World Summit on Sustainable Development - NGLS

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World Summit on Sustainable Development - NGLS

ong>Worldong> ong>Summitong> onSustainable DevelopmentINTRODUCTIONAfter two years of intense preparations at the national,regional and global levels, the ong>Worldong> ong>Summitong> onSustainable Development (WSSD) took place inJohannesburg (South Africa) from 26 August-4September 2002, seeking to assess the implementationof the Rio Principles and Agenda 21—adoptedten years earlier in Rio de Janeiro at the UNConference on Environment and Development(UNCED, also known as the Earth ong>Summitong>)—and todevise a plan for their further implementation.Opening the WSSD, Thabo Mbeki, President ofSouth Africa and also of the ong>Summitong>, said, “Ten yearsafter the last gathering in Rio De Janeiro in 1992, thetime has come to reflect anew on the state of theworld. None of us cannot but be dismayed at whatwe see...” (see Box 1).CONTENTSIntroduction.........................................................................1Background .........................................................................3Intergovernmental Outcomes..............................................4Plan of Implementation..................................................4Johannesburg Declaration ..........................................11Partnership Plenaries........................................................11Partnership Outcomes.......................................................15Civil Society and Other Activities Around WSSD..............17Implementation and Follow-up .........................................20Approximately 22,000 people attended theJohannesburg ong>Summitong>, including 100 Heads of Stateand Government; 10,000 delegates from MemberStates, intergovernmental organizations, officialobservers, specialized agencies and associate membersof regional commissions; some 8,000 representativesof major group organizations (Women,Children and Youth, Indigenous People, NGOs,BOX 1EXTRACTS FROM THABO MBEKI'S OPENING ADDRESS“This is a world in which a rich minority enjoys unprecedentedlevels of consumption, comfort and prosperity,while the poor majority endures daily hardship, sufferingand dehumanisation.”“Out of Johannesburg and out of Africa must emergesomething new that takes the world forward away fromthe entrenchments of global apartheid, to the realizationof the goals of sustainable development.”Thabo Mbeki, President of South Africa and also of theong>Summitong>, speaking at the opening ceremonyLocal Authorities, Workers and Trade Unions,Business and Industry, Scientific and TechnologicalCommunities and Farmers); as well as 4,000 mediarepresentatives accredited to the ong>Summitong>.A large number of NGO and civil society representativeswere also in Johannesburg at the same time toattend parallel events organized in light of theong>Summitong>, such as the Global People’s Forum.Meeting over a period of ten days, the WSSD producedthree main outcomes:n The Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (POI),negotiated among governments, which reaffirms awide range of commitments and targets for action toachieve more effective implementation of sustainabledevelopment, including implementation of the RioPrinciples, the full implementation of Agenda 21, theMillennium Development Goals (MDGs) and theoutcomes of the major UN conferences andinternational agreements since 1992.n The Johannesburg Declaration on SustainableDevelopment, in which Heads of State andGovernment agreed to “assume a collectiveresponsibility to advance and strengthen theinterdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars ofNGLS Roundup 96, November 20021


sustainable development—economic development,social development and environmental protection—at local, national, regional and global levels.”n “Type 2” outcomes, or partnerships and initiatives toimplement Agenda 21 between different stakeholderssuch as governments, intergovernmentalorganizations, civil society and business entities. Theyare meant to supplement and reinforce “Type 1”outcomes, the intergovernmentally negotiatedcommitments agreed to in the POI and the PoliticalDeclaration. Over 220 partnerships were identifiedleading up to the ong>Summitong>, with a combination ofUS$235 million in financial support, and 60 wereannounced during the WSSD.As is customary at UN ong>Worldong> Conferences andong>Summitong>s, many governments, collectively or individually,announced their own initiatives or reaffirmed initiativesthey had already taken. Principal among thesein Johannesburg were the announcements by Russiaand China that they were preparing to ratify the KyotoProtocol, and that Canada would soon put the issuebefore its Parliament, which means the treaty couldcome into force in the very near future.The WSSD preparatory process encompassed a widerange of activities. Many Member States convenedtheir own national preparatory arrangements, whileregional meetings were held from September 2001-November 2001 in Geneva, Nairobi, Rio de Janeiro,Cairo, and Phnom Penh in an attempt to gather informationon regional trends and policy findings.At the international level, the tenth session of the UNCommission on Sustainable Development (CSD-10)acted as the first global substantive PreparatoryCommittee (PrepCom) meeting. Four PrepComs wereheld to determine the ong>Summitong>’s agenda and negotiateits outcomes. The final preparatory meeting, PrepComIV, was held at the ministerial level in Bali (Indonesia)from 27 May-7 June 2002.In response to the challenge facing the WSSD of adoptingan action-oriented approach to sustainable development,UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in May 2002,launched the WEHAB initiative, focusing on the five thematicareas he identified as key to progress at theong>Summitong>: water, energy, health, agricultural productivityand biodiversity. At the time of the launch, negotiationsamong Member States on the Plan of Implementationwere well advanced and contained sections addressingthese issues. The WEHAB initiative aimed to providefocus and impetus to action in these five key areas byenlisting the support of the organizations of the UN systemin developing framework papers and related areasof activity. Each of the five papers identified the keyissues and challenges, including resource requirements;took into account the existing multilateral frameworksand agreements; and proposed a number of targetedactions and examples of related activities.Many Member States followed the lead of theSecretary-General and prepared and launched inJohannesburg initiatives consistent with the WEHABapproach. This co-ordinated effort of the UN systemenabled the WSSD to “jump-start” the follow-up andimplementation process. The WEHAB issues also providedthe structure around which the partnership plenaries,initiative announcements and high-level roundtableswere grouped in Johannesburg (see page 11).PrepCom IV in Bali drew upon the Chairman’s textfrom PrepCom III to prepare a document that aimedto: emphasize the need for a global partnership toachieve the objectives of sustainable development;reconfirm the need for an integrated and strategicallyfocused approach to the implementation of Agenda21; and address the main challenges and opportunitiesfaced by the international community. Althoughthe session was supposed to conclude negotiation ofthe implementation plan, day and night negotiationsby ministers during the last three days of the sessionfailed to produce consensus on crucial areas of theplan, particularly trade, finance, globalization, governanceand the Rio Principles.During the three months between the last meeting ofPrepCom IV in Bali and the ong>Summitong> itself, it was veryunclear how governments—deadlocked on over 150paragraphs on key issues—would successfully concludenegotiations on a Plan of Implementation andPolitical Declaration. A meeting of the “Friends of theChair” convened by the Minister of Foreign Affairs ofSouth Africa on 17 July 2002 in New York suggestedthat Johannesburg might see protracted negotiationsover issues such as finance and trade, targets, renewableenergy, the Rio Principles of common but differentiatedresponsibilities and the precautionaryapproach, good governance, and human rights.Starting two days before the official opening of theWSSD, governments began negotiating these andother unresolved issues. This required establishingmultiple points of negotiations that included the MainCommittee, the “Vienna process,” which acted onbehalf of the Main Committee, contact groups on theMeans of Implementation and Governance, and flexible“bubble groups” that accommodated informal discussionson specific paragraphs. A week into negotiationsit became clear that a set of issues would haveto be referred to the ministerial-level meetings inorder to be resolved. The South African Minister ofEnvironment, Valli Moosa, then convened such meetings,which came to be known as the “JohannesburgSetting” for three days.In the end, the WSSD resulted in an agreed Plan ofImplementation, which, while not ground-breaking inthe way that Agenda 21 established a completely newframework for the environment and development,nonetheless takes on the difficult task of translating2NGLS Roundup 96, November 2002


political agreements into concrete actionable outcomes.Although the POI does not contain a comprehensivetimetable for implementation as some hadhoped for, it did add value to policy development ina number of areas that had not been adequatelyaddressed in Agenda 21, such as energy, sanitation,corporate responsibility and accountability, and oceanfisheries (see Box 2). The ong>Summitong> also providedrenewed political impetus and mobilized the effortsof a wide variety of development actors.In addition to the intergovernmental negotiations, theWSSD comprised a broad range of activities, whichincluded seven thematic “partnership plenaries,” onissues such as health, biodiversity and regional implementation;statements by non-State entities (namelyinternational, regional and non-governmental organizations);a three-day ong>Summitong> of Heads of State andGovernment; a high-level roundtable; a host of sideevents; and a series of presentations of partnership initiatives,the Type 2 outcomes.BACKGROUNDBOX“...There are several areas where WSSD also helped toadvance a policy consensus substantially beyond whatwas achieved in Rio. One such area is that of sustainableconsumption and production, where theJohannesburg outcome is more elaborate and more specificin terms of action and timetables than the rathergeneral exhortation in Agenda 21. The Johannesburgplan calls for a ten-year programme on sustainable consumption.It refers to other areas, such as energy, biodiversity,and chemicals in a far more focused way than inthe past.”Nitin Desai, Under-Secretary-General for Economic andSocial Affairs and Secretary-General of WSSD, addressingthe 2nd Committee of the UN General Assembly on30 September 2002The WSSD took place at a time of assessment of themeaning and practice of multilateralism, and amidmany calls for a “new multilateralism.” In the past,multilateral negotiations with consensus outcomes hadprovided a policy framework for global standard settingand a follow-up mechanism for supporting andmonitoring national, regional and international implementation.During the ten years since UNCED andthrough the deliberations and reporting on Agenda 21implementation at the annual meetings of the UNCommission on Sustainable Development (CSD),doubts were increasingly expressed by governmentsand civil society about the effectiveness of consensusbasednegotiations among Member States to move forwardthe sustainable development agenda, or captureand express the progress that had been made.Over the decade since UNCED and as the process offollow-up fell short of providing the means andresources for reaching the standards and targets set,particularly in support of developing countries’ efforts,there was increasing reluctance to agree to global targetsand timeframes. Some developing countriesexpressed scepticism about agreeing to targets andtimeframes that could not be reached without additionalmeans of implementation, yet could become thesubject of future review and possible sanction. A multilateralmechanism to encourage the attainment of internationalstandards became increasingly viewed as atool of conditionality within a donor/recipient relationship.This development was accompanied by a growingscepticism among some parts of civil society, especiallythose focusing on advocacy and policy work,concerning the political will of Member States andinternational organizations to carry out the commitmentsmade at global UN conferences.Agenda 21 had been subject to a five-year review bythe UN General Assembly at a Special Session held inJune 1997. The President of the Special Session,Ambassador Razali Ismail (Malaysia), had underscoredthe need for a sober assessment and honest acknowledgmentthat “progress to operationalize sustainabledevelopment remains insufficient.” He had said thatlack of agreement in many areas points to “the enormousdifficulties of overcoming short-term and vestedinterests that would enable concrete commitments tospecific targets and to global programmes....Since Riowe have seen a further continuation of North-Southtrench politics. Governments and NGOs from thedeveloped world vigorously promote environmentalprotection, without shouldering the greater burden ofadjustment on consumption and production patterns....Developingcountries continue to emphasizetheir right to [economic] development, without placingsufficient stress on social equity and transparentparticipatory decision-making. Neither approachbodes well for the future.”A few years later, the very difficult deliberations at theglobal preparatory committee meetings for the WSSDcontinued to raise questions in the minds of manygovernments and among civil society about the qualityand value of the outcomes being negotiated. Thefragile political consensus that was crafted in Rio in1992 was seriously challenged by a radically changedgeo-political environment, and the failure of governments,since Rio, to fully honour their commitments.But in the end—and despite very divergent policyobjectives being pursued in the negotiations where inmany areas consensus agreement could only bereached in very general terms—a number of actionorientedcommitments of the international communitywere made in areas such as the new sanitation targetand the restoration of ocean fish stocks.At the same time, many Member States continued toexpress in their policy statements and negotiatingpositions the intent and capacity to do more thanNGLS Roundup 96, November 2002 3


