Bali Conference: the usual bickering and hot air

As the forthcoming Summit on sustained development in Johannesburg (August) is prepared in Bali, the representatives present the world with the usual sorry display of bickering, selfishness and narrow-minded wilfulness.

The three thousand delegates in Bali, although they have been meeting for a week, are still incapable of producing a final document on issues to be approached in Johannesburg. The original objective was to draw up a text which will be adopted at the Earth II – Rio + 10 Summit at the end of August, which will be attended by more than one hundred Heads of State.

As usual, the hot issues, which caused the blockage, were those of financing and commercial trade-offs. The developed countries want a firm undertaking by the Less Developed Countries that their markets will be opened up more freely in return for aid.

The final text will have to be drawn up before the end of the conference, on Friday but to date there is no consensus in sight. The World Wildlife Fund has complained that scant progress has been made in the run-up to the Rio + 10 Summit in Johannesburg, because countries such as the USA, Canada and Australia have blocked all efforts to establish fixed agreements.

Although progress has been made on issues like energy and ocean preservation, as usual, the eternal battle rages between what needs to be done and who pays for it. If this continues for too long, it will not matter any more.


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