Mr. Gerhard Schröder
I should like to thank President Mbeki and you, Mr Secretary-General, for your initiative and commitment in preparing and holding this summit.
Germany, but also the Czech Republic and Austria, have in recent weeks been hit by the biggest flood disaster in their history.
People have died in my country. Thousands have lost their homes, their every possession. Historic city centres have been destroyed.
But in Asia and America, too, floods and severe storms have in recent years razed whole regions to the ground.
China is at present suffering the consequences of a tremendous flood. In other regions deserts are expanding.
The global increase in extreme weather conditions shows very clearly that climate change is no longer a sceptical forecast - but bitter reality.
This challenge demands decisive action.
What is at stake is the natural sources of life, our children's future.
This conference should therefore call upon the states to ratify the Kyoto Protocol as quickly as possible so that it can enter into force before the end of this year.
And I appeal to those industrial countries which are not acceding to the Protocol at least to make an equal contribution towards reducing greenhouse gases.
The key to effective climate protection, and to successful economic development, is sustainable energy supplies.
I expect us to agree on concrete objectives and measures in this field here in Johannesburg.
In Germany we have already succeeded in cutting CO2 emissions by 19 per cent. We have set the course for the future with more efficient use of energy and massive development of renewable energies.
At international level we will take three initiatives:
Firstly, I will invite delegates to Germany for an international conference on renewable energies.
The aim is to continue in the energy sector from where we all left off at the end of last year with the Bonn International Conference on Freshwater.
Secondly, Germany will participate in the global energy agency network decided upon yesterday.
Thirdly, Germany will develop its successful cooperation in the energy sphere with the developing countries into a strategic partnership.
Over the next five years Germany will provide 500 million euro to promote cooperation on renewable energies.
Environment and development - that was the promise in Rio in 1992.
Without successful poverty alleviation, there will be no global environmental rescue, and also no lasting peace.
The member states of the European Union will increase public assistance for the global fight against poverty from the current 26 billion euro to a likely 35 billion euro in 2006.
I should like to expressly welcome the initiative shown by the African states themselves within the framework of NEPAD.
Free, unhindered access for the developing countries to the global markets is at least as important as financial aid. This also implies the dismantling of market-distorting agricultural subsidies.
The decisions taken here in Johannesburg should send economic globalization down the path towards sustainable development.
But we are also concerned here with very basic things like people's access to clean drinking-water.
We must not dash the hopes of people across the world. They expect us to make tangible progress.
We have an obligation to really improve living conditions in our one world and to preserve humanity's natural sources of life.
Let us strike out on this path together and with courage. Thank you very much.