World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

Report on the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD)

04 September 2002

Johannesburg, South Africa
August 26 to September 4, 2002

Prepared by
David G. Hallman,
Climate Change programme coordinator, World Council of Churches and programmeofficer, Energy & Environment, United Church of Canada

Note: This report is not intended to be a comprehensive documentation of WSSD but rather a synthesis and analysis of some of the major dimensions within the context of ecumenical engagement. For sources of more extensive information, see the resource listing at the end. Some of the material, particularly in the section on Official WSSD results, was drawn from the WSSD Summary prepared by Earth Negotiations Bulletin. The full ENB summary is available at:

Overview of assessment WSSD

The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) met from 26 August - 4 September 2002, at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa. The WSSD's goal, according to UN General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 55/199, was to hold a ten-year review of the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) at the Summit level to reinvigorate global commitment to sustainable development. The WSSD gathered 21,340 participants from 191 governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, the private sector, civil society, academia and the scientific community. WSSD had been preceded by four preparatory meetings (PrepComs) over the previous eighteen months.

The WSSD negotiated and adopted two main documents: the Plan of Implementation and the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development. The negotiations began with two days of informal consultations on 24-25 August, and continued over the course of the WSSD. Major areas of disagreement included: time-bound targets for sanitation, renewable energy, energy subsidies, chemicals and health, natural resource degradation, biodiversity loss and fish stocks; Rio Principles 7 (common but differentiated responsibilities) and 15 (precautionary approach); governance; trade, finance and globalization; the Kyoto Protocol; and health and human rights.

The Plan of Implementation is designed as a framework for action to implement the commitments originally agreed at UNCED and includes eleven chapters: an introduction; poverty eradication; consumption and production; the natural resource base; health; small island developing States (SIDS); Africa; other regional initiatives; means of implementation; and institutional framework. The Johannesburg Declaration outlines the path taken from UNCED to the WSSD, highlights present challenges, expresses a commitment to sustainable development, underscores the importance of multilateralism and emphasizes the need for implementation.

WSSD was a missed opportunity. The World Summit on Sustainable Development could have been a turning point. The global community could have responded seriously to the injustice of the disparity between the access to resources by the wealthy and what is available to the poor as well as taking concerted action to address the on-going assaults on the ecological well-being of the Earth. Instead, agreements were negotiated which are likely to have limited impact on improving the lives of the marginalized and the health of the planet.

The reasons for this failure are not difficult to find. The impoverishment of so many in the world and the ecological destruction around us are primarily a function of economic and political forces whose primary focus is the increase in wealth for the privileged and the unlimited expansion of production and consumption with its attendant consequence of depleting resources and increasing wastes. The countries and corporations which most benefit from the current economic model are also the ones that hold much of the power in international negotiations such as at WSSD. They were not about to make commitments that would undermine their position of privilege and respond with urgency to global injustice and the ecological threats that were, if one had eyes to see, visibly manifested in the South African context right outside the doors of the conference centre where we were meeting.

There were modest accomplishments that we can celebrate. The diligent pressure from civil society participants including non-governmental organisations and the ecumenical participants in conjunction with some governments genuinely committed to responding to the urgency of the issues resulted in some language in the agreed texts which provide openings for new and innovative work. Beyond small victories within the formal agreements, the network and capacity building that occurred among civil society groups will reinforce the justice movements of resistance and the modelling of alternative approaches that could genuinely lead to sustainable community.

Brief history of ecumenical reflections on sustainable development

"Sustainable development" has become the key concept in the follow-up process after the 1992 Rio Earth Summit leading up to the WSSD. The term was popularized in the 1986 Brundtland Report (the World Commission on Environment and Development) where it was defined as "meeting the needs of present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs".

But over a decade before the Brundtland Commission, the concept of sustainability was being articulated at a World Council of Churches (WCC) gathering of scientists, theologians and economists in Bucharest. This 1974 consultation was convened in response to the Club of Rome's report, The Limits to Growth which sounded an alarm about how natural resource depletion, pollution, and population growth was placing an intolerable strain on the Earth's resources. What emerged out of the Bucharest discussion on the role of science and technology in the development of human societies was the articulation of a concept called "sustainability" - the idea that the world's future requires a vision of development that can be sustained in the long run, both environmentally and economically. The awareness of the need to link socio-economic justice and ecological sustainability has been a recurring theme within the ecumenical community and has been a gift to the broader global community.

The UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio in June 1992 was a high point in ecumenical involvement in issues of sustainability and in interaction with the broader global community. The churches, in addition to representatives from other faith groups, were able to provide a substantial profile of religious communities at UNCED witnessing to our belief that the issues being addressed by the Earth Summit had ethical, spiritual and theological dimensions which could not be ignored. The event also diffused more broadly than ever before within the ecumenical community a recognition of the inter-relatedness of environment and development.

Since Rio, the ecumenical community is increasingly questioning the term "sustainable development" because we find it often misused in order to legitimize current economic approaches which are premised on unlimited economic growth and a continuous and unregulated expansion of production and consumption for the world's rich. Thus to measure progress toward sustainable development in this context is to avoid challenging the very dynamics which are increasing the gap between the rich and the poor in the world and causing environmental destruction.

All economic systems must be tested from the perspective of their effect on the poor, the oppressed and the marginalized, which in these days includes many members of the natural world as well. God has created the whole cosmos to be good; it is a common inheritance for all peoples for all times to be enjoyed in just, loving and responsible relationships with one another. This understanding is foundational in our vision of a just and moral economy where: a) people are empowered to fully participate in making decisions that affect their lives, b) public and private institutions and enterprises are accountable and held responsible for the social and environmental impacts and consequences of their operations, and c) the Earth and whole created order is nurtured with utmost respect and reverence rather than exploited and degraded.

Rather than "sustainable development", we speak increasingly of "sustainable community". While continuing to carry the long-term perspective of sustainability, it moves away from the term "development" and focuses instead on "community" wherein can occur the nurturing of equitable relationships both within the human family and also between humans and the rest of the ecological community - in other words, justice within the whole of God's creation.

We understand community in a broad sense. It includes the centrality of the local setting in which people meet their needs and find meaning. Beyond that, we seek to discern principles of community that apply to relations among nations where we are reminded that we live in a global village. Further, community encompasses our relationships beyond the human family - the web of life in which we are only one of the many inter-related members.

