"RESPONSIBILITY" -- FOR EACH OTHER, FOR PLANET --
South Africa's President Says World Leaders Must Send Message
(Received from a UN Information Officer.)
"Let us stop being economically defensive, and start being politically courageous", he said. And it was time to face an uncomfortable truth: the accustomed model of development had been fruitful for the few, but flawed for many. A path to prosperity that ravaged the environment and left a majority behind in squalor would be a dead end. "It is said that to everything there is a season", he said. "The world today needs to usher in a season of transformation, a season of stewardship. Let it be a season in which we make a long overdue investment in the survival and security of future generations."
The international community has gathered in Johannesburg, South Africa, to pursue new initiatives and build a commitment at the highest level to better implement Agenda 21, the road map for achieving sustainable development adopted at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development -- the Earth Summit -- held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Following its opening on 26 August, it held a series of interactive plenary sessions on the key areas of water, energy, health, agriculture and biodiversity, and heard statements from agencies and organizations.
South African President Thabo Mbeki, opening the high-level segment today, said that two days ago people took to the streets to demand that the Summit "act in unity" to eradicate poverty and bring about human advancement, while protecting the earth. "Surely, there is no one among us, who thinks that billions in the world should continue to be condemned to poverty, underdevelopment and a denial of human dignity", he said.
Less than a decade ago, he went on to say, his country had been home to the anti-human system of apartheid. It would thus be fitting that from here -- also the home of our common ancestors -- the leaders of the world would send the message that they understood and respected the principle and practice of human solidarity and were therefore determined to defeat "global apartheid". "Nothing, whatsoever, can justify any failure on our part to respond to this expectation."
Han Seung-soo, President of the United Nations General Assembly, said the Summit provided a timely opportunity to explore ways to build on the progress to be made in implementing the Doha development agenda and the Monterrey Consensus. It was also important for ensuring the active involvement of all stakeholders and actors in the implementation process through true partnership. With regard to follow-up, he proposed using the high-level dialogue of the Assembly for deliberating effective ways and means to achieve the various international development goals and sustainable development in a more mutually reinforcing manner.
Also this morning, five young people addressed the Summit. Three of them, representing the International Children's Conference on the Environment sponsored by the United Nations Environment Programme, presented a list of challenges to the leaders of the world. Those challenges were inspired, written and voted on by some 400 children from 80 countries and represent their hopes and fears for the future of the planet. Justin Friesen, 11 years old from Canada, Analiz Vergara, 14 years old from Ecuador, and Liao Mingyu, 11 years old from China, were chosen by the Conference to convey their message to the Summit.
Two South African children, 6-year old Tiyiselani Manganyi, from Soweto and 10-year old Julius Ndlovena, from Blargowrie, recited a poem written for the launch of South Africa's National Plan of Action for Children.
The Summit's opening session was also addressed by 22 heads of State or government, some of whom likened the struggle to reaching the Summit's aims -- eradicating poverty while preserving the global environment -- to South Africa's struggle for freedom against apartheid and, thus, how appropriate it was to have convened the Summit here. They addressed a wide range of issues, among them: the "common but differentiated responsibilities" called for by the Rio agreements; the need to address the inequities of globalization; HIV/AIDS; support for the Kyoto Protocol of the Framework Convention on Climate Change; the need to increase development assistance; the distortion of agricultural subsidies and the need for open markets for developing world products; and the need to monitor sustainable development efforts.
Addressing the Summit were: The President of Indonesia, Megawati Soekarnoputri: President of Bolivia, Hugo Chavez; Prime Minister of Denmark, Anders Fogh Rasmussen; President of the Marshall Islands, Kessai H. Note; President of the Commission of the European Commission, Romano Prodi; President of Guyana, Gharrat Jagdeo; Chancellor of Germany, Gerhard Schröder; President of Namibia, Sam Nujoma; Prime Minister of Lesotho, Pakalitha Bethuel Mosisili; the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair; the Prime Minister of Canada, Jean Chrétien; the President of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni; the President of Turkey, Ahmet Necdet Sezer; the Prime Minister of Portugal, José Manuel Durão Barroso; President of Algeria, Abdelaziz Bouteflika; the President of France, Jacques Chirac; President of Brazil, Fernando Henrique Cardoso; Prime Minister of Armenia, Andranik Margaran; President of Kenya, Daniel arap Moi; Prime Minister of Mali, Ahmed Mohamed Ag Hamani; King Mohammed VI of Morocco; and President of Zambia, Levy Patrick Mwanawasa..
Also speaking were the Vice-President of Burundi, Domitien Ndayizeye; the Vice-President of Botswana, Seretse Khama Ian Khama; the Vice-President of Colombia, Francisco Santos Calderon; and Bolivia's Minister of Sustainable Development and Planning, Jose Guillermo Justiniano Sandoval.
The high-level segment will reconvene at 3 p.m. today.
THABO MBEKI, President of South Africa and President of the World Summit, said the billions of people of the world expected a very clear and unambiguous answer to the question of whether the leaders of the world were ready and able to respond to the pressing challenges of sustainable development. Two days ago, people took to the street to demand that the Summit produce practical and meaningful results, and the same message had been heard from civil society. The message was: "We can and must act in unity to ensure that there is a practical and visible global development process that brought about poverty eradication and human advancement within the context of the protection of the ecology of the planet Earth."
He said the Summit must set concrete goals and targets for the realization of those objectives and agree to implementation and monitoring processes. The expectation of billions of people was that not "all was well" with their societies and that the means and the knowledge existed within human society to address the challenges successfully. The question arose as to why human beings did not act, when the capacity was available to overcome problems that were not God-given, but were the creation of human society, decisions and actions. They believed that important changes in the world, including the end of the cold war, created the possibility and necessity to pose and answer that question. "Surely, there is no one among us who thinks that billions in the world should continue to be condemned to poverty, underdevelopment and a denial of human dignity", he said.
