Friday, May 04, 2007

UK tries to stop Zim from chairing UN committee

Britain is engaged in a last-ditch effort to prevent Zimbabwe, whose development has been reversed by the policies of Robert Mugabe, from taking over as chairman of the UN Sustainable Development Commission.

Zimbabwe's environment minister, Francis Nhema, is set to be elected commission chairman next week after the African group of countries at the UN agreed to nominate him...
"Zimbabwe is not exactly a paragon of development," said one diplomat. Under President Mugabe, Zimbabwe, once the bread-basket of Africa, can no longer feed itself. Annual inflation is running at 2,200 per cent, millions have been made poor and tens of thousands have died from malnutrition and lack of medical care.

The UN diplomats recognised that it was unlikely the African group would have a change of heart at this stage. Zimbabwe's nomination as chairman was agreed last month under a geographical rotation system. The outgoing chairman is from Qatar.

The commission has a broad mandate, including climate change, and sees itself as an "authoritative source of expertise" on sustainable development...

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