Earth Summit results modest, says Tanzanian President

NITED NATIONS, June 23 (G-77) — Addressing the U.N. Special Session on Environment and Development, the President of Tanzania Benjamin William Mkapa expressed his disappointment over the decline in development assistance, the marginalisation of Africa and the slow progress made in implementing Agenda 21 adopted at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio.

Speaking on behalf of the Group of 77, President Mkapa admitted there have been “good achievements” which are cause for gratification. “But they are, nevertheless, modest by the standards we had in mind in 1992, and we still have to see how they will be implemented,” he said.

“For example, while we had agreed at Rio to reach the United Nations target of developed countries contributing 0.7 per cent of their GNP towards Official Development Assistance (ODA), that contribution has in fact declined substantially since Rio in 16 out of the 21 members of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the OECD,” he added.

This led to an overall decrease in the combined aid effort of DAC countries from 0.34% of their GNP in 1992 to 0.27% in 1995, and 0.25% only at present.
“Yet, we had all agreed at Rio that for quite some time to come, the capacity of developing countries to implement Agenda 21 will depend critically on increased flows to them of net ODA. This disastrous decline in ODA has, therefore, eroded the capacity of developing countries, and slowed down the speed at which they would have liked to implement the Rio agreements and action-plan”, he added. As a result, the Group of 77 has continued to witness environmental degradation which could have easily been prevented through simple poverty reduction measures financed by ODA, the Tanzanian president concluded. (text of full statement)