GLOBE 2000 - Closing Plenary: Gearing up for the Johannesburg Summit 15 March 2002, Vancouver

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Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen

- I am delighted to have the opportunity to address this conference. It is my privilege to explore with you, how business, trade and the environment will feature on the agenda of WSSD in Johannesburg - In this context, I would like to share with you UNEP's vision of "Responsible Prosperity for a Better Future"

- The summit, I believe, should have four principal characteristics:

· It should be a Summit of Implementation, addressing existing gaps between the commitment and implementation. The visions of Agenda 21, need to become a reality for all.

· It should be a Summit of Partnership. Partnerships between governments, business, non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders, should be strengthened. Industry's voice will be heard in Johannesburg. Working with industry associations, UNEP has facilitated the industry reports which will be an input to WSSD.

· It should be a Summit of Responsible Prosperity and Opportunities for all - committed to the eradication of poverty and equal distribution of the benefits of globalization

· It should be a Summit of Integration. Environmental, economic and social development policies should be coherent, and integrated.

- Overall, it should be a Summit of Concrete Action. A Johannesburg Programme of Action or a "Global Pact" should be developed, setting out targets with measurable benchmarks, and a timetable for implementation.

- UNEP with its home in Africa, is a living witness to the impacts and ravages of unsustainable development

- I feel therefore that, we are uniquely placed to share our experiences, and vision for a sustainable future with you

- The world has taken huge steps to "globalize" over the past 10 years - Communications technology - the removal of trade barriers, have opened up the world, and benefited the world - or at least one half of the world

- The other half still live on less than two dollars a day, and will probably never enjoy a glass of clean water - they are trapped in the vicious circle of poverty, hunger, disease, oppression, conflict, pollution and depletion of natural resources - a circle from which there is, at present, little hope of escape

- Poverty is inextricably linked to the environment. Action to protect and care for the environment is required - Otherwise the poison of poverty will continue to plague the world.

- We need to integrate social, economic and environmental policies to ensure sustainable development. This is the ONLY path out of poverty.

- Today, I would like to highlight ten key areas of action for the environment, and sustainable development, which UNEP hopes to see on the agenda in Johannesburg

- It is my sincere hope that, with the support of business and government, action can be agreed on these issues at Johannesburg

1. Assessment and Monitoring

- On the eve of WSSD, more than ever, we need a map which shows us where we are - the path we should take - and where we want to be in the future

- For the environment, this map is GEO-3 - a global assessment of environmental developments over the past 30 years, and a perspective for the future

- A map is not enough, we also need a timetable for moving along the road to sustainable development

- Our progress must be monitored and reviewed, in the light of the timetable and the actions identified - decision-makers in Johannesburg must make a commitment to act, within a set timeframe - thereby avoiding the great weakness of Rio (declarations and little follow-up action)

2. Capacity-building

- It is widely acknowledged that capacity-building is essential for sustainable development - Developing countries need new and enhanced skills to address their environmental, and other problems

- Human capital, as a valuable asset, especially in developing countries, should be used for maximum benefit

- UNEP has been providing national governments with advice on policy, law, technology, and in key areas of institution building, and environmental management

- UNEP works with business and industry to raise awareness of best environmental practices. The joint UNIDO/UNEP Network of National Cleaner Production Centers provides training on environmental management systems.

3. Technology and Technology Transfer

- Every year the world population grows by 75 million people

- We need to answer the questions - Where, and how are they going to live?

- Technology can help find a solution, if there is information on its availability, and terms of transfer

- Business, and organizations like UNEP, working together can overcome this barrier

- SANET, the Sustainable Alternative Network (under the UNEP/GEF partnership) presented here at Globe, can be, one of the key tools facilitating information technology exchange, and transfer.

- I call on business to take a responsible and realistic approach to markets in developing countries, and to make every effort to overcome some of the other main obstacles to technology transfer - finance and intellectual property rights

4. Health and the Environment

- Poor health is draining one of the few resources the developing world possesses - the energy of its manpower

- Water pollution, poor sanitation and water shortages nurture disease, and kill over 12 million people every year

- In developing countries women spend many hours carrying water (more than 10 million person-years, each year)- valuable energy which could be used to supplement the family income or educate children

- Integrated water resources management is required.

- Public and private partnerships can facilitate capacity building, technology transfer, development of sustainable policies for water pricing, and raising of finance for water management projects.

- Dangerous chemicals are also eroding the health of the world's most vulnerable citizens

- UNEP is proud that the Stockholm Convention on POPs has been signed, it is a positive step towards increased protection for communities, like the Inuit, who are particularly badly affected by POPs.

- All have the responsibility to comply with regulations on chemicals, and to safeguard the health, not only of the poor, but of all affected by POPs.

