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Earth Summit 2002 - A New Deal

Exerts from the book

Listed below are a selection of exerts from 'A New Deal', representing the range of stakeholder groups, issues and processes addressed by the book.

 

Roadblock to Agenda 21 – A Government Perspective

 

For the developing world, as the initial chapters of Agenda 21 make quite clear, the priority remains economic development and the alleviation of poverty and its worst manifestations – hunger, disease, illiteracy.  For the developed world the priorities are rather different.  There, poverty is not really much of an issue, except at the margins.  The developed world has the time to look at what it is doing to its natural surroundings, its environment, and to feel an overriding sense of concern about it.  Of course, these are crude generalizations.  Many in the developing world feel very strongly indeed about their environment.  Many in the developed world hardly give a toss.  

 

However, the broad picture is, I think, valid.  The approach of the developing world was: ‘You, developed countries, are worried about the state of the global environment.  You want us to take action.  However, our perception is that you have basically created this state of affairs through your own excesses.  Furthermore, our priorities are limited to the basic needs of survival.  So if you want us to take part in your global drive, you must give us the resources to do so, and you cannot expect us to do anything which interferes in any major way with our drive for economic development.

Simon Upton

 

 

Implementing Agenda 21 – A United Nations Perspective

 

In 2002, the UN will undertake the ten-year review of the implementation of Agenda 21, assessing progress to date, drawing conclusions from the experience of all countries, and drawing up a work programme for the future. This review will be a participatory process, including analysis of trends, national assessments, regional reviews, inputs from civil society, and intergovernmental deliberations. In addition to reviewing implementation of Agenda 21, the process will identify new issues that have emerged since 1992, such as globalization, consider how they should be integrated within the international work programme, and identify priorities for the future work programme on sustainable development.

 

The ten-year review promises to be a participatory event with a high political profile. It offers a critical opportunity to revitalize national commitments and international cooperation for sustainable development and to renew the global commitment to implement the full programme of Agenda 21 through global partnership.

 Nitin Desai

 

Who is aware of Agenda 21: Missing Conditions – An NGO Perspective

 

When discussing further actions for implementing Agenda 21, Earth Summit 2002 delegates should place emphasis on promoting further cooperation with non-state actors as well as on establishing a new international mechanism or a body.  This body should be made to respect sectoral, regional and gender differences.  This would help to monitor free, equal and up-to-date information access and exchange on environment and development matters. One can respond to this by emphasizing that there are already many different organizations worldwide who provide information through the Internet and by other means. However multistakeholder councils on access to information would help to coordinate these activities and to summarize options. Such councils could work closely with the UN-ECE Aarhus Convention Secretariat and at the same time promote the globalization of the convention. It is crucial that such councils  are established at Earth Summit 2002 with the commitments of governments to donate core money for their existence.

Victoria Elias

 

 

Agenda 21 and the role of Local Government

 

The good news is that thousands of local governments have been stridently shedding their self-imposed notions of weakness, and are actively engaged in the business of innovation for sustainable development. This is why we can today report about the many detailed barriers –boring, mundane local details that require our diligent attention – more barriers than can be touched upon in this chapter. Local governments and their Local Agenda 21 processes are pressing up against the barriers, and are facing the resulting conflicts and difficult choices with far greater commitment, capacity and openness than in 1992.

 

Sometimes we need to climb a mountain just to see how far the road is that we must travel. The worst that can be said of the progress of local governments in implementing Agenda 21 is that many mountains have been climbed.

 Jeb Brugman

 

Workplace vs Boardroom: Approaches to Sustainable Development

A Trade Union Perspective

 

Promises made at Rio were not kept because they implied a fundamental change to the way we live, work and make decisions, beginning at the workplace and extending into international circles. Although this chapter focuses on roadblocks to progress, it also points to an important and exciting role for the CSD in the new millennium.

