Issue 1. 3 May 2002


Compiled by Richard Sherman

Edited by Kimo Goree 

Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

Distributed exclusively to the 2002SUMMIT-L list by IISD Reporting Services


Editor's note: Welcome to the first issue of WSSD.Info News, compiled by Richard Sherman. We hope to provide this service on at least a fortnightly basis from now through the Summit. If you should come across a news article or have a submission for the next issue, please send it directly to Richard. WSSD.Info News is an exclusive publication of IISD for the 2002SUMMIT-L list and should not be reposted or republished to other lists/websites without the permission of IISD (you can write Kimo for permission.) If you have been forwarded this issue and would like to subscribe to 2002SUMMIT-L, please visit


Funding for the production of WSSD.Info News (part of the IISD Reporting Services annual program) has been provided by The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Canada (through CIDA), the United States (through USAID), the Swiss Agency for Environment, Forests and Landscape (SAEFL), the United Kingdom (through the Department for International Development - DFID), the European Commission (DG-ENV), the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Government of Germany (through German Federal Ministry of Environment - BMU, and the German Federal Ministry of Development Cooperation - BMZ). General Support for the Bulletin during 2002 is provided by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Environment of Finland, the Government of Australia, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of New Zealand, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Environment of Norway, Swan International, and the Japanese Ministry of Environment (through the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies – IGES). If you like News, please thank them for their support.










6.      WORLD URBAN FORUM OPENS IN KENYA (Voice of America)







13.   LIFTING THE CORPORATE VEIL (Mail & Guardian)










































1 May 2002


LONDON, May 1 (Reuters) - The mining industry must take the initiative in standardising its approach to social, economic and environmental considerations, according to a new report from the Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development (MMSD) project. "The world is not yet ready for some kind of global mining convention where all the governments get together and decide how to regulate the industry," MMSD Project Director Luke Danielson told a news briefing in London on Wednesday. "There an enormous need for the industry to step forward and initiate the process," he said. MMSD, which is backed by a range of major mining companies and institutions such as the World Bank and the UN Environment Programme, has completed its final report after two years of consultation and research. A hefty tome of over 400 pages will be published next month, but the full text should be available from Thursday at the MMSD website,, Danielson said. The question of sustainable development is a key one for the future of the industry. "The minerals industry has long felt in certain places that the fact that its products were needed was an adequate justification for anything it did," Danielson said. "Meeting market demand for mineral commodities is not all that society expects from this industry." While stressing that the sector had already made progress in recent years, Sir Robert Wilson, chairman of Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto told the briefing that further moves in this direction were crucial. "We have to face the constant challenge of how to achieve trade-offs between the economic benefits, social implications and environmental consequences of our actions," said Wilson, who is co-chairman of the MMSD sponsors' council. "The industry recognises that it needs to change its behaviour patterns."


MMSD's Danielson called for the introduction of a mining protocol to cover the key issues. The protocol would need a consensus on the various sustainable development issues, a verification process and a system of incentives to ensure that goals were met, he said. The mining industry would take time to frame its response to this and other MMSD recommendations, such as a commitment to address the legacy of abandoned mine operations and the legalisation of artisanal and small-scale mining, Wilson said. "At one level you will see individual companies responding -- Rio Tinto will be revising our statement of business principles in the wake of this debate," he said. On a broader level, "the protocol does seem to me to be something that will happen," he added. While the public image of the mining sector remains largely negative, Wilson denied suggestions that industry participation in the MMSD project was essentially a public relations exercise. "We're not going to get a better perception (of the mining industry) without better performance," he said. "If the industry delivers more effectively, perceptions will change over time." He added, however, that a number of the MMSD recommendations would require active participation from governments, local communities and inter-governmental bodies as well as the industry itself.  "There are boundary issues between individual responsibility and government responsibility, but where is that line to be drawn?" Wilson said. MMSD's Danielson recognised that the onus for change should not fall solely on the mining industry. "While industry clearly has a lot to do it is also clear that no amount of leadership from industry alone will be a total solution," he said.



UN Wire

1 May 2002



Nigerian Regional Integration and Cooperation Minister Bimbola Ogunkelu yesterday called on African countries to collaborate in managing the continent's water resources in order to further the cause of sustainable development.  Ogunkelu spoke on the second day of a two-day African ministerial conference on water in Nigeria's capital, Abuja. Ogunkelu said regional management is the best approach as Africa faces drought, water shortages, floods, agriculture problems and unsafe drinking water.  About 300 million people in Africa do not have access to safe water, Xinhua News Agency reported yesterday, compounding severe strains on food production, ecosystem protection and economic development. With more than 50 of its major water basins shared by two or more countries, Africa will need integrated management to prevent future conflicts, Ogunkelu said, adding that water is a sound basis for cooperation, economic integration and the realization of goals of the New Partnership for Africa's Development. The Abuja meeting was expected to draw up a regional consensus for presentation at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, slated to begin in Johannesburg in August, and the Third World Water Forum, due to be held in Japan next year



Gulf News

30 April 2002


The Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency will hold an international dialogue at the Abu Dhabi Hilton on Thursday to discuss the Abu Dhabi global initiative on environmental data collection. Majid Al Mansouri, the agency's Acting Secretary-General, said the objectives are to explore issues raised by the Environmental Sustainability Index, discuss the Abu Dhabi global initiative on environmental data collection, and look into the formulation of an environmental achievement index. Finland leads the world in environmental sustainability, according to a study of 142 nations released at the World Economic Forum in February in New York. The study ranks the U.S. 51st, showing that a nation's economic status does not always correspond to its ESI performance. The UAE ranked last. The Abu Dhabi global initiative on environmental data collection, to be launched at the 'World Summit for Environmental Sustainability' to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, from August 26 to September 4, is a collective global effort that has evolved as a result of the widening gap between developed and developing countries. The initiative is intended to present an innovative approach to the promotion of quality environmental data collection for further use by the developing world. The approach is essentially non-expert oriented, based on partnerships, precautionary and participatory, and decentralised. Twenty-eight experts from 17 countries will take part in the debate to discuss a global initiative for environmental data collection. Its priorities are to mobilise resources, raise appropriate funds, assess regional environmental data needs, and collect and establish regional environmental information inventories and indicators. Since the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992 and the adoption of Agenda 21, the global blueprint for sustainable development, the issue of quality information infrastructure is a matter of immense importance to the formulation of implementation policies and strategies. As a result, a number of initiatives have been undertaken, both internationally, regionally and nationally to improve methods for the collection and assessment of data. In this connection, the United Nations, the World Bank, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the European Union are among the leaders in the endeavour to improve the quality of 'Information for Decision Making' including the promotion of sustainable development indicators, globally. Al Mansouri said the data collection from the UAE will be ready before the release of the next index in a few years' time." Sincere initiatives by leading specialised institutions towards the development of sustainability indicators are also on-going. The dividing line between developed and developing countries in this respect is the availability of data," said the agency official. Few developing countries, he added, have invested in the promotion of their national information infrastructure, and commensurate with its exceptional economic development growth, the UAE had to establish quality information infrastructure needed for proper planning and management of the various sectors' development." In order to give international participants a broad background on the UAE's environmental efforts and achievements, a two-day technical tour covering major achievements in the sectors contributing to sustainable development is to be conducted," Al Mansouri said. This, he added, will include field visits to, and a number of presentations about, main environmental agencies, including the Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency, the water and electricity departments, the Geographical Information System, municipalities and national spatial data infrastructure, animal conservation areas, marine conservation areas, Dubai Internet City, Abu Dhabi oil companies, trade and development institutions and agriculture projects.



UN Wire

30 April 2002



The first biennial U.N. World Urban Forum, designed to examine innovative policies for sustainable urbanization and address the needs of the world's 100 million slum dwellers, opened yesterday in Nairobi.  U.N. Human Settlements Program (UN-HABITAT) Executive Director Anna Tibaijuka said the meeting is focusing on issues at the forefront of the "brown agenda" and sustainable urbanization. "This is the place to generate innovative models of urban management, to test out new ideas and harness creative thoughts to make our cities healthy, safe, productive, equitable and democratic," she said yesterday. The five-day meeting, organized by UN-HABITAT, will formulate recommendations for the World Summit for Sustainable Development in August. Half a century ago, New York was the world's only urban center with more than 10 million residents, but today 19 such cities exist, according to UN-HABITAT.  Some 3 billion people -- half the Earth's population -- now live in cities, and it is estimated that between 1990 and 1995, the cities in the developing world grew by 263 million people, the equivalent of another Los Angeles every three months. U.N.-HABITAT says that in cities all over the world, social exclusion and spatial segregation are increasing. The challenge for the international community will be "to make both urbanization and globalization work for everyone," Tibaijuka said. The forum opened with an address from Kenyan President Daniel Moi, who spoke about the Millennium Declaration goal of improving the lives of the world's slum dwellers by 2020.




South African Ministry of Environmental Affairs and Tourism

29 April 2002


MONDAY, 29 APRIL 2002: The success of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), which will be hosted by South Africa from August 26 to September 4 this year, will not only depend on the programme of action agreed upon by the various governments, but also on the commitments of each government's civil society and business sector. This is the message given this morning by the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Mohammed Valli Moosa, to business leaders at a breakfast meeting hosted by Leadership magazine in Sandton, Johannesburg. Briefing the leaders on the objectives of the summit, Minister Moosa said concrete outcomes from the summit are imperative in a world in which more people than ever before live in sub-human poverty and where the economic shape-up continues to sideline and isolate Africa and the rest of the South. "We will be going to Johannesburg conscious of the reality that the challenge of eradicating poverty and halving the number of impoverished people by 2015 is a challenge we as governments cannot tackle alone. This translates into a call for the undivided commitment of all partners behind the pursuit of the agreements that will emerge from here. "We come to Johannesburg cognisant that economic growth, social development and environmental protection go hand in hand, and therefore business, civil society and government have no choice but to make this partnership a reality," he said. The Johannesburg gathering should restore hope and certainty among people of the world and should leave a message that ten years from now, governments will be able to look back at the summit with pride and say that it was a landmark in their efforts to create a sustainable future for all. Minister Moosa said the multi-stakeholder advisory committee that has been established continues to ensure that in the preparations for the summit the views of business, NGOs and labour are taken into account.

"We are privileged with a unique opportunity to demonstrate our ability to deliver an event of this scale and thus prove that our country is a place where people can invest with confidence. It is an opportunity we dare not underutilise," added the Minister.



Voice of America

29 April 2002



The first World Urban Forum opened at the United Nations headquarters in Kenya Monday. The major goal of the five-day conference is to find ways of dealing with the explosive growth of cities in the developing world. Around the world, seven out of ten city dwellers live in slums. Opening the first World Urban Forum in Nairobi, the U.N. Habitat's executive director, Anna Tibaijuka, described what life is like for poor people in overcrowded cities. "They live densely packed. Their shacks are vulnerable to natural disasters such as heavy rains or sudden fires," she listed. "They have precarious employment. They are exposed to higher incidence of infectious diseases including HIV-AIDS, arbitrary arrest and unlawful forced eviction. Neglected by formal institutions, they are often left unprotected against violence, drug dealers, corrupt officials, unscrupulous slumlords and organized crime. For lack of alternatives, a good number of slum dwellers also become drawn into such anti-social behavior themselves." U.N. officials say the urban areas of Africa and Asia have exploding populations and will soon be getting even bigger. By 2010, another 340 million people will have moved from rural to urban areas. Ms Tibaijuka urged delegates at the World Urban Forum to find ways of working with these new migrants to the cities. "The challenge is, where feasible, providing security of tenure to the squatters through upgrading and where relocation must take place, doing it through community-led initiatives to avoid conflicts and ensure sustainability," she said. "Sustainable urbanization lies in forging partnerships with the urban poor and empowering them to solve their own problems instead of fighting them through arbitrary forced evictions." Though Ms. Tibaijuka made no mention of the Kenyan government, it has come under fire from human rights groups in recent months over its city clean-up campaign. Thousands of people have lost their homes and businesses after the government bulldozed their illegal roadside kiosks. The World Urban Forum is being hosted by the United Nations to help prepare for the World Summit on Sustainable Development, which is taking place in South Africa at the end of August.



The Independent

27 April 2002



Can a single meeting change the world? Many people will be hoping so when the leaders of more than 150 countries come together in Johannesburg this summer to try to put the world on a fairer, healthier, more sustainable path. The importance of the talks was underlined yesterday when evidence emerged that, over the next 100 years, the UK will have more extreme weather unless progress is made on global warming. The chances of disappointment in Johannesburg, however, are likely to be high. The World Summit on Sustainable Development takes place from 26 August to 4 September. It will be the biggest international diplomatic jamboree since the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, with about 65,000 people due to attend. Tony Blair, who was the first national leader to promise his presence, will be one of the key figures; besides playing a substantial role in orchestrating the event, he will use the platform it gives him to re-broadcast his appeal for a new order of international cooperation after 11 September. New York's trauma and its anniversary will cast a shadow over the conference, which was originally scheduled to finish on 11 September, but has been brought forward by a week, not least to allow the possibility of President George Bush attending, something that is far from certain. The Johannesburg meeting is a direct consequence of Rio - it is sometimes referred to as Rio Plus 10 - and its purpose is to examine why many of the Earth Summit's lofty aims remain unfulfilled a decade later The Rio conference resulted in some achievements, but they were on the environment side of the equation rather than on the development side. The principal one was the negotiation and signing of the world treaty on climate change, which led to the 1997 Kyoto protocol and industrialised countries trying to cut emissions of the gases believed to cause global warming, which many scientists believe is the direst threat to the globe. Although Rio's organisers, and many developing countries, were hoping that the Earth Summit would produce commitments from the rich nations to help the poor ones, all that resulted was an enormous plan of action named Agenda 21, which sounded terrific, but has remained unimplemented. Developing countries, and development professionals, largely feel that Rio was about a rich-country environmental agenda, and that development must therefore be the focus of Johannesburg. But what can it achieve? There is a widely acknowledged danger that it could merely turn into a talking shop, in which long-rehearsed arguments about overseas aid policy are brought out, the United States is attacked, and the globalisation of the world economy is pronounced to be the villain. Much depends on how focused the agenda is. Innumerable subjects have been put forward for inclusion, which are being whittled down into a draft text: a final preparatory meeting is to be held in Bali, Indonesia, late next month. The shape of the agenda is emerging: there will be a "statement of overarching principles" which heads of state and government will sign; there will be some sort of Johannesburg action plan, similar to Rio's Agenda 21; and there will be a raft of smaller, let's-get-it-done agreements between, on the one hand, governments, the business community, aid agencies and pressure groups, and on the other, poor countries. It is this last group of deals - known as "type 2 outcomes" - which may be Johannesburg's real achievement. While action plans and principles may not add up to much, a smallish agreement between a British company and an African village to provide, for example, a sustainable energy system can make a difference. The British Government is emphasising the value of "type 2 outcomes" in September, and has already tightly focused its own agenda. Its principal interests are poverty eradication, Africa as a whole, sustainable energy and access to clean water for the poor. Non-delivery of expectations will be one of the major dangers of the conference. America's war on terror is also bound to affect the meeting. Will President Bush attend? Mr. Blair is pressing him to do so. The presence of the leader of the world's only superpower would give the meeting and its agreements a credibility they would otherwise lack. But depending on how isolationist their mood is, the Americans may well feel there is little in it for them. Johannesburg can do much good, but in the end that may lie in the smaller agreements, the practical, specific partnerships and deals to make life better for poor people, which will be negotiated on the fringes of the conference .In five months' time this meeting will be making an awful lot of well-intentioned and impressive-sounding noise about changing the world, but the world being what it is, that noise may not result in very much.



Dakar, Sénégal

26 April 2002



Paying for ecosystem services and adding value to African commodities before export are just two of the conclusions reached at the Dakar meeting that closed yesterday. The event, entitled Environment for sustainable development in Africa, brought together over 70 experts from 25 African countries. Organized by IUCN with support from the World Bank and the Governments of France and Senegal, it was designed to seek input from experts from African Civil Society into the preparation process for the World Summit on Sustainable Development. The focus was on three critical issues: governance, financing and ecosystem management for sustainable livelihoods. The main outcome, a statement entitled the Challenge of Africa, will be used to lobby governments to include environmental considerations into their positions at forthcoming meetings.


See also:

Conference Declaration:

Background paper: The Greening of NEPAD:



Mail & Guardian

26 April 2002



The ANC is keen to prevent possible protests at Johannesburg's World Summit. Senior government leaders briefed the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) on the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) this week, in what is seen as a move to head off possible protests at the World Summit on Sustainable Development later this year. The briefing by Minister of Trade and Industry Alec Erwin, government communications boss Joel Netshitenzhe and the president's economic adviser, Wiseman Nkuhlu, at a Cosatu executive committee meeting reflected government worries about a civil society-led backlash against Nepad at the summit, to be held between August 26 and September 4 in Johannesburg, sources said. They said government was keen to prevent the often-violent protests led by labour and civil society, which have become a feature of world meetings. The briefing, the first given to Cosatu by the African National Congress-led government, follows the split between civil society and participating governments at the third preparatory meeting of the summit, which ended in New York earlier this month. Senior party sources also cited as a reason for government's courtship of the unions the upcoming G8 encounter in Kananaskis, Canada, on June 26 and 27, where Nepad is to be discussed. "President Thabo Mbeki had already reversed his position on HIV/Aids, which is also on the G8's agenda. They don't want any problems with Nepad." The government has indicated that the continent intends to showcase Nepad at the world summit in an attempt to lobby international support. Disgruntled elements of civil society, who were not consulted on the formulation of Nepad, have already indicated that they intend to air their views on it at the August gathering. Some, grouping themselves as the South African Social Forum, have said: "The document [Nepad] has been inspired by Thabo Mbeki, developed without consulting the people of the continent and its content is neo-liberal in character. "So it is not surprising that it has been coined Gear for Africa. Our voice on Nepad also needs to be heard." A similar view has also been aired in Cosatu circles, where Nepad has been described as a "sophisticated begging bowl". Sources said the ANC tried to lobby Cosatu to back Nepad at the recent alliance summit. The issue has also been raised in the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac). Sources said Cosatu considered rejecting the plan simply because it had not been consulted or allowed to make an input. However, as it supported initiatives aimed at developing Africa, it had decided to engage the government on Nepad. The issue will be aired with Cosatu's members and a decision taken at Cosatu's central executive meeting later this year. Some labour sources feel Nepad's good governance prescriptions are vague, while others at Cosatu's central executive felt that it pandered to the Washington Consensus. It was felt that the plan did not get to grips with the economic plight of ordinary Africans. "It says nothing about human resource development and education," said a source. Also problematic for labour is the emphasis in the Nepad document on privatisation and deregulation, the dropping of tariff barriers and public-private partnerships, as instruments in promoting good economic governance. Some in labour also feel that the plan appears confused about the kind of approach to development -state-led or private sector-led - that it is endorsing.