5. Environment and Food Security

- 75% of the world's poor live in rural areas - In an attempt to move from the brink of constant hunger, land is farmed ever more intensively - as a result resources are declining

- At present there is no chance of sustainable development

- Knowledge, and understanding, of sustainable land use methods must be enhanced - in order to avoid deforestation, desertification and water pollution

- Biotechnology is a tool, which can also be used to benefit agriculture.

- The advantages of the technology should be affordable, and made available to developing countries.

- Failure to act in these areas, may mean starvation for entire communities

6. Globalization and Trade

- Trade liberalization, as demonstrated by trade impact assessment studies (carried out by UNEP), affects the environment significantly.

- We have to make trade and environment measures mutually supportive, and ensure that globalization becomes a positive force for all the people of the world.

- UNEP has been engaged in the integration of environmental considerations into macro-economic and trade policy

- The outcome of the WTO Ministerial Meeting in Doha is the basis for constructive dialogue on trade/development/environment issues - I encourage the private sector to commit further, and take up their environmental responsibilities - e.g. the Global Compact, the Global Reporting Initiative and voluntary codes of conduct.

- The Doha decisions, regarding the environment, and the reduction of tariffs, especially on products of export interest to developing countries, were a welcome development.

- Further measures need to be taken to ensure that developing countries get REAL access to world markets (environmental regulation, for instance, should not act as a barrier to trade)

- Technical assistance on trade is required - the UNEP-UNCTAD Capacity Building Task Force on Trade and Environment can play an important role in this regard

7. Diversity

- While welcoming global trade we should not lose sight of the importance of diversity - the cost of globalization should not be the loss of thousands of indigenous cultures and their traditions

- Indigenous peoples possess vast and valuable knowledge of the plants and animals with which they live - they should benefit from their assets

- Respect for human diversity goes hand-in-hand with respect for biological diversity - all species and ecosystems are interdependent, and we must work together to preserve them for the good of all mankind.

8. Urbanization

- Urban households in developing countries often live in absolute poverty

- They face the environmental hazards of lack of access to clean water and sanitation, and disposal of waste

- Real action to solve the problems of urbanization must be taken at local level- with this in mind, UNEP has developed environmental management systems(EMS) for cities - an EMS kit has been presented at this conference

- I would like to thank our partners in this initiative, ICLEI (International Council of Local Environmental Initiatives) and FIDIC (International Federation of Consulting Engineers), and Minister Anderson for his support.

- Sustainable urban development requires the involvement and resources of a number of stakeholders, especially business

9. Energy

- Over 2 billion people in developing countries have no access to modern energy - without energy the poor of the world have no means to move forward

- Renewable energy at an affordable price is essential for economic development

- Additional efforts to introduce renewable and sustainable energy, especially in developing countries, must be accelerated.

- The establishment and development of a Global Network for Sustainable Energy, to build synergies between the institutions already active in this field, is a step in the right direction.

- In Africa, UNEP's AREED project, engages the private sector to deliver affordable energy services - the services are based on clean and renewable energy technologies, and aimed at the under-served rural population

- The initiative has been extended to Brazil and China, where it supports new types of enterprises and applies best-practice approaches to the supply of sustainable energy.

- Private business, in partnership with others, is uniquely placed to push forward these efforts

10. Implementation

- Implementation of all actions identified here requires investment - Investment of human and financial resources

- World governments and industry must commit now to funding the environment - to invest for development

- Financial resources, direct investment in countries in need, must be found

- Serious consideration has to be given to raising the level of ODA to 0.7 percent of GNP

- I also urge the private sector to play its role, and invest responsibly in developing countries. UNEP, through its Industry Division will do everything possible to support partnerships for development.

- NGOs and the public are now calling for corporations to be responsible, accountable and transparent.

- UNEP, with CERES, has developed the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), aiming at developing worldwide format for sustainability reporting.

- The WSSD, needs to reach concrete agreement, on the modalities for financing sustainable development

- Without the required resources we will be left once again with lots of words ( a plethora of words), and no means to act

CONCLUSION

- The environment is the major asset of the developing world - the poor have little else - it must be preserved and used responsibly for sustainable development

- Responsibility to act now, rests with all - both the developing and developed world

- I echo the hopes of Kofi Annan, that in Johannesburg we will see all stakeholders come together in a new coalition, "A coalition for responsible prosperity"

- I call on all leaders, industry, NGOs, academics and private individuals in Johannesburg

1. To support action in the areas identified

2. To push for concrete results and clearly defined initiatives

3. Agree on a timetable for implementation

- If we think about the words of Mahbub al Haq :

" Sustainable development is a question of quality of life for the rich countries but it is a question of life for the poor countries".

We have no choice but to act together responsibly, for a better future


 

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