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Danish Presidency hopeful of environmental agreement at Johannesburg

After two days of pre-negotiations, the EU is optimistic about the World summit on sustainable development according to the Danish Presidency. Prior to the official opening of the summit on 26 August in Johannesburg, delegates held discussions on the draft 'plan of implementa...

After two days of pre-negotiations, the EU is optimistic about the World summit on sustainable development according to the Danish Presidency. Prior to the official opening of the summit on 26 August in Johannesburg, delegates held discussions on the draft 'plan of implementation', and have achieved consensus on a number of issues relating to environmental concerns. 'The atmosphere is very constructive. The Union is positive towards the new texts that have been put forward as a basis for negotiations,' said Danish State Secretary, Carsten Staur. 'The EU, the developing countries in the G77 group, Japan and the United States have been active players in these efforts and the EU hopes the summit will proceed on this basis.' There remain, however, areas where achieving a consensus will be more difficult, as highlighted by Director-General of the Environment DG, Catherine Day. 'There are still areas where a lot of work has to be done,' she said. 'The Union believes that a way of showing real commitment is to set quantifiable targets, implementation timetables and monitoring mechanisms in the plan of implementation.' On the eve of the opening of the summit, the EU's Development Commissioner emphasised the importance of achieving agreement at Johannesburg. 'The world cannot afford Johannesburg to fail. The challenges faced by this planet and its people are just too big. The floods in Europe and Asia this summer are yet another striking reminder of the possible consequences we face if we fail to achieve sustainability,' said the Commissioner. 'The European Union is determined to face its responsibilities and play a leading role in achieving a successful outcome [...]. We must remember that as we enter into the final round of negotiations on text, the aim is to bring the world together to agree on how to shape our common future.'

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