There have been some successes at Johannesburg already the agreement on the world's first international ban on the use and production of toxic chemicals is a significant achievement that should see the disappearance of chemical products that are hazardous to human health or the environment by 2020. But there remains a hard core of important issues as many as a dozen on which agreement between the three main negotiating forces, European Union countries, Third World countries, and the United States, seems increasingly unlikely. A fourth negotiating element is the coalition of charities and other nongovernmental organisations; they tend to speak their mind, regardless of diplomatic considerations, and they are saying that the Earth Summit is moving backwards, not forwards, and that it would be better to sign nothing than to be satisfied with facesaving compromises.
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