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Words in the News
Wednesday 04 September 2002
Vocabulary from the news. Listen to and read the report then find explanations of difficult words below.

  World poverty
World Summit - the scientific agenda
Summary: At the end of the World Summit on Sustainable Development the science community has been given a clear agenda for the future. This report from Corinne Podger.
The News Listen  
  Speaking to researchers and experts on climate, health and energy here at the summit one gets the distinct impression that this is a science conference disguised as a political meeting. Every one of what the UN calls its five 'we have' themes - water, energy, health, agriculture, and biodiversity - requires the world's scientific community to come up with the means to achieve sustainable development, and researchers meeting here in Johannesburg know it.

Many express dismay that too much of the summit was dominated by political speeches and that not enough had been heard from the researchers whose discoveries and inventions will help shape sustainable development into the future. Geoff Sacks, the special advisor to the UN secretary general Kofi Annan, says major investment to develop new technologies is needed.

There's also an urgent need for better monitoring systems to keep track of the earth's dwindling biodiversity and water resources. And the chief scientific advisor to the World Bank, Bob Watson, told me the agreements to allow scientists to move forward on sustainable development are already there. The conventions on biological diversity, on desertification, agreements on forests, climate change and water, are all in place - some were agreed back in the 1980s. What's needed now, he said, is the financial commitment, especially from rich states, to make those agreements work.

Corinne Podger, BBC

The Words Listen
  Speaking gets
If you talk to.... you get

  a science conference disguised as a political meeting
it appears to be mainly about politics although it's intended to be about science

  five 'we have' themes
these are the five things that the UN feels we should all have

  come up with
think of and suggest

  express dismay
say that they regret

  dominated by political speeches
there seemed to be too many political speeches compared with scientific ones

if you shape a topic you cause it to develop in a particular way

  monitoring systems
systems which regularly check on the development and progress - here, of water and biodiversity

official agreements or codes of conduct between countries

  financial commitment
agreement to pay money

  Read more about this story  

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