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Summary report, 26 August – 4 September 2002


The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) met from 26 August – 4 September 2002, at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa. The WSSD’s goal, according to UN General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 55/199, was to hold a ten-year review of the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) at the Summit level to reinvigorate global commitment to sustainable development. The WSSD gathered 21,340 participants from 191 governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, the private sector, civil society, academia and the scientific community. The WSSD involved seven thematic Partnership Plenaries, statements by non-State entities, addresses by Heads of State and Government and other senior officials, four high-level Round Tables on the theme "Making It Happen," and a multi-stakeholder event.

The WSSD also negotiated and adopted two main documents: the Plan of Implementation and the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development. The negotiations began with two days of informal consultations on 24-25 August, and continued over the course of the WSSD. Major areas of disagreement included: time-bound targets for sanitation, renewable energy, energy subsidies, chemicals and health, natural resource degradation, biodiversity loss and fish stocks; Rio Principles 7 (common but differentiated responsibilities) and 15 (precautionary approach); governance; trade, finance and globalization; the Kyoto Protocol; and health and human rights.

The Plan of Implementation is designed as a framework for action to implement the commitments originally agreed at UNCED and includes eleven chapters: an introduction; poverty eradication; consumption and production; the natural resource base; health; small island developing States (SIDS); Africa; other regional initiatives; means of implementation; and institutional framework. The Johannesburg Declaration outlines the path taken from UNCED to the WSSD, highlights present challenges, expresses a commitment to sustainable development, underscores the importance of multilateralism and emphasizes the need for implementation.


The WSSD was held ten years after UNCED (3-14 June 1992, Rio de Janeiro). UNCED, also known as the Earth Summit, involved over 100 Heads of State and Government, representatives from 178 countries, and some 17,000 participants. The principal outputs of UNCED were the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, Agenda 21 – a 40-chapter programme of action, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and the Statement of Forest Principles.

Chapter 38 of Agenda 21 called for the creation of a Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) to: ensure effective follow-up to UNCED; enhance international cooperation and rationalize intergovernmental decision making; and examine progress in the implementation of Agenda 21 at all levels. In 1992, the 47th session of the UNGA set out in Resolution 47/191, the CSD’s terms of reference, composition, guidelines for NGO participation, organization of work, relationship with other UN bodies, and Secretariat arrangements. The CSD held its first meeting in June 1993 and has met annually since.

UNGASS-19: Also at its 47th session in 1992, the UNGA adopted Resolution 47/190, which called for a Special Session of the UNGA (UNGASS) to review implementation of Agenda 21 five years after UNCED. The 19th Special Session of the UNGA for the Overall Review and Appraisal of Agenda 21 (23-27 June 1997, New York) adopted the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 (A/RES/S-19/2). It assessed progress since UNCED, examined implementation, and established the CSD’s work programme for the period 1998-2002.

PREPCOM I: CSD-10, acting as the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the WSSD, (30 April - 2 May 2001, New York) adopted in its first session decisions on: progress in WSSD preparatory activities at the local, national, regional and international levels; modalities of future PrepCom sessions; tentative organization of work during the WSSD; provisional rules of procedure; and arrangements for accreditation and participation of Major Groups. Emil Salim (Indonesia) was elected as Chair of the PrepCom.

NATIONAL, SUBREGIONAL AND REGIONAL PREPARATORY PROCESSES: National preparatory committees for the WSSD were established to undertake country-level reviews, raise awareness and mobilize stakeholders. Subregional and regional preparatory meetings were held between June 2001 and January 2002. Eminent Persons’ Round Tables took place in all five UN regions, and regional preparatory meetings were held for Europe/North America, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, West Asia, Asia and the Pacific, as well as for SIDS.

PREPCOM II: PrepCom II (28 January - 8 February 2002, New York) conducted a comprehensive review of progress achieved in implementing Agenda 21, and agreed that the Chairman’s paper produced from discussions at this session would serve as the basis for negotiation at PrepCom III. PrepCom II also adopted its report (E/CN.17/2002/PC.2/L.1), containing the Chairman’s Summaries of PrepCom II and the Multi-stakeholder Dialogue Segment, as well as Proposals for Partnerships/Initiatives to Strengthen the Implementation of Agenda 21 (Type II outcomes).

PREPCOM III: PrepCom III (25 March - 5 April 2002, New York) held preliminary discussions on the revised informal paper on sustainable development governance, began consideration of Type II outcomes, and considered the Chairman’s paper (A/ CONF.199/PC/L.1) transmitted from PrepCom II. Delegates submitted amendments to the Chairman’s paper, resulting in the production of a compilation text. Delegates mandated Chair Salim to prepare a revised paper for consideration at PrepCom IV. At the closing Plenary, Vice-Chairs circulated an explanatory note on Further Guidance for Partnerships/Initiatives containing guidelines on Type II outcomes.

PREPCOM IV: PrepCom IV (27 May - 7 June 2002, Bali) was preceded by informal consultations held on 25-26 May to consider the Revised Chairman’s Paper (A/CONF.199/PC/L.1/Rev.1). During the session, delegates produced the draft Plan of Implementation for the WSSD (A/CONF.199/PC/L.5/Rev.1), which was transmitted to Johannesburg for further negotiation. They also agreed on the modalities for the organization of work during the WSSD (A/CONF.199/PC/L.7) and, based on consultations, mandated PrepCom Chair Salim to prepare elements for a political declaration. Round-the-clock negotiations by ministers during the last three days of the session failed to produce consensus on key aspects of the plan, particularly on energy, trade, finance and globalization.


The WSSD opened on Monday morning, 26 August 2002. WSSD Secretary-General Nitin Desai welcomed participants and opened the meeting. Thabo Mbeki, President of the Republic of South Africa, was elected President of the WSSD by acclamation. President Mbeki characterized the growing gap between North and South as global apartheid and highlighted the crises of poverty and ecological degradation. He called for a practicable and meaningful Johannesburg Plan of Implementation to fulfill the framework of Agenda 21 and emphasized the conference theme of "People, Planet and Prosperity."

Desai stated that the WSSD is the last meeting in a cycle of global conferences held over the past decade. He highlighted the relevance of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha Ministerial and the International Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey, and stressed the importance of addressing social, environmental and economic problems.

UNEP Executive Director Klaus Töpfer noted progress since Rio in achieving sustainability, but said new scientific evidence of global environmental change required a quantum increase in efforts. He characterized the WSSD as a summit of implementation, accountability and partnership. Töpfer identified the root causes of global environmental degradation, including pervasive poverty and inequitable distribution of wealth, and therefore underscored the theme of "environment for development."

Delegates adopted the provisional rules of procedure (A/ CONF.199/3) and the provisional agenda (A/CONF.199/1). Delegates elected by acclamation 25 Vice-Presidents: Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda for African States; Hungary, Romania, the Russian Federation, Slovenia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia for Eastern European States; Antigua and Barbuda, Brazil, Cuba, Mexico and Peru for Latin American and Caribbean States; Belgium, Denmark, Germany, New Zealand and Norway for Western Europe and Other States; and Iran, Iraq, Maldives, Pakistan and Samoa for Asian States (elected 28 August). Delegates also elected South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as ex officio Vice-President, Emil Salim (Indonesia) as Chair of the Main Committee, and Maria Cecilia Rozas (Peru) as Rapporteur-General.

From 26-29 August, Partnership Plenaries were convened to address the "WEHAB" issues (Water and sanitation, Energy, Health and environment, Agriculture, and Biodiversity and ecosystem management), cross-sectoral issues and regional implementation. On 29-30 August, non-State entities addressed the Plenary. From 2-4 September Heads of State and Government and other senior officials addressed the Plenary and participated four Round Tables on the theme "Making It Happen."

Negotiations on the draft Plan of Implementation started with informal consultations on 24-25 August and continued until the evening of Tuesday, 3 September, in a number of fora including: the Main Committee; the Vienna setting – tasked by the Main Committee to conduct negotiations; the Johannesburg setting – ministerial consultations; two contact groups; and numerous "bubbles" – informal consultations on specific topics. The Political Declaration was circulated on 2 and 3 September for informal consultations.

The closing Plenary met on the afternoon of 4 September for a multi-stakeholder event, adoption of the Plan of Implementation and the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development, and the official closure of the WSSD.


On 14 May 2002, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan proposed the "WEHAB Initiative" for the WSSD, outlining five themes: water and sanitation, energy, health, agriculture, and biodiversity. Relevant UN agencies prepared WEHAB Framework Papers in August 2002 to provide focus and catalyze action on the WEHAB issues. Seven partnership plenaries on the WEHAB issues, cross-cutting issues and regional implementation took place during the first week of the WSSD. They included presentations by experts and commentary by panels of resource persons, followed by comments from delegates. Minister Dlamini-Zuma, Srganj Kerim (former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) and Rosa Elena Simeon (Cuba) presided over the sessions. Summaries of the Partnership Plenaries were adopted with the meeting’s report (A/CONF.199/ L.2/Add.1-3).

HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT: David Nabarro, World Health Organization, stated that improved health is crucial to poverty alleviation and sustainable development, and underscored: ensuring that health systems respond to public needs; broadening inter-sectoral involvement; improving access to affordable health services; and improving monitoring, evaluation and risk assessment capacity. Discussions highlighted: the need to address emerging and re-emerging diseases; access to adequate and affordable sanitation and health services; and the importance of reproductive health, indigenous knowledge, population dynamics and gender. Panel members called for: cross-sectoral cooperation; commitments to change international trade practices that prevent access to affordable drugs; investment in research for new drugs and vaccines; and attention to childhood health through vaccination, prevention and education programmes.

BIODIVERSITY AND ECOSYSTEM MANAGEMENT: Peter Schei, Special Advisor to UNEP, and Hamdallah Zedan, Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), supported: indicative targets and mainstreaming for sectoral integration; local and indigenous peoples' involvement; coordination of environmental agreements; and mutually supportive global trade and environmental policies. Delegates and resource persons highlighted: enhanced coordination among multilateral agreements and with the WTO; policies and development models that incorporate ecosystem management and poverty alleviation; time-bound targets on stopping biodiversity loss; benefit-sharing; and increased data collection and sharing, including through ecological networks at the national, regional and local levels.

AGRICULTURE: M.S. Swaminathan, M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, and Pedro Sanchez, Millennium Development Goals Hunger Task Force, highlighted agriculture’s role in guarding against poverty and the potential of small-scale farming cultures. Delegates and speakers called for: trade policies that support micro-enterprises; value-added agricultural products; and redirection of agricultural subsidies to poverty and hunger eradication. Discussions also highlighted: the role of women and gender equity; limitations on patent protection; protection of traditional farming; infrastructure development and credit financing in rural areas; land tenure stabilization; and technology transfer.

CROSS-SECTORAL ISSUES: Panelists and delegates discussed: finance and trade, technology transfer, consumption and production patterns, education, science, capacity building and information. They noted that UN agencies can help with information-gathering and dissemination, education and the integration of scientific and traditional knowledge. Speakers also discussed the implications of Doha, globalization, scientific progress, and the divide between rich and poor. Several speakers stressed the need for: financial assistance; improved market access; debt relief; funds for halting desertification; links between poverty and consumption; and the role of cultural values in development.

