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World Summit: A progress report
Posted: 21 Jun 2004

The World Summit on Sustainable Development, was held in Johannesburg in 2002. Its progress was assessed by the UN Commission on Sustainable Development in April 2004. The United Nations then admitted, in typical understatement, that the results so far are "mixed".

The aim of the Commission's April meeting, in New York, was to review what action had been taken to reach the targets agreed at the Summit. These targets include and expand upon the UN Millennium Development Goals agreed in the year 2000.

The Commission focused on three of the world's most pressing problems: water, sanitation and human settlements. The goals in these areas include halving by 2015 the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation, and significantly improving the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2020.

Progress report

Reports issued by the UN Secretary-General in preparation for the meeting said that, in the short time since the World Summit, there have been mixed results in terms of progress towards sustainable development. "Some regions are making good progress and are on track to reach the targets while others are falling far behind," said Mr. Josť Antonio Ocampo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, whose office prepared the reports.

Findings included the following:

Improving access to safe water and sanitation

Improving the lives of slum dwellers

Partnerships and capacity building

A key aim of the Commission session was to drive forward new partnerships between Governments, non-governmental organisations, UN agencies and the private sector. As part of the Johannesburg Summit process, more than 200 partnerships, with over $235 million in resources, were launched.

Small islands challenge

Part of the meeting was devoted to preparations for the United Nations International Meeting to Review the Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, now to be held in Mauritius on 5th January 2005. This includes issues of climate change, tourism, natural disasters, wastes, marine resources, freshwater, land resources, energy, biodiversity and transport.

Other emerging issues that affect small islands which are to be examined in Mauritius include: trade, HIV/AIDS, information technology, new security concerns and island cultures.

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