WORLD SUMMIT DECLARES "FAULT LINE" BETWEEN RICH AND
Plan Contains Global Targets on Poverty, Clean Water, Sanitation;
(Received from a UN Information Officer.)
JOHANNESBURG, 4 September -- The World Summit on Sustainable Development concluded in Johannesburg this evening, with world leaders declaring that the "deep fault line" between rich and poor posed a major threat to global prosperity and stability, and then adopted a broad plan to address it, containing specific global targets in poverty reduction, clean water and sanitation, and infant mortality.
Adopting the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development, heads of State and government, reaffirming their commitment to Agenda 21, the plan adopted in Rio de Janeiro 10 years ago, stated that globalization -- the rapid integration of markets, mobility of capital and increased investment flows -- had created new opportunities, but the benefits and costs were unevenly distributed.
Further, they stated, the global environment continues to suffer from the loss of biodiversity, depletion of fish stocks, advancing desertification, worsening climate change, more frequent and devastating natural disasters and increasingly vulnerable developing countries.
They added: "We risk the entrenchment of these global disparities and unless we act in a manner that fundamentally changes their lives, the poor of the world may lose confidence in their representatives and the democratic systems to which we remain committed, seeing their representatives as nothing more than sounding brass or tinkling cymbals."
The wide-ranging Implementation Plan calls for by 2015:
Other provisions address a comprehensive range of environmental and development issues, such as climate change, energy, agriculture, trade, African development, and small island States. The Implementation Plan calls for a substantial increase in use of renewable sources of energy "with a sense of urgency", although it sets no specific targets; implementation of a new global system for classification and labelling of chemicals; and restoration of depleted fish stocks. Further, it urges States that have not yet done so to ratify "in a timely manner" the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
In his closing statement, the President of the Summit, President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, said that, in response to all the voices heard at the Summit, the children who had expressed their disappointment and frustration with world leaders and the workers who were looking for leadership, world leaders must say, "We will act." He recalled his words at the opening of the Summit, when he had welcomed delegates to "the cradle of humanity", from which they had all come. He urged them to now return to the world -- and return with the conviction "to undo the damage we have caused".
Also making closing remarks, Nitin Desai, the Summit's Secretary-General, said that he hoped the Secretary-General of "Johannesburg plus 15" would say that the ratifications of the Kyoto Protocol promised during the Summit had led to a new dynamic, that countries had lived up to their goals and fish stocks were no longer depleted, that the loss of biodiversity had been completely stopped and that a system was in place so that no dangerous chemicals were used anywhere in the world. All of that was possible, if the decisions already made were taken seriously. That was why the Summit had been called the "Summit for Action".
Also at today's closing session, final statements on sustainable development were made by each of the major groups (women, youth, indigenous people, non-governmental organizations, local authorities, trade unions, business and industry, scientific communities and farmers). Following consensus adoption of the Implementation Plan, a number of delegates offered comments on the text.
Leading up to today's Declaration and Plan of Implementation, the Summit's high-level segment, held from 2 to 4 September, heard more than 100 world leaders address a wide range of issues, among them the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities; the need to address the inequities of globalization; combating HIV/AIDS; changing unsustainable patterns of consumption and production; the importance of regional cooperation in achieving the goals of sustainable development; and the correlation between poverty and environmental degradation.
The removal of agricultural subsidies, the transfer of environmentally sound technologies and the need for open markets for developing-world products featured prominently in most statements, which emphasized that subsidies to agricultural producers in the developed countries were detrimental to many developing-country markets.
Another issue underlined by several delegations was the need to set time-bound targets for the use of renewable energy. Energy must be provided to the 2 billion people that lacked access, speakers said, without increasing pollution and changing the climate. A global target of 15 per cent renewable energy by 2010, with industrial countries taking the lead, was suggested. Sustainable development could not be achieved if sources of energy were not renewable or efficient.
A number of speakers addressed global climate change, with representatives of small island developing States, in particular, stressing the dire impact of sea-level rise on their very survival. Small island nations, noted one speaker, should not disappear due to the greed of the industrialized world. For many of them, said another speaker, time -- the most precious non-renewable resource -- was running out.
Five young people also addressed the Summit during the opening of the high-level segment. Three of them, representing the International Children's Conference on the Environment sponsored by the United Nations Environment Programme, presented a list of challenges to the leaders of the world. Inspired, written and voted on by some 400 children from 80 countries, those challenges represented their hopes and fears for the future of the planet.
The high-level segment also included four round-table events where heads of State and government held interactive discussions with heads of United Nations specialized agencies as well as representatives of intergovernmental agencies, non-governmental organizations and major groups.
The first week of the Summit, from 26 August to 1 September, focused on plenary sessions in which government delegations; major groups; specialized agencies, funds and programmes of the United Nations system; intergovernmental organizations; non-governmental organizations and representatives of business discussed partnerships in the five priority areas outlined by Secretary-General Kofi Annan prior to the Summit -- water, energy, health, agricultural productivity and biodiversity.
