Negotiations on Johannesburg Summit Action Plan Enters Final Phase
Johannesburg, 2 September Agreement has been reached on virtually all of
the World Summit on Sustainable Development's Plan of Implementation, with the
notable exception of several key provisions on energy.
Among the provisions that were agreed upon in ministerial negotiating session
last night, was a commitment to set a goal for reducing by half the proportion
of people who lack access to proper sanitation by 2015, efforts to reduce the
loss of biodiversity, on good governance, to promote corporate responsibility,
and to reaffirm the Rio Principles, including the precautionary principle and
the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.
The remaining unresolved issues involve energy issues, including setting a
target for achieving a certain level of renewable energy use and whether
countries should establish programmes to improve access to reliable and
affordable energy services. There is also an outstanding paragraph concerning
health care services.
"The Summit has made some very significant advances," according to
South Africa Minister of Environment and Tourism Valli Moosa. "In some
areas, it has made seminal advances."
Valli Moosa said the breakthroughs in the negotiations came during three days
of round-the-clock ministerial meetings. The idea of ministers, he said,
sitting for days dealing with the "nitty-gritty" of the issues
involved, was a surprise. "It represents the seriousness of which the WSSD
is taken by developing and developed countries."
The high-level negotiations were necessary, he said, because the remaining
issues needed to be resolved at the political, not technical levels.
Countries have agreed to establish a voluntary world solidarity fund to
eradicate poverty and to promote social and human development that, without
duplicating existing UN funds, would encourage the role of the private sector
and individual citizens.
Also agreed was a provision that encourages countries to develop a 10-year
framework of programmes to accelerate the shift toward sustainable consumption
and production pattern, which essentially asks countries to live within the
means of the supporting ecosystems. Another provision calls for policies to
improve products and services that reduce environmental and health impacts
using approaches such as life-cycle analysis.
On Kyoto, countries agreed that States that have ratified the Kyoto Protocol
"strongly urge States that have not already done so to ratify the Kyoto
Protocol in a timely manner.
A target of 2010 was set as the target for significantly reducing the current
rate of biodiversity loss, with an acknowledgement that additional financial
and technical resources would be necessary.
Countries agreed to promote corporate responsibility and accountability and
exchange best practices through multi-stakeholder dialogue such as in the
Commission on Sustainable Development, the UN body established to pursue
implementation of sustainable development.
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Department of Economic and
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24 August 2006