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WSSD Info. News

ISSUE # 10 (E)


Issue # 10 (A) ~ Issue # 10 (B) ~ Issue # 10 (C) ~ Issue # 10 (D) ~ Issue # 10 (E)


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

For more information on the WSSD, visit IISD's Linkages Portal at

Editor's note: Welcome to the tenth and final issue of WSSD.Info News, compiled by Richard Sherman. 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 WSSD.Info News, please thank them for their support.


  1. SISTERS AT THE SUMMIT by Annie Trevenen-Jones 21 September 2002

  2. FOR THE SAKE OF THE PLANET: ENOUGH by Allen Houng Taipei Times 21 September 2002

  3. THE WORLD AFTER by Sunita Narain Down to Earth


  5. LESSONS FROM JOHANNESBURG: WHAT IS THE FUTURE FOR UN SUMMITS? by Rémi Parmentier, Political Director, Greenpeace International 10 September 2002

  6. AN INTERNET ADDRESS FOR THE ENVIRONMENT POLLING THE WORLD by George Papandreou International Herald Tribune 10 September 2002


  8. WHERE NEXT AFTER JOHANNESBURG? by David Dickson SciDev.Net 2002 9 September 2002


  10. MAKE MINING ACCOUNTABLE? NUM by Moferefere Lekorotsoana Miningweb 9 September 2002

  11. THEY CAME. THEY TALKED. AND WEASLED. AND LEFT Independent 8 September 2002

  12. 'South Africa Can Take Pride in World Summit' by Thabo Mbeki ANC Today, Letter from the President:  6 September 2002

  13. DEVELOPMENT NOW A REAL POSSIBILITY FOR ALL by Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Valli Moosa The Pretoria News September 2002

  14. 'POLITICAL WILL CAN CHANGE LIVES' by Nelson Mandela The Sowetan

  15. VIEWS ON THE EARTH SUMMIT by Walden Bello and Susan George Red Pepper September 2002

  16. JOHANNESBURG PAVES THE WAY Sunday Times (Johannesburg) 8 September 8, 2002


  18. NO SACRIFICE OF ENVIRONMENT by JoongAng Ilbo 6 September 2002


  20. AN ARAB STATEMENT TO THE EARTH SUMMIT by Najib Saab The Daily Star 31 August 2002

  21. THE GLOOMY STATE OF TODAY'S WORLD by Frank-Jürgen Richter and Thang Nguyen International Herald Tribune 30 August 2002

  22. WE CAN DO THIS GOOD WORK TOGETHER ONLY ONE EARTH by Thabo Mbeki, Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Goran Persson International Herald Tribune 28 August 2002



  25. IT TAKES ENERGY TO TALK ABOUT SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT by Ophelia Cowell - TNI Energy Project 29 August 2002




  1. THE EU APPROACH TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT by Romano Prodi President of the European Commission Stakeholder Forum on Sustainable Development in the EU 12 September 2002

  2. "FROM WORDS TO DEEDS THE RESULTS OF THE SUSTAINABILITY SUMMIT IN JOHANNESBURG" by Margot Wallström Member of the European Commission, responsible for Environment Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) Corporate Breakfast after Johannesburg Brussels

  3. POWER OF PARTNERSHIPS BASD 4 September 2002

  4. THE FUTURE OF MULTILATERALISM by Dr Claude Martin WWF 4 September 2002




  8. STEADFASTLY TAKE THE ROAD OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT --Speech by H.E. Mr. Zhu Rongji, Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, 3 September 2002


  10. JOHANNESBURG SUMMIT CONCLUDES WITH MIXED RESULTS: TRADE, ENERGY AND WOMEN'S RIGHTS DOMINATE Statement of Kristin Dawkins, Vice-President for Global Programs at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy 3 September 2002


  12. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION Speech by Mary Robinson, High Commissioner for Human Rights Civil Society Workshop on Human Rights 1 September 2002





1. SISTERS AT THE SUMMIT by Annie Trevenen-Jones

21 September 2002


Environmentalist Annie Trevenen-Jones has a BSc Agriculture(Natal), MSc Environment & Development (Imperial College, London).

After the recent World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, women the world over are waiting for the ink to dry on the final wording of the Women's Action Agenda for a Healthy, Peaceful Planet, which has set its horizon as the year 2015.  While we wait, three women with whom I was privileged to cross paths at the summit have gone on their way, busy with the task at hand. Get to know them as I did:

Women & the WSSD The World Summit on Sustainable Development 2002 held promise for 'people, planet and prosperity'. Referred to as the Rio + 10 summit, this world summit proved to be a creative synergy of minds with high wire agendas. The focus was on 'non-negotiated' partnerships, giving the private sector an opportunity to usurp governments and international agencies in the race to assist and give hope.

Women came into their own at this summit, having learnt much from their embryonic gender-agenda days at the Rio Earth Summit (1992). Back then, they achieved the popular Chapter 24 of the action plan Agenda 21 - an action plan for empowering women both socially and politically; a way to control their destiny and contribute to the well being of the world.  Today, women are wiser and more confident having achieved much in their Agenda 21 efforts. At Rio +10 women set out to advocate a year 2015 horizon: Women's Action Agenda for a Healthy, Peaceful Planet.  Women have provided a critique of the present world status noting obstacles to sustainable development and recommendations in five spheres:

?  Peace and human rights;

?  Globalisation for sustainability;

?  Access and control of resources;

?  Environmental security and health;

?  and Governance and sustainable development.

Thais Corral, a fine-boned, elegantly silver-shawled brunette from Brazil, stands on the podium.

Today, as LEAD fellow (Leadership for Environment and Development, London), she is sharing her leadership experiences at the LEAD parallel summit event.  To date Thais has founded three non-profit organisations: REDEH (Network for Human Development) and CEMINA (Communication, Education, Information on Gender) in Brazil, and more recently in America, WEDO (Women Environment and Development Organisation).  The air is abuzz with translator headphone static and the blips of microphones.

"Perhaps, the best way for me to describe my experience as a leader is to share with you my experience from the Rio Summit in 1992..." begins Thais.  As her tale unfolds it weaves the threads of ideas voiced by small groups of women from the length and breadth of Brazil (and sometimes far beyond) into a creative, representative and active tapestry.  The tapestry is embodied in Chapter 24, Agenda 21 of the Rio Summit, which is an action plan aimed at strengthening the social and political role of women in sustainable development. Thai's contribution has been her involvement in providing a "best practices" database, which provides examples of local "grassroots" sustainable development.  For example radio has, and is, being actively used to facilitate gender education in Brazil, promoting partnerships between government, business and the people.  Thais has worked tirelessly towards promoting more gender-equitable and richer global governance, ensuring that Agenda 21 touches women's lives. The result has been a rash of conferences and campaigns designed as a "wake-up" call for women of the world.  Thais' message is clear: small threads and diversity can - with ingenuity and determination - not only make their mark on individuals and their surrounds, but can also become a force to be reckoned with at the global sustainable development bargaining table.

Maria Ivanova is a willowy, attractive blonde whom I met beneath the glass evening sky of the Sandton Nedbank building foyer where she was launching a book which she has co-authored on global environmental governance.  With a faint smile and a lime green swirl brightening her navy suit, she expounded on one of her passions: meeting the global challenge of shared natural resources and environmental threats.  Maria is known for her realistic and optimistic collection of fresh ideas, opportunities, tackling multidisciplinary issues and penchant for advocating "back-to-the-drawingboard" alternatives to international co-operation on environmental protection issues.  This brave and dynamic woman is far more than just an academic author, however, being also director of the Global Environmental Governance Project at the Yale Centre for Environmental Law and Policy. Simultaneously she is reading for her doctorate on "the creation of an effective environmental enforcement regime in the Russian Federation" at Yale University.  Maria built her career on a classic European education and progressive European environmental work experience. Scratch beneath the surface and you will find her inspiring reality: Back before the wall fell (yes that wall - the Berlin Wall) and the end of the cold war and all the "end of the millennium stuff", Maria was living in her home country of Bulgaria. She says her ambition to further her experience, knowledge and contribution to global environmental policy were then the stuff "star-spangled day dreams were made of". Travelling to the west to study seemed an impossibility, but she kept her dream alive and when the wall fell she was able to realise her ambition and complete her Masters degree in environmental policy and international relations at Yale University.  Now she is caught up on the global stage, fighting for the world and her beloved Bulgaria, and bringing her passion, optimism, compassion and determination to the global challenges of our time. "Never give up, the impossible is possible ... I have experienced it," she said at the Johannesburg Summit. 

The third woman who inspired me at the Summit is not a person, but a place!

Alexandria, the Cinderella of Sandton, steeped in squalor, mud and the grey "soap-sud" water of a Jukskei River tributary, she goes about her daily chores.  The shimmering metal roofs of the "squatter" homesteads huddle in the cold winter wind.  As part of the summit the City of Johannesburg hosted daily tours to Alexandria, the aim being to expose delegates to the reality of Africa's poverty and to showcase the township's sustainable development projects.  Alexandria's history spans hostel wars, burning tyres, anti-apartheid marches, songs and poems, floods, disease, spaza stores and the tide of mine workers, domestic workers, entrepreneurs and skilled workers. She is taciturn and bedlam. She hopes and dreams. She is complex and compassionate. Above all, she is persistent!  Alex's persistence has paid off. Today Johannesburg is partnering the township in its efforts to escape the vicious cycle of poverty. During the past 18 months a multi-tasked and teamed initiative have created a working vision of a sustainable future. The vision includes green areas, clean, free-flowing rivers, a hotbed of commerce, a transport plan and hub, education and health facilities, a solid police presence, governance, energy provision, cultural and spiritual investment, a tourism route, job creation, progressive economic housing opportunities, and much more.

As our mini-bus trundled along the roads I could feel the grooves in the tar where desperate people run illegal high fire risk wires to access free electricity. Yet, as we rested on the banks of a cleaner Juksei river we could enjoy a reality of re-grassed river banks, erosion walls, children playing in the park-like river area. We felt safe. We visited the winner of the 'own home' garden competition and admired her house and her well won prize (a fridge-freezer) whilst builders repaired a doorway that threatened to collapse (who said life was perfect!).  So much to be done, and yet the little that has been achieved is uplifting. The sight of yellow pinafored Alexandra volunteers assisting with the delegate visits, the arts and crafts fair, laughing ladies plucking chickens outside the door to 'Mandela's House', rows of community chemical loos, engineers, health workers, tour busses and much more are the hope of Alexandra.  Women continue to be a vital resource to the success of the promise of 'people, planet and prosperity' and the future. They are a current running deep in the oceans of the United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan's, WEHAB action framework (Water and sanitation, Energy, Health and the environment, Agriculture and Biodiversity and ecosystem management sustainable development action framework) ... acronyms are a big hit in this orbit of life! And they are the feet upon which Africa's sustainable initiative NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa's Development - aimed at giving impetus to Africa's development by reducing the chasm between the developed and developing countries), will finally rest when it trickles down from political concept to local reality.


Taipei Times

21 September 2002


Allen Houng is a professor at the Institute of Neuroscience at National Yang-Ming University.

The UN Conference on the Human Environment was held 30 years ago in Stockholm, Sweden, opening the door to debate within the international community on ecological and environmental issues. In 1992 the Earth Summit was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Last month the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development was held in Johannesburg, South Africa. What has been accomplished in 10 years?

In April, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan admitted that the results have been limited. Econo-mic globalization continues to make our habitat a victim of exploitation. The developed countries of Western Europe and North America have failed to deliver on the promises made in Rio -- most of the 2,500 proposals set out at Rio have not been fulfilled. Fifty-five percent of the signatories to the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change have failed to ratify that protocol's clause on the control of greenhouse gas emissions.

Poverty and sanitation problems have worsened in the less developed countries. In southern Africa alone, 14 million people face food shortages. As pointed out by Annan, prosperity and privilege as enjoyed by 20 percent of the world population, mainly in the US, Japan and Europe, rely on a model of economic development that is not sustainable and places a huge burden on the ecosystem.

In fact, the problems pointed out by Annan are caused by the economic development model used in the advanced countries. At the Rio summit, the US and Western European countries condemned the Third World for disregarding environmental protection and taking measures that seize and sell natural resources as the means for economic development. They failed to realize, however, that the development model followed by the Third World is one formerly pursued by the developed countries themselves. Third World countries also aspire to lead European and American lifestyles and adopting similar values.  The greatest threat to environmental protection is the high level of pollution originating from factories relocated to the Third World from advanced countries. Japan's model, as described by its representative to the Johannesburg summit, is not an example of sustainable development. Terrible consequences such as the transformation of Japan's beautiful islands into a "museum of pollution sources" have ensued from the country's economic success.

The problem has not been solved in the beautiful Silicon Valley, California, where the ground water has been seriously contaminated by the deadly poisonous chemicals discharged from the semiconductor plants in the region. China's cheap labor has contributed to the country's rapid economic growth in the last 10 years, but the degree to which the ecosystem has been destroyed is astounding.  A "memorandum to the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development" released by a German foundation in July stated that economic globalization since the Rio summit has offset most of the achievements of ecological conservation. Not only has the exploitative model of economic development been extended to all corners of the globe, but the world market for natural resources has expanded to include the southern hemisphere and Russia.  The memorandum advocated that the Johannesburg summit focus on egalitarianism. The rich countries should improve their efficiency in production and their means of consumption. The poor countries should pay greater attention to ecological conservation as they continue to develop their economies.  Ecological conservation and egalitarianism are inseparable. The memorandum went a step further, stressing the importance of financial equality. Only after the affluent societies of the West have altered their lifestyles by economizing on their use of resources will the poor countries stop resorting of necessity to the exploitation of natural resources in their battle against poverty.  The problems of consumerism and lifestyle in a market economy have long been neglected. According to a recent book review published in Nature magazine, the price of consumerism is a core problem in sustainable development, because it concerns the use of natural resources and pollution due to non-biodegradable sources. But the issue of consumerism was not addressed in Johannesburg.

In a market economy, consumerism is based merely on the assumption that the market will grow as consumption increases. Consideration of the meaning, value and significance of consumerism, however, is not possible in terms of the market economy. It is only from the perspectives of political and ecological economy that the problems of consumerism will surface. If the practice of consumerism remains unchanged, economic globalization will simply cause the ecological environment to deteriorate further. High levels of consumption are certainly the first and foremost killer of our natural habitat.  Humanity's concept of well-being derives from the urge to fulfill desires that are to a considerable extent determined by the values of society as a whole. In a market-oriented economy, such desires are generated by a desire that is seldom reflected upon. People's confidence in consumerism is an important factor in economic expansion. If we transform society into an affluent one of only light consumption by simply changing patterns of consumption but not people's desire for gratification, talk of sustainable development will remain empty talk.  Is driving a two-tonne luxury automobile in a mile-long traffic jam more enjoyable than riding a bicycle on a tree-lined trail? Why can we not have economic development with zero growth? Why can we not slow down and ask ourselves whether present day styles of consumption are really what we want?  Because we are so accustomed to such a high level of consumption, facing the problems of consumerism is far more difficult than we can imagine. Green consumerism does not root out the problems because all kinds of consumption deplete natural resources. Shouldn't we seriously consider a simpler lifestyle? Are our governments, politicians and financial corporations not brainwashing and misleading us to believe that economies must grow relentlessly? Does the concept of economic recession not imply some specific, subjective value and a materialistic mode of consumption? Do we have no choice?  We must seriously question: what is happiness in life? As the book review in Nature suggests, the best thing in life is sufficiency, not material things themselves; more is not better.

3. THE WORLD AFTER by Sunita Narain

Down to Earth

19 September 2002



Sunita Narain is the Director of the Centre for Science and Environment based in New Delhi

The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) is over. The best thing about it is that it could have been much worse. As I write this with regret and bitterness about the idealism of times gone by, I begin to feel my age. I was not in Stockholm for the first world environment conference in 1972, but I heard about it from my colleague Anil Agarwal. This was before global warming appeared on the radar, so there was little talk about global cooperation, and the South was not clear why environment should be an important issue. The Brazilians still thought smoke was "the sign of progress" and Indira Gandhi called poverty "the greatest polluter". In spite of this lack of understanding, Anil used to say, there was concern and there was global leadership. I was at the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992. By then the environmental movement had captured public imagination. The problems of biodiversity loss and the ozone hole were all too real. Negotiations on the climate change treaty had brought to the fore the critical need for nations to cooperate. Developing countries, though unwilling partners to begin with, realised that it was important to be part of the rule-setting process so that the differentiated responsibilities of countries were recognised. But most importantly, there was energy and vibrancy at Rio, born out of hope and idealism. By the time Johannesburg has come around, idealism has become a dirty word. Negotiations have become a matter of business transactions and tired word play. If you say population, I say consumption. Although there were over 20,000 people at the summit, their voices were muted. This was partly by design - five different venues for civil society events meant energies were dissipated. When we got to Johannesburg, the draft document to be negotiated - the plan of implementation was still heavily bracketed (UN parlance for text that is not agreed on). Negotiators were frantically working nights to reach consensus. Activists were busy lobbying negotiators for changes. In this flurry to agree on the right language, no one seemed to notice that the draft itself was so watered down that even if all the brackets were removed, the result would amount to next to nothing. No wonder then that the final document consists only of repackaged soft targets - sometimes even more diluted than previous agreements. For instance, the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) calls for species loss to be stopped, but the WSSD plan only agrees to "significantly cut" the rate of species extinction by 2010. It now seems to me that this conference was designed to fail and the incompetence of its organisers was not accidental. Why? Simply because the multilateral system is now an "unnecessary restraint" for the world's most powerful nation, the US. Weakening this system is a key objective of US foreign policy. The game plan is to shift focus from global responsibility on issues such as climate change, onto national governance, by arguing that poverty and environmental degradation have little to do with global trade or financial systems, but are caused by corrupt and irresponsible governments of the South. This also becomes a convenient argument against aid, which they claim does not work because of corrupt national governments. Instead, they promote funds from the private sector. In this process, UN agencies are emasculated, either by driving them to bankruptcy or by destroying their credibility with failures such as the WSSD. Foreign aid and policy will then become a simple business proposition - strong against the weak. Rich against the poor, transacting business in self-interest. It is for this reason that "partnerships" - between corporation and civil society - was the buzzword at this conference. It is also not an accident, that the key fight at Johannesburg was to subvert the Rio agreement - indeed the basis of the global consensus - that countries would have "common but differentiated responsibilities" for the protection of the environment. This principle has been the basis of jurisprudence - particularly for key negotiations on climate change - as it sets the terms of agreement between the North and the South. In this charade, the EU, instead of trying to work as a countervailing force against the US, seems to have also decided to play the self-interest game. Even while playing the green card - calling for targets on renewable energy - it made sure that its strongest attack was on the developing world, by linking trade to environment and labour standards. As a result, the EU pushed developing countries into the arms of the US. Of course the G77 grouping of developing countries, which includes everybody, from oil producers to desperately poor nations, had little proactive agenda. These countries were busy doing damage control, fighting with their backs against the wall. In the final analysis, it did not lose as much as it could. Call this a victory if you must. What then do we do next? Turn our backs on what is happening? Accept and play the game? Or still hope to bring back the idealism of yesterday? Negotiation veteran and friend, Jurgen Maier, put it aptly: think of Johannesburg as the morning after a lost election. It seems the world is lost, till you think of the next election and begin work again.


The Guardian

11 September 2002


Margaret Beckett is secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs.

It was a long, hard slog in Johannesburg, but now we can draw breath, survey the landscape around us and consider what we've achieved and where we go from here.  The UK is committed to global sustainable development and the multilateral process. In preparing for the summit, we aimed high but feared the worst. Some of the published comments of disappointment are a little hard to understand, unless we are seeing confusion between what people would have liked to see at Johannesburg and what actually was on the agenda.

As it is, the summit agreed what, for those familiar with the agenda, was a surprisingly extensive plan of implementation. This includes a new agreement on water and sanitation, which should save millions of lives, halving the number of people without access to clean water and basic sanitation by 2015. There are new targets on chemicals management, reducing biodiversity loss and restoring fish stocks - which will galvanise action and set standards for the next 10 years or more. And the development of global programmes for sustainable consumption and production will set us on a path to use resources more efficiently.  We also agreed joint action to improve access to reliable energy for the two billion people who lack it; on the urgent need to increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the world; and on phasing out of energy subsidies which inhibit sustainable development. As commentators have been eager to point out, the summit did not set a global target for renewables, but let's be clear that even those countries that resisted this have committed themselves to real action here. And on climate change, Johannesburg issued a ringing call for countries to ratify the Kyoto protocol - China did so and, crucially, the Russians gave the strongest signal yet that they would do so very soon.  So Johannesburg gives a mandate for intensified action at global, regional and national levels on a range of specific issues. More fundamentally, it has forged close links between development and environment policy, in the service of sustainable development. There is now wide agreement that development cooperation should be directed at helping the poor and needs to be sustainable if it is to be of lasting benefit. Sustainable management of natural resources and the environment is essential for poverty eradication.  In practice, this means that the actions identified in Johannesburg will shape the progress of individual countries' strategies for poverty reduction and sustainable development. This will be complemented by funding for initiatives such as the public private infrastructure advisory facility, which can help lever in private investment and guidance on spending it more effectively.  But aid pales in comparison with the potential benefits to developing countries of proper integration into the world trading system. The biggest issue underlying negotiations was the need for improved market access for developing countries, so they can sell their produce fairly, linked with the eradication of trade-distorting and environmentally-damaging subsidies in the developed countries.  A long succession of world leaders, not least Tony Blair, hammered home the case for reform, especially of agricultural subsidies. This is the single most important issue we must follow up after Johannesburg. Improved market access and subsidy reform are a shared concern for development and environment policy.It requires concerted action globally, including EU action to tackle the common agricultural policy. As developed countries, we've also accepted that we need to put our own house in order, strongly reaffirming the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" with regard to problems such as climate change. That means developed countries, which have benefited from the polluting industrialisation of the past, must take the lead.  Johannesburg will, therefore, give new impetus to the EU's own sustainable development strategy. In particular, we need to develop a regional action programme on things such as energy efficiency, integrated product policy and - a real challenge for us in the UK - waste minimisation. We shall aim for economic as well as environ mental gains through improved resource productivity - effectively, getting "more from less". Another key area for EU action is chemicals management, where we must work to minimise significant adverse effects on human health and the environment by 2020.  Perhaps the most innovative feature of the summit was the emphasis on partnerships between governments, civil society and business. Some criticised business involvement, but partnerships are essential if we are to achieve the targets we've set ourselves - for example, to help improve access to clean water and energy. Governments can't deliver these services on their own, though development co-operation can help establish the necessary regulatory framework for business to deliver what is required.  Globally, business has increasingly recognised the importance of environmental and social considerations in recent years, and this will be further encouraged by the robust provisions on corporate responsibility and accountability agreed in the plan of implementation.  This chimes well with the UK's transparency of payments initiative for the oil and other extractives industry, being developed by the prime minister's strategy unit in partnership with other governments, development agencies, industry and non-governmental organisations.  Above all, Johannesburg demonstrated that it is possible, in difficult circumstances, to reach agreement on practical steps towards a more sustainable world.

5. LESSONS FROM JOHANNESBURG: WHAT IS THE FUTURE FOR UN SUMMITS? by Rémi Parmentier, Political Director, Greenpeace International

10 September 2002


The author – a Greenpeace participant at the Johannesburg Summit -- argues that the question is not whether there should be other large UN summits in the future, but how they are conducted. He proposes that the sequencing of such summits be reversed, with the Heads of State and Government speaking first to set the agenda. He argues that negotiators at the Johannesburg Summit were out-manoeuvred by the Bush administration whose agenda was to weaken multilateralism and the United Nations.

If US Secretary of State Colin Powell had given his hard-liner speech at the beginning of last week's Johannesburg Summit, rather than at the end on 4th September, the outcome of the Earth Summit would probably have been different. The truth is that NGO representatives were not alone booing Powell. In the five minutes he took to deliver his speech, Powell managed to increase the outrage against the Bush administration's policy on environment and development by several orders of magnitude. When Powell spoke, the clamour of reprobation could be heard also in the government delegates' rows, and the vast majority of delegates was more outspoken from that time. Had the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation not been finished by then, the US would not have got away with as much as it did, especially on the issues of climate change. And perhaps government negotiators would not have traded away so easily the proposed global target and time-table to increase to 10% the share of new renewable energy by 2010. Government representatives were angry when Powell claimed that the Bush administration was taking the challenges of climate change seriously, because everybody knows that the US is doing everything it

can to sink the Kyoto Protocol and to undermine the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and that the so-called Bush alternative plan to Kyoto would lead to an approximate 30% increase in US greenhouse gas emissions. This is in clear violation of the United States' legal obligation to stabilise emissions at a level which will 'avoid dangerous climate change', as set forth in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to which the US is a party. Under the US Constitution, a ratified treaty has the force of the law of the land.

A few seconds later, the majority of government representatives could again not believe their ears when Powell said that the aim of the US in promoting the World Trade Organisation's free trade agenda was to help developing countries benefit from it. They knew of course that since the ministerial meeting of the WTO in Doha last year, the US has increased its own subsidies to its agriculture sector, thereby reducing even further the marketability of developing countries' agricultural products in the world. The increased funds for development promised at the Monterrey conference last March represent only one sixth of agriculture subsidies. Finally, Powell's restatement of the US blackmailing policies that would stop development aid to people in countries without good governance (as defined by the US) was the straw that broke the camel's back. In the Bush administration lexicon, good governance means trade liberalisation. Not only does the Bush administration act in violation of their own free trade credo when they increase US government subsidies, but many governments believe that good governance starts with respect and support for international law and international agreements. Formally, the US may exercise its right to not be a party to such agreements, but it should not use its immense power to bully those who participate in them, as it has been doing in recent months with—for example—the International Criminal Court or the Kyoto Protocol. US opposition to an international framework on corporate accountability proposed as part of the Johannesburg agenda was also considered an extraordinary breach of the US administration's stated goal of good governance, especially in the light of G.W. Bush's recent rhetoric on corporate accountability prompted by the Enron and Worldcom scandals. Now that the Johannesburg Summit is over, many are asking whether

such summits are a waste of time, and whether they are doomed to failure each time. "Waste of time" are the words that the US—engaged in a campaign to undermine and weaken the United Nations and multilateralism—wants to hear. The truth is that the Summit has put

sustainable development and the environment back on the public and political agendas, and George Bush's war against sustainability and the environment has been exposed more clearly than ever. This alone was quite an achievement, less than a year after September 11. The issue of climate change and the role that renewable energy can play to create a safer future has never been so prominent, despite the absence of a global target and time-table in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation. A socalled coalition of the willing (a group of more than 30 countries including the EU and other European countries, small island states from the South Pacific and the Caribbean and others) pledged at the end of the summit to set their own targets to increase the share of renewable energy, and to promote them internationally.

What is true is that the way these summits are conducted needs a thorough re-think. Until now, the appearance of Heads of State and Government at such summits has taken place at the end, after a lengthy process (of generally around two years) involving civil servants first, and then ministers. Civil servants and ministers are both pressed to reach agreement before their bosses turn up. The result is a race to the bottom, the search for compromise at all cost, also known as the lowest common denominator. Inviting Heads of State and Government to speak first and negotiators to act in conformity with what their bosses said would make a lot of sense. After all, aren't they our leaders?

During the long Johannesburg preparatory process, Greenpeace urged the civil servants, the ministers, and then the Heads of State and Government not to lower their ambitions, and to maintain high goals for the Summit's outcome. If the US does not want to play with you, so be it, we said. It was better for the US to express its reservations to any section or paragraph of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation by way of footnotes (a well established practice in international negotiations) than to let them bring everyone's ambition down to a lowest common denominator dictated by the Bush administration—and then walk away leaving everyone else at the bottom.  Alas, civil servants and ministers did not listen. It was more important to bring the US along, they said, than maintaining their own principles and objectives. With detailed case studies, we warned that the US has always used the tactic of bringing the common playing field to the lowest level, and then detached itself once it had managed to do so.1 But governments did not listen, and the Plan of Implementation became a sad reflection of the lowest common denominator as dictated by the US. Even so, during the closing ceremony, on September 4th, the US delegation read an interpretative note in which they said—in a nutshell— that they do not consider themselves bound by any of the decisions contained in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation. How weak the text of the Plan of Implementation was did not matter to the US. The US's goal at the Summit was to state its right to act unilaterally, regardless of the concessions they gained.

Let's hope the rest of the international community learn their lessons, and stop racing to the bottom at the next summit. But will there be another chance?

1 See


International Herald Tribune

10 September 2002


The writer is the foreign minister of Greece. He contributed this comment to the International Herald Tribune.