Less than a decade ago, his country had been home to the anti-human system of apartheid. It was thus fitting that from here, the home of common ancestors, the leaders of the people of the world could communicate a genuine message that they really cared about the future of all humanity and the planet, that they understood and respected the principle and practice of human solidarity, and were, therefore, determined to defeat "global apartheid". He said: "A message must come from this original home of all humanity that we are ready and prepared to be judged not by the number and eloquence of the resolutions we adopt, but by the speed and commitment with which we implement our agreements that must serve the peoples of the world. Nothing, whatsoever, can justify any failure on our part to respond to this expectation."
KOFI ANNAN, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said if there was one word that should be on everyone's lips at the summit, one concept that embodied everything the international community hoped to achieve in Johannesburg, it was responsibility: Responsibility for each other -- but especially the poor, the vulnerable and the oppressed -- as fellow members of a single human family; Responsibility for the planet, whose bounty was the very basis for human well-being and progress; "And most of all, responsibility for the future -- for our children, and their children", he said.
The World Summit on Sustainable Development, like its landmark predecessors in Stockholm and Rio de Janeiro, focused on a key component of that blueprint: the relationship between human beings and the natural environment. "We look to the environment for the food and fuel, and the medicines and materials, that our societies depend on", he said. "We look to it as a realm of beauty, and of spiritual sustenance." But, one must not be deceived, when looking at a clear blue sky, that all was well. All was not well. Let there be no more disguising the perilous state of the earth, or pretending that conservation was too expensive, when it was understood that the cost of failure to act was far greater. "Let us stop being economically defensive, and start being politically courageous", he said.
He urged the heads of State and government gathered in Johannesburg to face an uncomfortable truth: the accustomed model of development had been fruitful for the few, but flawed for many. Action started with governments, and the richest countries must lead the way. They had the wealth, the technology, and they contributed disproportionately to global environmental problems. But, governments could not do it alone. Civil society groups had a critical role, as did the private sector. With concerted action in five areas -- water, energy, health, agriculture and biodiversity -- progress could be far quicker than was commonly believed. "It is said that to everything there is a season", he said. "The world today needs to usher in a season of transformation, a season of stewardship. Let it be a season in which we make a long overdue investment in the survival and security of future generations."
HAN SEUNG-SOO, President of the General Assembly, said that despite the notable progress made during the last 10 years, the world was still far short of realizing its commitments. In some cases, the situation had even deteriorated. As important as promoting sustainable development was how to stop the reversal process of development, which one might term as "de-development". Whatever the causes might be, efforts should focus on a global level to deter "de-development". In that context, the five areas identified by the Secretary-General -- water, energy, health, agriculture and biodiversity -- merited full support.
Among the other challenges that needed to be addressed at a global level were the eradication of poverty and the protection of the environment, he said. Over the last two years, the United Nations in particular had made serious efforts to provide necessary impetus in those areas. The historic Millennium Summit was instrumental in bringing greater focus and attention to a number of international development goals. It was satisfying to note that the momentum generated by the Millennium Summit significantly contributed to the successes of major efforts of the international community.
The World Summit, he said, provided a timely opportunity to explore ways to build on the progress to be made in implementing the Doha development agenda and the Monterrey Consensus. It was also important for ensuring the active involvement of all stakeholders and actors in the implementation process through true partnership. With regard to follow-up, he proposed using the high-level dialogue of the Assembly for deliberating effective ways and means to achieve the various international development goals and sustainable development in a more mutually reinforcing manner.
Three young people, representing the International Children's Conference on the Environment, sponsored by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), presented a list of challenges, which were inspired, written and voted on by some 400 children from 80 countries, representing their hopes and fears for the future of the planet. The Conference took place in Victoria, British Colombia, three months ago.
ANALIZ VERGARA, 14 years old from Ecuador, JUSTIN FRIESEN, 11 years old from Canada, LIAO MINGYU, 11 years old from China, each read part of the statement. They said that most leaders did not listen and the children of the world were disappointed, because too many adults were too concerned with wealth to pay attention to the problems of the future. "Think about the children -- what kind of world do you want for them?"
Putting forward some challenges, they said the governments of the world must: ensure that people from developing countries had access to clean and safe drinking water; sign and act on the Kyoto Protocol; stop cutting down trees without replacing them; and spend more money on helping poor children around the world, rather than attending too many meetings. The people of the world must use alternative means of transportation; and reduce, reuse, recycle and compost as much as possible. "Can you look in the mirror and say, children will have a future, will have access to clean water, will not live in poverty, will not live in polluted areas because of actions I have taken?"
Two South African children: TIYISELANI MANGANYI, 6 years old born in Soweto, and JULIUS NDLOVENA, 10 years old from Blargowrie, recited a poem entitled "The Children of South Africa": written for the launch of South Africa's National Plan of Action for Children. From the book, Little Voices - Big Hope (City of Johannesburg, 2002), the poem read in part:
"We are the children of South Africa
MEGAWATI SOEKARNOPUTRI, President of Indonesia, said the international community had made some progress in protecting the environment since the Earth Summit in Rio, but it was still under threat. Much of the world's productive land was turning to desert, tropical forests were quickly diminishing and biodiversity and marine resources were in danger. Some parts of the world were drowning in floods and people were struggling for increased scarcity of clean water in others. Global warming and ecological disaster had become distinct possibilities.
Ten years had passed since Rio, but people were still grappling to escape from poverty in rural areas and overcrowding the cities, he said. Many people were striving to survive at the expense of natural resources. In other parts of the hemisphere, production and consumption had been occurring in an unsustainable manner. The Summit must address those challenges and resolve them in an integrated and comprehensive manner. Should it fail, the assumption that sustainable development was merely words and concepts would be strengthened.
