Business Day (Johannesburg)

South Africa: Dutch Government Donates R25m to Summit Coffers

Johannesburg — THE Dutch government has donated R25m to the World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held in SA from late August to early September.

This has given the project a huge boost, bringing the amount raised to almost three-quarters of the budgeted R550m needed for the summit.

Most of the money will be spent on "logistical preparations" such as venues, accommodation and transport.

"We are doing our best to ensure all stakeholders are satisfied with the preparations for SA's biggest international event," said Johannesburg World Summit Company (Jowsco) CEO Moss Mashishi.

"This is the most important global event for the Netherlands. We are in this together with SA, and we want to be involved," said Dutch ambassador Laetitia van den Assum. She said the summit would tackle "global issues that shape the 21st century", and urged that "every individual should a be part of it".

The Dutch government will be heavily involved in some of the parallel events hosted at the summit, especially those targeting water supply and conservation.

Mashishi said the summit was not just about discussing problems of sustainable development, but to find solutions on "how to do it".

The Dutch donation is among several that have been made by different countries in recent weeks.

Jowsco still needs about R150m, and hopes to raise the money in the next couple of weeks.

Most of the money needed for the summit has been donated by foreign governments and local and multinational corporations. Hewlett-Packard has been the biggest sponsor so far, with a R40m grant.

Jowsco is expecting about 40000 delegates and world leaders. About 15000 people will be needed to run the summit, most of whom will be volunteers.

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