UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan (at right) in a discussion with Nelson Mandela during the World Summit.
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan (right) with Nelson Mandela at the Sandton Conference Center during the World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg, South Africa, on September 3, 2002. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

World Summit on Sustainable Development, 26 August-4 September 2002, Johannesburg


An opportunity to move forward

The 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg adopted a Political Declaration and Implementation Plan which included provisions covering a set of activities and measures to be taken in order to achieve development that takes into account respect for the environment. In doing so, this Summit, which saw the participation of more than a hundred heads of state and government and tens of thousands of government representatives and non-governmental organizations, resulted, after several days of deliberations, decisions that related to water, energy, health, agriculture, biological diversity and other areas of concern.

In the area of ​​water, the Plan of Implementation encouraged partnerships between the public and private sectors based on regulatory frameworks established by governments. With regard to energy, the need to diversify the energy supply was highlighted, as well as the need to add renewable energy sources to the global energy supply. In the area of ​​health, the commitments made in the fight against HIV/AIDS were reaffirmed and the emphasis was placed on the right of States to interpret the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights in order to promote universal access to medicines.

On agriculture, comprehensive negotiations on the WTO Agreement on Agriculture were envisaged and these included market access and the reduction of export subsidies. With regard to biodiversity, the Plan of Implementation called for the establishment of an international regime to ensure a fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the use of genetic resources. The text included provisions on the Kyoto Protocol on the reduction of greenhouse gases for those states which had ratified it. Those which had not yet done so were urged to ratify it without delay. The provisions also includes the creation of a global solidarity fund for the eradication of poverty and the launch of ten-year programmes to support regional and national initiatives aimed at accelerating the transition to viable production and consumption patterns.