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Development scene

Climate Summit in Berlin: "A side step"

Berlin - "A side step» is how Espen Ronnebeg, delegate from the Marshall-Islands described the results of the UN Climate Summit held in Berlin from March 28 to April 7. Most observers shared his views.

As early as the 1992 Rio conference, the industrialized nations had declared their intention to bring carbon dioxide emissions back to the 1990 level by the year 2000. The aim of the first Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change was to ratify this intention. But the conference found this to be no longer reasonable. The wording agreed in the "Berlin Mandate" only targeted a procedure to draw up measures and quantifiable goals for limiting and reducing anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions not covered by the Montreal Protocol. Specified time frames are to be set up for the years 2005, 2010 and 2020. The proposal by AOSIS (the Association of Small Island States) to reduce CO, emissions by 20 % by the year 2005 was only to be "included for consideration".

Climate protection in development aid

Bonn - Germany is making a mayor contribution to protecting the earth's climate particularly through its development aid projects in the énergy and forestry sectors, and Germany's Development Aid Minister Carl-Dieter Spranger documented this in the papers he presented in Bonn on the occasion of the Berlin Climate Conference.

The German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has made renewable sources of energy a focal area for support and earmarked more than DM 200 million alone for solar energy activities between the years 1974 and 1991. The introduction of biogas plants in Thailand has brought about considerable success in reducing clear cutting of forests. Mr. Spranger continued that since 1988 BMZ has allocated more than DM 250 million per year to the conservation and sustainable use of forest lands.

In addition to these funds from the BMZ budget, the German Government has allocated a total of DM 10 million as special funds to draw up so-called country studies. GTZ Division 415 is implementing these measures (seegate 1/94pp37-40).

"These islands are nice for holidays, but who really needs them?" A delegate from an industrialized country on the occasion of the Berlin Climate


Cartoon: Mile Penava

Efforts to set up a binding protocol on greenhouse gas emission reduction therefore failed. Nevertheless there are some positive signals: 42 developing countries including India, China and Brazil supported the AOSIS proposal at the conference. It was also approved by the 159 mayors of the world's cities who met on the fringe of the conference.

The Berlin Climate Summit could be cormpared to a game of poker with four players: on the one hand Australia, New Zealand, Japan and above all the USA who refused to commit themselves to a concrete emission reduction target. The second player is the European Union, who is well sensitized to its responsibility but not able to put over its stand. The OPEC countries vehemently represented their oil-exporting interests. The group of developing countries supported by the AOSIS placed the responsibility for the threatening climate disaster fully in the lap of the industrialized nations.

The nature conservation organization World Wildlife Fund (WWF) was able to demonstrate to the Climate Summit that industrial development can also take an environmentally-friendly course. Numerous countries of the South are focusing their efforts on raising the energy efficiency of their industrial plants and utilizing renewable sources of energy. In India, for example, the use of wind and solar energy is growing in significance, and if other countries follow this example the WWF feels that a new industrial revolution could be underway in the South.

From the development policy viewpoint Peter Mucke of the German NGO "Environment and Development Forum" underlined the potential of the agreement on the pilot phase for Joint Implementation. Joint Implementation allows industrialized countries to outsource more efficient technologies and use them at lower cost in developing countries. For developing countries Joint Implementation means access to a transfer of finance and technology which has been demanded for years but which never materialized.

The Climate Action Network set up by the non-governmental organizations involved in the Berlin Summit proved to be a durable working structure which permitted a widely facetted representation of the North and the South at the conference even though they were not successful in having their chief aims accepted. Peter Mucke recommends for the future that NGO work should be less oriented to such large summit meetings but rather concenbate on ongoing, critical monitoring of politics and policies at national and international levels.

Roland Seifert

World Women's Conference: conflict concerning the Action Plan

New York- Many governments and women's organizations were disappointed with the last preparatory meeting for the World Women's Conference to be held in Peking. At the meeting in March /April in New York no success was achieved on a draft Action Plan for Equality, Development and Peace. The most controversial passages were on health and human rights.

The Vatican and several Catholic and Islamic governments refused to give their approval on women's right of self determination on sexuality and reproduction. These states demand that the Action Plan to be adopted in Peking places greater weight on maternity and the role of the family.

China had brackets put around all passages which referred to the universal applicability of human rights. The governments of the North refused economic reasons being mentioned as a cause of the growing poverty of women worldwide. The USA and the 15 countries of the European Union, for example, were against specitying the increased importance of translational companies in the Action Plan.

The 1400 representatives of Non Governmental Organizations expressed their dissatisfaction in New York with the course of the negotiations. They said that steps backward had been taken and criticized the political and economic analysis in the draft as "fully inadéquate". Widespread disappointment was addressed at the governments not having promised any new funding for women's programs.

"The delegates as hosts invited the NGOs Into their sitting room, but then disappeared into the kitchen to cook, keeping their guests waiting and hungry," Gertrude Mongella from Tanzania, the Secretary General of the Govemment Conference.

Cartoon: Mile Penava

The spokeswomen criticized the lack of transparency of the governmental negotiations compared to earlier conferences, deploring that independent women's organizations had hardly any scope for influence. NGO women were not allowed access to the decisive negotiation committees.

NGOs also feel they are being "lead by the nose" by the Chinese government's sudden decision to relocate the planned NGO forum, to be held from August 30 to September 8, to a tourist complex outside Peking - 45 kilometers away from the site of the conference of governments.

The organizers of the NGO forum voiced criticism at the beginning of May that the center consists of 70 different buildings, some still just unfinished shells, dispersed over an area covering 6 km2. These and other deficits provide good reason to consider holding the forum in another country.

The World Council of Churches threatened to withdraw its participation in the World Women's Conference if the UN does not allow organizations to participate freely and on the basis of equality. Applications from more than 500 women's NGOs to be accredited at the conference have been refused.

GTZ projects and women

Eschborn - "The evaluation shows that there is still a wide gap between development policy aims and reality". This was the commentary of the Gender and Women' Furtherance panel team of the Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit early this year on an evaluation of GTZ projects in respect of women.

GTZ projects completed in 1993 were evaluated for their effects from various aspects. Some of the analysts' results regarding the importance of the conducted projects for women are as follows:

• Women formed part of the target group in approximately 60 % of all projects.

• A gender-specific target group analysis was conducted in 7.2% of all projects.

• 18% of all projects had good or very good effects for women, but 28.2 % of all schemes had positive effects for men.

• 32.8 % of all projects had a neutral or no effect on women this figure was only 19.5 % for men.