Press Releases

    4 September 2002


    Says Agreed Language in Summit Text on Trade Disappointing;
    African Leaders Call for Efforts on Food Security, Water Needs, HIV/AIDS

    (Received from a UN Information Officer.)

    JOHANNESBURG, 2 September -- As the World Summit for Sustainable Development convened this afternoon to continue its high-level segment, the Prime Minister of Belgium told delegates it had become clear that everyone knew what solutions had to be implemented and it should thus be easy to harmonize a world that had been split in two for too long, but the common political will to apply the solutions and show true solidarity was still missing.

    Guy Verhofstadt added that he was disappointed, for example, with the agreement concluded this morning in trade and finance, which was well below the legitimate expectations of developing countries. He, therefore, proposed a political declaration that was much stronger than the plan of action. Globalization of the economy also called for globalization of solidarity, he said.

    The international community has gathered in Johannesburg, South Africa, to pursue new initiatives and build a commitment at the highest level to better implement Agenda 21, the road map for achieving sustainable development adopted at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development -- the Earth Summit -- held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It opened its high-level segment this morning, and this afternoon heard from 21 heads of State or government, and 25 ministers and others.

    Several African leaders drew attention to the plight of their continent this afternoon. Nigeria's President, Olusegun Obasanjo, said the first step towards the eradication of poverty was food security, and factors that threatened agriculture, such as drought and desertification, should be addressed. He asked, therefore, for support for implementation of the Convention on Desertification and called on the international community to work with Africa to address its dire need for water. Less talk was needed and more action to regain the respect of the children of the world. "Let success in Johannesburg be judged by the action taken to change commitments into reality", he said.

    King Mswati III of Swaziland said the message of hope at this Summit would be meaningless if there was insufficient commitment to contain the spread of the virus that caused AIDS, and to help those countries unable to cope. He called for a truly global effort -- a global coalition against HIV/AIDS -- that mobilized resources in the priority areas of drugs, finances, infrastructure, equipment and training, and for equal distribution of available resources. The global family must acknowledge that it was not an isolated problem for a few of its members; it was a crisis for the whole of humankind.

    Robert G. Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe, said he joined those in the world who had rejected attempts by some countries and regional blocs whose real objective was interference in the domestic affairs of others. The poor should be able to use their sovereignty to fight poverty without interference. There could be no sustainable development without agrarian reform. In his country, that issue had pitted the black majority against an obdurate and internationally well-connected white minority, manipulated by the Blair Government. "Blair, keep your England and let me keep my Zimbabwe", he said.

    A number of other speakers addressed global climate change. Tuvalu's Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Immigration and Labour, Saufatu Sopoanga, noting that the rise of the sea level had increased in magnitude and momentum, stressed the reverse impact of climate change on his country. Climate change affected small island developing States and everyone else. He insisted, therefore, that all parties, particularly the greatest emitters of greenhouse gasses, ratify the Kyoto Protocol as a matter of urgency.

    Other heads of State and government speaking this afternoon were: the President of Bulgaria, Georgi Parvanov; Prime Minister of New Zeland, Helen Clark; President of Senegal, Abdoulaye Wade; President of Croatia, Stjepan Mesic; President of the Republic of the Congo, Denis Sassou-Nguesso; Prime Minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi; President of Finland, Tarja Halonen; Prime Minister of Japan, Junichiro Koizumi; Prime Minister of Iceland, David Oddsson; President of Yugoslavia, Vojislav Kostunica; President of Costa Rica, Abel Pacheco de la Espriella; President of Gabon, El Hadj Omar Bongo; President of The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Boris Trajkovski; Prime Minister of Togo, Koffi Sama; President of Malawi, Bakili Muluzi; and President of Romania, Ion Iliescu.

    Other speakers included: Vice-President of Iran, Massoumeh Ebtekar; Vice-President of Honduras, Alberto Diaz Lobo; Vice-President of Ghana, Alhaji Aliu Mahama; Crown Prince Albert of Monaco; Deputy Prime Minister of Malysia, Datuk Abdullah Ahmad Badawi; Deputy Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Rialuth Serge Vohor; Vice Prime Minister of Iraq, Tariq Aziz; Deputy Prime Minister of Lao People's Democratic Republic, Somsavat Lengsavad; Minister for Environment, Agriculture and Forestry of Liechtenstein, Alois Ospelt; Minister of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, Joseph Deiss; Minister of State for Municipal and Environmental Affairs of Bahrain, Jawad Salem Al-Orayyed; Minister of the Environment of Greece, Vasso Papandreou; Minister of Health of Kuwait, Mohammed Al-Jarallah; Minister of Environment of Sudan, El-Tigni Adam El-Tahir; Minister of Planning of Jordan, Bassam Awadallah; Head of the Amiri Diwan of Qatar, Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud Al-Thani; Minister for Foreign Affairs of Republic of Korea, Choi Sung-hong; Minister of State of Burkina Faso, Saif Diallo; Minister for Foreign Affairs of Peru, Allan Wagner; Minister for Social Housing of Uruguay, Carlos Cat; Minister of the Environment of Lebanon, Michel Moussa; Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bahamas, Frederick Mitchell; Minister for Foreign Affairs of Papua New Guinea, Rabbie Namaliu; Minister of the Environment of Slovenia, Janez Kopac; and the Observer from the Holy See, Renato Martino.

    The Summit will reconvene at 9 a.m. Tuesday, 3 September, to continue its high-level debate.


    GEORGI PARVANOV, President of Bulgaria, said that any transition was difficult. The transformation in Bulgaria had gone through difficult and complicated stages. The old model of having the State everywhere and in everything and the suppression of private ownership had been replaced in the early years of Bulgaria's transition. That model was now giving way to a model of sustainable development.

    The good practices of the European Union in environmental protection, employment and social protection provided the framework for the practical implementation of that model in Bulgaria, he said. The Government had also been able to involve all institutions, key social groups, trade unions and representatives of business and non-governmental organizations in its efforts. Bulgaria's experience had showed that the efforts of those groups for sustainable development could be more efficient if they referred to common strategies, if they coordinated their activities through effective partnerships, and were assisted by developed countries and donors.

    To achieve tangible results in sustainable development, he said, the world needed: a clear vision, as laid out in Agenda 21; political will, as reflected in the political declaration to be adopted; and a plan of concrete action, as laid out in the draft implementation plan. Most of all, practical steps must be taken in concert by all countries, both rich and poor, big and small. Bulgaria stood ready to make its contribution towards that end.

    HELEN CLARK, Prime Minister of New Zealand, said the problems of today's world cried out for urgent action on a global scale. No one nation could resolve them, but all nations, all communities, must be part of their resolution. New Zealanders believed that the problems could be solved, but doing so would require a far greater international commitment. Like all nations, her country aspired to grow its economy, in a way that was both environmentally sustainable and socially beneficial. There could be no long-term benefit from growth based on low environmental standards, which degraded New Zealand's natural heritage or failed to improve the quality of life for New Zealanders.

    She said she was drawing together the Government's many existing economic, environmental and social strategies to form an overarching sustainable development strategy. It took its international commitments seriously and sought to ratify all United Nations conventions, which contributed to sustainability. Her Government would ratify the Kyoto Protocol. Over the past year, it had refocused its development assistance programme, thereby making poverty eradication its key objective. That meant a renewed focus on access to adequate health care, food, water, shelter and basic education. It also meant promoting access to work and to supporting sustainable resource use, agriculture and trade.

    New Zealand was a small, developed nation in a region with many needs, she said. The development of the small South Pacific nations was a priority of her national assistance budget. Small islands were especially vulnerable to sea-level rise, degradation of the marine environment, and the overexploitation of fisheries and the scarcity of fresh water -- all core issues of the Summit. It was within the power of the international community to set and meet achievable targets to reduce poverty, provide access to clean water and sanitation and renewable energy, conserve the fisheries and forests, maintain biodiversity and phase out the export subsidies on agriculture. A push for trade and development that ignored the planet's ecological limits would ultimately fail, as would such a push that failed to meet basic human needs.

    ABDOULAYE WADE, President of Senegal, said the Summit should make it possible to escape from the spiral of climatic change, erosion of biodiversity, and the spread of drought and dessert creep. Agenda 21 had so far not succeeded because of lack of political will. On 11 July, African leaders adopted a document on the environment and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), which was the strategic guiding framework for action to ensure that the continent moved on from a party being assisted, to being a partner in globalization.

