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Regional themes > General Last update: 2020-11-27  

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In this paper, Saliem Fakir, Director of the World Conservation Union’s (IUCN) South Africa Office looks at the relationship between the Global Deal (GD), an initiative driven by Denmark to secure practical outcomes from the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), and NEPAD, widely accepted by African countries as the framework for their response to issues arising at the summit.

The GD sets out to give globalisation an ethical foundation. It has three major features:
  • Breaking the link between economic growth and environmental impact for developing countries, with developed countries helping to ensure adequate management of resulting environmental impacts

  • Linking sustainable development issues to the global trade regime an area where it comes close to suggesting that trade alone can secure economic development and negating the importance of sound domestic economic policies. It ignores the fact that ‘market access is only important to countries with the capacity to add value to primary products.’

  • Attempting to ensure that developed countries adhere to various international environmental agreements. An area where it focuses on the growing movement in Europe supporting sustainable consumption.’

The GD is an evolving framework that contains nothing really new and needs to be more clearly focused and to define its goals more clearly. Its real strength may lie in removing barriers that allow regional and country actions to be implemented more effectively. The real test will be whether it can truly promote self-development in poor countries.

NEPAD’s greatest strength lies in the significant buy in from Africa countries. It seeks to knit issues of trade, foreign direct investment, monetary policy, overseas development assistance, debt relief, and economic policies and other national programmes together in a single development agenda to ensure that Africa secures benefits from globalisation. NEPAD has been accepted as the basis for African positions at the WSSD despite its limited coverage of environmental issues. What there is focuses on wetland conservation, protecting biodiversity and combating desertification, with little on urban areas and environmental justice issues relevant to many communities in Africa that live with the impact of polluting industries.

The biggest difference between the GD and NEPAD is that the latter focuses on the need to harness economic power in order to integrate Africa into the world economy and speaks to the realities of unequal political power and social exclusion. In contrast the GD fails to address the intricacies of development and its focus on trade is simplistic. It fails to address material issues such as the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which has major impacts on developing countries. To build on its good start the GD needs to focus on reforming domestic agricultural policy and extend its discussions beyond Europe.

Full text at click on WSSD and NEPAD

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