Summit on Sustainable Development
Department of Public Information - News and Media Services Division - New York
26 August-4 September 2002
2 September 2002
DAILY BRIEFING BY SUMMIT SPOKESWOMAN
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan this morning called on world leaders gathered in Johannesburg to take responsibility for each other, for the planet and for the future, Susan Markham, Spokeswoman for the World Summit, said at today's noon press briefing.
"Let us stop being economically defensive and start being politically courageous," she quoted the Secretary-General as saying. Reminding the assembled heads of State and government and other delegates that "action starts with governments", he said, "Sustainable development need not wait for tomorrow's technological breakthroughs. The world today needs to usher in a season of transformation, a season of stewardship."
The Spokeswoman said the full text of the Secretary-General's statement was available on the racks in the media centre.
She also quoted the statement made by the President of the Summit, President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, as he opened the high-level segment shortly after 9 a.m.: "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.
Quoting further, she said the President recalled that less than a decade ago, his country had been home to the anti-human system of apartheid. It would thus be fitting that from Johannesburg -- also the home of humankind's common ancestors -- the leaders of the world would send the message that they were determined to defeat global apartheid. "Nothing whatsoever can justify any failure on our part to respond to this expectation," he said.
Ms. Markham said that three children from Canada, China and Ecuador presented a series of challenges to the assembled world leaders, asking them to make sure everyone had clean drinking water, to act on the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, to provide free education to primary school children, and to limit the number of cars per family. The children also held a press conference, the Spokeswoman added.
She said that Han Seung-soo (Republic of Korea), President of the United Nations General Assembly also addressed the high-level segment followed by heads of State and government. The list of speakers was in today's Journal. This afternoon's session would start at 2 p.m. until 8 p.m. tonight.
Ms. Markham said that tomorrow's plenary would begin at 9 a.m. and the list of speakers could be found in both today's and tomorrow's Journal.
The Spokeswoman said the first heads of State and government round table was at 3 p.m. and the list of participants was in the Journal. The second round table would be held tomorrow starting at 10 a.m. The roundtables would be broadcast into the media centre.
She said there were four side events that would have the participation of heads of State. At 1:15 p.m., the Presidents of South Africa and Nigeria would
attend an event on African coastal management in Ballroom 1. A second event at 1:15 would feature the Presidents of Ukraine, Georgia and the European Commission in Committee room 4A.
At 6:30 p.m., today the Presidents of Finland and the United Republic of Tanzania would participate in a side event on the social dimensions of globalization in Ballroom 1, she said. Also at 6:30, the Prime Ministers of China and Italy would participate in an event on Sino-Italian cooperation for environmental protection.
Ms. Markham said that the Secretary-General would open a round table on mobilizing investment for the least developed countries at 12:30 p.m. At 3 p.m., he would address the Civil Society Forum at NASREC. While he was doing that, Mrs. Nane Annan would be participating in a number of events relating to the water, sanitation and hygiene -- WASH -- campaign at the WaterDome.
At around 4 p.m., Mrs. Annan would join the Secretary-General at Soweto, the Spokeswoman said. They would meet children from the Children's Earth Summit and Jane Goodall, a United Nations Messenger of Peace and member of the Secretary-General's advisory panel for the Summit.
She said the children would present the Secretary-General with a memorandum from the children's summit and he and Mrs. Annan would plant a tree on Somoho, a hill made from a former garbage dump. They would also watch a gumboot dance. Media interested in attending that event should contact Pragati Pascale in the Spokeswoman's office or the Media Liaison desk.
This evening starting at 7:30 p.m., the Secretary-General and Mrs. Annan would attend the dinner hosted by the President of South Africa and Mrs. Zanele Mbeki in honour of the heads of State and government, Ms. Markham said.
Drawing the attention of journalists to a number of changes to the schedule of press conferences, she advised them to check the listings regularly.
Regarding attendance, she said 9,000 accreditation passes had been issued to delegations, 8,000 to major groups and almost 4,000 to media for a total of 21,000. Some 190 speakers would address the plenary and 191 countries were participating in addition to, the European community and Palestine. Nauru, Turkmenistan and San Marino were the three countries not participating.
Turning to partnership announcements made so far, she said, including those that the Secretariat had been advised of prior to the Summit, there had been about 300 proposals. More than 60 projects had been announced at the Summit over the past four days. They involved partnerships between governments, public and private institutions, international organizations and non-governmental organizations. The initiatives represented a shift from paper commitments to joint action on the ground to implement sustainable development goals.
Ms. Markham said they addressed all the critical areas of sustainable development and would be carried out in all regions of the world. A considerable amount of money had been committed in a short period of time and much more would be mobilized by those investments. Some of the partnerships were still evolving, so the commitments continue long after the Summit ended, she said.
Giving a summary of partnerships made according to the WEHAB issues, she said $20 million had been committed for 21 water projects; $26 million for 32 energy projects; $3 million for 16 health projects; $2 million for 17 agriculture projects; and $100 million for 32 biodiversity projects.
She said the overall figure amounted to $235 million. In addition there was $1.5 billion announced by the United States in Johannesburg for a variety of projects and $2.3 billion for health, some of which seemed to be money that had been partly committed to the Global Fund on HIV/AIDS. A table with the figures was available from the Spokeswoman's office.
Regarding the negotiations, Ms. Markham said the ministers had now agreed on most of the issues including the target for sanitation. Countries had committed to a target of 2015 for halving the numbers of people who lacked access to proper sanitation. The ministers had met again at 11 a.m. today.
The Spokeswoman asked Lowell Flanders, the United Nations senior adviser coordinating the drafting groups, to explain what had been agreed last night and what remained.
Mr. Flanders said everything had been agreed except the paragraphs to be taken up this morning on energy and a fragment on health care services in the Africa section of the document. In addition to agreement on governance, which was particularly pleasing, the ministers had also managed to clear all the paragraphs concerning the precautionary principle and common but differentiated responsibilities.
When asked why the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues was not represented at the Summit and why that body's President had not been invited, the Spokeswoman said she did not know, but would find out.
Asked about the status of the negotiations on water and energy issues, Mr. Flanders replied that water and sanitation had been cleared. The remaining paragraphs on energy related to the target for renewable energy technologies. Ms. Markham added that the target for clean water and sanitation was 2015.
Mr. Flanders advised another journalist to check the text for language on official development assistance.
Regarding the draft political declaration, he told another correspondent that South Africa was consulting with various delegations, but there would be no negotiations per se. Asked about the delay in agreement on health care in Africa, Mr. Flanders said there was a difference of opinion about the wording.
He told another journalist that he was fairly confident agreement would be reached by the end of the day on the remaining issues. Concerning the precautionary principle and common but differentiated responsibilities, agreement had been possible because the ministers had come up with wording that met everybody's requirements. The text could be obtained from the Spokeswoman, he added.
Asked whether the launching of so many initiatives indicated that developed countries were pushing for Type 2 agreements, Ms. Markham said they complemented Type 1 commitments.
In response to a question about possible talks between the Secretary-General and Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz of Iraq, she said she did not have a list of the bilateral consultations. Such a photo opportunity could happen with the agreement of both parties, she added.
Mr. Flanders told another correspondent that he had no knowledge of any discussion of nuclear energy.
Asked what the United Nations was doing to help landless people to register as a major group, Ms. Markham referred the journalist to UN-Habitat, which was involved in some initiatives in that area.