Highlights of that week included the announcements, beginning on Thursday, 29 August, of numerous partnerships launched to undertake initiatives aimed at achieving various goals within the priority areas, with the clearest achievements being made in the area of water and sanitation.
The United States announced that it would invest $970 million over the next three years on water and sanitation projects, while the European Union's "Water for Life" initiative sought to engage partners to meet water and sanitation goals, primarily in Africa and Central Asia. The Asia Development Bank announced a $5 million grant to the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (UN-Habitat) and $500 million in fast-track credit for the Water for Asian Cities Programme.
In the area of energy, the world's nine major energy companies signed a range of agreements with the United Nations to facilitate technical cooperation for sustainable energy projects in developing countries. The European Union announced a $700 million initiative and the United States said it would invest up to $43 million in 2003. The South African energy utility Eskom announced a partnership to extend modern energy services to neighbouring countries.
Health partnerships included a commitment by the United States to spend $2.3 billion through 2003 on health programmes, some of which had been earmarked earlier for the Global Fund against HIV/AIDS. In other partnership initiatives, the United States pledged $90 million for sustainable agriculture programmes in 2003 and made a further commitment to spend $53 million on forests in 2002-2005.
Also during the high-level segment, Canada and the Russian Federation announced their intention to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, which raises the prospect that the Protocol could come into force without the participation of the United States, which has long opposed it. The Protocol would set the first binding restrictions on emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping greenhouse gases by the industrialized nations.
The Johannesburg Summit, billed as the biggest-ever United Nations conference, brought together 104 heads of State and government. A total of 191 countries participated in the Summit, besides the European Commission and Palestine. The United Nations issued 21,340 accreditation passes, including more than 9,000 to delegations, over 8,000 to major groups and more than 4,000 to media.
Committing themselves to build a humane, equitable and caring global society cognizant of the need for human dignity for all, the heads of State and government assumed a collective responsibility to advance and strengthen the interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars of sustainable development -- economic development, social development and environmental protection -- at the local, national, regional and global levels.
Recognizing that humankind was at a crossroads, the world leaders had united in a common resolve to produce a practical and visible plan that should bring about poverty eradication and human development, the Declaration said.
The heads of State and government recognized that poverty eradication, changing consumption and production patterns, protecting and managing the natural resource base for economic and social development were overarching objectives of, and essential requirements for, sustainable development.
They welcomed the Johannesburg Summit's focus on the indivisibility of human dignity and resolved through decisions on targets, timetables and partnerships to speedily increase access to clean water, sanitation, adequate shelter, energy, health care, food security and the protection of biodiversity. At the same time, they would work together to assist one another in gaining access to financial resources, benefit from the opening of markets, ensure capacity-building, use modern technology for development, and ensure technology transfer, human resource development, as well as education and training to banish underdevelopment forever.
According to the Declaration, the world leaders would continue to pay special attention to the development needs of small island developing States and the least developed countries. They recognized that sustainable development required a long-term perspective and broad-based participation in policy formulation, decision-making and implementation at all levels. They would continue to work for stable partnerships with all major groups respecting the independent, important roles of each.
The leaders agreed that in pursuit of their legitimate activities, the private sector had a duty to contribute to the evolution of equitable and sustainable communities and societies. They also agreed that there was a need for that sector to enforce corporate accountability within a transparent and stable regulatory environment.
Describing the 1992 Rio Summit as a significant milestone that had set a new agenda for sustainable development, they reaffirmed their commitment to Agenda 21 and the Rio Declaration. Between Rio and Johannesburg, the Monterrey Conference on Financing for Development and the Doha Ministerial Conference had defined a comprehensive vision for the future of humanity.
The world leaders said the Johannesburg Summit had brought together a rich tapestry of peoples and views in a constructive search for a common path towards a world that respected and implemented the vision of sustainable development.
The 65-page Implementation Plan commits participants at the World Summit to concrete actions and measures at all levels on a wide range of environmental and development issues, such as clean water, energy, agriculture, trade, health and biodiversity.
The plan seeks to "further build on the achievements made since the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) and expedite the realization of the remaining goals". Reaffirming international commitment to the Rio principles, Agenda 21 and the goals adopted at the Millennium Summit in September 2000, the world leaders recognize that the implementation of the outcomes of the Summit should benefit all, particularly women, youth, children and vulnerable groups.
"Poverty eradication, changing unsustainable production and consumption patterns and protecting and managing the natural resources are overarching objectives of and essential requirements for sustainable development", the document states. Promoting integration of economic, social and environmental components of sustainable development, the plan lists sound national policies, democratic institutions, good governance and international cooperation, particularly in the areas of finance, technology transfer, debt and trade among the factors that are critical in that respect.
Recommitting themselves to the Millennium Goal of halving, by 2015, the proportion of the world's population who live on less than $1 a day and suffer from hunger, the world leaders also call for the establishment of a world solidarity fund to eradicate poverty and promote social and human development in the developing countries.
