AU Summit: climate change, but not as we know it

Earlier this morning, UK government adviser Nicholas Stern led a debate on climate change in which he hinted strongly that rich countries ought to pay to resolve a crisis that they helped to cause. This goes further than the official UK government line, but was a wise move on the part of Stern.  Read more

AU Summit: The next generation

Every political summit needs a young-Turk, someone to remind the old guard that leadership isn’t for life. Yesterday, summit-planners gave a keynote slot to Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda. Tall and of slim build, Kagame is not from the evangelical school of public speaking, but he managed to hold his audience with carefully-chosen words, and a vision that few (if any) of his colleagues were able to match. This includes a promise that Rwanda will aim to spend 3 per cent of its national income on research and development within the next five years – matching the proportion of spending that is common in the developed world. The AU average at present is less than 0.5 per cent.  Read more

AU Summit: Not the best of beginnings

Scientists and science ministers ended the inaugural session somewhat in a state of shock. Rather than focus on science, the opening speeches from heads of state focused mostly on the international year of football in Africa. “This is not a football summit,” said one minister as he left the conference hall. Another said: “This is not what we need to pull the continent out of underdevelopment.” Presentations on science and on climate change are up next. Climate change has been rising up the summit agenda over recent weeks and some see the hand of Tony Blair in this.  Read more