H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni
President of the Republic of Uganda
World Summit on Sustainable Development
Johannesburg, South Africa
2 September 2002
Your Excellency Thabo Mbeki,
President of the Republic of South Africa;
Your. Excellencies, Heads of State and Government Mr. Kofi Annan,
Secretary General of the United Nations; Invited Guests;
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I thank His Excellency, President Thabo Mbeki, and the peoples . of South ; Africa for the warm welcome accorded to my delegation and myself since our arrival. I wish also to thank Mr. Koffi Annan, the Secretary General of the United Nations and his staff for organizing this Summit.
The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) , is a milestone, in reaffirming our resolve for achieving, global sustainable development. Issues that have hitherto remained constraints must be shared and addressed if we are to make sustainable development a reality.
Our experiences in working towards this goal should form the basis on which we work out, in strategic partnership,- practical ways of implementing Agenda 21 - especially issues pertaining to water, energy, health, agriculture, biodiversity, environment, poverty, education, children and gender.
In spite of our declaration in Rio in 1992 to:
- eradicate poverty;
- give priorities to developing countries;
- recognize the common but differential -, responsibilities of states
- integrate environment and development;
- ensure equity, for sustainable development
Our failure to implement the ,agreed upon areas hinges on the following:
• lack of time-bound targets in programmes;
• lack of clear roles and responsibilities for states and organizations;
• the lower than expected financial resources availed, despite ODA targets agreed upon:
• a. parasitic trading system in the world, skewed against Africa.
Africa therefore continues to struggle in her quest develop and modernize herself, faced with major issue that affect her development.
Poverty is a -major 'challenge, leading to overuse and destruction of our natural resources where short-term developmental goals' are pursued, at the expense. of sustainable development.
In Uganda, poverty eradication is high on our development agenda: We formulated the; Poverty Eradication Action 'Plan (PEAP). This PEAP aims at reducing ab absolute poverty , levels from 55% as they were in 1987, or lees by by 2017; we have so far, reduced it to 35%.
Deliberate efforts have been., made to eradicate poverty by: -
- provision of Universal Primary Education (UPE) and;
- basic health services;
- modernizing agriculture;
- promotion of. better land tenure systems;
- diversifying the 'economy;
- building basic rural infrastructure; and
- strengthening good governance and security.
My short answer then would be as follows: You need to do four things:
• human resource development (education and health);
• liberalizing the economy with the state providing the necessary stimuli;
• macro-economic stabilization (controlling inflation, etc); and
• free access to markets (abolish protectionism).
All the other solutions will come from these.
Since this is a world conference, I need to emphasize the importance of market access for African goods to lucrative markets of the OECD Countries as well as rationalizing and consolidating this African market, small though it still is.
The other danger to sustainable development is the greed and insensitivity of the consumer societies of the OECD Countries. 68.4%.(1990) of the Greenhouse gases are generated in these Countries. If you add the figures for Russian Federation (17%), the total will be 86%. It is these gases that are responsible for the warming of the globe. This irresponsible parasitism must stop.
The internal weaknesses in Africa on the one hand and the double standards of the OECD Countries (they preach free trade but practice protectionism) on the other hand, ensure that the underdeveloped parts of the globe, Africa, inclusive, destroy the environment on account of poverty and ignorance.
The peasants destroy the biomass in search of wood fuel, this exposes the top soil to wind and water erosion of the soil; it also causes the silting of the floors of the water bodies. These are two sides of the same coin: underdevelopment and over- utilization; under consumption and over consumption (gluttony).
In order to cure these two mega-distortions on the globe we, therefore, need to, on the one hand, banish all methods and practices that can cause such distortions (greenhouse gases, polythene bags, etc.); and, by using market mechanisms, end the under consumption of the famished, under-developed parts of the globe (market access, etc.).
Only more consumption of electricity in the backward parts of the globe will end soil erosion and the loss of the biomass. Therefore, the arrogant so-called Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that interfere with the construction of hydro dams in Uganda are the real enemies of the environment.
In Rio, I pointed out that the peasants in Uganda were destroying 28 billion cubic metres of wood per annum; using it as firewood. In order to stop
this, we need to generate 10,000 megawatts of electricity. Therefore, the world needs more electricity, not resolutions.
I thank you.