Monday, September 28, 2009
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I'm Amy Witherden.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi urged African and South American leaders to strive for a new world order countering Western economic dominance.
The 28-nation summit was long on idealistic speeches but short on concrete steps beyond an agreement to set up a development bank for South America. The meeting was meant to help the mainly poor nations in the regions rely less on Europe and the US. Chavez said that Africa and South America will be important geographical, economic and social poles in the twenty-first century.
Gaddafi was critical of the world's major powers, saying that poorer nations now have to fight to build their own power. Other leaders, from influential developing nations like Brazil and South Africa, also gave sweeping, critical summaries of global problems, though in less radical terms. Analysts say that Brazil and South Africa's modes of business-friendly economics mixed with a focus on helping the poor are more popular among many African countries than Chavez's revolutionary approach.
Leaders from the Group of 20 (G20) rich and developing nations were so confident that they had succeeded in tackling the global financial crisis and recession, that they included in the preamble of their final statement, the words: "It worked." However, analysts say that this declaration may be premature, unless leaders act quickly on pledges for substantive financial reforms.
Simon Johnson, former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund warns that such an assertion amounts to hubris. Even though G20 leaders insist that they are on guard against complacency, Johnson says that they may have assumed success too soon
G20 leaders have won approval for the estimated $5-trillion they have collectively injected into their economies to revive growth. Crossborder cooperation among central banks helped to ease the credit crunch, as did emergency loans and guarantees put in place to restore the flow of credit to consumers and businesses. But big questions remain about how healthy the global economy will look once those crutches are removed, which the G20 acknowledged when it committed to keeping supports in place until sustainable recovery is assured.
Delegates at the start of marathon climate talks in Thailand were told that the world expects action as they struggle to break the deadlock in negotiations for a tougher pact to fight global warming.
The Bangkok talks, which run until October 9, are the last major negotiating round before a gathering in Copenhagen in December that the United Nations (UN) has set as a deadline to seal a broad agreement on a pact to expand and replace the Kyoto Protocol.
UN Climate Change Secretariat chief Yvo de Boer, says that time has almost run out. Delegates at the talks are tasked with trying to streamline the draft legal text, which runs to about 180 pages and is filled with blanks and alternative wording options.
Also making headlines:
South African President Jacob Zuma says that his counterpart Hugo Chavez is an ‘interesting character'.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe tells the United Nations that the West has undermined his government.
Madagascar's government will protest its rejection at the United Nations.
And, African Development Bank head Donald Kaberuka is concerned that the continent is still a footnote, despite the expanded Group of 20 becoming the main forum for economic cooperation.
That's a roundup of news making headlines today.