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Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
5 September 2002
Australia has contributed to important global outcomes at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, the leader of Australia’s delegation, Environment and Heritage Minister, Dr David Kemp, said today.
“Australians can be proud of our contribution to real progress towards sustainable development, particularly in developing countries,” Dr Kemp said.
“The protection of the planet’s remaining biodiversity and the wise use of its natural resources are fundamental to a sustainable future. To survive and prosper, humankind must have access to clean water and sanitation, clean energy and sustainable agricultural systems.
“This has been Australia’s goal as we have debated targets and timetables, developed strong, practical partnerships and contributed to the Summit’s political declaration.
“Agreements have been reached on global targets for basic sanitation, for minimising the adverse impacts of chemicals on health and the environment, for halting biodiversity loss, restoring fish stocks, reducing land based pollution in small island developing states, and eliminating gender disparity in education.
“Australia has highlighted the importance of better management of the world’s oceans – their deep sea biodiversity, their coral reefs and coastal habitats - to the health and wealth of more than three quarters of the world’s people.
“We have strongly supported developing countries in their campaign for access to energy. Australia is at the forefront in the move to renewable energy, with national targets and one of the world’s first guaranteed markets for renewable energy.
“But with more than 1.2 billion people living on less than $US1 a day, a huge number having no access to electricity and with firewood accounting for 90 per cent of energy consumption in some African nations, a global target for renewable energy becomes an unachievable, unrealistic imposition on developing countries.
“This is just one area where we have worked with developing countries towards meeting what we believe is the most important target of the Summit - to halve the number of people living in poverty by 2015.
“International and national good governance and international trade and investment will be critical to meeting this target, which is why we have supported the Summit’s emphasis on the establishment and maintenance of solid democratic institutions, the rule of law, peace and security, fair and transparent legal systems, open and transparent financial markets and sound macroeconomic policy.
“We have backed up our beliefs with action: we will provide $355 million in 2002-03 to address governance in developing countries as part of our $1.8 billion aid programme.”
Dr Kemp said the 15 partnerships Australia had entered into with developing countries focus on enabling communities to make decisions for themselves rather than having them imposed from the outside.
Dr Peter Poggioli (Johannesburg) 0412 970 063
Devena Wahlstrom (Canberra) (02) 6277 7640 or 0412 257 334