Global Policy Forum

World Summit on Sustainable Development 2002



Picture Credit: United Nation

Johannesburg, South Africa
August 26 - September 4, 2002




Documents | Follow-up Process | Articles | Links


Final Plan of Implementation for the World Summit 2002

The Plan of Implementation represents the major outcome document of the Summit, delineating targets and deadlines agreed upon by participating governments.

The Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development

This document and its corrigendum constitute the final political declaration from the Johannesburg Summit, affirming delegates' commitment to sustainable development.

Agenda 21

At the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, more than 178 Governments adopted Agenda 21, a comprehensive global plan of action for sustainable development.

Draft Plan of Implementation for the World Summit on Sustainable Development

The Draft Plan of Implementation was adopted at the Fourth Preparatory Committee Meeting in Bali, Indonesia from May 27 to June 7, by the Commission on Sustainable Development. This Draft outlines the program of action to be taken at the Summit in Johannesburg.

Global Challenge, Global Opportunity

On the eve of the Johannesburg Summit, a new UN report warns that current patterns of development and consumption compromise long term security threats to the earth and its people.

UN Factsheet on Finance and Trade (August, 2002)

This UN fact sheet shows the last decade's steady decline in ODA, the increase of private financial flows to developing countries, and almost a doubling of the debt burden. (UN Division for Sustainable Development)


Follow-up Process

Balancing Trade Rules, the Environment and Sustainable Development (February 1, 2003)

From the WTO's Doha "development" trade round to public-private "partnerships" for development, members of the world business community have begun to promote themselves as purveyors of poverty alleviation. But this interview with the General Manager of the Environmental Protection Authority of Ethiopia reveals the wariness with which poor countries receive such rhetoric. (allAfrica)

WWF Urges European Fisheries Ministers to Remember the Commitments Made at WSSD (September 20, 2002)

World leaders at the World Summit in Johannesburg expressed a strong commitment to restore fish stocks by 2015. The EU Fisheries Ministers' meeting in Brussels will be one of the first tests of governments' true dedication to the goals set at the Summit. (WWF)

Earth Summit Calls for Action, Not Just Rhetoric (September 13, 2002)

Critics consider the Johannesburg Summit a failure, but the South China Morning Post argues that it may "empower civil society, galvanize public will and mobilize public action to defend the cause of sustainable development."

Impunity for Multinationals (September 11, 2002)

Multinational corporations maintained a strong presence at the Earth Summit in Johannesburg, touting their professed commitment to sustainable development. At the same time, multinational corporate activities continued to devastate the environment in Africa. (ATTAC)

WSSD Both Attacks and Abets "Global Apartheid" (September 9, 2002)

This article claims that the "chains of global apartheid:" the WTO, the IMF, the World Bank, and multinational corporations, wielded too much power at the Johannesburg Summit to permit any real progress. Global elites, under the guise of fighting poverty and protecting the environment, did more harm than good. (Foreign Policy in Focus)

A Failed Summit, Let's Look Forward (September 9, 2002)

After monitoring negotiations at the Johannesburg Summit, the coordinator of Eurodad says, "the summit overall is a failure," but NGO alliances forged at the conference give hope for the future of sustainable development. (Eurodad/OneWorld Online Forum on WSSD)

UN Blocks Future Earth Summits (September 8, 2002)

The UN will place a moratorium on future large-scale summits to ensure that negotiations result in concrete actions. Instead, the UN will establish a process to monitor states' progress on the goals and timetables set at the Johannesburg Summit as well as the previous Millennium Summit. (Independent)



Booby Traps at Rio + 10 (September 16, 2002)

Naomi Klein argues that the World Summit will fail because of inherited "booby-traps." Instead of saving the world, the Summit only represents an exaggerated mirror of the world's inequalities and double standards. (Nation)

Sustainable Development: R.I.P. (September 4, 2002)

This article from CorpWatch argues that the "disease" of neoliberalism and corporate partnerships have fatally marred efforts for sustainable development within the UN, inevitably producing a weak final Summit document.