ATHENS: Every night some 2 billion humans go to bed with chronic pangs of hunger and the despair of knowing they will face yet another day with little or no hope. The recent World Summit on Sustainable Development, in Johannesburg, was about alleviating the misery of those people by promoting sustainable economic growth, ending hunger and malnutrition, ensuring safe drinking water and conquering dread diseases already vanquished in Europe, Japan and North America.  Yet, sadly, few of the world's poor were among the 100,000 or so people present for the summit. There were thousands of government officials and politicians. Representatives from nongovernmental organizations concerned with the environment, the rights of women, labor conditions and trade and globalization abounded. It was almost impossible to walk more than a few steps without confronting a reporter or a television crew.  But the people who were not in Johannesburg weighed heavily on the gathering. We could use some personal input from those missing that we are working to help.  I am thinking about the schoolteacher fighting illiteracy in a Vietnamese village, the farmer from Costa Rica seeking new agricultural techniques to improve his crop yield, the herder in sub-Saharan Africa whose child desperately needs medical treatment and the Chinese university student worried about the environmental impact of industrialization.  Sometimes the best solutions to Earth's problems come from the people who are forced to deal with them, or dodge them, on a daily basis. That is why I am looking forward to the results of the first ever Online Glo-bal Poll on the Environment, which is being conducted in conjunction with the summit. Accessible worldwide at, the poll is a historic opportunity for the globe's 6.2 billion citizens to register opinions and advance ideas on a wide range of crucial issues facing a shrinking planet.  The results of the poll, when released soon, will give Johannesburg summit delegates and government officials across the world a better idea of how people view environmental conditions in their own countries and regions, and one hopes it will suggest workable ways to improve them.  The feedback we get from this unprecedented Earth poll, or E-poll, obviously will not be a perfect reflection of public opinion about important environmental issues, since only a small percentage of the world's people have access to a telephone, let alone the Internet.  But it is an important beginning - a way to usher in a new era of instantaneously gauging, measuring and better understanding public opinion on a global level.  The Internet and e-mail have the potential to radically change the world. In every aspect of our lives, from commerce to entertainment and from education to government, they are opening up exciting new possibilities.  All too often, however, they open windows for the world's poor without opening doors. People can see the affluence of the rich nations and the rapidly developing ones, but they are frustrated in communicating with us about their own quest for a better life.  The Online Global Poll is really about creating a universal flow of communication among peoples and thus giving government officials a constant stream of new ideas for solving persisting problems.  The International Marketing Council of South Africa is sponsoring the poll. The overall project was organized by the Andreas Papandreou Foundation of Greece.  As a Greek, I take great pride in knowing that the basic principles of democracy were first developed in the Golden Age of Greece, some 2,500 years ago. Our inspiration for this Online Global Poll draws on the forms of direct democracy that enabled those Greek citizens to take part in the shaping of their destiny.  The great promise of digital democracy is that we can find new ways to strengthen and reinvigorate our current democratic institutions and processes, and extend them to all peoples everywhere.  I hope you will join me in going to and taking part in a new form of participatory democracy that not even an Aristotle or a Socrates could have envisioned. Together we can use our technological advances to build a better future for everyone on this planet.


9th September 2002


Environmental care should be about agreeing targets and sticking to them, writes SIR SYDNEY CHAPMAN, MP for Chipping Barnet

World summits are generally doomed to failure, if only because most of the media hypes up expectations and then criticises the end result.  The recent earth summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, on sustainable development, was no exception but in a different way.  Most of the media lampooned the event from the start while the tendency of much of the environment lobby was to demand decisions which were never realistically possible.  In promoting sustainable development not destroying the finite resources of our planet for future generations changing the way we live cannot be done immediately. It can only be achieved incrementally.  The comprehensive programme of action needs to be targeted. The political trick is to stop governments talking aspirations and getting them to agree specific targets, then ensure implementation and accountability.  In matters environmental (and now increasingly political) the old east-west confrontation has now turned into a north-south divide.  The developed north and the developing south have different agendas. The main priorities of the south are the elimination of poverty, hunger and disease.  Little wonder when two-thirds of the world's population earns under one dollar a day; one-third lacks access to nutritious food; more than one-third is without proper sanitation, and 6,000 children die daily from water-borne diseases.  Meanwhile, mainly the developed north has been extracting from the earth each year, 20 per cent more than it can replace. Sustainable development policies must remove that deficit.  Additionally, the demand for energy grows and the burning of fossil fuels creates more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases which hit the atmosphere and promote global warming, leading to melting ice caps, rising seas and severe droughts.  The world's increasing energy needs must be met by developing cheaper and cleaner sources, such as promoting renewable energy (solar, wind, wave and geothermal power).  Forests help by absorbing the carbon from the atmosphere, but in the last 20 years the rainforests have been reduced in size by the equivalent of 11 United Kingdoms.  All these and many other causes for concern such as a rapidly-increasing world population (six billion today and projected to be ten billion by 2050) emphasise the urgent need for international co-operation and an agreed plan of action.  That is what the Johannesburg summit was all about.  It was a very necessary meeting and in a future column I will spell out what I think it achieved and where it has disappointed.


SciDev.Net 2002

9 September 2002


Achieving even the relatively modest goals agreed at the World Summit last week will require the firm application of science and technology. A major effort is now required to ensure this happens. In the end, the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) turned out as many had anticipated. Modest achievements - for example, agreeing target dates for significant improvements in sanitation for the world's poor, or protection of the world's fisheries - were sufficient for the organisers to avoid the political disaster some had feared. At the same time, the dogged opposition of the United States to anything that might challenge its economic interests ensured that that those hoping for dramatic progress on issues such as renewable energy were disappointed. What did emerge in Johannesburg was a set of solid commitments on a range of development-related issues. On their own, these will not stir up the degree of political enthusiasm and commitment necessary if the grand ambitions in the meeting's final 'political declaration' are to be met. But they do, at least, provide for political endorsement of a solid conceptual framework linking the three pillars of sustainable development - the social, the economic and the environmental - within which such ambitions can, in principle, be achieved. The task ahead is to draw up practical strategies for doing so. Scientists and technologists have a central task in ensuring that this happens. The WSSD underscored the need for major efforts in five separate areas, namely water, energy, health, agricultural production and biodiversity (known collectively as WEHAB).  Science and technology cannot single-handedly solve the problems currently faced in each of these fields. Indeed, in some cases, the unconsidered application of the products of Western science and technology (such as the excessive use of chemical fertilisers) has certainly increased the size of the challenge. But neither can the problems be solved without them. This is the message that still has to be communicated to a broader range of politicians and decision-makers.


Few of those gathered in Johannesburg disputed this conclusion. At the policy level, it is reflected in paragraph 17 of the final political declaration, endorsed unanimously by all UN member states on the last day of the summit. This talks about the need to work together "to use modern technology to bring about development, and make sure that there is technology transfer, human resource development, education and training to banish forever underdevelopment." The other document to emerge from the summit, the so-called 'implementation strategy' fleshes out in greater detail how this might be achieved. It underlines the need, for example, "to enhance local, national, subregional and regional centres of excellence for education, research and training in order to strengthen the knowledge capacity of developing countries". This represents a minor victory that took place at the fourth Preparatory Committee meeting in Bali in April over the United States, which was hesitant to endorse any language that even hinted at the creation of new institutions and the long-term commitments that go with them. Lively discussions during the Science Forum that took place in parallel to the WSSD reflected the high level of grassroots enthusiasm that exists in parts of the scientific and technological communities for moving in this direction. And a number of presentations to the forum described various efforts that are already underway to put political commitments into practice. Plans are already on the drawing board, for example, for a centre of excellence in mathematics, to be established in South Africa, that would help stimulate moves to raise the general level of mathematical skills across the continent (see Top maths institute to stem Africa's brain drain).

The European Union has already indicated its readiness to invest significant funding in research for sustainable development under its Sixth Framework Programme, some of which is likely to be channelled into the promotion of networks of centres of excellence, particularly in Africa (see Summit boosts funds for science in poor nations). Thanks to the efforts of organisations such as the Third World Academy of Sciences, the importance of educational systems recognising the critical importance of capacity building in science and technology was placed firmly on the political agenda. And the United States has shown none of the intransigence displayed on energy and climate issues when it came to supporting the fight against infectious diseases, especially AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.


There is still a vast distance to go, however, between bridging the gap between the scale of the needs that exist, and the level of resources being committed by the industrialised nations in particular to meet these needs. There was no discussion in Johannesburg, for example, of the failure of the international community to respond to proposals made earlier this year by the World Health Organisation's Commission on Macroeonomics and Health for a new global health research fund.  The money involved - US$1.5 billion - is relatively minor compared, for example, to spending on research into the diseases of affluent nations by the US National Institutes of Health alone. But it would represent almost a doubling of the resources currently committed to research into the needs of the poorer part of the world. And the same can be said of the need for research into agriculture. Politically, the WSSD showed little political enthusiasm for taking on even modest goals of this type.

So what is now needed? At the top of the agenda must be a determined strategy to address the question of how to build political support for the massive capacity-building exercise in science and technology that is required. The World Conference on Science in Budapest three years ago failed, for various reasons, to achieve this. But the need is still there, and is more urgent than ever. Related to this remains the need to ensure that the scientific community responds much more seriously than it has up to now to the practical challenges ahead if sustainable development is to be achieved. This will not be done by signing up to a worthy-sounding 'new social contract' between science and society, however well-intentioned. Rather it requires listening, consultation and imaginative partnerships. One key to both of these, as has been stressed frequently on this website, is the requirement for more effective communication about science and technology issues. Communicating to decision-makers the value of science and technology in securing sustainable development, and the urgency of making the necessary resources available to ensure that this value reached, is one aspect. Communicating the needs, desires - and concerns - of civil society to the research community as it determines its strategy for moving forward is another.


TEBTEBBA Foundation

9 September 2002



Victoria Tauli-Corpuz is the Executive Director, TEBTEBBA Foundation

The representatives of indigenous peoples met at Kimberly, South Africa for the "Indigenous Peoples' International Summit on Sustainable Development" from 19-23 August 2002. One of the objectives of this Summit was to come up with a strategy on how to influence the outcome of the World Summit on Sustainable Development. The Indigenous Peoples' International Coordinating Committee for WSSD met every evening in Kimberly to assess the progress of the event and to plan. Anne Nuorgam, the President of the Saami Council, proposed that we formulate one sentence which will be sent to Johannesburg in time for the negotiations on the Political Declaration.

We agreed on the sentence "We reaffirm the vital role of indigenous peoples in sustainable development". We thought if we limit ourselves to one sentence the chances of being adopted might be bigger. The use of the term "indigenous peoples" was seen as crucial in this sentence because in Agenda 21 what was used was "indigenous peoples and their communities". "Indigenous peoples" was used in the Durban Political Declaration of the World Conference on Racism (WCAR, 2001) but this was qualified in paragraph 241. The United States delegation ensured that this qualification was enscribed.  The proposed sentence was presented to the indigenous summit plenary on 23 August 2002 and it was adopted by consensus. A message was immediately dispatched to Johannesburg, particularly to the Finnish, Norwegian and Danish delegations. There were earlier arrangements with them that we will send whatever was agreed upon and they will assist us in getting this in.  When we left for Johannesburg on the 24th, we already planned that we will hold a roundtable discussion the next day where we will present the results of the Indigenous Peoples' Summit. This was held at the IUCN Centre on Sunday, August 25. This was graced by a few government delegates, representatives of intergovermental bodies like IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development), Arctic Council, IUCN,among others and NGO representatives. . We read our own Kimberly Political Declaration and presented the sentence. Copies of the sentence were distributed widely and we urged everybody to lobby the governments to adopt this.


On Tuesday, 26 August, we had a press conference in the morning. Those of us who spoke (Pauline Tangiora, Sebastiao Manchinery, Tom Goldtooth, Cecil le Fleur, Vicky Tauli Corpuz) presented again our sentence. Each of us reiterated this demand in the subsequent individual interviews.  On the evening of the same day, Tebtebba Foundation (Indigenous Peoples' International Centre for Policy Research and Education) held a side event in the official venue, Sandton Conference Center, from 6:30-8:00 pm. The room was packed with government delegates from many countries, representatives of UN bodies and NGOs. We had indigenous representatives from the various regions as speakers. This event was used again to present the results of the Kimberly Summit. Many government representatives spoke out afterwards committing their support to our demands.  The rest of the week was spent in various side events where various indigenous representatives spoke, lobbying, and witnessing the progress of the negotiations. Each day we got reports from the indigenous peoples present on what the score is, as far governments are concerned. A daily indigenous peoples' caucus was held at Sandton Convention Centre from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Reports were made on the progress of the lobbying work. The International Coordinating Committee met every night to plan for the coming days.  During the first week, however, negotiations were just around the Implementation Plan of Action. Nobody knew when the Political Declaration will be presented or discussed. Nobody saw even a draft of this. The earlier Draft which was prepared by Prof. Emil Salim, the Chairperson of the Bali PrepCom, was totally disregarded and we heard that the South African government is preparing a new draft. The Salim draft did not even have the words "indigenous peoples' in it so we did not think it was a loss.


Finally, on September 1 we got a copy of the first version of the draft made by the South African government. Paragraphs 26 and 27 were on indigenous peoples.

Paragraph 26: "We respect cultural diversity and different value systems, as well as the promotion of the interests of indigenous peoples."

Paragraph 27: "We reaffirm that indigenous peoples and local communities are important for the sustenance of biological diversity and the preservation of indigenous knowledge systems, and must participate in and benefit from the implementation of the Johannesburg Commitment."

This did not reflect our one sentence but we decided we can live with these two paragraphs, as long as the phrase "indigenous peoples" will be retained in para 26. Nevertheless, the Indigenous Peoples' Caucus met and presented some amendments which will strengthen these paragraphs and these are as follows:

Paragraph 26: We respect cultural diversity and different value systems and are committed to the rights of indigenous peoples.

Paragraph 27: We reaffirm that indigenous peoples and local communities are important for the sustenance of biological diversity and the preservation of indigenous knowledge systems and natural resources, and must participate in and benefit from the implementation of the Johannesburg Commitment.  We persisted in our lobby work. Our fear was that the US will notice the "s" in peoples in paragraph 26 and will move to have this qualified again. We were very watchful but there was still no clear indication whether there is a body negotiating this. As late as Sept. 3 there was not any news of any negotiations going on. What we heard was that since there were many disagreements over the draft, the political declaration might just be called the "South African Political Declaration", meaning it is a South African government document, not something which was agreed upon by all the attending States. However, we could not also believe that the South Africans will settle for this. They will do their best to have this adopted as the Johannesburg Political Declaration.


Come September 4, the last day, we prepared our final statement for the Closing Plenary. I was assigned to do this. At around 3:00 pm, all the major groups had to present their 5-7 minute closing statements. We were instructed to make our messages hopeful so I tried to do this. Thabo Mbeki, the President of South Africa, chaired this session.  After the 9 major groups finished delivering their statements, Mbeki opened the floor for the adoption of the Implementation Plan of Action. This was adopted by the body but several governments spoke up to express their support or reservations. President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela (Chair of G77) said this Plan did not meet their expectations but they still accepted it. He said that Heads of States go from Summit to Summit while the majority of peoples fall from abyss to abyss. The United States delegation raised their reservations on the Draft Implementation Plan and put in their own interpretation of what corporate accountability means.  While the interventions were going on, Vanda Altarelli of IFAD came and showed us the second version of the Johannesburg Political Declaration. The former paragraphs 26 and 27 were dropped and there was no reference whatsoever to indigenous peoples. There were totally new paragraphs 26 and 27. We were stunned. For a brief moment we did not know what to do. This happened at around 5:00 p.m. and the Plenary was suppose to conclude at 6:00 p.m. The only ones left in the main gallery was myself and Joji Carino of Tebtebba, Carl Christian Olsen (Puyo) of Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC), and Lazaro Pary of Tupac Amaru. There were a few in the balcony.


Joji Carino left the room to ask the indigenous peoples outside of the room to come in. Puyo went to talk to the Danish delegation and the Norwegians. Cresencio Hernandez of the Rethinking Tourism Project came in with Cassandra Smithies (interpreter) and we went to talk to President Hugo Chavez. Chavez said he will try to do something but he is not optimistic that the Political Declaration will be reopened for negotiations.  I went to the Philippine delegation. They could not find the person in charge of negotiating the Political Declaration. The Secretary of Environment, Heherson Alvarez, was hesitant to say something. I urged them to raise our concerns as the Philippines already has an Indigenous Peoples' Rights Act. Ambassador Albert, the Philippine Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs looked for the Thai delegate who was there during the negotiations. The Thai delegation said they left it to the G77 (Venezuela) to conclude the negotiations, thus they also could not say what happened.  According to Carl Christian Olsen, the Danish delegation (Chair of the European Union), also said they cannot assure him that they can speak out. At this eleventh hour it is hard to reopen another discussion. At this point we decided to talk to any government delegate in the room. All of us spread ourselves in the room and talked with anybody willing to listen. The UN security guards were getting tense and tried to limit our crossing over to the government side. Since, I had a Philippine government badge I was not restricted.  At around 5:45 p.m. the discussions on the Implementation Plan of Action ended. Then President Thabo Mbeki announced that there will be a 15 minute recess before the Political Declaration will be discussed. He alluded that there are a few remaining issues that needed to be ironed out. This was a big sign of hope for us. We felt in our bones that one issue will be on indigenous peoples. So we took the chance to lobby harder.  Joji had copies of the paper which contained our proposed amendments to para 26 and 27 and the reiteration of our sentence "We reaffirm the vital role of indigenous peoples in sustainable development". In the meantime, more indigenous peoples entered the room. Rigoberta Menchu Tum came in and we gave her copies of the paper, which she used to lobby the Latin American governments.  Matthias Arens and Aile Javo of the Saami Council came in and started lobbying further the Scandinavian governments. Puyo called up the representatives of the Greenland Homerule who were already at the airport to call up the Danish delegation. Robby Romero, the UNEP Youth Ambassador and an Apache from the USA went to talk to the US delegation. The Canadian delegate passed by and we asked her to support our sentence. She said she wants to talk to the Canadian indigenous representatives. A cellphone was used to call Kenneth Deer who spoke with her. Kenneth already prepared a press release denouncing the dropping of references to indigenous peoples.  We had an agreement that if the Political Declaration is adopted and our sentence did not make it we will walk out. We talked with the other major groups, particularly the women, youth and NGOs that they will walk out with us.  The 15-minute recess extended up to almost one and a half hours. At around 8:00 p.m. there were already more than 10 indigenous persons in the room. Then President Thabo Mbeki called for the resumption of the Plenary. A paper called "Corrigendum to the draft political declaration submitted by the President of the Summit" (A/Conf.199/L.6/Rev.2/Corr.1), was distributed to the government delegates. This contained three paragraphs to be added [16.(bis); 17.(bis) and 22.(bis)]. There were suggested amendments to paragraph 17.  Paragraph 22(bis) says: "We reaffirm the vital role of indigenous peoples in sustainable development". This was our original sentence and it was stated exactly as we wanted it.  President Mbeki asked whether there were any governments who want to say something. We were holding our breaths, expecting that the US delegation will take the floor. Fortunately, they did not and the others did not raise their flags either. He then banged the gavel to signal the adoption of the Political Declaration with the Corrigendum. The indigenous peoples' delegation rose up and applauded long and hard. Finally, we have a phrase "indigenous peoples" without any qualifier.


Many factors contributed to this achievement. Some of these are the following:

1. At the very outset the indigenous peoples were convinced that this sentence should enter the Johannesburg Political Declaration. Even if there were slight differences between us, in the end we agreed to unite and pursue this as a common goal.

2. Lobbying plans were focused on getting this in and many of the indigenous peoples who were at Kimberly and those who joined us,later, in Johannesburg did their lobbying on the governments and NGOs. Our press conferences and side events came out with a common message which is to get the governments to commit to bring in our sentence.

3. The individuals and NGOs who supported us also did their own monitoring of the state of affairs and alerted us on developments they knew. They also lobbied some delegates.

4. The active participation of several indigenous individuals in side events and parallel events where the audiences were urged to help us lobby governments to adopt the sentence.

5. Our presence in the hall when the revised draft of the political declaration was released. If none of us were there, the issue would not be raised at all.

6. The intense lobbying work at the last two hours of the plenary made the difference. This brought across the message that we would not leave the room without our sentence being brought in. The government delegates and security guards were watchful for any mass action that we may do in case our demand will not be met. The South African government cannot afford another mass action or heckling like what happened when Colin Powell spoke in the morning.

7. The timing of the adoption of the Political Declaration worked in our favor.At that point most of the delegates would like the Plenary Session to be finished and the extension of the recess to almost two hours was too much. Most of them are aching to leave the hall. If a point is raised the discussions could go on for more hours and in the UN experience, a similar process would lead to three to fours hours.

8. The unrelenting persistence demonstrated by the indigenous peoples. In spite of us being told by governments that it was impossible to have the Political Declaration reopened, we persisted until we got the exact sentence.

9. We also believe that President Thabo Mbeki is very much aware of the indigenous peoples issues and he would not like the WSSD to end with a sour note and a possible mass action by indigenous peoples. It would not look good on his leadership and for the whole country if a Summit will fail in South Africa. Those of us who were left behind did our best to lobby hard and these efforts paid off in the end.

There were many lessons learned in this whole experience and it behooves us to learn from this. First, preparatory work in communities directly affected by the issues being discussed should be done well. Second, It was important to bring everybody to speed, so that discussions will not get bogged down on very basic issues. It was easier to unite because a good background on the WSSD was provided at the Kimberly Summit. Great challenges still lie before us. We have to make sure that the sentence will not get diluted again. Be watchful on the US delegation who might attempt another surprise move to put qualifiers on the phrase "indigenous peoples". They could not possibly do this now, because the Johannesburg Political Declaration and Implementation Plan of Action was adopted by more than 100 heads of States. Now, we can use this as a basis to say that the phrase indigenous peoples should be used in all other UN documents.

10. MAKE MINING ACCOUNTABLE? NUM by Moferefere Lekorotsoana


9 September 2002


The mining industry has, for over a century, been a key and crucial contributor to the economies of South Africa in particular, and Southern Africa in general. It has played an important role in the establishment of both small and major towns in our country. It has, as a result, become on of the major employment sectors for a long time. This even at the time when the industry experienced great turbulence in the gold and coal sectors towards the end of the 1980s into the 1990s. Consequently, the significance of the industry cannot be undermined even now when much emphasis is placed on the so-called new economy. Although mining has been all these things the main feature it has come to be known asa killer and an impoverishing industry. In comparison to the positive benefits it has made to the livelihoods of our people it has, however, incurred the country and the sub-region huge costs in the loss of human life and in disabling young black mineworkers to actively participate in broader economic activity. Furthermore, through unsustainable and environmentally unfriendly mining operations it has left many individuals and communities with a legacy of disease and illness. The health costs ? borne by governments, individuals and families - which have thus far not yet been quantified have been immense, judging from the number of young and old who suffer from illnesses such as bronchitis, asthma, tuberculosis and other lung infections. The industry has contributed tremendously to the pollution of air and water through its visible monuments of mine dumps and the pumping of dirty water into communal streams and rivers. Every single one of the major mining companies have had a hand, albeit in varying degrees, to this unsavoury situation. What is unfortunate though has been the deliberate intention of all them to wish to exonerate themselves from and avoid accountability for these atrocities. Evidence abounds of this attempt, for example, Gencor/Gefco becoming Billiton; the Anglogold and Anglo-American saga, etc. Our governments, on the other hand, have lacked the strength, capacity to make these companies account. In the hope of wanting to attract foreign direct investment they look the other way and sometimes make dangerous compromises which undermine our own laws and regulation. Cape plc is a case in point where government was being coerced to use South African taxpayers' money to rehabilitate the mines. This insult was used as a bargaining tool to the company paying compensation the former mineworkers and the communities living around the asbestos mines left behind by the company. Interestingly enough, the company is yet to make the first payment to the victims ? as per its commitment. Given this sad tale of the industry there have been growing voices within and without the countries of the South calling for a different ethos in mining. However, the protests have tended to take different and opposing views on how to engage with the mining industry. On the one hand there is a lobby ? mainly from the countries of the North ? who want mining operations to be shut, as they believe that it is inherently unsustainable and environmentally unfriendly. On the other hand, there is a groundswell movement from the South, which believes that while mining has been less than palatable for their communities, it remains an important contributor to their economies. Therefore it should be made accountable for its actions ? instead of shutting it down ? thereby leading its long-term sustainability. It is the latter view that the union supports. In the case of South Africa, coal mining is one of the most important components of our economy. First, it accounts for a large proportion of employment of people from within the country and the neighbouring states.

Second, coal is the country's source of energy and has until now enabled us to remain the cheapest producers of electricity in the world. Consequently, it would fatalistic for all role players involved in this sector to advocate for its closure as it would hamper the transformation process underway in our country, and would also result further misery and impoverishment in a sea of poverty and unemployment. The challenge confronting our Northern counterparts and us is how electricity generation, from coal, can be made more environmentally friendly through investment in appropriate technologies.

Furthermore, our analysis of the situation in one of the vanadium mines where numerous workers suffered from respiratory illnesses informs us that the answer resides in beefing up mechanisms related to health and safety standards. When and where health and safety standards are not adhered to and organised labour is either weak or without a voice, companies take short cuts and run rough shod on processes and people. Similarly, a community whose water and land is affected by mine spillage and pollutants have to be drawn in. When these factors are integrated and brought to bear on mining operations, they result in positive outcomes.

It is noteworthy that the pressure that has been placed on the mining industry has led to a positive initiative called the minerals, mining and sustainable development project (MMSD), which seeks to develop partnerships between the companies, labour and the communities. This initiative, in our view, is the acknowledgement by industry that mining operations can no longer continue in the same way as before. They require a social license from the affected communities. The challenge to both labour, in particular, and civil society in general is to ensure that the outcomes of this project are not mere paper agreements. This, even more so now since the project is part and parcel of the broader world summit on sustainable development (WSSD). Given this scenario and within the context of the Summit we should focus on ensuring that a new ethos emerges in mining. Such an ethos being how to make mining just to the environment and also ensure human security. We would suggest the following few key steps towards achieving that goal: One, there should be some kind of an international ombudsman-type ? tribunal ? linked to the UN, which will ensure that the mining companies are monitored and held accountable. This will enable communities that are aggrieved to bring the said companies to book for injury they have inflicted, whether physical and /or environmental.

Two, the recommendations contained in the MMSD should be classified under Type One Outcomes of the Summit, thereby enabling such recommendations to be enforceable. This approach will enable the application of common standards across the board and will further ensure that the industry is not left to its own to regulate itself. Three, that there should be clear policies, mechanisms and regulations that will ensure an equitable and a just compensation regime. Such policies should be holistic by taking into account not only the physical disability or fatality but also the human and health costs borne by the victims. Four, the state should be more proactive and strong in ensuring the regulation of mining activities an operations. We should not accept the situation where state and its apparatus become on-lookers while their citizenry and the country's natural resources are being decimated. Five, there should be a strong emphasis on the protection of the land rights of communities, especially indigenous communities. This cannot be left to codes of conduct, which end up being empty paper pronouncements and promises. Six, the role and participation of civil society in general and labour in particular should both be recognised and ensured in all mining endeavours and outcomes. This will assist in building real partnership, address the social needs, and see to the monitoring and adherence to good health, safety and environment practices and standards. These, in our view, are critical to the sustainability of mining and the survival of both mineworkers and their communities. The challenge to the Northern countries is not the closure of mining operations, but rather to enable and assist countries of the South to see to it that these points are implemented and monitored between now and the next Summit. In this way the Summit will then have achieved a breakthrough towards human security and environmental justice in mining.



8 September 2002


In 25 years as an environmental writer, Geoffrey Lean had seen nothing like it. What a circus! What a show! But oh, what a missed opportunity! In this special report, he reflects on the week that the world came to Johannesburg and asked for the earth

They came. They talked. And weasled. And left

They came. They saw. They concurred. And that just about sums up what 104 world leaders achieved at the Earth Summit in Johannesburg last week. They did reach agreement, but whether what was agreed will make much difference to the twin crises they had all flown in to address - deepening world poverty and environmental deterioration - is doubtful indeed.

They came, they confessed to each other, from a world in deep trouble. Chancellor Gerhard Schröder of Germany told his fellow leaders how his country and the Czech Republic and Austria had just been hit by "the biggest flood disaster in their history", showing "that climate change is no longer a sceptical forecast, but bitter reality". From the other side of the globe, Saufatu Sopoanga, Prime Minister of tiny Tuvalu - which is due to disappear under the Pacific as sea levels rise with global warming - had a similar tale to tell. Just a few weeks ago he had "a very scary experience. It was at low tide, with no strong winds, when 10-metre waves washed right across the land".

Tony Blair reminded the gathering that "a child in Africa dies every three seconds from famine, disease or conflict". The day before, on his way to the summit, the Prime Minister had spoken of the billion people in the world without safe water to drink, the 2.5 billion without basic sanitation, the felling each year of an area of forest two-thirds the size of the United Kingdom, and the destruction and degradation of a third of the planet's coral reefs.

"We know the problems," he told the summit. "We know the solutions. Let us together find the political will to deliver them."

They came, they saw ... well, what did they see? A modern conference centre in the prosperous suburb of Sandton, all gliding escalators and cavernous halls, set in a plush shopping mall where signs for Gucci, Versace and Armani jostled with posters urging sustainable development; it could have been anywhere in the richest parts of the world. And they saw at least some of the more than 9,000 government delegates, more than 8,000 representatives of business and pressure groups, and more than 4,000 journalists, crammed into a building that the fire regulations said should have held only a third that number.

