Czech delegation feel Johannesburg summit is overlooked by Czech media

Kofi Annan, French President Chirac and President of RSA Mbeki in Johannesburg, Photo:CTK

The World Summit on Sustainable Development is currently underway in the South African city of Johannesburg. The conference has not been uncontroversial and has received a lot of attention from news organisations around the world. However, with the Czech media still focused on the aftermath of the recent floods, the World Summit has not been grabbing too many headlines in the Czech Republic. Pavla Horakova has the story.

Kofi Annan, French President Chirac and President of RSA Mbeki in Johannesburg, Photo:CTK
Although neither the Czech President, nor the country's prime minister are taking part in the conference, the Czech delegation at the Earth Summit say they feel more representative than the one at the Rio summit ten years ago, when politicians were more preoccupied with the split of Czechoslovakia than with global affairs. The Czech Republic was originally going to present its own sustainable development strategy at the conference but the plan was changed in the end. Environment Minister Libor Ambrozek explains.

"My predecessor was preparing a draft of the national strategy for the summit, but it was never finished in the end. However, I believe it will actually be better if we amend the draft according to the results of the summit. We are planning to update our national environment policy, in line with the outcome of the summit. And we'll also try and harmonise our national strategy with other Central European countries."

The head of the Czech delegation, Deputy Prime Minister Petr Mares, believes Czechs can contribute a lot in expert discussion and he says he would welcome if the Czech representation could help broaden the focus of the summit. While most debates concern the discrepancy between the rich North and the poor South, Mr Mares says that more attention should be paid to similar differences within Europe, namely the wealthy West and poorer East. However, the chief concern of Mr Mares is that little information about the summit is getting to the Czech public.

"I would greatly appreciate it if more attention were paid to the summit back home in the Czech Republic and if the Czech public and the media were able to pay attention to the whole complex of problems at least to the same extent that foreign media does."