Press Releases

SG/2073
ENV/DEV/601
24 October 2001

SECRETARY-GENERAL BOOSTS PREPARATIONS
FOR JOHANNESBURG SUMMIT

NEW YORK, 23 October (UN Headquarters) -- The World Summit on Sustainable Development will be held in September 2002 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Member States have embarked on a preparatory process, assessing achievements and setbacks since the Rio "Earth Summit" of 1992, which produced "Agenda 21". The aim is to find ways of implementing that agenda more vigorously, and –- more generally -– of reviving the political commitment to sustainable development.

The Johannesburg Summit is an opportunity to address, at the highest level, the concerns about globalization -- particularly its social, economic and environmental impact -- which have been in the forefront of public debate over the past year. These issues call for a new spirit of solidarity and collective determination to act.

In order to work towards this, the Secretary-General has asked Jan Pronk to serve as his Special Envoy to meet with political leaders at the highest levels to assess their views on the goals for the Johannesburg Summit, particularly in the light of recent events. Mr. Pronk has graciously agreed to take on this important task, while continuing with his present responsibilities as Minister of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment in the Government of the Netherlands.

The Secretary-General also intends to establish a high-level Advisory Panel of distinguished people with various fields of expertise, to discuss new approaches for reaching the goals of sustainable development. Twelve such people (whose names are attached) have already accepted the Secretary-General’s invitation. Besides providing advice to the Secretary-General, the members of the Panel will seek to raise awareness of sustainable development issues and the goals of the Summit within their own individual spheres of influence and expertise.

Finally, the Secretary-General has asked Nitin Desai to act as Secretary-General of the Johannesburg Summit. Mr. Desai will undertake this task in addition to his existing responsibilities as Under-Secretary-General, Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).

Personalities who have agreed to serve on the Secretary-General’s Panel for the World Summit on Sustainable Development -- [Further names may be added in the near future] :

Dr. Kamla Chowdhry (India) Commissioner, World Commission on Forests and Sustainable Development;

Ms. Severn Cullis-Suzuki (Canada) Biology student at Yale University; young environmental activist;

Mr. Viktor Danilov-Danilyan (Russia) Former Minister for Environment and Natural Resources;

Ms. Jocelyn Dow (Guyana) President, Women’s Environment and Development Organization;

Dr. Jane Goodall (US/Kenya) Ethnologist known for research on behaviour of chimpanzees and advocate for their protection; founder of the Jane Goodall Institute;

Ms. Yolanda Kakabadse (Ecuador) President, International Union for the Conservation of Nature;

Professor Lydia Mkhubu (Swaziland) Vice-Chancellor, University of Swaziland;

Ambassador Hisashi Owada (Japan) President, Japan Institute of International Affairs;

Professor Geping Qu (China) Chairman, Environment and Natural Resources Protection Commission, National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China;

Mr. Moeen Qureshi (Pakistan) Chairman, Emerging Markets Partnership; former Senior Vice-President of the World Bank;

The Hon. Joseph Warioba Nyalali (Tanzania) Former Prime Minister;

Dr. Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker (Germany) Member of Parliament; President, Commission of Enquiry on the globalization of the Economy, Science Centre North Rhine, Westphalia.

* *** *