Some, such as Mr Blair, also went to see the teeming slum of Alexandra, where more than 350,000 people live in destitution within sight of the luxurious centre. But in all honesty it seemed that many delegates went less to see than to be seen, especially by the television cameras.

The leaders spoke in a huge assembly hall on the top floor of the eight-storey convention centre. The press was herded into a cavernous basement. In between, the hard negotiating went on in a series of committee rooms, with most of the toughest bargaining taking place amid relatively small groups in rooms off a fourth-floor corridor thronged with lobbyists.

Security was tight, so tight that the shops and restaurants around the conference area had to bring in supplies for the entire period before the summit began: food was stored in giant refrigerated vans in car parks beneath hotels. Everywhere the participants went they had to go through security scanners, manned by (mostly) friendly police, calibrated to go off if you left even a single coin in your pockets.

And they concurred. Or rather, the heads of state made speeches while their ministers and officials toiled through the nights in less public rooms to finalise a 65-page plan of action, and a much shorter declaration of political will. Mind you, that in itself was no mean achievement, given the differences they began with.

The preliminary negotiations had been disastrous, so delegates arrived in Johannesburg with more than 400 points of disagreement on the plan of action, and without having even begun to discuss the declaration. To reach any agreement from that start was like winning a Test Match after being forced to follow on.

And it was as well that they did. For as John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, told me in the only interview he gave during the summit, the whole system of multilateral negotiations built up through the United Nations over the past 50 years was at stake. If we fail here, he warned, things would "unravel on a scale we have not seen before".

Some senior figures in the Bush administration wanted exactly that to happen, since they find international agreements on everything from the environment to human rights, and from development to arms control, an unnecessary restraint on the activities of the world's only superpower. For everyone else it was therefore tremendously important that agreement was reached. Some seemed to get carried away by their relief. Margaret Beckett, the UK's chief negotiator, emerged from the negotiating room to profess herself "delighted" by the summit's meagre results. "I am in no doubt," she added, "that our descendants will look back on this summit and say that we set out on a new path."

John Prescott, in conversation, was more circumspect, describing it as "a small step for mankind". Fair enough - but it is less clear whether the step is forward, backward or sideways.

There was one important advance - the acceptance, in spite of determined opposition from the United States - of a target of halving the number of people in the world without even basic sanitation by 2015. But this was no more than a corollary of a target already agreed by world leaders at a summit in 2000, to halve the number without safe drinking water by then. It would have been outrageous if it had not been agreed, and it was cynical of an isolated US to hold the rest of the world to ransom on the issue.

That was about the only genuine advance. After a detailed comparison of the plan of action with previous agreements, Friends of the Earth concluded that it contained only one other new target, on establishing marine reserves - and even that was rather vague.

There was some slight progress towards making multinationals more accountable and looking at the over- consumption of resources by rich countries. But that is not much to show, especially after the EU, the conference chairman Nitin Desai, and leaders such as Mr Blair had set up concrete targets and timetables as the touchstone of the conference's success.

Against these gains the summit relaxed a previous target on halting the accelerating loss of wildlife species, agreed a timetable for renewing fish stocks that critics say will actually weaken existing measures, and slightly eroded some of the principles for protecting the environment laid down at the Rio Earth Summit 10 years ago and in subsequent negotiations.

Other steps were either sideways, or marching on the spot. Most disappointingly, the summit failed to agree a target for increasing the proportion of the world's energy generated from clean, renewable sources such as the sun and the wind. No issue better exemplified the twin concerns before the conference. For two billion people are without any form of modern energy, having to rely instead on wood and animal dung - which give off smoke full of chemicals that kill some two million people a year. Providing clean, renewable sources instead would cut this death toll, preserve precious topsoil by maintaining tree cover and leaving enriching dung - and also combat global warming.

Before the summit, a task force set up, on Mr Blair's initiative, by the G8 leaders - under the co-leadership of Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, the former chairman of Shell - recommended concrete measures to bring renewable energy to a billion people by the end of the decade. But this, and all subsequent attempts to set even the most modest of targets, were shot down by Big Oil, represented by the Opec countries and the oilmen in the White House. They inserted clauses promoting nuclear power and the very fossil fuels that cause global warming.

This, again was the height of cynicism. For even if oil, gas, coal and nuclear power were unlimited, free, and caused no pollution, it would be simply impossible to get them - or grids carrying electricity generated from them - to the millions of villages scattered through the Third World. The sun, wind and other renewable sources which are distributed free by nature can therefore relieve poverty and protect the environment without even damaging the interests of the fossil-fuel and nuclear lobbies.

There were, therefore, plenty of villains at the summit. The US blocked the setting of any new targets or timetables, largely on ideological grounds - and overwhelmingly succeeded. The simmering frustration of delegates and activists finally boiled over when they booed and heckled Colin Powell - the most sympathetic member of the Bush administration - when he addressed the summit on Wednesday. The unprecedented scene provided vivid proof of the US's isolation, not just on the environment but a whole range of international issues.

The Opec countries shamelessly used the drawbacks of the UN system to oppose renewable energy. Most of the developing countries understandably wanted targets, some passionately. Latin America, led by Brazil, even put forward proposals to quadruple the use of clean energy by 2010. But in UN negotiations, all the Third World joins together in a single bloc, which traditionally takes its decisions by consensus. Opec exploited this by refusing to agree to targets, making it impossible for developing countries to do so. With the US and allies such as Australia, Japan and Canada also opposed, the EU - their only proponents - caved in.

The UN also must take some share of the blame. Britain's Stakeholder Forum for Our Common Future - a normally uncontroversial organisation which has perhaps worked more than any other worldwide with the UN to prepare the summit - became so frustrated that it published a long catalogue of instances where the UN had set up failure by taking the wrong decisions. And Mr Blair also won himself a wooden spoon by making only the most fleeting visit, spending just enough time to speak and be attacked by Robert Mugabe and Sam Nujoma, the President of Namibia, before leaving stony-faced, even earlier than scheduled, to give a press conference on Iraq.

Had he himself shown an ounce of the political will he called for, he could have made a difference, for example by working with Chancellor Schröder to secure a renewable energy target. But the possibility of tabloid stories about the cost of his hotel room if he had stayed overnight apparently weighed more heavily with him than the issues he professed to care about so deeply.

It is hard to overestimate the damage done internationally by the cursory treatment of the summit by the absent President Bush and the transient Mr Blair, while they were apparently preparing for war. The rest of the world got the impression, rightly or not, that they were obsessed with the impossible task of trying to bomb out terrorism while caring little about tackling the poverty that gives rise to it. This will surely be immensely counter-productive.

There was, however, one genuine hero: Tewolde Egziabher, a slight, asthmatic Ethiopian who heads his country's environment protection agency. Twice, by the sheer force of his somewhat diffident personality, he turned the whole conference around. On the first occasion, the summit seemed set to take a big step backwards by giving the World Trade Organisation, which allows no obstacle to free trade, the power to override international environment agreements. This threatened to nullify treaties which, for example, control trade in hazardous waste and toxic chemicals, phase out the substances that destroy the ozone layer, and enable countries to refuse imports of GM crops and food. Just as everything seemed lost, Mr Egziabher made an impassioned late-night speech that shamed the rest of the Third World and then the EU into voting down the plan. No one could remember a personal intervention having such an effect. Then he did it again, personally frustrating a US move to negate the small progress made on corporate responsibility.

The South African government also deserves praise for skilfully handling the negotiations and mounting a logistically flawless conference. And there were silver linings. The biggest was a hugely significant by-product of the summit: the announcement by Russia and Canada that they were moving to ratify the Kyoto Protocol combating global warming. Their ratification, under the complicated rules of the treaty, would bring it into force. This alone would make the summit a success - and do more to stimulate the spread of renewable energy than the proposals that had been defeated.

Then the summit confirmed a series of other targets, notably those of the Millennium Summit two years ago, which set out goals for halving dire poverty by 2015, and the Monterey Summit earlier this year, which unexpectedly led to promises of big aid increases by the US and the EU. These set out a framework which, in principle at least, bind even the Bush administration to tackling the poverty and environmental crises.

Next, the development and environment lobbies came closer together, with groups such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth helping to lead the fight to tackle world poverty. The combination could be immensely powerful for the future.

And finally the fringes of the conference launched well over 100 partnerships between business, governments and non-governmental organisations to take practical action to address the crises (Greenpeace and business even buried the hatchet to campaign together on global warming). What they will achieve remains to be seen, but they mark a new development for the UN in involving the rest of society in its affairs. Many believe that it marks the beginning of change. "The summit's decisions will be forgotten in a year," says Felix Dodds of the Stakeholder Forum. "But Johannesburg may be remembered as the start of a new kind of international action."

If that is so, it may mark a big step forward after all.

Catalogue of failure: how they scored


The one unambiguous success in the summit's plan of action. Leaders agreed to halve by 2015 the number of people - 2.4 billion - without basic sanitation, after an isolated United States dropped dogged opposition to setting the target. If implemented, this could do much to reduce the 2 million deaths a year, mainly of children, caused by drinking contaminated water. In fact, the world had already agreed at an earlier summit to cut by half the number of people without safe drinking water.

Score: 10/10


The big disappointment of the summit. The US and Opec would not endorse a target for renewable energy. They killed off a Brazilian proposal backed by the rest of Latin America and other developing and developed countries to quadruple the world's use of clean energy to 1 per cent by 2010. They even sabotaged a much more modest EU plan for a 1 per cent increase over the decade. The summit did at least discuss energy: the US and Opec stopped previous meetingsaddressing it.

Score: 1/10


The summit agreed that the Global Environment Facility, the world's main funding mechanism for global environmental problems, should be allowed to finance the fight against the desertification which threatens one third of the world's land area. It undertook to rebuild fish stocks "where possible" by 2015, but critics believe this may undermine existing agreements. It refused to phase out agricultural subsidies or to support organic and fair trade products, and left the door open for GM crops.

Score: 3/10


The plan hinted at action to tackle the greatest extinction of species since the dinosaurs died out, by obliquely referring to "the achievement by 2010 of a significant reduction in the current rate of loss of biological diversity". But this wording is much weaker than an undertaking "to stop and reverse the current alarming biodiversity loss" which the world's governments agreed only last April. The summit took a step backwards - and no one expects anything much to be done anyway.

Score: 0/10


The summit agreed a weaker text than expected, promising to "encourage and promote" a 10-year programme to combat over-consumption in rich countries, rather than to actually set it up. The EU pressed for action, but the US, Canada, Australia and Japan vigorously resisted. Proposals to support labelling of environmentally friendly goods were defeated. But the action plan does say that countries must develop better policies on consumption and production.

Score: 3/10


Surprising headway was made, mainly due to pressure groups, who forced it on to the agenda. Governments accepted that binding rules could be developed to govern the behaviour of multinational companies. The US resisted tooth and claw, and tried various ploys to exempt  itself, even after the matter was settled. But the plan of action stops short of setting a timetable for the regulations, or even firmly saying that they should be introduced.


ANC Today, Letter from the President:

6 September 2002

On Wednesday September 4, the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), concluded its work with the adoption of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation and the Political Declaration. On 20 December, 2000, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolved "to organise the ten-year review of progress achieved in the implementation of the outcome of the (1992) United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 2002 at the summit level to reinvigorate the global commitment the global commitment to sustainable development, and accepts with gratitude the generous offer of the Government of South Africa to host the summit, (and) decides to call the summit the World Summit on Sustainable Development." As the Johannesburg Summit finished its work, its Secretary General, Mr Nitin Desai, said of the four international conferences in which he had been involved, the Summit was the best organised. The other three conferences were the Rio Earth Summit, the Copenhagen World Summit on Social Development and the Monterrey Summit on Financing for Development. The Summit itself and the various delegations echoed the conclusions made by Mr Desai. Many Heads of State and Government, as well as Ministers, also repeated this statement to us and other members of the South African delegation.

Mr Desai and other people also made the observation that the Johannesburg WSSD was bigger and more complex than the previous UN Summits. Among other things, it also had about 500 other meetings and events associated with the Summit, which took place in various parts of the country. Among these were meetings of women, youth, indigenous people, non-governmental organisations, local authorities, trade unions, business and industry, the scientific and technological community and farmers. In addition, all these participated in some of the governmental meetings and presented their reports at the concluding session of the Summit. Another centrally important part was the conclusion of various development partnerships. Three hundred partnership agreements were announced during the Summit. These are specific agreements committing funds for particular projects in the wide range of areas considered by the Summit. An example of such a partnership is the agreement between the European Union (EU) and Africa, in which the EU has committed billions of Euro to help meet the water and sanitation needs of our continent, as identified by NEPAD. The comments about the success of the Summit covered various elements. These range from the protocol arrangements to receive our guests and assist them during their stay, the security arrangements, the support of our population as a whole, the organisation and the conduct of the Summit itself, including the role played by the South African delegation which helped to ensure the adoption by consensus of the decisions of the Summit. Of course, a central part of the importance of the WSSD is its agenda. A brochure issued by the United Nations says: "Johannesburg Summit 2002 will focus on turning plans into action. (It) provides a new impetus for commitments of resources and specific action towards global sustainability." The 2000 UNGA resolution we have already cited said the WSSD "should focus on the identification of accomplishments and areas where further efforts are needed to implement Agenda 21 and other results of the (1992 Rio Earth Summit), and on action-oriented decisions in those areas. (It) should ensure a balance between economic development, social development and environmental protection." To illustrate the challenge the WSSD faced in the light of this agenda, the UN brochure cites a number of statistics. It says "one fifth (1,2 billion) of the world's people must survive on less than one dollar per day. About 1.1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water. (The water deficit accounts) for 10 per cent of all diseases in developing countries. In 1996, 25 per cent of the world's 4, 630 mammal species and 11 per cent of the 9, 675 bird species were at significant risk of extinction." What these figures refer to is both the devastating impact of poverty and underdevelopment on billions of people across the globe, including millions in our own country and continent. They also focus our attention on the disastrous impact of contemporary patterns of production and consumption on nature, on which all life depends. These matters were at the centre of the work of the WSSD. It was attended by representatives of 185 governments, with at least 100 of the delegations led by Heads of State and Government. The major intergovernmental organisations, such as the EU and the Commonwealth also came. The NEPAD Secretariat sent its delegation. The Summit was also attended by representatives of indigenous people and the major social sectors in all societies, including women, the youth, workers, and others. Present also were major players in the global economy, including industrialists and other business people, farmers and workers. The trade union movement said its 400 delegates constituted the largest-ever delegation to attend an international conference. For its part, business was represented by 700 senior executives from across the globe. Major international, regional and national non-governmental organisations, which focus on the central issues of socio-economic development, poverty eradication and the protection of the environment were also at the Summit. Present also were those who believe that the socialist revolution in all countries is the only solution to the challenges confronting all humanity. Some of these set themselves the task to disrupt the Summit and cause its collapse. In this context, some of these saw the WSSD as an opportunity for them to wage a struggle against our movement and government. At least 4,000 journalists were accredited to report the proceedings of the Summit to viewers, listeners and the reading public throughout the world. Our national public broadcaster, the SABC, provided the necessary feed to the world's electronic media. The journalists had access to all the venues that hosted the various WSSD gatherings and events. Given all this - the central problems facing the peoples of the world, the specific agenda of the Summit, the high-level and large attendance, and the expectations among the billions across the globe - we can see how important the WSSD was to the future of these billions. Having offered to host the Summit, we could not possibly do anything wrong, that would result in the failure of the Summit. As we have already said publicly, we are convinced that, with regard to its decisions, the Summit was a success. This is based on the fact that it agreed to many time-specific and global targets covering such areas as water and sanitation, health, agriculture and food security, energy, biodiversity, housing and trade. Correctly, one of our daily newspapers, "The Star", reported the outcome of the WSSD under the headline: "Blueprint to save Earth". Below this, it carried the sub-heading: "Grand visions. Major goals. Ambitious targets. But is there the will and capacity to make them reality?" The Summit did not achieve all the results that we sought. Accordingly, we should not treat its outcome as a ceiling, the maximum of what we, and the rest of the world, are required to do to promote sustainable development. For our movement, which knows how a united front and negotiations among contending forces work, it constitutes a positive, but minimum programme. We must defend and implement this programme, being honour-bound to respect the international agreements into which we enter. Such is the historical morality of our movement. Given the contemporary global alignments, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation and Declaration represent the best that could be achieved in negotiations involving 185 governments. The claim by some that the Summit was a failure and a betrayal of the peoples of the world is patently false and absurd. This conclusion is not informed by facts. We agree with "The Star" that the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation and Declaration constitute the only blueprint to save the earth, that humanity has. They contain grand visions, major goals and ambitious targets. The principal question everybody will have to answer is whether the will and capacity exist, globally, to transform all these into reality. As for now, we can truthfully say that from Johannesburg, South Africa, Southern Africa and Africa, from the Cradle of Humanity from which all human beings evolved, the world community of nations has given itself the marching orders to progress towards the realisation of the hopes of all humanity. I am immensely proud of what all our people did to create the conditions in which the peoples of the world could freely interact among themselves and carry out the work to produce the outcomes they arrived at without any major hindrances deriving from any failure on our part, as South Africans, which would obstruct the work of the Summit. The masses of our people everywhere in our country did us proud. Johannesburg and the Johannesburg World Summit Company did us proud. Many public and private institutions did us proud. Our Ministers, Premiers, Mayors, elected representatives, national, provincial and local officials did us proud. Our security forces did us proud. Our 5,000 volunteers did us proud. Our business people, big and small, who contributed in many ways, did us proud. The ANC, the Alliance, genuine organisations of the mass democratic movement and organisations of civil society did us proud. Our artists and other creative workers did us proud. The SABC and others of our media organisations and the workers in these organisations did us proud. Together, in action, we got the world to understand that all of us, black and white, understand our responsibilities as custodians of the Cradle of Humanity. Together, in action, we made the world understand what we are striving to do to meet the goals of sustainable development. Together, in action, we showed the peoples of the world what we were doing with our freedom, for which they too had struggled and sacrificed. Together, in action, we communicated the message to the peoples of the world that South Africa is a common home of all humanity. Together, in action, we confirmed the correctness of the decision of the United Nations General Assembly, that South Africa should host the World Summit for Sustainable Development. We must also salute the Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, the Secretary General of the Summit, Nitin Desai, Professor Salim of Indonesia, and the staff of the United Nations for the work they did to ensure the success of the Summit. We also thank the foreign governments and businesses that contributed resources to achieve this success. We are honoured that so many government, inter-governmental, business and non-governmental leaders came to Johannesburg, giving due weight to the Summit. We thank them also for the way they conducted themselves to ensure the success of the Summit, what they taught us, and their generosity in freely acknowledging that what we did as South Africans contributed significantly to the success of the WSSD. The historic WSSD has concluded its work. Our guests have left the place from which all humanity evolved and emerged. They carry with them the knowledge that, as South Africans, we are determined to defend and advance the visions, the goals and targets that came out of the Johannesburg Summit. The Johannesburg Summit has demonstrated that we have the will and capacity to meet this expectation.

13. DEVELOPMENT NOW A REAL POSSIBILITY FOR ALL by Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Valli Moosa

The Pretoria News

September 2002


Dlamini-Zuma is South African Minister of Foreign Affairs and Moosa is Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism

At the end of intense and often difficult negotiations, the World Summit has opened the way for the world to take new strides in the foremost challenge of our time - the eradication or poverty and the closing of the gap between rich and poor, combined with protection of the environment. What mattered as representatives of more than 180 countries grappled with difficult issues was that there should, at the end of it all, be a critical mass of agreement on a new agenda for practical action that could decisively alter the global framework for sustainable development. The agreements reached in Johannesburg constitute basic minimum responsibilities for all governments and peoples.

They are a guide to action for us to take forward the UN Millennium Summit Declaration and decisions of world bodies since the Rio Summit 10 years ago.  They should inform the system of global governance. Since Rio, the world has changed in ways that make sustainable development even more urgent.  Growing poverty and vulnerability of the poor, climatic disasters and deterioration of the environment highlight the need for a more integrated approach. We have learnt that high sounding declarations, on their own, do not amount to much.  Practical programmes are required joining together governments and all sectors of the world's peoples, including NGOs and business. At the same time, the world has never been better placed to tackle these problems.  The strengthening of regional blocs and better communication through information technology have opened new possibilities for a more coherent approach.   We set ourselves the task of ensuring a balance among the three pillars of sustainable development - economic, social and environmental - and a focus on poverty eradication.  It was essential to mobilise new resources and new energy behind a practical implementation plan.   In the give and take of negotiations, not all that everyone might have wanted on particular issues was possible.  But that critical mass of global agreement and commitment has been won and with it far-reaching practical programmes, new resources and strengthened means of implementation. The biggest success of WSSD has been in getting the world to turn the ambitious development plan goals set in the Millennium Declaration to halve world poverty by 2015 into a concrete set of programmes and to mobilise funds into those porgrammes. The Summit brought to the fore the need to pay particular attention to the most marginalised sectors of society, including women, youth, indigenous peoples and people with disabilities. The Implementation Plan includes programmes to deliver water, energy, health care, agricultural development and a better environment for the world's poor. In a departure from previous global conferences and summits, WSSD has shifted the focus of world leaders from policy debates to the real task of "making it happen" and achieving high-level commitment by heads of state and leaders from business and civil society. As testimony to this, many concrete actions, partnerships and funding targets were announced by countries and stakeholders.  WSSD saw over 300 partnerships launched, including 32 energy initiatives, 21 major water programmes and 32 programmes for biodiversity and eco-system management. There have also been significant pledges of resources by a number of countries.  For example, Germany has pledged 500-million euros over the next five years to promote cooperation on renewable energy.  The United States has pledged $53-million over the next three years for a major initiative on forests. We are proud as South Africans that we were able to host one of the largest gatherings of the UN and the world's peoples, in pursuit of objectives that are profoundly relevant to our own programme of reconstruction and development.  Some of our own programmes already surpass targets and time frames set by the WSSD.  But our own reality of stark poverty and inequality demands that we intensify all our programmes. We can be sure that, as our guests return home, they will take with them special memories of a warm people and a country alive with possibility. We are also proud of those whose peaceful marches and other activities not only highlighted their strong views on global matters, but also the practical meaning of our constitutional right to free expression. Congratulations to all South Africans, the citizens of Johannesburg, the security services and airport staff, all Jowsco and government staff, the media, employers and employees in the hospitality and other industries, and all who worked together to make WSSD a success. Special thanks and congratulations to the thousands of volunteers and performers and those whose arts and crafts brought home to every visitor a graphic presentation of who we are as people. In the final analysis, South Africa and other developing countries may not have got everything they wanted.  Nor can anyone be totally satisfied with the outcome.  But the most critical issue is that out of Africa and Joburg has emerged a new agenda for practical action to build a better world.


The Sowetan


The writer is the former president of South Africa

The World Summit on Sustainable Development has taken place at a time when we as South Africans, and indeed the entire continent, are grappling with achieving development that is sustainable and at the same time not harmful to our people or our environments.

South Africa, like the rest of Africa, is plagued by vast inequalities between the very poor and the very rich.  Many of our people still live in abject poverty. our natural resources are being exploited in a way that is not sustainable.  Our vast forests are being destroyed at an alarming rate, our water supplies are being depleted and what supply there is is being polluted in such a way that it hampers the overall socio-economic development of our communities. The question then is: can a gathering like the earth summit actually make a difference in our lives? Since the last earth summit in Brazil 10 years ago have we seen real and positive changes? Let us look at this through the eyes of children, the most vulnerable and most needy in any society. Are children in 2002 better off than they were in 1992? Some would say yes and some would say no.   In fact it is a bit of both. Clearly conferences such as the just-ended earth summit cannot bring about change.  They represent important beginnings but without action they remain empty promises and good intentions. A child living in rural South Africa is in some ways better off but in many ways his or her life has not changed much. In 2002 a child living in rural South Africa is more likely to be immunised against a childhood disease than they were in 1992. They are more likely to have the opportunity to go to school and in their immediate community there is a greater awareness of their rights and that they need to be taken care of. Efforts to improve their lives have vastly increased and in 2002 there is probably more political commitment to see a real improvement in any child's life, but particularly in the remote rural areas. But much has not changed and in some cases the situation has in fact become worse. For a child living in rural South Africa there is a very high probability that he or she will only receive one meal a day or not eat at all at any given day. They will have to walk very far to get to a school or to get clean water for their families.  Some children are still being forced to enter into gainful employment at a very early age to help support their families. One of the most critical issues affecting a child in 2002 is HIV-AIDS.  A child in 2002 will at some point be touched by HIV-AIDS either directly or indirectly. Added to the burden of poverty and walking long distances to school, children in many parts of rural South Africa, and indeed most of the developing world, are becoming primary caregivers. One of the most daunting challenges facing delegates and participants at the Johannesburg earth summit is the adverse effect that HIV-AIDS has on development.

In the months and years to follow Johannesburg 2002, HIV-AIDS is going to become the major issues affecting development. The question then is: "What difference will the earth summit make in their lives In 10 years will they be able to look and say: 'The earth summit changed and improved my life'."  I can say that the earth summit can and will make a difference only if there is real commitment to actively implement the resolutions that are adopted. The earth summit will then move beyond a mere talkshop and become something resulting in concrete steps that improve people's lives at all levels of society, and across all socio-economic and political barriers. The earth summit was characterised by one unique feature: it was the first time that civil society groups were given the opportunity to participate in such an active way, and this is the key to ensuring that the earth summit makes a differences in people's lives because, essentially, that is what it was about. It was about bringing positive and real changes to those people on the brink, those who live in abject poverty, and those who are barely literate and struggle to survive and provide for their families. Summits such as this one can make a difference in educating and raising awareness among ordinary people about issues such as environmental degradation, poverty and economic imbalances.

Knowledge can be a powerful tool in bringing about change and ensuring that the earth summit makes a difference. With this knowledge and commitment the profile of a child living in rural South Africa should be very different in ten years' time. The implementation plan agreed upon in Johannesburg includes programmes to deliver water, energy, healthcare, agricultural development and a better environment for the world's poor. If this plan is implemented by leaders at all levels a child living in rural South Africa should see the following improvements in his or her life in 10 years time. Easy access to clean drinking water.  Neither they nor their parents would have to walk very far to fetch this water;  Children waking up on any given morning secure in the fact that they will not have to walk very far to go to school;  Having at least one meal a day that will nourish them;  Being able to finish their schooling or at least be given the opportunity to receive basic education, giving  them the tools in life to be successful at whatever they do;  Being secure in the knowledge that the water they drink is not polluted and will remain that way; and  The air is clean and will remain so and that any kind of industrial activity will not be at the expense of the environment.

Provided there is commitment and political will the summit can and will make a difference.

15. VIEWS ON THE EARTH SUMMIT by Walden Bello and Susan George

Red Pepper

September 2002



Ten years after the Rio de Janeiro Conference on Environment and Development, the global environmental situation is unarguably worse. The main culprit is an unchecked capitalist mode of production that relentlessly transforms nature's bounty into commodities, and unceasingly creates new demand. Capitalism constantly erodes our relationship with nature, community and self, and even as it drains workers of their life energy, it moulds their consciousness around one role: that of consumer. One of its most destructive "laws of motion" is Say's law -- that supply creates its own demand, and continued expansion must be achieved by the accelerated consumption of nature.

So capitalism transforms living nature into dead commodities, natural wealth into dead capital. It has expanded unevenly, superdeveloping in its heartland in the North, underdeveloped in the periphery. Thus its environmental impact too has been unequally distributed. One American emits as much per capita greenhouse gas as 17 Maldiveans, 19 Indians, 30 Pakistanis, 49 Sri Lankans, 107 Bangladeshis, 134 Bhutanese, and 269 Nepalis. In fact, the global impact of the superdeveloped capitalist North may be even greater than this. For the North has increasingly displaced its environmental problems to the South. Japan, for example, has lifted its environmental standards by transferring its labour and pollution-intensive industries to East and Southeast Asia. Europe and the US have joined Japan in making cheap-labour, pollution-friendly China both the workshop and the wastebasket of the world. This is, however, only the latest phase of a 150-year-old process of displacing the environmental costs of the production process from the centre to subordinate parts of the world economy.

Ten years ago, George Bush Senior torpedoed the Rio Summit by stating that "America's lifestyle is not up for negotiation." Europe and Japan feigned horror, but consumption was king for them too and the next decade showed that it was their common recipe for keeping the global economy afloat. The G8 summits have essentially served as a forum to negotiate which capitalist centre would serve at which period as the world's consumption-engine. The so-called management of the international economy is a process of determining which centre will accelerate its conversion of nature into commodity and from commodity into waste. Today, the Earth Summit is stillborn, killed over a year before it was due to be held by George W Bush's decision to abandon the Kyoto Climate Change protocol. This is capitalism stripped of its human face, and revealed as an enemy of nature. Japanese and European elites may seem upset, but what they are most upset about is the American's frank acknowledgment that the continued expansion of the production system they share, requires an accelerated consumption of nature. Johannesburg will see a mixture of corporate green-washing, American bullying, European holier-than-thou posturing, third world leaders begging for aid in return for more pro-corporate liberalisation, and the WTO hijacking the environment in the service of free trade. It is one more UN conference bound for ignominious failure. But this failure comes just as a crisis of overproduction -- or over-capacity -- has stymyied the system's ability to consume its way out of trouble. The engines of consumption-driven growth -- America, Japan, Europe, East Asia -- now face the spectre of a synchronised downspin. These dynamics are developing as nature's revolt becomes more pronounced, and as consumers throughout the world transform themselves into citizens determined to recreate community, and a lost sense of social solidarity. Johannesburg may well be remembered as a significant signpost in the struggle between capitalism and its adversaries: the environment, the community. Which side will prevail remains to be seen.


