Press Releases

    ENV/DEV/617
    5 February 2002

    PROPOSALS FOR ACTION, KEY ISSUES DISCUSSED IN PREPARATORY COMMITTEE FOR SUSTAINABLE
    DEVELOPMENT SUMMIT

    NEW YORK, 4 February (UN Headquarters) -- Delegations presented their preliminary views on a list of issues and proposals for actions, prepared by the Chairman on the basis of discussions held last week, as the Preparatory Committee for the World Summit on Sustainable Development continued its session this afternoon.

    Participants in the discussion commented on the proposals for actions and commitments, key issues, clustering and structure of the list in order to guide the Chairman in preparing his report to the Committee, which will be presented on Thursday, 7 February.

    Speakers highlighted those areas, which they could not lend their support to, as well as issues they felt deserved mention or greater attention. Some delegations could not support, for example, a multilateral agreement on global corporate accountability, while others emphasized the need to promote social responsibility.

    The need to promote fair labour standards in business, the role of local initiatives in implementing Agenda 21 -- the action programme adopted at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) (Rio de Janeiro, 1992) -- and the need for capacity-building for addressing poverty were among the proposed issues for inclusion in the text.

    Several delegations stressed that the Summit must have a clear and focused message with set priorities. One representative suggested that it have an overarching political message to unite the North and the South. Poverty eradication was deemed to be the overarching theme of the Summit by some speakers. As such, it was felt that it should not be limited to one section, but should run through the entire document.

    Globalization, good governance and the special needs of countries with economies in transition and small island developing States were among the other issues mentioned as meriting greater attention.

    Speakers also warned against reopening already concluded negotiations, such as those at the 2001 World Trade Organization Meeting in Qatar, or to prejudge the outcomes of those that were not yet concluded. The Summit should seek to build on already negotiated agreements, stressed one representative.

    The Commission on Sustainable Development is acting as the preparatory body for the Summit, to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 26 August to 4 September.

    The next meeting of the Preparatory Committee will be announced.

    * *** *