    He proposed the establishment of a regional programme to combat erosion in Africa. For that purpose, he suggested setting up of an authority to combat desertification, as there were tracts of desert that would never be developed. Consolidating those into a single space, guided by scientists from all countries, might be a good idea. Countries with forests were obliged to sell timber to live. Perhaps humankind could buy back those forests, for its own good. As coordinator of the environmental division of NEPAD, he had been entrusted with the responsibility of executing a large programme on the coastal and marine environment.

    STJEPAN MESIC, President of Croatia, said humankind faced three major perils: global terrorism, which threatened the foundation of civilization; fast and often uncontrolled industrial and technical development, posing a threat to the human species; and the total absence of adequate development, particularly in Africa. It would be relatively simple to detect the reasons for failing to implement what had been agreed upon, but that would not be enough. The number of opportunities for make-up exams would decline. The situation must be dealt with now. A comprehensive common plan and programme, not only of development, but of survival, must be conceived and implemented.

    Global terrorism and the negative impact of development were interconnected and must be dealt with together, he said. Extreme underdevelopment did not only breed backwardness in all spheres with respect to developing countries, it also bred dependence. Underdevelopment, economic and political dependence, inequality and the impossibility of realizing one's legitimate national rights, as well as an environment destroyed by the developed world, were the setting in which global terrorism flourished. A thorough redistribution of existing resources had to be agreed upon; not the creation of new wealth, but the redistribution and reallocation of existing wealth.

    He said agreement had to be reached on mechanisms geared exclusively to sustainable development that were not the result of a trade-off between the desire to avoid jeopardizing the profits of transnational companies and the need to demonstrate a degree of sympathy for the underdeveloped. A good example would be the foundation of an international fund for sustainable energy. The role of the developed countries in that process was pivotal. What might be seen, at first, as a sacrifice on their part, was rather a long-term investment in the future of the world.

    DENIS SASSOU-NGUESSO, President of the Congo, said that 10 years ago at the Earth Summit, the international community had committed itself to sustainable development, a development process in which economic growth was intertwined with social development and environmental protection. To support that approach, world leaders had adopted the principles and commitments contained in Agenda 21, in which they undertook a worldwide programme of action to bring about universal development.

    Unfortunately, 10 years down the road, despite some achievements, the general consensus was that the international community was far from having fully implemented those commitments, he said. If countries wished, sustainable development could be achieved within a reasonable period of time and become a reality that benefited everyone. It was necessary to place the human being at the heart of global concerns. The world could not speak of sustainable development if serious epidemics, such as malaria and AIDS, were not curbed, or if food security, water and energy were not addressed. There could be no sustainable development if the planet was not protected. He asked States that had not yet ratified or acceded to the Kyoto Protocol to do so without delay.

    The world was in danger, he said. All States must enter the fray in order to save the earth. Every country was duty bound to recognize its responsibilities and act on them. His country knew what was expected from it. Congo would contribute to preserving the Great Congo Basin, one of the largest reserves of biodiversity in the world. The Congo had also included as one of its priorities the sustainable development of forest ecosystems. Given its limited capacities, the Congo could not achieve its goals alone. Everyone must work together to ensure the success of the Summit.

    SILVIO BERLUSCONI, Prime Minister of Italy, said he was here, along with over 100 other heads of State and government, to help find tangible responses to the challenges of sustainable development, poverty and the environment. Italy was convinced that it was important to ensure transparent governmental mechanisms. It was in that regard, that at the recent Group of 8 Summit, Italy had submitted two proposals based on a universal model of organization and management. The programme focused on public services, state accounting and taxation, as well as judicial education and health systems. While automating and enhancing those services, the model would leave intact cultural or traditional social structures in any country that would implement them.

    He said the adoption of such a model -- based on transparent, uniform methodology -- was likely to promote good governance, enhance democracy and ensure the rule of law and the promotion of fundamental human rights. It would also provide more investment in public administration. Overall, that model would encourage rich countries to give more. It would also help determine if assistance reached the people who needed it, or if it was being diverted into the pockets of the few. He envisioned that the model could be implemented in three stages: small-scale implementation of experimentation; universal and mandatory implementation for those countries wishing assistance; and third-stage follow-up initiatives, which might include regional cooperation in order to devise and carry-out specific projects.

    He said that Italy was experimenting with the model in five countries in the Mediterranean and several countries on the African continent. It had also received several inquiries about the initiative from other regions. He went on to highlight another original initiative, which involved civil society and business sector cooperation, to enhance joint participation in providing official development assistance (ODA). That new tax or "de-taxation" plan, was to allow consumers to divert 1 or 2 per cent of what they spent to specific international development projects, for instance the building of a hospital in a particular African city. He added that, in the meantime, governments must not ignore their prescribed ODA commitments. For its part, Italy would work towards that end.

    TARJA HALONEN, President of Finland, said the Summit was a historical one. On the road from Rio to Johannesburg, goals had been adopted for social and economic development which now needed implementation. At the Millennium Summit it had been agreed to free humankind from misery and extreme poverty. Achieving those goals required more development cooperation and liberalization of trade. But, markets were not enough. Strengthening of democracy, human rights and the rule of law everywhere was needed. That would mean that the poorest would gain access to energy, housing, drinking water, food security and health, among other things. That was a real challenge for industrial and developing countries.

    She said the majority of the poor were women. Women often did the daily chores of agriculture and made daily decisions on purchases. Women and girls must, therefore, have equal access to education, decision-making and inheritance rights. The benefits of globalization needed to be more equally divided. Global concerns called for global ethics. It also required better cooperation between government, international organizations, business and civil society. Decoupling environmental concerns from the impact of economic growth was possible if human resources and technological improvements were applied. Finland had experience in that field and was ready to share it.

    Changing consumption and production patterns was important for protecting natural resources. The largest international community in the history of the United Nations was gathered here. She stressed the need for a strong and well-functioning United Nations and effective cooperation with international institutions. In that way, a foundation would be created for sustainable development that could save both humankind and the earth.

    JUNICHIRO KOIZUMI, Prime Minister of Japan, said that his country, poor in natural resources, had grown to be what it was today on the strength of its human resources. It had attached paramount importance to education as the basis of development. His Government, together with Japanese non-governmental organizations, had proposed that the United Nations declare a "Decade of Education for Sustainable Development". It would provide no less than 250 billion yen in education assistance over a five-year period.

    Respecting the ownership of, and extending support to, developing countries as equal partners was the assistance philosophy of Japan, he said. The key to self-reliance was earning for oneself. Promotion of trade was crucial for developing countries. Japan would step up its assistance for trade-related capacity-building. At the same time, it would examine the expansion of coverage under duty-free and quota-free treatment for the products of least developed countries by revising tariff-related laws for the next fiscal year. Investment was another major driving force for economic development. Japan was taking the lead in World Trade Organization (WTO) investment-rule making and supporting international investment promotion centres.

    Japan eagerly awaited the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol in order to ensure that future generations would be able to inherit a beautiful earth, he said. In the process of achieving economic growth, his country had experienced a period of serious pollution, which caused ill health, and even the loss of lives. Those problems were shown on video at the "Japan Pavilion" in Ubuntu Village. Japan would provide cooperation in the area of environment-related capacity-building by training 5,000 people from overseas over a five-year period. It would also host the Third World Water Forum and its International Ministerial Conference in March 2003.

    GUY VERHOFSTADT, Prime Minister of Belgium, said during the last year, in Doha, Monterrey, and Rome, poverty eradication, debt reduction and trade liberalization were all issues that had been debated in-depth. There was a strong convergence on the issues. All had come to the same conclusion and supported the same causes. All knew what solutions had to be implemented. The situation of inequality must end. It should, therefore, be easy to harmonize a world that had been split in two for too long. What was missing was the common political will to apply the solutions and to show true solidarity. How could the poorest countries possibly reach sustainable development without a substantial reduction of debt, access to markets and access to technology? he asked. Belgium would continue to press for the end of export subsidies.