Also within the context of poverty-eradication efforts, the plan commits to the goals of reducing by half, by 2015, the number of people living without safe drinking water or basic sanitation and improving access to reliable, affordable, economically viable, socially acceptable and environmentally sound energy services and resources for the poor.
By 2005, the document proposes to develop integrated water resources management and water efficiency plans, which should address such issues as river, watershed and groundwater management; increased recycling of water; desalination of seawater; water harvesting; and joint research.
Among other actions to achieve the goal of poverty eradication, the agreed text lists development of national programmes for sustainable development; the need to build basic rural infrastructure; increase food availability, credit and employment; provide basic health services; and improve access by indigenous people to economic activities, and by 2020, achieve a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers, as proposed in the "cities without slums" initiative.
Recognizing the need for "fundamental changes" in the unsustainable patterns of consumption and production throughout the world, the plan encourages the development of a 10-year framework on programmes in support of regional and national initiatives to address that problem by "delinking, where appropriate, economic growth and environmental degradation" through improved efficiency and sustainability.
The proposed measures include adoption of policies aimed at "increasing eco-efficiency" and promoting sustainable patterns of production and consumption, applying, among others, the "polluter-pays" principle; science-based approaches; awareness-raising programmes; development of effective and transparent consumer-information tools; and support for cleaner production methods. The text also encourages voluntary environmental initiatives on behalf of industries and urges international financial institutions to incorporate sustainable development considerations into their decision-making processes.
In the energy field, the document promotes efforts to develop and disseminate alternative energy technologies; reduce flaring and venting of gas associated with crude oil production; utilize indigenous energy sources; and promote rural community participation. It also calls upon governments, regional and international organizations and other relevant stakeholders to diversify the energy supply by developing cleaner, more efficient, affordable and cost-effective energy technologies and "with a sense of urgency, substantially increase the global share of renewable energy sources".
Other actions in this area include promotion of policies to reduce market distortions and development of regulatory frameworks to "create a level playing field between renewable energy, energy efficiency, advanced energy technologies and centralized, distributed and decentralized energy systems" in order to improve the competitiveness of clean energy sources. Also envisioned by the document is promotion of research and exchange of information and technology.
The plan also focuses on the need to: develop efficient public transportation systems and vehicle technologies, reduce congestion, limit urban sprawl, promote recycling, improve air quality, minimize waste, and use of environmentally-friendly alternative materials.
Among its health goals, the plan commits to a time-bound target of developing programmes to reduce by 2015 mortality rates for infants and children under five by two thirds, and maternal mortality by three quarters.
The participants of the Summit also renewed their commitment to sound management of chemicals and hazardous waste and agreed to further develop a strategic approach to international chemical management, encouraging countries to implement a new global system for the classification and labelling of chemicals as soon as possible, with a view to making it fully operational by 2008. The plan also advocates efforts to prevent illegal trafficking of hazardous chemicals and wastes, as well as damage resulting from transboundary movement and disposal of such materials.
Prominent in the implementation plan are ocean and coastal management and preservation issues. "Oceans, seas, islands and coastal areas form an integrated and essential component of the earth's ecosystem and are critical for global good security and well-being of many economies", the document states. In particular, it encourages the application, by 2010, of an ecosystem approach to sustainable development of oceans, which also requires effective coordination and cooperation on global and regional levels.
To achieve sustainable fisheries, the implementation plan proposes to maintain or restore depleted fish stocks to levels that can produce the maximum sustainable yield on an urgent basis, and where possible not later than 2015. Urging development and implementation of national and regional plans of action, the document envisions implementation of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) international plan of action on managing fishing capacity by 2005 and the international plan of action to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal and unregulated fishing by 2004.
Recalling the Millennium Declaration, in which heads of State and government resolved to make every effort to ensure the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and embark on the required reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases, the Summit plan of action strongly urges States that have not already done so to ratify the Protocol "in a timely manner".
On the subject of climate change, the document proposes, among others, to promote systematic observation of the earth's atmosphere; support the initiative to assess the consequences of climate change on the Arctic and the Antarctic; enhance cooperation to reduce air pollution; support the effective regime for the protection of the ozone layer; improve access by developing countries to affordable, accessible, cost-effective and safe alternatives to ozone-depleting substances by 2010; and address illegal traffic in such substances.
Promoting sustainable agriculture, the Implementation Plan encourages development of integrated land- and water-management plans; adoption of sustainable programmes to enhance productivity and combat land degradation; exchange of good practices; adoption of well-defined and enforceable land- and water-use laws; use of market-based incentives for agricultural enterprises and farmers; and redevelopment of contaminated land, as well as conservation and sustainable use of traditional and indigenous agricultural systems.
The plan sets a target of 2010 to halt the loss of biodiversity. Stating that "biodiversity is currently being lost at unprecedented rates due to human activities", the document urges a more efficient and coherent implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Requiring new and additional financial and technical resources to developing countries, that goal is to be achieved through national, regional and international efforts to effectively conserve and use biodiversity in a sustainable manner, support initiatives for "hot-spot" areas and introduction of ecological networks and corridors.