what was agreed in the official document. Illustratingthis, more than three dozen States, referred to by EUEnvironment Commissioner Margot Wallstroem as the“coalition of the willing,” unveiled an initiative to promoterenewable energy, declaring they wanted to gobeyond the more limited commitments of the POI.Similar initiatives and agreements in areas includingwater, biodiversity, and agriculture were alsoannounced in Johannesburg by Member States andothers. The status and significance of these agreementswas not clear. Some viewed these commitmentsand initiatives as the beginnings of new formsof multilateralism, others as manifestations of itsweakening.In addition to being a ong>Summitong> to combat poverty andenvironmental degradation, the WSSD was also heldto address the “crisis of implementation” of theUNCED agreements, and was charged to agree tomeasures to move forward with implementation andaction. “The purpose of this ong>Summitong> is to tackle whathas stood in the way of us making progress, andwhat we can do in order to get action, to get results,”said Nitin Desai, WSSD Secretary-General, on 26August 2002.During the preparations for the WSSD, governmentrepresentatives, UN officials and NGOs had readilyagreed that the ten-year record since 1992 for implementingAgenda 21 was poor. UNCED had launcheda completely new framework for achieving sustainabledevelopment and had developed a detailed blueprintfor making significant progress. The approachadopted for the WSSD was built on ten years of experiencein the implementation of Agenda 21, whichhad demonstrated that much had been achieved atlocal levels around the world with the establishmentof local Agenda 21 policies and programmes, andwith the enactment of environmental legislation andfollow-up at local and national levels. Yet the overallassessment was of little global progress towards sustainabledevelopment.The follow-up to UNCED through the CSD had witnessedthe development of different forms of engagementwith various sectors or major groups of society,defined in Agenda 21 as business and industry, tradeunions, indigenous peoples, farmers, NGOs, scienceand technology, women, youth, and local authorities.The preparatory process of the ong>Summitong>, as well as itsprogramme, emphasized these activities andapproaches, and also built on CSD practices, includingmultistakeholder dialogues, panel presentationswith experts, and the use of facilitators. More strikingly,it moved away from the more traditional UN patternof a series of speeches from representatives ofMember States, international organizations and NGOs,to one structured around contributions based onlonger-term work commitments and engagement withthe further implementation of Agenda 21.WSSD Secretary-General Desai and his Secretariat werecommitted to bringing into the ong>Summitong> process a broadcanvas of commitments and actions, of participants andallies, new and old, and having a multiplicity of ong>Summitong>outcomes more reflective of what had been happeningon the ground in the ten years since UNCED. Toachieve this, considerable emphasis was placed ondeveloping partnership initiatives and on broadeningthe possible ong>Summitong> outcomes to include what becameknown as “Type 2” outcomes that included as potentialpartners with governments and the UN system the ninemajor groups and others.However, by the time the WSSD met in Johannesburgso much emphasis had been placed on partnershipinitiatives that some major groups, NGOs, women andindigenous peoples in particular, cautioned againstthis development as a potential distraction from thecentral role of governments and the increased powerand influence they felt that this approach mightaccord to corporations and the private sector. SomeMember States too expressed concern about themeaning and implications of this radically new departurein conducting UN business.Some of the difficulties faced by the WSSD process inpromoting the partnership initiatives were related tothe newness of these approaches, some to the lack ofunderstanding of the objectives, some to the fact thatwhile allies of the UN, a number of the proposedpartners could not be allies with each other. NGOs inparticular warned of inequality within and betweenthe “partner groups,” emphasizing the important roleand responsibilities of Member States in creatingenabling policy environments and investing the necessaryresources in making progress on the sustainabledevelopment agenda.As the ten-year follow-up to the path-breaking RioEarth ong>Summitong>, the WSSD created political expectationsthat proved impossible to entirely fulfil in a consensusdrivennegotiating process among UN Member Stateswith widely different, and sometimes conflicting, policypriorities. In the many ong>Summitong> assessments, it is notsurprising that many commentaries cite as one of itssuccesses that weaker outcomes had been averted, andthat some backtracking from the agreements reachedin Rio had been avoided. Some ong>Summitong> participantsand observers were disappointed by this, while othersthought the political reaffirmation of the global sustainabledevelopment agenda a considerable achievementin the current geo-political climate.INTERGOVERNMENTAL OUTCOMESPlan of ImplementationThe 170-paragraph Plan of Implementation is dividedinto ten principal sections: introduction; poverty erad-4NGLS Roundup 96, November 2002


ication; changing unsustainable patterns of consumptionand production; protecting and managing the naturalresource base of economic and social development;sustainable development in a globalizing world;health and sustainable development; sustainabledevelopment of Small Island Developing States; sustainabledevelopment for Africa and other regionalinitiatives; means of implementation; and institutionalframework for sustainable development. The followingsections of this Roundup provide an overview ofhow some of the most contentious issues at stakewere resolved, as well as identifying a number of thesignificant elements that were agreed by the world’sgovernments as they emerged in the Plan.Poverty EradicationThe section on poverty eradication reiterates severalgoals and targets established in the UN MillenniumDeclaration, including halving by the year 2015 the proportionof the world’s people whose income is less thanUS$1 a day; halving by the same year the proportion ofpeople without access to safe drinking water; andimproving the lives of 100 million slum dwellers. ThePOI also contains a new target on sanitation, calling forthe halving, by the year 2015, of the proportion of peoplewho do not have access to basic sanitation andproposing, among other things, the following actions:n Develop and implement efficient householdsanitation systems;n Improve sanitation in public institutions, especiallyschools;n Promote affordable and socially and culturallyacceptable technologies and practices;n Develop innovative financing and partnershipmechanisms; andn Integrate sanitation into water resourcemanagement strategies.The POI also establishes a voluntary “world solidarityfund” to help eliminate poverty and promote socialand human development in the developing countries.It calls for improving access to environmentally soundenergy services and resources, and an increased useof “renewables, cleaner liquid and gaseous fuels andenhanced energy efficiency.”HealthThe last cluster of paragraphs to be completed centredon human rights and fundamental freedoms and theirrelationship to health. Going into the WSSD, governmentsdisagreed over whether paragraph 54, whichdeals with health care systems and health care services,was still open for negotiation. According to those delegationsthat reject making the connection between“health care services” and human rights because it maybe construed to include abortion, paragraph 54 wasclosed during PrepCom IV, while Canada, wanting toinsert language on “human rights and fundamental freedoms”argued that it was still open. This resulted in substantiveas well as procedural debates. Some delegationsthreatened to open up other paragraphs, particularlyone on illicit drugs if the Canadian delegation persistedwith its bid to amend the paragraph in question.Following a ruling by the UN Secretariat that paragraph54 was still open for negotiations, it became clear thatthis issue could not be resolved in the negotiatingroom. Overnight, South African Foreign MinisterNkosazana Dlamini-Zuma came up with a compromisepackage in which three separate paragraphs, each dealingwith some aspect of human rights and fundamentalfreedoms or health care services, would be adopted.The final three elements are as follows:n Promote women’s equal access to and fullparticipation, on the basis of equality with men, indecision-making at all levels, mainstreaming genderperspectives in all policies and strategies,eliminating all forms of violence and discriminationagainst women, and improving the status, healthand economic welfare of women and girls throughfull and equal access to economic opportunity,land, credit, education and health-care services. (7d)n Strengthen the capacity of health-care systems todeliver basic health services to all, in an efficient,accessible and affordable manner aimed atpreventing, controlling and treating diseases, and toreduce environmental health threats, in conformitywith human rights and fundamental freedoms andconsistent with national laws and cultural andreligious values, taking into account the reports ofrelevant United Nations conferences and summitsand of special sessions of the General Assembly. (54)n Mobilize financial and other support to developand strengthen health systems that aim atpromoting equitable access to health-care services.(64a)The POI calls for enhancing health education with targetson achieving improved health literacy globally by2010; reducing HIV prevalence among young menand women aged 15-24 by 25% in the most affectedcountries by 2005 and globally by 2010, as well ascombating malaria, tuberculosis and other diseases;and calls for the ong>Worldong> Trade Organization (WTO)Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of IntellectualProperty (TRIPs) to “be interpreted and implementedin a manner supportive of WTO members’ right toprotect public health and in particular to promoteaccess to medicines for all.”Changing Unsustainable Patterns of Consumption andProduction: EnergyAnother key issue requiring ministerial attention waswhether or not to establish targets to diversify theglobal energy supply as well as targets for developedcountries to increase the share of renewables in theirenergy consumption. Going into Johannesburg, outstandinglanguage on the issue included a global targetfor renewable energy use of 15% by 2010 as wellas a target of 5% by 2010 for industrialized countries.NGLS Roundup 96, November 2002 5


