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Peter Willetts, Emeritus Professor of Global Politics
Primary Sources for The Voice of Which People?
The Southern Caucus WSSD Evaluation
From: The Southern Caucus of the NGO Steering Committee to the UN Commission on Sustainable Development
This web page from www.southngocaucus.com/goto/WSSD, which diverts to www.southngocaucus.com/default.asp, has been copy-edited by Peter Willetts making minor lay-out changes.
JOHANNESBURG AND BEYOND
Preparatory Consultations by Southern NGOs
The Southern Caucus of the NGO Steering Committee to the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development coordinated a two-year process of consultation throughout the countries and regions of the South. These consultations were conducted from the ground up, culminating in a Southern NGO Summit in Algeria, March 16-18, 2002, where priorities, issues and action strategies were explored from a Southern NGO point of view.
Local, National and Regional NGO Networks for Sustainable Development, other Major Groups named in Agenda 21, and others (including Peoples of African Descent, the disabled, elderly, faith-based organizations, people under foreign occupation, social movements and other under-represented groups, both in the North and the South) were able to frame their own interests and priorities.
The Southern Caucus resolved to ensure that the results of this consultative effort would be given equal consideration at the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa on August 26 – September 4, 2002.
In Algeria, we concluded that it was time for Southern NGOs to attempt to strengthen partnerships and/or collaborative relationships with their governments, funding agencies, UN agencies, financial institutions and other sectors of civil society.
The World Summit in Johannesburg
The World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa was considered a success by a large number of Southern NGOs. The outcome of this Summit will serve as a point of the ongoing work by NGOs, Governments, UN agencies and financial institutions.
As stated by the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan: "The true test of what the Johannesburg Summit achieves are the actions that are take afterward. We have to go out and take action. This is not the end. It's the beginning."
Some of the highlights of Johannesburg included:
Agenda 21 was re-affirmed and timetables and resources for implementation were committed in Johannesburg.
The role and continuation of the Commission on Sustainable Development was not only re-affirmed but measures were included for strengthening the CSD, while gearing its focus to matters of implementation..
Officially, the importance of local, national, and regional activities in the implementation process has been accepted, thus giving validity to our organization of Southern NGOs on national and regional basis.
For the first time it was clarified that Human Rights and Racism considerations must be acknowledged.
Thanks to consultations between Southern NGOs and their governments, many of the recommendations and observations made prior to Johannesburg are reflected in the official final documents.
Government-NGOs dialogues continued in Johannesburg with interchanges twice daily between representatives of the official Summit and of NGOs at the Global People's Forum.
The International Steering Group (ISG) of NGOs, the organizing body for the Global People's Forum, succeeded in engaging the interest and participation of a large number of NGO representatives from around the world, in a two-week program of diverse activities related to the WSSD. One of the highlights of the Forum was a huge rally and "Peoples Solidarity March Against Poverty." The banner reflected the theme of the Forum: "A Sustainable World Is Possible".
NGOs emerged from the Global People's Forum with a political statement, a Plan of Action and a body of Commission Reports for action and change.
We took the position that Agenda 21 remains a good blueprint for action and a very viable and necessary framework for continuation of the work. However, what was needed was reform of inclusion in the implementation process, political will and resources for implementation according to timetables.
The Declaration of the NGO Millennium Forum of 2000 was recognized and accepted.
(To obtain the Global People's Forum Declaration, Plan of Action and all other related documents to the Summit, please visit: www.worldsummit.org.za Official Summit documents are available at: www.johannesburgsummit.org.za)
Beyond Johannesburg for the Steering Committee
We will continue to work to ensure compliance with the agreements and commitments made, and advocate for internal reform of NGO participation processes, where necessary.
In partnership with the International Steering Group (ISG), we will continue to work towards the development and strengthening of a worldwide movement of NGOs for Sustainable Development.
Southern NGOs agreed in Johannesburg to continue South –South dialogue, similar to the Algeria process and meeting, on an annual or biennial basis, to include issues related to the Millennium Development Goals as laid out by the United Nations Millennium Summit in 2000.
Southern Caucus NGOs will report back to our communities, countries and regions on the NGO Partnerships, National and Regional Action Plans that were compiled and approved at the Algeria Summit and monitor implementation of commitments made in Johannesburg.
The Southern Caucus will strengthen and increase its participation in the CSD NGO Steering Committee for the UN Commission on Sustainable Development.
We thank all of the regional and Issue Caucus representatives who participated fully in the activities of the WSSD and the Global People's Forum.
We also thank the international Steering Group for its efficient and impressive organization of the Global People's Forum, the Orientation Sessions, the daily morning NGOs Strategy Sessions, the meetings with Governments, and United Nations Agency officials.
A review of the Implementation of the Barbados Plan of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) will be held in 2004, and SIDS NGOs should start making preparations to attend and participate.
Esmeralda V. Brown
CSD NGO Steering Committee for the UN Commission on Sustainable Development
October 22, 2002
Global People's Forum - NASREC
Sustainable World is Possible - Outcomes of the Global Peoples Forum at the World Summit on Sustainable Development more
Front Page of the NASREC Report
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