EU Press Release

25 April 2002



Environment Commissioner Margot Wallström visited Washington this week to give new impetus to transatlantic co-operation on environmental issues. She attended the first formal meeting of the EU-US High Level Representatives on Climate Change on Tuesday 23 April and launched a Study Group on Climate Change at the EU Center of Washington DC. The Commissioner's busy programme provided for a series of meetings with key US officials (J. Connaughton, Chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, C. Whitman, EPA Administrator, P. J. Dobriansky, Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs, and A. P. Larson, Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs). The Commissioner also had meetings on Capitol Hill and met with representatives from civil society, private sector and academic circles. At a press conference in Washington today, Commissioner Wallström said: "We need to revitalize cooperation between the EU and the US on certain environmental issues. This visit has been a useful launch pad to move our cooperation forward. Obviously, we do not agree on everything and we have different approaches to tackling environmental problems. The Kyoto Protocol is one notable example. But we do need to work together on climate change and we have now identified some areas for joint co-operation. We have also agreed to work closer together in the preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development and on environment and health." She added: "I have also been pleased to see that so many US stakeholders are committed to stronger action on environmental issues."


Climate Change

* Although, the EU and US continue to differ in approaches to climate change notably regarding the Kyoto Protocol, the meeting of EU-US High Level Representatives and subsequent bilateral meetings provided for a useful discussion and identified areas for potential co-operation including in the area of science and research and in the measurement, monitoring and verification of greenhouse gas emissions and market-based incentives.

World Summit on Sustainable Development

* On the World Summit on Sustainable Development, there was agreement on the need to bring a sense of urgency into the preparatory process to ensure a successful outcome at the Johannesburg Summit as well as for the implementation gap to be addressed through Partnerships. Agreement was also reached on the need to explore prospects for co-operation in developing partnerships on issues such as access to clean water and sanitation, access to energy and increased use of renewable energy sources.

Environment and Health

* Children's Environment and Health - Commissioner Wallström and Governor Whitman agreed to enhance bilateral co-operation in this important area. While, the immediate priority is to ensure that Children's environmental health features as a theme at WSSD, this will also be an area for further bilateral co-operation between the European Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency.



Business Day (South Africa)

24 April 2002



AS SA prepares to host the earth summit later this year, the environment is increasingly taking centre stage as companies seek to move into line with international best practice on sustainable development. Many of the drivers for new environmental laws and standards have been inspired in part by the forthcoming summit, say legal advisers. In addition, the second King Report on Corporate Governance highlights the need for companies to comply with these standards. Business is moving towards a triple bottom-line approach to reporting, embracing environmental, social and economic criteria. Ian Sampson, senior manager: Deloitte & Touche Legal, says that constitutionally and in terms of the National Environmental Management Act the principle of sustainable development is legally binding in SA. "In effect it says that you should run your business today so that you leave something for the generations that follow tomorrow," says Sampson. "The triple bottom-line approach calls for the integration of environmental and social issues into the day-to-day operations of a business. Until recently, many companies have not recognised this principle at all," says Sampson. Where they have done so, it has often been treated as a peripheral issue with relatively small budgets allocated to a safety, health and environment manager to cover minimum requirements. He says the second King report has an entire chapter dedicated to sustainability reporting to move the issue into the boardroom rather than down the line to management. "The law now directs companies to practice sustainable development and King is reinforcing this as good practice. In SA these issues seem set to remain in the realm of blue chiptype companies, Sampson says, given their exposure to foreign markets. However, the earth summit, new legislation and the second King report will slowly start forcing a wider range of companies to take cognizance of sustainable development, he says. There is likely to be a two pronged approach to change, says Sampson. "One is that business, as a result of King for example, is trying to demonstrate best practice." The other is that the laws and the constitution are obviously binding on our government, which now has a legal obligation to produce laws that manage these risks and we are starting to see that. "Enforcement is starting to improve, he says. The auditor-general has now taken an interest in environmental issues and in terms of the Public Finance Management Act monitors government departments to ensure they are meeting constitutional and regulatory obligations. In broad terms, the act stipulates that the auditor-general must make sure that government entities comply with all relevant legislation. The SA Constitution says that citizens have a right to an environment that is not harmful to them, Sampson says. A second stipulation is that government has an obligation to develop laws that satisfy that right. "And it specifically says government has an obligation to develop laws that achieve sustainable development."




24 April 2002



The forthcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) will offer South Africa an opportunity to showcase itself to the rest of the world, says Environmental Affairs and Tourism Minister Mohammed Valli Moosa. Addressing business leaders in Sandton, north of Johannesburg, yesterday, Minister Moosa said he was confident that a concrete plan of action would emerge from the summit. 'The World summit is a unique opportunity for us as a country to demonstrate our ability to deliver an event of this scale to prove that our country is a place where people can invest with confidence. 'He said the new deal on sustainable development sought at the summit should be based on solid commitments from the developed and developing countries, addressing both finance and trade issues.' The new deal would be in line with the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) which is the basis for sustainable development in Africa.' Nepad is a pledge by African leaders based on a common vision and a firm and shared conviction that they have a pressing duty to eradicate poverty and to place their countries both individually and collectively on a path of sustainable growth and development. Nepad is spearheaded President Thabo Mbeki and Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and was launched on 13 March 2002.



Mail & Guardian

24 April 2002.



Calls are being heard for negotiation of a new international convention on corporate accountability in the run-up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in August Those promoting the idea include Friends of the Earth International and Christian Aid. Their call has been motivated in part by the intensified social and environmental degradation that has accompanied the efficiencies and productivity increases resulting from globalisation. Their identification of the need for clearer linkages to be made between multinational corporations, human rights and the environment has gained currency. Their efforts have been spurred by, among other things, high-profile examples of degradation, such as the human rights abuses against those opposing the oil operations of Shell and Unocal in Nigeria and Burma; the employment of young children in Vietnamese "sweat-shops" supplying Nike; and the legal case brought by asbestosis sufferers against Cape Plc. Multinationals are perceived as principal beneficiaries of economic globalisation. Their economic power is often thought to undermine democratic institutions that are properly accountable to electorates, not to shareholders. From a legal perspective, multinationals have always been a step ahead. Wealthier than many states, they are not subject to public international law because they are not states. Holding multinationals legally accountable in national courts is fraught with difficulties — as was evident in the cases brought in the United Kingdom against Cape and Thor Chemicals. They have generally been able to utilise the concept of limited liability to protect multinational parent companies, on the grounds that the liability for the conduct of subsidiary companies based elsewhere could not attach to the shareholder. And these subsidiaries, directly in the firing line, were invariably insolvent, uninsured and located in states where access to justice by local citizens was practically impossible. Criminal prosecutions of corporations generally are rare, partly due to the high standard of proof required to secure a conviction. Corporations cannot be imprisoned, and the level of criminal fines meted out, even for serious breaches of health and safety laws, invariably constitute a pitiful deterrent. Following the deaths of workers from mercury poisoning, Thor Chemicals was fined just R13 000 by the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate's Court. As far as criminal liability arising from overseas operations is concerned, parent corporations "fall between stools": their home courts are likely to rule that they have no criminal jurisdiction as the misconduct took effect in another state. Local courts will consider themselves unable to exercise jurisdiction over a foreign corporation. "Corporate citizenship" and "corporate social responsibility" are in vogue among multinationals. Practising corporate citizenship then means minimising negative impacts of corporate activities and influence, while enhancing the societal benefits that corporations can undoubtedly bring. The expressions embody a notion that business should be understood as part of society, contributing directly to the welfare of society. As long ago as 1954 the founder member of Anglo-American, Ernest Oppenheimer, laid down the principle that: "The aim of the group is, and will remain, to make profits for our shareholders, but to do it in such a way as to make a real and lasting contribution to the communities in which we operate." The question, poignantly raised by Amnesty International, is whether such statements "should be perceived as a genuine aspiration or as a disingenuous attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of an increasingly discerning and critical public". Through shareholding, Anglo profited substantially from the asbestos mining operations of Cape Plc, and shared several common directors. Paradoxically, Anglo's rejection of the request for a contribution towards the Cape Plc asbestos victims' settlement trust suggests that corporations are less likely to put these principles into practice, the closer they are to home. The July 2001 European Commission Green Paper on Promoting a European Framework for Corporate Social Responsibility defined the concept whereby companies decide voluntarily to contribute to a better society and a cleaner environment. A drawback of voluntary codes of conduct is that they are not legally binding, and cannot impose any sanction for non-compliance. A committee of the European Parliament has proposed a European directive requiring multinationals to participate in a compulsory system of "social reporting" on the social and environmental impacts of their businesses. This reporting would encompass every unit of the business, including the supply chain. It is suggested that awarding public contracts and private sector financial support would be influenced by the results of such social reporting. The power of the United States consumer lobby, working in concert with US plaintiff lawyers, arguably constitutes the most formidable form of deterrence in the area of product safety. However, this is primarily in relation to products that might harm US consumers, rather than activities that might be damaging to the health or environment of people in developing countries. Thus, the demise of the asbestos industry was the result of reduction in worldwide demand for asbestos products, due to increasing public fears over the health risks. Concern for the South African asbestos miners hardly featured. Similarly, the antagonism in Europe towards genetically modified food arises from fears of European consumers for their own health, not the economic or environmental consequences for developing countries or their farmers. However, there is growing awareness of "fair trade" issues among consumer groups, for example boycotts of Nike in US student campuses. For corporations that depend on their public image, adverse publicity from human rights or environmental campaigns can be highly damaging and provide an incentive for remedial action to be taken. The Cape and Thor Chemicals cases are unique examples of multinationals being held accountable for injuries in a developing country, despite the corporate veil. The payment of substantial compensation and legal costs in these cases provided a salutary warning to multinationals against the application of "double standards" in developing countries. But binding legal precedents on the issue of multinational liability were not set in those cases because they were settled without trial. While the legal path has been cleared for similar future cases to proceed, the outcome is by no means certain. An unhelpful precedent in another case could reverse the trend. Where does all this leave us? First, regulations and criminal sanctions are important but have serious practical limitations. Second, civil actions can provide a powerful deterrent, but only if citizens have proper access to justice and damages awards are high enough. Third, codes of conduct are a constructive approach. But it should not be left for companies to decide whether or not they wish to "contribute" to the protection of human life and the environment. And fourth, campaigner and consumer groups have a vital role to play. But US and European consumers should not be relied on to protect the interests of developing countries. A legally binding convention that is enforceable in practice needs to be formulated to ensure proper multinational accountability, capturing the supply-chain, not just subsidiaries. This convention must be applied internationally and, in a development of international law, apply to corporations as well as states. It is not necessary to reinvent the wheel: for instance, the 1977 Declaration of Principles concerning Multinationals and Social Policy, adopted by the UN International Labour Organisation, could be integrated within a convention. It must be directly enforceable against corporations, by states or affected citizens. Citizens must be provided with the means to enforce the rights in the convention in practice. This topic is high on the political agenda and the opportunity to deal with it justly must be seized.


Richard Meeran is the British attorney who acted successfully for South African asbestosis victims against Cape Plc



South African Ministry of Environmental Affairs and Tourism

23 April 2002


Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Mohammed Valli Moosa, expressed his satisfaction with the progress made by countries in their deliberations in preparation for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), which South Africa will host in August and September this year. The Minister told business leaders at the Standard Bank/Tribute Business Forum this morning that he is confident that a concrete plan of action will emerge from the Summit. He added that the Summit offered South Africa an opportunity to showcase itself to the rest of the world. "The World Summit is a unique opportunity for us to demonstrate our ability to deliver an event of this scale and thus prove that our county is a place where people can invest with confidence. "It is an opportunity to secure an indefinite legacy that will not only benefit us as South Africa, but Africa as a whole", the Minister said. Minister Moosa said the new deal on sustainable development sought at the Summit should be based on solid commitments from the developed and developing countries, addressing both finance and trade issues. South Africa believes that this deal must incorporate a range of measures, including the extension of current debt relief initiatives, incentives for the private sector to invest in developing countries and measure to facilitate the transfer of technology capacity and scientific innovation from developed to developing countries. The new deal would be in line with the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), which is the basis for sustainable development in Africa. While the deal would represent a commitment by world leaders, said Minister Moosa, its success would lie on a tangible programme of action to deliver key results in sectors such as water and sanitation, energy, food security, health, education and technology.



UN Wire

23 April 2002



UNITED NATIONS -- In a meeting billed as the first follow-up to the International Conference on Financing for Development, finance ministers and officials from the United Nations, World Bank and International Monetary Fund met yesterday to discuss how all the parties could cooperate in implementing the promises made in at the conference last month in Monterrey, Mexico. "Monterrey was not an end in itself," said U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan.  "Our challenge now is to maintain the positive spirit that led to the Monterrey Consensus, and translate it into real and meaningful implementation.  The consensus has enormous potential to bring about significant, overdue change." According to Croatian Ambassador Ivan Simonovic, the president of the Economic and Social Council, "The Monterrey conference was an important first step in creating a coherent and more participatory multilateral system that is more beneficial to the realization of the Millennium Development Goals.  A massive effort is now required to mobilize more and better cooperation for development and to build an international economic system more conducive to the development of the poor. "The council regularly meets at this time of year, but since this was its first meeting since the Monterrey conference, where ECOSOC was given a role in following up on the pledges made at the event, the first day's meeting was dedicated to a high-level discussion of how to implement the Monterrey Consensus. "Our goal is obviously to make financial, trade and economic activities and systems more supportive of our development goals, as well as to make the most out of existing institutions by strengthening cooperation between them," Simonovic said.  "If we are going to take 'staying engaged' from the Monterrey Consensus seriously, we have to establish a close link between individual millennium development goals and principles set for their financing in Monterrey.  This would finally improve our effectiveness in dealing with real world problems such as hunger, illiteracy, poverty and diseases."

The Millennium Declaration of September 2000 lists eight development goals:  halving extreme poverty and hunger by 2015; achieving universal primary education; promoting gender equity; reducing child and maternal mortality; halving the percent of people who do not have access to safe drinking water; reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS and malaria, and ensuring environmental sustainability. Annan told the meeting, "Where once we debated over competing visions of development and how to measure it, we now have a common platform in the Millennium Development Goals, which we will be striving to achieve and monitoring together each year."  He added, "I hope the unprecedented level of collaboration between the United Nations, the Bretton Woods institutions and the World Trade Organization will continue, so that our institutions can respond effectively to the new responsibilities that have been placed upon us." At a news conference after the meeting, Simonovic said he was "very satisfied with the meeting.  There was a clear indication that there is a consensus that the Millennium Development Goals should be realized, that Monterrey has set up the right principles and that now it is time for action." South African Finance Minister Trevor Manuel, who was one of two envoys Annan appointed to the Monterrey conference, told journalists that after establishing the millennium goals and dealing with the financing mechanisms at Monterrey, "there are still a number of gaps.  Now we need a determined plan of action ... that essentially is what Johannesburg must deliver."  Johannesburg will be the site of the World Summit on Sustainable Development in August. Some of the issues Manuel named include effective aid and market access.  "There's no point in pouring [official development aid] into countries if those economies cannot grow because there is no place to grow.  Economies will grow because they can produce for export.  If those markets remain closed, then clearly it will continue to place a brake on development in poor countries."  Another issue, he said, is examining international support for domestic programs in recipient countries.  "This begins to redefine the role of the Bretton Woods institutions and the inter-relationship between these and the U.N. system," Manuel said. Yesterday's meeting followed the World Bank-IMF Development Committee meeting over the weekend in Washington, which also endorsed the results of Monterrey. Following the model of the Monterrey conference, yesterday's session also included two roundtable discussions to examine the themes of the ECOSOC meeting.  These roundtables included representatives from all "stakeholders," including governments, international financial institutions, nongovernmental organizations and business sector representatives.




23 April 2002



LONDON - Earth Day marks the start of a period of trial for the global mining industry as the countdown begins to the next world environment summit in South Africa in August. Some 60,000 delegates, including many heads of state, will gather for 10 days from August 26 in Johannesburg for the World Summit on Sustainable Development, which will tackle climate change, the loss of natural resources and, for the first time, mining. And 10 years on from the first so-called earth summit in Rio de Janeiro, little has changed in mining, environment groups say. "On the ground, there's been virtually no change. Mining continues to be as polluting and as energy-intensive as it was 10 years ago," Payal Sampat, research associate at the Washington-based Worldwatch Institute, said. Mining strips more of the earth's surface each year than does natural erosion by rivers, Worldwatch says. The industry is still using noxious chemicals to extract metals, mining waste continues to pose a potential ecological hazard and the sector remains a leading source of the greenhouse gases believed to be responsible for climate change.