Christians are called to anticipate the just and loving community, the shalom kingdom that God wills and promises. Jesus came to give abundant life. We see in him the signs of genuine community: his healing ministry, his inclusion of outcasts, children, women, and his servanthood on behalf of the world. The saving work of the Spirit restores community and brings harmony within creation. Christians should be salt and yeast in society for the sake of justice, peace and the integrity of creation.

In our vision of community, sufficiency is a key element - there is enough for all and all have enough. This vision includes physical, mental and spiritual health, food security in quantity and quality, clean air and water, good housing, educational opportunities, and adequate transportation. Relationships of justice and sufficiency produce a high degree of contentment, celebration and spiritual fulfillment that stands in marked contrast to the spiritual poverty of compulsive consumerism that is so much a part of many contemporary societies.

Within this theological and ethical framework, we analyse the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development. Governments and UN organisations involved in WSSD spoke frequently about what they have come to term the three pillars of sustainable development: the social, the environmental and the economic. This is a step forward in that it moves further in acknowledging the importance of inter-linkages. However, there was little evidence at WSSD of any fundamental critiquing of the exploitative model of economic development which in fact undermines all three of these pillars by increasing disparity within the world and further denigrating the ecological foundation of life.

Major issues of conflict at WSSD

There is a long list of issues that could be discussed but I will select a few to illustrate broader dynamics present at WSSD.

Poverty eradication was highlighted as "the greatest global challenge". The issue was approached though with considerable scepticism because of the failure of the vast majority of the wealthier nations to abide by the commitments that they had made at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, in particular, their reaffirmation of the commitment to increase development assistance (ODA) to the 0.7% target as a percentage of national GNP. This failure to share resources was all the more galling in that it occurred during the past decade since 1992 during most of which the rich countries have enjoyed unprecedented economic growth. There was a positive development during the preparatory process and at WSSD in viewing poverty eradication as not just a matter of increasing people's income but a complex inter-related set of factors including access to adequate water, sanitation, nutrition, health and livelihoods.

Energy issues were conflictual from a number of perspectives. The one which proved most daunting was the proposal to set specific targets and timetables for increasing the percentage of renewable energy within the global energy mix. The European Union and most non-governmental organisations (NGOs) were pressuring for a number of options e.g. an increase of renewable energy to 15% by 2010; an increase of new renewables (which would exclude large-scale hydro) to 10% by 2015. Any specific targets and timetables were strongly opposed by the United States, Canada and Australia. The position of the developing nations (G77/China) was complex. Countries suffering from climate change such as island states were most anxious to see industrialised countries increase use of renewable energy as a means of reducing dependence on fossil fuels. However, the OPEC countries with their oil-based economies are also members of the G77/China and obstructed efforts to support renewable targets. In the end, ambiguous, unambitious language was adopted: "with a sense of urgency, substantially increase the global share of renewable energy sources, recognising the role of national and voluntary targets." A further controversial subject was the proposal to reduce subsidies on fossil fuels. The resulting compromise left the WSSD Plan of Implementation with text that reads: "to reduce market distortions, through the use of improved market signals, including restructuring taxation and phasing out harmful subsidies, where they exist."

Climate change was not formally on the agenda since there is a separate stream of inter-governmental negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). But given the seriousness of climate change as a global problem and since the UNFCCC was one of the important agreements signed in Rio in 1992 after which the Kyoto Protocol was negotiated, the issue obviously could not be ignored by WSSD. The major debate about climate change at WSSD was what sort of reference, if any, should be made to the importance of ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. The United States stressed that language urging all countries to ratify is unacceptable since it does not accept the Kyoto Protocol. Argentina, Costa Rica, Cuba, the EU, Iceland, Japan, Mexico, Namibia, Norway and Uganda highlighted the serious threat posed by climate change, and noted that they had ratified the Protocol. Samoa highlighted the vulnerability of SIDS to climate change and, with others, urged sending a strong message on the Protocol.

Delegates agreed on text identifying the UNFCCC as the "key" instrument for addressing climate change; reaffirming the UNFCCC's ultimate objective of stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system; and recalling the Millennium Declaration. To resolve the objections of the USA, the final text contains the following reference to Kyoto ratification: "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."

WSSD participants warmly welcomed the statements during the high level segment by Canada and Russia reaffirming their intentions to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. With these two countries on side, there will be sufficient numbers of ratifying countries representing a sufficient amount of the global emissions to meet the formula in the treaty to bring it into force as international law.

Corporate responsibility is one area where somewhat unexpected progress was made. There was intense pressure, especially from the United States, to avoid substantive references or keep them to a minimum. Strong advocacy efforts from NGOs and the explicit support of a number of countries resulted in surprising strong language: "actively promote corporate responsibility and accountability, based on the Rio principles…" This could provide an opening for civil society to press for an international regulatory framework for corporations. Near the end of WSSD, the USA tried to table an interpretative note that there was a "collective understanding" about the scope of this provision referring only to existing international agreements but the chairman of that session rejected that argument.

Trade generally and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) specifically figured very prominently in this summit on sustainable development. It was clear during the preparatory meetings and in Johannesburg that the industrialised nations wanted to see no significant compromises at WSSD of their dominance of the global economic system through the WTO. This effort was focused through attempts to have the phrase "while ensuring WTO consistency" inserted in a paragraph related to the inter-relatedness of trade, environment and development. The impact of such a phrase could have been to force the weakening of international environmental and social agreements if they were judged to be at odds with trade agreements. Norway played a key role in consistently opposing inclusion of the phrase. NGOs argued that it would be totally unacceptable if such a text were to be adopted at a UN summit. As one NGO noted, "It is bad enough if this were agreed to at a WTO ministerial meeting but it would really be too much for the UN to commit suicide by adopting a declaration that depletes itself of its own powers and willingly hands it over to the WTO". One of the key moments in the debate came late in the WSSD negotiations when Ethiopia gave an impassioned speech reviewing the history of the Rio Earth Summit with its focus on biodiversity, the environment and the rights of poor countries and local communities, whereas now the narrow commercial interests of developed countries were being championed through the WTO and sought to be approved in such a high level summit of the UN itself. In the end, the phrase was deleted and the remaining language referred to "the mutual supportiveness of trade, environment and development" i.e. no hierarchy exists that would allow trade agreements to trump environmental or social agreements.