In Rio, the big (if generally overlooked) news was the result of lobbying by the Business Council for Sustainable Development, whose Swiss billionnaire leader, Stephen Schmidheiny, was coincidentally a close friend of the Earth Summit secretary general Maurice Strong. No outside agency would regulate Transnational Corporations because they were environmentally benign and quite capable of regulating themselves. Mining, petroleum and forestry giants among other members of the BCSD rejoiced. Since then , the TNCs have launched the "CSR" movement and barely a month goes by without some CSR conference somewhere. They say it stands for "Corporate Social Responsibility". I say it stands for "Corporate Self-Regulation". Ten years on, the same corporations -- now convened as the "World Business Council for Sustainable Development" -- are pushing for further recognition in Joburg through so-called "Type II" solutions, or Public-Private Partnerships. Their impermeability to regulation is likely to become even more entrenched. Meanwhile, Kofi Annan has instated the "Global Compact" for corporations at the UN. To join it, a company need only sign up for three general principles in the field of social, labour and environmental policy. No monitoring is envisaged; the UN admits it can't check up on the behaviour of Global Compact members. They can post their showcase projects on the UN site and otherwise drape themselves in the blue flag.

Where the UN is concerned, TNCs seem to be able to do pretty much as they please. The present regime in the United States also induces deep pessimism.I hope for the best in Jo'burg but I also fear the worst.


Sunday Times (Johannesburg)

8 September 8, 2002


IN THE negativity that often characterises South Africa's national discourse, there was much anticipation of chaos ahead of the World Summit on Sustainable Development[WSSD]. Airports would not be able to handle the tide of delegates. There would be traffic snarl-ups all over Johannesburg as heads of state were whisked from meetings to banquets. And oh, of course, our legion of criminals would rob and rape delegates while our police officers would not be able to cope. At the end of the summit, there would be nice-sounding and lofty declarations with reams of empty promises. Well, the contrary was to be the case. South Africa, and the host city of Johannesburg, absorbed the pressure and handled the summit with the precision of any First World country and city. Sure, there were glitches here and there. But, according to accounts, most delegates left Johannesburg with great memories. They will hopefully also remember a summit that went some way towards realising the objectives of a world that cares about its people and the environment. And hopefully, like Rio de Janeiro and Beijing, Johannesburg will be identified with occasions where human history inched forward ever so slightly. After Rio, green politics moved into the mainstream and Beijing helped put women's rights at the top of the human rights agenda. So when Johannesburg was awarded the right to host the 2002 summit it was the express objective of the South African government that rather than narrowly focusing on environmental affairs, the summit should be about building a world where poverty would be reversed, the earth's resources would be used rationally and equitably and where humans would refrain from destructive patterns of consumption. The outcome of the Johannesburg deliberations begins to move in that direction. The plan of implementation adopted at the end of the summit contains some ambitious targets, some of which are restatements from previous gatherings. The declaration also strikes a delicate balance between the needs of the environment and the livelihood of those who are alive today. But, as long-term summit watchers have pointed out, we've been here before. There is every chance that rich nations and multinational corporations will try to ignore and circumvent the Johannesburg decisions. The difference this time is that the greatest emphasis was put on setting targets and creating mechanisms to implement them. More importantly, what gives the Johannesburg decisions greater clout is that the world's political landscape has changed immensely since 1992. The voice of nongovernmental organisations has become a stronger force in international politics, corporations have become sensitive to public opinion and developing nations have a greater sense of unity. In Johannesburg it was not the traditional twins of military prowess and economic might that won the day. Morality, logic and concern for future generations were the victors. That will be the legacy of Johannesburg 2002.


Bangkok Post

8 September 2002


Mr Kim Hak-Su is Executive Secretary of UNESCAP.

So much has been written and broadcast about the likely outcome of the summit here that I feel compelled to point out that what happens AFTER the delegates and TV crews leave Johannesburg is as, if not more, important to sustainable development over the long-term. Ten years ago, after the Earth Summit in Rio, sceptics labelled that conference a failure. ``The developed countries hadn't committed enough. The developing countries expected handouts while cutting down the rainforests. The whole thing was a waste of time,'' reported many of the world's journalists and pundits. As it turned out, the truth was rather different.  Rio was not a waste of time. It was a wake-up call _ a summit that drew attention to the problems associated with unsustainable development and the growing gap between the have and have-not economies of our world. It was during the ten years that followed Rio that this awareness grew and indeed some action was taken.

Since 1992, activism for a fairer and more sustainable world has seen an increase in popular support. During this period, most governments and corporations alike came to the realisation that it was in their best interests to take an active role in promoting sustainable development. By the late 1990's, many big multi-national companies had introduced their own environmental charters or, at least, had publicly stated positions on major environmental and developmental issues that affected the regions in which they did business. Others have enthusiastically taken part in environmentally sustainable public-private partnership. Governments, including many of the countries in Asia and the Pacific _ members of UNESCAP _ have, since 1992, introduced their own anti-pollution laws designed to minimise the adverse effects of development on their local environments. However, as a major UNESCAP/UNDP study points out, although almost all of the countries of the Asia and Pacific region have enacted resource conservation and pollution control Acts, deforestation, biodiversity loss, soil degradation, and air and water pollution are on the increase. The reason for this is a lack of compliance and enforcement. It is crucial, therefore, that the Johannesburg Summit succeeds in convincing governments, corporations, NGOs and other stakeholders that, this time, there must be some international coordination to ensure that agreements reached at Johannesburg are effectively implemented and enforced. Therefore, the world needs an authoritative, unbiased, UN-sponsored body with the expertise to oversee, assist and advise governments on coordinated implementation and enforcement. Such a body already exists. Worldwide, the United Nations operates five commissions. The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), based in Bangkok, is one of the five. UNESCAP and its sister commissions in Europe, Africa, Latin America, and Western Asia, provide technical advice and assistance to the governments of these various regions on issues of economic, agricultural, social and environmental development.  UNESCAP and the other commissions employ hundreds of experts in various fields who live and work in these various regions. They are ideally placed to help ensure the Johannesburg Agreement is implemented and enforced.  In our region _ Asia and the Pacific _ governments have already agreed to a seven-step approach to sustainable development.  The Phnom Penh Regional Platform on Sustainable Development for Asia and the Pacific was adopted last November. UNESCAP, UNDP, UNEP, the Asian Development Bank and, of course, regional governments all collaborated to come up with this way forward. This roadmap for sustainable development covers capacity building, poverty reduction, cleaner production and sustainable energy, land management and biodiversity conservation, protection, management and access to freshwater resources, oceans, coastal and marine resources and sustainable development of small island states, and action on atmosphere and climate change. The will is there. The roadmap has been published and UNESCAP and the UN's other regional commissions are ready and willing to help steer the course.


6 September  2002


The UN World Summit on Sustainable Development closed Wednesday, adopting a declaration and a final action plan on economic and ecological goals. While the delegates from 103 countries hailed the outcome as satisfactory, environmentalist groups angrily called the summit outcome a backward step from the accomplishments at Rio de Janeiro 10 years ago.  It is regrettable that the Rio Declaration, adopted to save "the integral and interdependent nature of the Earth, our home," has not been implemented because of conflicting national interests for the last 10 years. The Johannesburg summit succeeded in setting some important goals and action plans. But it is disappointing that there are no specific objectives and fixed timetables in the final plan.  It is praiseworthy that the meeting set ambitious action plans: Reducing by half the number of people in absolute poverty, subsisting on less than $1 a day, by 2015 and minimizing the production and consumption of ecologically harmful chemicals by 2020. At the summit, China, followed by Russia, announced its intent to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on global warming. With these two countries' participation, the chances increase of the protocol taking effect soon.

South Korea was represented by 300 officials and civic group members. The size of the Korean delegation demonstrated its keen interest and sense of responsibility toward preservation of the environment. The hottest issue at the 10-day session was the European proposal to increase the use of renewable energy from sun, wind and waves to 15 percent of all energy use by 2020. The United States and some oil-producing countries objected, and it was made a recommendation. For South Korea, it is rather a relief that the proposal was not adopted now, for the share of renewable energy here is only 1.6 percent. Although the recommendation has no binding force, its target will be referred to in all international energy policies and action plans.  It is essential that the government make careful preparations when it draws a long-term energy plan and plans industrial restructuring. It is wrong to give priority to either development or environmental protection. We should not choose one at the sacrifice of the other. South Korea should pay due attention to preserving its environment and plan its economic system consistent with sustainable development.


India Together

September 2002


Darryl D'Monte is Chairperson, Forum of Environmental Journalists of India (FEJI), and President, International Federation of Environmental Journalists (IFEJ). He is a former resident editor of Times of India and The Indian Express. This opinion/article on India Together is provided by the Women's Feature Service.

September 2002, Johannesburg, SA, (WFS) - The overall impression at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) was that while the official deliberations at the Convention Centre in Sandton, an upmarket suburban mall district, had few women delegates, this was more than made up by those speaking out in the NGO sessions at other far-flung venues.  Surprisingly, there was less discussion of gender issues than was the case at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Possibly this is because gender has now been "mainstreamed" into the environment and development discourse. Several speakers at official and non-official sessions apologised for the lack of women on the dais, which would not have been evident at Rio. The gender-sensitive speakers included Ronnie Kasrils, South Africa's Water Minister, and Sir Richard Jolly, head of the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council.  Since Rio, globalisation and economic liberalisation have been the two forces to reckon with in the debate on sustainable development. This is apparent from the summing up by Vandana Shiva, arguably the most seen and heard woman at WSSD. "What happened in Johannesburg amounts to a privatisation of the Earth: an auction house in which the rights of the poor were given away."  The involvement of big business and emphasis on the economic - rather than the environmental or social - dimension even on issues like poverty, food, famine, biotechnology, water and energy, ensured that gender was relegated to the backburner. As Liz Hosken of the Gaia Foundation in London said: "What should have been an earth summit has been infiltrated and taken over by trade. The Johannesburg Plan is an incredibly weak document." Muriel Saragoussi of the Brazilian Forum of Social Movements was even more forthright: "Our governments have shamed us."  The one advance at Johannesburg which does impinge on women was the agreement to halve the proportion of people without sanitation -- 2.4 billion -- by 2015, one of the UN's Millennium Goals. This target too was initially opposed by the US delegation. It isn't common knowledge that apart from the indignity which those without access to toilets have to bear, there is a heavy cost to be paid in ill health and child mortality. According to Dr Valerie Curtis of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, if people washed their hands after defecation and before meals, it would cut diarrhoeal disease (a major cause of child mortality) by 43 per cent. Since women bear the brunt of this burden, they stand to gain from 190 governments committing themselves to this goal.  Of course, the gender dimension emerged in several discussions on economic issues too, despite the lack of focus on it. Nowhere was this clearer than when it came to land. This was certainly a four-letter word at Johannesburg for the simple reason that it figured in the backdrop of Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe's controversial policy to permit his people to forcibly take back land from white farmers. In the grand march of protestors to the convention centre on August 31, the South African landless were prominent, and women equally in evidence.  In Africa, as in other developing countries, the right of women to own and inherit land is a central issue. In Uganda, for instance, Ethics and Integrity Minister Miria Matembe had argued three years ago that women should be legally entitled to co-own land. Ugandan activists were appalled when she told the Women's World Congress last month at Makerere University: "Women in Uganda should forget about the co-ownership land clause being incorporated in the 1997 Land Act."  She told the 2,000 international delegates present that legal discrimination and inadequacy of Uganda's laws inhibited women's participation in national development. President Yoweri Museveni himself has gone on record to women's rights activists that co-ownership of land would encourage some greedy women to grab their husband's property, including land. "You cannot talk about women's emancipation in a disempowered continent," he asserted.  According to Ugandan Vice President Specioza Kazibwe, there was no reason why African women couldn't buy land for themselves, ignoring the fact that the majority of the population lives on less than a dollar a day. Ruth Mubiru, Director of the International Network on Women and Desertification, believed the solution to poverty in Africa is to involve women in the proper use and management of natural resources, including land.  Although women comprise 80 per cent of Uganda's agricultural producers, only three per cent own land. "Women's ownership of land is crucial in fighting poverty and will also bring about sustainable development," argued Mubiru, who also heads the Uganda Tree Planting Movement. "Women are the majority of squatters in most parts of Uganda."  South African President Thabo Mbeki and other African leaders are pressing for the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad), which attempts to integrate Africa into the global market. According to President Museveni, "More market access will mean more factories in Africa that translate into more jobs for the Africans and therefore more income and rights to talk about." He recently lost a battle with Nestle to process Ugandan beans locally, which would have created more jobs.  Critics like Mercedes Sayagues, a South African community radio journalist, believe that to tie women's emancipation to factory jobs is illusory. "Life for a woman factory worker in a slum in Nairobi or Luanda is not necessarily better than in a village," she said. The ambivalence of women factory workers is captured in Oxfam's recent report, "Rigged rules and double standards", where one says: "In the rural areas, we had freedom but no money. In the factory, we don't have freedom, but we have money to provide for our families."  Concludes Sayagues: "Globalisation has not been kind to women. Markets are not gender-neutral. Markets reproduce, even deepen, gender-based discrimination. Women today make up one-third of industrial workers in developing countries, concentrated in labour-intensive sectors...women have the jobs with less pay, less status and they are most prone to abuse."  At Johannesburg, the Women's Environment and Development Organisation (WEDO) brought together activists who launched Women's Action Agenda 21 at Rio. "The most vital lesson was to stress the importance of women organising beyond ethnic, cultural, linguistic, political and religious differences," said Jocelyn Dow. "We are women, first and foremost - we are bonded by a common oppression." Added Vandana Shiva: "We need to go beyond Rio, because the crisis has grown since then."


The Daily Star

31 August 2002


Najib Saab, editor in chief of Environment & Development magazine, wrote this commentary for The Daily Star

One-hundred heads of state will kick off the biggest international talkshow in history on Monday morning in Johannesburg. The official name of the show is World Summit on Sustainable Development. While most Arab leaders won't be attending the Earth summit, one might still hope that one of them will arrive Monday on a white horse, unscheduled, to deliver this speech: Mr. Chairman, 10 years ago, the Earth summit in Rio diagnosed the impasse of environment and development, unanimously prescribed sustainable development as the magic cure, and presented us with an ambitious agenda. Yet the human and financial resources fell short. As the UN secretary-general has said, the results achieved in implementing Agenda 21 have been rather disappointing. In many areas environmental conditions have worsened and development efforts could not improve living conditions for growing populations. The disappointments of the last decade are not, however, reason to abandon the principles and spirit of Rio; rather, they are a challenge to exercise extra effort to translate these principles into realistic actions. This summit should meet the challenge and demonstrate our commitment to find common ground to advance sustainable development, not as mere intellectual luxury, but as a path to mankind's survival. This summit is an opportunity to draw conclusions from past failures and agree on an action-oriented work program, setting clear targets and timetables. A basic requirement is that this summit should reaffirm and deliver on the commitments of the Rio summit and on the Millennium development goals, to eradicate poverty. Developed countries should also realize that changing lifestyles and consumption patterns at home is a prerequisite to achieving sustainable development. What is happening instead is that those patterns are being exported to developing countries under the cover of free trade and globalization. Whereas we fully recognize that deals can be fine-tuned to ensure better implementation in view of changing conditions, international environmental agreements with global ramifications cannot be unilaterally revoked to protect national short-term interests. International law cannot be selectively applied. Developing countries rightly complain that industrialized countries have fallen short of fulfilling the pledges they made at Rio. Official development assistance has since declined by one-third, to 0.22 percent of the gross domestic product of the rich countries, instead of increasing to the promised 0.7 percent. While developing countries are willing not to pursue the same development patterns followed by industrialized countries, which have caused environmental havoc, they must be helped to follow alternative and sustainable patterns of development without compromising their own national resources and sovereignty.

This summit should send a signal that rich countries will deliver on their global commitments to help poorer ones achieve balanced development. We in developing countries have recognized many rules imposed in the context of globalization, to secure open markets, import liberalization and the free flow of trade. For those measures to succeed, they cannot be one-sided. Industrialized countries still impose import tariffs on developing countries that are four times higher than those applied to each other. Although there are international rules against subsidies, some countries still heavily subsidize exports, causing social and ecological disasters for developing countries and destabilizing local and international markets. Such practices deny developing countries a fairer share of the benefits of globalization.

The answer to globalization's failure to benefit the poor is not isolationism, but more global integration, based on fair and equitable distribution of resources and responsibilities. The core foundation of sustainable development is global partnership based on the principles of economic, social and environmental development. By barring poor countries from effectively participating in global economic decisions, the whole structure is bound to collapse. Economic talks should not be kept off-limits in this summit: That would betray sustainable development and delay solutions. Sustainable development should be accepted as a goal in itself, not a negotiating item lost in talks on governance and aid. Selective interpretations of good governance by some developed countries should not be used as an excuse to deprive poor countries of needed aid. Simultaneously, insufficient aid from rich countries does not absolve developing countries of the obligation to ensure good governance and fight corruption. Good governance based on the principles of quality management is in the interest of developing countries, regardless of the levels of foreign aid, as much as delivering aid is an obligation of developed countries.

Any discussion outside this framework is a cover-up to defy national and international obligations. Allow me to share some of our experiences in the decade after Rio: Like other countries, we have established an Environment Ministry, enacted laws, ratified major international agreements and cooperated with international agencies to implement various environmental projects. Our civil society became vibrant and active on environmental matters. The Rio decade was, however, characterized by ready-made solutions which resulted in projects often designed to fit the measurements and requirements of donor agencies and the international bureaucracy, rather than the actual needs of local communities. While these projects delivered good results, many benefits were lost due to poor coordination. The global aspect of the Rio decade often ignored basic local requirements, allocating vast budgets for topics such as introducing alternatives to substances responsible for the ozone hole, while overlooking pressing issues such as air pollution killing thousands of people in cities.

We note with gratification that an agreement has recently been reached to expand the scope of the Global Environment Facility to finance efforts to combat desertification, another subject that was unfairly considered as being regional, thus deprived from financing under the global scope of GEF. We support the commitment of the implementation plan to promote renewable energy sources and cleaner use of fossil fuels, which require proper transfer of technology; however, as part of a developing region that depends heavily on oil for income, I caution against selectively imposing new tariffs under the guise of environmental protection, as they could hamper the whole region's development. Oil tariffs, under the name of carbon tax or others, if they were for true environmental concerns, should be shared with producers  mainly developing countries  who need the income to advance cleaner production technologies. Coming from a region trying to achieve sustainable development under war, occupation and the daily threat of Israeli aggression, I can testify that ending foreign occupation and respect for human and national rights are prerequisites to proper development. We support the call for eliminating weapons of mass destruction, but not in a selective manner. Global partnership, required to implement sustainable development, calls for a meaningful dialogue among civilizations, one based on mutual respect and understanding of different cultures. We cannot win a "war on terror" if we fail to achieve peaceful coexistence and wage a determined war on poverty and injustice. Thank you.

21. THE GLOOMY STATE OF TODAY'S WORLD by Frank-Jürgen Richter and Thang Nguyen

International Herald Tribune

30 August 2002


The writers are with the World Economic Forum, Geneva. They contributed this comment to the International Herald Tribune.

GENEVA: Graham Greene once said, "I often find myself torn between two beliefs: the belief that the world should be better than it is and the belief that when the world appears to be better, it is actually worse."  During the World Summit for Sustainable Development, now taking place in Johannesburg, it is necessary to question ourselves honestly on the state of the world.  Since 1992 when the United Nations held the Earth Summit focusing on environment and development in Rio de Janeiro, the state of the world has deteriorated.  On climate change, for example, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports that the increase of global warming in the past 50 years "is attributable to human activities" and that by 2100, temperatures will increase by 1.4 to 5.8 degrees centigrade.  The special world summit edition of "The State of the World 2002," an authoritative publication by the Worldwatch Institute, cites similar alarming trends in health, agriculture, population growth, natural resources and other areas of development.  "Ten years after the Rio Earth Summit, we are still far from ending the economic and environmental marginalization that afflicts billions of people," says the institute's president, Christopher Flavin. His words refer to the increasingly widened divides - wealth, health, digital and so on - between the industrialized and developing worlds.

Some view these divides as consequences of globalization. Is globalization the cause of these divides? The answer depends on who you ask. Officials from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization would tell you that globalization has improved the world by increasing international trade and capital flows, transferring technical know-how, and giving jobs to the developing countries. But if you asked the people from Third World countries or critics of globalization, they would tell you otherwise. For them, globalization is nothing but a process by which the rich and powerful enjoy the fruits of wealth at the expense of the poor and the powerless, and international institutions are responsible for all the mishaps that it causes. Many critics of globalization organize themselves to protest every time these institutions launch a summit.  In "Globalization and Its Discontents," an influential book, the 2001 Nobel laureate in economics, Joseph Stiglitz, argues that, as well-meaning as they may be, the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO have failed to deliver the benefits of globalization to the developing world.  Citing both East Asia's economic success as a result of globalization and the wrong medicine that the IMF prescribed for the victim countries of the 1997 Asian financial crisis and other cases, he recommends that these global institutions need to reform their policies so that they can make globalization fairer and work for everyone.  The world economy had already been feeling experiencing turbulence when the tragic events of Sept. 11 created a new crisis in the United States.  Worse, while having to fight terrorism, the United States has recently been hit by the corporate governance scandal. Such gigantic corporations as Enron and WorldCom collapsed. As of this writing, United Airlines has signaled signs of danger, and no one really knows which will be the next corporation to fall. In security terms, the post-Sept. 11 world is more fragile and uncertain than ever before.  Insurgencies in South Asia and the Middle East continue to worsen. We are also warned of a potential U.S. attack on Iraq. No one can say for sure when, where, how or if this attack will take place.  As we are confronted with all these global challenges, the need for open and solution-driven discussions is greater now than ever before. Based on our experience with the World Economic Forum, we strongly believe that a multi-stakeholder approach with a balanced participation - including the private sector recognized as a full part of society, governments, international organizations and various representatives of civil society from all over the world - is the best way to tackle global issues head on.  Green's observation reminds us not to be complacent about the state of the world. In fact, let us acknowledge that the world in which we are living is getting worse every day and, each and every one of us - regardless of our professions, race or religion - is responsible for and has a role to play in the process of making it a more just and livable place.

22. WE CAN DO THIS GOOD WORK TOGETHER ONLY ONE EARTH by Thabo Mbeki, Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Goran Persson

International Herald Tribune

28 August 2002


President Mbeki of South Africa, President Cardoso of Brazil and Prime Minister Persson of Sweden contributed this comment to the International Herald Tribune.

JOHANNESBURG: The bounty of the earth is not inexhaustible. The oceans do not contain an infinite number of fish. Much of what is once destroyed by overexploitation or greed is gone forever. Earth sustains life and is our nurturing resource.  Today we abuse Earth's resources. We feed on portions that belong to unborn generations. Our children's children risk entering this world already bearing the debt of their forefathers.  It is not an option but an imperative that we "meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs," as the Brundtland report put it in 1987.  Thirty years after the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm, and 10 years after the Rio de Janeiro Conference on Environment and Development, the World Summit on Sustainable Development is being held in Johannesburg from Aug. 26 to Sept. 4. The year 2002 will therefore be historically linked to 1972 and 1992, and will become a new turning point in international awareness of the environment as a global issue.  Is the world ready for this new challenge? Concern over degradation of the environment led to the historic 1972 conference in Stockholm. The result was a permanent place for the environment on the global agenda, the beginning of the era of multilateralism in the protection of the environment and increased popular awareness. There was recognition of the fact that there is no individual future, but that we all share "only one Earth."

Protection of the environment is a noble endeavor in itself. But the survival of the environment is also the strategic basis of human survival. The question is therefore principally about human welfare.  The protection of Earth must go hand in hand with measures to fight poverty and enhance human dignity and security. Development and environment are interlinked.  It is indeed too much to ask a mother whose child is dying of thirst today to express concern about the health of wetlands. It is indeed too much to ask a man whose family is starving to death today to concern himself with the environmental consequences of his fishing practices.  It is indeed too much to ask a woman who needs to cook a meal for her hungry family today to be concerned about the long-term sustainability of her firewood gathering practices or about climate change. Since 1990, 10 million more people have joined the ranks of the poor every year. More than 1.1 billion of our fellow human beings are undernourished, and 1.5 billion people live in water-scarce areas. And we know that in some parts of Africa the desert advances at a rate of 10 kilometers a year.  The gap between the rich and the poor continues to widen. All this at a time when the world is enjoying an unprecedented level of global productivity and capital accumulation unleashed by the forces of globalization during the last decade.

To watch passively as poverty increases, the wealth and information gaps widen and environmental degradation continues is not only a human and moral failure. It is also an enormous waste of resources - especially human resources, the most important factor for sustainable development. In this context, empowerment of women and a gender perspective are crucial components. No one can afford to let this situation continue.  We are convinced that far from being a burden, investments and policies that promote sustainable development offer an exceptional opportunity. Economically they help to build new markets and create jobs. Socially they bring people in from the margins. And politically they reduce tensions over resources that could lead to violence.  The Rio Earth summit in 1992 forged a global consensus on the inescapable link between the protection of the environment and social and economic development. The principles of sustainable development were launched. This link should be translated into practice through collective action based on concepts and instruments that promote new public policies at both domestic and international levels. The spirit of Rio led to a global consensus on a program for sustainable development, as well as on the Rio declaration and on the conventions on climate change and biological diversity.

The years following the Earth summit brought far-reaching multilateral environmental agreements. There was even greater public awareness and concern. We need to continue to build on these achievements. We have answered the question of what to do, now we need to focus our efforts on how to do it in order to move from words to action.  The fundamental challenge before us is to develop a paradigm that enhances the sustainable use of natural resources and at the same time reverses unsustainable patterns of production and consumption. These changes will require that we build a partnership recognizing that our common responsibility toward global sustainability must accommodate striking imbalances among nations.  It is no longer possible for each of us to focus solely on our own concerns. As the world develops rapidly, global public goods cannot be monopolized by a few. No matter how large a country is, it is still small in view of the challenge before us.  Sustainability and growth should be terms of the same equation, since there can be no sustainability without a financial basis, nor a financial basis without market access, nor market access unaccompanied by a perspective of solidarity, which will give rise to a type of growth that benefits all.  Sustainable development will be able to trigger modernization only once it is endowed with systemic conditions for competitiveness. The Johannesburg world summit is the opportunity for countries of the world to form a global partnership for the protection of the environment and for social and economic development. A partnership not simply in the donor-recipient paradigm but one to which we all contribute.  Only a global partnership between governments, business and civil society gives us the power to meet the challenge.  The basis of the global partnership must be an action-oriented implementation plan with clear targets and timetables. Such a United Nations program would be an immediate and tangible contribution to the quest for global peace and security.  The global partnership must be based on plans and commitments that would constitute a program of action to implement the UN Millennium Development Goals, which include improved access to water, sanitation, energy, health care and food security. It should include concrete measures to promote sustainable patterns of consumption and production.  Concerned citizens everywhere would justifiably say that there is enough capital, technology and expertise to achieve these goals of poverty eradication. In the same way, we have the necessary knowledge and resources to tackle overconsumption, in-efficient use of resources, pollution and other environmental problems.

The commitment of the world, in the United Nations Millennium Declaration, to "assist Africans in their struggle for lasting peace, poverty eradication and sustainable development" will feature prominently at the Johannesburg summit. The New Partnership for Africa's Development, NEPAD, provides an important framework for cooperation in the region for achieving this.  We do not start from scratch - there are positive developments to build on. One is the broad consensus that exists today on the goals for development. Another is the greater participation we have from civil society and business.  We also need to build on the Doha development agenda and on the consensus reached in Monterrey on financing for development.  The aim is to help make globalization a positive force for all, one which ensures broad economic and political stability. We and our fellow heads of state and government, representing the nations of the world, together with representatives of all sectors of humanity, are gathering this week in Johannesburg. A quantum leap in the struggle to eliminate poverty and move toward a sustainable future is within reach.  We the hosts of the Stockholm, Rio de Janeiro and Johannesburg conferences call on governments and citizens of the world to seize the opportunity of the World Summit on Sustainable Development to prove that a new paradigm is possible, and that sustainable development can be a reality for all.  May Johannesburg become the start of a new era of international cooperation and global solidarity.


The Earth Times

30 August 2002


Hilde Frafjord Johnson has had a distinguished career in Norwegian politics and grassroots activism. She is currently in her second stint as her country's Ministyer of International Development. Following are excerpts from an interview with The Earth Times:

In terms of your own leadership, at the ministry, what would you say are your special concerns, and also your special leadership attributes?

