Musical chairs

 
Published: Thursday 15 October 1992

-- UN SECRETARY general Boutros Boutros-Ghali's suggestion that the North and South should share equally the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Commission for Sustainable Development (UNCSD) leadership has failed to enthuse Europeans and Americans.

Mustafa Tolba (?), enjoying the support of UNCSD secretary general Maurice Strong, is virtually out of the UNEP chairperson race and the US has proposed several other names. A similar fate awaits Nitin Desai (?) with European governments persuading Strong to push Desai for UNEP instead of UNCSD. Some Europeans likely to contest the UNCSD post have been mentioned.

All this does not bode well for the Third World. If a "conservative" Northerner heads the UNCSD, the UN environmental battle will take the shape Northern NGO's want. And, with UNCSD's influence over the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, developing countries may have a powerful force to reckon with.

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