    He said it was no longer a question of a superficial sharing of wealth. There was a need for a more lofty approach to cooperation, which drew its inspiration not from paternalism, but from partnerships. He expressed disappointment with the agreement concluded this morning in trade and finance, which was well below the legitimate expectations of developing countries. He, therefore, proposed a political declaration that was much stronger than the plan of action. This morning, five colleagues from Europe and North America had pleaded for the suppression of export subsidies. That should be put into the declaration.

    The tragedy of HIV/AIDS, the impact of which was still underestimated in Africa and the world, and the grave food crisis faced right now in Africa showed that globalization of the economy also called for globalization of solidarity. A firm commitment must be made on an ethical, social, and ecological basis. He urged for a G-8 or G-10 not of rich countries, but of continental groups, bringing together structures such as the European Union, the African Union, the North Atlantic Free Trade Alliance (NAFTA) and the Arab League, for instance. Climate change was a reality, and not a dire, eccentric prediction. It was high time that everyone ratified the Kyoto Protocol and began to implement its provisions, he said.

    DAVID ODDSSON, Prime Minister of Iceland, said that environmental issues were now at the heart of political debates at the local, national and international levels. Guided by the principles of sustainable development, many nations had made significant progress. New solutions and practices had evolved to meet agreed goals and set new ones. Environmental conservation was not an impediment to economic advancement. On the contrary, it was now realized that it was a condition for long-term sustained growth.

    In 1992, he said, countries had pledged to document their biodiversity and they were now called to account in that regard. Iceland had also made readily accessible the wealth of information it had about the marine environment. By doing so, it hoped to increase transparency and enable all citizens to take part in the debate on conserving resources. He welcomed the progress made at the Summit on establishing a mechanism by 2004 for global reporting on the state of the global marine environment. The use of renewable sources of energy and technological innovation now offered unprecedented opportunities. Over 70 per cent of the energy consumed in Iceland was from renewable sources, including hydropower.

    There was still no cause for complacency, he added. The situation of millions had not improved. Iceland would continue to provide training and knowledge on conserving marine resources and harnessing renewable sources of energy. It would also continue to support multilateral programmes geared towards the promotion of sustainable practices and poverty eradication. ODA alone would not do the job. Poorer countries must be allowed to enjoy the benefits of their comparative advantages.

    VOJISLAV KOSTUNICA, President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, said that today, 10 years after the Rio Summit, the concept of sustainable development should be rephrased into the following question: "Development - yes, but what kind of development and for whom?" Another issue was what had been done so far in implementing the principles of sustainable development. While much had been done, that was not enough, as this year's catastrophic floods in Europe and Asia had demonstrated, as did drinking water shortages and dark poisonous clouds hovering over Asia and the Mediterranean. The fact that one fifth of mankind lived on less than $1 a day was yet another piece of evidence. Being a synonym of sustainable development, the defence of the earth must be the central point of the debate at the Summit.

    Turning to his country's experience, he said that following years of economic mismanagement, a decade of sanctions and the 1999 North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) air strikes, the environment there had been seriously degraded. Armed clashes and international isolation had had serious consequences for the national economy. For that reason, a considerable part of the country's population lived on the brink of poverty, including almost 700,000 refugees and internally displaced persons. The fact that international humanitarian aid to the refugee and internally displaced persons community had been dwindling over the last two years was yet another burden on Yugoslavia's modest resources.

    He went on to say that, being on the receiving end of foreign aid, the major commitment that Yugoslavia could undertake for the time being was to make disbursement of foreign aid as transparently as possible. It was also ready to join all programmes of global significance. The country's priorities today included reconstruction and development of its national economy, establishment of a democratic State, development of the rule of law and good governance and transition to a market economy.

    SAUFATU SOPOANGA, Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Immigration and Labour of Tuvalu, said that while Agenda 21 had recognized small island developing States as a special case, there was a need to ensure that the voice of small island developing States was heard in the United Nations. The obligation of the Vienna process in the Summit had allowed the industrialized countries and some of the Group of 77 to dominate the deliberations, ignoring small countries. Small island States had consistently appealed their special case to the rest of the world. The islands of Tuvalu should exist forever, and not disappear under water due to the greed of the industrialized world.

    He reiterated the reverse impact of climate change on Tuvalu. The rise of the sea level had increased in magnitude and momentum. Climate change affected small island developing States and everyone else. He insisted that all parties, particularly the greatest emitters of greenhouse gasses, ratify the Kyoto Protocol as a matter of urgency. The Summit would only be successful in the eyes of Tuvalu if a minimum target of 15 per cent on renewable energy was established.

    He said without financial resources, most partnerships would be meaningless. Thus, he called for additional resources for partnerships on such issues as water, tourism, trade, and capacity-building, among other things. He welcomed acceptance of the chapter on small island developing States in the agreement and hoped that the international community would join in the review of the Barbados Plan of Action in 2004. Turning to the role of developing countries, he called on them to uphold the principles of good governance and respect for human rights.

    ABEL PACHECO DE LA ESPRIELLA, President of Costa Rica, said that he wanted to speak on behalf of a species in danger of extinction -- the human species. "If we continue on the same path as we are, we will soon destroy the planet. But, before that, we will destroy ourselves."

    He challenged the Summit to translate economic globalization into a process of globalizing human development and the justice. His country sought a successful involvement in the world's economy, but not without global commitments such as the Kyoto Protocol, which it had already ratified. Its entry into force and the fulfilment of its targets by all industrialized countries was a cornerstone for combating climate change.

    He congratulated the concrete commitments made to avoid the loss of biodiversity and the consensus reached to develop an international regime to guarantee the fair distribution of benefits. Costa Rica was not going to allow open gold mining, promote oil exploration in the country, or allow the destruction of its primary forest and the misuse of its water resources. Jointly with Colombia, Ecuador and Panama, his country had created a marine corridor for conservation and sustainable development that included the islands of the Galapagos, Malpelo, Coiba and Cocos. He urged the international community to join Costa Rica in the safeguard of those resources. Economic development based on the destruction of the planet was suicide.

    EL HADJ OMAR BONGO, President of Gabon, said despite the good will that had been generated at the Rio Earth Summit, scientific studies during the past 10 years had shown that world ecosystems had undergone persistent and sustained degradation. Everyone knew the relationship between poverty eradication and environmental protection. He said the Millennium Declaration, Agenda 21 and the Kyoto Protocol were the way for humankind to access water, improve their health, provide education and ensure participation of everyone in creating and maintaining a better future. While the absolute necessity of the developed world to take the lead in that regard had been repeatedly stressed, it was also time for developing countries to play their role in achieving sustainable development for all.

    He said that Gabon had vowed to play its part, and due to its geographical uniqueness, had embarked on a broad range of policy initiatives aimed at promoting the sustainable management and conservation of wood industries. Because of their diversity, Gabon's forests played an important role in maintaining the biodiversity of the African continent and the world. While he saluted other efforts to preserve the sanctity of that important natural resource, he wished to highlight his own initiative: creating a zone of national parks, areas ideal for eco-tourism, on some 30,000 square kilometers. That was nearly 10 per cent of the surface of the country.

    He hoped that project would provide the international community with an opportunity to transfer the content of the speeches made at conferences such as this into deeds and acts. He said that the NEPAD initiative was also a great opportunity for the people and leaders of Africa to aim for equity, solidarity and sustainable development. He added that if sustainable development were truly to be attained, concerted action to address the AIDS pandemic was crucial. If the disease were not stopped, as many as 50 million African lives could be lost over the next 20 years. He welcomed the mobilization of the first ladies of Africa in that regard, another link in the chain of solidarity being woven by African nations on their own behalf.

    BORIS TRAJKOVSKI, President of The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, said his country had embarked on a sound strategy for sustainable development in accordance with national interests, regional opportunities and other principles in line with the goals of the European Union and those prescribed by the Millennium Declaration. Macedonia's national strategy, based on principles of good governance, would be directed at, among other things, creating adequate public awareness of the issues of sustainable development, developing an appropriate educational process that supported the generation of relevant knowledge, and supporting economic activities based on reasonable use of natural resources, protection of the environment and development of human potential.