 

The CSD has already taken the first steps by bringing together representatives of business, trade unions, NGOs, local authorities and other major groups who were able to move quickly beyond their differences to search for points of agreement.  All this happened at the lofty, removed level of the UN; but nonetheless, it proved that it could be done and, in this respect, clearly distinguished itself from other international agencies which have yet to move towards any comparable form of major group input. Earth Summit 2002 and the CSD must now move to a higher level.

 Winston Gereluk & Lucien Royer

 

 

Women & Sustainable Development – From 2000 to 2002

 

Earth Summit 2002 offers a unique opportunity to ‘re-engender’ the debate on sustainable development – to ensure that women’s concerns, needs and contributions are an integral part of reviewing the implementation of Agenda 21 (1992) and the Programme for Further Implementation (1997), as well as an integral part of forward-looking analysis and decisions for the future. The women’s movement will have to stand up to this challenge. Governments, UN bodies and other stakeholders can play a significant role in making this happen. This chapter aims to outline some suggestions on how stakeholders can contribute to re-engendering the debate.

 

‘Human development, if not engendered, is endangered’ (Human Development Report, 1995, p1). Sustainable development requires the full and equal participation of women at all levels. None of the three aspects of the goal of sustainable development can be achieved without solving the prevailing problem of gender inequality and inequity.

 Minu Hemmati

 

 

A people’s Earth Charter

 

The transition to sustainable development will require basic changes in the attitudes, values and behaviour of civil society, the private economic sector, and governments. Ultimately, sustainability will depend on the decisions citizens make regarding their lifestyles and their patterns of consumption, production and reproduction. The Earth Charter campaign seeks to catalyse change in these areas.

 Maximo Kalaw

 

 

Poverty & the Environment

 

Though it is appreciated that both the rich and the poor undertake activities which have adverse environmental impacts, in developing countries it is the poor whose activities need to be addressed as part of the process of promoting sustainable development.  This should be addressed not through stand-alone projects: it is important that the total concept of sustainable development is used in all development projects. This will ensure that the economic status of the population is considered as programmes are put in place to ensure good environmental stewardship.

 Cletus A. Avoka

 

 

Trade, Investment, Business & Sustainable Development

 

Trade liberalization: a shark swims up to a fish and says: ‘You can take a bite out of me if I can take a bite out of you.’ There is a ‘dirty little secret’ in the analysis of international trade according to the leading trade economist Paul Krugman.  Though an advocate of free trade, he says that the costs of protectionism ‘are not all that large’, while the ‘empirical evidence’ of great benefits from liberalization ‘is at best fuzzy’

 

The original Earth Summit led to a growing body of multilateral environmental agreements.  Now is the time to set up legitimate global economic agreements and institutions of the kind we take for granted at the national level. Their role will be to hold corporations accountable and prevent the abuse of market power.  There is now an opportunity to bring forward a global competition commission and international office for fair trading with powers to act.  Among many other missing pieces in the economic jigsaw is an international investment agreement to balance social, environmental and corporate priorities. These are the new directions in which the globalization engine can take us.

 Andrew Simms & Rob Lake

 

 

Environment & Security

 

The connection between environment and security no longer needs to be spelled out.  The decline of our environment will lead to war, local and regional, in the medium term and in some cases in the near future (for example, about water rights) unless preventative action is urgently taken.  Those of us in the environmental community must marshal our facts and arguments so that we can convince the high-level policy-makers, foreign ministries and, indeed, defence ministries as well as the military establishment.  While the Cold War is over, many bitter, disastrous, local and regional wars continue.  Frequently, these local wars are due to poor people fighting over land to feed their families. 

 

Unless the world adopts sustainable policies in relation to food and water security, these conflicts will only get worse and immigration will also inevitably increase. We have the tools: international environment policy, development aid policy, agriculture, fisheries and forestry policy.  The donor community must think much more holistically.  It must incorporate environment and security within all its foreign policies; and not only are more funds needed, they need to be spent more effectively and in a coordinated way.  Developing countries have the responsibility not to destroy their own environment, and therefore not to destroy the security of their own peoples.  We must all work together in order to adopt the correct sustainable strategies to ensure environment and security.  Earth Summit 2002 and its preparation gives us the opportunity to discuss these issues, and to draw all the threads together, with the aim of working towards a sustainable and secure world for future generations.

