JOHANNESBURG SUMMIT, TO BE RELEVANT, MUST ADDRESS ISSUES NOT ON 1992 RIO AGENDA -- SUCH AS GLOBALIZATION, GENETICS -– SUMMIT’S PREPARATORY COMMITTEE TOLD

4 February 2002
ENV/DEV/616

JOHANNESBURG SUMMIT, TO BE RELEVANT, MUST ADDRESS ISSUES NOT ON 1992 RIO AGENDA -- SUCH AS GLOBALIZATION, GENETICS -– SUMMIT’S PREPARATORY COMMITTEE TOLD

04/02/2002
Press Release
ENV/DEV/616


Commission on Sustainable Development

Acting as the Preparatory Committee for

 World Summit on Sustainable Development

10th Meeting (AM)


JOHANNESBURG SUMMIT, TO BE RELEVANT, MUST ADDRESS ISSUES NOT ON 1992 RIO AGENDA

-- SUCH AS GLOBALIZATION, GENETICS -– SUMMIT’S PREPARATORY COMMITTEE TOLD


Hears Briefing by Special Envoy for Secretary-General


The World Summit on Sustainable Development must be politically relevant to the current world situation, Jan Pronk, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Johannesburg event, said at this morning's meeting of the Commission on Sustainable Development.


In a statement to the Commission, which is acting as the Preparatory Committee for the World Summit, Mr. Pronk said issues like globalization, new technologies and breakthroughs in genetics and communication technology had been absent from the agenda of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  Such new developments and events must be addressed in order for the World Summit to be relevant.


He said a differentiated agenda must lead to concrete proposals that dealt with the economic, environmental, social, political and institutional aspects of sustainable development.  There could be no stability or sustainability if people felt alienated.


Regarding the environment, water and oceans were two major concerns, he said.  On social affairs, there was major interest in access to drinking water and basic health, in sustainable energy as a major sector and a link between traditional energy and sustainable energy.  There was also an increasing realization that young people must be involved in policy-making and a strong emphasis on access to technology.


Moreover, he continued, there was great awareness that if there were no breakthroughs at the upcoming International Conference on Financing for Development, to be held in Monterrey, Mexico, a negative shadow would be cast on the Johannesburg Summit.  Finance must be linked to sustainable human needs and public goods, perhaps by linking international finance to individual, millennium development goals.


Statement


JAN PRONK, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the World Summit on Sustainable Development, briefed the Preparatory Committee on his role as Special Envoy, the Secretary-General's concerns for the Johannesburg Summit, and the

messages he had received regarding the Summit from capitals around the world.  He said his main task was to invite heads of State and government on behalf of the Secretary-General to come to Johannesburg.  He also ascertained the expectations of heads of State and government regarding the Summit and reported back to the Secretary-General on a regular basis.  The Secretary-General wanted to ensure that the work being done by the Preparatory Committee received a "political seal" by the heads of State and government at the Summit.


The Secretary-General had also asked him to discuss the decision that the Johannesburg Conference be a summit conference, he continued.  A summit conference was a conference by heads of State and government.  There was some concern that the Conference would not be attended by enough heads of State and government.  Every effort must be made to obtain commitments from heads of State and government to come to the Summit.  In that regard, he had been able to bring the Secretary-General many positive messages from the various capitals.  There was increasing interest in the Summit at the political level.  Heads of State and government of all countries had to come, as it was a world conference.  Balanced representation was also needed.  The agenda must be seen as the property of all countries.  Also, the Secretary-General wanted him to convey the message that the Summit would not be a conference on the environment alone.  Sustainable development was not only about the environment, but also about economics and social affairs.  The Conference would address all such issues. 


While the Rio Conference had resulted in major accomplishments, quite a few of the goals set at Rio had not been met, he said.  A number of issues had not been on the Rio agenda, including globalization, new technologies and breakthroughs in genetics and communication technology.  It was not just implementation of Rio, but taking into account new developments that had a consequence on sustainability.  New developments and events had to be addressed in order to have a relevant World Summit on Sustainable Development.  It was also important to highlight the necessity of having a Summit that did not draft recommendations for further action.  Rather, it was a Summit where decisions had to be made on the basis of all the work being done during the preparatory process.  At a Summit conference, commitments would be expressed on behalf of nations by heads of State and government.


The Summit must be politically relevant in the present world situation, he said.  There could be no stability or sustainability if people felt or were alienated.  A differentiated agenda must lead to concrete proposals that dealt with economic, environmental, social, political and institutional aspects of sustainable development.  He had been receiving concrete suggestions from the capitals. 


Regarding the environment, there were two major concerns, namely, water   and oceans, he said.  On social affairs, there was major interest in access to drinking water and basic health.  The capitals were also interested in the perspectives of youth.  There was increasing realization that young people must be involved in policy-making.  There was also great interest in sustainable energy as a major sector and a link between traditional energy and sustainable energy.  There was also strong emphasis on access to technology.  Moreover, there was great awareness that the upcoming Monterrey Conference must be successful.  If there were no breakthroughs at Monterrey, a negative shadow would be cast on the

Johannesburg Summit.  Finance must be linked to sustainable human needs and public goods, perhaps by linking international finance to individual, millennium development goals.


On political elements, there had been emphasis on governance and capacity building for governance, which was a political step forward, he said.  There was an awareness of the need for democratic decision-making, whereby groups and stakeholders were involved in preparations before decisions were made.  There was also interest in dialogue among cultures for sustainability.


All concrete ideas must receive a chance, he urged.  Global partnerships must be real.  The present coalition against terrorism must be complemented by a global coalition for something, namely, sustainable development and humankind.  Johannesburg should build “a coalition for humankind" was the message he was receiving.


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For information media. Not an official record.