Human rights issues were one of the final areas to be resolved at WSSD. Some countries reflected the position of the NGO community that WSSD agreements should be "rights-based" while other governments dismissed human rights as irrelevant in the sustainable development context. The most contentious area of debate had to do with the relationship of human rights and health particularly as related to women's access to services and freedom from violent practices e.g. genital mutilation. Concern was expressed about a reference to strengthening the capacity of health-care systems to deliver basic health services to all, "consistent with national laws and cultural and religious values". Many NGOs and several countries spearheaded by Canada feared that this phrase could be used by some countries to sanction violent practices against women and to deprive them of reproductive health services. A proposal by Canada to add "and in conformity with all human rights and fundamental freedoms" was strongly opposed by the US, the G77/China and the Holy See while vigorously supported by many other countries. Eventually, a package compromise was achieved that included the critical phrase advocated by Canada.

The Ecumenical Presence

The World Council of Churches in conjunction with generous hosting by the South African Council of Churches coordinated an ecumenical team of some 60 persons from around the world including Anglican, Protestant, Orthodox and Roman Catholic members. A smaller ecumenical caucus had participated in the earlier PrepComs. Ecumenical Team members were active at WSSD in monitoring the negotiations and lobbying country delegates based on a series of "talking points" and fact sheets that the Ecumenical Teams had prepared during the previous PrepComs. (Ecumenical Materials related to WSSD can be found on the WCC's web-site at:

The Ecumenical Team sponsored three side events during WSSD on ecological debt, corporate responsibility and climate change. In conjunction with the "Climate for Justice" side event, a new ecumenical statement, sponsored by a wide-range of churches and development and relief organisations, was released and entitled "A Call to Action in Solidarity with Those Most Affected by Climate Change".

Ecumenical Team members participated in a number of worship services on August 25th and September 1st in Johannesburg churches. As well, many members of the Ecumenical Team joined in a civil society march on Saturday August 31st from the impoverished Township of Alexander to the affluent community of Sandton where the WSSD was being held. One of the sponsors of the march was the South African Council of Churches.

Official WSSD Results

The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) yielded three major ‘official' outcomes. The first is the Plan of Implementation, a 54-page agreement that contains commitments by governments to take certain actions to promote sustainable development. The second is the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development, a 4-page political statement by the heads of government regarding their commitments. The third outcome is an extensive list of "partnerships" among governments, international organisations, private sector companies, educational facilities and civil society organisations regarding specific projects on sustainable development.

Plan of Implementation

The Plan of Implementation was the focus of the most intensive negotiations both in Johannesburg and during the four PrepComs leading up to it. The final text represents compromises among countries which negotiate often as blocks either of like-minded governments or as formal political entities such as the European Union. The document is divided into ten sections each with its own set of agreements and commitments. The full text of the Plan of Implementation and other WSSD documents can be downloaded at:   


The introduction reaffirms the outputs of UNCED and states that the intent of the implementation plan is to build thereon. It acknowledges that implementation of the plan should benefit all, and that good governance, peace, security and stability are essential to attain sustainable development.

Common but differentiated responsibilities: The Rio Principles of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and the precautionary approach were issues that cross-cut several chapters of the Plan of Implementation. There were intense debates over how they should be included in the Plan of implementation.

Rio Principle 7, the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR), reads, "[S]tates shall cooperate in a spirit of global partnership to conserve, protect and restore the health and integrity of the Earth's ecosystem. In view of the different contributions to global environmental degradation, States have common but differentiated responsibilities." A "CBDR package" was finally agreed. As part of the package delegates agreed to language in paragraph 75, taking into account "including in particular the Principle of common but differentiated responsibilities," and quoting Rio Principle 7 in its entirety. Delegates also agreed to paragraphs: undertaking actions and enhancing international cooperation, taking into account the Rio Principles, including, inter alia, the principle of CBDR (2); sustainable consumption and production with developed countries, taking the lead and with all countries benefiting from the process, taking in to account the Rio Principles, including, inter alia, the principle of CBDR (13); and implementing conclusions of CSD-9 and enhancing cooperation to reduce air pollution bearing in mind that in view of the different contributions to global environmental degradation, States have CBDR (19 and 37).

Precautionary approach: Rio Principle 15 reads, "[I]n order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental damage."

On terminology, the US and Japan supported using the term "precautionary approach," as it is the term used in Rio Principle 15 while the EU and Norway supported the term "precautionary principle" as numerous international agreements entered into since Rio reference and develop the concept of precaution. After a lengthy debate, delegates agreed to use the term precautionary approach.

As part of the "precaution package," in the context of decision-making (93(e)bis) delegates agreed to language, "reaffirming the precautionary approach as set out in Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration," and quoting the principle in its entirety. The reference to other international agreements was deleted.

Human Rights and Ethics: Discussions on human rights and sustainable development were undertaken as a package. The final text in the introduction acknowledges that "respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to development, as well as cultural diversity" are essential to sustainable development.

As reflected in the comments on the draft Plan of Implementation (A/CONF.199/CRP.1), a Working Group Co-Chair at the closing Plenary of PrepCom IV, noted that a paragraph on ethics and sustainable development having been set aside for consultations, did not appear in the draft Plan. This paragraph acknowledging the importance of ethics for sustainable development, and emphasizing the need for concrete actions to promote discussion on the issue in relevant international forums, was accepted with amendment to the reference on international fora. The final text states the need to consider ethics in the implementation of Agenda 21.

Final Text: In relation to the introduction, the Plan of Implementation contains the following key commitments and acknowledgements:
- commitment to the Rio Principles;
- full implementation of Agenda 21 and internationally agreed development goals;
- implementation of the outcomes benefiting and involving all actors;
-good governance is essential;
- the necessity of peace, security, stability and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to development, as well as respect for cultural diversity; and
- the importance of ethics for sustainable development

Poverty eradication

This chapter states that poverty eradication is the greatest global challenge, and presents targets and timetables for poverty eradication.

Outstanding issues included: establishment of a world solidarity fund for poverty eradication; improved access to indigenous people and their communities to economic activities; a target for improved sanitation; improved access to energy services; and International Labour Organization (ILO) core labour standards.