WATER AND SANITATION: Margaret Catley-Carlson, Global Water Partnership, and Gourisankar Ghosh, Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, underscored the need for an multi-sectoral, people-centered, integrated water resource management approach. Speakers highlighted the importance of: regional management of water resources; access to clean water; the linkage between sanitation and poverty reduction; capacity-building and awareness programmes; and appropriate pricing based on end-users’ financial resources.

ENERGY: Stephen Karekezi, African Energy Policy Research Network, and Thomas Johansson, International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics, stressed the benefits of small-scale energy investments; the importance of targets and timetables for energy access and renewables; and energy policies that include capacity building, energy efficiency, and mechanisms to improve markets. Speakers supported: binding targets on renewables and energy efficiency; phase out of subsidies; and linkages between energy access, gender equity and health. They also addressed the role of small-scale hydro-power and the Kyoto Protocol’s entry into force.

REGIONAL IMPLEMENTATION: James Gus Speth, Yale University, described the five UN regional commissions, highlighting their potential role in WSSD follow-up and ability to bridge global and national-level work. Panelists and speakers elaborated on the work of the regional commissions in their role to help: reduce duplication; protect shared ecosystems; and attract financing. They also supported regional and subregional actions to promote sustainable development; strengthening south-south cooperation; and the centrality of good governance. Discussion also noted that regional conflicts compromise sustainable development efforts, and that conflict harms the land and environment and distorts resource use.


Four Round Tables took place from 2-4 September under the theme "Making It Happen," ensuring fulfillment of Agenda 21, the Rio conventions, the UN Millennium Summit and the WSSD commitments. The Secretariat transmitted a discussion paper (A/ CONF.199/L.5) to guide deliberations among world leaders. The paper contained five sets of questions regarding: resource mobilization; institutional coherence, responsiveness to developing-country needs and to integration of sustainable development; regional and global cooperation on WEHAB issues; integrating science in decision making and access to critical technologies; and the WSSD’s role in strengthening global solidarity.

A report on the round tables (A/CONF.199/L.2/Add.4) was adopted in the closing Plenary on 4 September.

During the Round Tables, Heads of State and Government, other officials and Major Groups representatives shared perspectives on sustainable development priorities, described domestic programmes, and announced or recommended new international initiatives. Key economic themes included: poverty alleviation; indebtedness; trade, subsidies, tariffs and commodity prices; the impact of financial crises; adequacy and constancy of existing and new financial resources; the portion of dedicated official development assistance (ODA) actually disbursed in target countries; benefit sharing; and production and consumption patterns.

Some underscored particular environmental concerns, such as oceans, fisheries, mountains, small islands and desertification. Participants also highlighted social and cultural issues including:

  • education, capacity building and technology transfer;
  • cultural identity and protection of indigenous peoples’ rights and knowledge;
  • employment;
  • participatory decision making including women, youth, farmers and local authorities;
  • opportunities to hear from least-developed countries; and
  • peace and security.

Some participants called for greater synergy among the Rio conventions; implementation of existing commitments, including the Kyoto Protocol and the use of the Clean Development Mechanism; and formation of an organization to integrate science and policy as they pertain to sustainable development. Other speakers called for WSSD follow-up processes or monitoring systems to track progress towards sustainable development. Some speakers stressed holistic thinking and cross-sectoral institutional structures, such as involvement of environment ministers in development decisions. Other proposals included:

  • creation of markets for environmental services;
  • repatriation of government funds;
  • a "Marshall Plan" for sustainable development;
  • experimentation with a global development tax;
  • creation of international grant-giving foundations;
  • use of the Global Reporting Initiative; and
  • improved coordination among UN agencies.

New partnerships were announced to address energy, water, forests, communications technology, health, children, and indoor and outdoor air pollution. Many leaders supported one developing country’s call for an international humanitarian fund, potentially financed from debt cancellation, funds confiscated from illegal activities and taxes on financial transactions and weapons sales.


From 29-30 August, non-State entities delivered presentations to the Plenary. Speakers included approximately 43 UN agencies and intergovernmental bodies, 23 regional and other governmental bodies, and 31 non-governmental organizations.

From 2-4 September, Heads of State and Government and other senior government officials addressed the Plenary. The following 82 Heads of State and Government spoke: Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Belgium, Benin, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Cape Verde, China, Commission of the European Community, Comoros, Congo, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Denmark, Dominica, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Palau, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Swaziland, Sweden, Tanzania, Togo, Turkey, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Venezuela, Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Yugoslavia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Thirty Vice-Presidents and Deputy Prime Ministers, and 74 ministers, royalty and other senior officials also spoke.

Editor’s Note: Text and video coverage of speakers organized by day is available at


Negotiations to finalize the draft Plan of Implementation (A/ CONF.199/L.1) started on 24-25 August during informal consultations held prior to the WSSD. These discussions were chaired by Amb. Dumisani Kumalo (South Africa) and conducted in the "Vienna setting," a format modeled after the final negotiations on the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety involving spokespersons for the major negotiating groups. This set of informal negotiations conducted an initial review of bracketed language and created two contact groups: one on means of implementation addressing issues regarding trade, finance and globalization; and the other on governance focusing on institutional frameworks.

On 26 August, the Main Committee, chaired by Emil Salim, met briefly and then reconvened the Vienna setting to continue its deliberations. The Vienna setting met daily through Friday, 30 August, reviewing the outstanding paragraphs and tasking small group consultations to resolve text on issues including: Rio Principles 7 (common but differentiated responsibilities) and 15 (precautionary approach), energy, chemicals, climate, Africa, consumption and production, and sanitation. The two contact groups established during the informal consultations also met on a regular basis.

On Saturday, 31 August, South African Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism Valli Moosa convened a ministerial-level meeting to discuss progress and start addressing the key outstanding issues. This ministerial negotiating format was labeled the "Johannesburg setting," which met all day and evening on 31 August, and then in a significantly smaller format all day and evening on 1 September. On 2 September, informal consultations proceeded throughout the day on outstanding issues regarding energy and concluded in the evening. The Vienna setting reconvened on 3 September to review and adopt text, which was forwarded that evening to the Main Committee for resolution of the final issues regarding health.

The following report summarizes the WSSD’s negotiations on the outstanding paragraphs in the Plan of Implementation. Issues discussed as clusters and related to multiple chapters have been summarized under the most relevant chapter with appropriate references placed in the related chapters.

Editor’s Note: Numeric references in parentheses refer to paragraphs in the draft Plan of Implementation forwarded from PrepCom IV (A/CONF.199/L.1). The final text will be availble at

I. INTRODUCTION: The introduction reaffirms the outputs of UNCED and states that the intent of the implementation plan is to build thereon. It acknowledges that implementation of the plan should benefit all, and that good governance, peace, security and stability are essential to attain sustainable development.

Two of five paragraphs contained brackets following PrepCom IV. Outstanding issues concerned the Rio Principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, and human rights, ethics and sustainable development.

Rio Principles: The Rio Principles of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and the precautionary approach were issues that cross-cut several chapters of the Plan of Implementation. After initial discussions the Vienna setting referred discussion on the Rio Principles to informal consultations chaired by South Africa. By 31 August the issues was referred to the Johannesburg setting for resolution.

Common but Differentiated Responsibilities: Rio Principle 7, the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR), reads, "[S]tates shall cooperate in a spirit of global partnership to conserve, protect and restore the health and integrity of the Earth’s ecosystem. In view of the different contributions to global environmental degradation, States have common but differentiated responsibilities."

Following PrepCom IV, the draft Plan of Implementation contained numerous unresolved references to the CBDR principle including in the context of: a general commitment to concrete actions (2); sustainable consumption and production patterns (13); implementing the recommendations of CSD-9 (19); cooperating to reduce air pollution (37); implementing Agenda 21 and achieving internationally agreed development goals (75); strengthening the institutional framework for sustainable development (120); and establishing modalities for operationalizing CBDR (138(c)).

Within the Vienna setting the CBDR issue was referred to small group consultations where consensus emerged on introducing the principle with the language, "taking into account" or "bearing in mind" "the Rio Principles, including, inter alia, the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities." Delegates could not agree on the reference to the need for, placement of, and language on the CBDR principle in paragraph 75. The G-77/China highlighted the importance of retaining the reference to the CBDR principle in the context of finance. Hungary noted that the CBDR principle applies only in the environmental context. The US with Australia and Japan noted that the CBDR principle is irrelevant in the section on finance. They opposed singling out the CBDR principle as all 27 Rio Principles are important.

The relevant CBDR text was referred to the Johannesburg setting, where a "CBDR package" was finally agreed. As part of the package delegates agreed to language in paragraph 75, taking into account "including in particular the Principle of common but differentiated responsibilities," and quoting Rio Principle 7 in its entirety. Delegates also agreed to paragraphs: undertaking actions and enhancing international cooperation, taking into account the Rio Principles, including, inter alia, the principle of CBDR (2); sustainable consumption and production with developed countries, taking the lead and with all countries benefiting from the process, taking in to account the Rio Principles, including, inter alia, the principle of CBDR (13); and implementing conclusions of CSD-9 and enhancing cooperation to reduce air pollution bearing in mind that in view of the different contributions to global environmental degradation, States have CBDR (19 and 37). Paragraph 138(b) and the reference to CBDR in paragraph 120 were deleted.

Precautionary Approach: Rio Principle 15 reads, "[I]n order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental damage."

Following PrepCom IV, the draft Plan of Implementation contained several unresolved references to precautionary language including in the context of: sound management of chemicals throughout their life cycle (22); protection of the ecosystem (23); and decision-making to protect environment and health (45(e), 45(e)alt and 93(e)).

The issue was referred to small group consultations but as delegates could not agree, it was referred to the Vienna and Johannesburg settings. Numerous disagreements persisted including on: the use of the term "precautionary principle"; a reference to other international agreements; the application of precaution to protect health; the use of precaution for trade protectionist purposes; and a reference to risk assessment and management.

On terminology, the US and Japan supported using the term "precautionary approach," as it is the term used in Rio Principle 15 while the EU and Norway supported the term "precautionary principle" as numerous international agreements entered into since Rio reference and develop the concept of precaution including, inter alia, the WTO Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Agreement and the Biosafety Protocol. After a lengthy debate, delegates agreed to use the term precautionary approach.

The EU, Norway and Switzerland supported a reference to other international agreements, so as to reflect international legal developments since Rio, while the US opposed it stating that these agreements do not bind everyone and, with Australia, added that some countries use the notion of precaution to exclude products from other countries.

On the question of whether precaution should be applied to protect the environment alone or health as well, the EU supported a reference to health, while the US opposed it noting that Principle 15 applied to environmental decision-making and while he could accept its application to health if linked with environment, he could not accept its application to protect health more generally.

As part of the "precaution package," in the context of decision-making (93(e)bis) delegates agreed to language, "reaffirming the precautionary approach as set out in Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration," and quoting the principle in its entirety. The reference to other international agreements was deleted.

Regarding chemicals (22), the EU, Hungary and Switzerland emphasized the need to refer to risk assessment and risk management in ensuring chemicals are used and produced in ways that minimize adverse effects on human health and environment. Delegates agreed on a proposal by the G-77/China to reflect language from CSD-8, indicating use of "transparent science-based risk assessment procedures, as well as science-based risk management procedures, taking in to account the precautionary approach." Paragraph 45(e) was deleted.