The international community must consider the different levels of capacity between developed and developing countries. It must also focus on the enormous impact of globalization on most developing countries. Despite the opportunities it produced, globalization had also created considerable challenges. Therefore, reaching agreement on fundamental supportive frameworks was essential. That included enhanced market access, sustained and adequate financial resources and improved capacities to master and apply technology.
HUGO CHAVEZ, President of Venezuela, speaking on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, said that if the children of the world could decide the destiny of the world, then the world would find the truth and the path. Like Africa, Latin America was also the epicentre of the struggle against oppression. The path towards freedom was lengthy. The battle was by no means new. He had come here today from a Venezuela that had resuscitated itself.
Those governments which had assumed the commitments of the Millennium Summit were beginning to be attacked by the privileged elites dominating their countries, he said. Those assuming the path of development must confront the elites, who had destroyed a large part of the world. What development was being discussed? he asked. Was it the same model of a neo-liberal nature, which had given way to horrifying statistics, and which perceived poverty as an obstacle to development, rather than as a result of the models imposed? It was necessary to recognize the truth and take the necessary action.
Neo-liberalism, he continued, was the guilty party in the world. Would the children have to debate the same subjects 40 years from now? The old model had to be changed. There was no development without humanism. Neo-liberalism was inhumane. Development should be humane. What was needed in the world was a new ethic and new morality. Everyone needed to behave differently. Only then would Agenda 21 be viable. The international community could not afford to waste one single moment, as tomorrow might be too late. He suggested the urgent creation of an international humanitarian fund, which required, first and foremost, the requisite political will.
ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN, Prime Minister of Denmark, speaking on behalf of the European Union, reaffirmed the Union's commitment to combat poverty, protect the environment and contribute to ensuring free trade and sustainable development. Eradication of poverty through sustainable development and increased market access should become a top priority. To promote free trade and increased market access to all nations, the Union would work hard for a comprehensive and early conclusion of the Doha development agenda, and it was ready to take further steps in that respect. The Union had already agreed to free access for all goods, with the exception of arms, from the least developed countries, and it was time for others to follow suit. The Union would also support developing countries in building their capacity to benefit from free trade and market access.
Turning to the need for the industrialized world to increase development aid and finance, he said that the Union was already providing the highest level of official development assistance (ODA) to developing countries, and it would increase its contribution towards the 0.7 per cent target. Also important was mobilization of domestic resources and foreign direct investments. Good governance was essential, and sound economic policies and solid democratic institutions were crucial. All countries must observe fundamental freedoms, democracy and rule of law, which were needed to create the best conditions for business and sustainable growth.
Having ratified the Kyoto Protocol, the Union supported the establishment of clear targets on water and sanitation, energy, biodiversity and chemicals, he continued, as well as programmes for sustainable consumption and production. The primary goal was to solve the serious problem of providing clean drinking water and sanitation to every village, town and city on the planet. "Growth and development are vital to us all", he said, "because it is only when people can feed themselves and their families, see their children go to school and grow up with a real future, and face life with a feeling of hope, that they too can afford themselves the luxury of taking care of their forests, their air, their water and their food".
KESSAI H. NOTE, President of the Marshall Islands, said his country had committed to take every action to protect the environment, while making sure every human was free from the ravages of poverty. While that had been the aim of the wider international community, broader attempts to ensure sustainable development, based on the blueprint established by Agenda 21, had proved difficult to attain. That was why the Marshall Islands favoured the setting of meaningful time frames and targets. It also supported the European Union's proposed targets on global renewable energy strategies.
He went on to emphasize that the Marshall Islands had taken advanced steps in the area of sustainable development, placing a particular focus on preserving indigenous communities and societies, as well as drawing on their unique expertise. Marshall Islands had also entered into a number of development programmes and networks with countries in the region. He looked forward to future assistance from the donor community to help his country attain its sustainable development objectives in line with the Millennium Declaration. He said it was the imperative of all responsible world leaders to build on agreements reached at Monterrey, Rio and Doha.
Like other small island countries, the Marshall Islands was faced with many challenges, including climate change and sea-level rise, which were matters of peace and security, as well as life and death. Sadly, it now appeared that what those small islands had depended on for their livelihoods -- oceans, seas and the vast biodiversity of costal regions -- was now turning against them due to the rampant over-fishing, sewage dumping, and air pollution of those living in other regions of the world. With that in mind, he called for the early ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. Finally, he said that when humankind advanced from the Stone Age to Bronze Age, it had not been because the world was running out of stones -- it was because of human ingenuity. He was confident that the citizens of the world today were capable of mustering that same ingenuity to building a better future.
ROMANO PRODI, President of the European Commission, said that the Summit must spell out concrete ways of reaching the ambitious targets set at the Millennium Summit. Attaching timetables to those goals was part of the solution. Having signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocol, the European Union was convinced that it was possible to make it work. He hoped the ratifications soon to be announced would bring that instrument into force.
"We are here in Johannesburg to forge a fresh pact between North and South on the basis of trust and our shared goal of sustainable development", he said. As growth needed trade and investment, the markets of the European Union were wide open, not least to the developing countries, from which it imported goods worth over 400 billion euros every year. The Commission was ready to negotiate to open markets further on the basis of clear undertakings made at Doha. Major reductions in trade-distorting domestic support and export subsidies were also needed. Proof of the Commission's commitment in that regard were its proposals on agriculture and fisheries, by which it proposed, in particular, to switch its agricultural policy away from production-linked aid to rural development.