Supported by the G-77/China, establishment of a world solidarity fund was opposed by the EU, who said they needed to meet their existing financial ODA commitments before establishing a new fund, and Norway, who stated that developing countries needed resources, not another mechanism. The G-77/China clarified that it was not proposing a new international mechanism, suggesting a fund within the UN system. Argentina further noted that developing countries needed a fund because globalization had exacerbated poverty. Australia signalled support if the fund remained voluntary. Ministers accepted the text as originally formulated in the draft Plan of Implementation, agreeing to establish the fund.

Delegates discussed issues related to indigenous peoples during the informal consultations prior to the WSSD. The Chair explained that the issue remained bracketed, as countries had indicated their wish to further reflect on the paragraph during PrepCom IV. The US agreed with the language, but questioned the need for a stand-alone paragraph. The G-77/China, opposed by Japan and the EU, suggested "indigenous peoples" as opposed to "indigenous people." The group adopted the existing text, which calls for improving the access of indigenous people and their communities to economic activities, and recognizing their dependence on renewable resources and ecosystems, including sustainable harvesting.

During the ministerial consultations, countries agreed on the importance of linking water with sanitation, but reiterated their position on whether to have a sanitation target. Stating that "soft recommendations" are insufficient, the EU and Norway underscored time-bound targets. Pakistan, with Saudi Arabia, stressed means of implementation, while the US noted that targets must be based on sound science. After some discussion, ministers agreed to the concept of a sanitation target halving by the year 2015, with paragraph 24 launching a programme of actions to meet the goal.

Bracketed text relating to energy (8) was discussed in small group consultations throughout the WSSD, and brought to the ministerial level for resolution in the Johannesburg setting. The contentious point in this chapter concerned launching of a programme to improve energy access.

The EU recommended launching a programme of action with financial and technical assistance to improve energy access, stating that an action programme was concrete and measurable. The G-77/ China thought it was premature to launch a global action plan. The US noted the need to consider national circumstances. Ministers agreed to "take joint actions and improve efforts to work together at all levels" to improve energy access.

Final Text: Agreed paragraphs in the chapter on poverty eradication refer to actions at all levels. In relation to poverty eradication, the Plan of Implementation contains the following key commitments: halve by 2015 the proportion of the world's people living on less than US$1 a day and who suffer from hunger; and establish a world solidarity fund to eradicate poverty;

On water and sanitation, the Plan of Implementation agrees to halve by 2015 the proportion of people unable to reach or afford safe drinking water and who do not have access to basic sanitation.

In relation to energy access, the Plan of implementation contains the following key commitments:
- take joint efforts to improve access to reliable and affordable energy services;
- promote sustainable use of biomass; and
- support transition to cleaner use of fossil fuels.

In relation to industrial development, the Plan of Implementation contains the following key commitments:
- provide assistance to increase income-generating employment opportunities, taking into account the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work;
- promote micro, small and medium-sized enterprises; and
- enable rural communities to benefit from small-scale mining ventures.

In relation to slum dwellers, the Plan of Implementation contains the following key commitments:
- improve access to land and property for the urban and rural poor;
- use low-cost and sustainable materials and appropriate technologies to construct housing for the poor; and
- support local authorities in slum upgrading programmes
In relation to child labour, the Plan of Implementation contains the following key commitments:
- take immediate measures to eliminate the worst forms of child labour; and
- promote international cooperation to assist developing countries requesting help in addressing child labour and its root causes.

Changing Unsustainable Patterns of Consumption and Production

This chapter proposes action to be taken by governments, relevant international organizations, the private sector and all major groups, to fundamentally change the way societies produce and consume resources with the goal of achieving global sustainable development. Bracketed provisions in this chapter related to sustainable consumption and production, energy and chemicals.

Outstanding paragraphs unresolved from PrepCom IV related to sustainable consumption and production and were transmitted to the Johannesburg setting for the consideration of ministers. The Johannesburg setting adopted paragraph 14, encouraging and promoting the development of a 10-year framework of programmes in support of regional and national initiatives to accelerate the shift towards sustainable consumption and production, and adopted subparagraphs 14(c) to develop production and consumption policies using where appropriate, science based approaches such as life-cycle analysis, and 14(e) to develop and adopt, on a voluntary basis, consumer information tools to provide information relating to sustainable consumption and production.

Consultations on energy remained deadlocked and were sent to the Johannesburg setting for discussion. After discussion in the Johannesburg setting and extensive informal ministerial consultations on 2 September resolution was reached on diversifying energy supply by developing advanced, cleaner, more efficient affordable and cost-effective energy technologies, including fossil fuels, renewable energy and hydro. The text on the renewable energy target was deleted and replaced with new language stressing "with a sense of urgency, substantially increase the global share of renewable energy sources, recognizing the role of national and voluntary targets," while no agreement could be reached on targets and timeframes for the phase out of subsidies, with delegates opting for text proposing "to reduce market distortions, through the use of improved market signals, including restructuring taxation and phasing out harmful subsidies, where they exist."

Final Text: In relation to sustainable consumption and production, the Plan of Implementation contains the following key commitments:
-increase eco-efficiency, with financial support for capacity building, technology transfer and exchange of technology with developing countries and countries with economies in transition;
- increase investment in cleaner production and eco-efficiency in all countries through incentives and support schemes and policies directed at establishing appropriate regulatory, financial and legal frameworks;
- provide incentives for investment in cleaner production and eco-efficiency in all countries, such as state-financed loans, venture capital and technical assistance;
- integrate the issue of production and consumption patterns into sustainable development policies, programmes and strategies, including into poverty reduction strategies;
- enhance corporate environmental and social responsibility and accountability; and
- encourage financial institutions to incorporate sustainable development considerations into their decision-making processes.

In relation to energy for sustainable development, the Plan of Implementation contains the following key commitments:
- promote the internalization of environmental costs and the use of economic instruments;
- establish domestic programmes for energy efficiency;
- accelerate the development, dissemination and deployment of affordable and cleaner energy efficiency and energy conservation technologies;
- recommend that international financial institutions and other agencies' policies support countries to establish policy and regulatory frameworks that create a level playing field;
- support efforts to improve the functioning, transparency and information about energy markets with respect to both supply and demand;
- strengthen and facilitate, as appropriate, regional cooperation arrangements for promoting cross-border energy trade;
- implement transport strategies for sustainable development; and
- promote investment and partnerships for the development of sustainable, energy efficient multi-modal transportation systems.