Human Rights and Ethics: Discussions on human rights and sustainable development (5) were undertaken as a package together with paragraphs 88bis, 88ter and 98bis, dealing with foreign occupation, human rights, and terrorism, and which were indicated in the draft Plan of Implementation as agreed "in informal consultations" during PrepCom IV. These paragraphs were agreed to, with the final text in the introduction acknowledging that "respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to development, as well as cultural diversity" are essential to sustainable development.

As reflected in the comments on the draft Plan of Implementation (A/CONF.199/CRP.1), a Working Group Co-Chair at the closing Plenary of PrepCom IV, noted that a paragraph on ethics and sustainable development having been set aside for consultations, did not appear in the draft Plan. This paragraph acknowledging the importance of ethics for sustainable development, and emphasizing the need for concrete actions to promote discussion on the issue in relevant international forums, was accepted with amendment to the reference on international fora. The final text follows paragraph 5 and states the need to consider ethics in the implementation of Agenda 21.

Final Text: In relation to the introduction, the Plan of Implementation contains the following key commitments and acknowledgements:

  • commitment to the Rio Principles;
  • full implementation of Agenda 21 and internationally agreed development goals;
  • implementation of the outcomes benefiting and involving all actors;
  • good governance is essential;
  • the necessity of peace, security, stability and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to development, as well as respect for cultural diversity; and
  • the importance of ethics for sustainable development.

II. POVERTY ERADICATION: This chapter states that poverty eradication is the greatest global challenge, and presents targets and timetables for poverty eradication.

Outstanding issues included: establishment of a world solidarity fund for poverty eradication; improved access to indigenous people and their communities to economic activities; a target for improved sanitation; improved access to energy services; and International Labor Organization (ILO) core labor standards.

World Solidarity Fund: Discussions on the world solidarity fund (6(b)) were referred to small group consultations during the informal consultations prior to the WSSD, and throughout the first week of the Summit. After delegates failed to reach agreement, the issue was addressed and resolved in the Johannesburg setting.

Supported by the G-77/China, establishment of a world solidarity fund was opposed by the EU, who said they needed to meet their existing financial ODA commitments before establishing a new fund, and Norway, who stated that developing countries needed resources, not another mechanism. The G-77/China clarified that it was not proposing a new international mechanism, suggesting a fund within the UN system. Argentina further noted that developing countries needed a fund because globalization had exacerbated poverty. Australia signaled support if the fund remained voluntary. Ministers accepted the text as originally formulated in the draft Plan of Implementation, agreeing to establish the fund.

Indigenous People: Delegates discussed and resolved this issue during the informal consultations prior to the WSSD. The Chair explained that the issue remained bracketed, as countries had indicated their wish to further reflect on the paragraph during PrepCom IV. The US agreed with the language, but questioned the need for a stand-alone paragraph. The G-77/China, opposed by Japan and the EU, suggested "indigenous peoples" as opposed to "indigenous people." The group adopted the existing text, which calls for improving the access of indigenous people and their communities to economic activities, and recognizing their dependence on renewable resources and ecosystems, including sustainable harvesting.

Sanitation: Remaining in brackets after PrepCom IV, were two alternative paragraphs: the first on whether to dramatically reduce or halve by 2015 the proportion of people lacking access to improved sanitation (7), and the other linking the Millennium Development Goal for safe drinking water with a related effort for improved sanitation (7 alt). This issue was discussed during the informal consultations prior to the WSSD, and in small group consultations throughout the first week of negotiations. Unable to reach consensus, delegates forwarded the paragraphs concerning the sanitation target to ministers in the Johannesburg setting.

During the informal consultations before the WSSD, the US, with the EU, the G-77/China and Japan, supported the linkage between water and sanitation. The group decided to address all paragraphs concerning the sanitation target (7, 7 alt and 24) collectively in small group consultations.

The small group chaired by Canada, agreed to delete paragraph 7 and base discussions on paragraph 7 alt. After two meetings and numerous bilateral consultations, the small group could not reach consensus on whether to "undertake a related effort," "a similar goal for," or to achieve a concrete time-bound goal to "halve by the year 2015 the proportion of" people without access to improved sanitation.

During the ministerial consultations, countries agreed on the importance of linking water with sanitation, but reiterated their position on whether to have a sanitation target. Stating that "soft recommendations" are insufficient, the EU and Norway underscored time-bound targets. Pakistan, with Saudi Arabia, stressed means of implementation, while the US noted that targets must be based on sound science. After some discussion, ministers agreed to the concept of a sanitation target halving by the year 2015, with paragraph 24 launching a programme of actions to meet the goal.

Energy Access: Bracketed text relating to energy (8) was discussed in small group consultations energy on throughout the WSSD, and brought to the ministerial level for resolution in the Johannesburg setting. The contentious point in this chapter concerned launching of a programme to improve energy access.

The EU recommended launching a programme of action with financial and technical assistance to improve energy access, stating that an action programme was concrete and measurable. The G-77/ China thought it was premature to launch a global action plan. The US noted the need to consider national circumstances. Ministers agreed to "take joint actions and improve efforts to work together at all levels" to improve energy access.

ILO Core Labor Standards: Delegates discussed language on ILO core labor standards during the informal consultations before the WSSD, and resolved it within the Vienna setting.

The G-77/China proposed replacing the original reference to "ILO core labor standards" with "respecting principles and rights established in the ILO conventions adopted or ratified by States." Switzerland, supported by the EU, proposed taking into account the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. This language was adopted.

Final Text: Agreed paragraphs in the chapter on poverty eradication refer to actions at all levels. In relation to poverty eradication, the Plan of Implementation contains the following key commitments: halve by 2015 the proportion of the world’s people living on less than US$1 a day and who suffer from hunger; and establish a world solidarity fund to eradicate poverty;

On water and sanitation, the Plan of Implementation agrees to halve by 2015 the proportion of people unable to reach or afford safe drinking water and who do not have access to basic sanitation.

In relation to energy access, the Plan of implementation contains the following key commitments:

  • take joint efforts to improve access to reliable and affordable energy services;
  • promote sustainable use of biomass; and
  • support transition to cleaner use of fossil fuels.

In relation to industrial development, the Plan of Implementation contains the following key commitments:

  • provide assistance to increase income-generating employment opportunities, taking into account the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work;
  • promote micro, small and medium-sized enterprises; and
  • enable rural communities to benefit from small-scale mining ventures.

In relation to slum dwellers, the Plan of Implementation contains the following key commitments:

  • improve access to land and property for the urban and rural poor;
  • use low-cost and sustainable materials and appropriate technologies to construct housing for the poor; and
  • support local authorities in slum upgrading programmes

In relation to child labor, the Plan of Implementation contains the following key commitments:

  • take immediate measures to eliminate the worst forms of child labor; and
  • promote international cooperation to assist developing countries requesting help in addressing child labor and its root causes.

III. CHANGING UNSUSTAINABLE PATTERNS OF CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION: This chapter proposes action to be taken by governments, relevant international organizations, the private sector and all major groups, to fundamentally change the way societies produce and consume resources with the goal of achieving global sustainable development. Bracketed provisions in this chapter related to sustainable consumption and production, energy and chemicals.

Sustainable Consumption and Production: The chapter contained bracketed provisions in the chapeau and subparagraphs relating to: the development of a 10-year work programme to accelerate the shift towards sustainable consumption and production (14); reference to using a life-cycle approach (14(c)); eco-labeling (14(e)); and the reduction, elimination or phase out of harmful and trade distorting subsidies that inhibit sustainable consumption and production patterns in developed countries (18(e)). These issues were initially discussed in the Vienna setting and then referred to small group consultations. Additionally, paragraphs relating to the Rio Principles (13), trade and finance (14(e) and 15(b)) were referred to other contact groups.

Within initial discussions, the EU, supported by Hungary, preferred maintaining the reference to the life-cycle approach in paragraph 14(c), while the US, Japan, South Korea and the G-77/ China opposed the reference. While there was general support for the use of consumer information tools, such as eco-labeling (14(e)), Australia, South Korea, New Zealand and the G-77/China preferred retaining language stressing the voluntary nature of these initiatives, whereas the EU, supported by Japan and Switzerland, stressed the importance of mandatory measures. Norway and Canada proposed inserting language suggesting "where appropriate." The informal group, facilitated by Samoa, met several times during the first week, but failed to reach consensus on all items.

Outstanding paragraphs were transmitted to the Johannesburg setting for the consideration of ministers. The Johannesburg setting adopted paragraph 14, encouraging and promoting the development of a 10-year framework of programmes in support of regional and national initiatives to accelerate the shift towards sustainable consumption and production, and adopted subparagraphs 14(c) to develop production and consumption policies using where appropriate, science based approaches such as life-cycle analysis, and 14(e) to develop and adopt, on a voluntary basis, consumer information tools to provide information relating to sustainable consumption and production.

Energy: The subparagraphs of this chapter contained bracketed provisions addressing; diversification of energy supply through the development of cleaner, efficient fossil fuels and a target to increase the global share of renewable energy (19(e)); the adoption of national level policies leading to timetables for progressively phasing out energy subsidies (19(p)bis); development and implementation of actions within the framework of CSD-9 (19(s)); and voluntary partnerships to promote reliable, affordable, economically viable, socially acceptable and environmentally sound energy technologies (19(w) and (w)alt). Informal consultations on energy, facilitated by Argentina, met numerous times throughout the first week.

After reporting back to the Vienna setting, the EU with Norway, New Zealand, Switzerland, Iceland, Tuvalu and Poland, speaking on behalf of Eastern Europe, supported time-bound targets for increasing renewable energy use. Iran, speaking on behalf of the G-77/China, opposed the proposal for renewable energy targets, suggesting that it was designed to meet the interest of developed countries and that it would divert attention away from the primary goal of ensuring universal access to energy services for the poor. The US, supported by Australia, Canada and Japan, voiced concern about the "one size fits all" approach and called on countries to adopt a flexible approach to increasing the use of renewable energy. On the removal of energy subsidies (19(p)bis), the US, supported by the G-77/China, Australia, Canada and Japan opposed language supporting a target and time-frame for phasing out subsidies, while the EU, Iceland, New Zealand and Norway noted that the removal of subsidies is an essential component of achieving energy for sustainable development. Chair Kumalo referred the issues back to informal consultations.

Consultations on energy remained deadlocked and were sent to the Johannesburg setting for discussion. After discussion in the Johannesburg setting and extensive informal ministerial consultations on 2 September resolution was reached on diversifying energy supply by developing advanced, cleaner, more efficient affordable and cost-effective energy technologies, including fossil fuels, renewable energy and hydro. The text on the renewable energy target was deleted and replaced with new language stressing "with a sense of urgency, substantially increase the global share of renewable energy sources, recognizing the role of national and voluntary targets," while no agreement could be reached on targets and timeframes for the phase out of subsidies, with delegates opting for text proposing "to reduce market distortions, through the use of improved market signals, including restructuring taxation and phasing out harmful subsidies, where they exist." On the role of the CSD-9 decision, the Johannesburg setting adopted text urging countries to develop and implement actions within the CSD-9 framework, including private-public partnerships in the field of access to energy, renewable energy, energy efficiency and advanced energy technologies.