    He said his country had suffered from a conflict which had a negative impact on the development of all segments of society. Peace, security and stability were the most important prerequisites for sustainable development. He reconfirmed his country's commitment to the Rio principles and the full implementation of Agenda 21, as well as other internationally agreed objectives. Macedonia would contribute to fighting conditions that posed serious threats to sustainable development, namely poverty, armed conflicts, terrorism, corruption and communicable and chronic diseases. For the fulfilment of those noble goals, a strong commitment was needed by all governments and United Nations Member States, private-sector actors and civil society.

    KING MSWATI III, Swaziland, said the Summit provided the last chance to halt the damage inflicted on human beings and the planet by humans themselves. He welcomed the consensus on the Summit's plan of implementation. The timetable for action and the goals that had been set were an essential ingredient for success. The implementation would require courageous political leadership. Tough decisions that had to be made might result in short-term political difficulties on the national level, but they were for the greater good of all humankind. If the issue at stake was the future sustainability of the world, it was a price worth paying.

    He said his country had taken its responsibility to ensure that economic growth was sustainable and that the environment was protected. Poverty was its greatest challenge and its development plans, a product of consultation with the people, addressed that priority. There had been success in key economic, social and environmental sectors, based on the implementation of Agenda 21. Inequality between countries should be addressed through free-market access, technology transfer, increasing foreign direct investment, meeting the agreed development targets, and removal of subsidies harmful to trade with developing countries.

    However, the message of hope at this Summit would be meaningless if there was insufficient commitment to contain the spread of the virus that caused AIDS, and to help those countries unable to cope. He called for a truly global effort -- a global coalition against HIV/AIDS -- that mobilized resources in the priority areas of drugs, finances, infrastructure, equipment and training, and for equal distribution of available resources. The global family must acknowledge that it was not an isolated problem for a few of its members; it was a crisis for the whole of humankind.

    KOFFI SAMA, Prime Minister of Togo, said that 10 years had passed since the Earth Summit, which had given rise to a new concept of development, that of sustainable development. Today, the international community had met once again to reaffirm that the elimination of poverty was a precondition for development. The convening of the Summit in Africa would give Africa an opportunity to join a genuine international partnership to implement the goals of sustainable development. Africa, which was rich in natural resources, had become a continent where poverty existed in striking contrast with the prosperity of the developed world.

    Africa, he said, unlike other parts of the world, received very little investment in terms of foreign private capital. In addition, the proliferation of small arms and conflicts were hampering the efforts of many countries. He noted with regret that more than 2 billion people lived on less than $1 a day. The international community must do all it could to attain the specific objective of halving poverty by 2015. In general, Africa was plunging into a time of "dis-industrialization".

    In the area of health, he continued, Africa faced contagious and endemic diseases, which posed a serious threat to sustainable development. The fight against HIV/AIDS should be part of any programme for poverty eradication and the achievement of sustainable development. He reaffirmed the need for rapid and effective implementation of the Convention on desertification to combat poverty arising from soil degradation.

    BAKILI MULUZI, President of Malawi, said that the principles reflected in the Rio Declaration and Agenda 21 had informed Malawi's "Vision 2020" initiative and its poverty-reduction strategy paper. He said that, among other initiatives, his Government had launched a national environmental development plan in 1994. More recently, Malawi had encouraged individual participation in that plan and the Government had initiated several programmes to involve civil society in order to more effectively address the poverty and environment nexus.

    Despite all this, he said that Malawi, a nation of some 10 million people, remained one of the least developed countries in the world. Some 65 per cent of its people lived in poverty. Among the many developmental challenges were increasing pressure on natural resources, namely fisheries, forests and agriculture. He said for example that Malawi' forests continued to shrink because 90 per cent of its fuel was derived from wood or coal. As the environment continued to deteriorate, the poor were the hardest hit. Indeed, as he was speaking, some 3 million people in Malawi faced famine, due to floods that had occurred during the last growing season.

    What people in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region were asking was, what could they really expect from the Summit? It was clear that one of the most pertinent issues on the Summit's agenda should be the devastation caused by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. AIDS-specific policies should be integrated in all environmental impact assessments. He supported the initiative and principles of the NEPAD project. And he added that, while Malawi and other poor countries appreciated continued assistance from development partners, big changes were needed to strengthen serious policy actions. The initiatives agreed upon in Johannesburg could only succeed if everyone was allowed to participate. In that regard Taiwan, with an exemplary record on environmental protection, should be allowed to participate in the Summit. The world was one big family and none should be left out.

    OLUSEGUN OBASANJO, President of Nigeria, said the hopes of Rio had not been realized, something that was most evident in Africa. The Summit plan of implementation was an aggregation of commitments from Agenda 21, the Millennium Declaration, the Doha agreement and Monterrey. He hoped those commitments would launch countries on the sound path of sustainable development. However, as long as debt remained a burden, sustainable development would be impaired. The first step towards the eradication of poverty was food security. Factors that threatened agriculture, such as drought and desertification, should be addressed.

    He asked for support for implementation of the Convention on desertification and called on the Summit to support the African process of development and protection of the marine and coastal environment of sub-Sahara Africa. Millions of people were dying from hunger and disease. HIV/AIDS and malaria were major causes of the death, especially among the active labour force. The economic and social consequences were self-evident. He welcomed the fact that the plan of implementation included support for NEPAD, which was based on ownership, partnership and responsibility. He urged the international community, as Africans partners in development, to support the provisions of the African section in the plan of implementation, in particular the targets and time frame. He also called on the international community to work with Africa to address its dire need for water, through local, national and global partnerships.

    As he had listened to the representatives of the children of the world this morning, he thought that the worst indignity for an African was to be publicly criticized by one's own children. The children had strongly condemned the leaders of the world for failing to act. Less talk was needed and more action to regain the respect of the children of the world. Implementation remained the bane of past declarations. "Let success in Johannesburg be judged, but year-by-year, by the action taken to change commitments made into reality", he said.

    ROBERT G. MUGABE, President of Zimbabwe, said that 10 years ago the international community had gathered in Rio and had expressed anxiety over the same problems as today. Among those problems were the unequal economic power that had existed, and still existed, today between the North and the South, and the debt burden by which the rich continued to take away from the impoverished poor. It was necessary to examine why, 10 years after Rio, the poor remained even poorer and children continued to suffer from malnutrition and disease. The betrayal of the collective agenda set 10 years ago was the manifestation of bad global governance and the absence of a just rule of law in international affairs.

    Therefore, he joined those in the world who had rejected attempts by some countries and regional blocs that were bent on suppressing the sovereignty of States, and whose real objective was interference in the domestic affairs of others. The poor should be able to use their sovereignty to fight poverty without interference. Zimbabwe understood that there could be no sustainable development without agrarian reform. "Land came first, before all else." Land had a direct bearing on the prospects for the poor.

    In the situation of his country, that fundamental issue had pitted the black majority against an obdurate and internationally well-connected white minority, manipulated by the Blair Government. Even as Zimbabwe's Government acquired land, it would not deprive white farmers of land. Each of them was entitled to one farm and no farmer was being left without land. "We are threatening no one." Zimbabwe was working to improve the lot of its people. It did not mind having sanctions barring it from Europe. "Blair, keep your England and let me keep my Zimbabwe." People must always come first in any process of sustainable development. "Let Africans come first in the development of Africa."

    ION ILIESCU, President of Romania, said the key words to promote action-oriented debate on sustainable development at the Summit, along with "responsibility" mentioned earlier today by the Secretary-General, were "implementation" and "partnership". The targets set in Agenda 21, the Rio Declaration the Millennium Declaration, and most recently the Monterrey Consensus, provided a sound basis for focusing the guidelines to be adopted at the Summit. Even without a decade's worth of empirical evidence of deepening poverty and crumbling ecosystems, scientific data and studies proved that the international community could not afford to procrastinate any longer. "We know what needs to be done, how to do it, and how to mobilize the resources", he said. The time for action was now.

    He said that the challenging message the children addressed to the Summit earlier today was very significant, in that it had highlighted the need for immediate action. And while national governments bore primary responsibility to deliver expected results, in order to comprehensively link together all the components of sustainable development, a much broader, multi-stakeholder approach was required. Particular emphasis should be placed on including the media, citizens groups, concerned individuals, and private-sector actors.