Yet the industry is seen to have recognised that is has a pressing problem that demands speedy action. Nine of the world's top mining firms formed the Global Mining Initiative (GMI) in 2000 to conduct a two-year research programme into sustainable development and the environment. Hugh Leggatt, communications director for the GMI, said standards might have improved, but that the metals industry was a long way from where it felt it should be. "We feel that there is progress being made but there is a huge amount of work still has to be done. We're not pretending that we're anywhere near where we ought to be in terms of our reputation," said Leggatt, who is also communications advisor at London-listed resources group Rio Tinto, a GMI member. The industry's critics, however, remain to be convinced. "The Rio summit didn't really tackle mining and this summit looks like it's going to be a trade show. So it's going to be pretty unlikely governments are going to do things that we and most communities around the world are saying - that these corporations have to be brought to account," said Matt Philips, a senior campaigner for the UK branch of Friends of the Earth. "There's going to be no outcomes from it (Johannesburg) like the biodiversity convention, the forest principles and the climate convention - those are off the agenda," Philips said, referring to the three key environment accords reached in Rio. Johannesburg will also tackle so-called ecological debt - rich nations benefiting from the natural resources of poorer ones at the expense of the eco-system - corporate accountability and human rights. Worldwatch's Sampat said the fact that mining was on the agenda in South Africa, which relies on the industry for 40 percent of its export earnings, was particularly significant. "This is where mining will come into some kind of prominence as an environmental issue. We really need to deal with this in Johannesburg - it wasn't even on the table at Rio - a big reason for that is the place where it will be held," she said. Recycling, using clean materials and cutting back on the amount of new metal mined could all contribute to change, but Philips saw no single solution for the environmental woes of the mining community. "What should the mining industry do? Well, it's got to take ...action as an industry in its own right. But at the end of the day the breaks are needed from governments which are beyond the wit of the mining industry to deliver," he said.



Accra Mail

22 April 2002



Majority of participants at the 3-Day Accra Water Conference, which begun on Monday April 15th, 2002, say that it has succeeded in highlighting water and its related issues as pertaining in Africa. They said the conference has also succeeded in creating the need for commitment by African governments to ensure that water is given the needed priority in all national policies. These views were gathered during a random interviewing of participants on Wednesday April 17th, 2002, the last day of the conference. About 200 participants attended the Regional Stakeholders Conference for Priority Setting on "Water and Sustainable Development in Africa" from different parts of the world. They represented 41 African countries, international and national NGOs, private sector agencies, research institutions, universities and water related professionals and the media. The distinguished gathering also included representatives of world bodies like UNESCO, UNEP, World Bank, European Union, World Meteorological Organisation and the Economic Commission for Africa. It was jointly organised by the African Development Bank, International Water Management Institute, Food and Agriculture Organisation and Ghana's Water Resources Commission with funding by The Netherlands Government. The main objective was to produce a position paper that will project a high profile for African water issues during the Johannesburg Summit. This was to be based on the outcomes of discussions on water related issues. They are food security, international trade and environment; transboundary water issues; financing water and sanitation infrastructure as well as water, poverty and health. Participants were also to discuss and make recommendations as inputs for the paper entitled "No Water No Future". The paper was authored by His Royal Highness Prince Willem Alexander, the Crown Prince of The Netherlands. It is his initial contribution to the Panel of 12 people appointed by the UN Secretary-General to help him in preparations towards the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in September 2002. In fact, His Royal Highness is the Ambassador to the UN Secretary General on water issues at the Johannesburg Summit. During the closing session of the Accra Water Conference, an address by the Chairman of the African Water Taskforce Professor Albert Wright indicated that the set objectives have been attained. Notable among the achievements is the Accra Declaration which has been adopted and which serves as a summary of the African position on water. The Declaration states that: "given clear policies and strategies and real commitments to action, Africans can use water to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development on the continent." Among other things, the Declaration calls for the establishment of a Water Fund for Africa to facility financial flows to implement water related activities. It will also support integrated water resource management and cooperation in shared river basins. A Source at the Water Resources Commission in an interview explained that the outcomes of the Conference would serve as vital technical inputs to the African Ministers Conference on Water; AMCOW meeting that would be held in Abuja, Nigeria, at the end of April. "The rectification of the Accra Declaration by the African Ministers would no doubt provide the necessary political support that is needed in putting African water issues as priority in Johannesburg," the source added. Another outstanding achievement is the common position presented by Africa on Prince Willem's paper. It focuses on some global major water related issues and urges the forthcoming World Summit to reconfirm the priority of water and adopt targets and actions that would address challenges. According to the paper, water was not at the top agenda during the Rio Summit. A statement representing Africa's comments and read by Professor Wright said Africans consider the paper "No Water No Future," as a valuable contribution to the awareness about water issues. It calls for the inclusion of an African chapter based on recommendations specified in the African Position Paper. At a Press Conference to crown the three days of deliberations on the water situation in Africa, Prince Willem said so far 2000 comments have been received regarding the paper. "The inclusion of the comments could alter the paper," he said, adding, "If it is adopted in Johannesburg, then it will become a workable document." Asked if the issue of gender has been well articulated at the conference, the African Regional Officer in-charge of Women in Development, Diana Tempelman replied in the affirmative. She said, "I'm pleased that gender aspects of water management were discussed throughout." Miss Templeman said, "gender mainstreaming is not Beijing, but is serious development planning from efficiency, economic and equitable point of view, taking into consideration the needs of all."



United Nations Department of Information

22 April 2002



New York - Speaking on the annual commemoration of Earth Day the Secretary-General of the upcoming United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development, Nitin Desai, called on governments worldwide to increase efforts to conserve the Earth's natural resources, and renew their commitment to sustainable development in order to build a secure future for the planet and its people. "There is mounting evidence that Earth's natural resources are being depleted and destroyed, due mainly to unsustainable patterns of consumption and production, "said Mr. Desai. "For too long, environmentalists and industrialists alike have focused on a false trade-off between environmental protection and economic growth. Sustainable development recognizes that economic well-being, social development, and environmental stewardship are interconnected and must be addressed together." The United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development, which will take place August 26 - September 4 in Johannesburg, South Africa, will be the largest meeting ever held on environmental issues and sustainable development. Tens of thousands of government delegates and other participants are expected to attend, including heads of State and Government, business leaders, and leaders of non-governmental organizations. Participants will assess global progress on implementing the blueprint of sustainable development - Agenda 21 - that was agreed at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, and produce new commitments for action. "Problems such as global warming, water shortages, deforestation, and desertification continue," Mr. Desai said. "The Johannesburg Summit aims to tackle these threats to our future by making the idea of sustainable development a global reality. The Rio Earth Summit created the roadmap for sustainable development, Agenda 21. Johannesburg is about putting that plan into action." "The century ahead will see greater changes than any era in human history, as the world's population grows apace, and ever greater strains are put on the Earth's natural resources," Mr. Desai concluded. "The decisions taken at the Johannesburg Summit will help determine the road we take forward, and whether we leave a better world for future generations."



Business Wire

22 April 2002



NEW YORK-- Susan Sarandon, Alicia Silverstone, Kevin Bacon, Patrick Stewart, Joe Pantoliano and Others Voice Concern for Future The Earth Communications Office (ECO), Hollywood's voice for the environment, co-hosted a press conference with the Earth Day Network this morning at the United Nations, featuring prominent U.S. politicians, actors, musicians, business leaders, and environmental groups. The event was designed to urge world leaders to commit publicly to attending the UN-sponsored World Summit on Sustainable Development scheduled for late August and early September 2002 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The UN World Earth Summit in September was designed to implement Agenda 21, a comprehensive plan for achieving sustainable development, adopted at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio. Thus far, the commitment from world leaders to attend has been poor, with only four nations reporting plans to attend, the United States not among them. Attendees at today's press conference included Actor/Activists Susan Sarandon, Alicia Silverstone, Kevin Bacon, Patrick Stewart, Joe Pantoliano, Joshua Jackson, artist Peter Max, Congressman Christopher Shays, Andrew Cuomo, and U.N. spokespeople, among others. At the podium, the panel members spoke passionately about the future and the need for a more concrete commitment from global decision makers. "From the day my son was born, I've been concerned about leaving a legacy of an unhealthy planet and I continue to be concerned about my children's future," said actor and ECO Board member Kevin Bacon. Bacon also participated in today's event to help launch ECO's new Climate Star print ad campaign which features provocative photos of Bacon and actress wife Kyra Sedgwick (among other celebrities) in an attempt to draw magazine readers' attention to the issue of global warming. The Earth Communications Office (ECO), "Hollywood's voice for the environment," is a non-profit organization that uses the power of the entertainment and communications industries to deliver messages about the earth to the general public on a global level. The board is made up of Hollywood's premier talent in the film, television, music, advertising and public relations industries. ECO's public service campaigns -- which are distributed internationally -- inspire viewers to think about what they can do to help heal our planet. ECO's campaigns are seen and heard by more than a billion people every year in movie theaters, on television, and on the radio.




20 April 2002



JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (Reuters) - Life on the planet and the ills that plague it will be marked on Earth Day on Monday with "green events" planned by governments and activists around the globe. But as the 32nd Earth Day on April 22 is commemorated ahead of a huge U.N. summit on poverty, development and the environment to be held in Johannesburg later this year, there is no "green consensus" on the state of the planet's health. Scientists, writers, think-tanks and pressure groups are deeply divided over the fate of the world's ecosystems. The forecasts range from the apocalyptic to the relentlessly upbeat. Some scenarios are nightmarish: states go to war over scarce supplies of fresh water, deserts expand as fertile soil is depleted, and tropical island paradises vanish beneath the waves as polar ice-caps melt because of global warming (news - web sites). Others envision a better life for all as human ingenuity heals nature's wounds and economic growth lifts hundreds of millions of people out of gut-wrenching poverty. Governments disagree over what strategies are needed. The European Union (news - web sites) has bound itself legally to the Kyoto treaty on cutting the pollution blamed for global warming, which the United States has rejected on cost grounds -- opening up one of the biggest diplomatic rifts in the industrialized world.


A walk down the mean streets of the mega-cities of the developing world such as Lagos or Jakarta, with their creaking infrastructure, open sewers, limited supplies of clean water and soaring populations, will do little to boost faith in the future. Many analysts link environmental problems, such as urban decay and overcrowding in poor countries, to crime and to threats to national and global security. In February 1994, Robert D. Kaplan wrote a famous essay in The Atlantic Monthly entitled "The Coming Anarchy: How Scarcity, Crime, Overpopulation, Tribalism, and Disease are Destroying the Social Fabric of the Planet." " Africa and the Third World," Kaplan writes, "man is challenging nature far beyond its limits, and nature is now beginning to take its revenge." According to Kaplan, social ills and conflict in coming years will often be rooted in environmental problems. "It is time to understand the environment for what it is: the national-security issue of the early twenty-first century," he asserts. "The...impact of surging populations, spreading disease, deforestation and soil erosion, water depletion, air pollution, and, possibly, rising sea levels in critical, overcrowded regions like the Nile Delta and Bangladesh -- developments that will prompt mass migrations and, in turn, incite group conflicts -- will be the core foreign policy challenge." Kaplan sees environmental disputes fusing with ethnic and historical ones, creating instability along the Danube river between former Communist states such as Romania and Slovakia. "A war could erupt between Egypt and Ethiopia over Nile River water," he writes. Much of what Kaplan says draws on the writing of Thomas Homer-Dixon, an influential University of Toronto professor who has linked water shortages in China, population growth in sub-Saharan Africa and other ecological challenges to conflict.


Some scholars look at the evidence and snort "nonsense." Bjorn Lomborg, a Danish statistician, has caused waves among academics and activists with his book "The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World." "The air in the developed world is becoming less, not more, polluted; people in the developing countries are not starving more, but less," he writes. Lomborg argues that pressure groups such as Greenpeace have hijacked the environmental debate, promoting "doom and gloom" scenarios that have little basis in reality when carefully measured and scrutinized. He points out, for example, that the air in London is cleaner today than it was in 1585, when cheap coal with a high sulfur content was used in private households. Water as a source of conflict? Doubtful, argues Lomborg, who cites one study of 412 international crises between 1918 and 1994 that found only seven had water as even a partial cause.  Declining forests? "Globally, forest cover has remained remarkably stable over the second half of the twentieth forest cover increased from 30.04 percent of the global land area in 1950 to 30.89 percent in 1994."


The temperate forests of North America and Europe have expanded over the past 40 years, while far more biologically diverse tropical rain forests are disappearing -- though Lomborg says not at the pace claimed by many. The reasons for both deforestation and reforestation are many and the impact on humanity has been mixed. In the Baltic states of Latvia and Estonia, for example, the forests almost doubled in size between the end of World War Two and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, while neighboring Lithuania's grew by around 50 percent. But this was because the Soviet authorities ruthlessly collectivized agriculture and deported hundreds of thousands of peasants to Siberia in the 1940s and 1950s, leaving empty farms that were eventually reclaimed by the surrounding wilderness.


There is also great debate about the pace and extent of species loss, with Lomborg saying that we will lose about 0.7 percent of all species over the next 50 years -- a conclusion hotly disputed by many. Some scientists claim that we are on the verge of the greatest extinction since the dinosaurs died off 65 million years ago, with tens thousands of species threatened, because of habitat destruction, global warming and pollution. Certainly, the prospects for many animals look grim, even if for some they have improved substantially in recent years. Elephants were killed across Africa at a terrifying rate for the ivory in their tusks in the 1970s and 1980s before a global ban on the ivory trade stemmed the slaughter, allowing populations to stabilize and in some countries rebound again. Africa's white rhinos were almost extinct a century ago but now number several thousand and their numbers are climbing. It the few hundred mountain gorillas left on the lush, volcanic hills that form the border of Rwanda, Uganda and the Congo may not last long in the face of political instability and pressure on their habitat from soaring local populations.

Earth Day was founded in 1970 in the United States by Gaylord Nelson, a Senator from Wisconsin, to promote conservation and environmental issues. More than three decades later, the jury is out on the state of the planet, and only the future will determine if the prophets of doom or the Lomborg are right.



19 April 2002




 BRUSSELS - A global summit in August aimed at saving the environment while pulling people out of poverty faces failure unless preparatory talks are accelerated, the European Union's top environment official said yesterday.  Around 60,000 delegates, including many heads of state, are expected to attend the August 26-September 4 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg. It falls 10 years after the Rio Earth summit that spawned a range of major environmental treaties. "The preparation process is not going as well as we would have liked. We still have a lot of work," EU Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom told a news conference. She said the world had neglected to live up to promises made at Rio on issues such as climate change and nature protection. She warned that Johannesburg would also fail unless governments agreed to adopt a detailed action plan. "I am not sure if we will succeed in Johannesburg. "We have to set realistic but ambitious targets. It's up to the EU to show leadership...Our challenge is to produce an action plan with concrete deliverables," Wallstrom said. The summit should set a 2015 deadline to halve the number of people without access to clean water and electricity and do this in an environmentally sound way by using river basin management schemes and renewable power, she said. A declaration with these goals, which would have to be largely drafted before heads of state arrived at the summit, should be accompanied by measures on how to reach the targets. "This is what was missing at Rio, implementation," she said. The private sector should be involved in partnerships to help implement the goals, Wallstrom said, defying critics among green campaigners who have accused richer nations of planning to 'privatise' aid and environmental schemes at the summit. Wallstrom denied that the United States, which pulled out of the Kyoto climate change pact, which came out of the Rio summit, was acting as the main brake on progress, as some activists have suggested. "It is difficult to identify one culprit...It is not as simple as blaming the United States. For a long time they didn't like to go into concrete things and promise financial resources, but slowly we are coming closer," she said. But in a warming shot at Washington, she added: "It would be very unfortunate if the U.S. decided once more to stay out of the process."



Saturday Star

19 April 2002



Protesters at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg later this year are likely to confront a massive police and army presence. This is central to the security plan drawn up by the Johannesburg World Summit Company which next week will table the document at the inter-ministerial session in parliament.  The summit, which opens on August 26 and concludes on September 4, will bring together more than 130 heads of state from around the world. More than 60 000 people are expected to attend events related to the summit, such as the non-governmental conferences. Gatherings of world leaders have in the past been marred by mass protests, which have turned violent resulting in deaths. The justice, crime prevention cluster will scrutinise the plan to ensure that the security strategy has provisions to handle crisis situations. The cluster involves the safety and security, defence, finance and intelligence departments. Although the directors-general of the related departments have approved the security plan for the summit the ministers have yet to scrutinise the plan and approve it. Based on the outcome of next week's meeting government would mobilise state forces. Resources would be combined to control the expected demonstrators from anti-globalisation organisations, including anti-Aids groups and environmentalists.



Saturday Star

19 April 2002



Gauteng residents have already offered more than 1 200 rooms to the Johannesburg World Summit Company (Jowsco) for a unique Homestays campaign that encourages residents to let rooms in their homes. Moss Mashishi, CEO of Jowsco, said the concept was similar to that used at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney and made available private homes "once the traditional facilities have reached full capacity". Evaluation criteria and a costing scheme, as set by the SA Tourism Grading Council in cooperation with Jowsco and various hospitality industry-related institutions, will be provided to applicants by June. Homeowners who apply will be given a certificate of competency if they meet basic minimum standards guaranteeing participants a comfortable stay in SA. Wayne Riddell, CEO of Global Conferences DMC cautions that the Homestays campaign must not be seen as a get-rich-quick scheme. "Guidance on the costing for homes will be based on the set criteria, facilities in the house and the distance from the meeting venue. "No doubt, homes that are close to meeting venues such as the Expo Centre and Sandton will be considered first and will be based on the demands of participants," he said. The policy and operations guidelines - including pricing - will be published at the end of next month. Approved homes will be posted on the database for onward selling to participants, with homeowners receiving training and information about the summit. As Sandton and surrounding areas brace for the influx of about 60 000 expected participants, accommodation facilities in the region are fast reaching capacity levels. To date, a total of 53 000 beds in traditional establishments have been catalogued in Greater Johannesburg.