The document also invites action to control invasive alien species; recognize the role of local and indigenous communities as holders of traditional knowledge and practices; and negotiate an international regime to promote a fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.
On the issue of trade, the text urges members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to review all special and differential treatment provisions and "aim to reduce or ... eliminate tariffs on non-agricultural products", in particular on products of export interest to developing countries. Product coverage should be comprehensive and without a priori exclusions, the text states. The plan also offers support for the Doha Development Agenda Global Trust Fund, which was established after the Fourth WTO Ministerial Conference to ensure "a sound and predictable basis for WTO-related technical assistance and capacity-building".
The plan advocates trade-related technical assistance and capacity-building measures and urges WTO members to facilitate accession of all developing countries, particularly the least developed ones, as well as countries with economies in transition, that apply for membership in WTO. It also contains a call on developed countries to work towards the objective of duty-free and quota-free access for all least developed countries exports.
Elaborating on the means of implementation of the sustainable development agenda, the text emphasizes that it should involve all relevant actors through partnerships, especially between governments of the North and the South, as well as between governments and major groups, including the private sector, civil society and non-governmental organizations. Enhanced international cooperation should take into account the Rio Principles, including the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" - by which the developed countries acknowledged the pressures their societies placed on the environment and the financial resources they command.
Recognizing that implementation of internationally agreed development goals would require significant increases in the flow of financial resources, in particular to developing countries, as agreed at the International Conference on Financing for Development earlier this year, the text emphasizes the critical challenge of ensuring the necessary internal conditions for mobilizing public and private domestic savings, sustaining productive investment and increasing human capacity, which should be supported by the international community.
That challenge could be tackled through such means as greater flows of foreign direct investment, export credits, debt-relief measures and official development assistance (ODA). The text urges the developed countries that have not done so to make concrete efforts to achieve the target of devoting 0.7 per cent of their gross national product (GNP) to ODA to developing countries and implement their commitment on ODA to the least developed countries, as elaborated by the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for 2001 to 2010.
Regarding debt-relief arrangements, the plan states that they should seek to avoid imposing any unfair burdens on other developing countries and there should be an increase in the use of grants for the poorest, debt-vulnerable countries. Countries are encouraged to develop national strategies to monitor and manage external liabilities as a key element in reducing national vulnerabilities. Among innovate mechanisms to comprehensively address the debt problems of developing countries, including middle-income countries and countries in transition, are debt-for-sustainable-development swaps. Donor countries are encouraged to ensure that debt relief does not detract from ODA resources for developing countries.
Recognizing special development needs of Africa, heads of State and government also agreed on actions to eradicate poverty, enhance economic growth and promote peace and security on that continent. The framework to address the needs of African countries includes the decision to support the objective of ensuring access to energy for at least 35 per cent of the African population within 20 years, a goal shared with the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) initiative. Among other goals included in the plan are those of promoting equitable access to health care, and making available the drugs and technology needed to fight and control communicable diseases, including HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.
The plan also contains detailed chapters on the inter-relation between sustainable development and globalization; small island developing States; regional initiatives; and an institutional framework for sustainable development.
Comments by Major Groups
CATHERINE KAMPING, Secretary-General of the Youth for Sustainable Development Assembly, the Philippines, speaking on behalf of the youth, said at the Earth Summit the youth message had been so controversial that the microphone had been cut off. "Here in Johannesburg you have failed us", she continued. "Signatures do not feed people and words on paper do not stop deforestation." Where were the mechanisms? Where were the time frames and commitments? Youth demanded that: the national debts of developing countries must be immediately cancelled; international financial institutions end economic and political interventions; global markets be fundamentally changed to redress inequities; and "polluting giants" ratify the Kyoto Protocol.
VICKY TAULI CORPUZ, Co-Chair of the Indigenous People's Network, speaking for the major group of indigenous people, said the group's message to governments and the Summit was -- recognize the rights of the indigenous peoples. Sustainable development could not be achieved if their rights were not recognized. More than 300 representatives of indigenous people from 52 countries had looked into the successes and failures of Rio at their own conference in Kimberley in August. She submitted the Kimberley Declaration to the Summit, which spelled out the indigenous peoples' hopes and commitments for the future. The group could not accept that the United Nations entered into partnerships with corporations, many of whom had bad track records in the areas of indigenous rights, women's rights and the environment.
CHEE YOKE LING, Third World Network, speaking on behalf of non-governmental organizations, said the non-governmental organization community had come to the common conclusion that globalization had undermined the hopes of real sustainable development. The last week had seemed like a salvaging of the spirit of multilateralism. Much more could have been done, but instead small steps had been taken. The issue of debt sustainability was vital; its cancellation was the one and only option for economic development and sustainability. There was a nice paragraph in the Summit document on reform of the international financial architecture, but it was lacking in substance. There was also a paragraph on commodities, but where would it be taken up? Consumption and production were a major cause of unsustainability, but leadership in that area had not been shown by industrialized countries.