In relation to waste and chemicals management, the Plan of Implementation contains the following key commitments:
- encourage countries to implement the new globally harmonized system for the classification and labelling of chemicals, with a view to having the system operational by 2008;
- prevent and minimize waste and maximize reuse, recycling and use of environmentally friendly alternative materials;
- develop waste management systems, with highest priorities placed on waste prevention and minimization, reuse and recycling, and environmentally sound disposal facilities;
- promote the ratification and implementation of relevant international instruments on chemicals and hazardous waste; and
- promote efforts to prevent international illegal trafficking of hazardous chemicals and hazardous wastes and to prevent damage resulting from the transboundary movement and disposal of hazardous wastes.

Protecting and managing the natural resource base of economic and social development

Most of this chapter had been agreed to at PrepCom IV. Outstanding issues remained in the chapeau regarding: reversing the trend in loss of natural resources; the precautionary approach; the ecosystem approach; and integration with other programmes and instruments.

The EU, Norway and Switzerland stressed a time-bound target for reversing the trend in natural resource degradation, and supported retaining reference to the ecosystem and precautionary approaches. The G-77/China contested language on reversing the trend and, with Australia, Japan and the US, opposed the target date, citing the lack of a scientific basis for measuring natural resource degradation. Canada supported retaining the goal of reversing the trend and considering the ecosystem approach, but requested deleting the target date.

The final text states that to reverse the current trend in natural resource degradation, it is necessary to implement strategies that include targets adopted at the national "and, where appropriate," regional levels to protect ecosystems and to achieve integrated management of land, water and living resources.

The key outstanding provision on climate referred to a paragraph recalling the Millennium Declaration request to Heads of State and Government to resolve to make every effort to ensure the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol by 2002 (36).

The US stressed that language urging all countries to ratify is unacceptable, and added that it does not accept the Kyoto Protocol. Argentina, Costa Rica, Cuba, the EU, Iceland, Japan, Mexico, Namibia, Norway and Uganda highlighted the serious threat posed by climate change, and noted that they had ratified the Protocol. Samoa highlighted the vulnerability of SIDS to climate change and, with others, urged sending a strong message on the Protocol.

Delegates agreed on text identifying the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as the "key" instrument for addressing climate change; reaffirming the UNFCCC's ultimate objective of stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system; and recalling the Millennium Declaration. It also contains the following reference to Kyoto ratification: "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." Delegates also agreed on subparagraphs 36(a)-(i) identifying actions to address climate change.

In regards to agriculture, bracketed text on achieving improvements in market access, phasing out export subsidies, and reductions in trade-distorting practices were considered together with other trade-related issues in the contact group on means of implementation.

Discussed without resolution in informal consultations, bracketed text in the biodiversity paragraph was brought to the Johannesburg setting. The two outstanding issues were a time-bound target for reducing the rate of biodiversity loss, and a call for an international legally binding regime to promote and safeguard benefit sharing.

Canada, who facilitated informal consultations among ministers, put forth language building on CBD COP-6 including a 2010 target on reducing the rate of biodiversity loss, while bracketing reference to the benefit-sharing regime. Mexico presented an alternative proposal merging the 2010 target and the international legally binding benefit-sharing regime. This garnered support from the G-77/China and Brazil. Australia, together with the EU, Norway and the US, supported Canada's formulation. Canada and Mexico held further consultations and tabled a new proposal acknowledging that a significant reduction in the current loss of biodiversity by 2010 will require provision of new and additional financial and technical resources to developing countries. Still in dispute was whether to call for a "legally binding" international regime. Australia, supported by Switzerland and the US, proposed "an international arrangement," and deletion of "legally binding." The G-77/China agreed to delete "legally binding," but stressed retaining reference to "regime." Mexico, together with India, re-emphasized the importance of a legally binding regime, with Mexico stating that voluntary guidelines are insufficient. The US stated that a legally binding instrument would have implications on both the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement and the WTO. Ministers concurred on calling for "an international regime."

Final Text: Agreed paragraphs in the chapter on protecting and managing the natural resource base of economic and social development refer to actions at all levels. The chapeau of this section agrees to reverse the current trend in natural resource degradation where possible. In relation to water resources, the Plan of Implementation contains the following key commitments:
- launch a programme of actions to achieve safe drinking water and sanitation goals;
-mobilize international and domestic financial resources, transfer technology, promote best practices and support capacity building;
- promote and provide new and additional financial resources and innovative technologies to implement Chapter 18 of Agenda 21; and
- develop integrated water resource management and water efficiency plans by 2005;

In relation to oceans, the Plan of Implementation contains the following key commitments:
- where possible, maintain or restore depleted fish stocks to maximum sustainable yield levels not later than 2015;
- eliminate subsidies contributing to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and to over-capacity;
- implement the Ramsar Convention;
- implement the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities; and
- establish a regular process under the UN for global reporting and assessment for the state of the marine environment by 2004.

On air pollution, the Plan of Implementation agrees to improve access by developing countries to alternatives to ozone-depleting substances by 2010.
On desertification, the Plan of Implementation calls on the GEF to designate land degradation as a focal area of GEF and to consider making GEF a financial mechanism for the CCD.

In relation to biodiversity, the Plan of Implementation contains the following key commitments:
- achieve by 2010 a significant reduction in the current rate of biodiversity loss; and
- negotiate an international regime to promote and safeguard the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources.

On forests, the Plan of Implementation commits to take immediate action on domestic forest law enforcement and illegal international trade in forest production.

In relation to mining, the Plan of Implementation supports efforts to address the environmental, economic, health and social impacts of mining, minerals and metals and calls for fostering sustainable mining practices.

Sustainable development in a globalising world

Discussions on this chapter focused on the characteristics of globalization and corporate responsibility. In the discussion on characterizing globalization, the US offered text from the outcome of the UN Special Session on Children. The EU cautioned that the WSSD would fail to meet the expectations of its constituencies if it did not include a current assessment of globalization. The G-77/China also pressed for the use of agreed language from World Summit on Social Development +5. The EU and the G-77/China supported the introduction of new text on corporate responsibility. The text was discussed at length in an informal contact group, where an interpretive statement was agreed, in an attempt to ensure that follow-up actions would be conducted within existing agreements. This was contested by Ethiopia, Norway and others at the final meeting of the Main Committee.

