Accessibility links

UN Conference Ends Without Blueprint For Development Program - 2002-06-07

A U.N. conference on ways to reduce poverty and protect the environment has ended without agreement on the Indonesian island of Bali. The talks, which brought together ministers from countries around the world, broke down over the tricky issue of how to finance programs that will help developing nations.

The Bali meeting, attended by 6,000 delegates, was a prelude to a United Nations summit in August in South Africa. The delegates in Bali have been working on a development blueprint to be voted on at the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.

Economic and environment ministers from around the world were to approve a plan Friday. But U.N. officials have said thorny issues dividing rich and poor nations, such as trade and finance, have to be debated at Johannesburg summit. Poor nations want more financing for sustainable development and a greater commitment from developed nations to open their markets to trade.

Delegates disagree on conditions that need to be met before rich nations increase aid to poor countries. Officials said the United States is reluctant to boost aid unless recipient nations reduce corruption and promote good governance.

The European Union, along with many developing nations, has said previous financial commitments to developing countries do not come close to what is needed to reduce poverty and save the environment.

The summit aims to halve the number of people living on less than one dollar a day and also halve the number of people who lack safe water by the year 2015.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has proposed several key areas of focus: energy, agriculture, water and sanitation, biodiversity, and ecosystem management and health.