The major outcomes

Published : Sep 14, 2002 00:00 IST

THERE was no set convention or agreement to be signed at the World Summit for Sustainable Development, but some vague commitments were made under Type-I outcome (Plan of Action) and several plans announced under Type-II initiatives. In the five areas of focus (water and sanitation, energy, health, agriculture, and biodiversity and ecosystem management, better known as WEHAB) suggested by U.N. General-Secretary Kofi Annan, the following were the major outcomes:

Water and sanitation

Type I: Commitment to halving the number of people without access to sanitation and safe drinking water by 2015.

Type II: The United States agreed to invest $970 million in water and sanitation projects over the next three years. The European Union announced a "Water for Life" project initiative to meet the Summit goal in Africa and Asia. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) provided a $5 million grant to the U.N. habitat initiative and $500 million in fast-track credit to water projects under the Asian Cities Programme. The U.N. has received 21 other water and sanitation initiatives with a commitment of over $20 million.


Type I: Commitment to increase access to modern energy services, improve energy efficiency and increase the use of renewable energy. (However, with the U.S. refusing to commit itself to ensuring that renewable energy constitutes at least 15 per cent of its total energy consumption by 2015, the text is vague on energy.)

Type II: Nine major electricity companies signed a range of agreements with the U.N. to facilitate technical cooperation for sustainable energy projects in developing countries. The E.U. announced a $700 million partnership initiative on energy, and the U.S. announced that it would invest up to $43 million by 2003. The U.N. has received 32 partnership submissions for energy projects with over $26 million in resources.


Type I: Commitment that by 2020, chemicals should be used and produced in ways that do not harm human health and environment.

Type II: The U.S. committed to spending $2.3 million by 2003 on health, some of which was earlier earmarked for the Global Fund.


Type I: The Global Environment Facility (GEF) will consider including the Convention to Combat Desertification as a focal area for funding.

Type II: The U.S. will invest $90 million in 2003 for sustainable agriculture programmes. The U.N. has received 17 partnership submissions with over $2 million additional resources.

Biodiversity and ecosystem management

Type I: To reduce biodiversity loss by 2004; to restore fisheries to the maximum sustainable yields by 2015; to improve developing countries' access to environmentally sound alternatives to ozone-depleting chemicals by 2010; and to undertake initiatives by 2004 to implement the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land Based Sources. Importantly, the Summit recognised the knowledge and wisdom of indigenous people, and agreed to share the benefits of using biodiversity with the local community.

Type II: The U.N. has received 32 partnerships initiatives with $100 million in resources. The U.S. announced $53 million for forests in 2002-05. There is an agreement to replenish the GEF by $2.9 billion.

The most important victory of the WSSD was getting Russia, China and Canada to agree to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, in order to make it implementable (at least 55 countries should ratify the protocol for it to be implemented). This isolates the U.S. and Australia, the only two major countries now refusing to ratify it. Now the Protocol can become operational even without the two countries ratifying it.

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