MARIO COSSIO, President of the Federation of Latin American Cities and Association of Municipalities, speaking on behalf of local authorities and municipal authorities, said local governments had always been concerned with many of the issues on the Summits' agenda, namely the basic necessities such as clean water, sanitation and preservation of natural resources. Indeed local communities were always where solutions and hopes for the success of sustainable development initiatives were built. With that in mind, global agencies and local authorities should work together to reaffirm the process of decentralization, so the goals of sustainable development could be achieved for all. Local authorities should not be isolated from solutions -- they must be allowed into the negotiating process and then provided with requisite support.
GUY RYDER, General Secretary of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, speaking on behalf of trade unions, said Johannesburg had provided the opportunity to redirect the path of today's unsustainable globalization, to steer it clear of "global apartheid" and towards social justice, which required fundamental change in development priorities. Trade unions understood that successful change came through partnership, participation and negotiation. They also understood that moves to sustainable production would have an impact on employment, which must be dealt with through a "just transition" processes. The Confederation insisted on the primary responsibility of State and inter-governmental action for sustainable development, in particular the central involvement of the International Labour Organization (ILO). Private-sector partnerships were no substitute for government inertia or inaction.
MARK MOODY STUART, Chairman, Business Action for Sustainable Development, speaking on behalf of business and industry, said it was now up to the major groups to join together with governments to help deliver the outcomes. Business had to play a real role in increasing the sustainability in consumption and production, but needed support from other major groups. The role for consumers, including youth, was also important. The success of the Summit demonstrated that partnerships could work to deliver global agreements. The key to progress was the enabling environment, and key to that was sound governance. By that, business meant systems in which all groups felt they had had input in the institutions and that the output was fair. He recognized the need for accountability and open reporting for business. Only through accountability could business build the necessary trust for cooperation.
HIROYUKI YSHIKAWA, President of the International Council for Science, speaking on behalf of the scientific community, said the vision for a sustainable future should be based on a knowledge society. But, it was clear that, as the Secretary-General had stressed, lack of equitable distribution of new technologies, as well as human and financial resources, was a major roadblock to ensuring genuine development. High-income countries had 12 times the number of scientists and engineers than low-income countries. Capacity-building was essential and the scientific community would continue to promote initiatives that focused on interaction between natural, social, economic and engineering sciences. They would also promote transfer of technology at all levels, as well as the training of local people.
JACK WILKINSON, President of the International Federation of Agricultural Producers, speaking on behalf of farmers, said the Summit Plan of Action did not give rural agriculture the central place it needed in any agenda for sustainable development. Agricultural production was also vital in reaching the Millennium Goals. Some 70 per cent of people in developing countries lived in rural areas, and increasing food availability had significantly reduced malnutrition in many regions. Future growth in the world's population meant that agricultural production would need to double to meet food requirements. One way of accomplishing that was to invest in development in a more sustainable way, while another was to apply more pressure on fragile ecosystems, which was completely against the Summit's goals.
JOCELYN DOW, Executive Director of Red Threat, speaking for the major group of women, said 10 years ago in Rio, the last paragraph negotiated related to women's rights and empowerment. The same had been the case at the Summit. That attempt at aggression was unworthy of the solemn task. Once again, women were daily forced to fight for the reaffirmation of words. Sustainable development could only be achieved within a rights-based framework. Although there had been some success, she regretted the extra time and energy expended to hold ground. The final outcome had failed to establish the institutions and resources to put the words into action. The successes were only a small measure of what needed to be done. However, she knew a better world was possible. "Never underestimate the power of women, together with men, to make it happen", she said.
NKOSAZANA CLARICE DLAMINI ZUMA, Minister for Foreign Affairs for South Africa and Vice-President (ex-officio) of the Summit, gave a brief overview of the series of partnership plenaries that had been held during the opening week of the Summit. Those interactive, dialogue-driven meetings focused on the five thematic areas identified by Secretary-General Kofi Annan as key to progress at the Summit -- water, energy, health, agricultural productivity and biodiversity.
She hoped that the innovative nature of the dialogues would be seen as a model for future multi-stakeholder events. She highlighted some of the themes that had emerged during the plenaries, including the need for sound polices and strategies, consultations with all members of communities in decision-making processes, the need for capacity-building and information-sharing. Based on the discussions, the Summit would invite the Secretary-General to initiate a process for integrating the "WEHAB" agenda into the work of the United Nations as part of follow-up to Johannesburg.
EMIL SALIM (Indonesia), Chairman of the Preparatory Committee and Chairman of the Main Committee of the Summit, speaking about the Plan of Implementation, said implementing the plan would require nations to substantially increase financial resources for sustainable development programmes. Trade and market access would need to be opened up, particularly for products of market interest to developing countries, and tariffs would need to be eliminated. Other requirements included technology transfer, capacity-building, education, the forming of partnerships, access to environmental information and public participation in decision-making.