Negotiating groups had varied and complex positionsthat became clear during a frank discussion at the ministeriallevel. The EU made well known its commitmentto securing global targets. The Group of 77 developingcountries and China (G-77/China) had to craft a finebalance among its large oil producing and exportingmembers, large industrializing members and some ofits smaller members, in particular Small IslandDeveloping States. In the end, the G-77/China alignedwith the US, which was also opposed to targets, andargued that oil revenues helped many of its membersdrive their own development efforts and that targets onrenewable energy would unduly penalize them.The final language on this issue, which does notinclude a specific target, does nonetheless stress theurgency of increasing the global share of renewablesand calls for the following:“Substantially increase the global share of renewableenergy sources with the objective of increasing itscontribution to total energy supply….” The paragraphalso calls upon governments to “diversify energy supplyby developing advanced, cleaner, more efficient,affordable and cost-effective energy technologies,including fossil fuel technologies and renewable energytechnologies, hydro included, and their transfer todeveloping countries on concessional terms….” (20e)After accepting the compromise, the EU reiterated itscommitment to renewable energy as an importantway to reduce pollution, diversify and secure energysupplies and help provide access to energy in supportof poverty eradication. It also announced that itwould be putting together what it called a “coalitionof the willing;” a coalition of countries including theEU, some other European countries as well as someSmall Island Developing States of the G-77/Chinathat intended to go beyond the agreement reachedin the area of renewable energy. The DanishMinister indicated that members of the coalition hadadopted or would be adopting “clear and ambitious”time-bound targets.Other action falling under the consumption and productionchapeau include: promoting the developmentof a ten-year framework of programmes to acceleratethe shift towards sustainable consumption and production;identifying specific activities, policies andother tools for measuring progress; and taking actionto phase out energy subsidies that inhibit sustainabledevelopment, paying particular attention to the “differentlevels of development of individual countriesand considering their adverse effect, particularly ondeveloping countries.”Protecting and Managing the Natural Resource BaseWhile much of this chapter had already been agreedgoing into Johannesburg, outstanding language still tobe negotiated centred on current trends in the loss ofnatural resources and biodiversity, the Kyoto Protocoland replenishment of the Global Environment Facility(GEF).BiodiversityMuch of the attention around biodiversity issues centredon securing a target to stop or to reduce the lossof biodiversity, as well as establishing a regime for thesharing of benefits arising from the use of biodiversity.Governments were able to agree on establishing a targetdate of 2010 for the achievement of a “significantreduction” in the current rate of loss of biologicaldiversity. It was suggested that although governmentswere willing to agree that “biodiversity is presentlybeing lost at unprecedented rates,” developing countrieswere only willing to accept the target date of2010 because the text only called for a “significantreduction” in the current rate of loss of biologicaldiversity rather than the stronger language from theConvention on Biological Diversity (CBD) that makesno allowance for further loss and speaks of “attackingthe causes of loss of biodiversity.” A proposal for atarget date to have instruments in place by 2010 tostop the loss of biodiversity was deleted.Governments also agreed to negotiate an “internationalregime” to promote and safeguard the fair andequitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilizationof genetic resources. While some delegations,particularly those of the megadiverse group (the biologicallyrichest countries of the world), had hoped tohave language on a legally binding internationalregime, others suggested that international regimes bytheir very nature are legally binding and should notweaken the intent of the paragraph. Some anticipatethat such negotiations will carry on for years to comeas governments decide if and how to go beyond thevoluntary Bonn Guidelines on access to geneticresources and benefit sharing, adopted by the SixthConference of the Parties (COP-6) to the CBD at TheHague (the Netherlands) in April 2002.In this section, governments also agreed to promotediscussions on the “relationship” between the CBD andthe WTO and its related provisions. When this paragraphwas originally under consideration at PrepComIV, some delegations favoured focusing on the “relationshipbetween the obligations” of the two entitieswhile others were concerned that this might allowtrade-related agreements, including the TRIPs agreement,to take precedence over the CBD. In the end, theparagraph in the POI reads: “With a view to enhancingsynergy and mutual supportiveness, taking into accountthe decisions under the relevant agreements, promotethe discussions, without prejudging their outcome, withregard to the relationships between the Convention [onBio-Diversity] and agreements related to internationaltrade and intellectual property rights, as outlined in theDoha [WTO] Ministerial Declaration.” (44r)6NGLS Roundup 96, November 2002


Oceans and FisheriesThe issues of oceans and fisheries are acknowledgedas an area in which significant progress was madewith governments identifying oceans, seas, islandsand coastal areas as an essential component of theEarth’s ecosystem, critical for global food security andfor sustaining many national economies. During thenegotiations, there was expected disagreement overlanguage calling for the UN Convention on the Lawof the Sea (UNCLOS) to be fully implemented, whichwas resolved when delegates supported the US proposalto delete the word fully. And while there wasdisagreement over setting an “unqualified” target dateto restore depleted fish stocks, governments nonethelesscalled for action on an urgent basis and committedthemselves to a host of new targets, including:n Maintain or restore stocks to levels that can producethe maximum sustainable yield with the aim ofachieving these goals for depleted stocks on anurgent basis and where possible not later than 2015.(31a)n Urgently develop and implement national and,where appropriate, regional plans of action, inparticular the international plan of action for themanagement of fishing capacity by 2005 and theinternational plan of action to prevent, deter andeliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishingby 2004. (31d)n Develop and facilitate the use of diverse approachesand tools, including the ecosystem approach, theelimination of destructive fishing practices, theestablishment of marine protected areas consistentwith international law and based on scientificinformation, including representative networks by2012 and time/area closures for the protection ofnursery grounds and periods, proper coastal landuse; and watershed planning and the integration ofmarine and coastal areas management into keysectors. (32c)n Establish by 2004 a regular process under the UnitedNations for global reporting and assessment of thestate of the marine environment, including socioeconomicaspects, both current and foreseeable,building on existing regional assessments. (36b)Atmosphere and Climate ChangeMuch of the “buzz” about the Kyoto Protocol was not tobe heard in the negotiating rooms but instead in thePlenary Hall as both Russia and China announced thatthey were preparing to ratify the Protocol, while Canadaannounced that the treaty would be put before parliamentbefore the end of the year. The prospect of theseratifications makes it possible for the Kyoto Protocol toenter into force by the end of the 2002. Theseannouncements, as well as text from the POI “stronglyurging States” that had not done so to ratify the Protocol,created an atmosphere of isolation for governments thathave not yet ratified the Protocol and an atmosphere offorward momentum for its supporters.The full text on the Kyoto Protocol reads as follows:”Change in the Earth’s climate and its adverse effectsare a common concern of humankind. We remaindeeply concerned that all countries, particularly developingcountries including the least developed countriesand Small Island Developing States, face increased risksof negative impacts of climate change and recognizethat, in this context, the problems of poverty, landdegradation, access to water and food and humanhealth remain at the centre of global attention. TheUnited Nations Framework Convention on ClimateChange is the key instrument for addressing climatechange, a global concern, and we reaffirm our commitmentto achieving its ultimate objective of stabilizationof greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere ata level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenicinterference with the climate system, within a timeframe sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturallyto climate change, to ensure that food production is notthreatened and to enable economic development toproceed in a sustainable manner, in accordance withour common but differentiated responsibilities andrespective capabilities. Recalling the United NationsMillennium Declaration, in which heads of State andGovernment resolved to make every effort to ensurethe entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol to the UnitedNations Framework Convention on Climate Change,preferably by the tenth anniversary of the UnitedNations Conference on Environment and Developmentin 2002, and to embark on the required reduction ofemissions of greenhouse gases, States that have ratifiedthe Kyoto Protocol strongly urge States that have notalready done so to ratify the Kyoto Protocol in a timelymanner.” (38)Another action point on atmosphere includes:”Enhance cooperation at the international, regional andnational levels to reduce air pollution, including transboundaryair pollution, acid deposition and ozonedepletion bearing in mind the Rio Principles, including,inter alia, the principle that, in view of the different contributionsto global environmental degradation, Stateshave common but differentiated responsibilities….” (39)Other action points on Protecting and Managing theNatural Resource Base include:n Call on the Second Assembly of the GlobalEnvironment Facility (GEF) to take action on therecommendations of the GEF Council concerningthe designation of land degradation (desertificationand deforestation) as a focal area of GEF as ameans of GEF support for the successfulimplementation of the Convention to CombatDesertification (CCD)…and consider making GEF afinancial mechanism of the Convention. (41f)n Accelerate implementation of the IPF/IFF[Intergovernmental Panel on Forests/IntergovernmentalForum on Forests] proposals for action bycountries and by the Collaborative Partnership onNGLS Roundup 96, November 20027


Forests, and intensify efforts on reporting to theUnited Nations Forum on Forests, to contribute to anassessment of progress in 2005. (45g)n Support efforts to address the environmental,economic, health and social impacts and benefits ofmining, minerals and metals throughout their lifecycle, including workers’ health and safety, and usea range of partnerships…to promote transparencyand accountability for sustainable mining andminerals development. (46a)Rio PrinciplesNegotiations over Rio Principle 15, the PrecautionaryApproach, and Rio Principle 7, Common butDifferentiated Responsibility, in particular, were forsome participants at the WSSD a gauge of governments’commitment to building upon the achievementsof UNCED or their willingness to underminethem. While difficult negotiation ensued on both, andgovernments could not agree to explicitly reaffirmtheir commitment to these principles, they did,nonetheless, agree to include them in full in the text.The Precautionary ApproachThe precautionary principle/approach found its wayinto the POI in two places. The central disagreementtook place in relation to the production and managementof chemicals and their adverse effect on humanhealth and the environment. Some delegations suggestedthat this was an area in which theprinciple/approach had to be applied even in theabsence of full certainty relating to production andmanagement of chemicals and their effects. In orderto close the gap between the “lack of full scientificcertainty” and the need to take action, governmentsagreed to include language that calls for the use of“transparent science-based risk assessment proceduresand science-based risk management procedures.”A drawn out negotiation was also needed before governmentsagreed to establish the target of 2020 for theproduction of chemicals that leads to the “minimization”of significant adverse effects on human healthand the environment. Negotiations involved Norwayadvocating for strong language calling for the end tothe production of chemicals with harmful effects. Thiswas countered by the US and the G-77/China whowere in favour of more general language.The final language reads as follows:Renew the commitment, as advanced in Agenda 21,to sound management of chemicals throughout theirlife cycle and of hazardous wastes for sustainabledevelopment and for the protection of human healthand the environment, inter alia, aiming to achieve by2020 that chemicals are used and produced in waysthat lead to the minimization of significant adverseeffects on human health and the environment…usingtransparent science-based risk assessment proceduresand science-based risk management procedures, takinginto account the precautionary approach, as setout in Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration…. (23)The precautionary principle/approach was included infull in paragraph 109 (f) related to promoting andimproving science-based decision making. It states: “Inorder to protect the environment, the precautionaryapproach shall be widely applied by States accordingto their capabilities. Where there are threats of seriousor irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certaintyshall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effectivemeasure to prevent environmental degradation.”However, it was agreed that no mention would bemade of the principle having been “further developedin international law,” (through the work of thenumerous multilateral environmental agreements).Some delegations argued that by invoking multilateralenvironmental agreements, to which not all MemberStates adhered, the principle would be weakened.Other action points on chemicals include:n Promote the ratification and implementation ofrelevant international instruments on chemicals andhazardous waste, including the RotterdamConvention so that it can enter into force by 2003,and the Stockholm Convention so that it can enterinto force by 2004.n Encourage countries to implement the newglobally harmonized system for the classificationand labelling of chemicals as soon as possible,with a view to a fully operational system by 2008.GlobalizationGoing into Johannesburg, the two areas of the POIthat contained the most unresolved issues were thosedealing with globalization and means of implementation,particularly the sections on trade and finance.While there were some specific issues—includingsubsidies, corporate responsibility and the mutualsupportiveness between trade, environment anddevelopment—which did prove very difficult, as awhole, these sections were resolved more readilythan anticipated. Some suggested that this was adirect result of such issues as official developmentassistance (ODA) and debt having been recentlynegotiated in Monterrey at the InternationalConference on Financing for Development (FFD) andgovernments tacitly agreeing not to go much beyondthis agreement. Two slight exceptions to this, however,were the calling for debt relief and debt cancellation,in some cases, for developing countries as awhole and not only highly indebted poor countries,as well as calling for the increased ODA commitmentsannounced at the FFD to be made available.Many governments, in most cases being representedby environment, development cooperation or foreignministry personnel, preferred to defer trade-relatedissues to ongoing negotiations at the WTO.8NGLS Roundup 96, November 2002


