of the United Nations, Nitin Desai will meet with more than 150 world business
leaders to discuss preparations for September 2002 Johannesburg summit.
meeting at ICC headquarters in central Paris will be the first major gathering
of the new international business initiative, Business Action for Sustainable
BASD is a
joint project of ICC (International Chamber of Commerce) and WBCSD (World
Business Council for Sustainable Development). It has been created to spearhead
business preparations for next year's World Summit and is being led by former
Shell chairman Sir Mark Moody-Stuart.
primarily intended as an opportunity for interested companies to set out their
priorities for Johannesburg, tomorrow's Paris meeting will also be a chance for
Sir Mark to urge great caution in response to recent calls for business to help
fund the World Summit.
experience of the Seattle WTO meetings - and following a meeting two weeks ago
with the South African government - Sir Mark will warn UN summit organizers not
to expect funding shortfalls to be picked up by the private sector.
seems there are major budget concerns relating to next year's World Summit in
Johannesburg," Sir Mark says. "Not surprisingly, the South African
Government has turned to business to see what form of financial support they
can offer to make up for what is currently a very large shortfall in government
clear that South Africa is well-placed to host this vital conference and that
the South African Government is putting a lot of effort to ensure a successful
meeting. But it is equally clear that South Africa should not have to bear
undue expense in hosting the meeting."
said business would react with caution to calls for funding the Summit.
members of society are suspicious of business," he said. "Business is
seen as powerful, and is suspected of using that financial muscle to influence
national and international events."
funding of the Johannesburg Summit would inevitably lead to fears that business
was exerting undue influence. Businesses were approached for support of the WTO
meeting in Seattle - those who did so were not surprisingly accused of trying
to buy influence and access."
will hold a press briefing at the conclusion of the two-day Paris meeting.