Johannesburg, South Africa (26 August-4 September 2002)


FAO Chief Discusses Agriculture at Johannesburg Summit

Agriculture is one of the main issues debated at the World Summit on Sustainable Development. UN Radio spoke in Johannesburg to Jacques Diouf, Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, and asked him about the link between hunger and sustainable development.

WSSD Delegates Told About Their Responsibility to Future Generations

The high-level segment of the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development opened Monday in Johannesburg with the speeches of heads of state and international leaders, but also with the voices of children. UN Radio reports from Johannesburg.

Israel and Jordan to Present at WSSD Joint Project to Save the Dead Sea

Jordan's biggest lake, known as the Dead Sea, has been shrinking by over a meter every year for the past 10-15 years. From a thousand square kilometers in the 1960s it is now reduced to less than 700 square kilometers. If no action is taken, experts warn that the Dead Sea and its unique ecosystem will be gone in 50 years. But help may be on the way.

Johannesburg Summit Looks to Partnerships to Expand Benefits of Small Projects

One of the goals of the World Summit on Sustainable Development is to harness the enormous potential of ordinary people around the world in creating a sustainable future. This report features some of the many people, who have come to the Summit to share their innovative grassroots projects with the world.

Renewable Energy Target Is Debated at Sustainable Development Summit

One of the contentious issues in the negotiations at the World Summit on Sustainable Development is the idea that by the year 2015, 15 percent of the world's energy supply should come from renewable sources, like solar and wind power. Proponents of the idea point out the environmental benefits, while detractors worry about the costs.

UN Foundation Supports UN-Habitat Project "Water for African Cities"

Affordable access to clean water is one of the five key areas of focus of the Johannesburg Summit on Sustainable Development. The city of Johannesburg is one of seven African cities benefiting from a pilot project of UN-Habitat that will ensure that water is conserved and provided at a price that the poor can afford. The initial funding for this project was provided by the UN Foundation. UN Radio spoke in Johannesburg to the President of the UN Foundation, Timothy Wirth.

Johannesburg Must Put the Promises of Rio Into Action

The environment is a major factor in the health and quality of life of people. The UN estimates that up to a quarter of all preventable diseases in the world are caused by poor environmental quality. The Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro ten years ago raised public awareness about the need to integrate environmental and social considerations into economic policy. Its follow-up in Johannesburg seeks to reinvigorate the political commitment to these goals.

The Underlying Causes of Torrential Rains and Floods in Asia and Europe

The UN Environment Program called on Industrialized nations to assume responsibility for their role in causing the unusual weather that has taken hundreds of lives. Floods in Kathmandu have killed 422 people, scores more are missing. In Tehran, heavy rains have killed 10. In Salzburg four people died after rivers burst their banks. In Prague, the worst flooding in recent memory has forced thousands of residents to flee their homes. UNEP says there be no doubt that humans are partly to blame. Producer: Lisa White.

Youth Action for Sustainable Development

Youth make up one sixth of the world's population. Their numbers are expected to rise steeply in the next decades. In a special message, the Secretary-General calls upon the youth of the world to carry forward the ideals of the Earth Summit in Rio and to make their voices heard in Johannesburg. Joop Theunissen heads the Youth Division in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs. He has brought together a panel of young people, environmental experts and UN leaders, to discuss the state of the planet and how to get government leaders to act on their recommendations. Producer: Anne-Marie Ibanez

Asian Brown Cloud is a Widespread Threat to the Global Environment

Sulfuric Acid, soot and other particles have combined to form what scientists are calling the Asian Brown Cloud. That's the conclusion of a preliminary study released by the UN's Environment Program. UNEP found this widespread pollution is having a direct effect on climate change and human health. Producer: Lisa White.

World Atlas of Biodiversity

Eighty percent of people in developing countries rely on medicines based largely on plants and animals. In the US alone, more than 50 percent of the most popular prescribed drugs are linked to discoveries made in the wild. Yet the biological diversity that makes these drugs possible is rapidly diminishing, according to the World Atlas of Biodiversity, released by the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Center, based in Cambridge, England. Producer: Gerry Adams.

Small Grants go a Long Way in Two Bali Communities

Small Grants Program was established ten years ago by Global Environment Facility, an organization to forge international co-operation and finance actions to address threats to the environment. By providing small grants, ranging from 5,000 to 20,000 US dollars, the program demonstrates that small amounts of support to community-based-initiatives can add just the right amount of fuel to achieve sustainable development. In Bali, Indonesia,two communities have benefited from grants of about $15,000 to help maintain their forest, and to protect green sea turtles. Producer: Yongmei Yao.

Global Warming Affects Mount Everest

Back in 1953, Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and his Sherpa guide, Tenzing Norgay of Nepal, made history when they climbed to the top of the highest point on earth, Mount Everest in the Himalayan mountains of Nepal. But now, nearly 50 years have passed and would these two pioneers ever be surprised if they took that same trek today! Nick Nuttall is the head of Media at UNEP- the United Nations Environment Programme. Producer: Gerry Adams

Finding a Balance between Protecting the Environment and Fueling Economic Growth

Takehiko Uemura represents Network Earth Village, an organization that aims to create a sustainable society in harmony with the environment. One of its main goals is to reduce nuclear energy and to replace it with what are known as renewable sources of energy - such as the sun and wind - that are not harmful to the environment. Takehiko says his organization believes nuclear energy is particularly dangerous for his country, Japan. Producer: Lena Yacoumopoulou.

UN Oceans Atlas launched as a Line Tool to reverse Oceans Deterioration

World Environment Day, June 5, saw the launching of the UN Atlas of the Oceans, a new internet-based tool that provides users with continuously updated information on the state of the world's oceans. Dr. Serge Garcia of the Food and Agriculture Organization says the Oceans Atlas will promote sustainable development, inform policy makers and educate the public. Producer: Gerry Adams.