Corporate AccountabilityCorporate accountability was an area in which manyNGOs and some Member States were hoping to seenew language that could open the door to furtherefforts in this area. Interestingly, broad language developedin paragraph 49 does not focus solely on existinginitiatives, such as the UN Global Compact and theUnited Nations Environmental Programme’s (UNEP)global reporting initiative, but also provides scope forthe development of new agreements, measures, andinitiatives in this area. Paragraph 49 reads: “Activelypromote corporate responsibility and accountability,based on the Rio Principles, including through the fulldevelopment and effective implementation of intergovernmentalagreements and measures, international initiativesand public-private partnerships, and appropriatenational regulations, and support continuous improvementin corporate practices in all countries.”However, this became one of the last paragraphs to beresolved owing to differences of opinion over whathappened in negotiations conducted by the contactgroup on the Means of Implementation and whether ornot the group had agreed that the paragraph wouldrelate to existing agreements and measures only. Aninterpretive statement to this effect was eventually disallowedby the Chair after several delegations questionedthe consistency of the statement in light of theprovisions in the paragraph calling for the “full development”as well as “effective implementation” ofagreements, measures, initiatives, etc. At the closingplenary and after formal adoption of the POI, the USdelegation said that it interpreted paragraph 49 asreferring to “existing” agreements only.Other action under this section calls for encouraginginternational financial and trade institutions to ensurethat decision-making processes and institutional structuresare open and transparent.Means of ImplementationCommon but Differentiated ResponsibilityThe Means of Implementation section opens with theassertion that achievement of the internationally agreeddevelopment goals will require a “substantiallyincreased effort” by countries themselves and the internationalcommunity, as well as a restatement of theprinciple of common but differentiated responsibilities.The interpretation of this principle/approach is alwayscontentious as it goes to the heart of the balance ofresponsibility among developing countries themselves,and the obligations of the industrialized countries inlight of their economic and technological strength.The principle/approach was included in full in paragraph81 and reads as follows: “In view of the differentcontributions to global environmental degradation,States have common but differentiated responsibilities.The developed countries acknowledge the responsibilitythat they bear in the international pursuit of sustainabledevelopment in view of the pressures their societiesplace on the global environment and of the technologiesand financial resources they command.”Trade, Environment and DevelopmentProtracted negotiations took place on a reference to themutual supportiveness of trade, environment and developmentdue to a qualifying phrase “in a manner consistentwith WTO rights and obligations.” Some governmentsexpressed fears that the phrase could be tantamountto formally establishing a hierarchy of obligationswith WTO rules above those of multilateral environmentalagreements.The draft text proposed: “Continue to enhance themutual supportiveness of trade, environment anddevelopment in a manner consistent with WTOrights and obligations, with a view to achieving sustainabledevelopment, including through actions atall levels ….” Negotiations produced a number ofalternatives including “while ensuring WTO consistency”and the Norwegian proposal “Striving toavoid WTO inconsistency.”Norway, being the most vocal advocate for deletingreference to the WTO, held out the longest, but finallyagreed to withdraw its proposal when it becameclear that it could garner no support for its efforts.However, three members of the G-77/China, SaintLucia, Tuvalu and Ethiopia, reluctantly broke rankswithin the group and stated their unwillingness toaccept language that they said jeopardized prioritizingenvironmental and development concerns that werekey to their survival and expressed similar concernsfor those countries that are not members of the WTO.The G-77/China finally agreed to support the deletionof reference to the WTO and allowed the paragraphto be adopted as follows: “Continue to enhance themutual supportiveness of trade, environment anddevelopment with a view to achieving sustainabledevelopment through actions at all levels….”Other action points on Means of Implementation include:n Strengthen ongoing efforts to reform the existinginternational financial architecture, to foster atransparent, equitable and inclusive system that isable to provide for the effective participation ofdeveloping countries in the international economicdecision-making processes and institutions, as well asfor their effective and equitable participation in theformulation of financial standards and codes. (86a)n Explore ways of generating new public and privateinnovative sources of finance for developmentpurposes…noting the proposal to use specialdrawing rights allocations for developmentpurposes, as set forth in paragraph 44 of theMonterrey Consensus. (88)n Bring international debtors and creditors togetherin relevant international forums to restructureNGLS Roundup 96, November 20029


unsustainable debt in a timely and efficientmanner, taking into account the need to involvethe private sector in the resolution of crises due toindebtedness, where appropriate. (89c)n Support the completion of the work programme ofthe Doha Ministerial Declaration on subsidies so asto promote sustainable development and enhancethe environment, and encourage reform ofsubsidies that have considerable negative effects onthe environment and are incompatible withsustainable development. (97b)Sustainable Development of Small Island States (SIDS)Most issues related to SIDS were resolved byPrepCom IV in Bali. One outstanding issue was relatedto elaborating initiatives to define and managecoastal areas and exclusive economic zones withinthe context of the UN Convention on the Law of theSea (UNCLOS). Another concerned establishing a targetdate for undertaking initiatives aimed at implementingthe Global Programme of Action for theProtection of the Marine Environment, as well asdeveloping and promoting efficient use of localsources of energy.Governments agreed that instead of assisting SIDS to“define” their coastal areas and exclusive economiczones (the area of sea that belongs to a coastal Stateand which it can exploit for economic benefit), theywould assist to “delimit” such areas that couldinclude continental shelf areas beyond 200 milesfrom coastal baselines. They also agreed to a target of2004 to undertake initiatives to reduce, prevent andcontrol waste and pollution and their health-relatedimpacts for the protection of the marine environment.The POI also requests the General Assembly to considerconvening an international meeting for the sustainabledevelopment of SIDS. While the nature ofsuch a meeting is yet to be determined, a comprehensivereview of the implementation of theBarbados Programme of Action (adopted in 1994 atthe Global Conference on the SustainableDevelopment of SIDS) is scheduled to take placeunder UN auspices in 2004.Other action points on SIDS include:n Develop community-based initiatives on sustainabletourism by 2004. (58g)n Support the availability of adequate, affordable andenvironmentally sound energy services for thesustainable development of SIDS, includingthrough strengthening efforts on energy supplyand services by 2004. (59)Sustainable Development for AfricaOver the course of the last year or so, the internationalcommunity has responded positively to the Africangovernment-led strategy, the New Partnership forAfrica’s Development (NEPAD), and placed Africa’sdevelopment prominently on the international developmentagenda. The WSSD, following in the footstepsof Monterrey (FFD) and the recent G-8 meetingsin Canada, found governments welcomingNEPAD and pledging their support to the implementationof this initiative through financing, technicaland institutional cooperation, as well as human andinstitutional capacity building.Governments also agreed to assist Africa with technicalsupport in the areas of environmental legislation,institutional reform, environmental impact assessments,negotiating and implementing multilateralenvironmental agreements, as well as afforestationand reforestation.Another action point on Africa states a commitment to:n Establish and promote programmes, partnershipsand initiatives to implement NEPAD objectives onenergy, which seek to secure access for at least35% of the African population within 20 years. (62j)Institutional Framework and Follow-upLeading into Johannesburg, the section InstitutionalFramework contained many outstanding issues,notably good governance, reform of internationalfinance and trade institutions, social dimensions ofsustainable development policies and programmes,the role of the UN Economic and Social Council(ECOSOC) in FFD follow-up, replenishment of theGEF, targets for implementing national developmentstrategies, and the relationship between environmentand human rights.The chapeau of this section states that an effectiveinstitutional framework for sustainable developmentat all levels is key to the full implementation ofAgenda 21, the follow-up to the outcomes of theWSSD and meeting emerging sustainable developmentchallenges. Measures to strengthen this framework,the chapeau says, should build on the provisionsof Agenda 21 as well as the 1997 Programmefor its further implementation and the Rio Principles.After much discussion, it was agreed that a referencehighlighting the principle of common but differentiatedresponsibilities would be deleted.This section also opens by stating that good governanceis essential for sustainable development.Governments agreed that sound economic policies,solid democratic institutions responsive to the needsof people, and improved infrastructure are the basisfor sustained economic growth, poverty eradicationand employment creation. Additional essential factorsidentified include: freedom, peace and security,domestic stability, respect for human rights, includingthe right to development, and the rule of law, genderequality, market-oriented policies, and an overallcommitment to just and democratic societies.10NGLS Roundup 96, November 2002