Final Text: The chapter contains an introductory paragraph which characterizes globalization, acknowledging that serious challenges include financial crises, insecurity, poverty, exclusion and inequality, and calling for national and international level policies. The first paragraph also offers support for the successful completion of the work programme in the Doha Ministerial Declaration, implementation of the Monterrey Consensus, encourages efforts to ensure that decision-making is open and transparent, supports enhanced capacity for developing countries to benefit from liberalized trade opportunities, supports the ILO's ongoing work on the social dimension of globalization, and calls for enhanced delivery of trade-related technical assistance and capacity building. Other paragraphs call for:
- active promotion of corporate responsibility and accountability, based on the Rio Principles;
- strengthening developing country capacity to encourage public/private initiatives that enhance the ease of access, accuracy, timeliness and coverage of information on countries and financial markets;
- strengthening regional trade and cooperation agreements; and
- assisting developing countries and economies in transition in narrowing the digital divide.

Health and sustainable development

Most paragraphs in this chapter were agreed to at PrepCom IV. Disagreement persisted, however, on whether a paragraph referring to strengthening the capacity of health-care systems to deliver basic health services to all, consistent with national laws and cultural and religious values (47), had been agreed. At the closing Plenary of PrepCom IV Canada with Australia, the EU, Sweden, and Switzerland noted that contrary to the indication in the draft Plan of Implementation, paragraph 47 had not been agreed. Canada proposed introducing the phrase, "and in conformity with all human rights and fundamental freedoms" into the text. The Canadian statement was recorded in a note by the Secretariat (A/CONF.199/CRP.1).

At the WSSD, Canada raised the issue in both the Vienna and Johannesburg settings. The US, the G-77/China and the Holy See noted that the paragraph had been agreed to and should not be reopened, while Canada referred to the note by the Secretariat and sought to reopen the text. Canada stressed that the proposed text is carefully designed to be in conformity with current human rights language, and finds reflection in internationally agreed documents, such as the outcome of the Special Session on Children. The EU, Hungary, Iceland, New Zealand, Norway, Mexico and Switzerland supported the Canadian position. Delegates discussed: the procedural propriety of reopening an issue indicated as agreed; the risk of delegates reopening other agreed issues; and the appropriate fora in which to raise the issue in.

Prior to the final Main Committee meeting Canada circulated its original proposal on paragraph 47, and a related proposal on paragraph 6(d). Paragraph 6(d) on promoting women's access and participation in decision-making, eliminating violence and discrimination, and improving their status, health and economic welfare had been agreed ad referendum at PrepCom IV. Canada proposed introducing the language relating to the delivery of basic "health services" to all, consistent with national laws and cultural and religious values "and in conformity with all human rights and fundamental freedoms" in paragraph 6(d). After intense informal consultations, Chair Salim convened the Main Committee and presented a "package." Paragraph 6(d) was presented without the proposed Canadian amendment. Paragraph 47 was amended such that it would deliver "health-care services" rather than "health services," which would be "in conformity with human rights and fundamental freedoms, consistent with national laws and cultural and religious values." Related paragraph 58(a) in Chapter VIII (Sustainable Development for Africa) was amended such that it would promote "equitable access to health-care services" rather than "health-care and services." The package was adopted as presented.

In the closing Plenary, the US introduced an interpretative statement recording its view that the language relating to health-care services could not in any way be interpreted as supporting abortion. The Holy See, supported by numerous countries, stressed the inviolability of human life, while others highlighted the lack of gender sensitivity in the draft Plan of Implementation.

In the closing Plenary, the US introduced an interpretative statement recording its view that the language relating to health-care services could not in any way be interpreted as supporting abortion. The Holy See, supported by numerous countries, stressed the inviolability of human life, while others highlighted the lack of gender sensitivity in the draft Plan of Implementation.

Final Text: Delegates agreed to strengthen the capacity of health-care services' providers to deliver basic health-care services to all. Agreed commitments include actions at all levels to:
- provide technical and financial assistance to developing countries and countries with economies in transition to implement the Health for All Strategy;
- develop partnerships to improve global health literacy by 2010;
- develop programmes to reduce infant/child mortality rates by two-thirds by 2015, and maternal mortality rates by three-fourths of the prevailing rate in 2000;
- promote the preservation, development and use of effective traditional medicine knowledge and practices;

Delegates agreed to reduce the incidence of HIV prevalence among the young (15-24) by 25% in the most affected countries by 2005 and globally by 2010. Agreed commitments in this regard include:
- providing resources to support the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; and
- mobilizing public and encouraging private financial resources for research and development on diseases of the poor, such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

Delegates also agreed to target health impacts resulting from air pollution, with particular attention to women and children, and lead exposure.

Sustainable development of small island states (SIDS)

This chapter addresses the sustainable development challenges faced by SIDS.
Final Text: The chapter recognizes the special needs of SIDS and calls for action in the following areas:
- national and regional implementation with adequate financial resources, including through GEF focal areas;
- technology transfer and assistance for capacity building;
sustainable fisheries management and strengthening regional fisheries management organizations;
- supporting development and implementation of, inter alia, work programmes on marine and coastal biological diversity;
- freshwater programmes;
- development of community-based initiatives on sustainable tourism by 2004;
comprehensive hazard and risk management, disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness, and relief from the consequences of disasters, extreme weather events and other emergencies;
- operationalization of economic, social and environmental vulnerability indices and related indicators;
- mobilization of adequate resources and partnerships to address adaptation to the adverse effects of climate change, sea-level rise and climate variability;
capacity building and institutional arrangements to implement intellectual property regimes;
- supporting the availability of adequate, affordable and environmentally-sound energy services and new efforts on energy supply and services by 2004;
a comprehensive review of the implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of SIDS in 2004; and
- a request to the General Assembly to consider convening an international meeting for the sustainable development of SIDS.

Sustainable development for Africa

This chapter addresses the sustainable development challenges faced by African countries.

Final Text: The chapter affirms the international community's commitment to support sustainable development in Africa, through addressing the special challenges taking concrete actions to implement Agenda 21 in Africa, within the framework of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). The chapter highlights, inter alia,
- supporting programmes and partnerships to ensure universal energy access to at least 35% of the African population within 20 years;
- mobilizing resources to address Africa's adaptation to the adverse impacts of climate change, including sea-level rise, climate variability and the development of national climate change strategies;
- supporting the sustainable use, and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the use of Africa's genetic resources;
- promoting technology development and diffusion;
supporting land tenure;
- increasing capacity to achieve internationally-agreed development goals related to education, hunger and food security;
- bridging the digital divide and creating opportunities including access to infrastructure and technology transfer and application;
- supporting sustainable tourism;
- strengthening health care systems mobilizing financial support to make available necessary drugs and technology in a sustainable and affordable manner to control communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and diseases caused by poverty.

