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598th Wilton Park Conference 


From the 27th - 30th March 2000 over 70 participants, from a wide range of interests and backgrounds including governments, inter-governmental agencies and Major Groups, met at Wiston House, Sussex, England to take part in the 598th Wilton Park Conference.

Discussion was on preparations for events associated with the ten-year comprehensive review of UNCED, Earth Summit 2002. The meeting was organised by Wilton Park in co-operation with UNED Forum. What follows is UNED Forum's summary of the key points raised that could be considered as elements for a CSD decision on 2002.

Format, Participation and Venue of the 2002 Event

  • There was strong support for a World Summit called the World Summit on Sustainable Development (i).

  • The process for reviewing implementation of Agenda 21 chapters (CSD-10) should be separated from the forward-looking Summit (Earth Summit 2002 -WSSD).

  • The Summit should not be held in New York, strong preference was shown for it being in a developing country.

  • Multi-stakeholder processes should be integrated into all the international preparations for the Summit (ii).

  • There should be early consideration of the institutional arrangements to service the Summit. The need for a Secretary General for the Summit or a group of other champion(s) of the process should be considered.

Scope of the Review of Achievements and Implementation of Agenda 21

  • There should be a comprehensive review of the achievements and implementation of Agenda 21 by the end of 2001, to be discussed and approved by CSD-10 and the regular General Assembly in 2002.

  • The review should NOT attempt to renegotiate Agenda 21.

  • All relevant UN Agencies and international Commissions and Conventions should review their programme of work since Rio and report on factors contributing to success and on obstacles to success.

  • National Sustainable Development Strategies should be produced by all countries by 2002 (UNGASS 1997 agreement).

  • The national assessments (success and obstacle factors) of implementation of Agenda 21 should be completed by governments with the involvement of multi-stakeholder groups, utilising bodies including National Councils for Sustainable Development where appropriate. These assessments should be completed by June 2001.

Goal and Focus of the Summit

The overall goal of the forward-looking Summit should be improving the quality of life for all.

  • There should be regional preparatory meetings organised by the Regional Commissions where appropriate (iii).

  • WSSD (Earth Summit 2002) should provide a focus on poverty eradication.

  • WSSD (Earth Summit 2002) should advance equitable sustainable consumption and production practices.

  • WSSD (Earth Summit 2002) should address the impact of globalisation on sustainable development. It should establish a new financial contract between developed and developing countries. Part of this work will be done through the Financing for Development process that WSSD (Earth Summit 2002) should build on. In this respect there should be agreement on implementation of the key elements of Agenda 21 and agreement on how they are to be resourced, including the transfer of appropriate technology and timetables agreed.

  • WSSD (Earth Summit 2002) should establish agreed indicators for accessing and monitoring progress (could be agreed at CSD-9).

  • Governments, intergovernmental agencies and Major Groups should give firm pledges to an action-orientated agenda at the Summit.

  • CSD should encourage governments to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and Biosafety Protocol by WSSD (Earth Summit 2002).

  • WSSD (Earth Summit 2002) should address issues that have emerged or become critical since Rio. Four or five should be prioritised from a list that would include the following: freshwater; health in the context of environment and development; AIDS; coastal and marine living systems; transport; environment and security, access to information, and energy.

  • Awareness raising will play an important role in preparation for the Summit and in the follow up. For this to happen the education community and the media, in the broadest sense, should be engaged in the preparatory process.

  • WSSD (Earth Summit 2002) should be linked to Istanbul +5 and the other UN Conferences and Summits.

  • WSSD (Earth Summit 2002) should bring together the various processes from the other Conferences and Summits, and establish a future mechanism for monitoring progress in a more integrated, transparent and streamlined manner.

  • WSSD (Earth Summit 2002) should strengthen the global institutions working on sustainable development - this would include harmonising the provisions of the environment Conventions, rationalising sector areas around regional bodies and within international bodies.

Felix Dodds

Director, UNED Forum


April 13, 2000

  • i Other suggestions included the 'World Summit on Sustainable Livelihood' and 'Life Summit' - with a possible by-line of 'Life, Livelihoods and Lifestyles'.

  • ii This would include bodies such as the CSD NGO Steering Committee, the Women's Caucus, the WBCSD and ICC, ICLEI and IULA, ICFTU and other relevant stakeholder groups such as Indigenous Peoples, youth, the academic community, farmers, association of cooperatives, the education community and the media.

  • iii In Europe the preparatory process for Kiev ECE Conference in September 2002 needs to be taken into account.