Launch of the World Summit Memorandum of the Heinrich Boell Foundation
Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,
- I am delighted to have the opportunity to address you today at the launch of the remarkable piece of work. Congratulations to all who have worked on it. It presents a unique perspective on WSSD and the way forward
- The Johannesburg summit, I believe, should have the following 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.
· 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.
- 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.
- As you rightly advocate, we have to reconcile ecology with equity, and a better life for all.
- We need to integrate social, economic and environmental policies to ensure sustainable development. This is the ONLY path out of poverty
- Today I would just like to focus on a number of areas which I believe are decisive to our progress.
- 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 - women, in particular, should play a full role in their communities
- (UNEP has been providing national governments with advice on policy, law, technology, and in key areas of institution building, and environmental management)
2. 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
- Partnerships between business, non-governmental organizations and the UN can overcome this barrier
3. 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.
- Dangerous chemicals are also eroding the health of the world's most vulnerable citizens
- All have the responsibility to comply with regulations on chemicals, and to safeguard the health, not only of the poor, but of all.
4. 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
5. Globalization and Trade
- Trade liberalization 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.
- The outcome of the WTO Ministerial Meeting in Doha is the basis for future constructive dialogue on trade/development/environment issues
- The Doha decisions, regarding the environment, and the reduction of tariffs, especially on products of export interest to developing countries, were a welcome development.
- However, further measures need to be taken to ensure that developing countries get REAL access to world markets
- I share your view that trade should be FAIR, and that agreements should be drawn up which deliver concrete benefits to small producers
- While welcoming global trade we should not loose 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. We must work together to preserve diversity for the good of all mankind -for tolerance, peace and stability in the world.
- 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 and air pollution.
- I can but echo the memorandum's call for action, to solve the problems of urbanization. This action I believe must be taken, especially at local level.
- 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
- As your memorandum points out, 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.
- 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-it should be seen as an investment in the future of the world
- I also urge the private sector to play its role, and invest responsibly in developing countries.
- 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
- I strongly endorse the words of George Soros :
- "We need a global society - and not just a global economy - we need to address wealth disparities and inequalities".
- I am optimistic that we can create this global society. I see no reason to be resigned to the unsustainable situation of today.
- Using the knowledge of our ancestors, the values of world religions and cultures, the energy of the youth, and our aspirations for our children, we can find a solution
- We can give globalization a human face. It can be a positive force for all.
- This is not a new idea. It is an old one. Globalization in the Third Century A.D., in the form of the Silk Road was a positive force. It contributed to the development of knowledge, as well as the trade and exchange of goods. Buddhism, Islam, technology and art, traveled the road, and enriched many. The use of the road declined with the rise of tribal politics between the peoples along the road - self-interest becoming more important than mutual benefit.
- Let us not seen the globalization of today go into rapid decline in the war for wealth , which ignores the greater needs of humanity - enlightened self-interest should replace self-interest - trade in goods, as well as assisting development, can bring trade in ideas and more tolerance to our world
- The Summit in Johannesburg has to be the foundation, and first building block of lasting, effective global partnerships - partnerships demonstrating solidarity with the poor - partnerships committed to concrete action for change - change which will build a solid foundation, and bridges, in the interest of the generations to come
- 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, rest 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" - a coalition to fight poverty and change unsustainable consumption patterns.
- I call on YOU, I call on all leaders, opinion-formers 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 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 other option but to act