Declaration on Sustainable Development
From our Origins
to the Future
We, the representatives of the peoples of
the world, assembled at the World Summit on
Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South
Africa from 2-4 September 2002, reaffirm our
commitment to sustainable development.
We commit ourselves to build a humane, equitable
and caring global society cognizant of the
need for human dignity for all.
At the beginning of this Summit, the children
of the world spoke to us in a simple yet clear
voice that the future belongs to them, and
accordingly challenged all of us to ensure
that through our actions they will inherit
a world free of the indignity and indecency
occasioned by poverty, environmental degradation
and patterns of unsustainable development.
As part of our response to these children,
who represent our collective future, all of
us, coming from every corner of the world,
informed by different life experiences, are
united and moved by a deeply-felt sense that
we urgently need to create a new and brighter
world of hope.
Accordingly, we assume a collective responsibility
to advance and strengthen the interdependent
and mutually reinforcing pillars of sustainable
development economic development, social
development and environmental protection
at local, national, regional and global levels.
6. From this Continent, the Cradle of Humanity
we declare, through the Plan of Implementation
and this Declaration, our responsibility to
one another, to the greater community of life
and to our children.
Recognizing that humankind is at a crossroad,
we have united in a common resolve to make
a determined effort to respond positively
to the need to produce a practical and visible
plan that should bring about poverty eradication
and human development.
Stockholm to Rio de Janeiro to Johannesburg
Thirty years ago, in Stockholm, we agreed
on the urgent need to respond to the problem
of environmental deterioration. Ten years
ago, at the United Nations Conference on Environment
and Development, held in Rio de Janeiro, we
agreed that the protection of the environment,
and social and economic development are fundamental
to sustainable development, based on the Rio
Principles. To achieve such development, we
adopted the global programme, Agenda 21, and
the Rio Declaration, to which we reaffirm
our commitment. The Rio Summit was a significant
milestone that set a new agenda for sustainable
Between Rio and Johannesburg the worlds
nations met in several major conferences under
the guidance of the United Nations, including
the Monterrey Conference on Finance for Development,
as well as the Doha Ministerial Conference.
These conferences defined for the world a
comprehensive vision for the future of humanity.
At the Johannesburg Summit we achieved much
in bringing together a rich tapestry of peoples
and views in a constructive search for a common
path, towards a world that respects and implements
the vision of sustainable development. Johannesburg
also confirmed that significant progress has
been made towards achieving a global consensus
and partnership amongst all the people of
Challenges we Face
We recognize that poverty eradication, changing
consumption and production patterns, and protecting
and managing the natural resource base for
economic and social development are overarching
objectives of, and essential requirements
for sustainable development.
The deep fault line that divides human society
between the rich and the poor and the ever-increasing
gap between the developed and developing worlds
pose a major threat to global prosperity,
security and stability.
The global environment continues to suffer.
Loss of biodiversity continues, fish stocks
continue to be depleted, desertification claims
more and more fertile land, the adverse effects
of climate change are already evident, natural
disasters are more frequent and more devastating
and developing countries more vulnerable,
and air, water and marine pollution continue
to rob millions of a decent life.
Globalization has added a new dimension to
these challenges. The rapid integration of
markets, mobility of capital and significant
increases in investment flows around the world
have opened new challenges and opportunities
for the pursuit of sustainable development.
But the benefits and costs of globalization
are unevenly distributed, with developing
countries facing special difficulties in meeting
We risk the entrenchment of these global disparities
and unless we act in a manner that fundamentally
changes their lives, the poor of the world
may lose confidence in their representatives
and the democratic systems to which we remain
committed, seeing their representatives as
nothing more than sounding brass or tinkling
Commitment to Sustainable Development
16. We are determined to ensure that our rich
diversity, which is our collective strength,
will be used for constructive partnership
for change and for the achievement of the
common goal of sustainable development.