    Turning to highlight domestic sustainable development initiatives, he said that local Agenda 21 projects in nine Romanian municipalities -- public-private partnerships -- had yielded positive results. Romania was in the process of expanding the programme nationally. As a candidate to the European Union, Romania would pursue the objectives the Union had highlighted as priorities for success at the Summit, particularly undertaking capacity-building towards national and international sustainable development. He added that, in the long run, it made sense to consider an enhanced role for the Economic and Social Council, and expanding its interaction with the Bretton Woods institutions and the World Trade Organization (WTO) to assist in showing the way forward, particularly negotiating and reversing severe economic disparities between countries and outlining the international agenda for financing sustaining development.

    MASSOUMEH EBTEKAR, Vice President of Iran, said that the Summit had been convened at a crucial juncture in history, when environmental degradation, increased poverty, threats of terrorism, militarism and conflicts were haunting the globe. The ongoing suppression of the Palestinian nation, met with passive silence by some of the most important international institutions, highlighted the crucial circumstances in which global leaders were expected to come up with a genuine and equitable vision, and not political palliatives or abject obeisance to great Powers. Firm resolve was needed to set aside individual and even national aspirations and think globally. Johannesburg was a unique opportunity to promote the cause of multilateralism and global democracy.

    The principle of "common but different responsibilities" was the moral bedrock of the sustainable development agenda, she continued. Clearly, it was possible to achieve the flow of new and additional financial resources, fulfillment of the 0.7 per cent ODA target, strengthening of international financial mechanisms and cooperation to achieve time targets. Realizing those goals would promote confidence building. Here, very clearly, the needs of developing nations had not been properly addressed. That had led to unsustainable trends not only in the environmental domain, but in the social and economic spheres, as well.

    Sincere partnership, as opposed to monologue and unbalanced donor-recipient relationships, was a viable and more just solution to the existing predicaments, she said. The governments, civil society and the private sector needed to work together to transform the goals of the Summit into measurable and goal-oriented actions. Instead of replacing prior commitments and obligations, however, such partnerships should reaffirm and strengthen them. Describing her country's national efforts to promote sustainable development, she added that the Iranian President had recently called for a "Coalition of Peace", for a just and dignified pacific existence at the global level. Dialogue and peace were prerequisites for both sustainability and development. The Dialogue among Civilizations, which had also been proposed by Iran, and the Coalition for Peace needed to be reflected in the political statements emanating from the Summit.

    ALBERTO DIAZ LOBO, Vice-President of Honduras, said 80 per cent of his country was mountainous. The people lived in the mountains, producing water, trees, a little energy and insufficient food. It had the most diverse flora and fauna on the planet. Although covering less than 1 per cent of the earth's land surface, it represented 10 per cent of the earth's biodiversity. Also, his country had some important metal and mineral deposits and the coastal areas and islands offered rich marine resources. All that coexisted harmonically with the Mayan and Afro-Caribbean cultures.

    Despite that, the country was poor, the people were hungry and health and education needed to improve rapidly, he said. Natural phenomena undermined the sustainable development process. The disasters were linked, among other things, to deterioration of natural resources, the inappropriate use of the land and poverty. Socio-economic growth depended on strengthening democracy and governance. His country was aware of the necessity to promote a sustainable development strategy, which would empower such sectors as agriculture, forestation and tourism. The fundamental objective of the strategy was that the country should have peace, freedom, prosperity and democracy, with differentiated participation and shared responsibility to improve the planet's life.

    He said his Government had implemented reforms to consolidate democracy and respect for human rights and was consolidating a regional security regime. It had improved education by incorporating environmental education in the curriculum. A new system of administration would be based on participation of all Hondurans, both men and women. In that way, it would eliminate poverty through equitable growth and shared responsibility. The Government and people all had great hopes and expectations from the Summit, the outcomes of which would make it possible to march firmly from poverty to prosperity.

    ALHAJI ALIU MAHAMA, Vice-President of Ghana, said that 10 years ago, world leaders had assembled at the Earth Summit, which had resulted in the adoption of Agenda 21 -- a comprehensive programme of action for achieving sustainable development. Rio had held many promises. A decade later, it was abundantly clear that the high hopes of the Earth Summit had remained mostly unfulfilled. The gains of globalization had not been equitable and poverty had not been reduced. However, some modest progress had been made since 1992.

    He said that Ghana had, since Rio, ratified most of the conventions for the protection of the environment and developed comprehensive legislative and a social framework to achieve the objectives of Rio. The Government's Environmental Protection Agency was legally empowered to monitor actions that had an impact on the environment. Ghana's experience had showed that achieving the goals was difficult, even where the political will existed.

    Therefore, he continued, an enabling international environment was crucial for the growth of Ghana's economy. He expected the Summit to secure a commitment to ensure adequate financing to assist developing countries in that regard. Also, effective implementation required greater emphasis on local, national and regional initiatives. Ending poverty remained the overriding objective for achieving sustainable development. What was agreed upon at the Summit was crucial, but what was even more important was what was actually done in the post-Summit period.

    Crown Prince ALBERT of Monaco said that in his country the decade since Rio had been marked by a truly open-minded and far-reaching approach to the question of environment and development. It concerned not only public aid, through bilateral or multilateral channels, but also extensive cooperation with various international legal instruments and support for non-governmental organizations in many underserved regions of the world. Monaco's public aid for development was constantly increasing. Although it was still well below the target of 0.7 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), the country was determined to reach that figure in the coming years and promote concrete actions and projects, giving priority not only to economic and social development, but also to education, training and conservation of natural resources.

    The dynamics of growth in the effort to further cooperation and development, whether through public channels or by partnerships with private enterprises, must continue or be re-launched on a global scale, he continued. The role of international legal instruments was also essential. Countries needed to be convinced that national law, often protective and self-centred, could be adapted to the needs of regional or worldwide solidarity. Monaco had ratified three framework conventions deriving from Rio, including the framework convention against desertification. It also intended to ratify the Kyoto and Cartagena Protocols.

    In the Mediterranean basin, to which Monaco belonged, one could observe the same contrasts between developed, transitional and developing economies that could be encountered on the global scale, he said. A true solidarity had come into being in that ecoregion, prompted by the environmental concern to protect the Mediterranean against pollution. The Barcelona Convention, over which Monaco currently had the honour of presiding, sought to include targets for sustainable development and unite the regional agenda. Last November, the Mediterranean countries had adopted a strongly worded political declaration and decided to implement a strategy of sustainable development, based on social development, conservation of natural resources, better governance and cooperation.

    ABDULLAH HAJI AHMAD BADAWI, Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia said the situation in the world had changed dramatically since Rio. Globalization had altered the landscape significantly, and while its proponents chanted mantras that new market forces and deregulation could bring wealth and social progress, the "trickle-down" benefits of globalized markets to the world's poorest nations were practically nil. He also said the digital revolution was transforming everyone's lives and would indeed prove to be the engine of future economic growth. Unfortunately, developing countries lacked the technological capacity and infrastructure to take advantage of the new "knowledge economy" or e-commerce schemes. It was clear that the digital divide would continue to grow if that problem was not addressed.

    He said the efforts of developing countries to attain economic development needed to be supported by the creation of a conducive international economic environment. Unless the international financial architecture provided adequate protection against volatility and external shocks, expectations for developing countries to build capacity were wholly unrealistic. It was indeed disappointing to realize that 10 years after Rio, the international community had failed to promote human development and reverse environmental degradation. Malaysia believed that it was crucial, therefore, to strengthen the principle of multilateralism.

    Each voice at the table must be heard, he continued. Therefore, the international community must acknowledge that there were differences in the levels of development and capacity. It was imperative that the principle of common but differentiated responsibility be integrated into all three pillars of sustainable development. Turning to the issue of forests, he said Malaysia was concerned that sustainable management initiatives seemed to be focused disproportionately on tropical forests and forests in developing countries. It was imperative that all forests should be treated with parity, and Malaysia called for a global framework on forests -- tropical, temperate or boreal -- to ensure that all the world's forests were protected.

    RIALUTH SERGE VOHOR, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, External Trade and Telecommunications of Vanuatu, said that he was participating here with much hope, given the challenges and obstacles which lay on the path to development, as well as the need to ensure the prosperity of future generations. For poor countries, whether great or small, the Summit was an opportunity to recall to the industrialized countries that there might be a more harmonious path to sustainable development.

