John F. Turner, Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, Remarks at Envirolaw Conference 2002, Durban, South Africa, August 23, 2002

Thank you for your kind introduction, for your warm friendship, and especially for the leadership you give us all in helping ensure the improvement and the administration of the rule of law and the judiciary around the world. I also want to thank and congratulate all of you for your participation. It is an honor and privilege for those of us from the United States to be involved in this important gathering looking toward solutions. And I cannot help but hesitate and join Michael
[Katz] and all of you in saluting Francois [Joubert] who has made this gathering all possible. It certainly shows how one person s commitment, energy, and perseverance can make a difference. Thank you, Francois.

On behalf of Secretary Powell and all of us from the United States who are coming to South Africa for this event and others, I want to thank Minister Maduna, citizens here in this community, and all the wonderful folks of South Africa for their great hospitality to your beautiful country.

Hopefully we can all agree that here in Durban and soon in Johannesburg, we have an historic opportunity to come together for what I would like to think of as a global campfire. A campfire to gather, sit around to listen to one another with humility, to exchange views, to develop mutual trust and hopefully, to make real commitments to real actions. A commitment to approaches which will lift the lives and the dreams of today s citizenry and in ways, which indeed will allow future
generations to do the same.

I personally have had the opportunity and great pleasure to work in the vineyards of natural resources and environmental protection all of my professional life. In reflecting on these personal opportunities, it seems to me that sustainability requires some basic and obvious prerequisites. I would hope you agree that they are the following four.

First, in order to protect our environment we must first take care of people.

Second, to take care of people we must fully integrate economical development with social advancement, with natural resource stewardship.

Third, to sustain environmental protection, economic growth, and social well being, we must build lasting capacity and systems and skills at the local, community, and national level.

Finally, that to build this critical capacity, or what we might call creating enabling environments at home, it will require a collaboration of multiple and diverse partners utilizing well-tested methodology along with new tools, new information systems and, obviously, new sources of funding.

If these general prerequisites are valid, then I believe, indeed we can build a new perspective to sustainability and development. With your indulgence I would like to focus my comments on creating this enabling environment, on how to finance it, and the obvious need for partnerships.

First, it is important to observe that sustainability cannot exist in an atmosphere of war and violence, and I personally am very proud of young Americans who, with others from around the world, including South Africa, serve in distant places to ensure that people and commerce can move safely around the globe and that people can work and sleep in their homes in relative safety. In addition, it would seem that progress in sustainable development cannot occur in a climate of corruption.

Developing countries must, with the help of partners, break lose of the shackles which rob citizens of basic freedoms and the chance to improve their lives. It has been noted that international crime syndicates -- the same organizations that traffic in drugs and prostitution in humans -- earn annually $20-30 billion in such
activities as dumping waste, the smuggling and movement of toxic chemicals, and the runaway exploitation of natural resources, such as forests, fisheries and wildlife.

In discussing improvements in governance and capacity-building, I believe we are not talking about models of governance that would be dictated according to the United States or European standards. It is obvious that good governance starts at home. What better place than here in South Africa, where miracles occurred less than a decade ago, to achieve positive change. And I was moved, as I am sure all of you were, by reflections of Minister Maduna last night on his struggle and
those of his colleagues to achieve participatory democracy for all of South African s citizens.

Also, what better place to discuss elements of capacity building in the implementation of bottom-up, community-based improvements, especially in the administration of the rule of law than here at this important gathering. Let me share with you a couple of examples reflecting progress being made. I was recently in China where I visited with lawyers from the private sector in the United States who had committed themselves to work in the remote provinces of China to help citizens
and lawyers and judges improve the mitigation of environmental impact and protect their environment (under Chinese law). Last year we had the opportunity to join the UK, Japan, the World Bank and other partners in hosting the first law enforcement gathering of a legal lobby on sustainable forestry in Indonesia. Based on the success of that gathering, we hope to do the same next year here in Africa in the Congo Basin.

