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Sussex joins debate on sustainable development at Earth Summit

* 29 August 2002 *

Sussex joins debate on sustainable development at Earth Summit

Environmental experts from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex are contributing to the debate raised by the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

The World Summit on Sustainable Development is being held in Johannesburg from 26 August to 4 September and will bring together tens of thousands of participants, including heads of state and government, national delegates and leaders from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), businesses and other major groups.

The Environment Group at IDS criticise the World Bank's World Development Report on 'Sustainable Development in a Dynamic Economy' as presenting a "one-sided reading of the challenges of achieving sustainable development in a context of globalisation."

Their comments are part of a series of articles published by the Bretton Woods Project and the Heinrich Bell Foundation reviewing the World Bank report.

"The World Bank report demonstrates a greater awareness of the key role of government intervention," says Dr Peter Newell, Research Fellow in IDS. "But we have to be aware of the many interests that benefit from unsustainable development that are currently in the driving seat and whose cooperation is critical if the summit is to be a success."

The IDS team also argues that the World Bank report "would be more credible if the Bank acknowledged its own past mistakes" and that "market-driven solutions...are often evoked as the only way to deal with environmental problems."

"Although the report takes several positive steps in the right direction it seems that without tackling issues head on, subsequent World Development reports will continue to give out mixed messages without really satisfying anyone," they conclude.

The Institute of Development Studies (IDS) is an internationally renowned centre for research and teaching on development established in 1966 and based at the University of Sussex.

* Notes for editors *

Press Office contacts: Peter Simmons or Benedict Brook, University of Sussex, Tel. 01273 678888, Fax 01273 877456, email or

Websites: Institute of Development Studies

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