    It should not be assumed that because a country was small that it did not face great difficulties, he said. Indeed, Vanuatu had to face the same development, security and stability challenges as other countries. Despite the Government's efforts and the assistance of friendly countries, more than 50 per cent of Vanuatu's children did not have access to secondary education. He was convinced that only an educated and healthy population would be able to sustain development in his country.

    With regard to the environment, Vanuatu had ratified almost all international conventions. However, he noted that financial support, although promised, had not been provided to assist Vanuatu implement various action plans. It was necessary to strengthen solidarity and achieve a global solution. A first step would be to exert pressure on the industrialized countries that had not yet ratified the Kyoto Protocol.

    TARIQ AZIZ, Vice-Prime Minister of Iraq, said that as far as sustainable development and environment in his country were concerned, the situation had changed substantially since the imposition of an unjust embargo 12 years ago. The forces of aggression had dropped more than 130,000 tons of high explosives on the territory of Iraq, aiming to fully destroy the country's infrastructure and environment. The use of depleted uranium had caused grave contamination. The consequences of that devastation and environmental contamination were beyond Iraq's capacity to repair.

    The country was also suffering from a shortage of water supplies, due to huge storing projects carried out in Turkey against the interests of Iraq and Syria, he continued. That had led to a reduction of agricultural areas, affected the quality of potable water and also the efficiency of the electric power plants. Significant measures taken by Iraq to rectify the situation were not adequate under those harsh conditions.

    Yet another large-scale aggression against Iraq, which was now being threatened by the United States, would lead to further environmental catastrophes, he said. The international community should stand against that new aggression and seek lifting an unjust embargo imposed on his country. He hoped that relevant environmental organizations, especially the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), would support the efforts of Iraq to implement a comprehensive programme of environmental rehabilitation. In conclusion, he added that the international community was required to stand firmly against the Zionist aggression against the Palestinian people.

    SOMSAVAT LENGSAVAD, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Lao People's Democratic Republic, said that the Summit would determine the fate of millions of poor people on the planet. Being the Summit of implementation, it had a clear mandate of producing agreed concrete measures and means of overcoming the obstacles that had hampered the implementation of Agenda 21 in the past decade. If the goals and objectives of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) were to be met, the measures should include specific time-bound targets in all areas, in particular financing. The implementation should involve all stakeholders through partnership among governments, other organizations and the private sector of both developed and developing countries, based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.

    He went on to say that since the Earth Summit, his Government had set forth a policy framework with the ultimate objective of ridding the country of the status of least developed country by 2020. Over the next decades, the country would continue to focus on the policy framework for sustainable development. It welcomed participation and contribution of all stakeholders in that implementation process.

    Apart from the national effort, the country was firmly committed to the goals of sustainable development, in particular the objective of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Vision 2020 and the Hanoi Plan of Action, which was based on the principles of the Rio Declaration and Agenda 21. To succeed in that endeavour, national and regional efforts needed to be complemented with tangible support from the international community, including financial assistance and technology transfer.

    ALOIS OSPELT, Minister for Environment, Agriculture and Forestry of Liechtenstein, said that agriculture's role in combating poverty and hunger must be strengthened by fostering infrastructure development in rural areas, and by introducing stabilized land-tenure systems. It was also vital to adequately protect and manage natural resources. Conserving a sound production base and stable ecosystems stood prior to restoring devastated or degraded land or exploited ecosystems.

    The basic role of water in generating economic growth and reducing poverty, achieving food security, improving environmental health conditions and protecting organic production resources was widely underestimated, he said. Yet, sustainable water use, including water supply and sanitation, was one of the main pillars in reaching poverty alleviation, enhanced agricultural and industrial productivity and long-term environmental sustainability.

    Energy played a key role in achieving the economic, social and environmental objective of sustainable development, he continued. But current patterns of energy production, distribution and use were not sustainable. Access to and adequate availability of energy was a prerequisite to achieving socio-economic development.

    JAWAD SALEM AL-ORAYYED, Minister of State for Municipal and Environmental Affairs of Bahrain, said in order to achieve the objectives of sustainable development, it was necessary to understand the ecological regimes of the planet. Humanity's hopes had to be based on a more equitable society. Bahrain had sought to implement strategies for the protection of the environment in cooperation with United Nations offices based there. Agenda 21 had mentioned the individual as the basis for efforts pursuing sustainable development, and he stressed the need for individuals to live in dignity.

    Small island developing States were confronted by challenges that could prevent them from sustainable development, such as limited market access, structural constraints, lack of competitiveness, and economic recessions due to falling commodity prices and falling ODA. The importance the international community had attached to the programme for sustainable development for small island States was shown in the plan of implementation.

    The Arab Sustainable Development Initiative, which had been submitted to the Summit, stressed peace and security, he said. Efforts must be strengthened to secure peace and security with peace initiatives, such as the one taken by Saudi Arabia. That initiative sought to end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories pursuant to provisions of international law. In the Millennium Declaration, the heads of State and government had committed themselves to defend the rights of people under occupation and colonialism. He trusted that the international community would help the Arab world face the challenges and implement development plans, in order to make decent living possible for all.

    JOSEPH DEISS, Federal Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, said world leaders had gathered in Johannesburg because everyone knew that global problems required global solutions. He said that a feeling of solidarity among all countries -- developed, developing and countries in transition -- was needed to ensure an unqualified success. Solidarity and cooperation were the only way to achieve the imperative goals of poverty eradication and protection of the environment. He urged the Summit to work to preserve seed banks, and in that regard proposed the creation of a world agricultural heritage conservation fund to ensure food security for all.

    He said that four priorities should be addressed, including the need for action not just statements, measurable targets, clear objectives and a monitoring mechanism. Those four priorities were essential for the broad implementation of the principles of Agenda 21. There was no need for extensive debate -- the people of the world knew what the problems were and they were now calling for a time frame for halving the number of people living in poverty, as well as clear targets for halving the number of people living without access to water or safe sanitation.

    Switzerland, together with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and UNEP, had launched an initiative for the sustainable development of mountainous regions, he said. Switzerland believed that project could achieve positive results because all the agencies, and the Government, had attempted to ensure all stakeholders would be engaged. He also believed the project was an excellent model that could point the way towards progress in other areas. He said sustainable development required international development assistance. Switzerland would shoulder its responsibility, but urged others, including the United States and the Russian Federation, among other developed nations, to take a lead role, particularly by signing the Kyoto Protocol.

    VASSO PAPANDREOU, Minister of the Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works of Greece, said that globalization had to be beneficial to all, allowing everyone to reap its potential benefits. Equitable access to resources was a necessary precondition for sustainability to become a reality. Striking a balance between the environmental, social and economic pillars of sustainable development should be the final outcome of the Summit. Better living conditions, sufficient food, clean water, and reliable and renewable energy sources had to be provided to all and quantifiable targets should be established.

    The draft implementation plan, she said, had to recognize the importance of strengthening the institutional framework for sustainable development at the international, national and local levels and of better reflecting the environmental and social dimensions. Greece was determined to play its part in assisting developing countries to integrate their economic, social and environmental policies in the most effective way. However, that would not be sufficient. ODA should be coupled with debt relief and by better access to markets for the developing world. At the same time, he expected developing countries to show progress in matters of human rights and democracy.

    A decoupling of economic development from acute pressures on the environment and natural resources should be a central target established at the Summit, she said. Countries should also commit themselves to implementing the rich legacy of Rio and the provisions of the multilateral environmental agreements signed so far.

    MOHAMMED AL-JARALLAH, Minister of Health of Kuwait, said that the primary objective of the Summit was to give a new meaning to the concept of cooperation towards sustainable development on the global level. Kuwait had an absolute belief in the right of peoples to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination, as enshrined in the United Nations Charter. It was imperative on all members of the international community to demonstrate solidarity in order to lend support to the peoples that continued to languish under the yoke of foreign occupation.

    Describing Kuwait's efforts to promote sustainable development, he said that his country had set up several specialized agencies that offered economic and social aid to the developing and least developed countries. Kuwait also stood for debt relief to those countries and participated in institutional and technical cooperation programmes with various players. In some cases, the volume of ODA provided by his country exceeded the level set for developed countries. Among Kuwait's other efforts were economic reforms within the framework of sustainable development, which included enactment of new laws to combat money laundering and encourage small and medium-sized private businesses. The Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development had contributed over $12 billion to more than 600 development projects in various fields.