Other action points include:n Efforts to reform the international financialarchitecture need to be sustained with greatertransparency and the effective participation ofdeveloping countries in decision-making processes.(141)n The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)should increase its role in overseeing system-widecoordination and the balanced integration ofeconomic, social and environmental aspects ofUnited Nations policies and programmes aimed atpromoting sustainable development. (144a)n Ensure that there is a close link between the role ofthe Council in the follow-up to the WSSD and itsrole in the follow-up to the Monterrey Consensus.(144f)n The Council should explore ways to developarrangements relating to its meetings with theBretton Woods institutions and the WTO, as set outin the Monterrey Consensus. (144f)In the section on the Commission on SustainableDevelopment (CSD), the UN body responsible formonitoring the implementation of the UNCED agreements,the action points for the future include:n An enhanced role of the Commission shouldinclude reviewing and monitoring progress in theimplementation of Agenda 21 and fosteringcoherence of implementation, initiatives andpartnerships. (145)n Take into account significant legal developments inthe field of sustainable development, with dueregard to the role of relevant intergovernmentalbodies in promoting the implementation of Agenda21 relating to international legal instruments andmechanisms. (148e)n The Commission should focus on actions related toimplementation of Agenda 21, limiting negotiationsin the sessions of the Commission to every twoyears. (147d)n The Commission should serve as a focal point forthe discussion of partnerships that promotesustainable development, including sharing lessonslearned, progress made and best practices. (148b)Johannesburg DeclarationIn addition to the Plan of Implementation, governmentsadopted a political declaration that reaffirms their commitmentto sustainable development. The drafting ofthe declaration was left largely in the hands of SouthAfrica, through which a draft declaration was madeavailable only during the final days of the ong>Summitong>,which caused governments to hurriedly negotiate itscontents. In the declaration, governments assume a collectiveresponsibility to advance and strengthen theinterdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars of sustainabledevelopment—economic and social developmentand environmental protection—and refer to thePlan of Implementation as a “practical and visible” planto live up to that responsibility.The Johannesburg Declaration lists numerous conditionsthat are posing severe threats to sustainabledevelopment, including: chronic hunger; malnutrition;foreign occupation; armed conflicts; illicit drug problems;organized crime; corruption; natural disasters;illicit arms trafficking; trafficking in persons; terrorism;intolerance and incitement to racial, ethnic, religiousand other hatreds; xenophobia; and endemic, communicableand chronic diseases, in particularHIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.In order to counter these problems, governments callfor a number of actions including reaching internationallyagreed levels of ODA, supporting NEPAD, continuingto work with major groups, as well as the need forthe private sector to enforce corporate accountability.Governments reaffirmed their support for the leadershiprole of the United Nations as the most universaland representative organization in the world, andcalled for more effective, democratic and accountableinternational and multilateral institutions.The Plan of Implementation and the JohannesburgDeclaration are available online (www.johannesburgsummit.org).PARTNERSHIP PLENARIESA key innovative feature of the ong>Summitong> was the holdingof a series of “partnership plenaries” during thefirst five days of the conference. Instead of a conventionalseries of speeches by dignitaries, partnershipplenaries were organized in the form of interactivedialogues among governments, UN agencies, experts,and major group representatives on the five WEHABthemes proposed by the Secretary-General, as well ason cross-sectoral issues and regional implementation.The sessions, which were moderated by theSecretary-General’s Special Envoy to the ong>Summitong> JanPronk, focused on challenges of implementation inthese five strategic areas.Water and SanitationThe partnership plenary discussions on water and sanitationrevealed the extent to which water-related issuesare at the centre of sustainable development and intimatelylinked to health, agriculture, energy, biodiversityand poverty eradication. It was noted that there isgrowing international recognition that access to safedrinking water is a basic human right. As of now, some1.2 billion people still have no access to safe drinkingwater. It was further noted that daily, some 6,000 childrendie as a result of deficient sanitation facilities.Despite this, water continues to receive low politicalpriority, as evidenced by declines in ODA to this sector,by the reduction of investments by internationalfinancial institutions, by the low priority it receives inNGLS Roundup 96, November 2002 11


national budgets, and by the absence of water as acentral feature in major regional programmes. Theneed to come up with concrete plans of action toreduce the number of the 2.4 billion people that donot have access to adequate sanitation as a distinctdevelopment target was mentioned as one of the prioritiesfor the WSSD.A number of speakers emphasized that access to waterfor basic human needs was a fundamental human rightand, along with improved sanitation, was a key componentof any effective poverty-reduction strategy. TheNGO representative insisted that partnership initiativesin the area of water and sanitation must: be developedin response to locally articulated needs through ademocratic process; be in keeping with Type 1 outcomes;include mechanisms for democratic accountabilityfor government partners; and include corporatepartners only when enforceable and functional standardsfor corporate accountability are in place.Many speakers suggested that the low priority currentlyassigned to water issues is linked to the fact that watershortages are primarily affecting low-income countriesand population groups, while the better-off countriesand income groups are not yet affected by such problems.Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director of the UNHuman Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), saidwater availability in growing cities was in such a crisissituation that the poor were often paying four to fivetimes more for water than better-off people connectedto the water system.Questions related to cost recovery—whether throughtax transfers, user fees, or cross-subsidization—wereone of the most hotly-debated topics during the discussion.The trade unions representative expressedreservations as to the role the private sector shouldplay in meeting basic needs given the fact that theprimary motive of business is profit and not welfare.The business representative argued that in his experienceof public-private sector service delivery programmes,it was not only rich people who could payfor water. As a matter of fact, he said, the poor werewilling to pay more, but it was often the politiciansthat were not willing to charge them. Ronnie Kasrils,the South African Minister of Water Affairs andForestry, said that appropriate financial systems wererequired to ensure that water services were financiallysustainable. For the poor, she added, while therewas a willingness to pay, there was not always theability to pay for water. There was a need for subsidies,either from tax revenues or cross-subsidies fromother water users.Miloon Kothari, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on theright to adequate housing, said that recent experienceswith privatization of water services tended toreveal three sets of problems from a human rightsperspective, namely: an overemphasis on profit-makingand cost recovery; inadequate coverage of vulnerablegroups, such as slum dwellers; and lack ofaccountability of service operators. These privatizationschemes overlook the precise commitments thatStates have undertaken under specific human rightsinstruments, including the International Covenant onEconomic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Conventionon the Rights of the Child, and the Convention on theElimination of Discrimination against Women. He alsonoted that once privatization has failed, it is difficultfor local municipalities and governments to recoverthe initiative. He further warned that these issueswere not adequately taken into account in the ongoingnegotiations on liberalization of trade in servicesat the WTO.Discussions also focused on the sustainability ofwater sources, which are fast becoming depleted inmany parts of the world. Some said this required anecosystems approach to water management thatwould integrate environmental protection and biodiversityconcerns.EnergyThe partnership plenary on energy focused on thechallenges of extending energy services to the poorand shifting to more sustainable energy productionand consumption patterns (including a momentousincrease in the use of renewable energy sources).Access to affordable energy services was pointed outas being critical for increasing agricultural productivity,encouraging economic activity, generating employmentand income opportunities, and improving thequality of life, particularly for women and children.For instance, in many developing countries womenand children spend many hours each day gatheringfirewood, time which is diverted from productivefamily and educational activities. Such patterns ofenergy use contribute to biodiversity loss, and anincrease in health problems related to indoor, firewood-basedcooking methods.According to one speaker, energy interventions in thepast have not been efficient. Small-scale technologies,with costs ranging from US$50 to US$300, are availableas a means for providing energy services to the poorest,particularly in rural areas. Such technologies includemechanical water pumps, solar dryers and bio-fuel furnaces.He encouraged developing countries to allocatea quarter to a third of their energy budgets to smallscaleenergy technologies, which he said should be asself-reliant as possible in terms of inputs, local equipmentmanufacturing and maintenance.Moving away from fossil fuel-based technologies tocombat pollution and climate change was noted as amajor challenge. However, such a shift would not, inthe immediate future at least, be driven by scarcity ofoil reserves—thus many participants called for theneed to focus on time-bound targets on increasing the12NGLS Roundup 96, November 2002


use of renewable energy. Commenting on the proposed(but eventually rejected) target on renewableenergy being negotiated by governments, the UN representativesaid that such a target was feasible butdepended on the structure of the energy sector.The lack of consensus on a renewable energy targetduring the intergovernmental negotiations was reflectedin the subsequent exchange by governments in theplenary. The minister in charge of petroleum from theOffice of the President of Nigeria said it must beacknowledged that access to modern forms of energywas out of the reach of most developing countries.Economic development, he said, could not beachieved in the developing world without affordableenergy sources. He added that it was presumptuousfor the ong>Summitong> to tell any government to establishnumerical targets or timetables on energy. He urgedthe international community to focus its efforts onhelping developing countries to enhance their capacityfor affordable sources of renewable energy. Insharp contrast, the representative of Tuvalu insisted onthe importance of such targets and timetables. Heexpressed his disappointment that Tuvalu’s proposalearlier in the WSSD preparatory process—to develop alegally binding arrangement on energy—was rejected.HealthThe inter-active discussion on health highlighted thefact that health is not only about lack of illness but isalso about fundamental human rights to clean water,sanitation and equitable access to quality and affordablehealth services. Speakers noted that up to onethirdof global diseases were caused by environmentaldegradation, whether linked to water impurities,poor sanitation or air pollution. They also noted astrong correlation between poverty and vulnerabilityto disease, thus stressing the sense of urgency tobreak the vicious cycle of inter-linked problems ofenvironmental degradation, ill health and poverty,which would call for more integrated and inter-sectoralapproaches to health, including the integrationof gender dimensions. Health issues need to be tacklednot only by health ministries and health sectorsbut also by sectors such as transportation, energy,industry and agriculture, participants stressed.The discussion also emphasized major resource allocationquestions. A representative of the ong>Worldong> HealthOrganization (WHO) said that, according to a 2001report of the WHO’s Commission on Macroeconomicsand Health, an increase in domestic budgetaryresources of 1% by 2015 and donor grant resources ofUS$27 billion a year by 2007 and US$38 billion by 2015would be needed to effectively tackle the diseases ofthe world’s poor. A representative of the United NationsChildren Fund (UNICEF) said that country-level coordinationamong partners in the field of immunization programmeswas a good example of the effective use offunds through partnerships on the ground.AgricultureDuring the partnership plenary on agriculture, itwas noted that around 70% of the poor in developingcountries live in rural areas and depend in oneway or another on agriculture for their survival. Asharp contrast was drawn by one presenter betweentwo radically different models of agriculture:agribusiness-led agriculture driven by technology,capital and subsidies (“mass production”); andsmall-scale agriculture driven by peasants and localfarmers (“production by the masses”). He stressedthat an “ominous paradox” hovered over the perceptionof agriculture. In developed countries, agricultureevoked notions of pollution, overproductionand subsidies, while in practically all developingcountries it was still the engine of economic growth,and the livelihood base for the majority of theirpopulations.Much of the discussion focused on internationaltrade issues and problems related to the high levelof agricultural subsidies in developed countries.Many called for the phasing out of such subsidieswhich are also environmentally harmful, and thedismantling of developed countries’ trade barriers todeveloping countries’ agricultural exports. However,the farmers’ representative stressed that what farmerswere really asking for was to be able to earn aliving by farming. If production costs were compatiblewith market prices, then no subsidies would beneeded. It was not that farmers were clamouring forsubsidies, he said, but subsidies were required inthe current state of the world market.Later in the discussion, the agriculture minister ofTanzania emphasized the fact that while rich countrieswere subsidizing their agriculture to the tuneof US$1 billion a day, the International MonetaryFund (IMF) and the ong>Worldong> Bank continued to pressuredeveloping countries to remove subsidies tosupport their own farmers. It was noted in thisregard that cheap subsidized food imports in liberalizeddeveloping countries’ markets were undermininglocal farmers’ livelihoods and cutting jobs in thedomestic agricultural sectors. Improving the competitivenessand productivity of small farmers, whilecreating a level playing field vis-a-vis large agribusiness,was highlighted as a key priority by a numberof speakers. Reversing the downward trend in ODAto agriculture was also emphasized. According to arepresentative of the Food and AgricultureOrganization (FAO), the millennium developmenttarget of cutting hunger by half by 2015 will requireadditional public investments of US$24 billion ayear over the next 13 years. One speaker noted thatan enormous financial potential could be freed upto combat hunger and poverty in developing countriesif only a small proportion of rich countries’US$1 billion daily agricultural subsidies was allocatedfor that purpose.NGLS Roundup 96, November 200213