In conjunction with WSSD in Johannesburg Norway's main focus has been on getting concrete deliverables for the poor and for the environment. It is imperative that Johannesburg becomes a Rio+10, also in relation to commitments, not a Rio-10.


That's a very broad question. It covers almost everything. In March this year, Norway launched an action plan on poverty eradication. In this plan we are addressing five major areas we need to see progress on in order to create sustainable development for the poor. This our own national follow-up plan in order to reach the Millennium Development Goals. The five areas are: Increased develoment assistance, market access for poor countries' products in rich countriesí markets, further debt reduction, increased investment flows in poor markets, and better governace and anti-corruption polices in poor countries. We will continue to support poor countriesí strategies for reducing poverty. Norway will put special emphasis on the three sectors that to the largest extent reach the poor, health, education,and agriculture.


This is very important in order to spur development. We have to see increased investment flows into poor markets. The MDGs can never be achieved only through an increase in ODA. That's clear. Much more efforts have to be made in private sector development in the south. However, any offical suport to spur investments in poor countries should be open for free and fair competition and be untied. In addition, Norway believes that there is much to gain in better donor coordination.


I would say the domestic support for our high level of development assistance is holding pretty well. A newly released opinion poll shows that 88 percent of the Norwegian population supports an increase or keeping a status quo of the current level of development assistance. Today Norway gives 0.92 percent of our GDP to development assistance.


Well, I think one of the must crucial things we have to ensure is that there's no walking back. By that I mean, we cannot undermine the principles and the results, and the achievements we made in Rio and onwards. And I think the second message is that we have to get further. We must build on what we have achieved in Rio, in Doha and in Monterrey ñ implement these comittments - and try to get a few new, but decisive deliverables, for the poor and for the environment. In order to achieve that, Norway will try to play a role in bridging the gap that often is develops between the North and the South during such negotiations.


There's always the worry that there will be too many words, and too few deeds. This is a general concern connected with international conferences, and it's also the case here. But I think the challenge for WSSD is to use the fact that there are 120 heads of states attending. There will be a huge missed opportunity if 120 leaders were to leave Johannesburg with little to show for. It is my hope and belief that when they come to WSSD, the climate will be result-oriented and that deliverables will be achieved.


I think it's very important. In our fight for poverty eradication, we know that 70 percent of the world's poor are women and children. The rights for women and children are adressed in the Millennium Development Goals, and they have to be in focus at WSSD.  From the Norwegian side, we hope to see achievments on issues that are important for women and children such as water and sanitation. That has high relevance for women. We hope to get some agreement on that. We also hope to see, in cooperation with the Who, an initiative on health and environment for children.


I don't think big business is hijacking the conference. I think it's crucial to ensure that we get sufficient results, and a sufficiently strong plan of implementation, to ensure that concrete deliverables are in place. Then, also, to get a declaration that has substance, and that has meat. Those are the most important things. The test case will be whether governments can deliver on this. And then we shouldn't underestimate the Importanct role that the private sector also can play in providing resources, and in working with governments in implementation of some of these goals. Here, partnership initiatives with business may be effective. But these have to be nztional ownership and coorditation. We do not need a donor driven circus.


The Norwegian view on the non governmental organizations has always been that they are important partners. They are an important partner for us in development, and in policy formulation. They are ñ and should be -- part and parcel of these international conferences. On the other side,the politicians are the ones making policies, and have the responsibility for negotiating them. We have the responsibility of getting sufficient deliverables out of these conferences. And then the partnership with the NGOs will also be on how to implement and follow up the comittments made. They are watch dogs, and I think to some extent, as politicians we need watch dogs, to follow our path


29 August 29, 2002


Temidayo Israel Abdulai who is known as Dayo, is just 16, but he has already set up his own non-governmental organisation

Dayo is a schoolboy, but he is also the Deputy President of the Nigerian Children's Parliament and was a delegate at the United Nations' Special Session on Children, which met in New York last May. He is also an accomplished and passionate public speaker

Blessing Davidis a year older than Dayo. She is 17 and has also just finished school. Blessing works with another NGO, Child-to-Child Network, a voluntary children's organization, promoting, protecting and defending the rights of the child. Although she is a young woman, she has a steely determination and a gift of speaking with conviction. This dynamic duo stole the show on Wednesday in Johannesburg at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). Blessing chaired what was called the 'children's side event' at the summit's Sandton Convention Centre. Dayo sat by her side and together they won over the audience. The session was entitled "Children: vital partners in globalization and earth preservation". The Nigerian twosome pulled no punches, drawing applause, smiles and cheers from a mixed group of children, teenagers and adults. Along with other young delegates, Dayo and Blessing sent a direct and outspoken message to the one hundred world leaders expected in Johannesburg to endorse any agreement on sustainable development reached by negotiators in the next few days. That message was: Invest in your children. Consider the children in whatever decisions you take.

After their presentations,'s Ofeibea Quist-Arcton caught up with the popular teenagers, who were being embraced and congratulated like pop stars.

My name is Temidayo Israel Abdulai. I'm a student and I have just finished my school certificate (examinations). I am also a childhood activist, and I run an NGO called The General Action against the violation of human and children's rights in Nigeria.

I am Blessing David. I have just finished my school certificate to get into the university soon. I belong to Child-to-Child Network, a non-governmental organization, which deals with children's rights. We are into teaching children their rights, coupled with their responsibilities, and also we fight against child abuse and all forms of child neglect and exploitation.

You are two dynamic and passionate young Nigerians; you are delegates here in Johannesburg at the World Summit on Sustainable Development. So what exactly is your message to African leaders and other world leaders? What challenge do you throw out to them, Dayo?

My message firstly is that African leaders should learn to manage their resources. You don't have to go down to the developed countries, looking for their support and calling for their support. They keep on exploiting us. They have sold globalization to us and, with globalization, they keep on exploiting the developing countries. Let us manage the resources we have in Africa and be contented.

We, the children, we are enough resources for them to be happy. If they try to work with us, we can get on with it.

If you invest in we young people, if you can invest in we children, you will get the best strategy. Africa can learn to invest in its children, we are the future. We are not only the future, we are the present. If Africa can learn this, Africa will get to be the best place in the world and will become the hero of the world.

Blessing, are the African leaders, and other leaders, listening to young people like you?

That is what we are fighting for now. This summit is the only opportunity we have to speak with the whole world. I have met delegates from different countries and I only hope they can pass our message to the world leaders, because we are the future and we have to worry.

We are taking about sustainable development. If there is no link, if there is no continuity between our world leaders and the children, then that means we are just saying trash. When the leaders go, we are the ones that will remain. And, like I always say, if they don't teach us the steps to follow, then that means they will be doing a great damage to us.

So I will be pleading to the world leaders, and whoever was present at our session, to please pass the message to the leaders in their various countries, to please harken to children's voices.

We want participation.

And also, adding to what Dayo said, the title of our session was Children: ital partners in globalization and preservation of the earth. This message is to our greedy leaders. It is like they are becoming too greedy. They think of today alone; they don't think about tomorrow. And we, who are going to live tomorrow, we are thinking about today.

So what we are saying is that they should please manage our resources. They should stop selling our resources, please. That is my message.

Dayo, you are busy nodding in agreement there. You launched a booklet today, appropriately green. What is it called?

"Let's do it."

Tell us more about it. Let's do it, meaning whom?

We the children. We are trying to tell the leaders that we also have ideas. We have ideas on how we can change the world, so let's do it together. The booklet contains a project plan developed and designed by young children to change the world and to sustain development and to protect the environment and to bring about good governance and transparency.

If the world leaders would try to inculcate what is in the project book that I launched today, and try to look at it and try to follow the steps, this world would be a better place for you and me - in fact not only for children, but for all of us in the world.

What is your strategy, given the plight of children in the developing world? Is there anything you can do, since you say that the leaders are selling Africa's wealth? Practically, what can you do, Dayo, that will make a difference?

I have started my own movement, Which Children. It's where we young children, we mobilize ourselves, not waiting for the leaders to invite us but start working our own selves. We can do it. The resources are there.

In my country, I run an NGO and I have been able to do many things. I have organized many programmes, gone to many schools, gone to many churches to jimmy them up from their sleep. It is a wake-up call for them that it is high time for us to start a revolution. We can't say that, because the leaders are there, we should sit down. We should start playing our own role in building a better Nigeria, a better world and a better continent for us all.

Putting aside sustainable development for a moment, let's turn our attention to a huge problem here in South Africa. It's said that every minute a young girl, young woman or grown woman is being raped. What solutions can you think of Dayo? As a youth and as a boy, what do you say?

The first thing I would try to do is to educate the girls. They themselves are not only victims of rape, but they are also instruments of those things. Let them present themselves positively, present themselves presentably, so that they would not bring about anything that would attract rape. That's number one.

Number two, I try to work with adults and psychologists, to try to work with those who are victims of those things, to talk to them, encourage them, comfort them and also those who are not yet victims. We try to discourage others and teach them how to escape from those evil things that are done to young women.

Dayo wants to talk to girls to be "presentable". Blessing, what about the men and boys who are involved in these cases?

What I would like to say on that is this. I feel the problem is the law. The law is not functioning. You see a child that is raped. It's not easy to see a girl that is raped take a case to court, for the whole world to see that you were raped; it's not easy. It creates that lifetime trauma in you, you know. But the law is not functioning. They write it as a court case, but at the end of two or three days it is over.

What I'm trying to say is that the law, the government, should put the constitution into action. Nobody should rape a girl and go free. Rapists should be penalized.

Also, we don't only teach children their rights, we teach them their responsibilities. As a girl, if you are responsible enough, at least, probably you are walking in the night or something, you need to take care. Or yes, you may say that, because of rapists, I shouldn't walk in the night again. That is not the point. If you are responsible enough, you shouldn't wear something, you know like Dayo said, something that would attract guys, and they would come and do such a thing to you - although we know that some guys are crazy and they can't just control themselves.

That is why the government is there to put the constitution into force so that nobody can rape anybody and go free.

Dayo is itching to come in here . . .

(LAUGHS). Basically, nobody should be blamed for sexual harassment. Even sometime girls tend to harass boys. They try sometimes to rape boys, it's the same thing. So it's just an emotional thing and something that has to do with mentality and sometimes ignorance and sometimes we could call it 'hormones'. But it's just that we must have self-control with each other.

Blessing: It's very rare seeing a girl raping a guy. Most cases we have our guys raping girls. Besides, if you say a girl rapes a guy, what power has a girl got to rape a guy? But you, the guys, you are the ones that are stronger, you could force her. So that is it, they should be punished. That is my own opinion.

What about a drastic punishment such as castration, would that be a solution?

Blessing: (Laughs nervously). May I ask you what is castration?

Cutting off a man's testicles. Some people do say castration is the only way, they say "that'll stop them".

Blessing: Oh-o. No, not something as drastic as that, because you will be damaging their lives and there is a chance that they will change.

Dayo: That's awful.

Blessing: They should just look for something, something painful so that they would probably know what they've done, imprisonment and a long time in jail for them, yes. So that when they come out, they will know what the girl is feeling and the lifetime trauma they have placed on her, but not something as drastic as castration.

Dayo: Maybe we should just have a law that makes it, if you are being raped you rape the boy back. What of that? That would be reciprocal!

I'm going to return now to the subject of sustainable development, because that is the immediate issue at hand here in Johannesburg. Can sustainable development work and is there the political will, do you think, among world leaders, to preserve the environment and protect the people and ensure they have a better life?

Blessing: Yes that is the problem we are having. Our leaders are not doing anything, and yet they are not protecting our environment as I explained earlier. They are corrupt! They are corrupt! As leaders they are there to serve us. You are a servant as a leader. They are there to make us happy, not haughtiness, you know.

As children, we have our rights and that is why we are calling on world leaders to harken to our voices. Yeah, I know, like you said, if there is no political will, it can't work.

And you know, it is also our own duty to be careful of the kind of people we pick to be our leaders: not those who come and give a bag of salt and you quickly vote for them. Examine them very well. Don't be corrupt like they are. In most countries now, the leaders we see, when they are being elected, before the election they go out campaigning and saying I'll do this and I'll do that. And when they come into power, they start going against what they promised.

This is all that we are fighting against, that governments should please commit themselves. In 1990, they went to New York for the World Summit for Children and they made promises. Have they fulfilled these promises? They should please fulfil these promises, because without fulfilling these promises, there is nothing like sustainable development. We can't go ahead. So that is our plea to world leaders.

The last word goes to to you, Dayo.I want to use this opportunity to enjoin the children of the world to rise up and stand up for their rights. Thank you very much.[WSSD]



29 August2002


Sustainable development requires new approaches to providing people with clean and affordable energy according to the UN Foundation. But for the most part, energy is sustainable neither in the way it is generated, distributed or used. Most energy is fossil-fuelled. A US citizen, for instance, emits 90 times more carbon dioxide than a citizen in Cameroon. (1) More than 2 billion people lack proper energy access. The environmental impacts range from local air pollution to global climate change, while flagrant waste in energy systems is proliferating rather than being reigned in many countries. Few disagree that all this must change. For most delegates to the World Summit on Sustainable Development it's obvious that persistent dependency and poverty is not an option. A precondition to sustainable development is that "the world must act to help its poorest their productivity and help them prepare for the demands of the decades ahead" the World Bank has told delegates. (2) But sadly, whatever they achieve in the coming week at Johannesburg, Parties will be unlikely to make a dent, let-alone reverse the damage of unsustainable new investments and policy prescriptions in low-income countries. The term 'sustainable development' adorns most of Sandton City's shiny surfaces and smart hotels as it does the confetti of position papers, reports and promotions within the convention centre itself. But just a few kilometres away in Johannesburg's townships, which are neither developing nor sustainable, the battles for access to clean, safe, affordable energy are almost identical to those that are simultaneously playing out in a dozen developing countries. Take seventy-three year old Victor Skweyiya, who was arrested and detained by police for four days, along with 86 others, for protesting the electricity price hikes that have made life almost unmanageable. Because he couldn't keep up the monthly payments that amount to one-third of his pension, Victor now finds himself in arrears almost 14,000 Rand (about 1,400 Euro): the result of an exponentially compounding penalty plan recently introduced by Eskom, the government-owned utility. Victor himself describes the cause best as "the result of the law of consumption" dictated "by the watches in the meter boxes", referring to the installation of electricity meters where previously electricity was provided by the state. It's not just the pensioners that aren't coping: people here earn around 800 Rand per month and retrenchments in the power sector - which followed the outsourcing of public services -- have exacerbated acute unemployment which is thought to be around 50%. Residents say an increase in crime and conflict within households and communities has corresponded with the swelling ranks of unemployed. Humiliated and desperate, people are resorting to extremes to provide for their families. Brief work opportunities materialise for some, but are regarded with disdain by many. Jan, an Orange Farm resident, says of a recent temporary job-scheme "they wanted to create jobs for some of us but then they pay us to dig holes in our community to lay pipe today [to convey fuels] that will kill us tomorrow". Victor may live many years yet but never long enough to save what Eskom is asking of him, and so he will soon cease to enjoy heating and light in his home. Belina, another Soweto resident, has joined the Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee to argue their case that energy should be provided very cheaply or for free to people struggling to keep their lives in order. Meanwhile, the world spends US$ 210 billion annually subsidising energy, most of it is large-scale, centralised and fossil-fuelled - just the sort that tends to pass the rural poor by. (3) Victor and his friends won't be permitted to join the 60,000 anticipated participants in Sandton City to point this out and to talk about sustainable development but Belina and her neighbours have had their power disconnected and so have joined the peaceful rally of the Soweto Electricity Crisis Commission to protest the arrest of 87 of its members, including dozens of pensioners like herself. The Commission will join TNI on August 29 in Johannesburg as we debate the prospects of sustainable energy for all.


1. International Energy Agency 2001

2. Nicholas Stern, World Bank Chief Economist and senior vice-president of the World Development Report 2003 released August 21

3. According to the Global Green estimate August 27, 2002


23 August 2002


African heads of state must work together at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) to make a strong case that the continent's needs are a global concern, says Jan Pronk, the United Nations Secretary General's special representative to the Summit. In a post-September 11, 2001 world, an agenda that deals with the root causes of alienation and injustice in Africa are more important than ever, Pronk says. In an interview with, the former Dutch environment minister warned that because the focus of the international community is on the Middle East and South Asia, African heads of state will need to make a strong, concerted case for attention to their region. But Pronk believes that case can be made. "It is very important that countries invest in justice, stability and the creation of possibilities for people, in order to take away a possible reason for people to feel excluded, to feel alienated, to feel pushed out of the global system. This might indeed help take away a possible reason for further violence," he says. Speaking shortly before the conference opening in Johannesburg, Pronk acknowledged that there differences among countries about specific timeframes and deadlines remain, but he expressed optimism that these could be resolved. For example, he noted that after months of negotiations, the Bush administration in the United States has reaffirmed its support not only for bilateral assistance but for coordinated, multilateral aid.  Speaking to AllAfrica's Jim Cason, Pronk said that more high-level involvement and attention from the U.S. administration would be in America's interest. The WSSD, he said, "is not a conference where the United States is going to do something good for the rest of the world. It is a conference in the interest of the Earth and the people of the Earth, including the Americans," he said. Below are excerpts from the interview. There is both a lot of hope and a lot of skepticism in Africa about the World Summit on Sustainable Development. Why is this conference important to the majority of people in Africa, and how do you convince people in Africa that, after the conference, their lives could be better, or could be different at least? Many promises have been made and many have not been kept. That is why this Summit Conference, with heads of state and heads of government, is oriented not to making new promises but to the agreement on an action plan with the sole purpose of deciding on a time frame with regard to the implementation of past promises. The past promises are both those which have been made ten years ago in the framework of the environmental issues [at the Earth Summit in Rio, Brazil] and two years ago, when the heads of state came together and agreed on the overall aim to cut world poverty by fifty percent within fifteen years [at the United Nations Millennium Conference of heads of state]. There was the conference in Brazil ten years ago, there was the Millennium Summit two years ago, why would Africans have faith that this conference is going to be better than those past meetings? The World Bank and many others are already telling us that many countries in Africa can't possibly make the Millennium targets that were set by the world leaders at the United Nations in 2000. What's the point of another meeting? That is the reason why it is so necessary to work out an action plan which is indeed focusing on specific regions. That is the reason why this conference had been prepared in a different way from the one ten years ago [in Brazil] on the basis of regional pre-meetings. It is not top down, it is bottom up. That is one reason to have a bit more faith. Second, the conference is going to be held in Africa. Which is a deliberate decision. You know there was the possibility to have it in Jakarta, or in Rio again or in South Africa, and it was a deliberate political decision to have it in South Africa in order to enable the international community to focus in particular on African issues. That is number two.

Number three is Nepad. It is a big step forward, because it has more relation with something that is indigenous, coming from Africa itself, not something which has been defined by others for Africa. Number four, these particular sectors, in particular health, agriculture, water, perhaps more than energy and biodiversity are very strongly oriented toward African problems. Definitely so. If issues had been chosen which were more related to a further state in economic development it would have been perhaps different - they are strongly oriented toward the first stages after survival. Finally, you may be aware that there are many discussions about specific commitments to be made on the basis of special programs, networks, etc. Many of them which are under discussion at the moment are very strongly related in particular to Africa, more than to other regions in the world. These are five reasons - I do not want to be overly optimistic because I have a lot of experience in international negotiations and I am always myself also a bit skeptical - five reasons to have a bit more faith. But faith itself is not enough. You need African action in Johannesburg. Concrete African coordination in Johannesburg, as well, in order to make it possible for the international community not to neglect the African issues, which has also been the case.

You're saying African action? What do you mean by that?

I mean that it is extremely important that Africa, after Nepad, get its act together, and indeed - at a level of the heads of state and heads of government - makes clear to the international community that a coalition to be built in a situation of uncertainty after the violence of 11 of September should not deal [exclusively] with the issues which are being considered at the moment important in regional terms, which means South Asia and the Middle East. Africa should make clear that if the international community is going to build a coalition for sustainability, which is also taking away possible route causes of alienation and injustice, that African issues, lack of access to basic services, are as important as Middle Eastern issues and South Asian issues.

And there are a number of examples in order to make clear to the governments that a serious business is at stake. One is the food crisis in Southern Africa. It would be really a bad signal if at the conference itself it will not yet be certain that the additional $600 million will be available to cope with the southern African food crisis which will be very deep in the second half of this year.

Secondly, there ought to be a real financial contribution to the global health fund on aids, which is affecting Africa very strongly both in terms of basic services as well as economically. By doing so, on food and health, the international community could make clear that African issues are very high on the priority list and the African countries should demand that.

But several of the developed countries, including the United States, are saying they do not want new deadlines, no new timeframes, no new agreements on specific financing. How are you going to make this a conference about implementation in that context?

Definitely, a couple of decisions still have to be made. It is not just a gallery play, the Summit, it is a political meeting where political decisions will have to be taken. But everybody is agreeing that these political decisions ought to be political decisions - not on new plans, not on new promises, not on new targets - but on timeframes, deadlines, as far as the instruments are concerned. I have become more optimistic.

This is the first time in the framework of the United Nations that we did not try to close the deal before the summit, so that the heads of state would only come to the summit to do two things, to reconfirm the deal and to make commitments on the basis of the deal. Now they have to come for three things: firstly to agree, then to reconfirm, thirdly to make commitments on that basis. And that is risky.

That's the reason why a couple of weeks ago we were a little bit afraid that several heads of state would say we should not be associated with the risk. But we have done our very best, the United Nations and several other people, in order to convince heads of government, heads of state that it is all the more necessary to come to Johannesburg now. And many are coming.

The list of heads of state who have said they are coming includes all of the G-8 group of industrialized countries except one country and many countries in Africa. How do you view the decision of president George W. Bush from the United States not to attend?

The Europeans are coming anyway, the Asians are coming, so it is quite an impressive list. But without president Bush it is going to be a bit different. On the other hand the international community and the heads of state themselves should not make their own decision to go to Johannesburg depend on the decision of one president.

It is necessary to continue to say to the American president two things. Firstly, this is a Summit conference, which is a decision not by the United Nations Secretariat but by the governments themselves, including your government. So live up to your promises.

Secondly, please understand that this is a conference which is definitely very strongly also in the interest of the American people. It is not a conference where the United States is going to do something good for the rest of the world. It is a conference in the interest of the Earth and the people of the Earth, including the Americans.

What are the two or three outcomes that would define this conference as a success. For instance if they succeed in coming up with a deadline for increasing access to sanitation, or for spending. What are the most important targets?

The most important thing is an action program with regard to the five sectors which are defined as the focal sectors by the Secretary General. These five - water, energy, health, agriculture and biodiversity - are the result of many discussions with many countries asking them, "What do you consider the most important sectors?"

All of the five are related to both "people development" and environment. So we need, in each of these five sectors, concrete action programs with concrete policies, aims - with regard to environmental protection and with regard to access of poor people to the resources concerned. And also a follow up system to make clear that the promises, the commitments in each of these five sectors are going to be kept in the fifteen years following the conference. Because we are discussing a period until 2015. That in my view is crucial.

It is more important after September 11 last year. Now it is very important that countries invest in justice, stability and the creation of possibilities for people in order to take away a possible reason for people to feel excluded, to feel alienated, to feel pushed out of the global system. This might indeed help take away a possible reason for further violence.

We also have to concentrate on sectors which are crucial for the new generation. We will get another billion people trying to find a home, a place and a job in the world between now and 2015. They need also access to water, energy, access to primary health care - and they need a job in order to make it possible for them. This again means that it is crucial for world peace and world stability, including also world peace and world stability as far as the northern countries are concerned. It is also in their interest.

Do you have any sense of how much money you would like to see come out of this Summit? We understand there is a plan for multilateral approach to assistance, called type one aid, and for announcements of bilateral assistance through what are being called "type two" mechanisms. Do you have a commitment that countries such as the United States which traditionally have prepared to give their assistance bilaterally, will be prepared to join in a multilateral plan for sustainable development?

Don't say individual bilateral. Type two is everything going beyond multilateral assistance, that is also networks, groups, combinations of groups of countries also with private business. We have had discussions with the U.S. because the U.S. was so keen on type two that some countries were afraid that they would lose interest in type one. Because type one, of course, is related to unanimity, to a consensus, to a multilateral approach.

Our discussions over the last half a year have been fruitfull to the extent that we can expect that, even if President Bush would not come, the Americans will make clear that they are both interested in a multilateral consensus and in type two. That is a political result of intensive political discussions over the last couple of months.

It is a very difficult discussion, because multilateralism is at the moment under discussion. The United States sometimes is strongly in favor of a multilateral approach and then sometimes, take for instance climate or the criminal court, is trying to deal with the issue in a different manner. That is not to be the case in Johannesburg as far as the plan of action is concerned. I think we can with confidence assume that the plan of action which is going to be agreed upon in Johannesburg will also be confirmed by the United States and that is important.


15 August 2002


On 26 August the event will start. Over a hundred Heads of State or Government and leaders of international organisations, and up to 60,000 participants will meet in the South African city of Johannesburg to discuss and make decisions on sustainable development.

Ten years ago, the world leaders of that day met in Rio to discuss the same topic. In a number of areas, the Rio Conference made significant progress for the global environment: the climate convention, the convention on biological diversity and the promise to allocate 0.7 per cent of GNP to development assistance were among the results. However, following Rio there has been scant will to implement the decisions of that conference. There is a strong wish that the Johannesburg Summit should lead to a concrete agreement on how we are to proceed from here.  During the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, the EU Presidency will be represented by Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Minister for Foreign Affairs Per Stig Møller and Minister of the Environment Hans Christian Schmidt. Despite the slim results after Rio, it is an optimistic Minister for the Environment that leaves for South Africa.  "I sense that there is broad agreement that another Summit full of words followed by no concrete action would be intolerable. 2.2 million people die every year from diseases that have their ultimate cause in a lack of basic sanitation. Most of the victims are children who die from diarrhoea. At the same time, approximately one third of the world's six billion people live in extreme poverty, and 800 million people starve. This is much too serious for us to allow Johannesburg to become yet another summit where development was buried in mere rhetoric," says Minister for the Environment Hans Christian Schmidt.  "It is incredibly important that the environment receives a prominent position in Johannesburg. Combating poverty is the most important issue, but we must hold on to the realisation of the Rio Conference that combating poverty is only a sustainable option if the environment is improved. A poor environment causes 25 per cent of all preventable diseases. A poor environment is a contributory cause of the fact that Nigeria is losing 500 square kilometres of agricultural land every year. It is impossible to discuss sustainable development without bearing in mind both the social, the economic and the environmental dimension."

As part of the EU Presidency, which imprints do you wish to leave on the Summit?

"It is the overall aim of the strong endeavours of the EU that the World Summit should produce a clear political declaration, through which the countries of the world commit themselves to an implementation plan with clear goals and time schedules for sustainable development. That is to say, a plan which makes sustainable development specific and measurable."  "We must create production and consumption patterns which have a less negative impact on the environment than the patterns we have today. This is absolutely necessary, because the world's ecological systems will not be able to survive if the developing countries adopt the way of life found in the rich countries today. In order to ensure that new patterns are built, the EU will endeavour to have a ten-year working programme initiated for the efforts in this area. We must draw up an entirely specific plan that ensures a more coherent and focused effort than what we see today."

What do you think will be the biggest challenge?

"The biggest challenge will be re-establishing trust between the North and the South. The countries of the southern hemisphere feel let down after Rio because development assistance from the northern hemisphere did not rise to 0.7 per cent of GNP over the last decade, but fell to 0.22 per cent. On the other hand, the South has not observed the environmental agreements. We can only create results if we succeed in building confidence in the possibility of having development and environment control at the same time. Just like we have seen it in the EU, where the growth in energy consumption has been modest for the past thirty years, even though economic growth has been high," says Hans Christian Schmidt.  "I do not expect the countries of the world to agree from the outset; if they did, there would be no reason for convening for a summit. However, it is important that we agree to work hard to take the promotion of sustainable development further; and I must say that I have detected a resolve for change in the meetings in recent months. Both at the Friends of the Chair meeting in New York and the informal meeting of Ministers for the Environment in Sonderborg, Denmark, there was a really fine spirit, so I believe that we can achieve concrete results to the benefit of both the North and the South."

Is the EU to play a more prominent role at the World Summit than at previous summits?

"The state of the environment has been improved in a number of areas since Rio. We have for instance achieved better quality of air and water, we have ratified the Kyoto Protocol and decided to phase out the chemicals known under the name "The Dirty Dozen". In a number of key areas, Europe has shown that disconnection of economic growth from negative environmental impact is a real possibility. At the same time, more than half of the official development assistance in the world comes from the EU, so the EU speaks with a certain weight in this context. Also, the EU with its 15 Member States and 13 applicant countries is in fact a very strong region. In other words, it is quite natural that the EU should take the lead and assume s responsibility for the outcome of the Johannesburg Summit. The EU assumes this responsibility willingly," says the Danish Minister for the Environment.  The World Summit on Sustainable Development will start on 26 August in Johannesburg. The part of the Summit in which the Heads of State or Government will participate is to start on 2 September. The Summit will close on 4 September. Or rather, it will begin. For hopefully the Johannesburg Summit will prove the start of a long period of economic growth and development in the whole world, without concurrent deterioration of the environment.


