Rt.Hon. Joseph Warioba,
in behalf of the
World Summit on Sustainable Development
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is a privilege for me to address the World Summit on Sustainable Development on behalf of the Secretary General's Advisory Panel for the Summit.
In preparation for the World Summit on Sustainable Development the Secretary - General of the United Nations convened an Advisory Panel to explore the challenges of sustainable development and make recommendations to him how to meet them through the Summit process. The following are some of the thoughts of the Panel:
The Earth Summit in Rio in 1992 raised the hope that the world would move closer to a sustainable and peaceful future. However, while the implementation of agenda 21 has progressed in a few areas, in many more areas there have been setbacks, and the achievement of sustainable development seems to be a more complex and difficult task than originally imagined.
If poverty, the destruction of the environment, inequity and violence have increased despite economic growth and advances in technology, this seems to indicate that more fundamental changes are necessary to reverse these negative trends.
The Panel calls for a shared vision of basic values to provide an ethical foundation for a sustainable way of life. We must recognize that the global environment with its finite resources is the common concern of all peoples. We must also recognize that not all nations have equal resources, and that existing imbalances must be addressed in order to build a global partnership. The Panel feels that the Principles of the Earth Charter, as interdependent principles for a sustainable way of life, can contribute to build such an ethical foundation. Furthermore, spirituality, in the sense of dealing with our inner selves and learning to live in peace with ourselves and with our environment, can help us to achieve the inner change which may be required to find a road to sustainability.
Since Rio there have been important changes in the framework conditions for implementing sustainable development. Globalization, change in the functioning of financial markets, and the spread of information and communication technology have created new opportunities to promote economic development, poverty reduction and environmental protection. However, there is growing concern that large segments of the world's population may not be able to benefit from those changes. These downside risks of globalization need to be addressed by the Summit.
More specifically, the Panel
felt that increased economic competition at the global level during the
last decade may have made it more difficult for governments to maintain
or improve public services, like basic education health services, access
to safe drinking water, social cohesion and environmental protection, and
to adequately support those parts of the population who are not equipped
to benefit from the advantages of
Another important challenge of sustainable development is the protection and sustainable management of our natural resource base. Excessive use of energy and material resources by developed countries lie at the root of the dangerous trend of climatic change and contribute to the loss of biodiversity. At the same time, it would not be credible to recommend to developing countries not to follow a similar path of development if developed countries themselves do not undertake a serious effort to change their production and consumption patterns.
Energy is essential for development. Developing countries must have adequate supplies of energy if they are to escape the poverty trap. We need to make clean energy supplies accessible and affordable for the two billion people who currently do not have them. We need to increase the use of renewable energy sources and improve energy efficiency. Science and technology can help to achieve these changes. Studies have shown that resource use could be halved while at the same time doubling economic output. To initiate such a paradigm shift, a mixture of political and economic measures will be necessary. However, the acceptance of such measures and the willingness to take action may require a shared vision of basic values, as described earlier.
Human beings depend, both biologically and economically, on the rich diversity of other species with which they share the planet. Yet biodiversity is declining at an unprecedented rate. We must preserve as many species as possible, fairly share the benefit of biodiversity, and clamp down on unrestricted fishing and logging while helping people who currently depend on such activities to find more sustainable ways of earning their living.
Let me conclude by saying that the Panel believes that the challenge in Johannesburg is not simply reaching agreement on another plan of action. The Millennium Summit outlines all the goals stemming from all the U.N conferences of the nineties. The challenge for Johannesburg is reaching agreement on something that the world will recognize as a major step in the implementation of all the goals that have been set so far.
The world needs programmes which will implement time-bound targets with monitoring and reporting mechanisms to ensure responsibility and accountability. Less than that Johannesburg +10 will be no different from Rio +10.