The discussion also sought to draw lessons from theGreen Revolution, which some described as technology-drivenand input intensive. While it enabled theworld to make a quantum leap in agricultural productivity,it also led to environmental degradation andfavoured capital-intensive producers. It was suggestedthat the future agricultural revolution should be sustainable,small-farmer and low-input based. In this respect,many participants shared their experiences in organicfarming and the use of indigenous farming methods,which they said offered great promise as a way forwardin agriculture, but were often undermined by currenttrade practices and agricultural policies that favourresource-intensive mass production methods.Although it did not receive much attention during thepartnership plenary discussion on agriculture, theissue of biotechnology and genetically-modified (GM)foods was raised in the session on cross-sectoralissues, and hotly debated in the corridors of the conferenceand in the streets of Johannesburg. The issuebecame all the more controversial since the ong>Summitong>was taking place in the midst of a food crisis inSouthern Africa, in response to which the UnitedStates was offering genetically modified maize foodaid to the affected countries.BiodiversityDuring the partnership plenary on biodiversity, itwas noted that biodiversity and the Earth’s ecosystemsgenerate a wide range of goods and serviceson which the world economy depends. With about40% of the global economy based on biologicalproducts and processes, UNEP estimates the economicvalue of biodiversity to be some US$3 trilliona year, whereas that of ecosystem services is US$33trillion a year—which was said to be the equivalentof the combined gross national products of theentire planet. Activities that reduce biodiversity, itwas said, jeopardize economic development andoften the survival of many who depend on biodiversityfor their livelihood, particularly rural populationsin developing countries.A senior UNEP representative said that unless governmentstook immediate action to address criticalmatters related to biodiversity, particularly environmentaldegradation and overuse of naturalresources, the future of the world could soon beirreparably undermined. He said there had beensome achievements, particularly with the support ofNGOs. Major treaties such as the Convention onBiological Diversity (CBD) had been developed,some species had been saved from extinction, andtracts of land were under protection. However, heexpressed concern that protected areas were in factnot well protected and many treaties were not fullyimplemented. A representative of the secretariat ofthe Convention on Wetlands said it was “shameful”that international treaties related to biodiversity werenegotiated at a very high level, but such instrumentswere subsequently handed over to small agencieswith very little power to ensure implementation.During the interactive session, some participants linkedthe lack of public awareness of biodiversity issues asan important reason for lack of progress and called forpublic education campaigns as a new phase of implementation.However, other participants insisted thatbeyond public awareness raising, it was the wider economicforces at play that needed to be tackled. Severalspeakers cited the WTO Agreement on Trade-RelatedAspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs), whichthey said gave corporations monopoly over biologicalresources and the ability to patent life forms, addingthat it needs to be rebalanced to ensure equitable benefitsharing. It was essential, one NGO representativestressed, to re-examine macro-economic policies whichundermined sustainability, and to set limits to industrialexploitation of natural resources on which local communities’livelihoods depend. In this regard, the UKenvironment minister emphasized the necessity to haveincentives to reduce commercial pressures leading tothe over-exploitation of natural resources. He said thatin addition to the need to strengthen time-bound targetsfor biodiversity, effective mechanisms, monitoringand funding were also required.A business representative said partnerships were at theheart of solutions. No single sector was responsible forbiodiversity, he said. The root causes of biodiversityloss had to be addressed, which meant giving priorityto equity sharing and giving local communities a stakein conservation. In this respect, the environment ministerof India noted that his country’s conservation strategyhad depended heavily on partnerships and cooperationwith all stakeholders. However, the environmentminister of Gabon cautioned that partnerships in hiscountry had not always attracted “the most virtuouspartners.” While Gabon had a product that could beuseful to treat drug addiction, a transnational corporationwanted to patent that product, he said. The socalled“Type 2” outcomes, he insisted, must providesafeguards against such situations.In closing, Mr. Pronk said that there was overall consensusthat the international community was not ontarget. The necessary knowledge was present; whatwas needed was action to meet the commitmentsundertaken. The urgency of the matter could not beoverstated. The greater the threat of further loss, hesaid, the greater the need to change the models andpolicies of the past.Cross-sectoral IssuesThe partnership plenary dedicated to cross-sectoralissues focused on the following themes: finance, tradeand technology transfer; sustainable consumption andproduction patterns; and education, science, capacitybuilding and information for decision making.14NGLS Roundup 96, November 2002


Introducing the themes, WSSD Secretary-GeneralDesai said the purpose of this session’s discussionwas to focus attention on those cross-sectoral dimensionsof sustainable development that were vital toattaining effective results. How to effectively implementcommitments already undertaken? What hadstood in the way of fulfilling those commitments? Hesaid he hoped that the discussion would address barriersto effective implementation and see in what waythe processes of implementation could be strengthenedby partnership initiatives.A representative of the scientific community stressedthe importance of partnerships between scientists andother stakeholders in all key areas. He said new linesof research were needed to address the links betweennatural systems, socio-economic systems and sustainableconsumption and production patterns. A UNEPrepresentative said a key example of the link betweenscience and policy making was the problem of theozone layer, where scientific evidence had led to aninternational agreement to phase out ozone-depletingsubstances.An NGO representative, however, sounded a note ofcaution on the far-reaching effects of partnerships, notingthat such arrangements can also produce harmful orinequitable results. By way of example, he cited theincreasingly connected nature of the science/biologicalresearch community and transnational corporations—and the biases this may imply in partnership agreements.In this regard, the farmers’ representative arguedthat there was an increasing imbalance in scientificinterests that were becoming more and more marketdriven,while governments shied away from publicspending on research and technology development.Several speakers noted that the business communitywas much more present at Johannesburg than it wasten years ago in Rio. The business representativedescribed this as a “transitional period in social history,”as awareness was growing about the ecological footprintsleft by current models of production and economicgrowth. Still, business needed to be more openand involved, he said, noting that its role is both facilitatedand constrained by government action. Askedwhether governments were not constrained by corporatepressure, he said that there were “myths” aboutthose relationships, which he described as not valid.The corporate structure, he said, had proven to be sufficientfor providing for the large-scale needs of society.The youth representative noted with concern that sofew speakers had addressed the critical issue of patternsof unsustainable consumption. He argued thateveryone knew that large corporations were moreinterested in selling their products than in conservation.Later in the discussion, the Swedish ministernoted how controversial the topic of unsustainableconsumption and production patterns had been in theong>Summitong>’s intergovernmental negotiations. Her country’sexperience had shown that prevention was less expensivethan the cure, adding that the key to changingproduction and consumption patterns was the youngergeneration. The NGO representative stressed that theRio Principle of common but differentiated responsibilityindicated that the North should take the lead in thisarea because it had the resources and capacity to doso, and should transfer that capacity to the South.PARTNERSHIP OUTCOMESPartnerships and initiatives to implement Agenda 21became an important element of the ong>Summitong>’s outcomes.Termed “Type 2” outcomes, the over 220 WSSDpartnership initiatives identified so far between differentstakeholders (including governments, intergovernmentalorganizations, civil society and business entities) aremeant to complement and reinforce “Type 1” outcomes—namelythe intergovernmentally negotiatedplan of implementation and the political declaration.The inclusion of partnership initiatives as part of the formalWSSD outcome was endorsed last year by the UNGeneral Assembly in Resolution 56/226, which encourages“...global commitment and partnerships, especiallybetween Governments of the North and the South, onthe one hand, and between Governments and majorgroups on the other.”Many participants viewed Type 2 outcomes as a potentiallyempowering and complementary way of makingprogress towards sustainable development. Variousstakeholders could commit considerable resources, aswell as the expertise and energy to invest in implementingAgenda 21. The Type 2 track opened the doorfor practical ways to make concrete commitments,without being held back by the limitations of the intergovernmentally-agreedPOI.Over 220 partnerships (with US$235 million in financing)were identified in advance of the ong>Summitong> andaround 60 partnerships were announced during theong>Summitong> by a variety of countries and organizations.They include multi-million dollar initiatives in a hostof domains, including the five WEHAB areas identifiedby the Secretary-General, as well as other issuessuch as environmental governance, the developmentof small-and medium-sized enterprises, and marketingcommunications programmes to promote the conceptof sustainable development. A number of initiativespublicized at the ong>Summitong> will support the POI commitmentto halve the proportion of people withoutaccess to sanitation by 2015 together with theMillennium Development Goal (MDG) to halve theproportion without access to safe drinking water. TheUS has announced US$970 million in investments inwater and sanitation projects; the EU announced its“Water for Life” initiative; the UN has received anadditional 21 water- and sanitation-related initiativeswith at least US$20 million in funding. Similarly, theNGLS Roundup 96, November 200215