The pact he was putting forward today rested on the shared recognition of the basic values of democracy, good governance, and social inclusion, he said. To be effective, that call must go hand in hand with tangible forms of solidarity. In that connection, he reaffirmed Europe's Monterrey commitment to reach 0.39 of gross domestic product (GDP) in development assistance by 2006 as a stepping stone towards the goal of 0.7 per cent. Further, industrialized countries must take the lead in developing sustainable production and consumption patterns. Tomorrow, a major initiative on water would be unveiled, which would bring water to millions in Africa, making a major contribution to halving the number of people without access to safe drinking water. The Commission also wanted to foster cooperation on international rivers and lakes. In conclusion, he also reaffirmed Europe's active commitment to giving support to Africa. The Union's partnership with Africa would be strengthened through the Cotonou Convention, which linked it to more than 80 States in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. It would bring 13.5 billion euros in fresh financial resources for the development of those countries over the next five years and improve trade relations. Negotiations on regional trade agreements would start in October.
BHARRAT JAGDEO, President of Guyana, expressing his region's full support for the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) as the current Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said that genuine partnerships to promote the cause of sustainable development could do much to achieve the goals set at Rio. To work, however, such partnerships needed to be founded on trust. Due to double standards in international political and economic affairs, it was clear that such trust did not exist. Partnerships between States must be based on the interest of all parties, mutual trust and respect. Private-public sector partnerships must be based on equity and transparency. That could not be produced by diplomatic pressure to unfairly change incentives and the legal regimes of a country. Partnership with multilateral financial institutions must be based on greater understanding of a country's situation and less of a doctrinaire advocacy of policies.
Countries of the Caribbean were fully committed to equitable and sustainable global development, he continued. Despite the fact that Guyana was a poor country, it had allocated about 2 per cent of its territory for research, conservation and sustainable management of forests. Large tracts of land had been set aside under a national protected areas programme. The country had also enacted strict legislation to protect its natural heritage from abuse and destruction. Even after receiving support from the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Debt Initiative, however, Guyana still used 40 per cent of its revenue to service foreign debts. It was grossly unfair that small and poor countries should be made to bear disproportionate responsibility for safeguarding the planet, when they were so burdened by debt and other economic and social difficulties. The developed countries must shoulder a fair share of the burden.
It was not enough to make pledges, announce initiatives and develop action plans, he said. It was necessary to ensure that the amount promised was fully delivered and disbursed, he said. It would be most irresponsible to separate poverty and poverty-eradication efforts from discussions of the environment. Accordingly, the declaration and action plan emanating from the Summit must reaffirm the nexus between poverty and sustainable development. Ideally, they should set targets and time frames for meeting international development goals that had been stated in both the Rio and Millennium Declarations.
GERHARD SHRÖDER, Chancellor of Germany, said the global increase in extreme weather conditions -- including the recent flood disaster in his country, the Czech Republic and Austria, among other examples -- showed clearly that climate change was no longer a skeptical forecast, but a bitter reality. That challenge demanded decisive action. At stake was the children's future. The conference should call upon States to ratify the Kyoto Protocol as soon as possible, to enable it to enter into force before the end of 2002. Those industrial countries that were not acceding to it should at least make an equal contribution towards reducing greenhouse gases.
He said that the key to effective climate protection and to successful economic development was a sustainable energy supply. He expected participants of the Summit to agree on concrete objectives and measures in that field. In Germany, carbon dioxide emissions had been cut by 19 per cent and a future course had been set with more efficient energy use and massive development of renewable energies. At the global level, he would take three initiatives: invite delegates to Germany for an international conference on renewable energies; participate in the global energy agency network launched yesterday; and develop successful cooperation in the energy sphere with the developing countries.
Over the next five years, he said, his country would provide 500 million euros to promote cooperation on renewable energies. Without successful poverty alleviation, there would be no global "environmental rescue" and also no lasting peace. The member States of the European Union would increase public assistance for the global fight against poverty from the current 26 billion euros to a likely 35 billion euros in 2006. At least as important as financial aid was free, unhindered access for the developing countries to global markets. That also implied the dismantling of market-distorting agricultural subsidies. "The decisions taken here at Johannesburg should send economic globalization down the path towards sustainable development", he said.
SAM NUJOMA, President of Namibia, said Agenda 21 was a vision for a world where human beings were at the centre of development activities. It reaffirmed the link between environment and development and included everybody and all countries in efforts to ensure sustainable development. The real judges of the process were those who went to bed hungry every day, and those countries which had to choose between servicing their external debt and providing sustainable livelihoods for their people and did not determine the prices of their commodities, depending as they must on the merciless market forces.
He said, as a semi-arid country, Namibia attached great importance to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. For the countries affected by drought and desertification, food security was a core component of sustainable development. Namibia had stressed the establishment of a drought fund to provide a safety net to farmers and peasants. A serious concern of the developing world pertained to costs and constraints with respect to implementation of Agenda 21. The commitment to the principle of common but differentiated responsibility was not an abdication of duty by the developing countries. It was an acknowledgement of the unequal benefits nations derived from the global environment and the need to rectify it.
It was incompatible with sustainable development to expect compliance from the developing countries with unfair environmental standards, he said. The widening gap between the rich and poor countries must be reduced through fair trade and investment. Multilateral trade rules could only enhance sustainable development when they were influenced by all countries. The Summit must effectively address the issue of environmental degradation. Noting that the United Kingdom had succeeded in imposing European Union sanctions against Zimbabwe, he said British colonialists still owned more than 80 per cent of Zimbabwe's land. Sanctions must be lifted immediately.
PAKALITHA BETHUEL MOSISILI, Prime Minister of Lesotho, said that he shared in the general disappointment about the inability of the developed countries to fulfil their share of commitments that were made at Rio and other conferences in terms of resource flows to the developing countries, both for poverty eradication and for environmental protection.