Statements following Adoption of Implementation Plan
PHILIPPE ROCH, State Secretary for the Environment, Forests and Landscape of Switzerland, said he was satisfied because a result had been achieved by consensus, reaffirming the will to implement sustainable development, and confirming the determination to put sustainable development, social development and environmental protection into a synergy. He was particularly satisfied with outcomes in the area of health, as too many populations still suffered from lack of access to health services. He was also glad that no one had called into question the important evolution in the concept of the precautionary principle of Rio.
RENATO MARTINO, observer of the Holy See, said any discussion on development must centre on human dignity. The first principle of Rio had stated that human beings were at the centre of concern of sustainable development. He regretted that that first principle had not found its way into every section of the document. He had joined in the consensus without any reservation, but reaffirmed all reservation previously expressed at various United Nations conferences and summits as well as special sessions of the General Assembly.
HUGO CHAVEZ, President of Venezuela, speaking on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, said he wanted to remain faithful to the feeling of a numerous group of heads of State and governments, of non-governmental organizations and of groups fighting for justice and peace, against poverty, and for dignity throughout the world. The Group of 77 would have liked much more. Because of time restraints, no concrete targets had been established and the generalities that had been set out could be seen as retrograde. He would have preferred emphasis on human rights, such as the right to housing, health, drinking water, life. The Summit had not lived up to expectations. Also, the United Nations must change the format of the summits radically, as there was no debate. It seemed more like a dialogue of the deaf.
FRANCISCO SZEKELY, Under-Secretary for Environment, Planning and Policy for Mexico, on behalf of the mega-diverse countries, said his country had approved the Plan of Implementation, but would echo the sentiments of President Chavez, that much more had been expected. Mexico had been particularly disappointed that much more was not said about biodiversity. Mexico would express three reservations to the document, including that the subject of vulnerability to climate change had not been adequately reflected; no targets on a global plan for renewable energy were included; and issues related to women were not well-reflected. Mexico would nevertheless continue to work towards sustainable development.
O. MOHAMMED CHLEIFA (Tunisia) applauded the section of the Plan of Implementation that had established the world solidarity fund. He considered that an important breakthrough and an important tool with which to fight poverty. He called on the international community to participate in the setting up of the fund, as well as in finalizing its operational modalities during the fifty-seventh General Assembly, set to open next week in New York.
CARSTEN STAUR, State Secretary of Denmark, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the Union appreciated the language on renewable energy included in the Plan of Implementation as an important step forward. However, it would reiterate that urgent action was needed in the area. He said the European Union and the Group of Like-Minded States (Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Iceland, Lithuania, Malta, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), Switzerland and Turkey) were ready to go beyond what was called for in the plan.
He then read a joint declaration, "The Way Forward on Renewable Energy", on the groups' behalf, which while fully endorsing the outcome of the World Summit, expressed strong commitment to the promotion of renewable energy and an increase of the share of renewable energy sources in the global total primary energy supply. He said increasing the use of renewable energy was an essential element to achieve sustainable development. Renewable energy could provide an important new ways to reduce pollution and provide access to energy in support of the eradication of poverty.
The group committed itself to cooperate in further development and promotion of renewable energy technologies and to substantially increase the global share of renewable energy sources on the basis of clear and ambitious time-bound targets set at the national, regional and hopefully at the global level, he said. The group had adopted, or would adopt, such targets and encouraged others to do likewise.
Specifically on the Plan of Implementation, he said that it was the view of the European Union that references to human rights in paragraph 151 not be read without taking into account the ongoing work being done by the UNEP, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and other intergovernmental bodies. On another matter, he said that all stakeholders were important to the sustainable development process. With that in mind, women and their fundamental rights and freedoms must be promoted and safeguarded. If not, societies as a whole would suffer.
ALFREDO ESTRADA OYUELA (Argentina) said his delegation had expected more of the Summit, but knew that politics was the art of the possible. He considered the documents to represent a ratification of commitments to human rights and freedoms in an unrestricted way, and support principles of the international community. He agreed with the statement made by the representative of Denmark with respect to energy. His country's policy was a clear diversification of sources and renewable energy.
JULIAN HUNT, Minister of International Trade and Civil Aviation of Saint Lucia, speaking on behalf of small island developing States, said he had hoped that any statement made by the Group of 77 at this point would have included his country, but that had not happened. In support of the small island States, he thanked the conference for including them separately in a package in the plan of action. However, he questioned whether the current Summit would become another Rio. Would another 10 years pass and another set of promises not materialize? Further, the WTO was no friend of small island States. There was a rule for special and differential treatment for such States, but it had no effect. Trade was an area where small island States needed support, particularly concerning globalization, but he was not even sure what globalization was, because it had not reached Saint Lucia to benefit its people. Instead, it had adversely affected the banana industry and at least one State in the region was in serious trouble.
So far as renewable energy went, he said no timeline had been set at the Summit. Saint Lucia had a programme for renewable energy, which stipulated that at least 20 per cent of its energy supplies must come from renewables by 2010. However, the World Bank was putting pressure on all small island States to privatize their essential services. Multinationals needed a return on investment and had frustrated all efforts to use renewable energy.