17. Recognizing the importance of building
human solidarity, we urge the promotion of
dialogue and cooperation among the worlds
civilizations and peoples, irrespective of
race, disabilities, religion, language, culture
We welcome the Johannesburg Summit focus on
the indivisibility of human dignity and are
resolved through decisions on targets, timetables
and partnerships to speedily increase access
to basic requirements such as clean water,
sanitation, adequate shelter, energy, health
care, food security and the protection of
bio-diversity. At the same time, we will work
together to assist one another to have access
to financial resources, benefit from the opening
of markets, ensure capacity building, use
modern technology to bring about development,
and make sure that there is technology transfer,
human resource development, education and
training to banish forever underdevelopment.
We reaffirm our pledge to place particular
focus on, and give priority attention to,
the fight against the worldwide conditions
that pose severe threats to the sustainable
development of our people. Among these conditions
are: chronic hunger; malnutrition; foreign
occupation; armed conflicts; illicit drug
problems; organized crime; corruption; natural
disasters; illicit arms trafficking; trafficking
in persons; terrorism; intolerance and incitement
to racial, ethnic, religious and other hatreds;
xenophobia; and endemic, communicable and
chronic diseases, in particular HIV/AIDS,
malaria and tuberculosis.
We are committed to ensure that womens
empowerment and emancipation, and gender equality
are integrated in all activities encompassed
within Agenda 21, the Millennium Development
Goals and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.
We recognize the reality that global society
has the means and is endowed with the resources
to address the challenges of poverty eradication
and sustainable development confronting all
humanity. Together we will take extra steps
to ensure that these available resources are
used to the benefit of humanity.
22. In this regard, to contribute to the achievement
of our development goals and targets, we urge
developed countries that have not done so
to make concrete efforts towards the internationally
agreed levels of Official Development Assistance.
We welcome and support the emergence of stronger
regional groupings and alliances, such as
the New Partnership for Africas Development
(NEPAD), to promote regional cooperation,
improved international co-operation and promote
We shall continue to pay special attention
to the developmental needs of Small Island
Developing States and the Least Developed
We reaffirm the vital role of the indigenous
peoples in sustainable development.
We recognize sustainable development requires
a long-term perspective and broad-based participation
in policy formulation, decision-making and
implementation at all levels. As social partners
we will continue to work for stable partnerships
with all major groups respecting the independent,
important roles of each of these.
We agree that in pursuit of their legitimate
activities the private sector, both large
and small companies, have a duty to contribute
to the evolution of equitable and sustainable
communities and societies.
We also agree to provide assistance to increase
income generating employment opportunities,
taking into account the International Labour
Organization (ILO) Declaration of Fundamental
Principles and Rights at Work.
29. We agree that there is a need for private
sector corporations to enforce corporate accountability.
This should take place within a transparent
and stable regulatory environment.
We undertake to strengthen and improve governance
at all levels, for the effective implementation
of Agenda 21, the Millennium Development Goals
and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.
is the Future
31. To achieve our goals of sustainable development,
we need more effective, democratic and accountable
international and multilateral institutions.
We reaffirm our commitment to the principles
and purposes of the UN Charter and international
law as well as the strengthening of multi-lateralism.
We support the leadership role of the United
Nations as the most universal and representative
organization in the world, which is best placed
to promote sustainable development.
33. We further commit ourselves to monitor
progress at regular intervals towards the
achievement of our sustainable development
goals and objectives.
34. We are in agreement that this must be
an inclusive process, involving all the major
groups and governments that participated in
the historic Johannesburg Summit.
35. We commit ourselves to act together, united
by a common determination to save our planet,
promote human development and achieve universal
prosperity and peace.
36. We commit ourselves to the Johannesburg
Plan of Implementation and to expedite the
achievement of the time-bound, socio-economic
and environmental targets contained therein.
From the African continent, the Cradle of
Humankind, we solemnly pledge to the peoples
of the world, and the generations that will
surely inherit this earth, that we are determined
to ensure that our collective hope for sustainable
development is realized.
express our deepest gratitude to the people
and the Government of South Africa for their
generous hospitality and excellent arrangements
made for the World Summit on Sustainable Development.