Chemicals: The subparagraphs of this section contained bracketed text related to the sound management of chemicals and hazardous waste and for the protection of human health aiming to achieve the target date of 2020 to reduce the significant effects on human health and the environment (22); and provisions relating to determining an appropriate international response for reducing the human health and environmental risks posed by heavy metals (22(h)). During the informal consultations on 24-25 August, Canada, supported by Switzerland and Norway noted that reference to Chapter 19 of Agenda 21 would limit the scope of chemicals management and proposed including additional chapters of Agenda 21. Australia, Japan, South Korea and the US opposed the reference to the 2020 target noting that it was an arbitrary and unsubstantiated goal. The EU, supported by Hungary, Norway and Switzerland, stressed the importance of retaining a time-bound target.

In relation to paragraph 22(h), Chair Kumalo proposed removing the brackets "for the purpose of determining what international response if any is appropriate," and countries debated terminology regarding "reduction" and other qualifying language. In a subsequent session the G-77/China stated that they could not support the target date, while the EU stressed that the nature of implementation was based on the agreement on the target date. The US noted that it could support the target date with the insertion of qualifying language "significantly reduce."

At the Vienna setting delegates agreed to delete the bracketed text and subparagraph 22(h) was adopted. The Johannesburg setting adopted the chapeau of paragraph 22 including, a general reference to Agenda 21 without any specific mention of relevant chapters; the 2020 target date and the text calling for the "minimization" of significant adverse effects on human health and the environment.

Final Text: In relation to sustainable consumption and production, the Plan of Implementation contains the following key commitments:

  • increase eco-efficiency, with financial support for capacity building, technology transfer and exchange of technology with developing countries and countries with economies in transition;
  • increase investment in cleaner production and eco-efficiency in all countries through incentives and support schemes and policies directed at establishing appropriate regulatory, financial and legal frameworks;
  • provide incentives for investment in cleaner production and eco-efficiency in all countries, such as state-financed loans, venture capital and technical assistance;
  • integrate the issue of production and consumption patterns into sustainable development policies, programmes and strategies, including into poverty reduction strategies;
  • enhance corporate environmental and social responsibility and accountability; and
  • encourage financial institutions to incorporate sustainable development considerations into their decision-making processes.

In relation to energy for sustainable development, the Plan of Implementation contains the following key commitments:

  • promote the internalization of environmental costs and the use of economic instruments;
  • establish domestic programmes for energy efficiency;
  • accelerate the development, dissemination and deployment of affordable and cleaner energy efficiency and energy conservation technologies;
  • recommend that international financial institutions and other agencies’ policies support countries to establish policy and regulatory frameworks that create a level playing field;
  • support efforts to improve the functioning, transparency and information about energy markets with respect to both supply and demand;
  • strengthen and facilitate, as appropriate, regional cooperation arrangements for promoting cross-border energy trade;
  • implement transport strategies for sustainable development; and
  • promote investment and partnerships for the development of sustainable, energy efficient multi-modal transportation systems.

In relation to waste and chemicals management, the Plan of Implementation contains the following key commitments:

  • encourage countries to implement the new globally harmonized system for the classification and labeling of chemicals, with a view to having the system operational by 2008;
  • prevent and minimize waste and maximize reuse, recycling and use of environmentally friendly alternative materials;
  • develop waste management systems, with highest priorities placed on waste prevention and minimization, reuse and recycling, and environmentally sound disposal facilities;
  • promote the ratification and implementation of relevant international instruments on chemicals and hazardous waste; and
  • promote efforts to prevent international illegal trafficking of hazardous chemicals and hazardous wastes and to prevent damage resulting from the transboundary movement and disposal of hazardous wastes.

IV. PROTECTING AND MANAGING THE NATURAL RESOURCE BASE OF ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Most of this chapter had been agreed to at PrepCom IV. Outstanding issues remained in the chapeau regarding: reversing the trend in loss of natural resources; the precautionary approach; the ecosystem approach; and integration with other programmes and instruments. Other unresolved issues concerned: a sanitation target; implementation of UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS); sustainable fisheries; fish stocks target; fishing rights of developing coastal States; implementation of International Maritime Organization (IMO) instruments; disaster management; entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol; the CBDR Principle; phasing out of agricultural subsidies; combating illicit crops; the Global Environment Facility (GEF) as the financial mechanism of the Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD); a time-bound target for reducing the rate in biodiversity loss; and negotiation of an international regime for benefit sharing.

Natural Resources: Throughout the first week of negotiations, delegates discussed various formulations of this chapter’s chapeau in informal consultations, small group consultations and in the Vienna setting. Unable to resolve contentious issues in these fora, delegates forwarded the paragraph to ministers in the Johannesburg setting. Outstanding text remained on reversing the trend in loss of natural resources, a time-bound target date, and references to the ecosystem and precautionary approaches. (See section on Rio Principles).

The EU, Norway and Switzerland stressed a time-bound target for reversing the trend in natural resource degradation, and supported retaining reference to the ecosystem and precautionary approaches. The G-77/China contested language on reversing the trend and, with Australia, Japan and the US, opposed the target date, citing the lack of a scientific basis for measuring natural resource degradation. Canada supported retaining the goal of reversing the trend and considering the ecosystem approach, but requested deleting the target date.

During the Johannesburg setting, Switzerland highlighted that the 2015 target date had been agreed by CBD COP-6. The Chair tabled a proposal, which did not include a target date or references to the ecosystem and precautionary approaches. This formulation was supported by Australia, the G-77/China, and the US, and opposed by the EU. After much debate, ministers accepted the Chair’s proposal with an amendment. The final text states that to reverse the current trend in natural resource degradation, it is necessary to implement strategies that include targets adopted at the national "and, where appropriate," regional levels to protect ecosystems and to achieve integrated management of land, water and living resources.

Sanitation: Discussions on the sanitation target in paragraph 24 are outlined in the section on Poverty Eradication.

Oceans: Outstanding paragraphs from PrepCom IV on oceans included reference to UNCLOS, a target for restoring depleted fish stocks, fishing rights and the IMO. These issues were generally addressed and resolved within the informal consultations preceding the WSSD and in the Vienna Setting. Delegates resolved text on UNCLOS (29(a)) after the Chair proposed lifting the brackets around inviting States "to ratify or accede to and fully implement the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea," and delegates supported the US’s proposal to delete the word "fully."

Discussions on the chapeau of the paragraph on sustainable fisheries (30) were held in conjunction with negotiations on paragraph 30(e) on fishing rights in the informal consultations prior to the Summit and within the Vienna setting. After language in 30(e) was resolved, delegates agreed to drop the reference to "equitable" fisheries, in the chapeau as part of the package deal. The final text reads "to achieve sustainable fisheries, the following actions are required at all levels."

Delegates resolved the issue of establishing a target for depleted fish stocks (30(a)) at the informal consultations prior to the WSSD. The EU supported, while Canada, the G-77/China, Japan, South Korea, and the US opposed, the setting of an unqualified target date for maintaining or restoring depleted fish stocks to levels producing maximum sustainable yield. Those opposing stated that targets should be based on sound science, to which New Zealand proposed setting timetables on a "scientific and species-specific basis." The Chair suggested language to achieve goals for depleted stocks "on an urgent basis, not later than by 2015." Delegates agreed to this suggestion with amendments by the US. The final text agrees to achieve goals "on an urgent basis and where possible not later than 2015."

After small group consultations between the key delegations, the issue of fishing rights was resolved within the Vienna setting. Outstanding from PrepCom IV was the issue of fishing rights of developing coastal States when allocating the share of fishery resources. Several delegations requested clarification on whether there are specific rights regarding fisheries within existing international law, stating that new language on rights would set a precedent. The US, supported by Japan, urged using UNCLOS language giving due consideration to the "rights, duties, and interests of coastal States and the special requirements of developing States," while South Korea supported consideration of developing coastal States. Delegates agreed to adhere to UNCLOS language, and after a brief debate on whether to reference the specific UNCLOS article in the text, decided against it.

Delegates resolved language on the IMO (33(a)) during the informal consultations prior to the WSSD, agreeing on urging the IMO to consider stronger mechanisms to secure implementation of IMO instruments by flag States.

Disaster Management: Delegates resolved this issue at the informal consultations prior to the WSSD, agreeing to existing text (35(a)) on supporting the establishment of effective strategies and support for disaster management Alternative language in 35(a)bis was deleted.

Climate: The key outstanding provision on climate referred to a paragraph recalling the Millennium Declaration request to Heads of State and Government to resolve to make every effort to ensure the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol by 2002 (36). The Chair of the Vienna setting referred this paragraph to small group consultations and since no agreement emerged it was dealt with in the Johannesburg setting. Minister Moosa requested Japan to consult with interested delegations and seek consensus.

The US stressed that language urging all countries to ratify is unacceptable, and added that it does not accept the Kyoto Protocol. Argentina, Costa Rica, Cuba, the EU, Iceland, Japan, Mexico, Namibia, Norway and Uganda highlighted the serious threat posed by climate change, and noted that they had ratified the Protocol. Samoa highlighted the vulnerability of SIDS to climate change and, with others, urged sending a strong message on the Protocol.

Delegates agreed on text identifying the UNFCCC as the "key" instrument for addressing climate change; reaffirming the UNFCCC’s ultimate objective of stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system; and recalling the Millennium Declaration. It also contains the following reference to Kyoto ratification: "States that have ratified the Kyoto Protocol strongly urge States that have not already done so to ratify the Kyoto Protocol in a timely manner." Delegates also agreed on subparagraphs 36(a)-(i) identifying actions to address climate change.

Common but Differentiated Responsibilities: Discussions on common but differentiated responsibilities in the context of reducing air pollution (37) are outlined in the section on Rio Principles.

Agriculture: Bracketed text on achieving improvements in market access, phasing out export subsidies, and reductions in trade-distorting practices were considered together with other trade-related issues in the contact group on means of implementation.

Delegates resolved the language on illicit drug crops (38(o)) prior to the WSSD during the informal consultations. Debate focused on the terminology, with the G-77/China supporting "illicit crops," and the EU and Japan questioning the term, suggesting instead "illicit use of crops" and "illicit drug crops," respectively. Delegates concurred on language suggested by the G-77/China, based on the UN Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, to combat the "illicit cultivation of narcotic plants." Reference to enhanced access to international markets for regular goods for countries committed to combating the cultivation of such crops was deleted.

Desertification: Delegates reached consensus on this issue at the informal consultations prior to the WSSD. Discussions focused on establishing the GEF as a financial mechanism for the CCD, and were considered in a package together with paragraphs 122(e), 139(a) and (b), after some debate on whether to address GEF-related issues collectively. Countries that initially opposed the package, noted that 122(e), which dealt with GEF financing of projects addressing domestic benefits, was not related to the other paragraphs, which addressed strengthening the CCD. After the G-77/China agreed to drop paragraph 122(e) delegates agreed to call on the GEF Assembly to consider the GEF as a financial mechanism for the CCD. Subparagraphs 139(a) and (b) on strengthening the CCD in the chapter on enhancing the role of international institutions were deleted as part of the package.

Biodiversity: Discussed without resolution in informal consultations, bracketed text in the biodiversity paragraph was brought to the Johannesburg setting. The two outstanding issues were a time-bound target for reducing the rate of biodiversity loss, and a call for an international legally binding regime to promote and safeguard benefit sharing.