16POI commitment on energy access will be accompaniedby financial commitments from the EU (US$700million), the US (US$43 million), and 32 separate partnershipinitiatives garnering up to US$26 million ininvestment. The latest list of partnership initiatives isavailable on the WSSD website (www.johannesburgsummit.org).NGLS Roundup 96, November 2002BOXGuiding Principles for Type 2 outcomesn Partnerships should be international in their impactand have a multistakeholder approach, preferablyinvolving a range of significant actors in a given areaof work. They can be arranged among any combinationof partners, including governments, regional groups,local authorities, non-governmental actors,international institutions and private sector entities.n Partnerships are to complement the intergovernmentallyagreed outcomes of WSSD: they arenot intended to substitute commitments made bygovernments. Rather they should serve asmechanisms for the delivery of the globally agreedcommitments by mobilizing the capacity for producingaction on the ground.n Partnerships are of a voluntary, ‘self-organizing’nature, based on mutual respect and sharedresponsibility of the partners involved.n Partnerships should integrate the economic, socialand environmental dimensions of sustainabledevelopment in their design and implementation.Where applicable, they should be consistent withsustainable development strategies and povertyreduction strategies of the countries, regions andcommunities where their implementation takes place.n Partnerships should be developed and implemented inan open and transparent manner and in good faith, sothat ownership of the partnership process and itsoutcomes is shared among all partners, and allpartners are equally accountable. They should specifyarrangements to monitor and review their performanceagainst the objectives and targets they set and reportin regular intervals (‘self reporting’). These reportsshould be made accessible to the public.n Partnerships should keep the Commission onSustainable Development (CSD) informed about theiractivities and progress in achieving their targets. TheCSD should serve as a focal point for discussion ofpartnerships that promote sustainable development,including sharing lessons learnt, progress made andbest practices.n Opportunities to develop partnerships for sustainabledevelopment will continue after the WSSD.Submissions of partnerships after the ong>Summitong> will beconsidered in the follow-up process.Source: ”Guiding Principles for Partnerships forSustainable Development,” Annex to the Vice-Chairs’Summary of the Informal Meetings on Partnerships forSustainable Development, 7 June 2002During the preparatory process a wide range of concernswere expressed by a number of governments andNGOs on the nature of Type 2 outcomes, their relationto Type 1 outcomes, and the criteria used to determinewhich partnership initiatives should qualify to be part ofthe formal ong>Summitong> outcome. In the course of PrepComsIII and IV, a series of informal consultations were conductedby the PrepCom’s Vice-Chairs, Jan Kara (CzechRepublic) and Diane Quarless (Jamaica). On this basis,they produced a set of guiding principles for Type 2outcomes, against which partnership submissions to theConference Secretariat were checked before being postedon the ong>Summitong> website (see Box 3).Concerns about the nature and content of partnershipoutcomes were vigorously debated during the multistakeholderdialogue on partnerships held duringPrepCom IV in Bali. NGOs and a number of othermajor groups expressed serious reservations as to theinvolvement of transnational corporations in partnershipinitiatives. These concerns related to what theyperceived as the rapid rise of transnational corporatepower and efforts by corporate lobby groups to “greenwash”their activities by claiming to contribute to sustainabledevelopment with a few isolated flagship projects.Would Type 2 partnerships give carte blanche fortransnational corporations to obtain UN endorsementunder a voluntary scheme? Was this part of a trend bygovernments to abdicate more power to the corporatesector without mechanisms of regulation, accountabilityand enforcement corresponding to this increasedpower? In their statements, NGO representativesexpressed concern that talk of partnerships in theWSSD process was diffuse and distant from the realitiesof power inequalities.In closing the session, Mr. Desai underlined that Type 2partnerships were no substitute for strong commitmentsbetween governments. “The real action,” he said, “isout there in the negotiating room.” (See also Box 4).On the eve of the ong>Summitong>, the ECO-Equity Coalition(regrouping Consumers International, the Danish ’92Group, Greenpeace International, the Northern Alliancefor Sustainability (ANPED), Oxfam International andWWF International) released a discussion paper entitled“Critical considerations about Type 2 partnerships.” Thepaper stresses a number of issues not covered in theVice Chairs’ guiding principles for Type 2 outcomes.These include questions such as:n Adequate external monitoring and accountabilitymechanisms;n Whether the partnership initiatives will involve fundsadditional to existing bilateral and multilateral funds,or whether current aid money would be reshuffledand presented as new initiatives;n Specific mechanisms to address unequal leveragebetween partners and other asymmetries in light ofwhat the paper calls “a history of power inequitiesin partnerships,” in terms of competencies, power,resources, capacities and information;


BOX“...Many people have seen this notion of partnershipsessentially as something which was corporate-led. That isnot true. Most of the partnerships which have been registeredwith us actually involve non-governmental organizationsand inter-governmental organizations. Yes, there aresome which involve corporations, but the majority are basicallyfrom these other sectors. Even if there are corporations,I believe it is not a bad thing if you can get corporationsto work on our agenda, and in areas like energy, it isessential. We are not going to be credible in terms of ourprogrammatic framework on energy if we say that we areonly going to focus attention on what the UN is going to door on what the public sector is going to do. We have tobring the energy companies into our agenda and I believewe have made very good progress in doing this....”Nitin Desai, Under-Secretary-General for Economic andSocial Affairs and Secretary-General of WSSD, addressingthe 2nd Committee of the UN General Assembly on30 September 2002n The risks associated with “an overwhelming numberof fragmented partnerships,” including theestablishment of parallel or alternative (andpotentially unaccountable) mechanisms to those ofpublic services; these possible consequences couldfurther aggravate what is already widely-recognizedas the uncoordinated nature of the currentinternational aid system, and which the donorcommunity is attempting to address through theDevelopment Assistance Committee (DAC) of theOrganisation for Economic Co-operation andDevelopment (OECD).CIVIL SOCIETY AND OTHER ACTIVITIES AROUND WSSDApproximately 3,500 NGOs were accredited to theWSSD. Throughout the preparatory process they playeda prominent role, mobilizing their constituencies, lobbyinggovernments, and raising awareness around theworld of the issues at stake.The Sustainable Development Issues Network (SDIN)—which was a joint collaborative effort between severalNGO groupings, such as the Environmental LiaisonCentre International (ELCI), ANPED and Third ong>Worldong>Network—played an important facilitating and informationdisseminating role for major groups, notablythrough their daily plenary briefing and strategy sessions.Other networks, such as the Stakeholder Forum,focused more on facilitating discussions on partnershipbasedimplementation issues.During PrepCom IV in Bali, a two-day MultistakeholderDialogue was held among all major groups with theparticipation of governments and international institutions.The objectives of the Multistakeholder Dialogueincluded a discussion on partnerships and providinginputs into the intergovernmental negotiating process.However, because of the slow pace of negotiationsduring earlier PrepComs, many of the dialogues tookplace while governments were negotiating the draftPlan of Implementation in another room.During the closing plenary of the MultistakeholderDialogue in Bali, NGOs delivered a sobering statementon the nature of the much discussed “lack of politicalwill” in implementing the Rio agreements and those ofthe other major UN conferences of the 1990s. It capturedmany of the major concerns of NGOs throughoutthe WSSD process (see Box 5).Civil Society EventsA dynamic flurry of civil society and other events tookplace during the ong>Summitong>. Activities around the city ofJohannesburg included a Global People’s Forum (seebelow) and a Water Dome, which sought to increaseawareness of water as a key issue in sustainable developmentand the initiatives being launched to solve theworldwide water crisis. Other activities included awomen’s action tent, large gatherings of landless farmersand fisherfolk, and a series of teach-ins on globalizationand sustainable development organized by differentgroups, notably the International Forum onGlobalization (IFG) and Third ong>Worldong> Network. The pluralityof events throughout the city was a reflection ofthe diversity of civil society organizations’ constituenciesand concerns. Some focused specifically on the WSSDprocess, while others used the opportunity to furthertheir ongoing work at international networking andcoalition-building. A number of NGOs, including theConference of Non-Governmental Organizations in consultativerelationship with the UN (CONGO), worked topromote linkages between the ong>Summitong> and the GlobalPeople’s Forum. As with previous global events, therewere important substantive and political differencesamong civil society actors as to the value of engagingwith an official intergovernmental process in the currentglobal geo-political and economic climate.On Saturday 31 August, on the eve of the arrival ofHeads of State for the high-level segment of the conference,a large peaceful demonstration marched fromone of poorest slums of Johannesburg, the townshipof Alexandra, to the prosperous neighbourhood ofSandton, where the ong>Summitong> was being held. Between10,000-50,000 people participated, depending on estimates.The majority of the marchers came from marginalizedgroups: landless people from rural areas, fisherfolk,the unemployed and people without electricityor adequate housing. They were supported by a rangeof international social movements opposed to “corporate-ledglobalization,” from Indonesian women’s organizationsto Italian NGOs mobilizing around waterissues. In the preceding weeks, a number of otherdemonstrations, such as those by the landless movementand the South African Anti-Privatization Forum,had led to serious clashes with the police.Inside or near the official conference venue, a series ofside events were organized daily by major groups,international organizations and governments on anNGLS Roundup 96, November 200217


18enormous range of topics, including: the SustainableAgriculture and Rural Development (SARD) Initiative ofthe Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on implementationof Chapter 14 of Agenda 21; promotion ofthe MDGs by the UN Development Programme(UNDP) as strategic tools for joint UN/civil society campaigns;and consultations with civil society by thenewly established ong>Worldong> Commission on the SocialDimension of Globalization of the International LabourOrganization (ILO).At different stages of the conference, safety-relatedaccess restrictions at the Sandton Convention Centre ledNGLS Roundup 96, November 2002BOXExtracts from the NGO statement at the closing plenaryof the Multistakeholder Dialogue in Bali, June 2002,delivered by Chee Yoke Ling of Third ong>Worldong> Network“...Everyone openly laments the lack of political will toimplement sustainable development. There is a struggleto agree to timeframes and targets for concrete actions.But many NGOs see strong political will in other parts ofthe international system.“There is political will in the ong>Worldong> Trade Organization toset specific timeframes and obligations, and failure tocomply triggers a powerful enforcement machinery thatcomes with sanctions. Member States are obliged tochange national laws and policies, even their constitutionsin some cases, with developing countries being thenet losers, and within them the small farmers and producers,in particular women, being the biggest losers.“There is political will to enforce decades of repayment indebt servicing by indebted countries where interest paymentsfar exceed the original sum borrowed. The debt burdencontinues and even worsens, while middle-incomecountries are now drawn into the debt trap too, as economicliberalization contributes to new vulnerabilities. Butthere is no political will to resolve the debt crisis. Just asthere is no political will by the rich countries to make themuch-needed reforms to the international financial system.NGOs had hoped for the inadequacies of the dilutedMonterrey Consensus [the intergovernmental outcome ofthe March 2002 International Conference on Financing forDevelopment] to be addressed by the WSSD, but somecountries are adamant that this will not be done....“At the same time, there is waning political will to ratify multilateralenvironment treaties, especially among developedcountries, but there is political will to dilute and to subverttreaties from their original intent and objectives, and evenreject treaties. This we see in the Kyoto Protocol....“The ‘rights-based' approach is strongly endorsed by almostall major groups and reiterated here. But instead of rights,there is now the concept of ‘stakeholders' that assumesequality among all parties. The multistakeholder discussionson partnerships have stressed these unequal power relations.In an era where corporate rights are expanding disproportionatelyto peoples' rights, many NGOs are thus insistingon legally binding corporate accountability and liability,and not partnerships with big business....“Perhaps we should not view Johannesburg as an eventfor grand outcomes, but rather a moment for a frankassessment of the fundamental obstacles that have ledto the crisis of implementation of sustainable development.Let us please have an honest appraisal."to considerable disruptions in the organization of someside-events and in the coordination of major groups’and NGO caucuses’ contributions to the formal negotiations.Following complaints addressed to the Secretariatand the South African Government, these problemswere resolved through discussions with a delegation ofmajor groups representatives.The Global People’s ForumIn late 2000, following confirmation that South Africawas going to host the WSSD, a national process wasinitiated among South African civil society organizationsto prepare for a global civil society forum to beheld parallel to the official ong>Summitong> (and later calledthe Global People’s Forum). The South AfricanNational NGO Coalition (SANGOCO) took the lead incoordinating preparations for the Forum that tookplace from 19 August-4 September at theJohannesburg Expo Centre (NASREC), located atabout a 30-minute drive from the official WSSDvenue. Some 20,000 participants took part in the hundredsof workshops, plenaries and parallel meetingsorganized throughout the two weeks. The main structureof the Forum was a series of thematic commissions,which produced various sections of a programmeof action that was adopted on the final day,along with a Global People’s Forum Civil SocietyDeclaration entitled “A Sustainable ong>Worldong> is Possible.”Civil Society Declaration and Programme of ActionThe Civil Society Declaration notes that, ten yearsafter Rio, lack of progress on implementation isexemplified by “the growing gap between North andSouth, and the ever-growing socio-economic disparitybetween rich and poor, with particular impact on thepeople of African descent, and the ongoing degradationof natural resources.”Core issues outlined in the document include thefollowing:n A reaffirmation of the equality of all people, withspecial attention to historically disadvantaged groupswith a plea for their meaningful participation insustainable development policy formulation, design,programme and project planning, decision-makingand implementation processes.n A demand that international human rights andlabour conventions and multilateral environmentalagreements be respected and enforced, “includingby the rich and powerful.”n A call for “fair trade” (as opposed to current “freetrade” system, which is described as “far from freeand not fair”). Fair trade would reaffirm the RioPrinciple of Common but DifferentiatedResponsibility and support the rights of developingcountries to protect their own industries andnational resources against financial and traderelatedexternalities.n A call to rich countries to reduce excessiveconsumption of the world’s resources and to share theirincomes in the interests of present and futuregenerations.


