Countries Commit to Major Partnership Initiatives on Water, Energy
Johannesburg, 29 August Countries and international organizations began
announcing partnership initiatives at the World Summit on Sustainable
Development aimed at achieving tangible results with major commitments in the
areas of water and sanitation and energy.
One of the major outcome of the Summit, the partnerships mark a major
innovation that will connect the negotiated document with actual implementation
"The partnership initiatives are intended to ensure that there is real
action toward sustainable development after the Summit, " Johannesburg
Summit Secretary-General Nitin Desai said. "Too often, we have seen
conferences end with only a document. We need government commitments-that's
what the negotiations are for. But we need to know who is actually planning to
implement what the Summit decides." But he cautioned that the partnerships
should not serve as a substitute for government commitments.
The European Union announced that it was launching major partnership
initiatives on water and energy. Poul Nielson, European Commissioner for
Development and Humanitarian Aid, said the "Water for Life"
initiative aimed to halve the number of people without access to clean water or
proper sanitation. The EU, he said, is already the largest donor in the water
field, with funding averaging around 1.4 Euros a year. "We are ready to
increase this amount in coming years," he said.
Much of the resources for the new partnerships is already in the pipeline, and
includes resources pledged in Monterrey. But EU officials say that amount could
Danish Environment Minister and current EU President Hans Christian Schmidt
said, "We need firm commitments from all governments to implement the
decisions of the Summit." But he added that while they committed to
developing partnerships, the partnerships should never be "an excuse of
avoiding governmental commitments.
Schmidt also cautioned that partnerships should not be judged by their
quantity, but by their quality, and not by their presentation, but by whether
they are backed with real resources and real commitments.
Follow-up on partnerships is also important, Schmidt said. "The EU would
like to see a credible framework set up-not a control of each partnership but a
framework on how partnerships are delivering results.
The United States announced that they would be highlighting five initiatives; a
"Water for the Poor Initiative that will invest $970 million over three
years; a "Clean Energy Initiative," that will invest $43m in 2003 to
increase energy efficiency and reduce air pollution; an initiative aimed at
cutting hunger in Africa; an investment of $90 million in 2003; $53 million
over the next four years for a Congo Basin Forest Partnerships; and a
reaffirmation of the $1.2 billion in 2003 for fighting HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis
US Under Secretary of State Paula Dobriansky said these partnerships, along
with others that will be unveiled shortly in the areas of housing, oceans,
biodiversity, and education "constitute a vital step down the road toward
"These partnerships," she said, "are key elements in the new
approach to development that President Bush embraced with other national
leaders at the Monterrey Conference in March." She added, "Hold us
accountable for the initiatives we identify and for their successful
implementation. At the same time hold all governments in developed and
developing countries alikeaccountable for implementing concrete actions
to improve the lives of all our citizens. We owe this and future generations
The United Nations has received 218 partnership submissions, and more than 40
will be showcased over the next three days.
UNDP announced that it was launching partnership initiatives aimed at promoting
community actions that have global impacts in water, energy, agriculture and
World Resources International announced a partnership, with Chile, Hungary,
Italy, Mexico, Sweden, Uganda, Thailand, the United Kingdom, the World Bank and
the European Commission aimed at supporting transparent, equitable and
accountable decision-making for the achievement of the Millennium Development
Goals. And the World Health Organization presented a "Healthy Environment
for Children" which aims to address issues as the quality of water and
air, sanitation, insect and animal disease carriers, chemical hazards and
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Department of Economic and
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24 August 2006