While an action plan was approved at the Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, some observers doubt a true consensus was achieved. One of them is Professor Tony Barnett, co-author of “AIDS in the 21st Century.”
He says, “These mega events are highly symbolic and full of gestures.“ He describes the summit as “a downer” following the optimism that rose after the 1997 Kyoto climate summit. Professor Barnett says the Johannesburg meeting “shows very acutely how much of a gap there is between the poor world and the rich world.”
He says the jeers and boos heard by Secretary of State Colin Powell at the summit were not a personal attack, but rather a criticism of current US policies. He says the United States and other developed nations are often perceived as not caring about the problems facing developing nations, despite the foreign aid that is given.
Professor Barnett spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua. Click the above links to hear the interview.