NGOs: Global People's Forum Meeting in Johannesburg a Success (September 4, 2002)

The Global People's Forum final documents differ substantially from those that emerged from the Johannesburg Summit, proposing clear and direct resolutions, as opposed to "the diplomatically worded WSSD document." (Earth Times)

Johannesburg Summit Focuses On Civil Society Role (September 4, 2002)

The Johannesburg Summit highlights the importance of civil society in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Discussions include mobilizing local community groups, cooperation between civil society and the UN, and the validity of development paradigms. (United Nations Development Programme)

Responsible for Each Other And the Future (September 3, 2002)

The UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, stresses the need to take responsibility for sustainable development. The richest countries should lead the way and provide assistance but not without the developing countries doing their part in an interdependent process. (International Herald Tribune)

I Do Not Need White NGOs to Speak for Me (September 3, 2002)

"As First World delegates sat in conference halls and debated, African and Indian farmers hit the streets of Johannesburg to tell the world what they really want and need - not sustainable development but economic growth," claims the author of this article. (Times)

NGOs Decry the Puff Pastry Summit (September 3, 2002)

NGOs criticize the final draft of the action plan of the Johannesburg Summit, saying it did not "come up with anything substantial" and that "governments have yet to show their commitment to deliver." (Inter Press Service)

Marketing the Earth: The World Bank and Sustainable Development (August 2002)

This report from Friends of the Earth and the Halifax Initiative argues that World Bank actions since the Rio Summit have undermined sustainable development initiatives. The report issues recommendations that would "render the World Bank unrecognizable."

Protest for Poor at UN Forum in South Africa (August 31, 2002)

While protesters shout for access to water and expressed other concerns, government negotiators remain deadlocked on important issues such as agricultural subsidies. (New York Times)

Worldwide Toxic Chemicals Ban Agreed (August 30, 2002)

Delegations at the World Summit agree on banning the use and production of toxic chemicals, hazardous to human health and the environment, by 2020. The agreement, so far the only one, was reached after a U-turn by the US. (Times)

Earthly Summitry (August 29, 2002)

According to Under Secretary of State Paula Dobriansky, "the United States is the world's leader in sustainable development". However, this leadership only appears in issues related to trade and investment liberalization and the strengthening of private sector involvement. (Foreign Policy in Focus)

The US Must Play its Part (August 30, 2002)

"Globalization has become the defining feature of the world economy. However, it is not a phenomenon of nature over which we have no influence... We need rules which will help us to ensure that the greatest possible number of people share in the advantages of globalization," says German chancellor, Gerard Schröder. (Guardian)

Death On the Doorstep of the Summit (August 2002)

This Oxfam report argues that the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank contribute to poverty and food insecurity. It stresses the need for reform in agriculture policy with the help of parliaments, small farmers' representatives and civil society groups.

US Announces Partnership Initiatives in Earth Summit (August 29, 2002)

The US calls for governments, civil society and the private sector to create partnerships to avoid committing to the "specific timetable advocated by the European Union." (Xinhua News Agency)

Corporate Giants Join Greens in Attack on US Over Environment (August 29, 2002)

Environmental NGOs unite with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, a corporate lobby group comprised of 163 multinational corporations, at the Earth Summit to criticize the US for "ditching the Kyoto Protocol." (Agence France Presse)

Summit Delegates Consult the South African Example (August 29, 2002)

"You're going to see more and more poor countries saying to the rich countries: 'Okay, we've played by your rules. When do we start to see the payoff?'" said the head of the UN Development Program. Rich and developing nations disagree on whether South Africa is a model developing country or an example of globalizations failures. (Washington Post)

Summit Calls for Cut in Farm Subsidies (August 28, 2002)

Rich countries must end hypocrisy and cut agricultural subsidies. According to the World Bank, cutting subsidies would be the easiest way for the west to facilitate poverty reduction. (Times)

We Can Do This Good Work Together (August 28, 2002)

President Mbeki of South Africa, President Cardoso of Brazil and Prime Minister Persson of Sweden call for a change in paradigm. They argue that globalization must become a positive force for all and measures to protect the environment must go hand in hand with fighting poverty and enhancing human welfare. (International Herald Tribune)

Rich, Poor Countries Split Over How to Assess Globalization's Impact at UN Summit (August 28, 2002)

Developing countries point out the difficulties they face in response to globalization while the EU and US tout its benefits. (Associated Press)

FOE Condemns EU/US Bully-Boy Tactics in Jo'burg (August 28, 2002)

