WSSD Statements: A. Bouteflika, Jaques Chirac
President of the
People's Democratic Republic of Algeria
World Summit On Sustainable Development
2 September 2002
The holding of this Summit on the South African land is a tribute to your great country that plays an active role on the international arena. It is also an evidence of the African continent's mobilisation to take part fully to the international community's endeavours aiming at materialising the concept of sustainable development.
Ten years after the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, the challenge of sustainable development still needs to be addressed from the threefold point of view of lack of growth, poverty aggravation, and speeded up environment deterioration.
Despite the growing awareness of the risks posed by such trends on the economic and ecological security of the globe, the main changes needed to enter actually an era of sustainable development remain to be performed.
The development problematic has indeed been identified, and the solutions discussed and agreed on. Agenda 21, as a platform for action, remains topical and fully pertinent.
The basic objective is therefore to implement the platform in a coordinated manner at the national, regional, and international levels, building on the lessons of the last decade.
This period has highlighted the fact that environmental deterioration endangers the very prospects of growth. It has also focused the limits of partial and isolated approaches. This is why; it is necessary -when it comes to development policies and international cooperation- to consider the various factors that resulted in altering the natural cycles and affecting the vital resources such as air, water, forests, biodiversity, oceans and coasts.
Actually, the economic, social and ecological stakes are now global as they question the future of mankind itself. They require therefore the combination of efforts by the international community as a whole. Such efforts should tend to streamline and strengthen the international system to make it secure the sound bases of a sustainable and equitable development.
In this respect, the progress made in the fields of trade and development financing at the Doha and Monterrey Conferences should be consolidated and completed by the search of the necessary technological, human and institutional means for the effective implementation of Agenda 21.
Reinforcing national, regional and global environmental governance turns out to be indispensable. While pursuing the process of working rules and norms out, a better coordination among all the stakeholders will be needed.
More specifically, a better harmonisation is to be ensured between the United Nations Environment Programme, the Commission on Sustainable Development, and the monitoring bodies of the various conventions in force. The agreement in principle reached recently to develop the Global Environment Facility into a financial mechanism of the Convention to combat drought and desertification, and the replenishment of its resources at an increased level are encouraging steps and a source of satisfaction for us who are experiencing serious problems of drought and desertification.
The scope and nature of the challenge of sustainable development imply the combined contribution of the States, the private sector and civil society in partnership. Civil society and the private sector play an increasingly vital role that is worth our encouragement and support. Algeria had the privilege, some months ago, to host a Conference of developing countries NGOs on sustainable development, which reached significant results.
It is also of great importance to make sure that market mechanisms take into account the need to preserve the environment, which will be twice profitable because the environment offers large investment opportunities that will contribute to wealth generation and to a sustained and qualitative economic growth.
Enhancing the multilateral framework, and promoting partnerships with civil society and the private sector will favour bold initiatives required in specific fields having a direct impact on environment, living conditions and economic growth.
In this regard, it is cardinal that our plan of action be based on firm commitments at the national, regional, and global levels, to taking concrete steps to address desertification, land degradation and deforestation. It also must give high priority to a more rational response to our countries' growing needs in terms of water and energy, through an optimal valorisation and an efficient management of these resources. Finally, fighting the deterioration of biodiversity and all forms of pollution must also be stressed on and integrated in our decision-making.
All these actions will certainly produce positive impact on poverty reduction, and will favour the emergence of schemes of production and consumption meant to be more respectful for nature and the needs of the future generations.
The issue of sustainable development in the African continent is addressed by a recent initiative of the African Union, now known as NEPAD. This is based on the concept of partnership with private or public-sector players inside and outside Africa. This undertaking is part of the global project of restoring and protecting the ecological asset of mankind. While aiming at extricating Africa from marginalisation, and eradicating poverty, NEPAD has the ambition to highlight Africa's contribution to the safekeeping of the planet's ecosystems.
The Summit, by its scope and the high level of attendance, offers us an exceptional opportunity to achieve together the decisive advances required by the imperative protection of our planet, because the future of mankind is at stake. The potentials and means are indeed available to build a new civilisation where the human beings will finally live in harmony with themselves, and in symbiosis with their natural environment.
The community of Nations is expected to prove equal to such a wholesome endeavour. I am confident that the outcome of our proceedings will open such a hopeful prospect.
I thank you.