Canada, who facilitated informal consultations among ministers, put forth language building on CBD COP-6 including a 2010 target on reducing the rate of biodiversity loss, while bracketing reference to the benefit-sharing regime. Mexico presented an alternative proposal merging the 2010 target and the international legally binding benefit-sharing regime. This garnered support from the G-77/China and Brazil. Australia, together with the EU, Norway and the US, supported Canada’s formulation. Canada and Mexico held further consultations and tabled a new proposal acknowledging that a significant reduction in the current loss of biodiversity by 2010 will require provision of new and additional financial and technical resources to developing countries. Still in dispute was whether to call for a "legally binding" international regime. Australia, supported by Switzerland and the US, proposed "an international arrangement," and deletion of "legally binding." The G-77/China agreed to delete "legally binding," but stressed retaining reference to "regime." Mexico, together with India, re-emphasized the importance of a legally binding regime, with Mexico stating that voluntary guidelines are insufficient. The US stated that a legally binding instrument would have implications on both the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement and the WTO. Ministers concurred on calling for "an international regime."

Final Text: Agreed paragraphs in the chapter on protecting and managing the natural resource base of economic and social development refer to actions at all levels. The chapeau of this section agrees to reverse the current trend in natural resource degradation where possible. In relation to water resources, the Plan of Implementation contains the following key commitments:

  • launch a programme of actions to achieve safe drinking water and sanitation goals;
  • mobilize international and domestic financial resources, transfer technology, promote best practices and support capacity building;
  • promote and provide new and additional financial resources and innovative technologies to implement Chapter 18 of Agenda 21; and
  • develop integrated water resource management and water efficiency plans by 2005;

In relation to oceans, the Plan of Implementation contains the following key commitments:

  • where possible, maintain or restore depleted fish stocks to maximum sustainable yield levels not later than 2015;
  • eliminate subsidies contributing to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and to over-capacity;
  • implement the Ramsar Convention;
  • implement the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities; and
  • establish a regular process under the UN for global reporting and assessment for the state of the marine environment by 2004.

On air pollution, the Plan of Implementation agrees to improve access by developing countries to alternatives to ozone-depleting substances by 2010.

On desertification, the Plan of Implementation calls on the GEF to designate land degradation as a focal area of GEF and to consider making GEF a financial mechanism for the CCD.

In relation to biodiversity, the Plan of Implementation contains the following key commitments:

  • achieve by 2010 a significant reduction in the current rate of biodiversity loss; and
  • negotiate an international regime to promote and safeguard the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources.

On forests, the Plan of Implementation commits to take immediate action on domestic forest law enforcement and illegal international trade in forest production.

In relation to mining, the Plan of Implementation supports efforts to address the environmental, economic, health and social impacts of mining, minerals and metals and calls for fostering sustainable mining practices.

V. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN A GLOBALIZING WORLD: Discussions on this chapter focused on the characteristics of globalization and corporate responsibility.

Negotiations on globalization began in a contact group, chaired by Amb. John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda), which first convened during the informal consultations prior to WSSD. The contact group continued its work until 29 August. Discussion on globalization was then taken up in the Johannesburg setting, with input from informal consultations led by Ashe.

In the discussion on characterizing globalization, the US offered text from the outcome of the UN Special Session on Children. The EU cautioned that the WSSD would fail to meet the expectations of its constituencies if it did not include a current assessment of globalization. The G-77/China also pressed for the use of agreed language from World Summit on Social Development +5. The EU and the G-77/China supported the introduction of new text on corporate responsibility. The text was discussed at length in an informal contact group, where an interpretive statement was agreed, in an attempt to ensure that follow-up actions would be conducted within existing agreements. This was contested by Ethiopia, Norway and others at the final meeting of the Main Committee.

Final Text: The chapter contains an introductory paragraph which characterizes globalization, acknowledging that serious challenges include financial crises, insecurity, poverty, exclusion and inequality, and calling for national and international level policies. The first paragraph also offers support for the successful completion of the work programme in the Doha Ministerial Declaration, implementation of the Monterrey Consensus, encourages efforts to ensure that decision-making is open and transparent, supports enhanced capacity for developing countries to benefit from liberalized trade opportunities, supports the ILO’s ongoing work on the social dimension of globalization, and calls for enhanced delivery of trade-related technical assistance and capacity building. Other paragraphs call for:

  • active promotion of corporate responsibility and accountability, based on the Rio Principles;
  • strengthening developing country capacity to encourage public/private initiatives that enhance the ease of access, accuracy, timeliness and coverage of information on countries and financial markets;
  • strengthening regional trade and cooperation agreements; and
  • assisting developing countries and economies in transition in narrowing the digital divide.

VI. HEALTH AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Most paragraphs in this chapter were agreed to at PrepCom IV. Disagreement persisted, however, on whether a paragraph referring to strengthening the capacity of health-care systems to deliver basic health services to all, consistent with national laws and cultural and religious values (47), had been agreed. At the closing Plenary of PrepCom IV Canada with Australia, the EU, Sweden, and Switzerland noted that contrary to the indication in the draft Plan of Implementation, paragraph 47 had not been agreed. Canada proposed introducing the phrase, "and in conformity with all human rights and fundamental freedoms" into the text. The Canadian statement was recorded in a note by the Secretariat (A/CONF.199/CRP.1).

At the WSSD, Canada raised the issue in both the Vienna and Johannesburg settings. The US, the G-77/China and the Holy See noted that the paragraph had been agreed to and should not be reopened, while Canada referred to the note by the Secretariat and sought to reopen the text. Canada stressed that the proposed text is carefully designed to be in conformity with current human rights language, and finds reflection in internationally agreed documents, such as the outcome of the Special Session on Children. The EU, Hungary, Iceland, New Zealand, Norway, Mexico and Switzerland supported the Canadian position. Delegates discussed: the procedural propriety of reopening an issue indicated as agreed; the risk of delegates reopening other agreed issues; and the appropriate fora in which to raise the issue in.

Prior to the final Main Committee meeting Canada circulated its original proposal on paragraph 47, and a related proposal on paragraph 6(d). Paragraph 6(d) on promoting women’s access and participation in decision-making, eliminating violence and discrimination, and improving their status, health and economic welfare had been agreed ad referendum at PrepCom IV. Canada proposed introducing the language relating to the delivery of basic "health services" to all, consistent with national laws and cultural and religious values "and in conformity with all human rights and fundamental freedoms" in paragraph 6(d). After intense informal consultations, Chair Salim convened the Main Committee and presented a "package." Paragraph 6(d) was presented without the proposed Canadian amendment. Paragraph 47 was amended such that it would deliver "health-care services" rather than "health services," which would be "in conformity with human rights and fundamental freedoms, consistent with national laws and cultural and religious values." Related paragraph 58(a) in Chapter VIII (Sustainable Development for Africa) was amended such that it would promote "equitable access to health-care services" rather than "health-care and services." The package was adopted as presented.

In the closing Plenary, the US introduced an interpretative statement recording its view that the language relating to health-care services could not in any way be interpreted as supporting abortion. The Holy See, supported by numerous countries, stressed the inviolability of human life, while others highlighted the lack of gender sensitivity in the draft Plan of Implementation.

Final Text: Delegates agreed to strengthen the capacity of health-care services’ providers to deliver basic health-care services to all. Agreed commitments include actions at all levels to:

  • provide technical and financial assistance to developing countries and countries with economies in transition to implement the Health for All Strategy;
  • develop partnerships to improve global health literacy by 2010;
  • develop programmes to reduce infant/child mortality rates by two-thirds by 2015, and maternal mortality rates by three-fourths of the prevailing rate in 2000;
  • promote the preservation, development and use of effective traditional medicine knowledge and practices;

Delegates agreed to reduce the incidence of HIV prevalence among the young (15-24) by 25% in the most affected countries by 2005 and globally by 2010. Agreed commitments in this regard include:

  • providing resources to support the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; and
  • mobilizing public and encouraging private financial resources for research and development on diseases of the poor, such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

Delegates also agreed to target health impacts resulting from air pollution, with particular attention to women and children, and lead exposure.

VII. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF SMALL ISLAND STATES (SIDS): This chapter, which addresses the sustainable development challenges faced by SIDS, contained bracketed text dealing with initiatives to define and manage coastal areas and exclusive economic zones within the context of UNCLOS (52(c)); a target date of for reducing, preventing and controlling waste and pollution and managing their health-related impacts aimed at implementing the Global Plan of Action by 2004 (52(e)); and the development and promotion of efficient uses of available energy sources (53(b)). The Vienna setting agreed on the 2004 target to address pollution-related health impacts and the text on using energy sources in SIDS. The Vienna setting agreed to insert new text in paragraph 52(c) to include support in delimiting and managing the continental shelf beyond 200 miles from coastal baselines.

Final Text: The chapter recognizes the special needs of SIDS and calls for action in the following areas:

  • national and regional implementation with adequate financial resources, including through GEF focal areas;
  • technology transfer and assistance for capacity building;
  • sustainable fisheries management and strengthening regional fisheries management organizations;
  • supporting development and implementation of, inter alia, work programmes on marine and coastal biological diversity;
  • freshwater programmes;
  • development of community-based initiatives on sustainable tourism by 2004;
  • comprehensive hazard and risk management, disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness, and relief from the consequences of disasters, extreme weather events and other emergencies;
  • operationalization of economic, social and environmental vulnerability indices and related indicators;
  • mobilization of adequate resources and partnerships to address adaptation to the adverse effects of climate change, sea-level rise and climate variability;
  • capacity building and institutional arrangements to implement intellectual property regimes;
  • supporting the availability of adequate, affordable and environmentally-sound energy services and new efforts on energy supply and services by 2004;
  • a comprehensive review of the implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of SIDS in 2004; and
  • a request to the General Assembly to consider convening an international meeting for the sustainable development of SIDS.

VIII. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT FOR AFRICA: This chapter addresses the sustainable development challenges faced by African countries. The chapter contained bracketed provisions on protecting human rights, increasing energy access, ensuring access to health-care services, mobilizing financial resources to adapt to climate change, securing land tenure and resources rights, and conserving Africa’s biodiversity. During discussion in the Vienna setting these outstanding elements were referred to informal consultations led by Canada. Several paragraphs dealing with cross-cutting issues were referred to informal consultation and contact groups dealing with the Rio Principles, trade and finance (56(h)), climate change (56(k)), energy (56(j)(i) and (ii)) and health (58(a)). The Vienna setting agreed to delete the brackets in the chapeau (56) related to, inter alia, unsustainable debt burden, declining ODA levels and market access.

The outstanding paragraphs were discussed in the Johannesburg setting where delegates agreed on language to, inter alia, create an enabling environment at all levels to support sustained economic growth and development, and support African efforts for peace and stability consistent with respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms (56(a)). Informal consultations were held and agreement reached on support and access to health-care services (58(a)) as part of a package on health. (See chapter on Health and Sustainable Development).

