agreement at technical level should now be handled by ministers in Johannesburg. Later today South African Foreign Minister Zuma, the summit chairperson, will suggest which issues to deal with at ministerial level.
Danish Minister of the Environment and current EU President Hans Christian Schmidt told a press briefing: "Last night the EU decided to shake the tree in order to give the negotiations renewed momentum. South Africa rightly asked countries to be represented at ministerial level right from the very beginning of the summit. We are here. And now we must show that we are dedicated to results. Important issues such as sanitation, renewable energy and human rights have not yet been agreed upon. A sense of urgency is needed. If the problems cannot be solved at a technical level it is important to state that we are prepared to solve them at a political level where the interrelations between the different issues may become clearer."
Minister Schmidt continued: "The Johannesburg summit must be remembered as the summit of action, not the summit of talk. Some results have been achieved. The agreement reached on chemicals is important to the developed world, the developing world and not least to pregnant women and children who are particularly sensitive to harmful chemicals. But given how few days we have left here in Johannesburg this just isn't enough. I am glad to see that the EU's point of view gave the negotiations renewed intensity and that all countries now seem to agree on the urgent need for progress."
European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid Poul Nielson added: "We need to ensure that the Summit arrives at a fair and balanced result that all countries can accept. We have to move into a phase of the negotiations where we can make meaningful progress towards that goal."