In terms of other regions, chapter 8bis recognizes initiatives at the regional, subregional and trans-regional level to promote sustainable development.

Sustainable Development in Latin America and the Caribbean: Actions in this section target actions to address biodiversity, water resources, vulnerabilities and sustainable cities, social aspects (including health and poverty), economic aspects (including energy) and institutional arrangements (including capacity building, indicators and participation of civil society) and encouraged actions that foster South-South cooperation.

Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific: The text calls for action in the following areas: capacity building for sustainable development; poverty reduction; cleaner production and sustainable energy; land management and biodiversity conservation; protection and management of and access to freshwater resources; oceans, coastal and marine resources and sustainable development of SIDS; and atmosphere and climate change.

Sustainable Development in the West Asia Region: The text endorses the following areas for further action: poverty alleviation; debt relief; and sustainable management of natural resources, including, inter alia, integrated water resources management, implementation of programmes to combat desertification, integrated coastal zone management, and land and water pollution control.

Sustainable Development in the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) Region: In order to address the three pillars of sustainable development in a mutually-reinforcing way, the region identified its priority actions in paragraphs 32-46 of a ministerial statement.

Means of implementation

This chapter contains sections on finance, trade, technology transfer, capacity building and education.

In debate on proposed text, the G-77/China felt that the balance achieved in Bali had been lost. They asked for the re-introduction of text from the Monterrey Consensus on: external debt; effective participation of developing countries in trade negotiations; tariffs; and the development dimension in trade negotiations.

In the finance discussion, there was disagreement over a reference to the Rio Principle of common but differentiated responsibilities in the introductory paragraph. The G-77/China objected to references to governance in a paragraph on mobilizing resources and described the notion of "sound macroeconomic policy" as subjective. The US and Japan objected to a proposed role for the UN Secretary-General in monitoring ODA.

In the trade section, much of the discussion reflected diverging views on the wisdom of going beyond agreed language, notably in the Doha Ministerial Declaration. For example, delegates disagreed on whether they should "work towards," "strongly encourage" or "commit" themselves to the objective of providing duty-free and quota-free access for exports from all least developed countries.

The EU noted that they had serious problems with text on reducing or phasing out environmentally-harmful and/or trade-distorting subsidies. The US introduced alternative text, welcomed by the EU, which called for the completion of the Doha Work Programme on subsidies.

There was prolonged debate on references to the mutual supportiveness of trade and environment, with a number of delegations wary of acknowledging a hierarchy in which trade would take precedence over the environment. Australia, with support from the US, preferred the insertion of text ensuring WTO compatibility of any trade or trade-related activities; while the EU responded by stating that its concerns grew with every new reference to the WTO in the relevant paragraph. The G-77/China rejected an EU proposal to include language on Sustainability Impact Assessments. The G-77/China called unsuccessfully for text on the establishment of an international "mechanism" to stabilize market prices for coping with the volatility of commodity prices and declining terms of trade.

Final Text: The section on Finance states that internationally-agreed development goals, including those in the Millennium Declaration and Agenda 21, require significant increases in financial resources as elaborated in the Monterrey Consensus, cites the common but differentiated responsibilities principle and calls for implementing the outcomes of major UN conferences. The section also:
- describes financial mobilization as a first step to ensuring that the twenty-first century becomes the century of sustainable development for all;
- identifies the challenge of ensuring the internal conditions for savings and investment;
- calls for the facilitation of greater flows of foreign direct investment to support developing countries;
- recognizes that a substantial increase in ODA and other resources is required and calls for the delivery of the relevant ICFD commitments;
- encourages more efficient and effective use of ODA;
- addresses efforts to reform the international financial architecture to foster transparency and equity;
- welcomes the third replenishment of the GEF;
- calls for the exploration of ways to generate new public and private sources of finance; and
- calls for a reduction of the unsustainable debt burden and for the speedy implementation of the enhanced Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative.

The section on trade recognizes the major role that trade can play in achieving sustainable development and eradicating poverty, and encourages WTO members to pursue the work programme agreed at the Fourth WTO Ministerial Conference. They are also encouraged to:
- facilitate the accession of all developing countries;
- implement substantial trade-related technical assistance and capacity-building measures and support the Doha Development Agenda Global Trust Fund;
- implement the New Strategy for WTO Technical Cooperation; and
- support the implementation of the Integrated Framework for Trade-Related Technical Assistance to Least Developed Countries.

It also calls for:
- a determination to address developing country issues regarding the implementation of some WTO agreements and decisions;
- the fulfillment of WTO members' commitments, notably on market access;
fulfillment of a commitment to comprehensive WTO negotiations initiated under the Agreement on Agriculture, aiming, inter alia, to phase out all forms of export subsides;
- developed countries to work towards duty-free and quota-free access for all least developed country (LDC) exports;
- commitments to address trade-related issues and concerns affecting the integration of small, vulnerable economies;
- capacity building for commodity-dependent countries to help them diversify; and
enhanced benefits for developing countries and countries with economies in transition from trade liberalization, including through public-private partnerships.

The section also calls for enhancing the mutual supportiveness of trade, environment and development, with a view to achieving sustainable development through actions at the WTO Committee on Trade and Environment and the WTO Committee on Trade and Development, the completion of the Doha work programme, and technical assistance through cooperation between the Secretariats of the WTO and UN bodies. The trade section also: encourages the voluntary use of environmental impact assessments and promotes mutual supportiveness between the multilateral trading system and environmental agreements, consistent with sustainable development goals, in support of the WTO work programme. The section also addresses:
- the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health;
- environmental measures as disguised restrictions on trade;
- unilateral measures;
- self-determination of peoples; and
- the Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States.

Other sections address technology transfer, capacity building, education as a critical contribution to sustainable development, and access to environmental information and judicial and administrative proceedings.

Institutional framework for sustainable development

The contact group addressed the most contentious issues, remaining from the preparatory process.

The question of domestic good governance put the G-77 and China at odds with developed countries, plaguing negotiations from the start. It was finally resolved through a package deal, offsetting the domestic aspect against the international trade and finance-related element of governance.

