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Your say: Will the Earth Summit make a difference?

LONDON, England (CNN) -- The 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development has begun in Johannesburg, hosting 60,000 participants from 170 different nations. (Full story)

CNN's Richard Quest asked viewers whether the talks would make a difference -- or just produce hot air. Have your say by sending an e-mail to

Global balance: Johannesburg Summit 2002 
Official site: Johannesburg Summit 2002 
Will the Johannesburg Summit achieve more than the Rio Earth Summit 10 years ago?

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Have you noticed that there is little or no mention about "third-world" potential for over-population at the Jo'burg Summit? It does appear that this is particularly the case with the NGOs. Rather strange, don't you think, in a world searching for food and jobs? Neal O'Donnell, South Africa

I was so glad to see that I'm not the only one who believes that over-population is the ONLY problem we have. Unfortunately it will probably take some mass starvations to make others realise this. All countries have an obligation to educate their people of this plain fact. Greg Dermyer, USA

If the only thing that the Earth Summit achieves is talk, then that alone is success enough. Amongst other prevelant ignorance, it will at least inform some that sustainable development is more than just giving away money spent on sprinkler systems to "poor" residents in Soweto. Nazeer Suliman, UK

The earth took millions of years to mature enough to sustain human life but it has taken man less than 100 years to destroy it to the point that all life are in danger of extinction. To come together to talk about it is a good step towards delaying human extinction. Timothy Okafor, USA

Land, poverty, the north/south divide, and the continued expression of victimisation by former colonised countries are all issues that block any movement in creating a planet that is sustainable. Unless people can face facts,and learn to deal with them head on, neither money nor talking will do any good. David Kashangaki, USA

I believe the main problem facing the world is over-population. If this was the only item discussed and ways were found to reduce the world's population by one billion over the next 100 years I think you would find most problems would disappear on their own. Sustainable and optimum population levels should be determined per country or region based on natural and other resources. Alan, South Africa

Only words will come out from Earth summit, and after words, the delegates will come out. M. Zahir, Islamabad

Because of this summit I haven't had proper sleep for weeks, as we stay in a flat near the Convention centre with all the police cars and noise. Why don't they just take the money they've spent on the new sprinkler systems for the flowers they've planted just for the summit and give it to the poor people in Soweto? Johan Carstens, Johannesburg

Any communication and collaboration on issues of human and environmental concern is something. How much of something is to be seen, but I cannot disparage leaders for at least attempting to solve these problems. Just by raising general awareness that these problems are serious enough to result in such conferences helps to bring the individual a larger sense of responsibility. Andi Guthrie

Most of the countries represented are a big burden to themselves. Mugabe has rendered Zimbabwe a desert through his policies! The natural resources in Congo are being plundered by surrounding countries. Blaming industrialised countries or Mr. Bush for failing to attend is seeking a scapegoat. We are a burden to ouselves. What we need is a regime change in every country where poverty exists! Caesar Wamalika, Kenya

I think the question should be "Do the results justify the expense?" An absolute ton of money has been spent on all of this. I am new in South Africa, yet another Zimbabwean refugee looking for work. But I am white, male and 49, so eight months have passed without success. Since arriving I have been amazed at how much money is spent on things like conferences, team building, and workshops. I am convinced that these things are nothing but tax losses for the companies that host them and that the results are never worth the outlay. Roland Bürisch, South Africa

Should the money wasted on infrastructure for the summit not be used for more important projects, such as fighting Aids, starvation and illiteracy? Should these people be trusted for other than wasting taxpayers' money? Muriam Moza Marlene, Middle East

As a South African taxpayer many benefits will accrue to us. The following will be paid for in foreign exchange. Approximately 250,000 bottles of South African wine, 150,000 condoms, and hotel rooms by the hundred. Our catering industry is having a ball. Ironically enough food will be scraped off plates and thrown away to feed our poor for a month. Of course we are delighted to have the conference here. Alexander Elliot, South Africa

As in all human problems, the answer may be found if you follow the money. Is there money to be made? No. So it is very simple, nothing useful will come from these meetings, they have no lobby power and there isn't any money to make (in fact there is money to be lost) so nothing will ever come from there. Adrian, Uruguay

Sustained development can only be achieved by people who have the people's success at the top of their agenda. You have to work together -- all races. You have depleting populations in Africa, in addition to sick people who neither have an education or the health to "sustain" their own families! You could put $100 million into their pockets and achieve nothing. This whole disparity between rich and poor is solely because of "greedy dictators" such as what we have here in Zimbabwe. Farmer, Zimbabwe

It has been a decade since the 1992 Earth Summit held in Rio, and yet questions involving funding still remain as the underlying factor that is preventing countries from working together to build a sustainable world and to protect the fragile environment. If the developed and developing countries fail to reach a consensus on this, funding will still be the unresolved issue at future World Summits. Ming, Singapore

I can't understand why we need to hold the Johannesburg meetings for the poorer countries. As long as I know, each country has a right to decide where she will go. And as a result, rich countries become richer, the poor become poorer. The aides from the developed countries are making themselves richer and the developing countries are becoming poorer. So maybe more aides can mean more gaps between North and South. Why do people hold this kind of meetings? Y.Ojima, Japan

The U.S. must be more involved; the developing countries must eliminate corruption, de-forestation, and pollution; and people must learn to accept individual responsibility. I believe we must teach our children that all of our actions, decisions and judgements have repercussions. Good or bad, that is all up to us. Bruce, France

Neither drought, famine, war, disease or natural disaster can compete with a birth rate of more than 200,000 babies per 24 hours. The only way to reduce poverty, wild life extinction, air pollution, waste disposal and potable water shortage is not only to reduce, but stop and reverse population growth by tax breaks and penalties, education, and family planning. Roy Bettis




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