Final Text: The chapter affirms the international community’s commitment to support sustainable development in Africa, through addressing the special challenges taking concrete actions to implement Agenda 21 in Africa, within the framework of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). The chapter highlights, inter alia,

  • supporting programmes and partnerships to ensure universal energy access to at least 35% of the African population within 20 years;
  • mobilizing resources to address Africa’s adaptation to the adverse impacts of climate change, including sea-level rise, climate variability and the development of national climate change strategies;
  • supporting the sustainable use, and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the use of Africa’s genetic resources;
  • promoting technology development and diffusion;
  • supporting land tenure;
  • increasing capacity to achieve internationally-agreed development goals related to education, hunger and food security;
  • bridging the digital divide and creating opportunities including access to infrastructure and technology transfer and application;
  • supporting sustainable tourism;
  • strengthening health care systems mobilizing financial support to make available necessary drugs and technology in a sustainable and affordable manner to control communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and diseases caused by poverty.

VIII bis. OTHER REGIONAL INITIATIVES: This chapter recognizes initiatives at the regional, subregional and trans-regional level to promote sustainable development. Most paragraphs were finalized at PrepCom IV. The only outstanding issue related to "the Regional Action Programme for Environmentally Sound and Sustainable Development and Kitakyushu Initiative for a Clean Environment," in the section on the Asia and the Pacific (70). Ministers deleted the brackets around the paragraph, following clarification.

Final Text: Sustainable Development in Latin America and the Caribbean: Actions in this section target actions to address biodiversity, water resources, vulnerabilities and sustainable cities, social aspects (including health and poverty), economic aspects (including energy) and institutional arrangements (including capacity building, indicators and participation of civil society) and encouraged actions that foster South-South cooperation.

Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific: The text calls for action in the following areas: capacity building for sustainable development; poverty reduction; cleaner production and sustainable energy; land management and biodiversity conservation; protection and management of and access to freshwater resources; oceans, coastal and marine resources and sustainable development of SIDS; and atmosphere and climate change.

Sustainable Development in the West Asia Region: The text endorses the following areas for further action: poverty alleviation; debt relief; and sustainable management of natural resources, including, inter alia, integrated water resources management, implementation of programmes to combat desertification, integrated coastal zone management, and land and water pollution control.

Sustainable Development in the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) Region: In order to address the three pillars of sustainable development in a mutually-reinforcing way, the region identified its priority actions in paragraphs 32-46 of a ministerial statement.

IX. MEANS OF IMPLEMENTATION: This chapter contains sections on finance, trade, technology transfer, capacity building and education. The sections on finance and trade were transmitted from PrepCom IV with multiple brackets in paragraphs on, inter alia, mobilizing financial resources, ODA commitments made in the Monterrey Consensus, GEF replenishment, the Doha Ministerial Conference, subsidies, and the mutual supportiveness of environment and trade.

Discussion on the non-trade-related elements were first taken up in the Vienna setting. The trade and finance elements were taken up for discussion by a contact group under the facilitation of Amb. John Ashe. He presented a revision of the Bali text on trade, finance and globalization as the basis for discussion, which integrated the present chapter on Sustainable Development in a Globalizing World into the section on Means of Implementation. His revisions were largely based on discussions from the "Friends of the Chair" meeting convened in New York in July. The G-77/China requested that the chapter on Sustainable Development in a Globalizing World be restored (See chapter on Sustainable Development in a Globalizing World). Outstanding issues were taken up in the Johannesburg setting with input from the informal consultations led by Ashe in conjunction with Minister Moosa and South Africa’s trade minister, Alexander Erwin.

On Ashe’s revised paper, the G-77/China felt that the balance achieved in Bali had been lost. They asked for the re-introduction of text from the Monterrey Consensus on: external debt; effective participation of developing countries in trade negotiations; tariffs; and the development dimension in trade negotiations. A US paragraph on good governance was moved to the chapter on the Institutional Framework.

In the finance discussion, there was disagreement over a reference to the Rio Principle of common but differentiated responsibilities in the introductory paragraph. The G-77/China objected to references to governance in a paragraph on mobilizing resources and described the notion of "sound macroeconomic policy" as subjective. The US and Japan objected to a proposed role for the UN Secretary-General in monitoring ODA.

In the trade section, much of the discussion reflected diverging views on the wisdom of going beyond agreed language, notably in the Doha Ministerial Declaration. For example, delegates disagreed on whether they should "work towards," "strongly encourage" or "commit" themselves to the objective of providing duty-free and quota-free access for exports from all least developed countries.

The EU noted that they had serious problems with text on reducing or phasing out environmentally-harmful and/or trade-distorting subsidies. The US introduced alternative text, welcomed by the EU, which called for the completion of the Doha Work Programme on subsidies.

There was prolonged debate on references to the mutual supportiveness of trade and environment, with a number of delegations wary of acknowledging a hierarchy in which trade would take precedence over the environment. Australia, with support from the US, preferred the insertion of text ensuring WTO compatibility of any trade or trade-related activities; while the EU responded by stating that its concerns grew with every new reference to the WTO in the relevant paragraph. The G-77/China rejected an EU proposal to include language on Sustainability Impact Assessments. The G-77/China called unsuccessfully for text on the establishment of an international "mechanism" to stabilize market prices for coping with the volatility of commodity prices and declining terms of trade.

Final Text: The section on Finance states that internationally-agreed development goals, including those in the Millennium Declaration and Agenda 21, require significant increases in financial resources as elaborated in the Monterrey Consensus, cites the CBDR principle and calls for implementing the outcomes of major UN conferences. The section also:

  • describes financial mobilization as a first step to ensuring that the twenty-first century becomes the century of sustainable development for all;
  • identifies the challenge of ensuring the internal conditions for savings and investment;
  • calls for the facilitation of greater flows of foreign direct investment to support developing countries;
  • recognizes that a substantial increase in ODA and other resources is required and calls for the delivery of the relevant ICFD commitments;
  • encourages more efficient and effective use of ODA;
  • addresses efforts to reform the international financial architecture to foster transparency and equity;
  • welcomes the third replenishment of the GEF;
  • calls for the exploration of ways to generate new public and private sources of finance; and
  • calls for a reduction of the unsustainable debt burden and for the speedy implementation of the enhanced Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative.

The section on trade recognizes the major role that trade can play in achieving sustainable development and eradicating poverty, and encourages WTO members to pursue the work programme agreed at the Fourth WTO Ministerial Conference. They are also encouraged to:

  • facilitate the accession of all developing countries;
  • implement substantial trade-related technical assistance and capacity-building measures and support the Doha Development Agenda Global Trust Fund;
  • implement the New Strategy for WTO Technical Cooperation; and
  • support the implementation of the Integrated Framework for Trade-Related Technical Assistance to Least Developed Countries.

It also calls for:

  • a determination to address developing country issues regarding the implementation of some WTO agreements and decisions;
  • the fulfillment of WTO members’ commitments, notably on market access;
  • fulfillment of a commitment to comprehensive WTO negotiations initiated under the Agreement on Agriculture, aiming, inter alia, to phase out all forms of export subsides;
  • developed countries to work towards duty-free and quota-free access for all least developed country (LDC) exports;
  • commitments to address trade-related issues and concerns affecting the integration of small, vulnerable economies;
  • capacity building for commodity-dependent countries to help them diversify; and
  • enhanced benefits for developing countries and countries with economies in transition from trade liberalization, including through public-private partnerships.

The section also calls for enhancing the mutual supportiveness of trade, environment and development, with a view to achieving sustainable development through actions at the WTO Committee on Trade and Environment and the WTO Committee on Trade and Development, the completion of the Doha work programme, and technical assistance through cooperation between the Secretariats of the WTO and UN bodies. The trade section also: encourages the voluntary use of environmental impact assessments and promotes mutual supportiveness between the multilateral trading system and environmental agreements, consistent with sustainable development goals, in support of the WTO work programme. The section also addresses:

  • the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health;
  • environmental measures as disguised restrictions on trade;
  • unilateral measures;
  • self-determination of peoples; and
  • the Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States.

Other sections address technology transfer, capacity building, education as a critical contribution to sustainable development, and access to environmental information and judicial and administrative proceedings.

X. INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Negotiations on Chapter X were held throughout the conference in an open-ended contact group co-chaired by Lars-Goran Engfeldt (Sweden) and Ositadinma Anaedu (Nigeria). This format, established during the PrepComs, was occasionally facilitated by Koen Davidse (Netherlands). The group met informally during the informal consultations prior to the WSSD, and remained in continuous session during the WSSD, with breaks for informal consultations among interested delegations.

The contact group addressed the most contentious issues, remaining from the preparatory process. These included:

  • wording of CBDR (120);
  • promoting the rule of law, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and strengthening of governmental institutions (121(d));
  • text on trade and finance (122(b) and (c));
  • expansion of the GEF mandate, resources and its potential role as a financial mechanism for the CCD (122(e), 139(a) and (b));
  • increased funds within multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) (122(f));
  • integration of the social dimension (122(g));
  • good governance at the international and national levels (123 and 146);
  • the role of the ECOSOC in following up WSSD and the Monterrey Consensus (122(f));
  • partnerships and their possible modalities;
  • operationalization of the CBDR principle (138(c));
  • non-discrimination among MEAs (139);
  • implementation of national strategies for sustainable development by 2005 (145(b));
  • guidelines on public access to information, decision-making and justice (151); and
  • the relationship between human rights and environmental protection (152).

Several paragraphs, such as on trade and finance, the GEF, and the CBDR remained in Chapter X pending their resolution in other contact groups. The question of domestic good governance put the G-77 and China at odds with developed countries, plaguing negotiations from the start. It was finally resolved through a package deal, offsetting the domestic aspect against the international trade and finance-related element of governance. The contact group failed to conclude negotiations on most of the important issues which were then referred to the Vienna setting and eventually to the Johannesburg setting.

The contact group was mandated by the Johannesburg setting to continue the deliberations and the Co-Chairs presented a compromise package proposal with new language on human rights, the social dimension, good governance, partnerships and access to information. However, delegates were unable to restart substantive negotiations, with the EU objecting to deletion, on procedural grounds, of several redundant paragraphs dealt elsewhere, as agreed to by the G-77/China and supported by the US and other delegations, and insisting on redrafting other text. Following the contact group’s lack of progress, the informal ministerial consultations took up the pending issues with Chair Moosa tabling a final package text on a "take it or leave it" basis. After discussion, delegates adopted the proposed language with two minor amendments.

Final Text: The chapter’s introduction states that an effective institutional framework for sustainable development at all levels is based on the "full implementation" of Agenda 21, WSSD outcomes, and other internationally-agreed development goals. It outlines objectives, including strengthening coherence, coordination, monitoring and increasing effectiveness and efficiency within and outside the UN system, enhancing participation, and strengthening capacities, especially in developing countries.

In the section on the international level, the chapter calls for: integrating sustainable development goals in the policies, work programmes and operational guidelines of UN agencies and international trade and finance institutions, "within their mandates"; strengthening collaboration within the UN system; implementing decisions on international environmental governance adopted by the UNEP Governing Council and inviting the UN General Assembly to address the issue of universal membership of the Governing Council; promoting good governance at the international level; and committing to the ideals of the UN and strengthening the UN and other multilateral institutions.

The chapter also calls for the UN General Assembly to adopt sustainable development as the key element of the overarching framework for UN activities.

The section on ECOSOC reaffirms its role in overseeing system-wide coordination and integration of the three pillars of sustainable development in the UN, and, inter alia, ensuring that there is a "close link" between its role in the follow-up of the Summit and to the Monterrey Consensus, "in a sustained and coordinated manner."