EVERTON VIEIRA VARGAS (Brazil) said his country joined the consensus on the Plan of Action, which had occurred only after delicate and protracted negotiations. Progress had been made in such areas as sanitation, fisheries, governance and poverty eradication. He stressed that Brazil had joined the agreement on energy after realizing that it was the minimum common denominator possible. His country had come determined to reach a target of 10 per cent renewable energy by 2010, which had already been agreed upon by Latin American and Caribbean countries. Public and private sectors were geared to that goal. But, if one compared the agreed plan with Agenda 21, a step forward could be seen.
HARVEY BAMSEY (Australia) said his country had joined in the consensus on the understanding that it emphasized the importance of the role of women in development. Concerning paragraph 42(o), he read it as an invitation to the conference to consider the outcomes of the decision of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biodiversity in The Hague. It also observed, regarding paragraph 102(d), that technologies held by Australian universities were not publicly owned. The Plan of Implementation was without prejudice to the obligations of Australia, including those under the WTO.
HAKKI AKIL (Turkey) said the Plan of Implementation constituted an important milestone in the realization of a better future. Nevertheless, it did not affect the position of Turkey on the Convention on the Law of the Sea.
NERUNI SLADE (Samoa), speaking on behalf of 43 member States of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), appreciated the support of the international community evident in the agreement on the Plan of Implementation, in particular on chapter 7, which was dedicated to the small island developing States. However, the provisions of that chapter should have been stronger. He hoped that at the international meeting in 2004 to review the Barbados Plan of Action, he could demonstrate the tangible results of implementation in line with Johannesburg. He supported the European Union initiative on renewable energy.
Ms. LOURDES, Minister of the Environment of Ecuador, supported the statement of the Holy See. Regarding paragraph 38n, urging international cooperation regarding the cultivation of illicit narcotic plants, she said eradication of those crops must be carried out with environmentally friendly means to minimize the negative social and environmental effects at the local level. Application of the paragraph should be consistent with the Rio Declaration, in particular with principle 2. She added that her country did not face problems with illicit crops.
ALAN WAGNER (Peru) shared the concerns expressed by Venezuela and subscribed to the statement of the Holy See and the reservations expressed by Mexico. He reaffirmed the position that the international community must take further action in dealing with the consequences of climate change, including that of the problem of El Niño and the deterioration in the Andean mountains. He urged the international community to render the Kyoto Protocol into force as fast as possible. Noting that his country was participating in a Latin American regional target, whereby, by 2010, 10 per cent of energy would come from renewable sources, he regretted it had not been possible for the whole Summit to agree on that target.
BORHE BRENDE, Minister of Environment of Norway, said his country strongly supported the Plan of Implementation, and told all delegations that it was now time to get to work. In an interpretive statement on the document, he said that references to fossil fuel and renewable technology and energy in paragraph 19 (e) of the plan could be misinterpreted and should be read with an understanding that it did not include nuclear power. Norway welcomed and supported the broad programme on renewable energy outlined by the European Union.
BERENGERE QUINCY, Ambassador for the Environment of France, on behalf of the French-Speaking Group, said the delegation supported and reaffirmed the multilingual nature and method of work of the Organization that promoted the full participation of all delegations. But, France had just received the Implementation Plan only after it had been adopted and reserved the right to make some technical corrections to make it correspond with the English version that had served as a basis for the negotiations.
KEZIMBIRA MIYINGO, Minister of State and Environment for Uganda, speaking on behalf of the African Ministers of Environment spoke about paragraph 19 (e) of the plan regarding renewable energy. The African Group had endorsed hydropower as a renewable energy source during the negotiations. That had been largely due to efforts to block the development of hydropower by non-governmental organizations in developed countries. Africa supported all forms of renewable energy, including solar and wind, but believed that hydropower was equally essential. Climate change was also an important issue and he called on the nations that had not done so to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. He said that Uganda supported the European Union statement and would join it.
GIANNI LOPEZ, Executive Director of Chile's Environmental Commission, said his delegation supported language in the plan that expressed the "sense of urgency" towards efforts to promote renewable energy and supported the European Union's statement on the issue and expressed interest in joining the Declaration. On a matter of interpretation, he said it was Chile's understanding that paragraph 30 (e), which made reference to the transportation of trans-zonal and migratory species, related only to such transportation on the high seas.
MICHAEL ZAMIT CUTAJAR, Special Adviser to the delegation of Malta, speaking on behalf of Hungary and the Central Group, said the delegations joined in the consensus on the plan and the Political Declaration. Malta and the group were committed to implementing the plan and were ready to undertake a more ambitious commitment on renewable energy. He said that the draft political declaration described "global environmental threats", but its action paragraphs did not describe the response of the Summit to those threats. At the same time, Malta recognized that those actions were contained in the Implementation Plan.
IAN FRY, International Environmental Adviser for Tuvalu, said his delegation supported the setting of targets and time frames for new renewable energies. Tuvalu also supported the statement made by Norway on paragraph 19 (e). It also joined Saint Lucia's statement with respect to the WTO. Tuvalu was not a party to the two WTO agreements and he stressed that any reference to the WTO in the plan did not infer any obligations upon the Government of Tuvalu.