    World trade should not be restrictive in a way that impeded access of a country's exports to world markets or denied it a fair share of resources and technologies, he said. Setting additional arbitrary criteria under the pretext of environmental protection would have a negative impact on the developing countries and undermine their competitiveness. With its economy based on crude oil production, Kuwait would also like to stress that it was imperative to embrace a moderate and balanced packaged of decisions on the whole set of environmental issues. Such a package should not do injustice to the developing countries whose economies depended on a single commodity. Subsidies in the oil and energy field must be eliminated.

    EL-TIGNI ADAM EL-TAHIR, Minister of Environment and Physical Development of Sudan, expected the Summit to be a launch pad for real cooperation for development, based on the preservation of the environment. Such cooperation would give the world a new dimension of understanding and a dialogue leading to good governance and the exchange of ideas. Agenda 21 was the outline followed in developing Sudan's national plans. In Sudan, concern for the environment was reflected in, among other things, the establishment of structures dealing with sustainable development, such as the Ministry of the Environment.

    Many of the obstacles faced by his country in pursuing development were compounded by the economic sanctions that had been imposed on Sudan, he said. Also, external debt hampered efforts and negatively impacted on national strategies. Sudan had also suffered a lot from its civil war, which had negatively affected the environment. He hoped that Sudan's movement towards democracy would help improve the living conditions of the Sudanese and his country could become a model of democracy, human rights and social justice.

    He called for the cancellation of debts, which had undermined the efforts of developing countries to achieve sustainable development. Also, the developed countries should facilitate the transfer of environmentally friendly technologies to assist the efforts of developing countries.

    BASSEM AWADALLAH, Minister of Planning of Jordan, said that access to information and communication technologies had become vital to a sustainable agenda of economic development and poverty reduction. The increasingly global and interdependent world required developing countries to bridge the so-called "digital divide" and develop technology into a vibrant, modern and responsive field.

    He noted that development in Jordan with respect to environmental sustainability was promising. New initiatives for biodiversity conservation were helping to alleviate poverty in rural communities and promote popular support for nature conservation. Paving the road towards the empowerment of women had also been successful. Gender had emerged as a key component in public health and education. Compulsory education for girls through grade 10, combined with child laws, had contributed to female school enrolment and completion ratios that had exceeded those of males. Women were now playing a greater role in all sectors of society.

    When addressing issues of sustainable development, one was compelled to mention one of its main prerequisites -- namely, stability and peace, he said. The continuing struggle in the Middle East was strangling Jordan's economy. The spillover effects had exacerbated poverty and unemployment levels. Development in the region would not be sustained unless a just, lasting and comprehensive peace was achieved. The core issue of the Arab-Israeli conflict -- namely, the continuing occupation of Palestine -- must end and the Palestinian people granted full and sovereign independence for them to contribute in a meaningful manner to the development of their region.

    ABDULLAH BIN MOHAMED BIN SAUD AL-THANI, Head of the Amiri Diwan of Qatar, said that his country had, since 1992, joined a large number of environmental conventions and had promulgated a considerable number of national environmental laws. It was also subjecting all development projects in Qatar to a mechanism of assessing and controlling their impact on the environment. It had joined the Convention on Biodiversity and the CITES Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. The Government was currently working on increasing the area of natural reserves in the country to 10 per cent in the next 10 years.

    All countries, especially the developed ones, must carry out their commitments through persistent collective action in order to achieve sustainable development, he said. In that regard, he urged, among other things, developed countries to help developing countries face the impact of globalization. He also urged donors and the United Nations to support the academic and research capabilities in developing countries.

    Furthermore, developed countries must affirm that the WTO worked towards freeing trade and opening markets for exports. In that respect, he emphasized the need for implementing the recommendations of the Doha Declaration. In addition, he urged the industrialized countries to control the destructive norms of consuming environmental resources, as they were primarily responsible for the increasing rates of global pollution.

    CHOI SUNG-HONG, Minster for Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Korea, highlighted the importance of dealing with the issue of poverty in efforts to achieve sustainable development. Addressing that issue was vitally important, as poverty often generated hatred and fostered feelings that could breed terrorism and other criminal behaviour. There was no question that the international community should redouble its efforts to reduce poverty, for the sake of security and prosperity for all.

    The only way to do this would be to address poverty eradication within the context of globalization. Despite recent doubt and skepticism, globalization was still the worlds' driving force today. The international community could not turn its eyes away from the negative effects of that phenomenon, particularly the economic disparities it created. The Republic of Korea was actively participating in efforts to address the side-effects of globalization, particularly the digital divide. It was essential for the international community to try harder to generate more trade and investment through the opening and liberalization of markets. Cooperation was more crucial today than ever before, particularly as nations worked to achieve the objectives set at Doha.

    He said the financial crisis that had rocked the Asian region in the 1990s had taught the Republic of Korea many important lessons, particularly on the values of accountability and stakeholder participation. Those trying times had led the country to creating a national plan for sustainable development in 2000. He added that the Government was planning to deposit its instrument of ratification of the Kyoto Protocol in the coming month. The Republic of Korea was also in the planning stages for hosting the 2010 World Expo. The country could make that happen, with the support of the international community, and believed hosting such an event would provide an opportunity to share past experiences and future vision for sustainable development.

    SALIF DIALLO, Minister of State, Minister of Agriculture, Water and Fishing Resources of Burkina Faso, said since Rio, where the international community had set itself a goal of establishing a partnership between North and South to establish sustainable development and a better environment, expectations had not been fulfilled. Poverty had increased and the climate situation had worsened, as could be seen in the thinning of the ozone layer and the change in climate. Responsibility for that was shared by all, because developed countries had never abided by their commitment to increase ODA to 0.7 per cent of GDP and developing countries had not always been able to ensure good governance.

    He said his country had taken a number of steps to achieve the Rio objectives. It had revised its national action plan for the environment to be in line with Agenda 21. It had also prepared a letter of intent for its development policy from 1995 to 2005. The implementation of the new policy was helped by the growing democracy and decentralization in his country, so that people at the grass-roots level were becoming really engaged in development. Since 1995, the economy had grown by a 5 per cent average annually, and protection of the environment had become a major concern. Yet, Burkina Faso suffered from extreme poverty because of the rapid expansion of HIV/AIDS, which affected productivity, particularly in agriculture.

    The summit must be followed up with such measures as mobilizing water resources to meet the needs of people and agriculture, he said. There was also a need for offsetting agricultural subsidies in the North. Transfer of environmentally appropriate technology was necessary as well, as was the establishment of a solidarity fund against poverty. He hoped Johannesburg would be a new point of departure and that all would comply with the commitments made.

    ALLAN WAGNER, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Peru, said that the Summit was an opportunity to reaffirm the commitments undertaken in Rio, as well as fresh commitments to meet the objectives set out in Agenda 21. He welcomed the Type 2 agreements, which combined the efforts of governments, the private sector and civil society. After the ravages suffered under a corrupt regime, the Government, along with civil society, in Peru had undertaken 29 long-term policies, one of which concerned sustainable development. Peru attached particular importance to chapter 13 of Agenda 21 on mountain ecosystems. It had hosted a meeting in which some 20 countries had agreed on a programme on mountain ecosystems.

    In addition, he continued, in order to preserve biodiversity and combat bio-piracy, his country supported the decision to begin talks on a binding agreement regarding genetic resources. On agriculture, he supported access to markets and the ending of subsidies. The Government was launching a national campaign in conjunction with other stakeholders in that area. The creation and strengthening of capacity to implement those measures was vital. Also, he hoped the Summit would adopt valuable initiatives in connection with climate change, particularly the El Niño phenomenon and global warming. He called on the international community to enhance its support for the actors involved in pursuing sustainable development, including young people.

    CARLOS CAT, Minister for Social Housing, Territory Planning and Environmental Affairs of Uruguay, said the international community was facing major problems as it sought to address the development issues that had emerged in the decade since Rio. There were difficulties at every turn, particularly on how to eradicate poverty, change unsustainable patterns of consumption and production and even how to achieve overall sustainable development. With that in mind, he urged the Summit to waste no effort to achieve consensus on issues that were so critical to the survival of the planet and its people.