28. THE EU APPROACH TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT by Romano Prodi President of the European Commission

Stakeholder Forum on Sustainable Development in the EU

12 September 2002


Ladies and Gentlemen,  I am here to speak to you one week after the Johannesburg Summit.  I know the Summit's conclusions do not satisfy everyone. But I believe all in all that the outcome is positive, and above all that it is a step in the right direction.  A final document was agreed, not without effort. It lays out the path for all governments to follow. It lacks some binding commitments, but it is a good basis.

The EU has garnered good results.  We achieved significant political agreements on water and access to energy for the poor and we launched major partnership initiatives on these points.  We built a "coalition of the willing" for renewable energy sources.

We launched a North-South pact that encompasses the results of Doha and Monterrey.  Above all, we were the only party capable of mediating between other groupings of countries; their positions would otherwise have remained irreconcilable.  At Johannesburg the international community found ground for common understanding and showed it could tackle problems multilaterally.  Multilateral action is crucial at this difficult historical juncture. Only yesterday we commemorated the first anniversary of the dreadful events of the 11th of September.  Those atrocities last year reminded us that we must never let our guard down in the battle to defend peace, security and democracy.  Terrorism cannot be defeated by force of arms alone. We must tackle its deeper causes: poverty, discrimination and exclusion.

The Action Plan agreed at Johannesburg is a step in that direction. We made further progress in the fight against poverty and its many causes. And we strengthened our defences against environmental degradation on a world scale.  This battle can only be won through international cooperation. Within their limits, world summits have stressed the need for multilateral action. Since Doha and Monterrey the trend is clear for all. At Johannesburg we took up the results of those summits and carried them forward.  It is now up to the international community to keep its commitments and deliver. And that means us too.  Europe has a guiding role to play in sustainable development and we must bolster that role. Sustainable development is one of the major priorities of the Commission I lead, together with enlargement, and stability and security.  At Johannesburg we were able to play a leading role because we could show we were keeping the commitments set out in our internal strategy for sustainable development.  The external dimension agreed at Johannesburg should be seen as an integral part of the EU's overall strategy for sustainable development.  At Gothenburg last year we extended the Lisbon economic and social agenda to include environmental issues and we turned it into a coherent strategy. We are now getting down to the nuts and bolts. But our strategy does not just involve the institutions. Its success depends on the involvement and backing of civil society.

This Forum shows our determination to bring you all into the process, with the varied interests you represent.  Here I must pay tribute to the Economic and Social Committee for helping to forge links between the EU institutions and civil society. My warm thanks go to the Committee for agreeing to organise this event jointly with us.  The agenda adopted at the Gothenburg European Council sets out a series of practical, coherent steps. One year on, the overall result is positive.  A quick check shows that around half the agenda's objectives have been turned into concrete proposals by the Commission. This should spur us to do more and do it better, and to put our backs into implementing the remaining objectives.  Our measures and legislative proposals are making good our commitment to ensure all our policies are sustainable, thus striking a balance between the economic, social and environmental objectives of society.

Our strategy to safeguard the environment is among the world's most advanced. I am thinking of the simultaneous ratification of the Kyoto Protocol by the EU and its Member States at the end of May.  As you know, climate change was an important chapter at Johannesburg. China, South Africa and Poland announced they will be ratifying the Kyoto Protocol and positive signs came from Canada too.

I have made a strong personal appeal to President Putin to bring Russia in. With Russia's ratification the Protocol will finally come into force.

I am also confident that with time, the gap between the United States and the rest of the international community will narrow.  On the Commission's achievements, let me recap our proposals for combating climate change, such as the one on emissions trading.  Another ambitious proposal of ours involves reforming the common agricultural policy.  Agricultural policy is a huge and delicate subject. With the reform, the agriculture we want to promote will be both competitive and environmentally friendly.  To achieve that aim, we intend giving impetus to sustainable farming, offering consumers wholesome, quality food and ensuring farmers have a fair income.

The agriculture we want must preserve the diversity and vitality of rural areas for the future.  Let us not overlook the proposal to reform the common fisheries policy, which is equally important.  We have also made proposals on transport and energy, others on consumer protection, and still others on research programmes.  The list is a long one, but I will stop there. These topics will come up for discussion in the course of these two days. 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As you can see, we have laid sound foundations. Now we need to look at the challenges that await us.  Sustainable development involves identifying economic activities that benefit all, particularly the most vulnerable sections of the community. Here I must stress the importance of the European social model -- a unique model that sets the EU apart.  Our social model comprises structured dialogue between the groups that make up society, as well as social welfare and pension arrangements. Of course, the model needs to be brought up to date to take account of changes. But we must be careful not to void it of its substance because it is the best defence we have against social exclusion.   Our sustainable development strategy comprises a set of practical measures. But partial successes are not enough, however significant they may be.  Sustainable development springs from an awareness of the overall problem. It involves a host of complex issues that are closely interconnected. Sector-specific approaches that overlook such complexity are doomed to failure.  The topics on the table at this Forum affect various interests -- all of them legitimate -- and we are here to listen. A willingness to listen is now a tradition of ours. But this year we have set our sights higher.  First, we have opened up and systematised the way the stakeholders, both interest groups and individuals, are consulted.  We have also introduced new impact analysis methods. We want to avoid overlooking any consequences of our policies -- economic, social or environmental. Which is why we are developing more powerful methods for analysing and quantifying the impact of all our proposals. Lastly, an active policy to encourage sustainable development calls for strong Community institutions. Its success depends primarily on the existence of an independent Commission that can rise above sectoral and national interests. This is the only way to support development that can benefit all citizens in the European Union, today and in the future.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Forums of this sort are very important and I can assure you that we shall take account of them when we work out our policies. The Forum that starts today is one step along this road.  At Johannesburg we established excellent working relations with the representatives of business and non-profit-making organisations. We set great store by that for our work in the future. It will help us give substance to the global partnership for sustainable development.  Thank you for your attention. I wish you two days of fruitful and constructive discussion.

See Also:

Romano Prodi President of the European Commission The North-South Pact World Summit on Sustainable Development Johannesburg, 2 September 2002


Member of the European Commission, responsible for Environment

Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) Corporate Breakfast after Johannesburg


11 September 2002


Introductory Remarks Rio Plus Ten Years and One Week

It is a pleasure to have this early opportunity offered by CEPS to give my assessment of the outcome of the World Summit on Sustainable Development which concluded in Johannesburg a week ago today.  This is an early opportunity not just in terms of the starting hour for this breakfast meeting!  It is also rather early to make a definitive assessment of the outcome of Johannesburg. Time and our own committed political efforts - will tell if this Summit will deliver where Rio did not. We have the words. It is now the duty of all of us to turn these words into effective deeds.  But even at this early stage I will not shy away from giving my assessment of whether Johannesburg was a success or a failure. I believe that we can be satisfied with the result.  I am naturally ambitious and impatient as far as delivering sustainable development is concerned. To that extent, I would of course have welcomed further achievements.  But I am convinced that we added new momentum to the cause of sustainable development and that the outcomes of the Summit take us in the right direction.

Of course people will draw comparisons with the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. The immediate assessment of some NGOs and others in the period after Rio was that it had been a failure. Now it has come to be seen as a defining moment in the fight for sustainable development.

But the Rio Summit was very different from Johannesburg in some important respects:  Firstly, there were no legally binding Conventions on the table at Johannesburg, while Rio launched the Convention on Bio-diversity and the Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Secondly, and despite the absence of such Conventions, Johannesburg was much more directed at how to achieve practical action than was the case in Rio.  But most importantly, we should never forget that the world in which we live in 2002 is a very different world from ten years ago.


Rio came to life in an era of optimism. The Berlin wall had fallen and the Cold War was on its way into the history books. The U.S.S.R. had broken up, Eastern European countries were embracing freedom and democracy, the US economy was recovering from recession and the Asian Tigers leaped ahead.  In Europe, green-left governments put people and the environment in the centre of their policies and won elections. All this created a good atmosphere for high ambitions in Rio. There was genuine hope for real change.  Ten years later, at the beginning of the 21st century the picture is very different.  Many feel insecure, threatened by forces beyond their control; excluded from the prosperity which globalisation is supposed to bring; alienated from their politicians and the political process.  It will not have escaped anyone's attention that today marks the first grim anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States. The 11th of September 2001 shook the global community - we all realised that we live under a threat of terrorism and we are still trying to come to terms with the consequences.  We all also realise that poverty lies at the root of terrorism, but we are struggling to come to grips with solutions.  Many blame globalisation for the problems currently facing the world. While it offers enormous opportunities for development, there are concerns that not all countries benefit from it. There are fears for negative environmental and social implications, as well as for loss of cultural diversity. Globalisation can be a powerful force for positive change but its potential to promote sustainable development for all remains to be realised.  In short, many feel that the world is more starkly divided into winners and losers than was the case ten years ago.  So while the expectations were very low for Johannesburg, the stakes were very high.  The main danger was that the Summit could have collapsed in acrimony on the trade and finance issues. I believe we would then had risked losing the very concept of sustainable development.


Against this political backdrop, it fell largely to the European Union to champion the cause of sustainable development in Johannesburg.

World leaders converged in South Africa with the responsibility to deliver on the promises made in Rio and in the Millennium Development Goals in order to achieve three main objectives:

  • to eradicate poverty;

  • to improve living standards based on sustainable patterns of consumption and production; and,

  • to ensure that the benefits of globalisation are shared by all.

At a time when the temptation to resort to unilateral action seems stronger than ever, the Johannesburg Political Declaration had to reaffirm the need to work together to address these common challenges.  It was therefore heartening that in Johannesburg, there was a broadly shared feeling that addressing these challenges required renewed global commitment and increased solidarity; that all countries rich and poor must work together, recognising their common but differentiated responsibilities, to provide for the needs of the present and future generations.  In concrete terms, we worked to undertake further steps towards the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, in particular the goal of halving the number of people living in extreme poverty by 2015. The Union argued that we had to show real commitment by setting quantifiable targets, with timetables and monitoring mechanisms, in the Implementation Plan.  My assessment is that the Implementation Plan and the Political Declaration that were adopted in Johannesburg last week, together with Doha and Monterrey, have shaped a global partnership for sustainable development. This partnership includes commitments to increased development assistance and market access for developing countries, good governance and a better environment.


Let me now focus in particular on some key achievements reached in Johannesburg.

The first element I would like to highlight is that a set of new targets has been agreed as part of the Implementation Plan. Let me mention five:

  • Halving by 2015 the proportion of people lacking access to basic sanitation this currently stands at three billion people, half of the total population. This new target complements the Millennium Development Goal on access to clean water.

  • Commitment to minimise harmful effects on human health and the environment from the production and use of all chemicals by 2020.

  • Commitment to halt the decline of fish stocks and restore them to sustainable levels no later than 2015.

  • Commitment to begin implementation of national strategies on sustainable development by 2005.

  • Commitment to halt the loss biodiversity by 2010, as earlier agreed by the Parties to the Biodiversity Convention. The endorsement by all Heads of State and Government is a major achievement. But unfortunately the target to reverse the current trend in loss of natural resources loss by 2015 was not acceptable to other partners.  The agreement to establish a ten-year framework for programmes on sustainable consumption and production, with industrialised countries taking the lead in this global effort, is another important result. In fifty years time, nine billion people will live on the planet and world output will quadruple. Unless we cut the link between economic growth and the degradation of the environment, we will simply not be able to sustain ourselves.  On globalisation, the Summit has agreed concrete actions to enhance the role of trade for sustainable development, for example by encouraging trade in environmentally friendly and organic products from developing countries and by strengthening international action for corporate responsibility.


Let me add some comments on the subject of energy and sustainable development. I am firmly convinced that there can be no sustainable development without sustainable energy development.  Experience taught us that energy would be high on the agenda throughout the negotiations since one of the so-called "failures" ten years ago was on energy. The oil-producing nations, led by OPEC, were unrelenting at Rio in their resistance to the inclusion in Agenda 21 of provisions that might constrain the use of fossil fuels.  As The Economist put it in 1998, "For most people, renewable energy used to conjure up thoughts of bearded vegetarians in sandals. No longer. Big energy companies are more interested in renewables than ever before". The magazine quoted the then Chairman of Shell as saying that "in 50 years, Shell could be 50% oil and 50% renewables".  But this change like many others inevitably meets resistance from vested interests. The obstacles range from vast public subsidies for fossil and nuclear energy to outmoded and entrenched ideas. As Maurice Strong, the main organiser behind the Rio Earth Summit memorably put it, "not all the fossils are in the fuel"!  But Johannesburg has again confirmed that sustainable energy development is at the heart of the fight for sustainable development.  Although we were ultimately not able to get a specific target for renewable energy sources in the Action Plan, we did reach an agreement to increase urgently and substantially the global share of renewable energy sources. We also agreed to take joint actions to improve access of the poor to energy. Those agreements will be regularly evaluated and progress reviewed.  In addition, last week we launched a "coalition of the willing". This includes countries and regions willing to set themselves targets and timeframes for the increase of renewables in the energy mix.  This coalition, called "the OPEC of Renewables" by one NGO, will keep up pressure on the unwilling and should give a boost to the development of renewable energy throughout the world. Significantly, this coalition will set a renewable energy target representing a floor as opposed to a ceiling.  The energy issue won't go away!  Linked to this, on climate change there have been positive developments. Those who have already ratified Kyoto have confirmed their commitment to entry into force at the earliest possible date and others are urged to join as soon as possible. Although this does not guarantee that the US will ratify Kyoto, the announcements made by the Russian and Canadian Prime Ministers mean that the Protocol should enter into force very soon.


This leads me to what undoubtedly is the most important aspect of all: implementation.  In this regard, I am pleased that the links between the Millennium Summit, Doha, Monterrey and Johannesburg have been confirmed. We now have a more coherent framework within which to work to implement the outcome of all major UN Conferences. The new roles given to ECOSOC and to the Commission on Sustainable Development will help to ensure proper follow-up within the UN system.  Partnerships between governments, business and civil society should be a key instrument to deliver the commitments made in Johannesburg. I welcome the wide range of partnerships more than 200 launched at the Summit. These partnerships will bring with them additional resources and expertise, and will help to mobilise action at all levels.  The EU has consistently advocated that there should be a close link between the Implementation Plan and the new partnerships for sustainable development. This has been recognised. Although the EU would have liked even clearer follow-up mechanisms and guiding principles for partnerships, the UN Commission on Sustainable Development is to serve as a focal point for future discussion of partnerships, including sharing lessons learned, progress made and best practices.  Of course we must move swiftly to implement the two partnerships on water and energy launched by the EU in Johannesburg.  More generally, it is clear that the effective implementation of the outcome of Johannesburg will depend crucially upon what is done regionally, nationally and locally. The EU must continue to take the lead and translate political commitment into concrete action.  The European Council has already agreed to review, at their Spring meeting in 2003, the EU Strategy for Sustainable Development, with a focus on putting into practice the commitments undertaken in Johannesburg. To prepare this review, the Commission intends to submit proposals building on the Communication "Towards a Global Partnership for Sustainable Development" issued earlier this year. Internally, one of the main issues to be addressed in the synthesis report for the next Spring European Council should be how to move towards more sustainable consumption and production patterns in the EU.  In Johannesburg, we also had very difficult negotiations on agriculture and fisheries, including on the issue of subsidies. This underlines again the importance of pursuing the reform of our agriculture and fisheries policies on the basis of the proposals that the Commission recently presented.  Finally, a last word about development cooperation and trade. The EU is already the largest provider of ODA and we need to honour the commitment made in Monterrey to reach 0.39% of GDP in development assistance. But it is a sobering thought that, despite our status as the world's largest donor, we were unable to convince the G77 group of developing countries to join us on several of the key sustainability challenges. On several issues, they preferred to side with the USA.  The conclusion I draw from this is the need to step up the integration of sustainable development into our development and trade agenda. We need even closer working together with our partners in developing countries to convince them of our joint interest in sustainable development.


Let me now share with you a few concluding remarks before I leave the floor open for your comments and questions.  Firstly, the European Union can be proud of its performance in Johannesburg. Unfortunately, on many of the issues of substance the EU was the only engine pushing for an ambitious and sustainable outcome. Everybody, including those who criticise the outcome of Johannesburg, recognise that the EU made a decisive contribution towards keeping the flame of Rio alive.  Secondly, let me stress once again the importance of implementation. I agree with the Danish Prime Minister Rasmussen that the 1990s was the decade of mega-summits and that we should make the next ten years the decade of action.  Some have questioned the value of having such world-scale summits and have called instead for a reduced format, focusing on specific sectoral issues. I am of course open to new formats, but we should not throw the baby out with the bath water. Compartmentalising issues into specific sectoral concerns would run counter to the core of sustainable development.

What is absolutely clear, however, is that we have high expectations of the UN system in helping us to deliver. We need much more from the UN in terms of sustainability indicators, effective monitoring and reporting.  Last but not least, the Summit has been an important boost for multilateralism. Countries have reaffirmed the importance of multilateral solutions to global problems. The Political Declaration expresses a commitment by world leaders to act together to save the planet, promote human development and achieve universal prosperity and peace. These grand words which should not only re-launch multilateralism but also reaffirm the place of sustainable development on the global agenda.  I am confident that this time we can make it happen. Beyond the commitments reflected in the official documents of the Summit, Johannesburg has helped to increase awareness and to mobilise a wide range of stakeholders NGOs, business, consumers, local authorities, etc. The challenge now is to translate all the positive energy generated by Johannesburg into political will and concrete action in order to make a real move towards sustainable development.

Thank you for your attention.



4 September 2002


JOHANNESBURG, 4 September 2002 - Lastly we should like to thank all of you as governments for reaching agreement on an implementation plan. We in business are committed to working to make it happen, to deliver sustainable development, together with you as governments and with other Major Groups, said BASD Chair, Sir Mark Moody-Stuart in his closing address at the Johannesburg World Summit. Statement on behalf of Business and Industry by Mark Moody-Stuart, Chairman of Business Action for Sustainable Development, at the WSSD Plenary on 4th September, 2002 May we first thank you President Mbeki and the Government of South Africa for the hospitality and arrangements for this Summit. We have all been struck by the friendliness and helpfulness of the people we have met on the streets of Johannesburg. We would also like to thank you for the contact and access that you personally and your ministers have made available to all Major Groups - your interactions have been much appreciated. Through you can we in particular thank Minister Valli Moosa for all his efforts both in the planning of the Summit and at the Summit itself. Secondly we should like to thank the Secretary General for his vision and leadership. His encapsulation of the challenges facing the Summit in the acronym WEHAB was of enormous help in focusing the Summit discussions. We are also most grateful to the Secretary General of the Summit Nitin Desai for his leadership and his unfailing willingness to engage with the Major Groups, and this approach has been supported by Dr Emil Salim in his leadership of the preparatory process.

Lastly we should like to thank all of you as governments for reaching agreement on an implementation plan. We in business are committed to working to make it happen, to deliver sustainable development, together with you as governments and with other Major Groups, as we have just been called upon to do by Youth. A key area of contribution from business is in achieving more sustainable production and consumption. As the NGO representative has just said, this is vitally important. Through technology developed through the creativity of the markets, business can work to deliver the utility that consumers need but with radically lower impact or use of resources - whether this is in energy, transportation, agriculture, water or health. But to do this we will need new technologies and we call on the NGOs, scientists and governments to work with us to gain acceptance of these technologies based on sound science. Consumer choice plays a great role in this and we hope that Youth - the consumers of the future who as we have just heard make up half the worlds population - will play a role with business in the evolution of this. One of the successes of this Summit is in demonstrating the power of partnerships. In business we see the development of global partnerships with others to define standards in different sectors of industry - such as the Global Mining Initiative, Responsible Care in the chemical industry, the Sustainable Forest Initiative, Sustainable Fisheries, partnerships on Agriculture and Health or on biodiversity. Such partnerships, together with initiative such as the Global Reporting Initiative, create the standards against which international business will be judged. The outcomes will also inform national legislative processes. But there are hundreds of other partnerships in which business plays a part, each addressing the three elements of sustainable development, each with clearly agreed targets and time tables and each with a commitment to report openly against these targets. At an even more local level I would draw you attention to the success of the innovative at this Summit. Developed through a partnership of UNDP and business, with Nitin Desai playing a key role in its creation, this uses internet technology to showcase sustainable development partnership projects from all around the world both here at the Summit and to millions with internet access anywhere in the world. Many more people than are here in Johannesburg have been able to see live more than a hundred live linkups from the Summit. Some sixty percent of these link ups have been to projects in the field, bringing for example people of the Cook Islands or women from a village in Rajastan in India to the Summit. And in the last 48 hours 16 Heads of State or Government and senior Ministers have participated in live link ups from the Summit, many linking to projects in their own country or region. I urge the UN and governments to consider wider use of this very effective and lively technology for future meetings - radically widening access to the Summit, enabling examples and experience from around the world to be shared, while at the same time conserving resources by avoiding travel through the use of technology. This is an example of what business in partnership with others, in this case UNDP, can enable. A further key to sustainable development is sound governance. To clarify what business understands by sound governance I would say that this represents the societal institutions and structures through which all sectors of society - be they from the north or south of a country, urban or rural, young or old, female or male, rich or poor, indigenous people or people of whatever ethnic group - feel that their views have been taken into account and that whatever outcomes these institutions deliver, they are fair. This naturally includes the sound governance of business and the equitable sharing of economic development in the interests of society. This sound governance creates the environment in which businesses large and small, international or domestic, can flourish. NEPAD is an example of governments acknowledging their responsibility to deliver such sound governance, including a process of peer review. Business is strongly supportive of this initiative and is ready to work with others to make it a reality. We agree with Youth that an essential part of an enabling environment for developing countries is access to northern markets and the removal of damaging subsidies.

Lastly, business acknowledges the need for it to be accountable and transparent in all its activities. Responsible business is committed to corporations setting targets and reporting openly and honestly on their progress. It is only through such transparency and open reporting that trust can be built - the trust that is essential to partnerships. Through this reporting we will also be able to measure the progress towards the more sustainable development in the years to come which business is committed to deliver.



4 September 2002


Claude Martin is Director General of WWF International, based in Gland, Switzerland.

The World Summit on Sustainable Development has failed to come up with a comprehensive action plan for sustainable development. Instead, the result is a compromise that merely maintains the status quo. What then is the future of multilateral attempts to address poverty eradication and environmental protection? In response to calls to reduce humanity's impact on the planet, NGOs have often been accused of wanting people go back into caves. Ironically, my feeling at the end of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) is that out of short-term economic interests, some governments have withdrawn into their own national caves - a position that will only increase our devastating impact.  Under mandate by a 1999 UN General Assembly resolution, world leaders meeting at the WSSD were supposed to come up with an action plan to fix the problems with Agenda 21, the blueprint for sustainable development, poverty eradication, and environment protection adopted by more than 170 governments at the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro ten years ago.  But negotiations over the last ten days more often resembled a "race to the bottom" than any real attempt to move forward. While in their speeches world leaders emphasized the importance of global sustainable development, in the negotiating rooms many countries worked to protect their own interests by preventing the Summit from reaching new targets and timetables. The compromises and weakening of language in the Plan of Implementation were to such an extent that in some cases it actually went back on previous commitments.  One example of this is the section on energy. The effects of climate change - rising sea levels, more frequent and intense extreme weather events, and adverse effects on a variety of ecosystems - should serve to emphasize the need for a multilateral system to address such global issues. However, the United States, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Canada, and Australia managed to protect their fossil fuel interests. The Plan of Implementation merely reiterates agreements made over the past several years and includes no targets or timetables of any kind for renewable energy. This not only fails to address climate change, but comes at the expense of the 2 billion people on the planet with no access to energy services.  The summit's action plan on trade and globalization is equally unsatisfactory. It fails to realize that the World Trade Organization (WTO)-driven agenda for globalization doesn't necessarily work in favour of the poor and the natural environment. It fails to restate the Precautionary Principle - a crucial tenet of Agenda 21 - and it fails to ensure that international environmental treaties such as the Kyoto Protocol are protected by WTO rules on free trade. In addition, there are no references to Sustainability Impact Assessments. It is remarkable that at a Summit on sustainable development, governments have failed to meaningfully address the issue of subsidies that support environmentally destructive practices.  Generally, for each of the issues covered by the Summit, the results reflect a few countries' narrow interests rather than the interests of the large majority of countries who would like to see action - not to speak of civil society, which has engaged very constructively in the process. The final outcome is that the WSSD failed to take the action needed to reduce the unsustainable production and consumption that is impoverishing our planet and the people who live on it.  Governments should be the legitimate voice of people and should recognize the great differences between nations, cultures, and economic circumstances. They should act in solidarity rather than divide and rule. For this to happen, the world needs clear objectives, targets, and timetables! But the dynamics of negotiation meant that bold visions were lost. The result was the lowest common denominator.  The disappointing official Summit result, however, does not mean that this event was not useful. In the preparations for Johannesburg and during the Summit, we saw a number of governments stepping forward with progressive proposals and showing a willingness for leadership that goes beyond their economic interests. In addition, contrary to the commonly held view, we saw many companies working alongside NGOs for a clear set of rules and operating principles. An unprecedented diversity of new, positive public-private partnerships and local initiatives was triggered by the Summit process.  And, as disappointing as the Summit has been, we see opportunities and a way forward that will not allow the laggards to jeopardize the prospects of the world. We envisage new constellations of enlightened governments, intergovernmental institutions, environmental and development NGOs, forward-looking companies, and creative thinkers, who will address the issues left unresolved here in Johannesburg. We foresee that such groups and alliances will engage in sustainable development programmes and  uge new policy alliances which can mitigate the current flaws in the multilateral system.  I believe that most people share a common concern for future generations. As the pressure on natural resources rises and the inequities sharpen, this will foster a further growth of NGOs. People will look to leaders from all sectors of society who make a leap forward, and commit to concrete solutions based on an ethical long-term interest for the planet and its people.


At Summit Institute for Sustainable Development Event St. David's Marist College Johannesburg, South Africa

U.S. Department of State Office of the Spokesman (Johannesburg, South Africa)

September 4, 2002


Secretary Powell: Thank you very much, Mr. Bassett, I am indeed very pleased to be here at the Summit Institute for Sustainable Development on this very, very beautiful campus, and I thank the St. David's authorities for making it available for this purpose. Thanks to the dedication and hard work of thousands of people, the World Summit on Sustainable Development has taken giant strides towards making a difference in people's lives. As President Bush has clearly stated, poverty is an urgent global problem that demands action by the entire world community. That is why we are all here, why we have been here for the last almost two weeks, and we will all be measured by our success in addressing this problem. The Summit Institute is central to the World Summit's long-term success because the Institute is a truly innovative program that encourages Summit delegates from all backgrounds and all countries to come together to share their expertise, to learn practical approaches and to build national capacities for achieving sustainable development. Sustainable development is a marathon, not a sprint. It is going to take a long time. It is a long road ahead. We will not achieve sustainable development through meetings alone but only through sustained activity by committed, empowered and educated individuals. Clearly without a doubt, education is the foundation for development and that is where the Summit Institute comes in. It has provided over 70 courses to some 2,000 students with instructors from developed and developing countries voluntarily, willingly sharing their expertise, their experience, their knowledge. Here in Johannesburg, the Institute's planners have upgraded the Internet capacity of St. David's. After the conference is over, the Institute's computer equipment will be donated to the public schools of Johannesburg, to St. David's Marist College, and to private organizations.

On our way over here, Governor Whitman and I had a chance to stop in on a class, and we were very impressed by what we saw. An instructor from her organization, the Environmental Protection Agency, was giving a class on some of the laws and principles and policies followed in the United States with respect to these issues -- not as a way of saying this is how we do it in America, therefore this is how you have to do it in your country, but here is our experience, here is what we have learned about this over the years. We are here to share that experience with you. We are here to learn from you. You know a great deal. You know more about your country that we do, so let us share the experiences and not just share them for this one day, at this one time and in this one place, but let's see if we can stay in touch and network in the future to make sure that this kind of institute, this kind of learning, this kind of educational process is a continuing one, more than just a set of programs. The Summit Institute is a fine example of the type of partnership that we were so interested in achieving at this summit, a partnership between government, civil society and the private sector. That holds the key -- the kind of partnership that holds the key to spreading the benefits of sustainable development as widely as possible. I am pleased that the United States government is a founding partner of the Institute along with the Smithsonian Institution, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, the World Conservation Union and the South African Department of Education. The World Summit is drawing to an end, but the Institute's impact will continue long after the last delegates have returned home. I hope, as I said earlier, that we will be able to make capacity building programs like the Summit Institute a feature of all relevant international meetings, such as the 2003 World Parks Conference. The Summit Institute would not have been possible without the commitment and dedication of so many people who are here today, and I thank each and every one of you and the organizations you represent for your very, very fine work, and I congratulate you on this success. Thank you very, very much.

