A more challenging summit than Everest

May 29, 2003

In the week celebrating the 50th anniversary of the conquest of Everest, this week's editorial points to a more challenging summit-the gathering of G8 leaders in Evian-les-Bains, France-to address the plight of an estimated billion people who live in countries ravaged by civil war.

Referring to a recent World Bank report, the editorial comments how the risk of a country descending into civil conflict is increased if the country's economy is poor, declining, and dependent on natural resource exports. 'Such a situation held in the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) in the late 1990s, where there was deep poverty, a collapsing economy, and much mineral exploitation. The appalling consequences of this increased risk are now only too clear.'

The editorial concludes: 'While marvelling at the 1953 scaling of Everest's summit, we would do well to remember that this example of individual human achievement occurred in the midst of a century already acknowledged to be one of the most violent periods in human history and thus a time when collective humanity failed. The World Bank and WHO reports are only examples of many recent analyses that show us how repetition of evils of the past century can and must be avoided. For the sake of future generations, the messages must be absorbed and acted upon by world leaders-not just those in the rich sector of the globe, but also those of the developing nations. The summit of G8 leaders in Evian-les-Bains, France, this coming week is an appropriate place to start.'
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Lancet

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