Press Releases

    16 August 2002


    NEW YORK, 15 August 2002: The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other agencies are getting on board to ensure that the global conference on sustainable development to be held in Johannesburg by the end of August does not contribute to harm the global environment.

    The UNDP, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the World Bank delegations attending the World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) have become the first inter-governmental organizations to sign-up to the Johannesburg Climate Legacy (JCL) initiative. All are committing to offset emissions created by their travel to and attendance at the event by giving money to a sustainable development trust fund.

    The organizations will pay to ‘neutralize‘ the amount of carbon dioxide based on the emissions released by travel to and from the summit. All funds generated by this initiative, which is part of the wider "Greening of the WSSD" programme, will be channelled to a Trust Fund set up through the Development Bank of South Africa. The money will be used to create a lasting legacy for South Africa as they are distributed by the JCL association to long-term carbon-reducing renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in schools, hospitals and communities.

    "The Johannesburg Climate Legacy Initiative provides an excellent opportunity for UNDP to set an example in taking practical steps towards addressing climate change issues while providing tangible benefits to local communities," said UNDP Administrator Mark Malloch Brown.

    "The Johannesburg Climate Legacy is one of the most high profile and inclusive carbon offset projects ever undertaken worldwide. I welcome the World Bank, GEF and UNDP contribution," said Minister for the Environment of South Africa Valli Moosa.

    Saliem Fakir, who chairs the multi-stakeholder group overseeing the Johannesburg Climate Legacy noted the importance of raising awareness on the issue of climate change in South Africa and commend the organizations for taking a stand. "They are setting an example for the rest of the world by putting their money where their mouths are."

    The Chairman of the GEF Mohamed T. El-Ashry welcomed the opportunity to contribute to the initiative. "The GEF credo, he said, is to protect the global environment through partnerships between actors at the local level and those at the global level. One excellent way of promoting this credo is to ensure that the carbon footprint of each member of the GEF delegation at WSSD is offset in a manner beneficial to the people of South Africa through renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in that country."

    It is estimated that carbon emissions generated as a result of the WSSD will total 289,619 tonnes of carbon dioxide. The aim of the Climate Legacy is to raise US$5 million by September 2002 in order to mitigate the effects of the carbon emissions of the Summit. Businesses are invited to purchase Climate Legacy Certificates representing values from $1,000 to $100,000 while individuals can take part by buying $10 certificates online at

    Greening the WSSD

    The purpose of this project is to help raise the profile of environment and sustainable development issues by showcasing best practices and innovation, in the conduct of the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development, to be held from 26 August to 4 September. The Project aims to reduce the environmental imprint of the Summit. It also seeks to sensitize delegates attending the WSSD, and civil society and decision-makers in South Africa to challenges and opportunities evident in promoting sound environmental stewardship and sustainable development.

    The GEF, UNDP and the Government of South Africa are funding the project. It is being implemented by UNDP, and executed by the Gauteng Province Department of Agriculture, Conservation, Environment and Land Affairs in close partnership with the Johannesburg World Summit Company. The World Conservation Union in South Africa has been recruited as the Contracts Management Agency.

    For further information, please contact Ana Gerez at 1-212-906 6127 or JCL campaign coordinators Sue Welland 44 (0) 7802 653190 or Greg Moore at 44 (0) 20 7763 5995 .

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    Published by the United Nations Department of Public Information


    World Summit on Sustainable Development
    Johannesburg, South Africa
    26 August – 4 September 2002