Points for Discussion on the World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg, 26 August - 4 September 2002
Meeting of the SI Committee on the Economy, Social Cohesion and the Environment, New York, United Nations, 15-16 February 2002
The Socialist International Committee on the Economy, Social Cohesion and the Environment, meeting in New York on 15-16 February 2002, discussed the preparation of the forthcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, and noted a series of points in this regard:
• International security, peace and democracy are strongly related to social justice, international public goods and solidarity.
• There is a need to shape the globalisation process to be inclusive and create a world domestic policy.
• Sustainable development consists of three dimensions: economic, social and environmental aspects. All these three aspects have to be given consideration in a comprehensive context. Sustainable development with its principles and rules is a matter of creating a clear solidarity between generations and countries.
The Socialist International wants to make its contribution to the successful outcome of the Johannesburg Summit. It is aware of, and welcomes, the work done by its member parties and organisations on sustainable development. The SI calls on all its parties and its members in parliament and government to cooperate and move towards firm and innovative initiatives in order to promote sustainable development. The SI expects from them concrete commitments to funding and implementing these initiatives. In this regard, the Socialist International will open a discussion also with all those, people or movements, who oppose the present form of globalisation. The SI is expecting the proposals of the PES on sustainable development due to be published on 15 March. It also supports the proposal of the USFP of Morocco that the Johannesburg Summit should deal with the implementation of the commitments agreed at the Copenhagen Summit on Social Development.
Essential for the achievement of a more sustainable development is the political will to act, finding the right tools to implement the agreements, and strengthening partnerships.
The concept of sustainability agreed upon in 1992 in Rio is very significant for development policies, which have been devised in the form of a "global domestic policy" as a contribution for the implementation of global structural policies. Its implementation by way of practical policies based on concrete initiatives is now the imperative of the moment.
In this context the following issues are to be given priority:
- the interconnection between social and economic development and saving the environment as the basis for life
- the interconnection between the process of globalisation and the main concept of sustainable development- poverty reduction and an end to environmental degradation
- the promotion of responsible usage of natural resources and thus making a clear separation between economic growth and consumption of the environment
- the strengthening and further development of structures for sustainable global development
- the need for additional sources of funding for global welfare - apart from ODAs - which could include international tax resources, such as a tax on the weapons trade and on currency speculation
- the outcome of the Johannesburg summit must be a set of concrete and measurable goals which governments should abide by
- education, vocational training, development of clean technologies and technological transfer are the keys to global sustainability.
There are the following detailed approaches:
- The Global Deal: only if the justified interests of the countries of the South and the East developing in line with the concept of sustainable development are considered in a fair manner can quantum leaps be achieved in connection with the agenda for the environment. Access to land and water, broad access to the markets of the highly developed states, more transparency and democracy constitute core elements which are to form part of such a "global deal" in Johannesburg.
- The Socialist International wants to continue with Rio 1992: at that time the partnership between the North and the South was given a new quality dimension - based on the recognition of the common, but diversified responsibility of the community of states for the state of the world. - It is extremely important not to confine such a "deal" to governments only, but to involve the parties and parliaments, trade unions, industry and the entire civil society as direct partners.
- This "deal" will also have to include the issue of financing. The highly developed states will finally have to live up to their financial commitments made in Rio and put them into practice. All the OECD member states should clearly determine a first stage for achieving the objective of 0.7 per cent.
Agreements in Johannesburg should be based on the objectives contained in the Millennium Declaration of the United Nations - especially the aim to reduce the number of poor people in the world by half by the year 2015. This means that it will be necessary to agree upon concrete measures for their implementation, to combat the structural roots of mass poverty and not to neglect any single significant element. The international community should set to work by way of devising concrete measures in order to tackle this issue!
Structural poverty alleviation requires various different measures at the same time. The preparation of Rio+10 is closely linked to other tasks on the international agenda:
- The results of the WTO negotiations in Doha raised hopes that it could be possible to increase coherence between policies on trade, the environment and development and to consider the justified interests of developing countries by continuing to open the markets, for example for agricultural products or textile goods.
- The Financing for Development Conference in Monterrey will have a direct impact on the success of the Johannesburg Summit if there are specific follow-up mechanisms.
- For the World Nutrition Conference to be held in June in Rome, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, in his report for the preparation of Rio+10, has given utmost priority to the issue of world nutrition and agricultural production. The Socialist International will express its position on the conference in Rome and afterwards analyse in great detail with which concrete steps the Johannesburg summit can also contribute to more progress in this field.
- The International Fresh Water Conference in Bonn (December 2001) has shown very clearly that the international community urgently needs to concentrate its efforts on the problem of scarce fresh water resources. The Socialist International demands that these important conclusions and findings of this conference be put onto the agenda of the Johannesburg Summit, be confirmed as important political goals on the part of the heads of state and government and that specific measures be taken for their political implementation.
- The Socialist International emphasises the need to lay down good governance at the national as well as the international level as an underlying concept in Johannesburg, too. It requires precise agreements in order to be able to reach this objective. This holds true for environmental issues as such, as well as for the broader concept of governance for sustainable development. This entails that the existing international structures and institutions for governance be put to the test. Johannesburg should be used to also reach this stage. The Socialist International approves of the establishment of a "World Commission for Sustainability and Globalisation".
- It will also be necessary to devise an action programme for the promotion of renewable sources of energy and energy efficiency. This should be predominantly focused on developing countries, but not neglect the necessity for the developed countries to change their patterns of production and consumption. In this context, too, the Socialist International urges the international community to leave no stone unturned to create the necessary conditions before Johannesburg to be able to put the Kyoto Protocol into practice.
- The mobilisation and financing of global public goods (GPG) in general constitutes a tremendous challenge for the community of states that is growing ever closer together. It is therefore urgently required, for the promotion of development policies, to analyse all the proposals that have been submitted on how the maintenance and provision of GPGs can be financed in great detail. It would be possible to impose a tax on international currency transactions and to charge fees for air-traffic and the usage of the oceans.