The chapter calls for enhancing the role of the CSD, including reviewing progress in the implementation of Agenda 21, addressing new challenges, and limiting the number of themes addressed in each session. The CSD should serve as a focal point for discussion of partnerships, consider more effective use of national reports and regional experiences, and exchange and promote best practices. It should also consider the scheduling and duration of intersessional meetings, while the practical modalities of CSD work programmes will be taken up at its next session.

The section on international institutions notes that their strengthening is an evolutionary process. It stresses the need to enhance coordination among them in implementing Agenda 21, WSSD outcomes, the sustainable development aspects of the Millennium Declaration, the Monterrey Consensus and the Doha Ministerial Declaration. It requests the UN Secretary-General to promote system-wide coordination by utilizing the UN System Chief Executives Board. It also emphasizes the need to support UNDP’s Capacity 21 programme and to strengthening cooperation among UNEP and other UN bodies, the specialized agencies, Bretton Woods Institutions and the WTO. It calls for streamlining the sustainable development meetings calendar, reducing the number of meetings in favor of implementation, and making greater use of information technologies.

The section on institutional arrangements at the regional level calls for the regional commissions to enhance their capacity, encourages multi-stakeholder participation, partnerships, and support for regional programmes.

The section on institutional frameworks at the national level notes that States should strengthen existing mechanisms, formulate strategies for sustainable development immediately and "begin their implementation by 2005," promote public participation and access to information, policy formulation and decision-making, promote the establishment of sustainable development councils, enhance national institutional arrangements for sustainable development, and the role and capacity of local authorities.

The last section calls for enhancing partnerships, including all major groups, acknowledges the "consideration being given to the possible relationship between environment and human rights, including the right to development," and urges youth participation.


The Johannesburg Declaration was discussed in informal consultations during the second week of the Summit. The "elements" of the declaration drafted at the Bali PrepCom were developed into a 69-paragraph text and circulated by the South Africans among several delegations and groups. On Monday, 2 September, it was formally tabled as an official document (A/ CONF.199/L.6), which later underwent two revisions. The completed text was issued in the final hours of the Summit as A/ CONF.199/L.6/Rev.2 with a corrigendum (Corr.1).

The South Africans sought views from delegations, and a large number of comments were conveyed, many noting that the initial draft Declaration was unnecessarily long and contained excessive detail. Delegates also commented on substantive items central to the negotiation of the Plan of Implementation. The pace of completing the Plan affected the timing of tabling the draft declaration, since the authors were striving for a text in a parallel drafting process, which would reflect maximum consensus and complement the Plan. Severe time constraints precluded negotiating the text, thus leaving the final product to the discretion of the host country. Delegates also agreed to address the Johannesburg Declaration in Plenary to avoid duplication of discussion in the Main Committee.

A crucial closed meeting of key players was held in the morning of 4 September, under South African chairmanship, to provide final input to the evolving text. However, at 6:00 pm in the closing session of the Conference, several delegations undertook a last-minute attempt to introduce amendments reflecting strongly held views. At 7:40 pm the President presented the consensus to the Plenary, and the Declaration was adopted unanimously.

FINAL TEXT: "The Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development" is a three-page, six-section document. It reaffirms, "from this continent, the cradle of humanity," a commitment to sustainable development and building a humane, equitable and caring global society cognizant of the need for human dignity for all. It emphasizes the three pillars of sustainable development at all levels and a common resolve to eradicate poverty, change consumption and production patterns, and protect and manage the natural resource base. After tracing the road from Stockholm to Rio to Johannesburg, it addresses it present challenges, such as the deepening fault line between rich and the poor, biodiversity depletion, desertification, pollution, the benefits and costs of globalization, and the loss of confidence in democratic systems.

The Declaration also stresses the importance of human solidarity and urges the promotion of dialogue and cooperation among the world’s civilizations. It welcomes decisions on targets, timetables and partnerships to improve access to clean water, sanitation, energy, health care, food and to protect biodiversity. It highlights the need for access to financial resources, opening of markets and technology transfer. It reaffirms pledges to address threats posed by foreign occupation and armed conflict, corruption, terrorism and intolerance in all forms, and to combat communicable and chronic diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

The document stresses women’s empowerment and emancipation, and the vital role of indigenous peoples. It recommits support to achieving Millennium Development Goals, increase ODA, regional initiatives such as NEPAD, and the requirements of SIDS and LDCs. It emphasizes the need for better employment opportunities, and for the private sector to enforce corporate accountability.

The Declaration reaffirms all countries’ commitment to the UN Charter and international law, calls for strengthening multilateralism and pledges to an inclusive process involving all major groups.

It ends with an expression of deep gratitude to the people and Government of South Africa for their hospitality and excellent WSSD arrangements.


WSSD President Mbeki opened the final Plenary with the Multi-stakeholder event, calling for statements from Major Groups. Youth called for debt cancellation and an end to agricultural subsidies in industrialized countries; criticized the absence of "disarmament" and lack of attention to climate change in the Plan of Implementation; but welcomed participants’ efforts to work together. Indigenous Peoples described their Kimberly Declaration and plan to assess progress since Rio and implement action. NGOs expressed disappointment over the WSSD’s renegotiation of Rio language, inadequate action over the past ten years and lack of transparency during parts of the WSSD. Local Authorities stressed that local involvement was essential to implementing international agreements.

Trade Unions reminded the Plenary that workers are the most numerous stakeholders, decent jobs and working conditions are essential to poverty alleviation, and that transition processes will be necessary during the shift to sustainable production. Business and Industry highlighted the role of consumers, including youth, and recognized the need for accountability and transparency, including use of the Global Reporting Initiative. The Science and Technology Community called for a CSD "S&T" advisory panel and for a set of commonly-accepted indicators. Farmers encouraged the UN to continue integrating agricultural groups and consulting with them on WEHAB themes. Women noted the growing disconnect between head of delegation statements and negotiators’ texts.

President Mbeki then introduced and delegates adopted the Report of the Credentials Committee (A/CONF.199/15). Minister Dlamini-Zuma highlighted the preparation of the WEHAB framework papers, the Partnership Plenaries and introduced Summaries of the Partnership Events (A/CONF.199/16 and 16/Add.1-3). She noted that a list of partnership initiatives introduced during the WSSD would be available. Main Committee Chair Salim outlined the draft Plan of Implementation (A/CONF.199/L.3/Add.1-13 and Corr.1) and, at President Mbeki’s request, the document was adopted. A number of countries then expressed reservations or made interpretive statements. The Holy See, with Ecuador and Peru, stated that Plan of Implementation activities should be mindful of the inviolability of human life and dignity. Mexico, with Peru, expressed concern about inadequate attention to women and climate vulnerability, and the absence of a target on renewable energy. Denmark, on behalf of the EU, stated that language in paragraph 151 on human rights and the environment should take into account the work of UNEP, UNCHR and other relevant bodies. Argentina and Chile interpreted references to migratory fish stocks in paragraph 30(e) as referring solely to the high seas. Turkey stated that references to UNCLOS would not be regarded as binding.

Australia said that the Plan of Implementation is without prejudice to its current obligations under the WTO and other international agreements. Tuvalu stated that references to the WTO are not binding. Ecuador stated that language in paragraph 38(n) on combating illicit cultivation of narcotic plants should be carried out in an environmentally friendly manner. Norway and Tuvalu noted that paragraph 19(e) on renewable energy development should not be interpreted to include nuclear power. India stated its interpretation that nuclear power is included. The US stated that: the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities does not infer any obligations under international law; language on corporate responsibility refers only to existing agreements and organizations; the provision on a benefit-sharing regime (42(o)) is not legally binding; and language on health services should not be used to promote or condone abortion. The interpretive statements will be appended to the meeting’s report.

Brazil, El Salvador, Malta, Saint Lucia, AOSIS, Switzerland, Tunisia, Uganda and the G-77/China also made general statements. The EU and the Like-Minded Group of Countries presented a declaration entitled "The Way Forward on Renewable Energy," which calls for: reducing climate change effects; increasing the global share of renewables and adopting targets at the national, regional and international levels; and promoting partnerships. Several other delegates noted their support for the Johannesburg Declaration.

At the request of President Mbeki, the G-77 and China introduced and delegates adopted the resolution on the Plan of Implementation (A/CONF.199/L.7), which recommends that the UN General Assembly endorse the Plan. President Mbeki then described the process of producing the Political Declaration, and called for a break in the Plenary to consider it further. When the Plenary resumed, the President noted the wide range of delegations submitting written and verbal comments. The Summit then adopted the revised Declaration with corrections (A/CONF.199/L.6/Rev.2 and Corr.1).

At the request of the President, Rapporteur-General Maria Cecilia Rozas introduced the draft Report of the WSSD, containing the record of attendance (A/CONF.199/L.2) and reports from the Partnership Plenaries and Round Tables (A/CONF.199/L.2/Add.1-4). The Rapporteur-General was authorized to finalize the Report in consultation with the Secretariat, and the report was adopted.

The G-77/China then introduced a draft resolution expressing gratitude to the people and Government of South Africa (A/ CONF.199/L.8), which was adopted by acclamation. Canada, Denmark, on behalf of the EU, Japan, Palestine, on behalf of the Arab Group, and the US made supporting statements. WSSD Secretary-General Desai and President Mbeki expressed thanks to the Chairs and Co-Chairs, delegates, Major Groups, support staff, the Secretariat, translators and volunteers.

Desai underscored the significant role played by Major Groups in defining their agendas on sustainable development, and advised countries to think about what they wanted the world to be like at Johannesburg+15. He called for focus on poverty reduction and renewable energy, noting expressed commitments by Canada, China, India and the Russian Federation to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. President Mbeki highlighted the messages coming from the youth and trade unions on moving beyond political rhetoric, brackets and commas to real action. He spoke of the need to pursue multilateralism and effective global governance to mesh the outcomes of Johannesburg, Monterrey and Doha. He then officially gaveled the meeting closed at 8:45 pm.



After a week and a half of intense negotiations delegates and observers alike are now trying to assess the successes and shortcomings of the WSSD. While target-setting and timeframes were central to the negotiations, less attention has been paid to their application in evaluating the WSSD and other multilateral outcomes on the measuring stick of policy making and sustainable development. For that reason, it is necessary to return to the original objectives and mandate of the Summit.

In December 2000, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) decided to convene a ten-year review of progress since UNCED (A/RES/55/199). Despite ongoing efforts since the Stockholm Conference in 1972 to protect the environment and natural resources, the UNGA expressed concern about continuing deterioration. Therefore, UNGA called for the World Summit on Sustainable Development to focus on the status of Agenda 21’s implementation and the other Earth Summit outcomes. The WSSD’s mandate was to identify further measures to implement the Rio agreements, accomplishments and areas where more effort and action-oriented decisions were needed, as well as new challenges and opportunities. The WSSD was to ensure balance among economic, social and environmental concerns and reinvigorate the global commitment to sustainable development.

Official objectives for holding "Rio+10" notwithstanding, many followers of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) process expressed ambivalence over the course of the two-year planning phase for the Summit. Although the UNGA language was clear and the South African hosts were committed to producing a meaningful plan of action, the world and summit weary felt that this anniversary would be held because it was scheduled, not because it was the result of an organic inspiration to meet.

Using the UNGA decision as a baseline, this brief analysis will look at the immediate successes and shortcomings of the meeting, and the new challenges to address in 2002 and beyond.