NGOs at the World Summit "obtained secret joint EU/US negotiating document which advocates using the Earth Summit process to promote trade liberalization and corporate-led globalization while completely failing to propose legally binding mechanisms to protect the environment or vulnerable communities." (Attac)

Civil Society Occupies the Center Stage at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (August 27, 2002)

This article addresses "the need for civil society and governments to work together to reform the UN so that future global policy making initiatives become more democratic and where civil society's role is respected by governments and other global leaders." (Civicus)

Trade Not the Solution: Mbeki (August 27, 2002)

South African President Thabo Mbeki and others "believe wealthy nations, which use most of the world's resources, produce most of its pollution and have been the main beneficiaries of globalization, should be doing more to help solve the world's social or environmental ills." In a tug-of-war between developed and developing countries, the rich nations must make sacrifices, assert the poor. (Chicago Tribune)

A World Without Water (August 27, 2002)

Anti-globalization activists will try to illustrate the dangers of privatizing water this week, in conjunction with the Johannesburg Summit. Ever since the UN redefined water as a "human need" rather than a "human right," companies have been rapidly buying and leasing water systems to sell for profit, often at prices the poor just cannot pay. (Village Voice )

Linking Poverty Aid to the Environment (August 25, 2002)

The New York Times gives a summary of the Johannesburg Summit. It describes the process prior to the summit, discusses the agenda, and outlines anticipated disputes. (New York Times)

Earth Summit Documents Lack Bite, Experts Say (August 22, 2002)

Development and environmental experts criticize the Johannesburg Summit's implementation plan for being weak and ambiguous. The plan reflects the US opposition to any clear promises. (Reuters)

Managing Sustainability World Bank-Style (August, 2002)

The Heinrich Boell Foundation and the Bretton Woods Project critically evaluate the World Bank's "World Development Report 2003", representing the Bank's contribution to the Johannesburg Summit.

A Dision of Dystopia (August 22, 2002)

The World Bank's Development Report 2003 provides a nightmarish prophecy of "an increasingly dysfunctional" global society. It predicts a fourfold increase in the size of the world economy at a price of environmental catastrophe and social breakdown by mid-century, if we continue living as we do. (Guardian)

Children are Victims of Privatization, Warns Charity (August 21, 2002)

A report from Save the Children raises concerns over the World Summit and the participation of the private sector. The report shows that involvement of the private sector in supplying basic services often contributes to increased poverty and inequality. (Independent)

Social Sustainability Key Earth Summit Topic (August 21, 2002)

Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz on sustainable development, poverty, and the developed countries' hypocrisy about free trade promotion. (Daily Yomiuri)

Scientists Call for Protection of Indigenous Knowledge (August 20, 2002)

An NGO chairman says, "Indigenous knowledge, such as systems of preserving forests, is under threat because Western or scientific knowledge does not take note of it." Scientists will present a paper discussing the need to protect indigenous knowledge at the Johannesburg Summit. (OneWorld)

Follow the Money (August 18, 2002)

Friends of the Earth argues that big companies pay good money to wreck the Johannesburg Summit, making it look destined for failure. The organization demonstrates the pressures President Bush faces by referring to a letter from US conservative lobbyists. (Observer)

Big Business Plans To Hijack Johannesburg Earth Summit (August 16, 2002)

NGOs fear that big businesses will overtake the Johannesburg Summit, "determined to block any progress." Some of the official delegations include leaders of companies that have purportedly caused environmental damage. (The Independent)

Greens Don't Need the US (August 16, 2002)

As the international community is almost certain the US President will dodge the Summit, the Guardian asks, "who will replace the US and take the lead in development finance?" So far the only real contender, the EU, does not look promising.

