World Summit Focuses on Public-Private Partnerships to Promote Development

After days of criticism from attendees of the United Nations-sponsored World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, Bush administration officials responded at the end of last week, declaring that the U.S. is the world's leader in sustainable development and challenging the need for specific timetables to tackle poverty and environmental damage.

"The United States is the world's leader in sustainable development," said Undersecretary of State Paula Dobriansky. "No other nation has made a greater and more concrete commitment."

The Bush administration, which also has been criticized for President Bush's decision not to attend the summit, highlighted a series of upcoming partnerships between industry and private foundations that will address major problems such as energy, clean water, sanitation, and hunger. The projects include a $90 million U.S. proposal to cut hunger in Africa with help from regional trade groups and industry partners and a public-private partnership that aims to eliminate lead from gasoline and reduce sulfur levels in diesel fuel.

In other news related to the summit, Dr. Peter Piot, executive director of UNAIDS, criticized the conference for not giving enough attention to the devastating effects that the disease has had in developing countries in Africa.

"If AIDS is not brought under control, if people are not alive, if people are not healthy....[development] won't happen," said Piot.