President Bush designated Secretary of State Colin Powell to lead the U.S. delegation to the Earth Summit, which opens next week in South Africa to concentrate on fighting poverty.

"Poverty remains a huge and urgent global problem that demands action by the entire world community,'' Bush said in a statement released Monday. "We will stand together in Johannesburg to bring our full support to this important battle.''

Bush said the American delegation will travel to South Africa, where the summit of more than 100 members of the United Nations convenes on Aug. 26. The delegation will carry "concrete and practical proposals'' on how countries can work together on development priorities such as clean water, modern energy, good health and productive agriculture, the statement said.

Powell, in Johannesburg Sept. 3-4, will deliver a statement in behalf of the United States and meet with leaders of other governments, the State Department said in Washington.

He will go on to Angola to discuss progress in peacemaking between the government and longtime foes and visit a camp for displaced people and an orphanage, the department said.

Afterward, Powell will make a brief stop in Gabon to acknowledge that government's decision to dedicate 10 percent of its territory to a national park system.

Christie Todd Whitman, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; James Connaughton, chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality; Agency for International Development Administrator Andrew Natsios; and Undersecretary of State Paula Dobriansky are to accompany Powell to the summit.