See Also:



The Evening Standard (London)

19 April 2002



Building bridges to cross borders in global community FROM the riots at the World Trade Organisation conference in Seattle three years ago to the bloody confrontations at the Group of Eight Summit in Genoa last year, the "anti-globalisation" brigade has made its mark. What has not caught the headlines, however, has been the efforts by multinational companies to work more closely with government, local communities and "civil society" organisations such as CARE International and Oxfam, in tackling poverty in developing countries. Several factors account for their move. One is fear of losing the argument about the corporate sector's global role and of finding governments imposing more development policy demands on them as a result. Asked recently why his company had become so involved with civil society groups, the former chief executive of one of the world's largest natural resource companies said: "Because they have the capacity to destroy our business." Clare Short, Minister for International Development, today releases a report on co-operation between governments, businesses and aid agencies with local communities in developing countries. The report on these tri-sector partnerships examines how more than 100 multinationals worked with community groups and the World Bank on 29 pilot development projects in 20 countries. The aim was to take a hard look at the lessons to be learned. Set up in 1998 under the name Business Partners for Development, the three-year project involved corporate giants such as Anglo-Dutch oil firm Shell, utilities group Vivendi Environnement of France and mining company Anglo American. It was mainly financed by the World Bank, Britain's Department for International Development and the companies themselves. Shell in particular has good reason to know how much damage a company can suffer at the hands of protesters. Its reputation came under sustained fire in 1995, first from environmentalist groups such as Greenpeace because of its allegedly irresponsible handling of the disposal of the Brent Spar oil rig and when the Nigerian government executed civil-rights activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight colleagues. Critics argued that, given its overwhelming economic weight in Nigeria, Shell should have done more to protect Saro-Wiwa. They attacked its insensitivity towards the environmental and social impact of drilling operations and claimed its corporate culture was contributing to the impoverishment and the denial of minimal civil rights to people living around some of the world's most profitable oil fields. Its positive response to these challenges-drew public praise two years later from Sir Geoffrey Chandler, a board member of human rights group Amnesty International, although today's report says that "in the Niger Delta, a general lack of trust between communities and oil companies still runs deep". Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, chairman of Shell from 1998 until he retired last year and now chairman of Business Action for Sustainable Development, says firms cannot restrict themselves to focusing on narrow short-term issues of shareholder value. "I believe very strongly that in the end if a corporation is perceived by society - and that includes our customers and employees - as not being a useful contributor to society, that can be a real threat to its existence," he says. He adds that multinationals cannot operate successfully in a world in which they are distrusted, not least because they need to fulfil more than formal regulatory requirements. "They need an informal social licence to operate," he says. This in turn implies a relationship with local communities where they exist or a role in helping to build communities. "For companies to get involved in community building is, of course, a very delicate issue," he says. But such involvement can also provide early warning of trouble, helping companies modify their corporate strategies and also to reduce threats to a particular investment from, say, vandalism or sabotage.

PUTTING Partnering to Work, the report on projects studied by Business Partners for Development, says partnerships between business, government, civil society groups and local communities can promote sustainable development in poor countries by bringing together expertise from each sector. It also has to be recognised that such links are not always the best option. Ethnic and religious tensions can make partnerships unworkable, the report says. It argues that partners must have a clear idea of what they want out of the arrangement. Managers on the ground tend to be focused on delivering a profitable investment, so "from a business perspective, a project seen as purely philanthropic is unlikely to gain the institutional buy-in and commitment necessary to persevere through the ups and downs of the process". Michael Warner, who co-ordinated the natural resources projects for BPD, says that what has emerged from the three-year trial has been a new model for corporate involvement in sustainable development. Partnership, he argues, not only allows each sector to bring its particular strengths to the table, the project management skills of business and the local knowledge of aid agencies, but also gives business a way of escaping long-term commitments it may not really want. Running hospitals and schools for example, something multinationals often find themselves contractually committed to delivering in return for a licence to supply water, drill or dig, can be an open-ended liability often requiring skills that companies do not have. Better for the companies if these responsibilities are shared with partners who have the expertise. Often better for the communities, too, Warner says, because if a company pulls out of a project or region, the social infrastructure may collapse.



BRIDGES Trade BioRes Volume 2, Number 7

18 April 2002



Delegates at the third meeting of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom III) for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) on 25 March to 5 April in New York failed to achieve their objective of producing the first draft of a 'review' document for WSSD, instead asking the PrepCom Chair Emil Salim (Indonesia) to come up with a new text for discussion at PrepCom IV in May. Many environmental groups blamed the US, Canada, Australia and the oil exporting nations for "blocking meaningful targets and timetables" and reiterated concerns that WSSD would be subordinated to the multilateral trade regime.


Following the delegates' failure to agree on a draft text for further action to be discussed at WSSD, informal consultations will be held in the lead-up to PrepCom IV, including three days of discussions immediately prior to the meeting. At the request of the G-77/China and several other delegations, the Chair will compile an action-oriented and concise draft document for PrepCom IV, based on these informal consultations and incorporating the concerns articulated during PrepCom III. With this setback so close to the main event, many critics pointed to a lack of high-level political commitment and inadequate preparations of government delegations. Others also expressed frustration with the insufficient guidance on process, content and direction of the talks provided by the PrepCom Bureau, as well as logistical and time constraints. Many participants furthermore criticised the more than 100-page long compilation text put forward by Chair Salim after the first week of the meeting as unwieldy and difficult to negotiate. Some, however, cautioned that the difficulties apparent at PrepCom III were an inevitable stage in any multilateral negotiating process that had also plagued preparations for the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio.


Discussions on how and where to include trade-related issues in the draft text continued at PrepCom III mainly in the context of Sections V (Sustainable Development in a Globalizing World) and IX (Means of Implementation) of the Chair's text. While the G-77 proposed general references to subsidies and trade barriers in the Introduction with more specific points in the Sections V and IX, focusing in particular on market access, special and differential treatment and the elimination of trade barriers, the US preferred trade references to be restricted to encouraging WTO Members to implement the outcomes of Doha. For its part, the EU emphasised technical assistance and preferential market access for least-developed countries, proposing that such reference should be included in Section IX. In the end, delegates reached a tentative agreement to move trade references from Section V to a subsection on "trade" in Section IX, leading some NGOs to question how trade references would link to other sections of the paper if trade was merely included as a means of implementation.


At PrepCom III, many civil society groups at PrepCom III expressed concern regarding governments' seemingly unconditional support of the Doha Agenda agreed to at the Fourth WTO Ministerial Conference last year. WWF criticised governments for not making any efforts to explore how WSSD could complement the Doha mandate on sustainable development and environment, instead restricting themselves to political statements supporting the implementation of the Doha mandate. These sentiments were echoed by the Northern Alliance for Sustainability (ANPED) which criticised the "unconditional support" for the new trade round, even among developing countries (G-77), which ANPED claimed would "seriously undermine the efforts to implement a sustainability agenda". Similarly, Friends of the Earth International (FOEI) remarked the lack of references in the Chair's text to potential negative impacts of economic globalisation on wider society, sustainability and the environment, accusing governments of "ignoring civil society's concerns about the trade liberalisation process". NGOs furthermore reiterated calls for a clarification of the relationship between multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) and WTO rules in the context of WSSD, which they say should not be left to WTO Members to decide. [A clarification of the MEA-WTO relationship is part of the mandated negotiations launched at Doha.] In a joint statement by FOEI, Greenpeace, WWF, TWN, ANPED and the Sierra Club, the NGOs called on governments to reaffirm the authority and autonomy of MEAs and to clarify that "the objectives, principles and provisions of MEAs must not be subordinated to WTO rules". While singling out the EU as the only government at PrepCom III to bring forward any concrete trade-related proposals, such as references to the promotion of trade in organic products, WWF expressed disappointment that the EU did not raise the MEA-WTO issue despite pushing for its inclusion in the new round of trade talks and circulating a controversial paper outlining preliminary ideas on the MEA-WTO relationship at the last negotiating session of the WTO Committee on Trade and Environment.


Delegates at PrepCom III also began informal discussions on partnerships -- the so-called "type 2" outcomes of WSSD -- which are meant to focus on concrete and specific initiatives to strengthen the implementation of Agenda 21. While generally agreeing that these partnerships should be of a voluntary and self-organising nature, many delegates and NGOs suggested establishing a framework that would ensure their alignment with the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. NGOs furthermore reiterated previously voiced concerns that such initiatives should not be a substitute for concrete action by governments, but should rather aim to reinforce the implementation of Type 1 outcomes. Efforts to formulate a draft text for WSSD and informal consultations on partnerships will continue at PrepCom IV, to be held at the ministerial level in Bali, Indonesia, on 27 May to 7 June (with three days of informal discussion prior to the meeting). Delegates will furthermore aim to finalise a political declaration that will be endorsed by heads of State and Government attending the Summit on 26 September to 4 August in Johannesburg, South Africa.



19 April 2002

UN Wire



Speaking to the press in Brasilia Wednesday, British Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott said it would be "disastrous" if unrealistic goals were set for the World Summit on Sustainable Development. "Do not set impossible demands that can't possibly be met, and then the people say it's a failure," he said, adding that many nongovernmental organizations are already setting unattainable summit demands.  According to Prescott, it is already too late to reach some of the goals proposed for the Johannesburg event, including partnerships between government, civil society and the private sector, as well as an energy program. Prescott also said he is concerned that, following the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington, the environment now has a low priority as the United States and its allies continue their anti-terrorism campaign Every minute in Africa a person dies from water-related problems, and 1 billion people worldwide are living in poverty, Prescott added, calling such problems as "terrible as terrorism." Prescott, who was in Brazil to meet with President Fernando Henrique Cardoso and other senior officials on what common positions they will take to the summit, said his government is working to establish a global alliance to fight poverty, increase access to energy and water and work on other issues, particularly those affecting developing countries. According to Brazil, however, concrete actions and deadlines are needed for environmental protection, not new promises to fight poverty.  "We are not going to resolve the problem of poverty with international philanthropy," said Brazilian Environment Minister Jose Carlos Carvalho.  Brazil is afraid developed countries will only want to focus on poverty at the summit, instead of more pressing topics such as global warming, a notion which with Prescott disagreed, noting that at the 1992 summit in Rio de Janeiro, both poverty and environmental protection were discussed. Representatives of 12 Latin American countries met this week in the Brazilian city of Curitiba to share experiences and issue recommendations for policy-makers going to the Johannesburg summit.  In addition to calling for more dialogue between local authorities and civil society, participants suggested that when developing public transportation systems, authorities should plan for the long term, and also recommended that it is important to clarify the responsibility of municipalities when it comes to garbage collection, particularly toxic waste


See Also:


The China Daily

16 April 2002



Governments in all parts of the world and international organizations should help developing countries upgrade their research and application of technology, so as to enhance their capacity to realize sustainable development, a Chinese science official has suggested. "Developing countries are in need of new technology to tackle such difficulties as lower economic levels, natural resource shortages and environmental pollution," Deng Nan, vice-minister of science and technology, said at a United Nations (UN) Forum for New and Emerging Technologies and Sustainable Development, which opened yesterday in Beijing.  China, in the process of industrialization, urbanization and modernization, faces challenges in the areas of population, natural resources and the environment. The Chinese Government attaches great importance to taking these issues into account, while at the same time striving to reach its goals of developing the economy, reducing poverty and achieving prosperity, said Deng. The UN forum was held to stimulate government, science and business sectors to work together to apply new technologies for sustainable development - a strategy put forward at the UN Congress on the Environment and Development in 1992 in Brazil. The strategy spells out ways to ensure global economic development in harmony with human beings and the environment. The forum is an important preparation for the World Summit on Sustainable Development, which will take place in August in Johannesburg, South Africa. In his welcoming speech at the forum, Minister of Science and Technology Xu Guanhua said the Chinese Government is actively making commitments to protect the global environment. Xu said China has made great efforts to use clean energy for industrial production, conserve land resources and minimize air pollution. The country's efficiency of energy utilization has been increased from 25 per cent in 1980 to 34 per cent. Nitin Desai, UN under-secretary-general for economic and social affairs and secretary-general of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, said new technologies such as nanotechnology, biotechnology and information technology, are driving forces in the maintenance of sustainable development. He stressed that new mechanisms are needed to enhance international scientific and technological co-operation, in order to better apply these technologies in promoting sustainable development. Desai said China has made great progress in implementing sustainable development, especially in increasing its efficiency in the use of energy. He agreed that industrialized nations should do more to speed up the transfer of technology to developing countries for the common goal of sustainable global development.




US State Department

11 April 2002



Johannesburg -- Stakeholders in the forthcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) agree that it will be a unique opportunity to improve the plight of thousands of millions of people who do not have access to water, sanitation and energy. When WSSD offers such promise, Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans, International Environmental, and Scientific Affairs John Turner said, the summit should not be squandered in revisiting old arguments. Turner spoke at the WSSD Outcomes Conference sponsored April 9 in Johannesburg by the U.S. and South African Governments. More than 100 representatives of government, business and civil society attended the dialogue. They shared a broad agreement that the Johannesburg summit, which will attract at least 160 heads of state, should do more than produce rhetoric and reiteration of familiar positions. "The United States and the government of South Africa are more interested in action and deliverables for the people of Africa, the people of South Africa, and around the world," said Turner in his opening remarks. He also emphasized the important role the private sector will play in achieving success. "If we do not have the involvement and the engagement and creativity and resources and the input of people like yourselves in the private sector, NGOs and civil society," Turner said, "then we will miss a great opportunity this fall at the summit." The U.S. government looks forward to the August 26-September 4 meeting as an opportunity to find new answers to longstanding problems of poverty and development, Turner said, "a new approach for how we're going to raise the hopes and lives of people here in Africa and around the world." Turner identified economic growth, social development, and environmental stewardship as the three pillars of sustainability. But he emphasized that donor governments need to rely on the private sector to achieve economic expansion. "The private sector, investment capital and trade and building domestic capital is the real source of economy," Turner told his audience. While the Bush administration will count on the power of the private sector to generate economic growth, President Bush has also made a commitment to significant increases in U.S. government support for foreign assistance. Despite that, Turner said, governments cannot uplift countries on their own. "It is people like yourselves who need to help us now flesh out where are the opportunities, how to implement, who are the players, what are the resources we need," he said. The participants in the Johannesburg meeting staked the greatest significance in two main themes -- water and energy. Turner said advance discussions with various governments have revealed that water purification, food, forestry, oceans and biodiversity are other important matters of concern, "but health, water, and energy seem to be a coalescing theme." South Africans recall the failure of the U.N. World Conference Against Racism in Durban last year when delegates foundered on an agreement. With that memory fresh in mind, participants in the April 9 meeting repeatedly asked Turner what would become the most contentious issues at the Johannesburg summit. He suggested that the linkage between good governance and sustainability could become a controversial debate because sustainability has long been considered primarily in the environmental context. "I think (good governance) is extremely important for Africa, as it is elsewhere -- anti-corruption, transparency, rule of law, fair judiciary, good contractual law, fair permitting, property rights and so forth." Social welfare issues are closely tied to good governance, Turner said. "Our President feels very deeply about health and education as very important paths to sustainability and of course the whole area of good governance." The South African government team was chaired by Dr. Crispian Olver, the director general at the Department of Environmental and Tourism Affairs, who said the WSSD will be "a huge event for us in South Africa." Olver continued, "It is going to set out, we hope, a number of specific outcomes that are going to have a major impact on us in the developing world and on the lives of the poorest and most marginalized people on this planet."




10 April 2002



Africa's widely endorsed recovery plan - Nepad - will play a key role in guiding the continent's prospects and pushing ahead an African agenda at the World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held in Johannesburg in August. Environmental Affairs and Tourism Minister Valli Moosa said this during his address to the South Africa-United States multi stake dialogue on the outcome of the forthcoming United Nation's largest development summit at Sandton in Johannesburg, yesterday. Private sector heavyweights, donor bodies, civil society and government representatives from both nations attended the one-day meeting that focused on development and the sustainability of energy and water. Minister Moosa added that the ambitious plan that sought to reform growth, had the potential to unlock economic growth and eradicate poverty, while sustaining development on the continent. He said it could also serve as a model for other developing countries. 'It (Nepad) is a pledge by African leaders and governments, based on a common vision and commitment, to eradicate poverty and place our countries, individually and collectively on the path of sustained growth and development,' he stressed. Recently, African leaders, including President Thabo Mbeki, began a process in Nigeria of putting flesh to the plan that would be presented to the world's eight industrialised nations (G8) meeting in Canada before returning it to the summit. The plan has been widely approved by the world's key influential leaders, international financial and political institutions as a viable African lifeline deserving support. In his recent visit to South Africa, G8 chairperson and Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien threw his weight behind the plan, saying it would receive full attention at the meeting of G8 leaders. On the outcome of the summit, Minister Moosa said the more than 60 000 delegates should come up with concrete 'action-oriented' programmes that would contribute to good relations between the developed and developing nations. 'We are not looking for an unequal partnership between the resource-rich and the resource-poor but a symbiotic relationship to entrench common values and realise common goals toward the achievement of local and global development. ''It is crucial that a global deal is supported by a programme of action, with clear targets, timeframes and delivery mechanisms to be delivered through a series of partnerships at the international, regional, national and local levels,' emphasised Mr Moosa. It is expected that the African leaders and civil society groupings will call for the continent's development, given the backlog brought along by colonization, civil conflicts, HIV/Aids and poverty. At their recent meeting at the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, the continent's foreign ministers vowed to speak with one voice at the summit.