His Excellency Mr. Jacques Chirac
President of The French Republic
World Summit on Sustainable Development
Johannesburg, South Africa
2nd September 2002
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Our house is burning down and we're blind to it. Nature, mutilated and overexploited, can no longer regenerate and we refuse to admit it. Humanity is suffering. It is suffering from poor development, in both the North and the South, and we stand indifferent. The earth and humankind are in danger and we are all responsible.
It is time to open our eyes. Alarms are sounding across all the continents. Europe is beset by natural disasters and health crises. The American economy, with its often-ravenous appetite for natural resources, seems to be hit by a crisis of confidence in the way it is managed. Latin America is again shaken by a financial, and hence social, crisis. In Asia, rising pollution evidenced by the brown cloud is spreading and threatening to poison an entire continent. Africa is plagued by conflicts, AIDS, desertification and famine. Some island countries are seeing their very existence threatened by climate warming.
We cannot say that we did not know! Let us make sure that the 21St century does not become, for future generations, the century of humanity's crime against life itself.
This entails our collective responsibility. First and foremost the responsibility of the developed countries, who are frontrunners in terms of history, power and their consumption levels. If the whole of humanity were to behave like the Northern countries, it would take two more planets to satisfy our needs.
Yet this is also the responsibility
of the developing countries. It makes no sense to repudiate
long-term constraints in the name of emergency. These
countries have to admit that there is no other solution for them than to invent a less polluting growth model.
Ten years after Rio, we have no reason to celebrate. The implementation of Agenda 21 is a long, hard road. Awareness of our failure to act should lead us, here in Johannesburg, to conclude the global alliance for sustainable development.
An alliance that will lead the developed countries to embark on the ecological revolution, the revolution of production and consumption models. An alliance that will lead them to take the necessary action to attain solidarity with the poor countries. An alliance that France and the European Union are ready and willing to undertake.
An alliance by means of which the developing world will embark on the road to good governance and clean development.
We have before us five priority areas of action.
First, climate change. Human activity started it. It threatens us with a planetary tragedy. Now is no longer the time for an ((every country for itself)) attitude. A solemn call should go out from Johannesburg to all the countries in the world, especially the leading industrialised countries, to ratify and apply the Kyoto Protocol. Climate warming is still reversible. Heavy would be the responsibility of those who refused to fight it.
The second area for action is the eradication of poverty. In the era of globalization, the persistence of mass poverty is outrageous and an aberration. Let us apply the decisions of Doha and Monterrey. Let us increase development assistance to reach the target of 0.7% of GDP in ten years. Let us find new sources of financing. For example, by means of a solidarity levy on the wealth created by globalization.
The third area is diversity. Biological diversity and cultural diversity, both humanity's common heritage, are threatened. The answer is to assert the right to have diversity and adopt legal commitments on ethics.
The fourth area concerns the production and consumption models. We need to work with the business world to develop systems that are sparing of natural resources and produce little waste and pollution. The invention of sustainable development is a fundamental advance and we should put scientific and technological progress to work for it, respecting the precautionary principle. France will propose to its G8 partners at the Evian Summit next June that they adopt an initiative to step up scientific and technological research to further sustainable development.
The fifth area is global governance to humanise and control globalization. It is time to acknowledge that there are global public goods that we should manage together. It is time to assert and insist upon the greater interest of humanity over and above that of each country.
To ensure the cohesion of international action, we need, as I said in Monterrey, an Economic and Social Security Council.
To better manage the environment and ensure compliance with the Rio principles, we need a World Environmental Organization.
To check that Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Action Plan are applied, France proposes that the Commission on Sustainable Development be vested with the task of assessment by peers. France is willing to be the first to be assessed in this way.
Compared with the history of life on earth, the history of humankind has barely started. And yet it is already, by man's own doing, threatening nature and hence endangering itself. Can humanity, at the forefront of evolution, become an enemy of life itself?
Man first appeared in Africa several million years ago. Fragile and unarmed, he used his intelligence to spread over the entire planet and impose his law on it. The time has come for humankind, in all its cultures and civilizations, to build a new relationship with nature, a relationship of respect and harmony, and hence to learn to control its power and appetite.
Today, in Johannesburg, humanity has a rendezvous with destiny. What better place than South Africa, a country which stands as a symbol in its triumphant struggle against apartheid, to take this new step forward in the human epic!