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Bulletin des Négociations de la Terre (BNT)

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The World Summit on Sustainable Development

, South Africa | 26 August - 4 September 2002


Highlights from Monday, 26 August 2002

The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) opened today at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa. During the Opening Plenary, delegates heard opening remarks, elected officers, and addressed organization and administrative matters. Partnership Plenaries were convened on health and environment, and biodiversity and ecosystem management. The Main Committee met briefly to review the outcomes of the informal consultations from 24-25 August 2002. The negotiations reconvened in the afternoon in the Vienna setting and in contact groups on means of implementation and governance.
Above photo: WSSD Secretary General Nitin Desai welcomes Thabo M'beki, President of South Africa

Right photo: Nitin Desai, Thabo Mbeki and Vadim Perfiliev


Daily Web Coverage

24/25 August 31 August
26 August 1 September
27 August 2 September
28 August 3 September
29 August 4 September
30 August Summary

Link to More WSSD Photos

Links to Resources


UN Official Summit website
 UN WSSD Live Website
 South African/JOWSCO website

Key documents
 Draft plan of implementation, 26 June
 Political declaration, proposed elements
 Preliminary prog of meetings & activities
 Link to other key WSSD documents

 WEHAB Framework Papers

Partnerships/Type 2 Outcomes
 Background information and resources
 Vice-Chair's summary on partnerships, annex: Guiding principles for partnerships

ENB's coverage of:

PrepCom IV
 PrepCom III
 PrepCom II
 Prepcom I
 Regional preparatory meetings
 Introduction to the WSSD
- a CSD primer.
 Linkage's portal to the WSSD
- includes background info, photo gallery of key players, WSSD news, publications, calendar, and other online resources.



Opening Plenary: Statements

Elected as President of the WSSD by acclamation, Thabo Mbeki, President of the Republic of South Africa, highlighted the growing gap between North and South and the impending crisis of poverty and ecological degradation. He called for a practicable and meaningful Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, highlighting the conference’s theme of “people, planet and prosperity.” He closed by calling for a shift away from the mentality of survival of the fittest and towards human solidarity to realize sustainable development. 

Nitin Desai, WSSD Secretary General, welcomed participants and opened the meeting. In an impassioned speech, he highlighted the WSSD’s role and importance as the last meeting in a cycle of global conferences over the last decade addressing social, economic and environmental issues, while stressing the need for their integration to achieve sustainable development. In this regard, he expressed his hope that the Summit’s Plan of Implementation could be a medium term programme for realizing States’ commitments as initially outlined in Agenda 21, in coordination with partnerships employing the expertise and resources of local actors, NGOs and business.

Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director, UNEP, noted progress since Rio in achieving sustainability, however, he said new scientific evidence of global environmental change necessitated quantum increase in efforts. He characterized WSSD as a Summit of implementation, accountability and partnership. 
Health and Environment

David Nabarro, World Health Organization, highlighted how improved health is crucial to poverty alleviation and sustainable development. He emphasized the need to: ensure that health systems respond to public needs; broaden inter-sectoral involvement; and secure additional resources. He further noted that partnerships with different actors and stakeholders could focus on: reducing poverty and malnutrition; eradicating major diseases; improving access to affordable health services; and improving monitoring, evaluation and capacities for assessing risks.

A representative of the World Bank, serving as a resource person, highlighted three particular issues: the tendency of environmental health issues fall between cracks; the need to anticipate new and emerging health threats, such as tobacco and smoking; and the necessity for additional resources combined with sound policies to increase capacity and improve the management and monitoring of health programs.
Biodiversity and Ecosystem Management:
Hamdallah Zedan, Executive Secretary, CBD, noted the existence of political, economic, technical and institutional barriers to implementation.  He identified the need to ensure inter alia that: biodiversity is mainstreamed into relevant national sectoral and cross-sectoral plans; global trade and environment policies are mutually supportive; quantifiable targets are established; all stake holders are involved; adequate financial resources are available; and benefits arising from biodiversity are equitably shared within and between nations.

Peter Schei, Special Adviser to UNEP, proposed indicative targets on action areas such as sector integration, local and indigenous peoples� involvement, MEA coordination, capacity building and implementation support, and reversing the loss of biodiversity.

Main Committee:
Vienna Setting: 

Delegates met in the Vienna setting in afternoon and evening sessions to discuss outstanding brackets in the draft Plan of Implementation under the chapters of: poverty eradication; changing unsustainable patterns of consumption and production; and protecting and managing the natural resource base; and sustainable development of small island developing States.
Contact Groups:
Means of Implementation: The contact group on means of implementation continued negotiations on finance and trade based on a revised version of a paper tabled on 24 August. It specifically addressed, inter alia, issues of external debt, debt relief, trade sanctions for environmental purposes, market access, subsidies and impact assessments. 
Institutional Arrangement: The contact group on institutional arrangements reviewed outstanding issues related to Chapter X of the draft Plan of Implementation. While a number of issues remain outstanding, the group almost reached agreement on integrating the social dimension into sustainable development policies, and agreed to language on taking steps to formulate and elaborate national strategies for sustainable development and to begin their implementation by 2005. 


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