He was hopeful that the international community would agree at the Summit to provide the Convention to Combat Desertification with substantial and predictable financial resources needed for its implementation. In that connection, he was happy with the emerging consensus to make the Global Environment Facility (GEF) the financial mechanism of that important Convention and urged the forthcoming GEF Assembly in Beijing to declare the availability of the Facility to play that role.
Having recently declared a state of famine in Lesotho, he appealed to all bilateral and multilateral partners to urgently and generously contribute towards ensuring the success of his Government's initiatives to address the situation. Such initiatives included a search for sustainable programmes in agriculture, the development of water resources and employment creation. He hoped an international consensus would emerge from the Summit on the key areas that needed to be addressed to achieve a balanced and sustainable development of the planet, as well as realistic, time-bound implementation plan that was adequately supported with the necessary resources.
TONY BLAIR, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, said that everyone knew the problems: a child in Africa died every three seconds from disease, malnutrition or conflict; and climate change was threatening the planet at every level. The solution was sustainable development. So, the issue for the Summit was political will. Everyone also knew the most common characteristic of today's world was interdependence -- one nation's pollution became another's flood and one country's war victims become another's asylum seekers. While there had been some progress during the past decade, Rio had not provided an answer for everything. Indeed, no summit could. What was clear was that the Johannesburg Summit could, and would, make the world change for the better.
He reiterated Britain's commitment to play its part. Indeed the United Kingdom was proud of that commitment and wanted to do more. It was proud that it would meet or succeed its Kyoto targets. But, more needed to be done. The Summit must set a clear direction for the world's future. Every effort must be made to open up world trade -- primarily the developed world must open up its markets to the products of the developing world, especially agriculture. The international community must also drive the implementation of the NEPAD initiative. He said that Great Britain would increase its overall development spending by 50 per cent by 2006. That was not charity. It was an investment in the world's collective future.
While all that would not be easy, the fact remained that the effects of deepening poverty and unchecked environmental degradation were calculable. Yesterday in Mozambique he had seen children who were as bright and eager to learn as any in affluent Britain, but their life chances were stunted by poor health, poor housing and lack of education. If Africa was a scar on the world's conscience, it was up to world leaders to help heal it. "We know the problems, and we know the solutions", he said. "We now have to work together to find political will to deliver."
JEAN CHRÉTIEN, Prime Minister of Canada, said the Summit marked a critical milestone, where a global consensus must be achieved on concrete steps to create a cleaner and healthier world for generations to come. The concept of sustainable development had moved from elite discussions to the centre of the international agenda. Sustainable development was about the very destiny of our planet. There was a rising awareness that clean air, water and safe foods were a universal need. In a pragmatic spirit, Canada preferred acts to words. Partnerships were the best means to implement sustainable development, but they must be partnerships where no sector of society had a monopoly on virtue.
Canadians at all levels, including the civil society and academe, were investing in new ideas and solutions. Mentioning hydrogen batteries and waste management, he said his country was crating sustainable technologies for tomorrow. Its indigenous peoples were enriching the knowledge of the environment. It must be acknowledged that good governance was one of the preconditions for a sustainable future. Respect for human rights was also an indispensable aspect of sustainable development and should be one of the pillars in the outcome document. Canada had committed $6 billion in resources over five years to establish conditions for sustainable development in Africa and intended to double current levels by 2010. It would more than double its contribution to the UNEP Environmental Fund.
He announced that, as of January 2003, Canada would eliminate import tariffs on almost all products from developing countries. He urged developed nations to make elimination of farm subsidies a top priority. Extreme weather was affecting Inuit and Canadian farmers and, indeed, people the world over. That underscored the reality of climate change and the imperative for global action. Canada was finalizing a plan to achieve the objectives of the Kyoto Protocol and Parliament would be asked to vote on its ratification before the end of the year.
YOWERI KAGUTA MUSEVENI, President of Uganda, said that Africa continued to struggle in her quest to develop and modernize herself, faced with major issues that affected her development. Poverty was a major challenge, leading to overuse and destruction of natural resources where short-term developmental goals were pursued, at the expense of sustainable development. Poverty eradication was high on Uganda's development agenda. Deliberate efforts had been made to eradicate poverty by, among other things, the provision of universal primary education and basic health services.
In order to achieve sustainable development, he noted the following four requirements: human resource development; liberalizing the economy with the State providing the necessary stimuli; macroeconomic stabilization; and free access to markets. The internal weaknesses in Africa and the double standards of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries -- they preached free trade but practised protectionism -- ensured that the underdeveloped parts of the globe destroyed the environment through poverty and ignorance.
The peasants destroyed the biomass in search of wood fuel, he noted. That exposed the topsoil to wind and water erosion. It also caused the silting of the floor of water bodies. Only increased consumption of electricity in the backward parts of the globe would end soil erosion and the loss of biomass. Therefore, the "arrogant so-called non-governmental organizations" that interfered with the construction of hydroelectric dams in Uganda were the real enemies of the environment.
AHMET NECDET SEZER, President of Turkey, said the expectations of the past decade had not been achieved. In order to meet the objectives of the Rio Declaration and the principles enshrined in Agenda 21, more comprehensive cooperation was needed and more effective mechanisms at national and international levels should be implemented. The entire international community should take steps in Johannesburg to reconfirm those important principles, particularly the eradication of poverty and protection of the environment, based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.
He also said that a major priority should be to make globalization work for all, which included eliminating inequalities in income. Persisting inequities and deepening poverty were proven breeding grounds for radical idealism and terrorism. He said that the decisions reached at Monterrey last March had provided the financial resources for consistent and sustainable development, and highlighted that good governance was essential to sustainable development. That required fair and equitable decisions at the national level, which reflected the input of civil society, and transparency on the part of international institutions.
