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WSSD Stratements: Gerhard Schröder, Tony Blair




Mr. Gerhard Schröder
Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany

at the
World Summit on Sustainable Development

Johannesburg, South Africa
2 September 2002

Mr President,
Mr Secretary-General,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I should like to thank President Mbeki and you, Mr Secretary-General, for your initiative and commitment in preparing and holding this summit.

Germany, but also the Czech Republic and Austria, have in recent weeks been hit by the biggest flood disaster in their history.

People have died in my country. Thousands have lost their homes, their every possession. Historic city centres have been destroyed.

But in Asia and America, too, floods and severe storms have in recent years razed whole regions to the ground.

China is at present suffering the consequences of a tremendous flood. In other regions deserts are expanding.

The global increase in extreme weather conditions shows very clearly that climate change is no longer a sceptical forecast - but bitter reality.

This challenge demands decisive action.

What is at stake is the natural sources of life, our children's future.

This conference should therefore call upon the states to ratify the Kyoto Protocol as quickly as possible so that it can enter into force before the end of this year.

And I appeal to those industrial countries which are not acceding to the Protocol at least to make an equal contribution towards reducing greenhouse gases.

The key to effective climate protection, and to successful economic development, is sustainable energy supplies.

I expect us to agree on concrete objectives and measures in this field here in Johannesburg.

In Germany we have already succeeded in cutting CO2 emissions by 19 per cent. We have set the course for the future with more efficient use of energy and massive development of renewable energies.

At international level we will take three initiatives:

Firstly, I will invite delegates to Germany for an international conference on renewable energies.

The aim is to continue in the energy sector from where we all left off at the end of last year with the Bonn International Conference on Freshwater.

Secondly, Germany will participate in the global energy agency network decided upon yesterday.

Thirdly, Germany will develop its successful cooperation in the energy sphere with the developing countries into a strategic partnership.

Over the next five years Germany will provide 500 million euro to promote cooperation on renewable energies.

Environment and development - that was the promise in Rio in 1992.

Without successful poverty alleviation, there will be no global environmental rescue, and also no lasting peace.

The member states of the European Union will increase public assistance for the global fight against poverty from the current 26 billion euro to a likely 35 billion euro in 2006.

I should like to expressly welcome the initiative shown by the African states themselves within the framework of NEPAD.

Free, unhindered access for the developing countries to the global markets is at least as important as financial aid. This also implies the dismantling of market-distorting agricultural subsidies.

The decisions taken here in Johannesburg should send economic globalization down the path towards sustainable development.

But we are also concerned here with very basic things like people's access to clean drinking-water.

We must not dash the hopes of people across the world. They expect us to make tangible progress.

We have an obligation to really improve living conditions in our one world and to preserve humanity's natural sources of life.

Let us strike out on this path together and with courage. Thank you very much.









Mr President, colleagues,

We know the problems. A child in Africa dies every three seconds from famine, disease or conflict. If climate change is not stopped, all parts of the world will suffer, some will be destroyed. We know the solution: sustainable development. The issue is the political will.

And we know one other thing. The key characteristic of today's world is its interdependence. Your problem becomes my problem. One country's war becomes another country's asylum seekers. One country's pollution becomes another country's floods.

We have begun to act.

A decade from Rio, for all the sneering about Summits, those who took part then can point to the real progress there has been. Millions more children educated. Millions more with safe drinking water. Millions lifted out of poverty.

Rio didn't deliver everything, nor will Johannesburg. No Summit can. But this Summit can and will make our world change for the better.

Today, I restate Britain's commitment to play our full part in this. Development, for us, is a priority. Africa, for me, is a passion. Proud of our leadership on debt relief, we know there is more to do. Proud of the extra resources we are giving to aid and development, we want to give more in the future, and we will.

Proud that we will meet, indeed exceed our Kyoto targets; and we must go further.

There are certain specific agreements this summit can deliver: on poverty, on education, on fish stocks, on chemicals, on sanitation, and on biodiversity.

But beyond that, it must set a direction.

We must open up world trade, and that must include the developed world opening up its markets to the products of the developing world - especially for agriculture.

It means sustainable and fair development, globalisation with justice, ensuring its benefits are spread.

It means driving through the Partnership with Africa. Britain will raise, by 2006, its commitment to development aid to Africa to £1 billion a year and its overall levels of assistance for all countries by 50%. This is not charity. It is an investment in our collective future. Obviously poverty damages the poor most. But is also deprives the wider world of the benefits of the industry and the talent of poorer nations and their people.

It means changing the way we consume resources - particularly energy.

It means the world, the whole world, facing up to the challenges of climate change. Kyoto is right, and it should be ratified by us all. But it only slows the present rate of damage. To reverse it, we need to reduce dramatically the level of pollution. Let us at least set that direction.

None of it easy. The short-term clashes with the long-term. There are painful decisions. Vested interests. Legitimate anxieties. But the facts remain. The consequences of inaction are also not unknown. They are calculable. Poverty and environmental degradation, if unchecked, spell catastrophe.

My politics is founded on the belief that we are all of equal worth.

Yesterday, in some of the poorest parts of Mozambique, I saw children every bit as bright as children in affluent Britain. Full of potential. Full, despite all the challenges, of hope. But their life chances stunted by poor health, poor housing, poor education, poor sanitation.

They need -not, must not, face their challenge alone. If Africa is a scar on the conscience of the world, the world has a duty to heal it.

Heal it we can, and must.

The decisions we take here will bear directly on those children's lives. Let us be sure we make the right decisions.

We know the problems. We know the solutions.

Together, as one world, we must find the will to deliver them.


© Scoop Media

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