8 April 2002

UN Wire



UNITED NATIONS - The third preparatory meeting for the World Summit on Sustainable Development ended Friday night with the lack of an anticipated agreement on consensus documents for the event prompting organizers to decide to meet again ahead of a planned ministerial meeting in May.  Civil society representatives said the process was sabotaged and promised to take their fight to the ministerial meeting. Emil Salim, the chairman of this preparatory committee, said that as of Friday morning, two of three working groups had not completed their work.  The working groups deal with oceans, energy, the needs of small island states and Africa. The committee started its work two weeks ago with a "chairman's paper" Salim issued in February.  While the unofficial document covers a wide variety of issues, Salim said when the meeting began, "The important point is that we have a focus."  That focus, he said, is on practical steps in three fields -- poverty eradication, changes in unsustainable patterns of consumption and production and protection and management of natural resources -- plus special initiatives for Africa and small island nations. Salim's goal was to have the paper serve as the basis for two consensus documents on commitments nations are willing to make and on how to implement those commitments, with those papers transmitted to the fourth and final preparatory meeting, a ministerial conference that was slated for May 27 to June 7 in Bali, Indonesia, but that will now begin May 24.The summit, which will be held in Johannesburg Aug. 26 to Sept. 4, will be the 10-year follow-up to the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro.  Examining the implementation and future of the consensus document from the Rio conference, Agenda 21, is the purpose of these preparatory meetings. Salim said that between now and the session in Bali, two of the committee vice chairs, from Japan and Canada, will start collecting ideas on the political declaration that will be the focus of the Bali ministerial meeting.  All three documents are to be the basis for the Johannesburg summit. The Group of 77, European Union and United States all endorsed the decision, saying more time is needed to study a document that started at 21 pages and is now 140 pages with suggested changes and additions.  Milos Alcalay of Venezuela, speaking on behalf of the G-77 and China, and Oyarzun Marchesi of Spain, speaking for the EU, called for a document that would be "precise and action-oriented." Nitin Desai, the undersecretary general for economic and social affairs, said before the final meeting, "The test of a negotiating process is not simply to reach an agreement but whether that agreement constitutes a step forward and meets the challenge to bring a momentum" to the summit. Given that the meeting was far from reaching a consensus, it was necessary to come up with extra time to work of the documents.  Adding three days to the Bali meeting made sense, delegates said, but some developing countries worried about the costs.  Sonia Leonce of Saint Lucia said adding three days to the Bali meeting is "an unfair burden" on poorer countries.  "It is a dangerous precedent to take negotiations out of New York," she added.  Some of the richer developed countries said they will help fund the participation of such countries. Civil society groups were highly critical of many governments both for trying to reverse the Rio consensus and for permitting the "privatization" of their responsibilities.  Nongovernmental organizations placed blame on the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia and the OPEC members of the G-77 group of developing states.  William Pace of the Legal Instruments Caucus said OPEC "has completely hijacked the G-77, and no effective energy instruments are being allowed to emerge."  Besides the active role of these countries in undermining Rio, NGOs also complained there was no strong opposition coming from any "like-minded" group of states defending Rio, such as the EU. Daniel Mittler of Friends of the Earth International said the United States and OPEC are "deliberately trying to wreck this conference, [and] no one has dared to stand up to these wreckers." One means of implementation under discussion involves partnerships among governments, U.N. agencies, civil society and business.  In the final meeting, the United States praised "the multitude of partnerships," but NGOs criticized this development. Craig Bennett of Friends of the Earth said the text's references to "private-public partnerships" are "essentially opportunities given to corporations to deliver the implement of sustainable development. ... Do they really have the interest of sustainable development at heart? ... We are talking about corporations taking advantage of global trade yet not willing to be accountable globally. ... More than a missed opportunity, this could be going backwards from where we were 10 years ago."




8 April 2002



UNITED NATIONS - Environmental groups last week accused the United States and oil exporting nations of trying to gut a global action plan for environmentally friendly development to be adopted at a U.N. summit in South Africa. Organizers of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, opening in Johannesburg in August, acknowledged the meeting could fall far short of what they had hoped, but said it could still succeed if governments wanted. Greenpeace International accused Washington of trying to use the conference to dismantle "more than three decades of international efforts to protect the environment, enhance social justice and ensure economic opportunities for all." "The United States' only vision is that this planet should be run like a business park," Greenpeace's Remi Parmentier told a news conference at U.N. headquarters. Daniel Mittler of Friends of the Earth International blamed Washington - with help from Canada, Australia and OPEC countries including Saudi Arabia and Venezuela - for "two weeks of chaotic negotiations resulting in a long document, strong on platitudes but weak on substance." Mittler urged governments preparing for the Johannesburg conference to "chuck the fluff" from the action plan as it now stood and drastically rewrite it. A U.S. official dismissed the criticisms, saying Washington was working hard to make the conference a success and shared the groups' desire for a healthy environment "although we may disagree on the tactics to get there." "You can have a safe and healthy environment and develop at the same time. We are a good example of that," said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity. "We also produce a lot of pollution but we are working hard to reduce it."


The 10-day summit opening Aug. 26 is expected to draw thousands from government, business and interest groups to Johannesburg along with delegations from most of the United Nations' 189 member-nations. It was timed to fall 10 years after the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, which adopted "Agenda 21," a blueprint for balancing the world's economic and social needs with its environmental resources. Organizers say part of the problem is that, even at this stage, they have a hard time saying precisely what the conference is intended to achieve. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has described it as an environmental conference teamed with a strategy meeting on how to achieve broad development goals set out by the world body at its 2000 millennium summit. The millennium goals include halving the number of people living on less than a dollar a day, and reversing the AIDS epidemic by the year 2015. But many others see it as far broader - a summit in search of a global blueprint for altering the sum total of human activity so that it no longer depletes the world's resources. "Sustainable development is about human activity and the Earth. It must include every aspect of life," said Carlos Rivera, an activist participating in summit preparations as a representative of young people. The environmentalists' criticisms surfaced at the close of the third of four two-week preparatory meetings leading up to Johannesburg. One more preparatory session opens in Bali, Indonesia, on May 27. While preparations have been conducted by low-level envoys to date, cabinet ministers have been invited to Bali. The action plan began as a 21-page document drafted by Emil Salim, a former Indonesian environment minister who is chairing the preparatory meetings. By Friday it had ballooned to more than 100 pages, and delegates were far from agreement on a final version, Salim said.



United Nations Development Programme

8 April 2002



Boosting sustainable energy sources in developing countries is among the major challenges that must be addressed when world leaders meet at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg, South Africa this August. The lack of energy services available for the poor was one of the main issues discussed during the third session of the Preparatory Committee for WSSD, held in New York from 25 March to 5 April. "There is now global knowledge demonstrating that energy systems compatible with sustainable development are possible if we adopt new cleaner fossil fuel technologies, increase energy efficiency and shift to more renewable energy," said Mark Malloch Brown, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). "That's why it's crucial for the Johannesburg Summit to produce concrete action on energy to both address the energy needs of developing countries while mitigating greenhouse gas emissions globally." Worldwide, two billion people are without access to electricity, and the same number relies on traditional fuels-such as firewood, agricultural residues, and dung-for cooking and heating. Over 100 million women spend hours every day gathering firewood, with extra time spent on cooking with poorly vented stoves. These stoves can have the same adverse health impacts as smoking two packs of cigarettes a day. The additional hours also mean that women do not have opportunities for more productive income-generating activities. Industrialized countries are also facing heightened energy security issues as oil dependency is projected to grow from 56 percent in 1996 to more than 70 percent by 2010. In addition, present energy systems based on large-scale infrastructure installations provide attractive targets for terrorism that contributes to economic and political instability. UNDP is working on cross-sectoral energy issues in 70 percent of its country operations. In doing so, it applies an integrated approach to increase sustainable energy and heat services to meet the overarching Millennium Development Goal of cutting extreme poverty in half by 2015. For example, UNDP has helped in developing the Mali multifunctional platform, a diesel driven devise that produces mechanical energy for agricultural processing, water pumping, electricity for welding and other income-generating tasks as well as lighting and communication. Women that manage the Mali platform also earn an income from the sale of energy services. The platform is already installed in more than 80 villages around Mali and is set to expand across the West African region. Besides electricity, more efforts are needed to meet the needs of two billion people that lack clean fuels for cooking and heating. "The poor do not cook on electricity and unless there are clean fuels to cook food, boil water and support family subsistence and productive activities, poverty will not be beaten," said Susan McDade, the UNDP Sustainable Energy Programme Manager. "Hundreds of millions of women and girls spend hours carrying firewood, dung and other traditional biofuels everyday. Women do not carry head loads of candles for light." In order to address these needs, UNDP is pushing for public private partnerships to increase availability to Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG). LPG is a fossil fuel that can meet the entire rural heating and cooking needs if increased attention is devoted to supportive policies, smaller canister size and credit systems to increase rural access. In addition, UNDP, in partnership with the European Commission, is convening a high level round table on energy in Brussels from 25-26 April. The meeting aims to respond to country demands for developing concrete energy outcomes and actions for WSSD. It will also identify roles of each stakeholder and partnerships that need to be forged for delivering sustainable energy services.



Peoples Daily

6 April 2002



Chinese Vice-Premier Wen Jiabao met Friday with Jan Pronk, special envoy of the secretary-general for the United Nations' World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). Chinese Vice-Premier Wen Jiabao met Friday with Jan Pronk, special envoy of the secretary-general for the United Nations' World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). Wen said that the WSSD, which will be held in South Africa, is focusing on the issues of global sustainable development, and is important for all nations of the world. He said that the Chinese government attaches importance to the summit, and is ready to work with the other nations to make it successful. He noted that China has made sustainable development one of its fundamental policies, and has made a great contribution to environmental protection and sustainable development. However there still exist factors, which hinder China's sustainable development. The Chinese government hopes to enhance cooperation within the international community in this regard. Pronk, also the Netherlands' minister of housing, spatial planning and the environment, said that the WSSD is the one of most important meetings on the environment and development fields since the meeting held in Rio de Janeiro, and China will play its big role in promoting the success of the summit.




5 April 2002



UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. members voted on Friday to exclude a U.S.-based Tibetan human rights group from a conference this summer on development and the environment. The Tibet Justice Centre of Berkeley, California, sought accreditation, along with hundreds of other nongovernmental groups to attend the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg from August 26 to September 4. The vote to exclude the organisation was 107-45 with 16 abstentions from countries attending a preparatory conference for the summit. The U.N. secretariat for the summit had recommended accreditation for the center along with some 170 other nongovernmental organisations. China, which occupied Tibet in 1950, lobbied against the group's admission, diplomats said. It successfully did the same on February 8 when the Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet applied for accreditation. But last year Beijing failed to keep Tibetan groups from participating in the World Conference on Racism in Durban, South Africa. Jonathan Margolis, the U.S. delegation head at the preparatory meeting, said the center was a legitimate group and well qualified to contribute to the conference. "We find that the Tibet Justice Centre contributes in the area of women's and children's issues and the environment," he said. "It is therefore well qualified to be accredited." Dennis Cusack, president of the centre, said the group had a 12-year track record in environmental and development work, including negotiations with the Chinese government on water issues. D'Arcy Richardson, another official from the centre, called the U.N. action "blatant censorship enforced by China while the rest of the world stands by and watches". Cusack said representatives of the centre would attend the conference anyway "in partnership" with other organisations to make sure Tibetan issues were raised. Chinese troops went to Tibet in 1950. The Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader, fled to India after a failed uprising against Chinese occupation in 1959. Beijing, which maintains Tibet is part of its territory, says its rule has raised the standard of living in the region of 2.5 million people. But critics say it is attempting to eradicate Tibet's culture and unique form of Buddhism.



United Nations Department of Information

5 April 2002



New York, 5 April -- Proposals to launch action-oriented partnership initiatives at the World Summit on Sustainable Development have gained significant support and momentum during the third round of preparatory meetings for the Summit, which ended today after two weeks of talks. The partnership initiatives, between governments, the private sector and citizen groups, are now seen as a major part of the outcome of the Summit that can lead to tangible results in fighting poverty and improving living standards while preserving natural ecosystems and resources for future generations. The Summit, which will be one of the largest gatherings of world leaders ever held, will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 26 August to 4 September. The Summit is expected to provide the impetus for specific actions that will comprise a major departure from business as usual, towards a new approach that simultaneously promotes economic growth, social development and environmental protection. "Countries at the Financing for Development conference in Monterrey committed themselves to almost $12 billion a year in new resources for development," Johannesburg Summit Secretary-General Nitin Desai stated at a press conference today. He added, "If we can come up with a good programme of action, we can get money for new initiatives on such challenges as safe drinking water and energy." It is estimated that close to a third of the world's people live on less than two dollars a day and lack access to clean water, sanitation and electricity. One of the major goals of the Summit is to meet the needs of these people in an environmentally friendly manner. Desai called the partnership initiatives "a major innovation" that, along with a solid action programme, could spark a dramatic increase in efforts to carry out sustainable development projects and which, by including a wide range of stakeholders, could vastly improve the quality of those efforts. "The partnerships can go a long way in raising the resources and expertise that we need to meet our goals," Desai said, but he cautioned that "the partnership initiatives are not substitutes for government action or government responsibilities." The process of negotiations on the action programme has been challenging, according to Dr. Emil Salim of Indonesia, Chairman of the Summit's Preparatory Committee. He said governments were still engaged in determining which proposals are realistic, and added, "What I want is a programme of action that is deliverable." The negotiated text, he said, would likely be completed during the next preparatory meeting in Bali, Indonesia, to be held at the ministerial level from 27 May to 7 June. In addition to the negotiated action programme, at the Bali meeting governments will hammer out a political declaration that will be endorsed by the heads of State and Government that attend the Summit in Johannesburg.



UN Wire

5 April 2002



UNITED NATIONS -The third preparatory meeting for the World Summit on Sustainable Development entered its final day this morning without a consensus for the summit and with civil society representatives highly critical of the entire process. Emil Salim, the chairman of the preparatory committee, said this morning that two of the three working groups would report to the plenary this afternoon that they have not completed their work.  Those groups deal with oceans, energy, the needs of small island states and Africa.  At the beginning of the preparatory session last week, Salim said he had hoped to have a completed "implementation document" ready by today.   "I did not succeed in this," he said, therefore it will be up to the states to decide how to continue after today.  He said he felt "the compilation text is there," but it needed cleaning up.  According to the original plan, the results of this meeting were to be presented to a ministerial meeting in Bali, Indonesia, in May. The summit, which will be held in Johannesburg in August, will be the 10-year follow-up to the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. Examining the implementation and future of the consensus document from Rio, Agenda 21, is the focus of this round of meetings. Civil society groups were highly critical of many governments both for trying reverse the Rio consensus and permitting the "privatization" of their responsibilities.  Nongovernmental organizations placed the blame on the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia and the OPEC members of the G-77 group of developing states.  William Pace of the Legal Instruments Caucus said the preparatory meeting was "failing very dramatically.  It is a failure of leadership, a failure of vision and a failure of political will."  These countries are "undermining virtually every hope of progressive agreement in implementing Agenda 21 and having a moderately progressive document for Johannesburg," Pace said.     Besides the active role of these countries in undermining Rio, NGOs also complained there was no strong opposition coming from any "like-minded" group of states defending Rio, such as the European Union.  Only a few countries, including Norway, Switzerland and New Zealand, were credited with making positive contributions, said Michael Strauss of Earth Media. In an interview yesterday with UN Wire, Salim said, "There are a lot of targets, but let's have some focus ... Let's once and for all concentrate on poverty, changing unsustainable patterns of consumption and production and this sort of thing."  He added, "What I miss is the deliverables.  To improve this, there should be more deliverables," such as how to provide drinking water to the 1 billion people who do not have access to it. "I want to have a product that fits the dignity of heads of state," Salim said. Nongovernmental organizations, however, saw the process as a surrender to globalization.  Pace said the trend was toward "privatization of governments' responsibilities in implementation."  Paul Tennassee of the World Confederation of Labor said, "In this conference, they are trying to evade the whole issue of the social responsibility of corporations and this is an issue that has to be tackled head on."   Sander van Bennekom of the Northern Alliance for Sustainability said the message was that the World Trade Organization "is doing a great job. ... If this remains the most important message of the chairman's paper, then we are giving too much power to the WTO."




NO. 2 APRIL 2002


If you were to ask me whether you should attend the Summit, I would suggest three good reasons:
The first is coherence. Your company has a strong commitment to sustainable development strategy. We all know that this is about "walking the talk", but at times your employees, peers and stakeholders also need to hear and see you "talking the walk". Participation at the most important international meeting on sustainable development will speak for this commitment. Second, this Summit is the best platform to present specific initiatives. . There are various ways in which this can be done, including as a contribution to the UN 'type 2 outcomes'; showcased as an audio-visual presentation in the Virtual Exhibition; or even presented in a parallel event organized by your company. Put simply there is an opportunity for recognition of special commitments your company and your sector have made.  Third, the Summit also offers an opportunity, through numerous side events to form new alliances, make new beginnings. The WBCSD and Business Action for Sustainable Development (BASD) are planning a number of such events whose development you can monitor in this newsletter and on our respective web sites. On the other hand, if the qualities you value most in your company are leadership, integration, shared objectives and efficiency, you can expect the opposite of the Summit process. There are two possible reasons for this. One is that while the "bottom-up" approach (to setting the agenda and 'declaration' negotiations) worked well at the regional level, it has been difficult to manage on a global scale. The UN is simply not well enough equipped to handle this process - budgetary and time constraints being factors. This is exacerbated by the real complexity of the Summit's task - integration of the environmental agenda initiated in Stockholm '72 and the development agenda initiated in Rio '92. On a national level only the UK, Netherlands, Nordic countries, Brazil and several small countries, have been able to integrate these two agendas successfully. In addition, most Summit negotiators (and observers) are from environmental backgrounds and report to environmental ministries. They will struggle to cope with the task of addressing development issues.  But whatever the political mastery, the real world will have its way. The trends we summarize in Tomorrow's Markets create your business risks and opportunities. Be in Jo'burg to show how business is part of the solution.