As the international community turned to focus its energies on providing assistance for Africa, more effective measures would need to be taken in the fight against HIV/AIDS. United Nations initiatives in that regard must be supported. He said that Turkey sat at the nexus of the Mediterranean, Black and Caspian Seas and, therefore, paid special attention to the development of environmental awareness. Turkey had adopted a national environment plan, on the basis of which it had started to enhance the quality of life, raise environmental awareness and promote economic and social development. Johannesburg should be seen as an important milestone, marking the beginning of a new era rather than the conclusion of the past decade. It should mark the recommitment of world governments to create secure, healthy societies without harming the environment.
JOSÉ MANUEL DURÃO BARROSO, Prime Minister of Portugal, said that efforts on the path to sustainable development -- 10 years after the Rio Summit -- had fallen short of collective expectations. The present Summit had the historic opportunity of making headway in ensuring that all reaped the fruits of globalization. The international community must increasingly include all countries and regions in the world economy, for that was the path to sustainable development. Exclusion, or self-exclusion would lead nowhere. The Summit's success could be measured by credible and concrete targets, goals and timetables, which would mobilize the efforts and means of all.
He continued by drawing attention to the world's oceans, stressing that they were a major component of the planet's life support system, a key element of its balance, a driving force of the climate and the hydrological cycle, and a reality not yet completely mapped. Oceans sustained the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people, provided vital resources for eradicating poverty, ensuring food security and allowing economic prosperity for present and future generations. Oceans were also an avenue of communication and trade among people, as well as a basis for the promising industry of tourism.
However, the oceans' ecosystems and resources were continuing to be depleted at an alarming rate, he said. It was estimated that 6.3 billion people -- 75 per cent of the world's population -- would live in coastal zones by 2025. Therefore, effective auction to improve oceans and coastal management was urgently needed. He advocated an inter-sectoral and integrated management of the oceans, islands and coastal areas imbued with responsibility and precaution. Political will was needed to deliver concrete efforts and remain in line with the aspirations of sustainable development.
ABDELAZIZ BOUTEFLIKA, President of Algeria, emphasized the need to address the challenge of sustainable development from the standpoint of lack of growth, poverty aggravation and increasingly rapid environmental deterioration. Despite the growing awareness of the risks posed by those trends on the economic and ecological security of the globe, the main changes required for sustainable development had not yet been effected.
He underscored the fact that environmental deterioration endangered the very prospects of growth and brought into focus the limits of partial and isolated approaches. That was why it was essential to consider the various factors that altered natural cycles and affected vital resources, such as air, water, forests, biodiversity, oceans and coasts. The economic and ecological stakes were now global, as they placed in question the future of mankind itself.
It was crucial to reinforce national, regional and global environmental governance, he continued. More specifically, it was necessary to ensure greater harmony in the work of UNEP and the Commission on Sustainable Development and to improve the monitoring bodies of the various conventions. The recent agreement to develop the GEF into a financial mechanism of the Convention to Combat Desertification, and the replenishment of its resources at an increased level, were encouraging steps and a source of satisfaction for countries experiencing serious problems of drought and desertification.
JACQUES CHIRAC, President of France, said, "our house is burning down and we're looking in the other direction". Humanity was suffering from poor development, in both the North and the South, and the world stood indifferent. The earth and humankind were in danger and everyone was responsible. "It was time to open our eyes." Alarms were sounding across all the continents. Europe was beset by natural disasters and health crises. The United States economy, with its often-ravenous appetite for natural resources, seemed to be hit by a crisis of confidence in the way it was managed. Latin America was again shaken by financial and social crises and in Asia, rising pollution evidenced by the brown cloud was spreading and threatening to poison an entire continent. Africa was plagued by conflicts, AIDS, desertification and famine, and some island countries were seeing their very existence threatened by global warming.
That, he continued, entailed collective responsibility. First and foremost, the responsibility lay with the developed countries, which were frontrunners in terms of history, power and their consumption levels. If the whole of humanity were to behave like the northern countries, it would take two more planets to satisfy the world's needs. It was also the responsibility of the developing countries. Those countries had to admit that there was no other solution for them than to invent a less polluting growth model. Ten years after Rio, there was no reason to celebrate. The international community, in Johannesburg, should conclude a global alliance for sustainable development.
He highlighted five priority areas for action -- climate change, poverty eradication, biological and cultural diversity, production and consumption patterns, and global governance. As he had stated in Monterrey, an economic and social security council was needed to ensure the cohesion of international action. Also, to better manage the environment and ensure compliance with the Rio principles, a world environmental organization was needed. To check that Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Plan of Action were applied, he proposed that the Commission on Sustainable Development be vested with the task of evaluation. France was ready to be the first to be assessed in that way.
FERNANDO HENRIQUE CARDOSO, President of Brazil, said 10 years ago in Rio, the international community had embarked on an ambitious journey, a visionary endeavour leading to the recognition that environmental concerns had to be linked to sustainable development. Today was the time to commit oneself to action. It would be immoral to look passively at the environmental destruction of the world. It was the common task of all to overcome the power of inertia and indifference. A delicate balance between economic prosperity, environmental protection and social justice must be found. To achieve that, a new paradigm for sustainable development must be developed, based on common but differentiated responsibilities.
He proposed creating a fund for biodiversity. Brazil contained the largest mass of biodiversity on earth, and had, a few weeks ago, created the largest protected area of tropical rainforest in the world in the northern Amazon. He called on the international community to support that initiative. Plans were under way to achieve, by 2010, 10 per cent of total energy from renewable sources. He urged the earliest entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol, and urged all nations, especially from the Group of 8, to sign the Protocol. Global warning needed to be stopped. Brazil would work together with its partners to put in place concrete measures of cooperation under Kyoto.