DEEPA GOPALAN WADHAWA (India) noted an error in Chapter 9, paragraph 91(c) of the Plan of Implementation, stating that reference to the International Labour Organization (ILO) should be deleted from a listing of United Nations Secretariat organizations. She stated that India had a comprehensive policy on energy, but its size and diversity meant the country must rely on various energy resources. In that respect, she disagreed with a statement made by the representative from Tuvalu.
MIGUEL ANGEL SIMAN (El Salvador) stressed that human beings and human dignity must be at the centre of sustainable development. In promoting sustainable development, his country was making an effort to ensure that all people, particularly the poorest, had greater access to health services. He defended the fundamental right to life from the moment of conception.
JOHN TURNER (United States) said the United States did not accept any interpretation of principle 7 of the Rio Declaration that would imply a recognition or acceptance by the United States of any international obligations or any diminution of the responsibilities of developing countries under international law. By its terms, common but differentiated responsibility was relevant to policies dealing with global environmental degradation in circumstance in which States had made different contributions to such degradations. The United States interpreted all references to that term in the Plan of Action within that context.
During the conference, the Chairman of the Main Committee stated it was the collective understanding of the Contact Group on Means of Implementation that paragraph 3 of chapter 5 of the plan regarding corporate responsibility and accountability referred to existing inter-government agreement and international initiative, and that that understanding should be reflected in a final report of the conference.
Regarding biological diversity, the United States reserved its position on paragraph 42(o), which anticipated negotiations within the framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity, bearing in mind the Bonn guidelines -- an international regime to protect and safeguard fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources. In the context of the final negotiation of that paragraph, the words "legally binding" before the word regime were deleted at the request of numerous delegations. In light of that negotiating history, the United States understood that the undertaking envisioned in that paragraph would not entail the development of legally binding instruments.
In the health sector, he said the United States understood that no language in the Plan of Implementation, including reference to health, reproductive and sexual health, basic health services, health care services or reference to rights or freedoms, could in any way be interpreted as including or promoting abortion or abortion patients.
Regarding ODA, the United States did not accept international aid targets based on a percentage of GNP.
The Secretary-General of the Summit, NITIN DESAI, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, thanked the President of South Africa and his ministers, as well as everybody involved in the Summit, particularly the 5,000 volunteers. He said the political leadership in the Summit had come from the people sharing the processes and the many people outside who had lobbied and harassed the delegates: the major groups. They had played an important role in the process, not only by lobbying, but also by developing an agenda for themselves. The Summit had seen a unique number of parallel forums.
Thanking the group of delegates, he said they had achieved the Plan of Implementation and presented the world with a "15-50" vision. The Millennium Development Goals and the Rio Agenda were the 2015 part of the vision. They had also looked beyond 2015 to 2050. Half the people living today would be alive in 2050.
The achievements of Johannesburg should be seen in the context of achievements in Monterrey and Doha. Speculating on what the Secretary-General of Johannesburg "plus 15" would say, he wished that person would conclude that the political leadership attending Johannesburg had recognized the urgency of tackling poverty and degradation of the environment and had taken action. That the commitments had engendered achievement of the development goals. That the Doha Round was completed. That it had allowed for attaining the goal of halving extreme poverty by 2015 before that year.
Mr. Desai hoped the Secretary-General of Johannesburg "plus 15" would say that the ratifications of the Kyoto Protocol promised during Johannesburg had led to a new dynamic. That the countries had lived up to their goals and that by 2015 there was longer depletion of fishing stocks, that by 2010 the loss of biodiversity had been stopped completely and that a system was in place where no dangerous chemicals were used anywhere in the world.
The Secretary-General would not stop there, Mr. Desai said, and would note that the world was only halfway to its targets. That the world of 2050 should have truly eliminated the great differences between rich and poor, allowed everybody to live in dignity, and that the human impact on natural systems would be in balance. All of that was possible. It followed from decisions already taken. What was required was that those decisions were taken seriously and that one started working in governments, businesses and organizations. That was why this Summit was called the "Summit for Action". Work did not end here, but it started here.
In closing remarks, President MBEKI said the participants at the Summit had some simple and direct messages to take home with them. When youth representatives had spoken again this afternoon, they had expressed their frustration at the political posturing. Representatives of the workers had said they would leave Johannesburg looking for leadership. So it should be clear to all that delegations must leave Johannesburg with the commitment to respond to those and many other voices. In response to all those voices heard throughout the Summit, world leaders must say: "We will act."
He recalled his words at the opening of the Summit, welcoming participants to the "cradle of humanity, from which they had gone to populate the world". He would now urge them to go back to the world -- go back with the conviction to "undo the damage we have caused". He would urge them to go out and build the kind of world that was visualized in the documents that had been adopted today. He urged them to act on what had been decided and to succeed in saving the planet and ensuring a better and prosperous life for all the people of the earth.
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