Concrete agenda needed for sustainable development summit: UN official

Concrete agenda needed for sustainable development summit: UN official

An upcoming international conference on sustainable development would lack credibility if it did not produce real and practical steps for maintaining such economic growth, a senior United Nations official said today.

Speaking to the General Assembly's Economic and Financial Committee, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Nitin Desai said the main challenge before Member States was to crystallize the broad objectives of sustainable development into a concrete agenda for the World Summit for Sustainable Development, slated for 2 to 11 September 2002 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

In that regard, there was a need to implement the "three Ps" leading up to the Summit - political will, practical steps and partnership, said Mr. Desai, who will also serve as Secretary-General of the conference.

Mr. Desai remarks came at the outset of the Committee's general discussion on preparations for the Johannesburg Summit, which is a 10-year follow-up to the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). The conference is intended to assess the implementation of "Agenda 21," which was adopted by UNCED as a blueprint for protecting the environment while promoting economic and social development.

As part of the events in the lead-up to the Johannesburg conference, a high-level advisory panel for the Summit - appointed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan last week - held its first meeting today. The panel of distinguished experts from various fields was constituted to discuss new approaches for achieving sustainable development. Besides providing advice to the Secretary-General, the members of the Panel will also seek to raise awareness of sustainable development issues and the goals of the Summit within their own individual spheres of influence and expertise.