Countries clash over UN meet agenda

May 12, 2009 12:00 am

, NEW YORK, May 12 – There are sharp divisions between the European Union and the G77 member countries over the development agenda to be taken at an ongoing high level summit at the UN headquarters in New York.

The second week saw the EU and G77 countries clash over whether the term ‘sustainable’ should  be included in the negotiating text for agriculture which is the main theme of the Commission on Sustainable Development talks.

G77 representative, Achmand Rizal Purnama told Capital News that the disagreements arose because of the different stands the two groups have on trade issues.

“We, as the G77, want to focus on how to boost production in developing countries by creating an enabling environment at International levels but the other partners want to see how to make agriculture more sustainable which in our view is difficult to achieve,” Mr Purnama stated.

The G77 member states, which include China, also want poverty alleviation to be key in the discussions.

“Every single partner wants to see their proposals on the table. The partners want to see how the agricultural sector contributes to mitigate climate change which is an environmental aspect rather than promote agriculture as a means to eradicate poverty and achieve Millennium Development Goals,” the G77 representative stated.

“That’s the deep difference between developing countries and developed countries, we (G77) want to help and promote small scale farmers in developing countries.”

He said although they recognise the importance of environmental sustainability, poverty alleviation should be the focal point.

But the EU representatives Bedrich Moldan downplayed the concern that threatens to change the meaning of the negotiating text and said it would be worked out.

“We are talking about what is dear to the European, the multifunctionality of the agriculture and the G77 people don’t like it but when we explain what we really mean and we don’t use this word(Sustainable) then we could agree on basically everything so I am rather optimistic in that,” he told Capital News in New York.

The EU representative claimed that the G77 could be afraid of new conditions which might be laid out for them in the new approaches towards environmental regulation.

“They are rightly afraid of these new things that might be then difficult for their economies,” the EU representative said.

The summit is expected to by the end of the week come up with solutions on problems facing agriculture, rural development, water, land, desertification and Africa.


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