World sustainability talks grind onwards

Final preparatory talks for Johannesburg summit marred by standoffs between North and South

Ministers and government officials from across the world ended two weeks of talks on sustainable development in Bali, Indonesia early on Saturday morning with warning signs flashing over the prospects for the Johannesburg summit, due to start in late August.

A hoped-for agreement on a Johannesburg plan of action failed to materialise, in the process sidelining progress on an associated political declaration. As a result, the summit itself will now "not be free from the risk of derailment", reported Earth Negotiations Bulletin. Indeed its very status as a summit meeting "cannot be taken for granted".

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