The New President of the 22nd Governing
Council (GC) of the United Nations Environment Programme, Minister
Ruhakana Rugunda of Uganda, is a man with a mission. In his own
words, he defines his vision on what needs to be done during this
session, and how to go about doing it:
is set, the agenda defined, and perspective clear. The challenge
for this GC is to focus on the implementation of the WSSD blueprint.
We will be judged on how effectively we achieve that.
The World Summit on Sustainable Development
(WSSD) was an opportunity of great importance, in the sense that
it placed the spotlight on global issues that affect all peoples,
but most especially people in the developing world. An issue like
poverty was given global weight and attention in discourses on
sustainable development. Poverty undermines the struggle for sustainable
development and the sustainable management of the environment.
Our work toward achieving sustainable development must face squarely
issues related to the alleviation and even eradication of poverty.
The WSSD also addressed, and reached consensus, on key issues
such as water and sanitation, energy, biodiversity, and agricultural
But, in my opinion, the WSSDs
greatest achievement was putting in place targets regarding these
issues. Targets that are measurable and easy to monitor, and,
hence, realistic. The global momentum was set for the WSSD outputs
with the convening of earlier global meetings such as the Millennium
Summit, Copenhagen Social Summit, the Doha WTO Meeting, and Monterrey
Financing for Development conference.
The GC should be seen as a vehicle
for the implementation of these outputs. And as much as I am aware
of the challenges that face us towards achieving this difficult,
yet vital task, I am also aware of the opportunities we have,
and they are many. The peoples of this world, in fact, present
the biggest opportunity of all. The masses, who must be empowered
to play a decisive role of removing themselves form poverty. It
is us, the people of the world who must accept the challenge and
face up to it. This solidarity and partnership for sustainable
development is an opportunity that must be seized and invested
I seize this opportunity to pay tribute
to Minister Anderson, for the distinguished work accomplished
during his term of office. I would also like to commend the bureau
and team who had worked with him to make such a difference.
I would also like to pay special tribute
to the leadership of UNEP. Klaus Toepfer has provided outstanding
leadership and is working with clear vision towards setting UNEP
as the global environmental leader. this would not have been possible,
without the support of the Secretary-General and his efforts in
support of sustainable development.