Administrator Whitman: Thank you very much, and it is my honor to be here today. I want to take a moment first to thank all of our partners. I am pleased that the Environmental Protection Agency has been able to play a role in this Institute, but I want to thank the host, St. David's Marist College, but particularly I want to single out someone who was the genesis of this, and I do particularly want to call attention to Dr. Leonard Hersch and the Smithsonian Institution and all that he did to make this possible because I will say that I believe that this Institute truly epitomizes what the World Summit on Sustainable Development is all about. It is about a continued commitment by the world to improving the lot and the protection of the environment of the citizens of the world. As the Secretary of State said, that is not going to happen at one meeting; it is not going to happen in two or three meetings. It is going to happen because of what people do when they get back. It is going to happen because of the partnerships that have been established here, and I am pleased that we have been part of those partnerships, one that is very exciting to help establish environmental indicators on children's health so that we understand better the consequences of dirty air and impure water, what we can do to protect our children, 30 percent of the world's population, but 100 percent of the world's future. I am also pleased that we were able to announce the partnerships on air, indoor air and urban air, because we know that two million people a year die from indoor air, and it is mostly our women and children who are affected. We know the toll it takes in our inner cities and our cities, our urban populations, as they grow. We also know, though, that it is going to take true partnerships, it is going to require that we have NGOs [nongovernmental organizations], that we have business communities, that we have federal, provincial, state, and local governments as part of those partnerships. This Institute is a way of empowering those people who are going to go back and take, not only what they have learned and joined together in the partnerships but what they have and the ideas they have been able to exchange with their compatriots in the course of this Institute and make it work on the ground. Knowledge is power. What we need to insure that we continue delivering our messages is power, it is going to take a long time to have the kind of effect and impact that we want. We have committed to halving the number of people who do not now have access to clean water by 2015 and halving the number of them who do not have access to proper sanitation by 2015. That is going to take an awful lot of work, and it is going to take a lot of people, and the beauty of this Institute -- we have had people from 40 different nations here and it has been a two way street. It has been exchanging ideas and saying what works and what doesn't work and giving the people who are going to go back and have responsibility for engaging their communities and their countries in the discussion in environmental -- giving them an understanding, so they can make decisions that work for their country, for their community -- because we know that there is not a one size fits all, that there are different challenges faced by every community, and so I am delighted to be here today, I am delighted with the way the Summit has concluded or is concluding now. There has been a real commitment on the part of the world's governance to continue this dialogue and to do more than that, to actually see action. We are going to see action because we have partnerships with the people who actually make things happen. Very often, even though I now represent the federal government, we know that the action takes place in the local communities. That is where things really happen. And while it may not always happen as quickly or as broadly as we would like, if it is happening, if we are moving forward, if we are affecting lives on a daily basis, if we are helping people be a little healthier, helping them toward reaching their potential, particularly among our children, then we are doing what we need to do. As we build, we build a capacity to take that broader and deeper. So I want to thank all of you who are here today who took the time to be with us for this and all of you who have been participating in the summit. Again I want to congratulate South Africa for the incredible job they have done hosting and all those who were part of this summit, but I also want to thank those who have been our partners in this Institute and again, I want to single out the Smithsonian and Leonard for all that you have done, your idea of bringing this together and allowing us to be part of this with you. Thank you all very, very much for being here today and your commitment to the environment and the world. Thank you.



4 September 2002


Dear Minister Mashatile, Mrs. Creecy, friends, First of all, let me express my sincere thanks to Mr. Paul Mashatile, Provincial Minister of Housing and Mrs. Barbara Creecy, Chair of the Education Committee for hosting this most interesting visit to Alexandra Township.

I am very much aware of Alexandra's historic role in the South African liberation struggle, and its important contribution to South African music, literature and art.  I am also aware of the tremendous challenges facing Alexandra in terms of poverty, unemployment, overcrowding and lack of infrastructure. In this context I would like to pay tribute to the efforts of the Alexandra Renewal Project (ARP), which includes the national, provincial and local government, the Greater Alexandra community, the private sector, non-governmental organisations and community-based organisations.  The aim of the Alexandra Renewal Project is to radically change the physical, social and economic environment of Alexandra and to provide services at an affordable and sustainable level.  Furthermore, the Project aims at making Alexandra "green", also through the planting of trees. I think that the motto of the Alexandra Renewal Program - "We are in this together"- very aptly describes the involvement of all major shareholders in these efforts.  The Alexandra renewal Project is sustainable development in practice.

In connection with the World Summit on Sustainable Development, the Government of Norway has contributed 8 million Rand to the JOWSCO media centre.  After the World Summit, the IT-equipment, the PCs and the library facilities of the JOWSCO media centre will be utilized in the Community Centre that will be built here. As a small contribution to the Alexandra Renewal Project, I would call on Mrs. Barbara Creecy, Chair of the Education Committee, to accept a cheque of 30 000 Rand. The amount is to be used for the purchase of soccer goals, jungle gyms and other equipment to a playground which is to be established at this spot once it has been cleared of the present structures and rubble. Finally, let me thank the people of Alexandra for giving me such a warm welcome during my visit to the Township. You have given me an unforgettable glimpse of your fascinating community.  I hope to be able to come back to Alexandra at a later occasion to see the progress that has been made since my visit here today. Thank you all.


Mexican Government

3 September 2002


Distinguished Mister Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations; Distinguished Heads of States and Governments;

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen of the delegations participating at this world summit:

Mexico is committed to sustainable development. We can no longer allow ourselves economic growth at the expense of the abuse of the planet's natural resources or from social exclusion. We require development with a human face, based on the fight against poverty and environmental degradation.  Ten years ago, the international community adopted commitments of a global character. The environment and natural resources, however, continue to deteriorate alarmingly, and international cooperation for development has lost ground against the needs of the majority of peoples.  It is time to hasten our steps and to take urgent measures. We must take advantage of the opportunity afforded to us by this Johannesburg Summit, first effort of this millennium to make sustainability a global development model.  Without doubt, global and regional climate changes, the contamination of water and soils, the over exploitation of water and forest resources, desertification and the accelerated loss of our biodiversity, as well as the growing inequalities both inwardly within nations as well as between them, obligate us to give our urgent attention to these problems.  The agreements achieved in Mexico, at the Monterrey Conference celebrated a few months ago, constitute the first step to increase development aid and to advance in the search for new mechanisms to finance sustainable development.  This effort must include our commitment to apply resources efficiently, transparently and accountably. It must also drive our fight to alleviate inequality and poverty in all regions of the globe, especially in the less developed countries. Without doubt, the foreign debt of those countries constitutes one of the biggest impediments in their advance towards sustainable development. We must deal with all these problems jointly, and achieve a new world Alliance in favour of sustainable development.  I have committed myself to establish concrete and verifiable targets for Mexico on matters of sustainability, and for this purpose we have built a system of indicators and instruments that will enable the evaluation of the environmental impact of government policies and programmes and the advancement of Mexico towards the construction of a sustainable society.  For Mexico, the protection of the environment and the defence of natural resources are a matter of national security, because environmental degradation has started to affect our country's potential for progress.  Our commitment is also towards the agenda at a global level. Mexico has ratified the main international instruments regarding the environment and Sustainable Development and we have been the first country in the American continent to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

Today, having abandoned in the last two years the burning of 70% of natural gas associated with petroleum exploitation, we have avoided emitting 6.3 million tons of carbon dioxide, and substantially reduced methane gas emissions. In this way we contribute, over and above our international obligations, to the reversal of global climate change.  My government has decreed its Exclusive Maritime Economic Zone a Refuge for Whales and Dolphins, converting our country into the most extensive sanctuary in the world for these marvellous marine mammals, protecting them from commercial exploitation and any other activity that may threaten them.  On the subject of biosecurity, the Senate of my country recently ratified the Cartagena Protocol. The government of Mexico works with the Congress to establish national legislation that promotes research and the sustainable use of genetic resources in a safe and responsible manner. This matter is of the greatest importance given that we are a nation where the main source centres for different species of basic grains, plants and animals are situated, which have been the central foundation in the advancement of civilizations in the past, and today sustain modernization and technological advances.  Mexico has driven the creation of the Like-Minded Megadiverse Countries, which has under its jurisdiction more than 70% of the natural richness of the planet. Conscious of our great responsibility towards humankind, we have agreed to commit ourselves with the rest of the nations to redouble our efforts for the conservation of biological diversity, so to significantly reduce the loss of Biodiversity by the year 2010.  As a counterpart to this goal, developed countries must commit themselves to provide new financial and technological resources to developing countries, and to promote, in the context of the Convention on Biological Diversity, an International Regime to develop and protect the equitable distribution of the benefits resulting from the utilization of genetic resources. This will be one of the most important heirlooms of this Summit.  It must be clear to all of us: the only way to protect and save the biological diversity of the world is by directly benefiting the local and indigenous communities that, in spite of inhabiting these areas of great natural resources, are generally the most impoverished and marginalized inhabitants of the planet.  Our commitment must be with them, because these peoples have preserved for thousands of years, for the benefit of the whole of humankind, this great natural and cultural wealth. It is necessary to achieve the just valuation of the traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples, and taken into account in the evaluation and granting of intellectual property rights.  Only in this way we shall achieve the conservation of our natural patrimony within a framework of equity and justice, with an effective battle against poverty and a dignified life of respect and opportunities for our peoples. Only in this way communities will be able to transform themselves into the best allies of conservation and the rational and sustainable use of biological diversity.  To ensure the integrity of sustainable development, we recognize that health is a fundamental component for the eradication of poverty. This is why Mexico commits itself to fight against it. It is necessary to make investment in health a key element for sustainable development, just as it was recognized in the Monterrey Declaration.  Mexico expresses its thanks to the government of South Africa for its hospitality at this Summit, which must convert into actions the good intentions expressed here, just as it was demanded clearly and simply by the girls and boys that in the name of the future of the world participated in yesterday's Inauguration. 

Thank you very much.

35. STEADFASTLY TAKE THE ROAD OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT --Speech by H.E. Mr. Zhu Rongji, Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, at the World Summit on Sustainable Development

3 September 2002


Mr. Chairman, It is of great significance for national leaders around the world to come together on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) to review the past and look into the future in a discussion of important issues of global sustainable development.  On behalf of the Chinese Government and people, I wish to express my warm congratulations on the convocation of this summit and my sincere thanks to the Government and people of South Africa for the great efforts they have put into it.  What is particularly meaningful is that this summit meets in Africa shortly after the inauguration of the African Union.  I am confident that with the establishment of the African Union and the implementation of the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), the African continent will take on a new look with historic changes and fresh contributions to world peace and development.

Sustainable development is a crucial and pressing task facing all countries in the world.  Ten years ago, national leaders around the world met in Rio de Janeiro of Brazil and laid down the principles, objectives and programs of action on sustainable development.  Since then, the international community and national governments have made unremitting efforts in implementing the Rio Declaration and Agenda 21.  Important steps have been taken in promoting the harmonious development of the economy, population, resources and environment, and various forms of regional and bilateral cooperation on environment and development have been carried out in greater depth.  Meanwhile, environmental degradation worldwide has gone on unreversed.  While such long-standing problems as poverty, hunger, waste of resources and ecological destruction remain unresolved, abnormal climatic changes, fresh water shortage, spread of HIV/AIDS and other new threats have cropped up.  As economic globalization presses on, the gap between the North and South, as well as the digital divide, keeps on widening.  What merits our particular attention is that terrorist activities, regional conflicts, trans-border crimes, rampant drug trafficking and other threats to peace and security remain quite serious.  The pressure and challenge facing the international community are evidently on the increase, rather than decrease.  Fulfilling the objectives of sustainable development as set by Agenda 21 is still a long and arduous journey.  Mr. Chairman, We are already in the 21st century with complex and profound changes taking place every minute around the world.  The new technology revolution spearheaded by IT and bioengineering is surging forward with dazzling speed.  Working for peace, development and cooperation has become the irresistible trend of history.  Regardless where they live, people all desire a good and peaceful life and want to see sustainable development a reality.  We are called upon by the new situation to proceed from the larger interest of harmony between man and nature and complimentarity between environment and development and to take the road of sustainable development with stronger determination and more solid steps.   Now, I wish to take this opportunity to give my propositions as follows:

1. We should deepen our understanding of sustainable development.  Sustainable development is a new outlook on development as defined by the UNCED in Rio, which represents a radical departure from the traditional concept and model of development.  Namely, economic development must contribute to the continuous use of resources and the virtuous cycle of the eco-system, and must not be achieved by abusing the resources and destroying the eco-system.  Owing to differing national conditions and development levels, countries may differ in the way sustainable development is pursued.  While taking the diversified development of countries as the basis and promoting global development through individual local development, efforts should be made to combine solutions to country-specific environmental problems with those of global environmental problems, so as to achieve sustainable development throughout the world. 

2. Concerted efforts of all countries are needed in achieving sustainable development.  We should take common development as our objective and bring about a new partnership featuring mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit.  The principles laid down by the UNCED in Rio, especially the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities", should be adhered to.  The United Nations should play an active role in coordinating the overall international strategy of environment and development, as well as in conducting technology transfer, technical consultation, personnel training and aid programs. Relevant international and regional organizations and agencies should strengthen their cooperation with all countries, especially developing countries.  Countries should do still a better job in mobilizing their social groups, enterprises and population to work for sustainable development.

3. We should strengthen scientific and technological cooperation in achieving sustainable development.  Rapid development of science and technology in today's world has increasingly become a powerful engine for human progress.  It is essential that we extensively apply the research results, especially those in information, biology and other hi-tech fields, in resources exploitation, environment protection and ecological development.  Spread of science and technology should recognize no national boundaries.  The international community and national governments should adopt new policies and mechanisms to help reduce clashes between protecting intellectual property rights and promoting wider application of technology so as to facilitate transfer of technology among states.

4. We should endeavor to create an international economic environment conducive to sustainable development.  Global sustainable development requires a fair and equitable new international economic order and a new regime of world trade.  Erecting trade barriers with excessive environmental standards will, instead of getting us any closer to solving the environmental issues, seriously hamper the capabilities of the developing countries for sustainable development.  The international community should fully understand the difficulties faced by the developing countries in the areas of fund, trade and debts, and take effective steps to remove protective trade practices of one kind or another.  The developed countries, in particular, should make their market more accessible by dismantling trade barriers.  The developing countries should take an active part in international cooperation and competition with a view to steadily enhancing their capabilities of sustainable development.  To this end, we call for a proper handling of the relationship between trade and environment at the new round of multilateral trade negotiations so as to ensure that the two will promote each other.

5. Sustainable development cannot go forward without world peace and stability.  Peace is the most essential prerequisite for mankind's survival and development.  Our world, on the whole, is enjoying peace, relaxation and stability.  But local wars, tensions and turbulences are still very pronounced. Our planet is no peace haven.  All countries should abide by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, comply with the universally recognized norms governing international relations and work together to safeguard peace and stability in regions and globally.  All disputes between states and all regional conflicts should be resolved by peaceful means, and the use or threat of force should be rejected.

The issue of environment and development commands the attention of the people the world over.  A large number of important consensus and commitments have been reached by the UN-sponsored world conferences over the years.  The UN Millennium Summit, held in September 2000 in New York City, set forth multiple objectives of eliminating poverty and promoting economic and social development.  People have expected that this summit of ours will make substantive efforts to realize these commitments and objectives.

Mr. Chairman, Since the Rio UNCED, the Chinese Government, acting in a highly responsible manner to discharge its commitment, has taken the lead in formulating China's Agenda 21, mapped out the strategy of rejuvenating the nation through science and technology and the strategy of sustainable development, and identified the key sectors of China's sustainable development for the early years of the new century and relevant programs of action.  Having formulated and improved more than 120 laws, rules and regulations concerning population, family planning, environment protection, natural resources management, disaster prevention and relief, China now has an organizational and administrative system operating at various levels that involves multiple agencies of both the central and local governments.  At the same time, China has acceded to a series of international conventions and completed the domestic procedure for the approval of the Kyoto Protocol with a view to taking an active part in multilateral environment cooperation. Thanks to ten years of hard work, China's strategy of sustainable development has now run through all aspects of the country's economic and social development efforts, which effectively promoted a sustained and harmonious development of the economy, population, resources and environment and delivered remarkable successes.  With reform and opening up, China's GDP increased by 158% in the past decade or so.  As the economy grows rapidly and people's living standards improve steadily, the excessively rapid population growth has been brought under control. Protection and management of natural resources have been strengthened, work against pollution and for a sound eco-system accelerated, and environment quality of some cities and regions visibly improved.  Particularly in recent years, China has stepped up its financial input in environment.  From 1998 through 2002, a total of RMB580 billion yuan was invested in environment protection and preservation of the ecosystem, accounting for 1.29% of the country's GDP in that period and 1.8 times the combined investment in this area from 1950 to 1997.  After years of searching, we have found for ourselves a development model with Chinese characteristics and our sustainable development is holding out a promising prospect.  By 2005, the tendency of ecological degradation will be on the whole arrested, and the total discharge of major pollutants will drop by 10% compared with 2000.  In 2010, our GDP will double that of 2000 when our people will be much better off, the development of our resources more rational and the quality of our environment more improved, thus presenting a more uplifting picture of harmonious development of the economy, population, resources and environment. Mr. Chairman, As the world's largest developing country and a major player in environment protection, China is an important force in international environment cooperation.  We are deeply aware of the responsibilities on our shoulders.  If we do a good job in running China well, it will be a great contribution to the world cause of sustainable development.  We are still faced with considerable restraints and difficulties in implementing the sustainable development strategy due to our large population, low per capita resources, vulnerable ecology, uneven regional economic development and inadequate development of our overall economy.  We will continue to work hard, unflinchingly shoulder our responsibilities, honor our commitments with deeds, and steadfastly take the road of sustainable development.  I firmly believe that this summit will usher in a better implementation of the sustainable development strategy in all countries. We in China will, as always, energetically participate in international environment cooperation and work with all other countries in protecting global environment and realizing sustainable development throughout the world.  We are destined to have an even better future for China and for our entire world. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.    



3 September 2002


Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, First of all, I would like to thank you, Mr. President, and the Government and people of South Africa for hosting this UN World Summit and for your tireless efforts to make it a resounding success. I do not need to describe to you the many challenges we face in achieving sustainable development or the consequences of failing. You know them well. The reality of globalization is an increasingly interdependent world. The title of this roundtable, "The Future of Multilateralism", is an apt one. Leadership in our increasingly global and interdependent world is about the art of cooperation and consensus. It is about defining common goals and interests, and of coherently managing the complex interdependence of global issues. This can only be successfully achieved through the full and effective participation of all countries. The world needs a reaffirmation of our choice of multilateralism over unilateralism; stability over uncertainty; consensus over conflict; rules over power. This Summit, which comes at an important time, is an essential reaffirmation of these values. At Doha last November, in a climate of dangerous international uncertainty, WTO members showed the determination to make multilateralism work. It is salutary that this Summit has recognised trade as one vital component to achieving sustainable development. I greatly welcome the political reaffirmation that Heads of State and Government at this Summit have given to the negotiations launched at Doha last November. Your call for WTO Members to fulfil the commitments made in the Doha Declaration adds further impetus to our work. At Doha, Ministers launched a new Round of trade negotiations. At this Summit, Leaders have called on WTO Members to bring these negotiations to a successful conclusion. It is through the Doha Development Agenda negotiations that difficult issues of tariff peaks, tariff escalation, subsidies and other trade distorting measures can be resolved and new areas progressed. I want to highlight three simple but vital points on how trade can contribute to sustainable development :

Trade barriers harm the poorest

Removing trade barriers helps alleviate poverty

Trade liberalization is a powerful ally of sustainable development

Trade offers one solution. But for sustainable development to work, we will also need solutions in other areas and we need these solutions now and not in some hypothetical future. And finding solutions begins with recognising that shared problems cannot be solved by unilateral approaches. The reality today is that multilateralism is the only sustainable way to secure our global future. There is great expectation about the results of these negotiations and for good reason. The World Bank's Global Economic Prospects 2002, estimates that abolishing all trade barriers could boost global income over a ten year period by US$2.8 trillion. Of this, developing countries stand to reap more than half of these gains and an additional reduction in global poverty of 320 million people by 2015. These are rough estimates, but they provide us with a clear indication; freer trade, accompanied by appropriate domestic macroeconomic policies and a sound legal framework, is vital in helping poor countries grow their way out of poverty and move on to the path of sustainable development. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has called on donor countries to double present levels of assistance to US$100 billion a year in order to meet the Millennium Development Goals. At the same time, UN estimates show that official development aid provided by developed countries has fallen to an average of 0.22% of their GNP. So, how do we pay for the Millennium Development Goals and make the vision of sustainable development a reality? One answer is in assisting developing countries to benefit more from trade and generate the resources needed for development. The Doha Development Agenda is more than a catchword or a vague expression of shared sentiment. It offers the promise of real development gains. An open trading system will help increase income levels and reduce poverty. The share of developing countries in world trade has grown to around 30 per cent and it could be made to grow even higher. One way to do this is by improving market access for products of particular interest to developing countries such as agriculture and textiles. In the WTO, developed country members have committed themselves to respond to the concerns of developing countries but more could be done. This one action, opening up markets, will make a huge difference to the lives of millions. We should also remember, trade is not a zero-sum game. It is not just developing countries that will gain from trade liberalisation, developed countries will also benefit. For instance, agricultural support in developed countries which comes close to US$1 billion every day, represents a cost to developed country tax payers and consumers. This is just one example, among others, of a trade practice that hampers the development of poor countries' trade. Of course, market access is not the only factor. Developing countries must also have the capacity to produce products that meet market requirements. The Doha Development Agenda is not the answer to every problem, nor should it attempt to be. But it provides a chance to make a difference. I believe the prospects to conclude the Round and to make the results serve each and everyone are good. The negotiating framework is in place and substantive negotiations are underway. To further advance the negotiations, we need the active participation of all WTO members to make sure their concerns and interests are taken into account. We also need civil society to be informed about the negotiations and continue to provide their critical inputs. Elected representatives, in particular, need to know about decisions which potentially affect the communities they represent and make their interests and concerns known. Let me touch on a few areas where progress in the Doha Development Agenda will help poorer countries reap further gains from trade and enhance their potential for sustainable development : Agriculture: is and has always been a fundamental sector and for many developing countries, agriculture is an issue of life or death. Agriculture is critical to the successful conclusion of the negotiations. Ambitious liberalization in this sector can offer big potential gains for all countries, particularly developing countries. WTO members are committed to comprehensive negotiations aimed at addressing market access, export subsidies and trade distorting domestic support. Progress in the agriculture negotiations alone amounts to a substantial development agenda. More than 50 developing countries depend on agriculture for over one-third of their merchandise export earnings. I welcome the commitment by the EU to reform the Common Agricultural Policy. The US proposal in the WTO for trade reform of agriculture is another encouraging step. However, there is more which could and needs to be done. The eventual elimination of trade distorting measures which affect agricultural trade will be a tremendous boost for sustainable development. The World Bank has estimated that phasing out restrictions on agriculture could lead to higher income in developing countries of some US$400 billion by 2015. The gains from this are several times larger than all the debt relief granted to developing countries so far.

Textiles and clothing: this is another key sector where developing countries have comparative advantage. WTO members have reaffirmed their commitment to the full and faithful implementation of Agreement on Textiles and Clothing by 2005. The full integration of this sector into the WTO has a huge potential for generating employment and foreign exchange for many developing countries.  Tariff peaks and tariff escalation: after many rounds of trade negotiations, average tariffs on non-agricultural products have been significantly reduced. But relatively high tariffs still remain on some products in which developing countries are competitive and tariffs go up as the level of processing increases. Tariff escalation prevents developing countries from moving away from dependence on a few commodities. Tariff peaks and tariff escalation must be brought down by the negotiations, if developing countries are to be able to meaningfully gain from world merchandise trade. Transforming market access opportunities into concrete gains will also depend on the willingness of countries to implement reforms at home to enable their firms to take advantage of market openings abroad.  Particular efforts will be needed to address the marginalization of least developed countries, most of which are in Africa. For instance, the share of sub-Saharan African countries in world trade was less than 2 per cent last year. Improving market access in products of export interest to least developed countries will make a huge difference. I welcome the reaffirmation by this Summit of the commitment taken at Doha to the objective of duty, quota-free market access for products originating from least developed countries. Market access is vital but more is also needed in other areas. Investments are needed in human resources, in institutions and in building the physical infrastructure for trade to take place. The WTO, for its part, has significantly increased its technical cooperation activities. But our expertise lies in assisting countries to implement WTO agreements and to build their capacity to negotiate, not in development assistance. Well defined partnerships and better coordination with other institutions within a coherent policy framework will be key to building the capacity of poorer countries to trade. In this continent, the creation of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) is an inspiration. It is an important African-initiated step forward onto the path of sustainable growth and development, and I commend the efforts of African people and leaders. The WTO's contribution to sustainable development goes beyond raising incomes and helping to alleviate poverty. Market restrictions and distorted prices result in scarce resources being overutilized. The removal of certain trade restrictive measures and distortions can benefit both trade and the environment. Take the case of the environmental impact of fisheries subsidies - an issue long discussed in the WTO. Negotiations are now taking place under the Doha Development Agenda with a view to clarifying and improving WTO disciplines on fisheries subsidies. Agriculture, energy and fisheries are all sectors where greater market disciplines could have positive effects on the environment. However, as important as they are, correcting pricing distortions alone will not solve all environmental problems. Lowering tariffs will not stop a deteriorating ecosystem or rainforests from disappearing. Trade is an ally of sustainable development but it cannot substitute for policy failings or gaps in other areas. The solution to environmental and other challenges lies in sound domestic policies and in reaching enforceable global agreements and standards. At Doha, governments committed themselves to negotiations on the relationship between Multilateral Environmental Agreements and the WTO. This will ensure there are no contradictions between the two and will enhance the mutual supportiveness of trade and the environment. On drugs patents and public health, issues which are vital for sustainable development, a separate Ministerial Declaration from Doha states that the WTO's TRIPS Agreement "does not and should not prevent members from taking measures to protect public health". This declaration is a boost for global efforts to address the public health problems afflicting many developing and least-developed countries, especially those resulting from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other epidemics. The WTO has moved from the failure of Seattle to the success of Doha. To ensure that we continue to be successful and conclude the Round with balanced outcomes, all members have to understand and accommodate the needs of their partners. Richer countries need to fulfil the promise of a development Round. Developing countries, for their part, need to ensure through their positive engagement in the negotiations that they make the most of their opportunities. It is not so much a question of what developing countries can expect from the Round but what all partners in it can jointly achieve based on workable proposals and multilateral approaches. A strengthened multilateral trading system is in the interest of every country.

Thank you.

37. JOHANNESBURG SUMMIT CONCLUDES WITH MIXED RESULTS: TRADE, ENERGY AND WOMEN'S RIGHTS DOMINATE Statement of Kristin Dawkins, Vice-President for Global Programs at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

3 September 2002


Renewable energy and trade policy were the trickiest issues to resolve in Johannesburg, as the presidents and prime ministers of the world concluded negotiations without George W. Bush on an implementation plan for sustainable development. Issues concerning women's reproductive health and human rights were still not settled by late afternoon on Tuesday September 3. Despite official agreements on dozens of other highly controversial issues, activists representing civil society organizations from around the world have already condemned the results -- charging the political leaders with "irresponsible subservience to corporate-led globalization." Even the presidents and prime ministers, in their political declaration, have acknowledged that there is an "ever-increasing gap between the developed and developing world. If we do nothing," they state, "we risk the entrenchment of a form of global apartheid." The conference halls are buried under piles of paper describing the grim statistics: 6000 children die every day from communicable diseases due to a lack of clean water. Nearly half of all Africans live on less than $1 per day -- poverty on this continent is worse than it was 10 years ago. The planet's fisheries and forests are being depleted faster than imagined. Climate change has accelerated, not slowed, and even British Prime Minister Tony Blair criticized the U.S. for its failure to join the Kyoto Protocol pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In Rio in 1992, the first President Bush joined his fellow heads of state at the last minute to finalize a Plan of Action for sustainable development. President Clinton then signed the two treaties finalized there to slow climate change and the loss of biological diversity. The U.S. Senate has never ratified these treaties, however, and was widely condemned in Johannesburg for its lack of cooperation with the world community. A popular tee-shirt worn by activists reads: "What Can We Do About the United States?" The official declaration of the presidents and prime ministers also states that the "goals we set ourselves at the Rio Earth Summit have not been met" and to achieve these goals, "we need a democratic system of global governance with enhanced and accountable international and multilateral institutions." In searching for positive things to say about this summit in Johannesburg, those who followed the negotiations closely can come up with a reasonable list of breakthroughs -- but many of these come under the category of "damage control." For example:

  • Agreement was reached on a commitment to increase renewable energy sources relative to fossil fuels, but European proposals for the world to produce 15 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2010 were not accepted. Ironically, an alliance between the U.S. and oil producing nations defeated calls for more measureable goals, despite tension over the U.S. policy in the Middle East.

  • U.S. demands that all environment and development policies ensure "consistency" with the World Trade Organization were finally defeated, when Ethiopia pointed out that post-Cold War progress towards eliminating poverty in the Third World was suddenly reversed in 1994 when the WTO was created. But the agreements still support the WTO's work program agreed to last year in Doha, Qatar, including its review of the U.N's multilateral environmental agreements in terms of their impact on commercial trade.