Experts Call for Firm Political and Financial Commitment to Solve Water Problems (August 15, 2002)

International water organizations hope water and sanitation discussions at the World Summit on Sustainable Development are followed with action. Several organizations called for "concrete targets, time bound measures and action plans to change the way the world manages water." (Associated Press)

Freedom Makes All the Difference (August 15, 2002)

Nobel Prize laureate, Amartya Sen, argues that the Summit must not disregard developing nations as "agents" of change because of their inferior financial status. He questions the traditional, "fulfillment of needs," definition of sustainable development, advocating a "broader perspective of enhancing human freedoms on a sustainable basis." (Los Angeles Times)

Challenges of Development: The Expanding Reach of Nongovernment Aid (August 14, 2002)

NGOs will participate in the World Summit for Sustainable Development to advocate for critical global issues. Sometimes criticized for cultural insensitivity, NGOs are often influential and will play an important role in the conference. (International Herald Tribune)

UN Calls on World Leaders to Commit to a Sustainable Future at Upcoming Johannesburg Summit (August 13, 2002)

This UN press release highlights the main points of the new UN Report, Global Challenge, Global Opportunity. As the Summit approaches, the report "underscores the need for greatly increased efforts to support sustainable development to better manage global resources." (UN Press Release)

Bush Set to Skip Earth Summit (August 12, 2002)

Reuters reports that "when the United States' delegation heads to the Johannesburg Earth Summit this month President Bush will probably still be on holiday at his Texas ranch."

Reputations Put on the Line at UN Summit (August 10, 2002)

The Independent raises concerns about the inherent contradictions in holding the Johannesburg Summit. Among other factors, "the event will generate 500,000 tons of CO2 emissions" and will be hosted in a country where a severe food shortage is effecting 13 million people.

Don't Expect Another Kyoto Treaty (August 7, 2002)

The Guardian highlights the UK's role, along with the US, in trampling the possibility of establishing any effective environmental policy at the Johannesburg Summit. It reports that Tony Blair has decided not to send the British environment minister to the Summit.

World Summit Attracts 106 Leaders, Not USA (July 30, 2002)

One World reports that "leaders of 106 countries have officially indicated that they will attend" the Summit on Sustainable Development. However as of yet, the US President has not announced whether or not he or any other US representative will be attending.

UN's 'Risky' Earth Summit Gambit (July 30, 2002)

BBC reports on the two types of commitments that governments will undertake at the Summit. Developing countries prefer consensus agreements, type one, while developed countries are apt to support voluntary agreements, type two, to further their own interests.

Slouching Toward Johannesburg: US is a Long Way from Sustainability (July 26, 2002)

In light of the Johannesburg Summit, Foreign Policy in Focus reports that the US is in many ways further away from being a sustainable society than it was ten years ago at the Summit in Rio.

From Rio to Johannesburg: The Globalization Decade (July 24, 2002)

CorpWatch reports on the role of corporations in shaping the goals of the Rio Summit and, even more so, the Johannesburg Summit. It argues that the UN must choose a side to support, as sustainable development and global corporations do not support complimentary processes.

What Are We Going to Do About the United States? (July 13, 2002)

The author reports on how the US is already undermining the Summit at the UN Bali Prepcomm "by substituting worthless voluntary agreements for enforceable ones, continuing to impose business and trade dictatorships." (ZNET)

Commercialising Sustainability: The WTO in the WSSD (June 6, 2002)

Governments struggled with a consensus in outlining the Draft Plan of Implementation, adopted in Bali. The author reports that despite opposition, and due to pressure from the West, the Draft "establishes the central place of the WTO in any future framework for sustainable development." (Focus on the Global South)

Globalization and Sustainable Development: Challenges for Johannesburg (March-April 2002)

Financial liberalization and globalization impede progress towards goals set at the UN Conference on Environment and Development in 1992. Market-based economic policies overshadow the Conference's state or international intervention-based approach to sustainable development. (Third World Network)

Globalization and Poverty: An Ecological Persepective (December 2001)

This paper examines the possible environmental and developmental effects of globalization in developing countries that specialize in the extraction of natural resources.

Towards Johannesburg (2001)

The World Summit on Sustainable Development will take place in September 2002. During this summit, world leaders should promote policies that combine environmental concerns with poverty eradication. Measures must be taken to "protect the natural base of economic and social development."(UN Chronicle)


Links and Resources

Johannesburg Summit 2002

The United Nations website for the Johannesburg Summit 2002, the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

WSSD Web Site of the Heinrich Boell Foundation

The site contains articles, policy issues, and civil society activities in the run up to and during the Summit.

International Institute for Sustainable Development Linkages Portal to the Johannesburg Summit 2002

A comprehensive site containing publications, background information and a detailed list of events during the Summit.



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