    He went on to highlight Uruguay's efforts to achieve sustainable development while expanding efforts to protect the environment and preserve natural resources. He said the Ministry of Agriculture, as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were among the various government agencies focused on environmental issues. Uruguay had also adopted a law on environmental impact agents. Overall, the government was attempting to comply with all its relevant commitments by legislating in an appropriate manner. The country was focusing its efforts through the Framework Agreement of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), which aimed to ensure sustainable development on regional economic and environmental development issues.

    He said that Uruguay had also ratified the Kyoto Protocol some 19 months ago and was in the process of making sure its national laws complied with that important instrument. Further, Uruguay had worked hard to achieve consensus on issues that had proved difficult to conclude at the Summits' final preparatory meeting in Bali. A particular area of the country's focus had been on the area of trade and commerce. He called on the Summit to respect agreements reached at Doha, in that regard. The precautionary principle should be respected, with a view to ensuring that products from and trade with developing countries was not hampered and that international initiatives to promote and protect the environment did not really lead to protectionist measures that would negatively affect trade and development in smaller countries.

    MICHEL MOUSSA, Minister of the Environment of Lebanon, said after 15 years of civil strife, his country had implemented a comprehensive plan for the revival of different local economical sectors aiming at increasing the competitiveness of the country. Acknowledging the links between environment protection and sustainable development, Lebanon had created the Ministry of Environment in 1993. That decision had been taken because the country recognized the value of environmental resources and the detrimental impact of their depletion. It had recently promulgated a code of the environment, which set a legal framework emanating from the belief that the right to a healthy environment was part of human rights.

    He said this Summit was an opportunity to evaluate past actions and solutions for the next 10 years. The question that arose now was whether the world would put sustainable development in a strategic context, linking the pillars of economy, society, development and governance. He called for more justice and equality, with a clear direction from the United Nations based on principles of partnership, learning from past lessons, focusing on the public opinion, recognizing the importance of openness, coordinating and collaborating with credible sources, and meeting the needs of the media.

    In May 2000 the Israelis had withdrawn from most Lebanese territories, although "Mazareh Chebaa" was still occupied by Israel, he said. Lebanon was also affected by the escalation of violence in the occupied Palestinian territories. The refusal of Israel to accept and implement a general and just peace in the region based on Security Council resolutions was negatively affecting Lebanon. If Israel worked for a just and comprehensive peace in the region, all Middle East countries would profit and the result would be better sustainable and ecologically sound development, he said.

    FREDERICK MITCHELL, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Public Service of the Bahamas, said his delegation was in Johannesburg for primarily two reasons. First, Bahamas wished to support any and all initiatives to attain the imperative aims of the Rio Declaration and Agenda 21 towards developing the earth without damaging the environment. And second, it wished to support the Bahamian way of life -- and that of most small islands -- namely tourism, the number one industry for many small nations, and the Caribbean region in particular.

    People visited the Caribbean because of its environment, he said. The stunning natural beauty of the land, the sea and marine life were recognized the world over. The Bahamas could, therefore, not sit idly by and allow that environment to be destroyed, whether by the actions or omissions of those living in the region or by the insensitivity of the wider international community. The land and the sea sustained the people of the Caribbean and were the medium for survival and well-being, as well as the essential elements of prosperity and development.

    The concerns of the Bahamas ranged from the threat of contamination from transshipment of nuclear spent fuel through its waters to climate change and sea-level rise, he said. Since Rio, the Bahamas had done much to raise awareness of the importance of a clean and healthy environment for its people and the many visitors that spent their vacations there. The work of the Bahamas Environment, Science and Technology Commission had been stellar in establishing groundbreaking projects throughout the country. Among other things, that agency monitored the country's progress in implementing the Rio Declaration. He added that the Sustainable Tourism Unit within the Ministry of Tourism was the driving force in implementing relevant policies, cooperating with public and private sectors.

    RABBIE L. NAMALIU, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration of Papua New Guinea, challenged the leaders of the world and community stakeholders to ensure that the promises made in Johannesburg did not suffer the same disappointing fate as the commitments of the Rio Summit. Over the last decade, there had been too much rhetoric and not enough genuine commitment, especially when it came to assisting the poorest of the poor in the developing world achieving even the most basic of living standards and opportunity.

    The outcome of the Summit needed to be people-centred, he continued. The programme of action must reflect a "people first and foremost" approach, without prejudice against colour, creed, religion, or gender, as well as the developed or developing status of each country. He welcomed the Doha WTO development agenda and the Monterrey Consensus, which offered a useful framework for the development of cooperation between the developed and developing countries for improving market access and multilateral rules to harness the benefits of globalization. The Johannesburg plan must realistically reduce environmental degradation in a way that would not unfairly prejudice the present generation, but enhance the capacity of the environment to sustain the needs of future generations.

    He went on to call on all stakeholders to set realistic, quantifiable targets and timetables for sustainable development. It was also necessary to put in place effective, transparent monitoring mechanisms to achieve those targets. Recognizing that individual countries had primary responsibility for social and economic development, his Government had put in place economically responsible laws and ratified relevant multilateral environmental conventions, which arose from the Rio commitments. His country and its sister countries of the Pacific Islands Forum appealed to all major emitters of carbon gases to make contributions to global efforts to address the escalating impact of climate change. All countries that had yet to ratify the Kyoto Protocol should do so.

    JANEZ KOPAC, Minister of the Environment, Spatial Planning and Energy of Slovenia, said ratification of multilateral environmental agreements had never been considered as a problematic question. Currently, the Kyoto Protocol, ratified earlier in the year, was among the most topical areas of activity in that field. As the chair of the European ministers responsible for regional planning, he drew attention to the "Guiding principles of sustainable spatial development of the European continent", adopted by the Conference in 2000. The Council of Europe had presented them to the Summit as a contribution to the implementation of Agenda 21 concerning the integrated approach to planning and management, and as the start of an intercontinental dialogue.

    He said his country was an emerging donor country, primarily focusing on support for the development in south-eastern Europe. Its recent contribution to UNEP's Fund and its pledge to the third replenishment of the Global Environment Facility Trust Fund were a sign of Slovenia's presence. Developed countries should do more to provide developmental aid. Principles from the 1974 General Assembly resolution on the establishment of the new international economic order, the "Alternative Declaration" from the 1995 World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen, and the Monterrey Consensus should be taken into account.

    The principles expressed in those document should not remain at the level of abstract and formal discussion, but should be transformed into legislation under international law. Special emphasis should be placed on the recognition of fundamental social rights as part of the human rights system, not only at the national, but also at the international level. The system of international economic relations should not be based merely on economic concepts, but also on ethical principles. With global integration, the solidarity concept should also be introduced in international economic relations, he said.

    RENATO R. MARTINO, Observer of the Holy See, said States had come to the Johannesburg Summit with particular interests, needs, resources, rights and responsibilities. The unifying element in that organic blending of legitimate diversities must be the primacy of the human person. Indeed, that was the view reflected in the Rio Declaration, which stressed that human beings, entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature, were at the centre of concerns for sustainable development. The Holy See believed that the promotion of human dignity was linked to the right to development and the right to a healthy environment.

    Since those rights highlighted the dynamics of the relationship between the individual and society, they also stimulated the responsibility of the individual towards self, others, creation and ultimately towards God, he continued. In that regard, the Holy See continued to affirm concern for the three pillars of sustainable development -- economic, social and environmental -- and their contribution to true, integral human development. While the Holy See would not attempt to add to the technical discourse under way, it was still deeply interested in the values that inspired actions and decisions regarding sustainable development.

    He said many of the problems were issues of an ethical or moral nature, which called for a profound change in society's typical patterns of consumption and production. In order to achieve that change, an "ecological conversion" was needed. Recalling the words of Pope John Paul II, he said an education in ecological responsibility was required, a genuine conversion of thought and behaviour towards promoting a true culture of life as the basis for sustainable development. Since no one could be indifferent to the lot of another member of the human family, the Holy See called for world leaders to give a "Gift of Self" in response to increasing selfishness and indifference.

    * *** *