See Also: 

WBCSD Summit Focus Newsletter No. 2 April 2002

Speech by Mr. Björn Stigson President of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development UN Forum for Business and Science Beijing, April 15, 2002

New and emerging technologies and sustainable development: The business-science linkage





Ministry of Environmental Affairs and Tourism

29 April 2002


The third Preparatory Committee for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) is now behind us, and the final one will start at the city of Bali, Indonesia at the end of May. The question I have had to answer at gatherings of this nature is whether we are progress at these negotiations, and many have even expressed trepidation at the perceived slow pace. Despite this often-cited sentiment, I believe that progress has been made around the general outcome that we want for the summit. These preparations are not only at a logistical level, but also on what we South Africans and the whole world want the summit to achieve - a Global Deal and Programme of Action that address humanity's greatest threat - poverty. These substance preparations, capacity building activities and awareness raising activities, are much needed as we want to avoid a 'talk shop' at Johannesburg and consider concrete outcomes as the real measure for success.  These concrete outcomes with measurable targets and time frames are more than what we wish to get out of Johannesburg. They are a must in a world in which more people than ever before live in sub-human poverty and the economic shape-up of our world continues to sideline and isolate Africa and the rest of countries of the South. We will therefore gather at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, a follow-up to the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, with more that just the environment in our minds. When world leaders gather here on from August 24 to September 4, they will have to reflect on the outcomes of the Millennium Summit held two years ago, at which noble targets on global development goals were agreed upon. We will be going to Johannesburg conscious of the reality that the challenge of eradicating poverty and halving the number of impoverished people by 2015 is a challenge we as governments cannot tackle alone. This translates into a call for the undivided commitment of all partners behind the pursuit of the agreements that will emerge from here. We come to Johannesburg cognisant that economic growth, social development and environmental protection go hand in hand, and therefore business, civil society and government have no choice but to make this partnership a reality. Ten years since the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, it has become clear that as Johannesburg gets near, our vision of a world where no one is in need is under a great threat, and that the road to poverty eradication is long and winding. This sad sense is reflected in the fact that today over one billion people world-wide still live on less that one dollar a day with the numbers increasing in Latin America, South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. We should, therefore, restore hope and certainty with a message that ten years from now, we will be able to look back at this summit with pride and say that it was a landmark in our efforts to create a sustainable future for all. Our message to the South should equally be that if the world continues along this path, the combined threat of ill health and disease, conflicts over natural resources, and environmental degradation as well as economic instability in the North will ultimately undermine the prosperity and stability of the developed world. The World Summit is therefore an opportunity to define a new relationship between the North and South - a new deal for sustainable development based on solid commitments from both developed and developing countries. A relationship that will address both trade and finance issues, building on the outcomes of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference in Doha and the recent International Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey, Mexico. The new deal must incorporate a range of measures and solid commitment including:

* The extension of current debt relief initiatives

* Incentives for the private sector to invest in developing countries

* And Measures to facilitate the transfer of technology capacity and scientific innovation from developed to developing countries.


Our understanding is that in Johannesburg we will showcase the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) as the basis for sustainable development in our continent, with an emphasis on African leadership and ownership, a new economic agenda and effective governance for the elimination of corruption and the establishment of peace, democracy and macro economic stability. Johannesburg must further secure support from developed countries and international financial institutions for the implementation and success of NEPAD. The Johannesburg Summit will surely come out with a commitment by world leaders, but that would not be the measure of its success. We will only know that we have succeeded if the commitment is backed by a tangible programme of action to deliver results in key sectors such as water and sanitation, energy, food security, health, education and technology. We also want to see the summit agree on an action-oriented framework with targets supported by appropriate co-ordination and monitoring mechanisms, relying on a series of partnerships at global, national, regional and local levels. A legacy that has real impact on the everyday lives of the billion people living with less than a dollar a day, millions without access to affordable energy, and clean water, is what will be left behind by Johannesburg if this is achieved. The multi-stakeholder Advisory Committee we have established continues to ensure that in our preparations the views of business, NGOs and labour are taken into account. We are certain we are working together through discussions of this nature to take forward the aims and expected outcomes from Johannesburg. We are privileged with a unique opportunity to demonstrate our ability to deliver an event of this scale and thus prove that our country is a place where people can invest with confidence. It is an opportunity we dare not under- utilise. For the sake of our people, planet and prosperity, we have projected a bold and ambitious vision, and I believe that together in partnership we can play an important role in helping to achieve it. The option of failure is not available for us.



United Nations

22 April 2002



Following is the address of Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the High-Level Meeting of the Economic and Social Council and the Bretton Woods institutions in New York on 22 April:


It is my great pleasure to welcome you once again to the United Nations.  It is especially gratifying to address you so soon after the International Conference on Financing for Development. Monterrey was a real achievement.  It has given new and timely life to the noble quest of international cooperation for development.  And it was the culmination of wide-ranging efforts to put development at the core of the international agenda.  I congratulate you for your part in making this progress possible. But, let us be clear: Monterrey was not an end in itself.  Our challenge now is to maintain the positive spirit that led to the Monterrey Consensus, and translate it into real and meaningful implementation.  That Consensus has enormous potential to bring about significant, overdue change. Where once we spoke about conditionality, the Monterrey Consensus is based on partnership, with shared responsibilities and mutual accountability.  Where once we debated over competing visions of development and how to measure it, we now have a common platform in the Millennium Development Goals, which we will be striving to achieve and monitoring together each year. Where once ministers of finance, trade and development often pursued their work quite separately, today we understand the need for coherence and collaboration, which can reinforce each other's work and make it more effective.  And where once we were mired in misconceptions about official development assistance, today we see clearly that ODA can work in the right circumstances, and the Consensus is firm in its call for more and better ODA.


Today we also recognize, more than ever before, the need for good governance, sound macroeconomic policies, debt relief and access to markets and foreign investment.  We understand the imperative of fighting corruption and equitable burden-sharing in times of financial crisis.  And we realize that developing countries must have a greater voice in economic decision-making, and that the global monetary, financial and trading systems must work in better tandem. This meeting is well-timed to sustain this momentum.  Our discussions over the past several years have proven very useful in ensuring that our institutions understand each other and work better together.  Now, in the follow-up to Monterrey, this meeting has been given the specific task of addressing issues of coherence, coordination and cooperation.  I hope you will use today's meeting to explore how best we can address this task and build on the Monterrey experience.  We must continue the inclusive approach that has seen the participation of different ministries and all stakeholders.  And we must take care not to duplicate processes that are already taking place elsewhere.  For my part, I will ensure that the requests addressed to me in the Monterrey Consensus are carried out fully and in a timely fashion.  And I will do all I can to ensure that our organizations "stay on the same page" -- for example in our work to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. One of the first major tasks we face is to ensure the success of the Johannesburg Summit, which is only four months away.  Last year's agreement in Doha has offered the prospect of a true "development round" of trade negotiations, and therefore of a global market that is fair and that gives men and women in the developing world a chance to trade their way out of poverty.  Monterrey offers the promise that developing countries will be able to seize such an opportunity by mobilizing the resources that are so desperately needed for development.  Johannesburg must put a crucial piece of the puzzle into place by offering the prospect of sustainability -- development that makes a difference not only today, but over the long term. The world economy is slowly recovering from its worst performance in a decade.  Although the recovery started sooner than previously expected, the United Nations expects the global economy to grow only by around 2 per cent in 2002, with momentum pushing global economic growth to above 3 per cent in 2003. Nevertheless, many questions remain regarding the strength of the recovery, its breadth across economies and sectors, and its sustainability.  Growth prospects of many developing countries remain constrained by the slow recovery of the developed countries, lacklustre flows of private capital and by declining prices for non-oil exports. The need for sustainable, equitable development, in rich and poor countries alike, should be clear to all of us.  But let us also devote our energies to taming development's worst enemy -- armed conflict, which can extinguish, in days or even hours, years of work to reduce poverty.  We have a common vision, set out in the Millennium Declaration and now in the Monterrey Consensus.  I hope that the unprecedented level of collaboration between the United Nations, the Bretton Woods institutions and the World Trade Organization will continue, so that our institutions can respond effectively to the new responsibilities that have been placed upon us.


See Also:



18 April 2002




The World Summit on Sustainable Development is not an isolated event in itself. As the Commission has said many times, it has to be seen as part of a continuum of action stretching from Doha through Monterrey to Johannesburg and beyond. This was a key message of our 13th February Communication on Global Partnership. That is also why I am so pleased to have been joined here today by Pascal Lamy and Poul Nielson. It is my pleasure to bring the day's discussions to an end by confirming again the European Commission's strong commitment to making a success of the Summit and playing an active leadership role. There is clearly an implementation deficit. It is now time to move from words to deeds. Agenda 21 was not fully implemented because financial resources were not allocated to it the means were not forthcoming at a level commensurate with the ambition of Agenda 21. As my colleague Poul Nielson has underlined this afternoon, the ODA increase announced in Monterrey should facilitate progress in Johannesburg. But we have also to be more creative to find appropriate and innovative means of implementation.


We need an ambitious agenda for change... An agenda that strikes the balance between the necessary economic, social and environmental actions we require. There is a growing consensus that poverty eradication and sustainable consumption and production are the overriding objectives of the World Summit on Sustainable Development. The question, which we must answer in Johannesburg, is how to achieve these goals? We believe that by developing comprehensive initiatives on water and energy we can help make a dramatic improvement in health in the developing world, for example by providing clean drinking water and sanitation to the millions who do not have it today. Better health through better water management will also help to alleviate poverty by enabling people to build sustainable economic futures. By helping to provide clean, affordable energy we can also help developing countries break out of poverty and underdevelopment.  That is why these two issues should be effectively addressed in the Johannesburg action plan. They are very high on the EU's agenda and when we meet in Bali in a few weeks, we will be actively pressing for positive outcomes and meaningful commitments for them. We are prepared to offer concrete regional partnerships in these areas, sharing EU expertise and providing finance through our development programmes.

At least 1.1 billion people still lack access to safe drinking water and about 2.4 billion have no adequate sanitation. We want to agree in Johannesburg on a strategic partnership to halve the number of people without access to safe drinking water and sanitation by 2015 by promoting sustainable water resource management based on the principle of integrated river basin management; Approximately 2 billion people close to one third of the world's population have little or no access to modern energy. We want to agree on concrete action in the field of energy and sustainable development:

* to reduce the number of people without access to energy supply;

* to provide clean, affordable energy to the one billion people who do not have access to modern energy services by 2015; and

* to increase energy efficiency and conservation and the share of renewable energy in all countries.


So when we travel back from Johannesburg at the end of the first week in September, what should we be bringing back with us on the flight home? We must bring:

A renewed commitment by all countries to sustainable development to be reflected in a political declaration adopted at Johannesburg.

An action plan with ambitious but realistic targets and concrete deliverables upon which we can be held to account.

Partnerships for action, that is initiatives involving all stakeholders to implement the action plan.  We believe that Johannesburg should strengthen governance at all levels by ensuring policy coherence and policy integration in the economic, social and environmental fields. This requires more effective governance structures at international, regional and national levels. In particular, Johannesburg must deliver regional actions for Africa, building on ongoing initiatives like the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). National sustainable development strategies and the role of local authorities are also particularly important.


Let me underline just two aspects of the role you stakeholders can play in the remaining months before the Summit. You can give an effective contribution to ensure implementation. The EU is also looking towards the private sector whose commitment is essential in making globalization sustainable and in delivering concrete action on the ground. This is why we would welcome the active involvement of responsible businesses in sectors like water and energy. You can also help bring a sense of urgency into the preparations for Johannesburg. Rio would not have been the success without the active commitment and the mobilization of civil society organizations throughout the world, in the North and in the South. We need the same level of commitment and mobilization to ensure that Johannesburg is a success. For its part, the Commission will work with you and will also work intensively with the Indonesian Chairman and with the South African organizers of the WSSD, as well as with other partners and the UN family to help ensure a successful outcome.


Our approach to globalization and sustainability must be one of strengthened multilateralism across the agendas of environment, trade and development co-operation. Let us also be clear that the European Union will again need to play the leading role among rich countries in achieving an ambitious and action-oriented outcome to the Johannesburg Summit. Europe needs to bring to the preparations for the Johannesburg Summit the same level of leadership that it has shown on Kyoto ... and on Doha and Monterrey. The Spanish Presidency of the EU throughout the remaining preparatory process in the run-up to the Seville Summit and the Danish Presidency which will be in the EU chair at the time of Johannesburg have important roles to play in ensuring that the EU delivers. I hope that together this afternoon we have been able to assure you that the European Commission of course stands ready in this regard.



18 April 2002



The discussions you had today were under the heading of "Making globalization work for sustainable development". This is one of the key priorities for the EU's sustainable development strategy. Let me briefly set out how I see the key challenge and what role trade can play in this respect. The point of departure is simple: The present state of the world division of labor is neither equitable nor sustainable. In front of such a predicament, there are two options:

* Either going on with the present demographic, economic, social and ecological imbalances. This is the road towards confrontation. And for those who implicitly accept such a risk, the only way out is a security approach based on strategic hegemony.

This is not an option for Europe: it does not fit in with our values - and anyway, it would be beyond our reach.

* Or building up a multilateral and multipolar system of global governance aimed at sustainable development for the whole planet.

The task assigned to such a system should be two-fold

* firstly, real convergence of GDP/head between North-South, but subject to

* secondly, increasing environmental disciplines, which of course have to start here in the North.

Such a sustainable development approach is the only way consistent with the EU model although this concept remains pretty blurred or is even getting a bit elusive and with EU long term interest. It is a course of co-operation, of peace and of prosperity. This is the global partnership we have to achieve in Johannesburg. Johannesburg is a priority for the Prodi Commission. The fact that you have three Commissioners present here is testimony to the importance we attach to making the WSSD a success.  It is also an indication about the horizontal nature of the SD challenge: SD is not something you can neatly put into boxes (economic, social, environmental), and then each Commissioner (or Minister) goes away and deals with his or her box in their respective corners - no, we need to address the interlinkages between the three main pillars of SD and this is in fact a task for the whole College [which incidentally explains why it might have taken a bit longer than some of you - and us - would have wished for the COM Communication for Johannesburg to see the light of day]. Putting the globe on a sustainable development path requires commitments from all parties, in the field of trade, finance and norms and standards:

* The developed world has a key role and must deliver by fully implementing the Doha Development Agenda agreed last November, in terms of market access, development-oriented trade rules and technical assistance. We must also deliver in terms of public and private financing (follow up of Monterrey) and innovative approaches to environmental, health and consumer protection, including incentives for environmentally and socially sustainable production and trade.

* Internal policies in the developing world will need to be developed to ensure that the domestic policies support a sustainable approach to development. Domestic policies are key. Not only those related to integration with the global economy, but also domestic policies, which may, in fact, be a prerequisite for successful integration. These include sound macro-economic policies, rule of law and social policies.

* And, of course, all countries must become more committed to a more responsible use and protection of natural resources. Developed countries have a responsibility here to lead by example and to assist developing countries in their efforts.

* On a global level, governance needs to be improved and developing countries need to be more effectively involved in decision-making processes. The contribution of the international institutions is a prerequisite for progress. The Bretton Woods Institutions, the WTO and the UN system in their norm-setting and aid-providing roles need to work towards the strategic goal of sustainable development.

It will not surprise you that as Trade Commissioner, I would like to dwell a bit longer on the contribution trade can make to SD - and under what conditions. I am of course fully aware that trade is only part of the picture, but I would argue it's an important one. I see the World Trade Organisation as the commercial pillar of global governance, with finance as another and the set of rules and co-operation schemes, which deal with social development and environment protection as a third one. And global governance is about coherence between the three pillars: Doha - Monterrey - Johannesburg! Trade liberalization without financial assistance and without multilateral, social and environmental norms would neither achieve North-South convergence, nor sustainable management of natural resources. Trade is not an end in itself, but a means to an end - it can be a very powerful tool for development if we get the conditions right. The agreement of WTO members to launch a new round of trade liberalization and rule-making in Doha has created a golden opportunity to achieve more sustainable development. The aim of DDA is to ensure substantially greater market access for developing countries, both to developed markets and between themselves, together with a rules-based framework to maximize the positive impacts of trade and minimize the negative ones. Talks on a wide range of issues such as competition, investment and trade facilitation will ensure that market liberalization takes place in a broader regulatory framework. In the absence of such rules, free-riders or monopolies will lead the process of globalization. The inclusion of environment on the international trade agenda through the DDA is also groundbreaking from a sustainable development perspective and provides an instrument for improved global governance. Marrakech (on the Kyoto Protocol), Doha and Monterrey provide a solid basis for significant outcomes in the WSSD. The WSSD is an essential rendezvous that should pull the various strands together and provide international organizations and governments with a roadmap for the next decade. In the trade area, WSSD can contribute by identifying a positive agenda for trade. The objective is twofold: to promote and support the successful implementation of the DDA and to agree concrete and operational measures outside the scope of Doha negotiations, which stimulate environmentally and socially sustainable production and trade. I hope that we can convince our partners to work towards such a positive message at the Summit. In this context, I should like to say that I very much welcome appeals such as the one launched by Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, WWF, Third World Network and others that call on Johannesburg to push for WTO members to deliver on their commitment to clarify the relationship between the WTO and Multilateral Environmental Agreements - and this in a way that does not subordinate MEAs to WTO rules. This is indeed an essential question of coherence in global governance, and pressure from civil society in this respect can be helpful both in our EU-internal discussions and in our contacts with WTO partners. The EU has already done a lot outside the scope of DDA:

* Everything But Arms - complete tariff and quota free market access for all products except arms from 49 least developed countries - other developed countries should do the same

* The GSP scheme, which has been improved for all developing countries, also non LDC countries, with increased preferences for those countries taking into account social and environmental concerns.