We all recognize, of course, that talk about improvements in domestic governance or capacity-building is only lofty-rhetoric without additional and adequate funding. Developing countries are appropriately asking the United States and other developed nations "where s the money?" I believe along these lines that progress has been made. The world community recently agreed at Doha and Monterey, in the run-up to the World Summit, to principles of policies that promise to increase trade and greatly improve overall financing for impoverished areas of the world. We need now to build on these foundations and here in South Africa at the World Summit to begin a process of concrete commitment and implementation of these commitments. I can confidently report to you that our President, our Secretary of State, our Congress and the American people are committed to be a leading partner in this global effort to increase the overall flow of resources.

Let me quickly review, because people ask, "What are the commitments of the United States?"

First, let s examine Official Developmental Assistance, -- "ODA" -- much discussed around the world. For the United States in recent years our level of ODA has been $10 to $11 billion -- not an insignificant amount. But recently in March, President Bush pledged the largest increase in ODA in our nation s history -- some 50% or a $5 billion (dollar) ramp-up in base funding over the next 3 years. In doing so he remarked, and I quote, "My administration will adopt a new spirit of
respect and cooperation because in the end that is a better way to protect the environment. We all share this new environmental spirit for the 21st century." Also, in making this commitment to partnerships and significantly increasing our ODA, he outlined some general expectations and opportunities for our recipient partners. He said, and I quote, "Countries that live by three broad standards: ruling justly, investing in their people, and encouraging economic freedom will receive more aid
from the United States." In addition to increases in ODA, the President and our Congress have committed billions of dollars to such critical humanitarian needs as hunger (especially important here in Africa), to fight infectious disease, (especially HIV/AIDS, malaria, and TB), and for resource stewardship in developing countries to address climate change and land degradation. The U.S. is also pledging significant funding increase for the Global Environment Facility called the "GEF".

I think we all recognize that government assistance is vital to address crisis situations and to begin weaving the fabric of a basic framework needed for sustainable development. But I hope we all also realize that the most significant source of funding has been and will continue to be from private sources. The amount from private sources will always be in multiples greater than government assistance. Again let me look to the United States and its private sources for the developing world. U.S.
private philanthropy from individuals, foundations, and corporations amounts to over $4 billion a year. Private sector investment in developing countries is currently almost $40 billion. The U.S. market provides money for imports from developing countries to the tune of some $450 billion. And a source often overlooked is remittance from immigrants to the United States. Folks who have come to America to build new lives, to work and raise their families remit some $30 billion a year back to developing countries. An example is that in El Salvador 12% of the gross national product is remittance from Salvadorans who have come to the United States to live and work. And of course, perhaps the enduring and lasting, the most useful increase in overall financing will come from citizens and entrepreneurs in emerging markets who take risks and increase economic development.

In conclusion let me say the United States, and hopefully many around the world agree, believes the best way to implement sustainable development is for countries to put in place and enforce policies that allow markets to function, that enable creativity, entrepreneurship, and environmental stewardship to flourish. We believe the best way to implement sustainable development is through partnerships. I am pleased to report the United States is coming to the Summit and here, ready to
commit to partnerships with other governments, with business and with civil society and we will strongly encourage others, entities, to join us in such vital areas as providing access to fresh water; providing access to energy (especially cleaner sources of energy); providing food to fight hunger; to sustaining native forests around the world; to improving education; to conserving oceans and marine resources; and to protecting bio-diversity.

I would like to close with a quote from my boss, Secretary Powell, who will be joining us in Johannesburg. In preparation for the conference he said the following in July: "We live in a century of promise. Our responsibility now is to turn it into a century of hopes fulfilled, a century of sustained development that enriches all our people without impoverishing our planet. When we talk of sustainable development we are talking about the means to unlock human potential. We are talking
about the means to build economic development based on sound economic policy, social development based on investments in health and education, and responsible stewardship of the environment that has been entrusted to our care by a benevolent God. Sustainable development is a marathon not a sprint. It does not follow from a single event like the Johannesburg Summit, important as that meeting may be, but from a sustained global effort by many players working together over a long period of time. Sustainable development requires institutions, policies, people, and effective partnerships to carry out our common effort beyond Johannesburg and well into the future. I wish you every success for a most enjoyable conference (inaudible)." Thank you very much.


Released on August 23, 2002

See for Senior State Department
Official's statements and testimonies

Return to Vinnie's Home Page

Return to Global Environment Page

Return to Bush Administration Page