Development was not sustainable if it was unfair or constrained by an asymmetrical globalization. The fight required more inclusive international links, and more stable financial flows, among other things. International partnerships to ensure employment must be reinforced. That's why tariffs and unfair subsidies needed to be fought. Sustainable development was now at the very heart of the international agenda. Effective and comprehensive implementation of Agenda 21 must be the utmost priority. Difficult decisions must be faced, he said, but now was the time to do it, not just for developing countries, but for all nations of the world.
ANDRANIK MARGARAN, Prime Minister of Armenia, said his Government stood behind the Rio Declaration and Agenda 21. To that end, it had approved a strategic programme aimed at poverty eradication. In order to achieve full-fledged success, all available public resources would be mobilized. The Government would also seek cooperation at all levels, including within the private sector and civil society. Such cooperation made it possible to include agreed approaches shared by all interested parties in the process. It also assured active participation in achieving the desires of the population at large. He added that Armenia had also established a national council for sustainable development.
He went on to highlight the unique biodiversity of Armenia's lakes, forests and mountains. In order to maintain and preserve that vast diversity, it was clear that assistance would be needed from the wider international community. Armenia was looking for effective solutions, including the active involvement and partnership of a wide range of partners and donors. He added that Armenia was participating, along with 12 other countries, in the innovative Environment for Europe initiative. That programme joined the expertise of regional environment ministers working to integrate policies to overcome degradation of the environment. The initiative placed particular emphasis on poverty eradication and protection of water resources.
He said that Armenia was on the verge of becoming a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). It was hoped that that membership would help further integrate the country into the global system and help promote sustainable development. He added, however, that Armenia faced some unique challenges, including the continued blockade of transport lines, and the difficulties posed by hosting more than 200,000 refugees, driven out of Azerbaijan as result of ethnic cleansing. He was convinced that the Summit's outcome would be the basis of the active participation of all in efforts to eradicate poverty and protect the environment.
DANIEL ARAP MOI, President of Kenya, said Africa was unlikely to achieve sustainable development given the current levels of external debt, falling ODA and declining foreign direct investment flows. While the HIPC Initiative was a step towards alleviating the debt burden, which was responsible for massive outflows of scarce development resources from developing nations, many highly indebted countries, including Kenya, did not benefit from it. Kenya proposed that countries facing high levels of poverty and debt burdens qualify for debt relief.
Although globalization had the potential for diverse opportunities, its benefits were more unevenly distributed, he said. Its costs were borne by all, while its benefits and opportunities were concentrated in a small number of countries in the North. Globalization must be channeled into a positive force for all the world's peoples. Resource mobilization through development initiatives should, therefore, occupy center-stage to liberate Africa from poverty and underdevelopment.
The Summit must put in place an effective institutional framework that would ensure the timely implementation of the plan of action, he stressed. In that regard, there was need to strengthen United Nations agencies, especially UNEP and the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (UN-Habitat), the two key institutions for the coordination of sustainable development. They should be provided with adequate and predictable resources to enable them to carry out their mandate fully and effectively.
AHMED MOHAMED AG HAMANI, Prime Minister of Mali, said that the planet today, more than ever before, deserved the special attention of the international community. Despite vigorous economic reforms, economic indicators in his country had remained low. One in five children died before the age of five. Also, half of the boys and one girl out of three did not have access to education. It was an alarming picture, which could apply to many other developing countries.
The Summit, he said, was an opportunity for the international community to agree on a specific plan of action, moving beyond mere identification of problems and towards an agenda for implementation and follow-up. He appealed to the international community to assist African countries so that they could tackle the challenges they faced. Also, he hoped the international community would work together with Africa on its development. The aspects of combating poverty, such as sound management of natural resources and food security, also had to do with the developmental rights of peoples.
KING MOHAMMED VI of Morocco said that without implementation of relevant international commitments, countries of the South would continue to be confronted with the challenges of sustainable development, regardless of their good intentions. Was it possible to meet those challenges while international cooperation was so inadequate, especially in terms of financing and transfer of environment-friendly technology? he asked.
The African continent, he said, was plagued more than any other by the proliferation of tension spots, economic and social evils and devastating diseases. Just like other developing areas, African countries needed to feel that the international community cared about their stability and development. They wanted partners who were truly committed and willing to help them in their effort to become integrated into the global economic system.
At the same time, countries in the South must work for optimal utilization of their human and natural resources, he said. Their resources must be devoted to achieving sustainable development, instead of being wasted on artificial disputes, and must display their commitment to the principles of good governance. A comprehensive strategy based on true partnership and genuine solidarity was required. In addition, it was necessary to develop norms and standards to curb and contain the dangers resulting from climatic changes and from the overexploitation of natural resources. It was only when the international community fully shouldered its responsibilities that optimism would be rekindled.
DOMITIEN NDAYIZEYE, Vice-President of Burundi, said the entire international community agreed that Agenda 21 had been delayed in its implementation. He hoped that a new momentum would help create a new society that would meet the challenges of establishing sustainable development. There was no doubt that, in order to bring about sustainable development, poverty and hunger must be eradicated and an environmentally sustainable way of living must be established. No one had the right to shirk their responsibility or slacken in efforts to protect natural resources.
He said one must also be vigilant to ensure that globalization would be a benefit to all, rather than polarizing the world in two camps. To tackle the divide between rich and poor, the only path that offered hope was the path of cooperation and partnership in which all sectors of society joined forces. That approach must be based on good governance, transparence and flexibility. Flexibility was necessary to allow countries in difficult situations to have access to the necessary financial resources.
