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Jon comments on this news report

Margaret Beckett's working visit to South Africa was busy and productive (i wonder if you could describe her employment back here in the same way) . The purpose of the trip was to prepare for the World Summit on Sustainable Development in August, and the Secretary of State found that Britain and South Africa shared much common ground. (especially Zimbabwe)

Mrs Beckett met with her opposite number, Environment Minister Valli Moosa, and with businesses and outside organisations. She visited a coastal management centre in Capetown which employs people from the poorest communities to provide services to enhance coastal areas.

At a school in Soweto Mrs Beckett saw a sustainable development teaching programme in action. A Teacher's Guide to the Earth Summit is produced by the RSPB with BirdLife South Africa, and funded by DEFRA. It will be used by teachers throughout South Africa to teach six major sustainable development themes, identified from the Earth Summit planning papers.(are Britain's taxpayers subsidising the world now?!)

Lucian Hudson, Director of Communications, who accompanied Mrs Beckett, said: "Much work has been done by this department and other government departments to promote sustainable development. What was invaluable about this trip was to see sustainable development in action. We are going to be working very hard at ensuring that the Summit produces not just fine words but a concrete plan of action." (then taking Mrs Beckett was a good idea)