Thousands of people have gathered on the resort island of Bali, Indonesia, to talk about poverty and environmental degradation in preparation for the August 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa. Yet the big question among public interest participants here is not how to solve the world’s woes, but rather whether they should participate at all.
Cynicism is running high among nonprofit representatives. They arrived in Bali frustrated with the lack of progress in the 10 years since the World Summit’s predecessor, the Rio Earth Summit of 1992. As the negotiations proceed, the distinction is blurring between the current meeting, dominated, they say, by the “environmental axis of evil” of the U.S., Canada, and Australia, and events such as the World Trade Organization meetings that bolster the interests of multinational corporations.
Many of the nonprofit reps confess that they lack understanding of the governmental negotiations taking place behind heavily guarded closed doors at this posh resort’s convention c... Read more