The Plan of Implementation contains over thirty targets (albeit including many stemming from the Millennium Development Goals and other agreements). Many delegates and observers outlined successes in shifting the focus to the social and development agenda, and more particularly poverty eradication, sanitation and health. Modest commitments on measures to contribute to the recovery of fish stocks, action on chemicals and a potential benefit-sharing regime under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) also meet the UNGA challenge to identify areas where more effort is needed. Others look to resources committed to the GEF and inclusion of desertification as a new focal area.

Delegations were clear from the outset about the areas in need of further attention thanks to the preparatory work on the WEHAB themes (water and sanitation, energy, health, agriculture and biodiversity) identified by the UN Secretary-General. By the end of the Summit a number of the WEHAB commitments set out in the Plan of Implementation had been linked to Type II partnerships and financial commitments.

For example, a number of initiatives publicized at the Summit will support the Plan of Implementation commitment to halve the proportion of people without access to sanitation by 2015 together with the Millennium Declaration Goal to halve the proportion without access to safe drinking water by 2015. The US has announced US$970 million in investments on water and sanitation projects; the EU announced its "Water for Life" initiative; and the UN has received an additional 21 water- and sanitation-related initiatives worth at least US$20 million. Similarly, the Plan of Implementation commitment on energy access will be accompanied by financial commitments from the EU (US$700 million), the US (US$43 million), and 32 separate partnership initiatives worth up to US$26 million.

The other significant commitments from the meeting include: using and producing chemicals in ways that do not harm human health and the environment; reducing biodiversity loss by 2010; restoring fisheries to their maximum sustainable yields by 2015; establishing a representative network of marine protected areas by 2012; improving developing countries’ access to environmentally-sound alternatives to ozone depleting chemicals by 2010; and undertaking initiatives by 2004 to implement the Global Programme of Action for the protection of the Marine Environment from Land Based Sources. Along with this list of negotiated outcomes, was the Russian Federation’s announcement of their intent to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. This means that, despite (some suggest because of) US attempts to scupper the Protocol, multilateral support for the UN-sponsored climate change regime is intact and there is a possibility that the Protocol may enter into force by early 2003.

Finally, the Plan of Implementation is noteworthy for treatment of issues in a way that reflects new developments since 1992. First, there is a separate section on globalization - a phenomenon which had barely registered on political agendas in 1992. Another development is in the treatment of issues such as poverty. Unlike Agenda 21, the Plan of Implementation recognizes poverty as a running theme, linked to its multiple dimensions, from access to energy, water and sanitation, to the equitable sharing of the benefits of biodiversity. This reflects a shift from a uni-dimensional income focus on poverty to a multidimensional approach that embraces a vision of "sustainable livelihoods."

The Plan of Implementation and associated outcomes, however, do not amount to the complete picture of the WSSD. The official business of the Summit ran alongside a host of activities, networking and presentations - all of which trace their original inspirations back to the Rio Summit.


Although critical evaluation of the negotiated texts is important, other outcomes of the Summit should not be neglected in assessing progress since Rio. Indeed, a number of advances were evident. Primary among them was the greater integration of "the three pillars of sustainable development." Social and economic needs were as much on the agenda in Johannesburg as the environment, which was the predominant theme in Rio. The more integrated treatment of the pillars is an indication of how the sustainable development agenda has evolved over the past ten years.

This improved integration was apparent in nearly every discussion, including the calls for increased synergy among the Rio conventions and the attention to concurrent UN processes on financing and social development issues (Monterrey, the Millennium Development Goals and the other world conferences). A greater proportion of officials from development, commerce, and foreign ministries appear to have attended, and hopefully future meetings will see even greater representation from sectors other than the environment.

From the non-State perspective, the participation of women, youth, NGOs, parliamentarians, unions, local authorities, scientists and other stakeholders was greater in the meeting halls than it was in Rio, where many key groups were almost exclusively involved outside the negotiation sessions. Combined with the activities of these groups outside the convention halls, the various alternative venues around Johannesburg showed a range of innovative and non-negotiated visions of sustainable development. Another group whose participation had significantly increased was business. The private sector’s understanding of the need for sustainable development, the conference organizers recognition of business and industry’s key role in it, and the business community’s involvement in and funding of numerous partnerships were new and largely welcome developments.

The fact that the Summit was held in Africa was also significant. It afforded the opportunity to highlight the particularly severe social, economic and environmental problems on the continent, including the current and future impact of HIV/AIDS, desertification, food security and other critical problems.

While the divergent interests of the countries necessarily limit the formal outcomes of these UN "expos," this fact should not diminish the unique role that the UN plays in forging global agreements, or the catalytic role that these Summits play in changing what takes place in workplaces, communities and institutions around the world.


As delegates head back to the four corners of the world, at least three areas of challenge and opportunity, which emerged during the WSSD, are still ahead: the Doha round of WTO negotiations; corporate responsibility and accountability; and an emerging sense that the multilateral system of governance may have to find new ways to advance the cause of sustainable development in a globalizing world.

The WSSD issues unfolded within the larger context of a post-Cold War world of globalization, WTO ascendancy, and the recent efforts of the international community to globalize a social and development agenda through the Millennium Declaration Goals and the Monterrey commitments. In the absence of a World Environment Organization, the WSSD provided a rare opportunity for the world’s political leaders to support and press for further progress in the sustainable development agendas within and beyond the core UN system, notably in the WTO, the World Bank and the GEF. Their message will only be truly convincing, however, when trade and finance ministries within national governments are also fully engaged with the implications of sustainable development.

The question that occupied many minds in Johannesburg was how the political signals from the Summit would impact the direction of globalization and the upcoming Doha negotiations. Some participants dared to hope that the Summit will, in the words of new WTO Director-General Supachai Panitchpakdi, contribute to "making the Doha agenda part of this global agenda."

Some view the hotly disputed paragraph on corporate accountability as a possible stepping stone for civil society to press its case for the negotiation of an international regulatory framework for corporations. However, an interpretive statement from the contact group on globalization, suggesting that the issue will be addressed within existing agreements, was clearly an attempt to diminish the prospect of the negotiation of a new international instrument.

The Summit also stretched conceptions about multilateralism. Like children who have grown up and left home to make good in the world, Agenda 21 and the other UNCED outcomes have come of age and stretched the boundaries of the UN intergovernmental system. The upsurge of social and business support for sustainable development, the widespread nature and acceptance of Type II partnerships and increasing recognition that multilateral environmental agreements, not to mention programmes for poverty eradication and improved sanitation, require efforts and actors beyond the State. Such efforts push the concept of multilateralism beyond a purely State-centric perspective. South African President Mbeki himself noted the need to buck trends of compartmentalization and the descent to the lowest common denominator in international agreements. The need to revisit the edifice of multilateralism and global summitry was similarly underscored in the words of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, stating that Heads of State go from summit to summit, while many of their people go from abyss to abyss.

The next step in pushing this concept of multilateralism as well as Summit follow-up will be back in New York. With this in mind, some are now wondering about the future role of the CSD and what type of new mandate it will be given. Many hope that with the new Plan of Implementation, the CSD can be refocused on developing and implementing frameworks for moving the WSSD agenda forward. This will demand a sea change in the levels of cooperation across UN agencies and some searching questions about the (f)utility of negotiating for negotiating�s sake.


Now that the Summit is over, the mixed reactions are not surprising. Despite the Secretariat�s smooth organization and servicing, most knew at the start that this Summit was never going to produce the abundance of new manifestos and agreements that Rio did. Stocktaking is much more mundane, particularly because no one needed a meeting to know that the condition of the world�s poor and the environment amounts do not get high marks.

But if measured against the UNGA�s stated objectives, the WSSD produced both advances and setbacks. And beyond the confines of the negotiating halls where real sustainable development activities were constantly showcased, it was evident that "sustainable development" is more than a concept and is making a difference. Like Stockholm and Rio, however, the effects of this Summit cannot be fully measured in the immediate aftermath. Their impact on the international process and on national, local and individual levels will only become more visible with time.


57TH SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY: The 57th session of the General Assembly will begin on 10 September 2002 at UN headquarters in New York, and will, inter alia, determine the future mandate of the CSD. For more information, visit:

CMS COP-7: The seventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) is scheduled to take place from 18-24 September 2002, in Bonn, Germany. For more information, contact: CMS Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-2401; fax: +49-228-815-2449; e-mail:; Internet:

PIC INC-9: The ninth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for an International Legally Binding Instrument for the Application of the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade (PIC) will be held from 30 September � 4 October 2002, in Bonn, Germany. For more information, contact the interim Secretariat: Niek van der Graaff, FAO; tel: +39-6-5705-3441; fax: +39-6-5705-6347; e-mail:; or Jim Willis, UNEP Chemicals; tel: +41-22-917-8111; e-mail:; Internet:

CGRFA-9: The ninth session of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA) will be held from 14-18 October 2002, in Rome, Italy. For more information, contact: Paloma Se�or; tel: +39-06-5705-2199; fax: +39-06-5705-6347; e-mail:; Internet:

GEF ASSEMBLY: The second assembly of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) will convene from 16-18 October 2002, in Beijing, China. For more information, contact: GEF Secretariat; tel: +1-202-473-0508; fax: +1-202-522-3240/3245; e-mail:; Internet:

UNFCCC COP-8: The eighth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will convene from 23 October - 1 November 2002, in New Delhi, India. For more information, contact: UNFCCC Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-1000; fax: +49-228-815-1999; e-mail:; Internet:

GLOBAL MOUNTAIN SUMMIT: This Summit will take place from 29 October - 1 November 2002, in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. For more information, contact: Andrei Iatsenia, UNEP Mountains Programme Coordinator; tel: +41-22-917-8273; fax: +41-22-917-8036; e-mail:; Internet:

CITES COP-12: The 12th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) will convene from 3-15 November 2002, in Santiago, Chile. The 47th meeting of the CITES Standing Committee will be held from 1-2 November 2002, in Santiago prior to the COP. For more information, contact: CITES Secretariat; tel: +41-22-917-8139; fax: +41-22-797-3417; e-mail:; Internet:

ITTC-33: The 33rd session of the International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC) will meet from 4-9 November 2002, in Yokohama, Japan. For more information, contact: International Tropical Timber Organization; tel: +81-45-223-1110; fax: +81-45-223-1111; e-mail:; Internet:

CCD CRIC-1: The first meeting of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD CRIC) will take place from 18-29 November 2002, in Italy. For more information, contact: CCD Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-2802; fax: +49-228-815-2898/99; e-mail:; Internet:

RAMSAR CONVENTION COP-8: The eighth Conference of the Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands will convene from 18-26 November 2002, in Valencia, Spain. For more information, contact: Ramsar Convention Bureau; tel: +41-22-999-0170; fax: +41-22-999-0169; e-mail:; Internet:

MONTREAL PROTOCOL MOP-14: The 14th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol will be held from 25-29 November 2002, in Rome, Italy. For more information, contact: Ozone Secretariat; tel: +514-954-8219; fax: +514-954-6077; e-mail:; Internet:

BASEL CONVENTION COP-6: The sixth Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention will take place from 9-13 December 2002, in Geneva, Switzerland. For more information, contact: Secretariat of the Basel Convention; tel: +41-22-979 8218; fax: +41-22-797 3454; e-mail:; Internet:

Further information