* Sustainability Impact Assessment, SIA: The Commission will use the SIAs in all trade its negotiations, both multilateral and regional agreements.

In addition, the Commission is working on several ideas for this positive trade agenda for the World Summit, both on measures that should be undertaken by governments (in World Summit "new speak", type 1 initiatives), and measures that can be undertaken in partnership with NGOs or the private sector, type 2 initiatives. We are working with type 1 ideas ranging from finding ways to facilitate the use of environmental technologies in developing countries, to supporting and stimulating fair trade and organic produce. We are working with ideas for type 2 initiatives with NGOs such as the support for a sustainable trade center, aimed at facilitating exports from developing countries, support for the promotion and wider use of sustainability impact assessments in developing countries, and for the protection of natural resources, e.g. combating trade in products resulting from illegal logging. The agreement to launch a new development agenda in Doha was a major step towards sustainable development. The EU was a united and steadfast leader in this process, which shows that the EU can achieve significant outcomes on a global level provided that it works consistently and pursues a clear and unambiguous agenda. This is also the lesson from Marrakech and Monterrey: United, we can make a difference. It's a formidable challenge - but I am confident that we can tackle it.



18 April 2002



The recent Conferences in Doha and in Monterrey have cleared some of the issues, that could have been a stumbling block on the road to a successful Summit in Johannesburg, but many issues will remain on the table. However, in order to turn Johannesburg into a success, perceptions and words will not be enough. Leadership will also be needed in terms of action. The Commission has expressed this clearly in its communication on the external dimension of sustainable development adopted in February, which complements the internal strategy adopted last year. The EU must lead by example, in key interrelated areas. I would like to stress the points that flow most prominently from this document: We need to give high priority to fighting poverty. The Conference in Monterrey has prepared the way in that respect. The "Monterrey Consensus", as well as the commitments made by countries outside of that document, has put in place the elements of the partnership that Johannesburg has to develop and strengthen. The commitments contained in this document can also, overall, be considered in accordance with the EU's concept of a global partnership, encompassing the results of global meetings on sustainable development from Doha, to Monterrey, to Rome and finally to Johannesburg. With respect to the mobilization of public financial resources, the EU has already committed itself at Barcelona to an increase of ODA from the current average of 0.33% GNP/ODA to the 0.39% GNP/ODA between now and 2006. This will translate into an extra € 8 billion per year by the year 2006 for development aid focusing on poverty reduction and sustainable development. There are however some points on which Monterrey falls short of expectations. Let me point out a few major topics where action and initiative from the EU is needed and on which we will continue to work until and in Johannesburg to ensure an adequate solution:

* On the issues relating to global governance, the Monterrey Consensus limits itself to stressing the need to enhance the voice of developing countries in the international financial architecture without going into any concrete proposals. We need to go beyond that and work on improving the system of global governance by making global governance structures more inclusive and coherent with each other as well as by strengthening in particular global governance in the social and environmental sector.

* On innovative sources of financing, the Monterrey Consensus does not go beyond a general sentence on the need to further explore this issue, while the global public goods are not even mentioned. We must seize the opportunity that will be provided by the Johannesburg conference to further advance the international discussion of these issues and to agree on ways to address them. One of the innovative features of the Johannesburg Summit is that, besides the formally agreed Declarations, there will be voluntary initiatives and partnerships involving countries, international organizations, stake holders (so-called "type 2 outcomes").

The EU is considering, amongst others, the following initiatives:

* A strategic partnership for the sustainable management of water resources, based on the principle of integrated river basin management.

* A strategic partnership in the field of energy for sustainable development.

* A specific initiative for Africa, building on ongoing initiatives like the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).

Strengthening coherence of EU policies. We must ensure that all EU policies, including our agricultural and fisheries policies, immigration policies, regulation on arms exports are conducive to global sustainable development. The Development Council will adopt conclusions on these key issues of the EU external dimension of sustainable development at the end of May.



14 April 2002



Environment ministers from eight major industrialized countries, known as G-8, released a statement April 14 calling for more action to reverse the continuing degradation of the world's environment.

The statement was released at the end of a ministerial meeting held April 12-14 in Banff, Canada, to prepare for the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The ministers said reversing environmental degradation would require giving urgent attention to increasing sustainable patterns of consumption and production, alleviating poverty, improving domestic and international institutions, resolving conflict and curtailing pollution. "The World Summit must show renewed political commitment resulting in a Plan of Action, and deliver partnerships to achieve sustainable development, producing tangible results and mobilizing action at all levels," the statement said. The ministers said they would work together with governments and other partners to develop concrete proposals in specific key sectors, including, among others, strategic partnerships to promote access to safe water and sanitation, and actions to substantially reduce the number of people without access to energy supplies. The ministers also noted a growing appreciation for the linkages between environment, health and poverty, expressing special concern for children and other vulnerable populations in the face of growing environmental pressures from polluted air, water and soil, the effects of climate change, the growth of transportation, chemical use and urban development.



April 14, 2002


We, the Environment Ministers of the eight major industrialized countries, and the European Commissioner responsible for the Environment, met in Banff, Canada, from April 12 to 14, 2002, to advance preparations for the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, from August 26 to September 4, 2002. Discussions focused on environment and development, environment and health, and environmental governance.

Since the 1992 Rio Summit, we have witnessed a growing awareness of the need to manage the environment in a sustainable manner to promote human dignity and well-being. We commend progress in managing environmental resources in a sustainable manner at the local, national, regional and international levels, and the commitment to sustainable development shared by all levels of society and the international community. We also recognize that more action is required. The state of the environment world-wide continues to degrade. In order to reverse environmental degradation, we must attain more sustainable patterns of consumption and production, alleviate poverty, further improve domestic and international institutions, resolve conflict and curtail pollution. To secure global prosperity, stability and security, all these issues require urgent attention.


The World Summit must arrive at action-oriented outcomes, effectively responding to the new challenges that have arisen since the Rio Summit. It should strongly reinforce Agenda 21 and help deliver the positive outcomes achieved at the Millennium Summit in New York, World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference in Doha and the Financing for Development Conference in Monterrey. The goals of the World Summit will also be advanced by a positive outcome from the next World Food Summit. The World Summit must be about implementation. It must build upon the active engagement of all stakeholders and must seek ways to develop active and effective partnerships among them.

We are committed to continue to demonstrate leadership in implementing sustainable development, at home and globally, working with the international community to further implement Agenda 21. We are making every effort to ensure the early entry into force and implementation of multilateral environmental conventions and protocols.

We reaffirm the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to meet the pressing global environmental challenge of climate change with global participation. We are determined to take the lead by taking strong actions, in fulfillment of our commitments under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and in furthering its ultimate objective. For most countries, this means timely entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol, with many ratifications by the World Summit; for other countries, it means taking strong, realistic domestic actions. We agree to reinforce our exchange of information and best practices, in particular in the field of research and development. The World Summit must show renewed political commitment resulting in a Plan of Action, and deliver partnerships, to achieve sustainable development, producing tangible results and mobilizing action at all levels. A successful World Summit requires leadership and engagement at the highest possible levels. We will work together with governments and other partners to develop concrete proposals in specific key sectors including, among others, i) strategic partnerships to promote sustainable water resource management, including access to safe water and sanitation; and ii) building on work already done by G8 countries, actions in the field of energy such as substantially reducing the number of people without access to energy supplies, increasing energy efficiency, improving conservation of energy resources, developing new technologies and promoting the use and share of renewable energy sources in all countries. Among others, attention should also be given to continuing to enhance the protection and sustainable management of forests, including action to combat illegal logging and related trade. We look forward to the 6th Conference of the parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity making constructive progress in this area.


Better integration of the environmental dimension into economic and social development policies remains a challenge and is crucial for the achievement of Agenda 21 and of the internationally agreed development goals and targets, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration. We are committed to work with our respective domestic and international partners to ensure that globalization promotes sustainable development for the benefit of all. We acknowledge the important contributions of multilateral environmental agreements to advance global sustainable development. These agreements have proven to be effective tools to shape national sustainable development policies and programs, and frame concrete action at all levels. We resolve to work with our partners at all levels to enhance their effectiveness. In this regard, we stress the need for adequate resources to the third replenishment of the Global Environmental Facility, taking into account the broadening of its mandate. We underscore the contribution to poverty alleviation that is made through community-based conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity.

We recognize the pressing need to continue to improve coherence among different policies such as international development, social, trade, finance (including export credits), investment and bilateral and multilateral environmental assistance, and the mechanisms and tools that support development objectives. We welcome the innovative approach to sustainable development put forward in the New Partnership for Africa's Development by our African partners, and intend to work with them to advance its goals.


The connection between health and the quality of our environment has become a key driver of environmental protection in both developed and developing countries. We underscore the importance of working in partnership with our health colleagues to strengthen efforts toward sustainable development. There is also a growing appreciation of the linkages between environment, health and poverty. We are especially concerned about children and other particularly vulnerable populations, in our own countries and globally, in the face of growing environmental pressures, notably from polluted air, water and soil, and the effects of climate change, growth of the transportation sector, chemical use and urban development. Our policies should continue to be based on the precautionary approach, as set forth in Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration. Contaminated water and inadequate sanitation cause a large proportion of ill health and disease in the developing world, leading to millions of deaths each year, particularly among children.

Progress has been made through initiatives such as the 1997 G8 Miami Declaration on Children's Environmental Health, the programs developed by the European Environment and Health Committee, and the recent meeting of Health and Environment Ministers of the Americas. We welcome the convening of Health and Environment Ministers of African countries and strongly encourage other regions in the world to follow in this direction. Among the most important instruments for the sound management of chemicals are the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants and we support their early entry into force and implementation by member parties. We also note the effective steps taken by organizations such as the Arctic Council in addressing health and environment challenges for northern people. Collectively, we will consider further areas of collaboration such as review of, and action towards, providing safe drinking water and sanitation, and improved air quality in urban areas through advanced technology and clean fuels. Children's environmental health is of particular concern to G8 Environment Ministers. In 2002, we have taken stock of our collective and individual actions to implement the 1997 Miami Declaration on Children's Environmental Health and reaffirm our commitment to its implementation. Recognizing that the task of protecting children's health from environmental threats is ongoing, we agree to collectively advance work on the development of children's environmental health indicators as a means for monitoring progress, in consultation with relevant multilateral organizations. We see the World Summit as a key opportunity to mobilize concrete actions to address environmental issues that threaten human health. We see a clear need to further the science base in order to underpin action on environment and health issues and to build capacity to address them in an integrated way at all levels. We resolve to work with partners throughout the international community, and with key international organizations, particularly the United Nations Environment Program and the World Health Organization to develop and implement constructive approaches to meet environment, health and poverty challenges. We agree to early discussions by experts to determine how we can further advance G8 thinking on the World Summit initiatives related to human health and environment in the context of sustainable development. In this regard, we call for the launch, in Johannesburg, of an international initiative to synthesize and exchange existing information on environment and human health linkages, including the evaluation of best practices and the identification of barriers to action and focus actions and funding on the identified priorities with a view to strengthening policy responses.


Solid policy, legal, regulatory measures and measures promoting voluntary initiatives are required to enhance sustainability and improve environmental performance. Each of our countries has taken important steps in this direction, and has made gains in terms of institution building, resource efficiency, citizen involvement, and cooperation with communities of interest, including local authorities and the private sector. We note in particular the critical role that those private sector players committed to sustainable development can play through investment, technology and corporate social responsibility. We need to explore ways to create opportunities for these leading companies and to facilitate their ability to play an active role in recruiting a greater number of private sector entities to adhere to the principles of sustainable development. Voluntary codes of conduct and initiatives like the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the Global Compact, the Global Reporting Initiative and the proposed London Principles can play an important role in promoting sustainable corporate practices. The G8 Environmental Futures Forum on the Role of Government in Advancing Corporate Sustainability, held in March 2002, was an excellent step forward for coordinated efforts by G8 countries. We will promote proposals and ideas that encourage foreign investment to make a greater contribution to environmental protection and sustainable development. We are committed to continue to improve our respective domestic environmental governance and to further engage civil society on the merits of sustainable development. We underline the need to integrate environmental, social and economic policy making, including, for example, through the elaboration and implementation of national sustainable development strategies. We will continue to share with the international community our successes and lessons-learned on environmental governance. We stress the importance of effective national governance to achieve sustainable development in all countries.

In the context of the overall discussion of sustainable development governance, we welcome the recommendations emerging from the Intergovernmental Group on International Environmental Governance, under the leadership of the United Nations Environment Program. These recommendations are essential to a strengthened international environmental regime, and as such represent an important contribution to the World Summit. We are committed to take concrete steps at the World Summit to ensure their full implementation and the enhancement of linkages between the strengthening of international environmental governance and the other aspects of sustainable development governance. We underline the urgent need to improve the financial situation of UNEP, which remains hampered by insufficient and unpredictable resources, by such ways as providing UNEP with more predictable funding, a broadened base of contributions, more efficient and effective use of available resources, and greater mobilization of resources from the private sector and other major groups. We also note the importance of strengthening UNEP, including as regards its coordinating role, and will consider the important but complex issue of universal membership of the Global Ministerial Environment Forum/Governing Council in the context of preparations for the World Summit. We will continue to collaborate with the international community and UN bodies to enhance the effectiveness of international governance, including multilateral environmental governance, governance at the regional and subregional level (e.g. UN regional commissions) conducive to sustainable development so as to enhance the coordination of our respective environmental, economic and social objectives.


Our commitment to sustainable development remains strong, and we will pursue that commitment through further action. Local, national, regional, and global environmental challenges are growing in severity and complexity, and their resolution requires leadership, innovation and investment. We look forward to the World Summit in Johannesburg as a timely occasion to galvanize the international community and make further progress towards sustainable development. It is a unique chance to reverse the current trend in the depletion and degradation of environmental resources, contribute to poverty alleviation, promote equity, and make globalization work for sustainable development. We will do our part, and welcome the opportunity to work in partnership with the global community to shape a prosperous, secure and sustainable future for generations to come.


See Also:

G-8 ministers discuss making environmental issues part of new global focus on sustainable development

G-8 Ministers Discuss Environment



11 April 2002



It is a great pleasure to be here as part of the Bank's sustainable development month. In the run up to Johannesburg this August, I've made it a personal priority to concentrate on something on which I think you and I will agree: the need for real, focused and positive outcomes from this World Summit on Sustainable Development. The limited outcome of the third preparatory meeting was perhaps predictable, but it leaves us with a lot of work still to do. Perhaps it is a bit of an understatement, but history will see it as a tragic lost opportunity if we fail to meet this challenge of the Johannesburg Summit.  I've talked to many of those whose contributions can make a real difference to success in Johannesburg - in government at home and abroad, in civil society, and in private industry. Among the conclusions of those many discussions is the recognition that multilateral development institutions, make a unique, vital and life-changing contribution to international development, so I particularly want to stress what I have heard from many others: that the World Bank has an essential role to play in Johannesburg, in securing the practical and sustainable outcomes which are so desperately needed. This summit in Johannesburg has to be different. Ten years on from Rio there is an acceptance that progress towards many of our established goals has fallen short of the standards that social, economic and moral values demand. More than 1.2 billion people still live on less than one dollar a day. In Africa, about one third of the population are undernourished - and that number is increasing. So, I would argue that we do not need new conceptual agreements, conventions, principles or charters. What we need is for all stakeholders to commit themselves to practical action - to a genuine investment of energy and resources - if we are to make tangible progress towards our shared objectives.  I probably don't need to stress to this audience - but I will just in case - that WSSD is not about the environment. Sustainable Development is about making progress at the same time on the economic, environmental and social objectives, or as our host country South Africa has suggested, people, planet and prosperity. In South Africa I saw impressive evidence of concrete progress already made, for example in the provision of clean water, where the number of unserved people has been halved since 1994. Water and sanitation will be among the top themes for our South African hosts, and along with energy provision, they are among the issues on which the World Bank is uniquely placed - to promote sustainable values through developing financial products, which better reflect environmental and social goals. In Soweto I saw some of the evidence of the disproportionate impacts that a lack of sustainable development has on the poor - and nowhere are these impacts more keenly felt than in Africa. Poverty eradication through sustainable development will be our top priority for the summit. But just as dire poverty and environmental degradation are mutually undermining, so action on poverty and effective management of natural resources is often mutually reinforcing. These are issues which are fundamental to many of you, as they are to me, and as they are to the aims and objectives of the World Bank. The Bank's strengths lie in the scale of its lending, the breadth of its technical expertise, the extent of its long reach around the globe, and the degree of authority, through intellectual leadership on global issues that it can bring to bear on the policies and priorities of developing countries. For its lead in setting and pursuing the international development agenda, and for its role in contributing to the Millennium Development Goals, the World looks for guidance to its World Bank. Since Rio we can point to a considerable intellectual achievement: the development of an integrated conceptual framework, which takes account of the environmental and developmental strands of sustainability. And yet the practical gains offered by these principles remain largely unrealised. So I repeat, Johannesburg has to be different. But how do we make it so? Making it so depends upon building partnerships for delivery within and across governments, civil society and business. As ever, we need governments to provide more aid but we also need to ensure that it is used more effectively. We need to promote good governance, but we also need to ensure that the policies which developed countries pursue are consistent with their own development goals. And we need to take account of our responsibility to practice the agenda of free trade that we are so fond of preaching to others. We strongly welcome the spirit of commitment to change and the practical advances made at the Monterrey Financing for Development conference. In the UK we are firmly committed to reaching the United Nations goal of devoting 0.7% of Gross Domestic Product to Overseas Development Aid, and we are committed to a series of substantial increases over the next few years to get us there.