He said his country needed support from the international community for its transitional institutions after the long internal struggle. However, certain partners and donors were now linking release of promised resources to return of peace to the country. He stressed that the transition Government was committed to negotiations with armed movements in order to achieve a ceasefire. To negotiate a ceasefire, it had fulfilled all conditions of the post-conflict programme. He, therefore, appealed to all to ensure that the "Friends of Burundi" would release the promised assistance, which would support the peace agreement.
SERETSE KHAMA IAN KHAMA, Vice-President of Botswana, said the optimism of Rio had not been realized, as the world had witnessed many problems, including the unacceptable levels of poverty, disease and economic stagnation, caused by natural disasters or poor governance. For its part, Botswana had declared poverty eradication as the central focus of it national Development Planning Framework - "Vision 2016: Towards Prosperity for All". That initiative pledged, among other things, the eradication of poverty by 2016.
At the same time, Botswana had realized that actions taken at the national level alone could not be sustained in the absence of a supportive global environment. Such an environment must incorporate an appreciation of the critical role to be played by trade, finance, investment, technology and ODA. He was encouraged that poverty eradication featured prominently in the draft outcome document of the Summit. He went on to say that following Bali, as the international community struggled to address the issue of financing for development, it had become clear that discussions must not be restricted to issues of development assistance. Aid alone was not enough. Regard should be given to other innovations that could generate more financial resources.
He said those discussions should include greater market access, direct foreign investment, combating HIV/AIDS and technology transfer and capacity-building in developing countries. All that should be matched by appropriate policies and conducive environments and good governance that was responsive to basic freedoms. He said that at Rio, no one had anticipated that HIV/AIDS would become a global challenge of such magnitude. AIDS was a tragedy that was preventable and, therefore, the Summit must address the pandemic resolutely. He urged the international community to seize the opportunity to make tangible efforts to reverse the devastating effects of HIV/AIDS in Africa and elsewhere with all possible interventions.
LEVY PATRICK MWANAWASA, President of Zambia, said that today one fifth of the world's population lived on a dollar a day. More than half of the world's poor lived in sub-Saharan Africa. HIV/AIDS and other diseases continued to undermine the efforts of African countries. In addition, international and civil conflicts threatened the ability of people to rise out of poverty, forcing the perpetuation of a vicious cycle. Today, 2 million were without basic sanitation and 2.5 million died every year from waste-related diseases. The poor management of solid waste had been linked to a decline in service deliveries in developing countries.
There could be no sustainable development without reducing poverty and disease, he said. Many developing countries had developed ambitious poverty-reduction strategy papers aimed at achieving sustained growth and reducing poverty. Those strategy papers had incorporated strategies for attaining sustainable development. The Summit was an opportunity to synchronize poverty-reduction and sustainable development goals. In addition, the rich counties should increase ODA, which in 2000 had fallen to its lowest levels ever.
A pertinent issue related to financing was accountability and transparency in the management of public affairs, he added. Zambia had placed good governance at the centre of its policies to combat poverty because it recognized that good governance created the conditions for citizens to live freely and for markets to flourish. He added that trade and finance should be brought to the heart of the sustainable development discussion.
FRANCISCO SANTO CALDERÓN, Vice-President of Colombia, said the number participants in the Summit - some 60,000 -- was the same number of people that had been assassinated in his country over the past two years. His country would have been a better place, safer, more governable and more green, had it not suffered from the consequences of the global illicit drug problems over more than two decades. Drug trafficking had caused an appalling rise in violence and crime, and an erosion for respect for the law and the environment. Long before the 11 September events brought the link between drug trafficking and terrorism to light, Colombia had suffered the consequences of that alliance. Over the last four years, it has suffered an average of 3,000 murders and 30,000 kidnappings.
He said drug traffickers had damaged ecosystems through their cultivation of poppy and coca plants. The regions where such cultivation took place were among the richest in biodiversity. In order to plan a hectare of coca, four hectares of rainforest had to be burned, which also contributed carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. The illicit cultivation also used a wide range of toxic insecticides. Processing the coca leaves and poppies into cocaine and heroin required the use of chemicals that caused enormous damage to the ecosystem. The environmental nightmare of the alliance between terrorism and drug trafficking also included blowing up of oil pipelines.
Colombia, therefore, was asking the international community to immediately move towards ending the production of illicit drugs and the drug trafficking in fighting money laundering. He also appealed for help for the thousands of people who were trapped in the illicit growth, so that they could escape from the drug world. Over the last decade, Colombia had developed a range of environmental recovery programmes. The new Government had made execution of a programme of reforestation and help to provide substitutes for illicit crops a priority.
JOSE GUILLERMO JUSTINIANO SANDOVAL, Minister of Sustainable Development and Planning and Head of the Economic and Social Ministerial Council of Bolivia, expressed hope that the Johannesburg Summit would be known in history as the "responsibility summit". The time to place blame for unfulfilled promises was over. Now, time for action had come. The international community had a responsibility to the future, to the children of the world. Hunger was no longer satisfied by protest. The thirst must be quenched.
While of a shared nature, the responsibility should be differentiated, he continued. For Bolivians, sustainable development had become a path to follow. From his country's standpoint, in addition to the economic, social and environmental aspects, sustainable development had a political dimension, which involved sound institutions, citizen action, popular participation and good governance. Since the Rio Summit, Bolivia had been the first country on the planet to create a ministry of sustainable development, which had put in place an integral and integrated State policy. It was also the first country in the world that had certified forests.
A responsible community constituted the basis of global sustainability, he said. In Bolivia, many communities had responded to the trust placed in them. While his country had made good progress in the right direction, it was still lacking concrete markets, access to technologies and a mechanism that rewarded environmental efforts of the private sector and government. Without responsibility from all and for all, there was no sustainability. The implementation plan to emerge from the Summit should be called "Responsibility 21".
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