Final Text: The chapter's introduction states that an effective institutional framework for sustainable development at all levels is based on the "full implementation" of Agenda 21, WSSD outcomes, and other internationally-agreed development goals. It outlines objectives, including strengthening coherence, coordination, monitoring and increasing effectiveness and efficiency within and outside the UN system, enhancing participation, and strengthening capacities, especially in developing countries.

In the section on the international level, the chapter calls for: integrating sustainable development goals in the policies, work programmes and operational guidelines of UN agencies and international trade and finance institutions, "within their mandates"; strengthening collaboration within the UN system; implementing decisions on international environmental governance adopted by the UNEP Governing Council and inviting the UN General Assembly to address the issue of universal membership of the Governing Council; promoting good governance at the international level; and committing to the ideals of the UN and strengthening the UN and other multilateral institutions.

The chapter also calls for the UN General Assembly to adopt sustainable development as the key element of the overarching framework for UN activities.

The section on ECOSOC reaffirms its role in overseeing system-wide coordination and integration of the three pillars of sustainable development in the UN, and, inter alia, ensuring that there is a "close link" between its role in the follow-up of the Summit and to the Monterrey Consensus, "in a sustained and coordinated manner."

The chapter calls for enhancing the role of the CSD, including reviewing progress in the implementation of Agenda 21, addressing new challenges, and limiting the number of themes addressed in each session. The CSD should serve as a focal point for discussion of partnerships, consider more effective use of national reports and regional experiences, and exchange and promote best practices. It should also consider the scheduling and duration of intersessional meetings, while the practical modalities of CSD work programmes will be taken up at its next session.

The section on international institutions notes that their strengthening is an evolutionary process. It stresses the need to enhance coordination among them in implementing Agenda 21, WSSD outcomes, the sustainable development aspects of the Millennium Declaration, the Monterrey Consensus and the Doha Ministerial Declaration. It requests the UN Secretary-General to promote system-wide coordination by utilizing the UN System Chief Executives Board. It also emphasizes the need to support UNDP's Capacity 21 programme and to strengthening cooperation among UNEP and other UN bodies, the specialized agencies, Bretton Woods Institutions and the WTO. It calls for streamlining the sustainable development meetings calendar, reducing the number of meetings in favour of implementation, and making greater use of information technologies.

The section on institutional arrangements at the regional level calls for the regional commissions to enhance their capacity, encourages multi-stakeholder participation, partnerships, and support for regional programmes.

The section on institutional frameworks at the national level notes that States should strengthen existing mechanisms, formulate strategies for sustainable development immediately and "begin their implementation by 2005," promote public participation and access to information, policy formulation and decision-making, promote the establishment of sustainable development councils, enhance national institutional arrangements for sustainable development, and the role and capacity of local authorities.

The last section calls for enhancing partnerships, including all major groups, acknowledges the "consideration being given to the possible relationship between environment and human rights, including the right to development," and urges youth participation.

Political Declaration
The Johannesburg Declaration was discussed in informal consultations during the second week of the Summit. The "elements" of the declaration drafted at the Bali PrepCom were developed into a 69-paragraph text and circulated by the South Africans among several delegations and groups. On Monday, 2 September, it was formally tabled as an official document (A/ CONF.199/L.6), which later underwent two revisions. The completed text was issued in the final hours of the Summit as A/ CONF.199/L.6/Rev.2 with a corrigendum (Corr.1).

The South Africans sought views from delegations, and a large number of comments were conveyed, many noting that the initial draft Declaration was unnecessarily long and contained excessive detail. Delegates also commented on substantive items central to the negotiation of the Plan of Implementation. The pace of completing the Plan affected the timing of tabling the draft declaration, since the authors were striving for a text in a parallel drafting process, which would reflect maximum consensus and complement the Plan. Severe time constraints precluded negotiating the text, thus leaving the final product to the discretion of the host country. Delegates also agreed to address the Johannesburg Declaration in Plenary to avoid duplication of discussion in the Main Committee.

A crucial closed meeting of key players was held in the morning of 4 September, under South African chairmanship, to provide final input to the evolving text. However, at 6:00 pm in the closing session of the Conference, several delegations undertook a last-minute attempt to introduce amendments reflecting strongly held views. At 7:40 pm the President presented the consensus to the Plenary, and the Declaration was adopted unanimously.

Final Text: "The Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development" is a three-page, six-section document. It reaffirms, "from this continent, the cradle of humanity," a commitment to sustainable development and building a humane, equitable and caring global society cognizant of the need for human dignity for all. It emphasizes the three pillars of sustainable development at all levels and a common resolve to eradicate poverty, change consumption and production patterns, and protect and manage the natural resource base. After tracing the road from Stockholm to Rio to Johannesburg, it addresses it present challenges, such as the deepening fault line between rich and the poor, biodiversity depletion, desertification, pollution, the benefits and costs of globalization, and the loss of confidence in democratic systems.

The Declaration also stresses the importance of human solidarity and urges the promotion of dialogue and cooperation among the world's civilizations. It welcomes decisions on targets, timetables and partnerships to improve access to clean water, sanitation, energy, health care, food and to protect biodiversity. It highlights the need for access to financial resources, opening of markets and technology transfer. It reaffirms pledges to address threats posed by foreign occupation and armed conflict, corruption, terrorism and intolerance in all forms, and to combat communicable and chronic diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

The document stresses women's empowerment and emancipation, and the vital role of indigenous peoples. It recommits support to achieving Millennium Development Goals, increase ODA, regional initiatives such as NEPAD, and the requirements of SIDS and LDCs. It emphasizes the need for better employment opportunities, and for the private sector to enforce corporate accountability.

The Declaration reaffirms all countries' commitment to the UN Charter and international law, calls for strengthening multilateralism and pledges to an inclusive process involving all major groups.

It ends with an expression of deep gratitude to the people and Government of South Africa for their hospitality and excellent WSSD arrangements.

Other Resources
World Council of Churches:
Official UN Site:
Earth Negotiations Bulletin:
Third World Network:

Books and Other Materials
Sustainable Communities by David J. Wellman, WCC Books, 2001
Spiritual Values for Earth Community by David G. Hallman, WCC Books, 2000
The Jo'burg Memo - Fairness in a Fragile World, Heinrich Boll Foundation, 2002 (downloadable at