  • Governments committed themselves to providing clean water to at least half a billion more people by 2105, and sanitation services to at least 1.2 billion, but this is far from complying with the U.N.'s human rights laws which establish a fundamental human right to water for all.

  • A Global Solidarity Fund was established to pay for poverty-reducing projects, but it is entirely voluntary. And the U.S. indicated its help funding water projects would be at the expense of renewable energy projects, but not both. Recipients of this aid would have to comply with the Doha, Qatar work plan on services, de-regulating and privatizing their domestic water systems even before they would be expected to do so under the WTO.

  • Corporations will be expected to "operate within a transparent and stable regulatory environment" and the U.N. "should pursue the matter of corporate responsibility," but the U.S. said it would opt out of this process. Hundreds of "partnerships" between governments and corporations were announced to provide water and other public services that are normally expected of the governments themselves.

  • Despite intense opposition from the U.S., the final agreements do reiterate the 1992 "Precautionary Principle," which states that when scientific knowledge is lacking, governments should err on the side of caution. But restating agreements of ten years ago hardly could be called "progress" and the U.S. came very close to obliterating these fundamental principles of sustainable development.

In their final declaration, the presidents and prime ministers gave the United Nations General Assembly the responsibility "to institute a follow-up mechanism to facilitate, evaluate and monitor the implementation of the agreements reached in Johannesburg." Calling it the "world's foremost multilateral forum" and "the most universal and representative organization in the world," the leaders of more than 100 nations gave the U.N. the official authority for determining whether or not this Johannesburg Summit may be considered a success.

In the long run, however, it will be obvious to everyone. Scientists recognize that the Earth's climate, biological and ecological systems are interdependent and at risk of a catastrophic systems failure -- and that our human society is likewise dependent and at risk. Poor people are already profoundly aware of the crisis. As civil society groups stated in their final declaration in Johannesburg, the promotion of "market forces and the WTO as the main economic, social, environmental and cultural arbitrator" is incompatible with the goals of sustainable development. The next global gathering in their campaign for a "world of equity, justice, democratic participation, and human rights for all, where the values of life, peoples and the planet take precedence over profits" will likely be in Cancun, Mexico, when the next Ministerial Meeting of the World Trade Organization takes place next September.


World Summit on Sustainable Development

1 September 2002


Sandton Conference Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa Your Excellencies, Ministers, Colleagues. First may I thank you most sincerely for making the time to come to this important event. I am very happy to see many of our Leaders and Ministers from the Pacific this afternoon. And I am also very grateful to our partners and friends who are here with us, for their interest in and support for our region. Your attendance is a clear demonstration of your earnest desire to ensure that the outcomes of this Summit are translated into practical benefits for our people and nations in the Pacific. Rarely do political events such as this have the opportunity to significantly change attitudes and behaviour towards the environment and the way we live our lives. We have experienced environment, economic and social summits. Never have these three pillars of sustainable development been considered together so as to define a clearer path towards sustainable development.

This Summit is destined to be such an event. This gathering of world governments, international organizations, NGOs, lobby groups, has reviewed the last decade of achievements (and failures), and is charting a course for sustainable development. But what truly distinguishes this event is the connection between the "words well spoken" and "deeds well done". While negotiations for the final words to come from the Summit is yet to be completed, for us in the Pacific many of the essential words are already agreed, in the sections on small islands developing states, oceans and others. What we need now, starting with this high level event, is to turn those words into deeds.

As part of the preparations for the WSSD, the United Nations called for Type II Initiatives and Partnerships to be developed that will further implement the outcomes of the Summit. These initiatives and partnerships are intended to translate the "words well spoken" to "deeds well done". They are designed to be the basis on which we, together with our partners, discuss and agree on the ways and means of implementing the Summit Plan of Action, and of turning the Summit outcomes to something tangible and meaningful for people at home, something that we can see will help change their lives for the better. As a region, our own Summit preparations have already produced some good results. Consultations with government leaders and stakeholders last year proved invaluable and produced a submission to the Summit on a range of key issues for the region. These are familiar to us all and include: climate change; island vulnerability; energy; oceans; natural resources, the people, their health and good governance; the needs for effective capacity building and the mobilization of resources. This submission and the National Assessments completed by Governments and stakeholders over the last 12 months provide the raw material for action, for the deeds to be well done, for the Type II initiatives in Pacific island countries. National Assessments in most countries have engaged whole of government and a range of non-government stakeholders in the identification of priorities for sustainable development. They have encouraged or strengthened the integration of economic, social and environmental goals, identified a range of key issues to be addressed and have been structured to feed into the preparations for the review of the Barbados Programme of Action in 2004. The Assessments provide a valuable basis for the further development of indicators to measure progress in sustainable development, and for environmental assessment and reporting. The challenges that the countries have identified fall into some familiar categories. But it is also clear that countries are at very different stages in the pursuit of sustainable development. Our region is rich, and challenging, in its diversity. "One size will not fit all" and the development of these partnerships into implementable projects will need to rely on careful consultation among all the partners - from both the public and private sectors. So let me now focus on the launch of a number of real partnerships that proposed to take the outcomes of this Summit and turn them into practical reality in our region. The current list of umbrella initiatives includes:

Capacity Building and distance education; Energy; Land Resources Adaptation; Tourism; Governance; Vulnerability and Disaster Management; Health; Information Communication Technology; Water; Mainstreaming Conservation; Oceans; Planning and community development; Waste Management.  These umbrella initiatives represent the areas or concepts of needs and priorities in the Pacific, where we would like to see practical partnerships or projects. There may be others, but for now, these are the areas of regional priorities that we would like to discuss with those of our partners wishing to implement Summit outcomes in the Pacific. I again stress the point that the Initiatives in front of you today have been developed based on our Region's submission to the WSSD, and on our country needs as identified in National Assessments. They were also developed through a consultative process involving member countries, regional organizations and other stakeholders. They were given support at the regional meetings held in Nadi and Bali, and were endorsed by the Pacific Environment Ministers Meeting held in Majuro in June this year. At the Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Suva last month, the Leaders also stressed the importance of having practical initiatives from the WSSD to implement its outcomes and sustainable development in the Pacific. The launching of the Pacific umbrella initiatives is the start of this process of turning the Summit outcomes into practical initiatives, or projects for implementation. It is the first opportunity for the partners of the Pacific to look at areas or concepts where they themselves may wish to pursue practical partnerships with the Pacific governments, organizations and other stakeholders.

But the purpose of this meeting is not to engage in programming or project development discussions - that is something best left to the Officials. Instead, I wish to encourage general statements and discussion on policy interests and objectives. I hope that we can come to some understanding today on the sorts of areas where we have common interest, either within the parameters of the Initiatives we're launching today, or in some other areas not identified or given prominence in the present documentation. A couple of days ago, a young child from the Pacific Islands sent the following e-mail message to her dad who is attending the Summit:

"How is Africa? Do you like it there? I know you can't come home early because the meeting that is held there is very important to the whole world. Discussing peace, the environment and all the major problems that world is facing. Also getting the leaders help by telling the people to always put the world first, as it has done more than enough for us. I'm glad that you are participating in the meeting because you and so many other people there are making a big difference in the world". The hopes of our children and of the millions around the world, that this Summit will make a big difference, depends on how quickly and how far we can go in turning the Summit words into Summit deeds. On that note, Excellencies, Ministers and Colleagues, I have great pleasure in launching the portfolio of initiatives before you and, most importantly, kick starting the post-Summit process of consultation, that will allow each of us to define how we can translate these umbrella initiatives, into tangible outcomes at the local and national and regional levels.  May I thank you once again for your attendance and the commitment of all of you to "making a big difference" in the Pacific Island countries and in the world of tomorrow.

Vinaka Vakalevu and Thank you.

39. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION Speech by Mary Robinson, High Commissioner for Human Rights

Civil Society Workshop on Human Rights

1 September 2002


Ladies and gentlemen,

Thank you for the invitation to address the opening session of your workshop on human rights, sustainable development and environmental protection. It is a great pleasure to be with many of our civil society partners with whom I have worked on a number of human rights issues in the past. My thanks also to the organisers for their considerable efforts to arrange this important workshop.


The interdependence of human rights, environment protection and sustainable development has been described using the metaphor of a triangle. Although sustainable development is the overarching goal, it cannot be achieved without also respecting human rights and protecting the environment. Each side is linked to, and mutually supports the others. Without one, effective realisation of the other two is not possible. Together, these three goals take us towards what the Earth Charter refers to as 'a sustainable global society'. To talk of interdependence is not to deny the differences between each of these goals. Each is an end in itself rather than merely a means of supporting and furthering the others. Each has a different focus and places the emphasis on different values. As such, the image of the triangle suggests the intersection not the integration of these three goals.


The links between pursuit of the goals of sustainable development and environmental protection are the most widely understood and recognised. At Rio, ten years ago, the international community explicitly acknowledged these links and set down a blueprint to reinforce them. The task of the Summit here in Johannesburg has been to return to the commitments made at Rio and to look for new ways to strengthen the implementation of those commitments, especially those contained in Agenda 21. The human rights aspects of sustainable development are many and varied. Poverty, health, indigenous peoples, food: many of these issues which are central to sustainable development are also central to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I have already spoken on human rights and sustainable development in my address to the plenary of the Summit. There is also an OHCHR background paper in circulation that explores this linkage. Today, I would like to focus on the other side of the triangle, that links human rights and the environment.


Unfortunately, this side of the triangle was largely missing in Rio. Ten years on it continues to be hidden from view. The essential role of human rights promotion and protection in securing environmental protection is still not fully recognised or accepted. We might ask why this is the case. It should be difficult to deny the relevance of human rights. As far back as 1972, the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment declared that:  '[M] an's environment, the natural and the man-made, are essential to his well-being and to the enjoyment of basic human rights--even the right to life itself.'  There has been a steadily growing awareness of the human rights implications of policies and programmes that are aimed at environmental protection and sustainable development. That awareness is reflected in the references and language on human rights in the draft Plan of Action of the Summit, some of it agreed some remaining in brackets. Since the Stockholm Conference in 1972, awareness of the impact of environmental factors on the promotion and protection of human rights has become progressively more clear. So, too, has the role of human rights abuses in environmental degradation. This awareness has led to a number of initiatives aimed at both protecting human rights through protecting the environment, and (vice-versa) protecting the environment through the promotion of human rights.As many of you will know, an Expert Seminar convened by my Office and the United Nations Environment Programme in Geneva, took stock of these initiatives in January this year. The two agencies convened the seminar, in following up a resolution of the Commission on Human Rights, with the aim of reviewing and assessing progress achieved since Rio and Agenda 2I, in promoting and protecting human rights in relation to environmental questions. The seminar brought together 27 experts from all regions of the world tasked to review developments since Rio and to draw from those developments some preliminary assessments of the existing links between human rights and the environment. The Experts' Conclusions were then debated with representatives of member states, international organisations and civil society. A pamphlet on the experts' conclusions has published jointly by OHCHR and UNIP for this Summit.  Reading the Conclusions it is striking how, at every level - international, regional, national - there is now a greater appreciation of the nexus between human rights and environmental themes, especially when considered in the context of sustainable development.

Let me outline briefly the salient points.


At international level a number of important human rights treaties take into account the environmental dimensions of human rights. Examples are, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the ILO Convention 169 concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries. Similarly, a number of international organisations have addressed the connection between human rights and the environment in their organizational structures and activities, particularly in terms of access to information and public participation in decision-making. The UN treaty bodies have also increased their recognition of the impact of environmental factors on the application of their respective conventions.


At the regional level, a number of instruments have addressed the linkages, again with an emphasis on information and participation. I would single out the 1998 Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters as an example of how the human rights-environment relationship is a two way relationship. Procedural rights to information and participation help protect human rights and the environment at the same time. Mention should also be made of the experience of the European and Inter-American human rights systems which have interpreted environmental degradation in human rights terms.


It is at the national level, however, that some of the most striking developments have taken place. The right to a healthy environment has been recognized formally in over 90 national constitutions enacted since 1992. Often the right is made expressly justiciable. In other countries, especially in South Asia and Latin America, constitutional rights to life, health and family life have been interpreted as embracing environmental factors. These developments suggest that the role of the judiciary and lawyers in elaborating links between human rights and the environment has become a significant one. One conclusion of the Expert seminar underlined the need to sensitize and provide further training to judges, lawyers and public officials.


Assessing these developments around the world lead the experts to draw a number of conclusions, which provide a valuable starting point for your workshop. They will be useful for the goal of the workshop which is to provide participants with the information and tools necessary to enable them to use human rights principles and protections in their work after Johannesburg. Their Conclusions are set out in the pamphlet but let me refer to two of them ...Respect for human rights is broadly accepted as a pre-condition for sustainable development, that environmental protection constitutes a pre-condition for the effective enjoyment of human rights protection, and that human rights and the environment are interdependent and inter-related. These features are now broadly reflected in national and international practices and developments.  And a second:

The experts noted the broad recognition that poverty is at the center of a number of human rights violations and is at the same time a major obstacle to achieving sustainable development and environmental protection.

These and other Conclusions of the Experts are not speculative. They cannot be read as making untenable proposals for the future. Rather they are firmly based in the concrete developments of the past decade: developments in illustrating the link between human rights and environmental issues which cannot be denied. In the light of the Geneva Seminar, and the experiences of many of you in this room, it must seem incredible that the draft Political Declaration before the Summit dealing with environmental protection and sustainable development has, as yet, no reference to human rights. I hope that that will change as discussions proceed.


Nevertheless, I would not wish to underestimate the challenges that face a coming together of the human rights and environmental approaches. They remain very distinct areas with distinct communities of practitioners. As I mentioned at the outset, it is not a question of a total integration of theses two fields. They remain focused on separate goals. What workshops such as this should strive to do is to show each community how it can benefit from interaction with the other. Environmentalists must come to realise that the language and framework of human rights provides another tool in their struggle to protect our environment. At the same time, human rights advocates need to look to the significant role that environmental degradation - in all its forms - has on the enjoyment of individual rights not alone for those living today but for future generations. It is fair to say that many of the delays in bringing the human rights and environmental agendas together have arisen from misunderstandings between the two communities. Their goals, are not as conflicting as some would have us believe. The idea that the human rights community is only concerned with individual's standards of present day living, and that the environmental community is only concerned with protecting the environment is an oversimplification and ultimately false. I speak for the human rights community. Human rights is not about arming individuals with claims that can be pursued without regard to other issues, for example environmental protection. A rights based approach seeks to balance the competing interests of individual's and of groups by using a framework which focuses on human dignity and well-being. It is through this balancing process that many of our fundamental rights are realised: freedom of speech, the right to food, the right to housing and others. In understanding that the environment plays a role in this balancing exercise when relevant, we will see that environmental degradation should never be justified as necessary for human well-being. Similarly, the value attached to the environment by individuals and communities around the globe is something to which a human rights approach is sensitive. The value of environmental protection was not as well appreciated when the Universal Declaration on Human Rights was adopted as it is now, but the dynamic nature of human rights ensures that new and evolving aspirations of peoples are taken into account. Thus, human rights are not by nature environmentally unfriendly. The right to safe drinking water is not the right to waste drinking water. The right to housing does not support the destruction of forests essential in both ecological and human health terms. The goals of protecting the earth for future generations and of ensuring the dignity of those living at the present time are inextricably entwined.


We are, however, at an early stage of understanding and operationalising these links. As I said earlier, it is striking that this should be the case. It leaves us with a full agenda for the future; for the post-Johannesburg world, which is the focus of this workshop.  Even by saying this I am identifying the prime goal for the immediate future: to promote a deeper understanding of the links between human rights and environmental protection. It will involve a significant effort on the part of both human rights and environmental practitioners to come to grips with the values, methodologies and comparative advantages of each other. It will also involve a continued effort on the part of institutional actors - such as my Office and the United Nations Environment Programme - to foster this understanding. The draft Plan of Action has paragraphs that call for further co-operation between UNEP and OHCHR. I call for the final adoption of those paragraphs. When we turn to the issue of putting these links into practice, the Expert Seminar showed us that much has been achieved to date, especially at the national and regional levels. As I have said, you start toward the future from a solid base of achievements in the decade since Rio. The next goal is to share and replicate the experience at the national and regional level with other parts of the world.  In this respect I would highlight the issue of what are called "procedural" rights relating to the environment: rights to environmental information, participation in decisions relating to the environment affecting them, and the right to complain about environmental degradation. Effectively functioning procedural rights such as these are a crucial basis for future progress. This was recognised in Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development. In many countries and regions where the rights-environment link has been formally recognised, the first step has been the recognition of these procedural rights. I hope to see this trend continuing. In concluding, I would like to leave you some simple messages to keep in mind during your workshop. The first is that the links between human rights the environment and sustainable development have already been established, and we have our simple image of the triangle to remind us of this. The second is that the challenge of the future in linking human rights and the protection of the environment lies as much in bringing these two communities together as in gaining formal recognition of the links. And lastly, this is not a zero sum game: increased protection of human rights does not mean less protection for the environment. The human dignity of an individual is intimately linked to their environment. This applies to the current generation and to the generations to come for whom we hold this world in trust.

Thank you.


29 August 2002


Distinguished Panelists, Partners, Friends 

Sustainable development is the merger of human well-being and natural resource stewardship. It focuses on the quality of life for present and future generations, and encompasses the economic, social and environmental contexts of development.  For Africa, our stakes are highest in this Summit because our sustainability issues are much more acute than in other regions of the world. Africa remains the poorest continent, with a per capita income of only US$ 330. Four out of every 10 Africans live in extreme poverty on less than US$1 per day. A total of 300 million people live in extreme poverty today, compared to 200 million 14 years ago.  On the social front, only half of Africa's countries are on track to have universal basic education by 2015, and a handful will achieve gender balance in primary and secondary schools. Only one African country will reduce infant mortality by two-thirds. Needless to say, the HIV/AIDS scourge is making things considerably worse. Our environmental sustainability is also precarious. Fourteen African countries face chronic water shortages. About 5 million hectares of forests are lost annually in Africa, mostly due to the expansion of crop area. Africa is the only region where food production per person has declined over the last 40 years. The number of chronically hungry people has increased from 173 million in 1990-92 to 200 million in 1997-99. Only 6 countries are on track to cut malnutrition by half by 2015. If the current trend continues, it is estimated that by 2010, more than 35% of the population of sub-Saharan Africa will be undernourished, the highest rates among all world regions. In Southern Africa alone, 10 million people face drought and hunger.


Reducing poverty and achieving development that is sustainable implies a rapid, sustained and broad-based economic transformation that is equitable within as well as across generations. The key to realizing this sustainability is harnessing the capabilities of individuals and their communities. People that are sick, poorly fed, and living in a fragile environment can neither function effectively nor improve their capabilities. Moreover, partly because of rapid population growth, the severity of ill health, food insecurity, and environmental stress is likely to increase in the coming decades.  If African countries are to achieve and sustain annual growth rates of 7 % deemed necessary to reach the MDGs, innovative financing strategies will be needed. Aid is clearly part of the story, and we will need guaranteed long-term resource flows that are timely, stable, and high in quality. Doha, Monterrey and the G8 Summit showed that greater political will is required among our development partners to reverse the decline in aid and to maintain predictable support for the foreseeable future.  Much remains to be done. Rich countries need to fund accelerated implementation of the key agreements reached in recent years on climate, desertification and biodiversity. We need commitment from key governments to back the Kyoto Climate Change and other vital agreements. In the context of financing sustainable development, and together with our partners, we also need to move beyond current levels of debt relief and devise innovative ways to exit the debt trap. Yet aid alone cannot finance Africa's development. Africa also needs to take its responsibility seriously, by strengthening domestic resource mobilization, and attracting greater foreign private sector finance and investment. In-country public-private partnerships, such as those being explored at this Summit, may prove an important source of financing for sustainable development.

Earlier, I defined sustainable development in the African context and touched upon a number of key challenges for Africa. Let me end by stressing that combating ill health (particularly those caused by HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis), tackling food insecurity, and reducing environmental stress should be prominent objectives of our fight to reduce poverty and to achieve sustainable development in Africa. If we accept these as key objectives, then epidemiological and agricultural productivity transitions logically become the current priorities in the continent's quest for towards sustainability. Modern technology is indispensable to such transition.  The ECA has just released a report entitled 'Harnessing Technologies for Sustainable Development'. In it, we argue that new and emerging technologies can help Africa move towards sustainable development by lowering the incidence of disease, reducing food insecurity, and decreasing vulnerability to environmental damage by allowing more flexible crop management systems.  We caution, however, that the expected benefits of both medical and agricultural biotechnology can only be realized if a number of key challenges are addressed, including the extent to which the technologies are relevant to Africa, are pro-poor and mitigate biosafety and related risks.


2 September 2002



My Name is Mingyu Liao from China and we are 3 children from 3 different continents to talk to you about children's concerns for the environment. I would now like to introduce you to Justin Friesen from Canada and Analiz Vergara from Ecuador. We are representatives from the International Children's Conference of the United Nations Environment Programme that took place in Victoria, BC, Canada just over 3 months ago. More than 400 children from over 80 countries attended the conference.  WE all had PLENTY to say, but the number one thing that all delegates were concerned about is that most leaders don't listen.    We were just babies when you met 10 years ago in Rio. What we are about to say is basically the same thing you heard then, and many times since.  This is because children are close to the ground and to the environment and suffer more from problems in the world. The children of the world are disappointed... because too many adults are too interested in money and wealth to take notice of serious problems that affect our future.  Think about your children, nieces or nephews and maybe even grandchildren - what kind of world do YOU want for them?  Should they not have the same or even better opportunities that you had?  Our voices should not go unheard. Today we are gathered here because we want you to listen to everybody.  We need you to put aside your differences.  Make those choices that will allow ALL of us to live happily.  At the end of the International Children's Conference, all delegates came up with many challenges.  Here's what the children of the world are saying:

Governments of the world must:

  • Ensure that all people from developing countries have free access to clean drinking water

  • Sign and act on the Kyoto Protocol...we are tired of wondering whether it will snow in the middle of summer!

  • Limit the number of cars per family

  • Provide free primary health care for all children

  • Stop cutting down trees without replacing them

  • Spend more money in helping the poor people and children around the world, rather than on attending too many meetings

People of the world must:

  • Make use of alternative transportation such as walking, biking and car-pooling

  • Reduce, reuse, recycle and compost as much as possible.

We are worried that many governments are easily bought off by those who care very little for the environment and people.   Remember, we cannot buy another planet, and our lives and those of future generations depend on this  We know that when people commit crimes, they are sent to jail.  Why is it so difficult to punish countries and people who damage the environment and harm us? Can you look in the mirror and say, "Children will have a future, will have access to clean water, will not live in poverty, will not live in polluted areas - because of actions I have taken". We are not asking too much!  You said this Summit is about taking action! We need more than your applause and comments of "well done" or "good speech".  We need ACTION.  We need more than just your commitment - we need ACTION.  We need more than just your motivation - we need ACTION.  What we now have is "us versus them".  This needs to become "us AND them" - young people and adults, rich and poor people, and rich and poor countries.  Thanks for having us here and for recognizing the importance of listening to the voices of children.  Don't walk off and forget about the challenges.  We finally challenge you, the leaders of the world to accomplish them.



21st August 2002


Ladies and gentlemen, It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the launch of the World Development Report 2003 - "Dynamic Development in a Sustainable Way". I am particularly delighted to welcome from the World Bank - director of the Environment Department, Ms. Kristalina Georgieva, and Principal Author of the World Development Report, Mr. Robert Schneider. The release of this year's World Development Report just ahead of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) is particularly timely as the report and the underlying analysis constitute a substantial and very important contribution to our preparations for and deliberations at the Summit.

[WSSD in Johannesburg]  The Johannesburg Summit must make a difference. The Process leading up to the Summit has been complicated and full of uncertainties. I am pleased that today the possibilities of a successful outcome are there. The Danish EU Presidency and the European Union are determined to play a major role to move the Johannesburg agenda ahead.  Reaping the benefits of globalisation and economic growth without eroding the planet's capacity and resources is one of our greatest challenges. The growing integration of economies and societies around the world offers opportunities and challenges to all of us. Properly managed globalisation has the potential to increase living standards for all in a sustainable manner. This is what the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg is all about.  How do we assure that all people benefit from globalisation and economic growth in a world where the population is estimated to increase by 3 billion people over the next 50 years? The major share of this population increase is estimated to take place in urban areas in developing countries and economies in transition. The result will more than double the urban population of the world. This tough challenge is addressed in the World Development Report 2003. One of the answers in the report is that well functioning institutions - rules, organisations and informal norms - are essential for sustainable and equitable development.  Progress since the Rio Conference on Environment and Development in 1992 has not been sufficient to diminish the environmental agenda facing the world at the beginning of the 21st century. In Johannesburg we must pave the way for a sustainable world for this and future generations. We must succeed in obtaining action-oriented outcomes with efficient means of implementation and follow up. We shall build on Agenda 21 and the internationally agreed development goals, in particular the Millennium Development Goals, the Doha Development Agenda and the Monterrey Consensus and other major UN conferences. The World Summit should lead to a Global Deal.  In Johannesburg we need to be ready to commit ourselves. We need to make binding commitments between governments and by promoting public and private partnerships. And we need to be ready to set timetables and benchmarks so that we can measure the results of our efforts. Our key goal is to eradicate poverty by way of more effective financing for development, by ensuring good governance at all levels and the protection and sustainable use of our environment and natural resources.  In Monterrey the European Union committed to reach a collective average of 0.39 percent ODA of Gross National Income by 2006. This is equivalent to an annual increase of approximately 7 billion USD from a group of countries that already provides more than 50 percent of the world's ODA.  To complement and support the Doha Ministerial Declaration and the Monterrey Consensus we must all undertake further action at the national, regional and international levels to enhance the benefits of trade liberalisation. A particular point here is that countries, which have not already done so, must achieve the objective of providing duty-free and quota-free access for exports from all least developed countries.  In the context of these ambitious commitments, it is important to be clear about what the Johannesburg Summit should seek to achieve. I think this could be summarised in one word: Implementation. Implementation of the goals set and agreements made over the past ten years.  We have already agreed on a serious and ambitious target: To halve the proportion of people living in poverty by 2015. In Johannesburg we should accelerate the process to make this goal come true. Today more than 1 billion people live on less than one dollar a day. Too many do not have access to safe drinking water and sanitation or to quality primary education. They do not have enough nutritious food to eat. It is unacceptable in this Millennium of globalisation that a child dies in Africa every three seconds because of disease, famine or conflict.  And we should not be led to believe that environmental degradation is inevitable to reduce poverty. If we don't tackle environmental degradation we will push people even further into misery and unacceptable living circumstances.  We in the developed world must take the lead in developing patterns of production and consumption that are more sustainable. Through such action a number of the internationally agreed environmental goals could be achieved. When we produce and consume goods in a sustainable manner environmental degradation is avoided. The initiative taken by the OECD to decouple economic growth from use of natural resources and environmental degradation is interesting in this context.  Economic growth and job creation must go hand in hand with efforts to safeguard the environment. We need to make a virtue of corporate social and environmental responsibility and resource efficiency. Public-private initiatives to promote sustainable investment and capacity building in key sectors is one of the ways forward.  A third key theme for the Summit should be the need to secure responsible governance at all levels. Freedom, respect for human rights, democratisation and good governance are vital for sustainable development. They are preconditions for mobilisation of domestic and external resources. They enable producers and consumers to act in informed and environmentally responsible ways and they enable people to exert democratic control on their respective governments to do likewise.  The agenda for sustainable development requires action from all parts of society. Intensified co-operation between governments, private companies and NGOs will be required in applying existing solutions and finding new ones to the most difficult challenges that we face in coming years.

It is our ambition to use the Johannesburg Summit to help develop a new model of globally sustainable development - a framework to ensure lasting and balanced economic, social and environmental progress in the world.  To the EU Presidency the Summit provides an important opportunity to turn our visions and goals for sustainable development into reality.


A few more comments on the World Development Report 2003 which you are going to discuss in more details later today.

The report features a number of dramatic statistics: Around 2 billion people will be added to the world population over the next 30 years. All in developing countries. In these same countries, 2.5-3 billion now live on less than 2 US $ a day. The big challenge is to provide productive work and a better quality of life for all these people in a sustainable way. In addition it is estimated that a three percent annual growth over the next 50 years would increase the total production in the world (GNP) by a factor 4 - or four times the present world production. Such a scenario would create many new opportunities but also enormous pressure and difficulties.  The report argues that such growth creates a broad variety of assets, including environmental and social assets that are not spontaneously provided by markets. The provision of these assets requires co-ordination and regulation through competent institutions. At the same time distribution of cost and benefits of environmental and social assets and liabilities is not even. Some of the poverty and environmental problems are not solved by the market alone but require co-ordination and regulation by public authorities. In other words: We need a close understanding, cooperation, and partnership between the public and the private sector.  I will leave it to you to discuss these core challenges.  The World Bank has made important contributions to the preparation of the World summit in Johannesburg, and I know that Ms. Kristalina Georgieva has been personally committed to this task. The World Bank will play a key role in the implementation of the results from Johannesburg in the provision of sustainable financing for development and technical assistance to developing countries.  Thank you! 


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