Tuesday, March 9, 2010
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I'm Amy Witherden.
Candidates from South Africa, India and Indonesia are vying to win the United Nations' (UN's) top climate change job. This is a post that is key to building trust between rich and poor nations in 2010 after the UN's Copenhagen climate summit in December which set few binding targets, largely because of disagreements between developed and developing nations about sharing the burden of emissions curbs.
Many analysts expect that a developing nation candidate will succeed Yvo de Boer, a Dutch citizen who said last month that he would step down as head of the UN Climate Change Secretariat on July 1.
South Africa yesterday formally nominated current Tourism Minister and former Environment Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk for the job.
India recently nominated Vijay Sharma, a senior environmental official, to succeed de Boer, while Indonesia's lead negotiator in Copenhagen Agus Purnomo said that there are rumours that he might be nominated.
With its economies recovering, Africa needs to start rebuilding reserves and thinking about tightening spending to build defences against future crises, said International Monetary Fund (IMF) MD Dominique Strauss-Kahn yesterday.
Speaking at the University of Nairobi in Kenya as part of a three-country tour of Africa to examine its recovery from the crisis, Strauss-Kahn said that it is still too early for many governments to withdraw emergency fiscal measures. Africa's leaders must keep an eye on future disaster mitigation by ensuring that they have sufficient reserves and the ability to boost short-term spending - factors that allowed the poorest continent to weather the worst of last year's global economic storm. "Africa is back," he said, "Although a lot depends on a global recovery that is still in its early stages."
The IMF is now projecting economic growth in the sub-Saharan region at 4,5%, below the 6% to 7% it enjoyed in the years leading up to the global slowdown, but well above last year's estimates of expansion of below 2%.
Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi said yesterday that he is worried that South Africans do not appreciate that prevention is the best treatment for HIV/Aids. Speaking at the release of the ‘Global Fund to Fight Aids, TB and Malaria's 2010 results' report, Motsoaledi said that President Jacob Zuma had made two far-reaching statements on World Aids Day: "he made a strong statement about prevention and a strong statement about treatment regimes, but after World Aids Day South Africans were only talking about the one," said Motsoaledi.
The Minister said that prevention is the mainstay of fighting against any disease and only once that had failed should treatment become paramount.
South Africa is currently treating 920 000 people for HIV/Aids at State hospitals, with 400 000 of these being funded by the Global Fund. The fund's executive director Professor Michel Kazatchkine said that the transmission of mother-to-child HIV/Aids infection could be eliminated by 2015.
Also making headlines:
Rwandan President Paul Kagame says that he would like to see the widow of his predecessor Juvenal Habyarimana tried in France on charges relating to the country's 1994 genocide, if she is not extradited to Rwanda.
A branch of South Africa's National Taxpayers Union says that Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Sicelo Shiceka does not understand the problems in the country's municipalities.
Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki asks Ministers not to leave the country in order to participate in Parliamentary debate on a new constitution.
And, the war crimes case against Congolese rebel warlord Jean-Pierre Bemba in the International Criminal Court is postponed.
That's a roundup of news making headlines today.