 Margaret Brusasco Mackenzie

 

 

Getting Health in a handbasket – HIV/AIDS in the post Rio Era

 

Unfortunately, none of the above developments have any chance of success without renewed public pressure and political will.  Earth Summit 2002 must provide that motivation; and in the area of health it must make securing access for all (whether through concessional funding, compulsory licensing or parallel importing), and finding a vaccine for HIV/AIDS, central priorities for the first decade of the 21st century.  Without such a renewed commitment, the judgement of history will fall heavily upon the shoulders of today’s government and business leaders.

 Chip Lindner

 

10 Years after Rio – How far have we come and where should we be going?

 

We know that future generations will examine carefully how we acted with all of this knowledge. Most of us will not be around when the first half of the next century passes. But think about it. Roughly half of the people alive today will be alive in 2050. Many of the children of today’s decision-makers will be around to see how we cope with an extra three billion.

 

So although attention may temporarily be swinging away from the survival issues – away from Rio – and onto the latest figures from the DOW industrial or the exchange rate of the Euro versus the US dollar, let us not lose the vision. There is a lot to do for many and I urge you to move ahead.

George Bernard Shaw said that the only thing we learn from experience is that we do not learn anything from experience. He was a playwright, not a scientist. We have learned much from experience. I believe we can learn even more, and move on to prove that George Bernard Shaw was wrong.

 Gro Harlem Brundtland

 

Fish forever

 

It was once thought that the sea was an inexhaustible source of food. ‘The harvest of the sea’ was a wonder of the natural world even within the lifetime of most of us. In the standard geography lessons which dealt with the trawlers and the drifters, the Dogger Bank and the Grand Banks of Canada were seen as places where fish abounded and only the weather and the wind made their capture a hazardous pursuit.

 

There is still a very long way to go before universally better management will enable us to guarantee a future for the world’s fisheries. The fact that such management could, according to the FAO, enable an additional 10 to 20 million tonnes of fish to be taken annually shows just how positive effective control can be. Indeed, the recovery of stocks could herald the recovery of an industry that has for so long been in decline. Without it that decline will be terminal.

John Gummer

 

Freshwater: A Global Crisis of Water Security and Basic Water Provision

For developing countries, the most pressing issue for water security is in meeting basic provision of water supply and sanitation (WSS). Twenty per cent of the world’s population still lack access to safe drinking water and 50 per cent lack adequate sanitation, a statistic that has not improved since the end of the eighties international WSS decade. The UN Secretary General’s report to the eighth session of the UN Commission for Sustainable Development (CSD) on ‘the progress made in providing safe water supply and sanitation for all during the 1990s paints a bleak picture of the present status of WSS provision. Latin America, Asia and Africa are facing the greatest difficulties

Rosalie Gardiner

 

Energy: Fuel for Sustainable Development

 

When sustainability is discussed among all the relevant groups and players, it is relatively easy for an agreement to be reached on the principles, but there is much resistance when it comes to moving from talk to action...A major part of such conflicts about implementing sustainability is in fact related to energy. Energy is not only the fuel for economic development, its unsustainable use is also the main cause for many of the environmental problems associated with traditional economic development: from air pollution and global warming to oil spill disasters and nuclear waste.

 

Jurgen Maier

Reforming the international institutions

 

This Chapter attempts to outline some of the options for moving forward the international machinery but alone this will not achieve the implementation of any of the global plans of action agreed by countries. What is needed to achieve this is a ‘new realistic deal’ between developed and developing countries which both will keep to.  This deal will also require a new found responsibility by other stakeholder groups regarding their role in implementing any agreement. It will require some vision, and most important, some trust.

 

Felix Dodds