But this direct aid needs to be complemented by developing countries' own efforts to create the right conditions for foreign investment, notably through establishing the institutional and legal infrastructure that constitutes good governance. We are particularly keen to continue working with the World Bank on sustainable agriculture and rural development. It is key to sustained economic growth, especially in Africa where it is the largest sector, accounting for two thirds of the labour force, one third of GDP and half of exports. And, of course, it is also important in providing sustainable livelihoods. But the point has been forcibly made - not least recently by the President of Uganda, among others - that while aid is worthwhile, it matters little - perhaps not at all - unless, we open our markets to agricultural produce. This point is driven home by the stark realities. While the OECD countries collectively contributed $50 billion to ODA in 2000, they spent in excess of $350 billion on agricultural subsidies. Food security depends on good national governance, properly targeted incentives, and action to mitigate soil degradation and then matching that by the developed country commitments as at Doha to address trade practices, which restrict access to markets. So, we welcome the Bank's recent work on the effects of tariffs, which estimates that a 50% cut in tariffs (in the developed and developing world) would provide gains to the developing world of the order of $150 billion a year, which again, dwarfs the aid flows. Technology and innovation have made a vital contribution to agricultural development and will continue to do so in the future. But what is excellent in the North need not be relevant or appropriate in the South. It is important to recognise that the right policy and regulatory framework is a prerequisite to the adoption of new technologies. Technology transfer should not be seen as an end in itself in isolation from wider policy coherence. Technologies which are not relevant to the income and farming systems of poor farmers are of little help and may even be of hindrance. And whether it be in successful transfer of some technologies or raising standards in the developing world rather than lowering them in the developed world, capacity building will often be key. But as I said before, increased agricultural production is of limited benefit without adequate market access. The UK fully supports the outcome of the WTO summit at Doha last November, committing us to improve market access, particularly for developing countries, and to reduce domestic subsidies for agriculture. The Doha development agenda should lead developed countries to shift support from trade-distorting subsidies towards environmental and rural development goals - We look to the United States to join the European Union in supporting this agenda in its domestic policies - including addressing the provision of export credits at below market rates. We certainly recognise that opening up its agricultural markets is one of the biggest contributions Europe could make to poverty eradication worldwide, and the UK is among those driving forward the debate for reform. In South Africa, I held talks with Minister Mohammed Valli Moosa and I welcome his desire to champion this issue at Johannesburg. We hope that WSSD will help us win that argument within Europe, as well as beyond.

As to the contribution that civil society can make, it falls to non-governmental organisations and all those with a genuine interest in positive, achievable and concrete outcomes at Johannesburg to engage fully: in policy making, in monitoring results and in building public awareness and support for the achievements towards which we are striving. But the cement between the building blocks of this grand design must come from private investment - which forms an increasingly dominant proportion of investment flows to developing countries. That investment has to be channelled into projects which will deliver real, practical and sustainable benefits at local level - projects such as those which are the focus of Type 2 agreements. And it is not enough to assume that the private sector can do all this without guidance and support, so it falls to the World Bank and other international finance institutions to take up the challenge and to create a framework, and perhaps new products, which will foster innovative development financing. Last year the UK funded a workshop, drawing in experts from developing countries, governments, NGOs and the IFIs themselves, to consider how the role of the IFIs in promoting sustainable development could be enhanced. If there is a one thing to take from that workshop's conclusions it is that IFIs have a vital role. Through providing leadership, promoting best practice and levering in private finance, the importance of the part they have to play cannot be overestimated. And today I want to lay down three challenges for the World Bank and other International Financial Institutions:

That I would like to see greater consultation with, and ownership by, those in developing countries who have a direct interest in a project's success.


Second, that recipient countries should be given greater access to open and transparent decision-making. And third, that we should seek a shift in focus away from large-scale infrastructure projects which in the past may have placed too low a priority on sustainability. This means International Finance Institutions should take the lead in setting an incentive-based framework, promoting high standards of corporate governance and integrating sustainable objectives into the pricing of the projects. They must also better coordinate the implementation of existing commitments. It also means building capacity through local institutions which can deliver finance for the small and medium-scale enterprises best positioned to secure sustainable livelihoods. Not least, they should provide leadership through developing these approaches, and through applying the reservoir of knowledge and capability that resides within the World Bank. Your expertise in these areas makes you an essential partner in the preparations leading up to Johannesburg.

At the most fundamental level, sustainable development must be mainstreamed: placed at the heart of the activities of every international financial institution. Environmental, social and sustainable values should be considered together and together embraced as fundamental cross-cutting dimensions rather than as separate specialist areas. I welcome the Bank's recently published, and ambitious, environment strategy. And initiatives such as the Global Environment Facility and the Multilateral Fund under the Montreal Protocol demonstrate that there is a growing consensus in favour of efforts to overcome the lack of financial resources for sustainable development. But there is more to be done.

Against a background of deteriorating global environmental trends, it is imperative that the Global Environment Facility is replenished at a reasonable level. After all, we have asked the GEF to take on new activities in respect of persistent organic pollutants and land degradation. We have all agreed that these should not be at the expense of existing activities in climate change and biodiversity. That is why the UK government has consistently called for a 50% replenishment of the GEF amounting to $3 billion. An outcome which only delivers a replenishment similar to the last one of $2 billion will be regarded as a failure, and failure is the last signal we want to send to WSSD.

At Monterrey this March huge progress was made in defining the responsibilities of the developed world towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals. And at Monterrey a consensus was clear that we should do more to foster development finance which takes account of social and environmental outcomes, and which can be owned and driven by the developing countries themselves.


It is now essential that, post-Monterrey, we should continue to engage with finance ministers in support of this agenda. And at Johannesburg we must take it on further. I know that Jan Pronk - the Dutch Environment Minister who has been appointed by Kofi Annan as his Special Envoy to WSSD - shares this view. In the UK the Corporation of London has taken a lead in drawing up a set of principles which, when endorsed by financial institutions, will demonstrate their commitment to play a serious role in the financing of sustainable development. The London Principles ask signatories to reflect the cost of environmental and social risks in the pricing of financial and risk management products, to provide access to finance for the development of environmentally beneficial technologies, and to provide access to financial services for businesses in disadvantaged communities and developing countries. Of course we recognise that others will have their own perspective on what internationally adopted standards should include, but we hope the London Principles can provide a useful blueprint at Johannesburg. In a globalised world, it is increasingly clear that no one nation can solve what are collective problems - such as poverty, terrorism, disease, climate change, migration or drug abuse. But through Doha and Monterrey, a consensus is building that it is essential not only from a moral perspective, but in order to guarantee mutual stability and prosperity, that we act together in pursuit of interests that transcend national borders and traditional notions of sovereignty. Our self interest goes hand in hand with our common interest. At Johannesburg, we must build on that growing consensus to ensure that the implementation of Agenda 21, agreed at Rio, can become a reality through the application of political will, practical steps - and partnerships. I don't mean to suggest in Johannesburg that we should seek to create a single great master plan. But we could, through a range of different actions and activities create a mosaic of implementation.

Bringing a truly sustainable dimension to the world of finance is an undeniably crucial element of that implementation. It is in our mutual self-interest to accept this... and to take action.



10 April 2002



This article was originally published in the Global Issues Electronic Journal "Achieving Sustainable Development," released April 10, 2002.


In a landmark foreign policy address at the Inter-American Development Bank on March 14, President Bush announced substantial increases in U.S. development assistance programs and confirmed the United States' commitment to a new vision for helping the developing world. He underscored that the "advance of development is a central commitment of American foreign policy. As a nation founded on the dignity and value of every life, America's heart breaks because of the suffering and senseless death we see in our world. We work for prosperity and opportunity because they're right. It's the right thing to do." The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) to be held August 26 to September 4 in Johannesburg is an historic opportunity to re-energize and re-focus the international community's pursuit of sustainable development. The 1992 Rio Conference on Environment and Development and the 10 years since have established much of the framework for our pursuit of sustainable development. Now, to fulfill the promise of the Rio decade -- to truly achieve sustainable development -- the Johannesburg Summit must usher in a new chapter in which we focus on implementation and concrete results. To do so, we must work together to ensure that all countries have the robust institutions and sound policies that are essential to building a prosperous future for their people and our planet. We must forge partnerships with other governments, with businesses, and with civil society groups that ensure successful on-the-ground implementation.


The Rio decade has elevated the world's understanding that development must be sustainable, that the three "pillars" of sustainable development -- environmental protection, economic development, and social development -- must go hand-in-hand. Because each pillar is integrally linked to the others, effective pursuit of sustainable development requires a balanced approach that integrates all three components.

Rio and the post-Rio era have also established a framework for addressing sustainable development. The Rio Declaration and Agenda 21 provide us with guiding principles and a roadmap for fulfilling those principles. Multilateral environmental agreements that effectively balance the three pillars of sustainable development as well as voluntary mechanisms such as the International Coral Reefs Initiative and the Arctic Council provide avenues for addressing environmental problems. Further, the international development goals in the United Nations Millennium Declaration help to outline a path that fosters economic and social development.


As we head to Johannesburg, we must now turn our attention from building the framework to implementing sustainable development on the ground. For all countries -- developed and developing -- sustainable development must begin at home. Environmental protection, economic development, and social development all depend on a foundation of good governance in which free markets, sound institutions, and the rule of law are the norm. Sustainable development cannot be achieved in an atmosphere where corruption runs deep, private property is unprotected, markets are closed, and private contracts are unenforceable. In his March 14 address, President Bush stressed the importance of good governance, pledging a $5,000 million increase in development assistance as part of a "new compact for global development." In return for this additional commitment, the United States seeks developing country actions on the reforms and policies that make sustainable development effective and lasting. Sound economic policies, solid democratic institutions responsive to the needs of the people, and improved infrastructure are the basis for sustained economic growth, poverty eradication, and employment creation. Freedom, peace and security, domestic stability, respect for human rights -- including the right to development -- the rule of law, gender equality, market-oriented policies, and an overall commitment to just and democratic societies are also essential and mutually reinforcing. Operationally, five of the key elements that are critical to creating an enabling domestic architecture that makes sustainable development possible are: effective institutions; education, science, and technology for decision-making; access to information; stakeholder participation; and access to justice. Building a solid foundation for sustainable development is a responsibility shared by developed and developing countries. In the United States, we often take these elements for granted, even while we strive to improve our efforts in this arena. Many developing countries, however, recognize the fundamental importance of these issues to sustainable development, but are just beginning to explore how to operationalize them.


Another major theme we and other countries bring to the WSSD is a belief that public/private partnerships -- involving governments at all levels, as well as NGOs, businesses, and other stakeholders -- are critical to achieving sustainable development. Within the United States, concrete action on sustainable development takes place not just at the national level, but at the state and local levels as well. Furthermore, it rarely involves only the government; much more often, it happens in partnerships involving business and civil society. The World Summit on Sustainable Development should be a launching point for these partnerships. The United States will lead by example, seeking to work in partnership with stakeholders and other governments in key sectors such as the following:

* Health

* Energy

* Water

* Education

* Oceans and Coasts

* Food Security, Sustainable Agriculture, and Rural Development

* Forests


The World Summit on Sustainable Development is a tremendous opportunity to turn a new corner on sustainable development. President Bush has clearly articulated that the United States will "lead by example." We have a destination. To get there, we need to turn our attention towards implementation. By working together to strengthen the foundation of domestic good governance that is essential to the realization of sustainable development and by forging partnerships that achieve concrete results, we can make Johannesburg a success.



Ministry of Environmental Affairs and Tourism

9 April 2002



I would like to extend a warm South African welcome to those of you who have come all the way from the United States. I am delighted that South Africa and the US have been able to co-operate in organising this event. As host of the World Summit on Sustainable Development on behalf of Africa, South Africa is keen to work closely with all our negotiating partners to deliver a successful Summit -- and, clearly, the United States is a key partner. I am pleased that the US is actively engaged in the Summit preparations and I am sure that our dialogue today will prove to be fruitful. Today's event is focused on the role of partnerships and governance in the successful implementation of the outcomes of the World Summit. I would like to use this opportunity to outline South Africa's vision for the Summit, and to set out our views on partnerships and governance in that context. The third preparatory committee for the Summit -- PrepCom III -- has just ended in New York. We are making progress. There is a clear consensus that political commitments alone are not enough if we are to achieve our aims of poverty eradication and sustainable development through the full implementation of Agenda 21 and the Millennium Declaration. The Summit must deliver concrete outcomes which give effect to those political commitments -- and those outcomes must be action-oriented if they are to be credible.


As South Africa we have outlined our vision for a global deal on poverty eradication and sustainable development as the key outcome of Johannesburg. The World Summit is a unique opportunity to redefine the relationship between North and South -- creating a new partnership based on commitments on both sides, taking into account the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. Only through such a global deal can we hope to reverse the marginalisation of developing countries and make globalisation work for all. So how can we ensure that the World Summit really delivers for the poor? It is crucial that the global deal is supported by a global programme of action, with clear targets, timeframes and delivery mechanisms, to be delivered through a series of partnerships at the international, regional, national and local levels. We must also ensure that the necessary resources are made available to implement that programme of action, and that appropriate governance structures are in place to ensure effective coordination, implementation and monitoring. South Africa believes that the programme of action should focus on priority areas such as water, energy, health, food security, education and technology. Governments alone cannot deliver this vision. The global programme of action requires effective partnerships between all the relevant stakeholders: governments, the donor community, international agencies, the private sector and civil society, each with their own clearly defined roles and responsibilities.


At PrepCom III the concept of partnerships gained considerable momentum, and a clearer picture is beginning to emerge of how such partnerships might be developed and taken forward at the international level. South Africa believes that any global partnerships announced at the Summit must clearly be anchored in the political commitments made by heads of state and government, and designed to give effect to the global programme of action. They must not be a random collection of projects which are simply rebranded for the Summit. Global partnerships need to be based on a common future, common values and agreed goals. They must also take account of the needs of marginalised groups, including women, young people and disabled people. We therefore need to apply strict criteria in selecting partnerships, which are to form part of the implementation strategy for the global programme of action. We want to see partnerships, which are consistent with the guiding principles of sustainable development, which will have a significant impact at the global level, and which are backed up with new and additional resources. We now need to intensify the dialogue between interested parties and stakeholders to develop concrete proposals before the Summit. We are not looking for unequal partnerships between the resource-rich and the resource-poor, but symbiotic relationships to entrench common values and realise common goals toward the achievement of local and global sustainable development. Partnerships at the regional, national and local levels will play an equally important role in delivering the global programme of action. The New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) could serve as a model for partnerships at the regional level. It is a pledge by African leaders and governments, based on a common vision and commitment, to eradicate poverty and place our countries, individually and collectively, on the path of sustained growth and development. Through NEPAD, African countries are assuming responsibility for sound and effective governance, the elimination of corruption, and the establishment of peace, democracy and economic stability, while at the same time calling for a partnership with the international community to help deliver that vision.


National and local governments will also have a key role in implementing the global programme of action, consistent with their national strategies for sustainable development and local Agenda 21. That will require the allocation of significant capacity and resources, supported where necessary by the international community. Here in South Africa multistakeholder partnerships are a backbone for both policy development and implementation. Institutionally, through Nedlac -- the National Economic Development and Labour Council -- Government comes together with organised business, labour and community groupings on a national level to discuss and try to reach consensus on issues of social and economic policy. The aim is to make economic decision-making more inclusive and to promote the goals of economic growth and social equity. This model of intervention is being praised internationally as one of the better. But these partnerships will not be effective unless they are supported by an effective framework for governance for sustainable development. That requires governments to take action at the national level, as well as appropriate institutional arrangements at the international level. The discussions around the institutional arrangements for the global deal must clearly be informed by the current debate on how to strengthen governance for sustainable development. It has been widely acknowledged that there has been limited success since Rio in 1992 in integrating the social, economic and environmental pillars of sustainable development and creating a coherent and integrated governance framework for sustainable development. We must ensure that the voices of developing and smaller countries are heard and that they are fairly represented in the decision making process.


At the international level, the institution mandated to co-ordinate and monitor the Summit outcomes must have the political weight to carry out this task effectively. It must also have legitimacy in the eyes of its stakeholders and is therefore likely to be within the UN system. It must be adequately resourced to carry out its task. Its primary role would be to monitor progress towards these targets, based on reports from implementing agencies. At the regional level and national level, there will also be a need for well-resourced, accredited institutions to monitor and implement the deal. In Africa, NEPAD and the NEPAD secretariat will serve as an appropriate coordinating and delivery mechanism and reflects the commitment of African nations to good governance. It is critical to underline the importance of good governance at the national level -- but it is also important to bear in mind that good governance and socio-economic stability are mutually reinforcing and in more cases than not have to be developed concomitantly. Many developing country governments may also not have the capacity to implement good governance policies without international support. In conclusion, I hope that today's event has stimulated discussion around these issues, and that it will generate some useful ideas on partnerships and governance in the context of the World Summit. Johannesburg is a time for innovative solutions and creative thinking. I am confident that together we can deliver a successful Summit, which will have an impact for generations to come.


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