n A call to develop legally binding global rules andobligations to regulate corporations, especiallymultinationals, with respect to economic, socialand environmental concerns.n The affirmation that multinational companies andgovernments that have “benefited from exploitationof the human and natural resources in underdevelopedcountries are morally bound to repaythe ‘economic, social and ecological debt’ that hasbeen accumulated as a result.” The text also insistson “debt cancellation, reparations and the revisionof existing conditionalities associated with currentand future debt obligations, to reflect the principlesand guidelines of Agenda 21.”n An insistence that natural resources and basic servicessuch as water and sanitation, health care, educationand housing should be held in the public domain.n An insistence on the need for “prior notice,consultation and participation and public disclosureon all transactions and agreements affecting the livesof people in communities at risk.”n A call to address the “economic injustices that oftenlie at the root of conflict” and to divert “themassive spending on armaments and war” tosustainable development initiatives.n An insistence that “all communities and peoples musthave control over biological resources as well astheir rights to direct all development, includingagriculture and aquaculture, towards models that areecologically and socio-culturally sensitive, and whichconserve or enhance biodiversity and biodiversitybasedlivelihoods.” In this context, “traditional andindigenous knowledge systems developed over theages should be recognized as legitimate.”n A call for the remaining countries that have notratified the Kyoto Protocol to do so.n A categorical rejection of the use of geneticengineering (GE) “until the specified uses are provensafe.” In accordance with the Precautionary Principle,“governments must ensure a GE free environment inour countries and in farming systems and supportour efforts to raise awareness amongst farmers andconsumers about real and potential impacts of GE tothe environment and to human health.”n A call for “the phasing out of the fossil fuel industryand the promotion of the use of renewable forms ofenergy according to clear timelines for theconversion.”In the programme of action adopted at NASREC, comprisedof 20 thematic sections, the action points aremostly directed at governments, but also to the UN, internationalfinancial institutions, the WTO and civil society.Towards the end of the two weeks of various civilsociety activities around Johannesburg, a number ofNGO declarations emerged, at least one of which disassociateditself from the outcome of the ong>Summitong>.Both the declaration and programme of action of theGlobal People’s Forum can be found on its website(www. worldsummit.org.za).Kofi Annan’s Address at the Global People’s ForumOn the afternoon of 2 September, as Heads of Statewere gathering at the Sandton Convention Centre, UNSecretary-General Kofi Annan was given a standingovation at the Plenary of the Global People’s Forumin NASREC as he addressed the thousands of civilsociety representatives present in the following terms:“...Like you, I am deeply troubled by the slow pace ofprogress over the past decade. Like you, I amalarmed at what may be in store for us 10, 20 or 30years from now, if we continue with business asusual. I am baffled when urgent issues are ignored,when common sense suggestions fall on deaf ears, orwhen available solutions are not pursued. And I amdisappointed when old and long unfulfilled promisesare trotted out as new proposals, or when it appearsthat those with power to do the maximum profess tobe able to do only the minimum.“The question is what to do in a world of entrenchedinterests, political inertia, and hard-to-break habits on thepart of governments and individuals. Dire predictions,apocalyptic talk and doom-and-gloom scenarios are notenough to inspire change. But it would be irresponsibleto downplay the problems we face, or to think that atechnological breakthrough will come to rescue us."Do not underestimate the role you have played inthese negotiations. Without the pressure you have putto bear, the conference outcome would have beenweaker than it is."Nitin Desai, WSSD Secretary-General, answering questionsfollowing Kofi Annan's address to the People'sGlobal Forum“Your challenge, or our challenge, is to calibrate thestrategies and actions required. Purism and pragmatismboth have their place, as do market solutions and mandatesset out by governments. There will be days whenbold action is called for, and times when more nuancedapproaches are more effective. Civil society, too, inchallenging business as usual, must also be ready tomake difficult adjustments in its own perspectives andpoints of view.“Sustainable development will not happen of its ownaccord—and certainly not without the efforts of civilsociety and the legions of volunteers who bring suchenergy to the cause. Whether working to advancewomen’s rights or to build more liberal and liveablesocieties, whether you find yourself in air-conditionedconference halls or hot zones of despoliation anddespair, your initiatives hold many of the keys to thefuture. Indeed, civil society occupies a unique spacewhere ideas are born, where mindsets are changed,and where the work of development and conservationdoesn’t just get talked about, but gets done.”NGLS Roundup 96, November 200219


Human Rights and Sustainable DevelopmentDuring the decade since the 1992 Earth ong>Summitong>, the valueof applying human rights approaches to meeting sustainabledevelopment objectives has become better understoodand tested in numerous national, regional and multilateralsettings (for a detailed review, see NGLS Roundup 90). As(now former) UN High Commissioner for Human Rights MaryRobinson stated in her address to the WSSD Plenary, “firstand foremost a human rights approach adds value becauseit provides a normative framework of obligations that hasthe legal power to render governments accountable.” Theintegration of a human rights approach into the WSSD outcomedocuments proved one of the most contentious partsof the negotiations. The final text adopted in paragraph 169under the section on the participation of major groups saysthat States should “acknowledge the consideration beinggiven to the possible relationship between environment andhuman rights, including the right to development….”It is likely that NGOs working on this nexus of issues willcontinue pressing for such integration at the national,regional and global levels. This would include workingthrough the UN human rights charter- and treaty-based bodies,as well as other organizations such as the UnitedNations Environment Programme (UNEP)—which, with theOffice of the High Commissioner, held an expert meetingon human rights and the environment in January 2002 inpreparation for the WSSD (see NGLS Roundup 88). Theexpert meeting had been mandated by the UN Commission onHuman Rights (UNCHR). It is worth noting in this regard thatthe UNCHR subsequently decided in Resolution 2002/75 thatit would continue consideration of the question: “Humanrights and the environment as part of sustainable development”at its March-April 2003 session in Geneva, taking intoaccount the relevant outcomes of the WSSD.The responsibility for tracking partnerships—the morethan 220 voluntary initiatives by governments, NGOs,intergovernmental organizations and business—thatwere launched prior to and during the ong>Summitong> will alsofall under the CSD. While the Commission has to “nurture”the partnerships, JoAnne DiSano, Director of theDivision for Sustainable Development at the UN in NewYork, has said it cannot hold the initiatives accountablethrough the same formal processes used to monitorgovernment action. There will still be a measure ofaccountability, however, although the partnerships arevoluntary. One option, Ms. DiSano suggested, would beto have the partnerships report to the CSD periodically.If they wanted to showcase themselves, she said, theywould then have to demonstrate tangible results.CONTACTSZehra Aydin-Sipos, Major Groups Focal Point, Division forSustainable Development, United Nations, Room DC2-2262, New York NY 10017, USA, telephone +1-212/9638811, fax +1-212/963 1267, e-mail ,website (www.johannesburgsummit.org).South African National NGO Coalition (SANGOCO), PO Box31471, Braamfontein Gauteng Province 2017, SouthAfrica,telephone +27-011/403 7746, fax +27-011/4038703, e-mail , website (www.sangoco.org.za/index_ie.html).Global People’s Forum, PO Box 31121, Braamfontein2017, South Africa, telephone +27-011/403 4119, fax+27-011/403 0790, e-mail ,website (www.worldsummit.org.za).Selected NGO websites :IMPLEMENTATION AND FOLLOW-UPUN officials are currently preparing the groundworkfor a system-wide approach to implementing the targets,timetables and commitments that were agreedupon in Johannesburg.The Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD),which was established to oversee implementationefforts after the 1992 Earth ong>Summitong> in Rio, is expectedto see the biggest changes. As agreed inJohannesburg, the CSD will continue to meet everyyear, but hold negotiations on substantive mattersevery other year. Although no new substantive negotiationsare envisioned in the near future, the GA, inits deliberations this November, is expected to takeseveral procedural decisions that will help maintainthe momentum of Johannesburg, such as setting adate for an organizational session of the Commission.n ANPED, Northern Alliance for Sustainability(www.anped.org)n Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations(www.ngocongo.org)n Consumers International(www.consumersinternational.org)n Friends of the Earth International (www.foei.org)n Greenpeace (www.greenpeace.org)n Integrative Strategies Forum (www.isforum.org)n International Forum on Globalization (www.ifg.org)n Stakeholder Forum for Our Common Future(www.stakeholderforum.org)n Sustainable Development Issues Network(www.sdissues.net)n Third ong>Worldong> Network (www.twnside.org.sg)n The ong>Worldong> Conservation Union(www.iucn.org/wssd/iucn_site.htm)n ong>Worldong> Resources Institute (www.wri.org)This edition of NGLS Roundup was prepared by the United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service (NGLS). The NGLS Roundup isproduced for NGOs and others interested in the institutions, policies and activities of the UN system and is not an official record. Formore information or additional copies write to: NGLS, Palais des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland, fax +41-22/917 0432, e-mail or NGLS, Room DC1-1106, United Nations, New York NY 10017, USA, fax +1-212/963 8712, e-mail. The text of this NGLS Roundup and other NGLS publications are also available online (website:www.unsystem.org/ngls).Printed on recycled paper20NGLS Roundup 96, November 2002

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