The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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We, heads of state and government, assembled at the world summit on sustainable development in Johannesburg, South Africa from 2-4 September 2002, declare our commitment to build a humane and caring global society in pursuit of the goal of human dignity for all.

We reaffirm our commitment to the achievement of sustainable development.

As representatives of the world’s peoples, we assume a joint responsibility to advance and strengthen the three inseparable pillars of the protection of the environment, social, and economic development at the local, national, regional and global levels.

From the African continent,...we declare our responsibility to one another, to the greater community of life, and to future generations.

Meeting in the great African city of Johannesburg, which bears testimony to how industrial activity can change the environment in a matter of decades, we recall the great social and economic divides we have seen.

This is a mirror of our global existence. If we do nothing, we risk the entrenchment of a form of global apartheid. Unless we act in a manner that fundamentally changes their lives, the poor of the world may lose confidence in the democratic systems to which we are committed...

We pledge to implement a global sustainable development programme that gives absolute priority to bridging the deep fault lines that divide human society into the rich and the poor.

Ten years ago at the Rio earth summit, we agreed that the protection of the environment, social and economic development, are the three inseparable pillars of sustainable development. To achieve such development, we adopted the global programme, Agenda 21.

Between Rio and Johannesburg the world’s nations met in several major conferences under the auspices of the United Nations. The outcomes of these conferences have provided important inputs into the Johannesburg summit on sustainable development.

Since the Rio earth summit, we have introduced new conventions and protocols to implement Agenda 21.

We agree that no individual and no nation should be denied the opportunity to benefit from development.

We also commit ourselves to achieve the internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration and related international agreements concluded at major UN conferences held since 1992. We note the relevance of the challenges posed in “The Earth Charter”.

We collectively commit ourselves to address the urgent challenges of sustainable development agreed here in Johannesburg.

The most pressing challenges of our time remain poverty, underdevelopment, environmental degradation and social and economic inequalities within and among countries.

We recognize that poverty eradication, changing unsustainable patterns of production and consumption, and protecting and managing the natural resource base for the sustenance of life, social and economic development are overarching objectives of, and essential requirements for, sustainable development.

The ever-increasing gap between the developed and developing worlds poses a major threat to global prosperity, security and stability.

We share a collective sense that we need to change how we govern ourselves as humans on this planet.

We acknowledge that the goals we set ourselves at the Rio earth summit have not been met.

We are also deeply concerned that progress towards achieving sustainable development has been slower than anticipated.

As we collectively face the challenges of the new century, the Johannesburg summit has provided a platform both to review our progress and shift our focus toward implementation.

The Johannesburg commitment is the product of distinct and comprehensive processes that comprised inter-governmental negotiations, multi-stakeholder dialogue and partnership announcements. The Johannesburg summit has produced the coherent and integrated Johannesburg commitment on sustainable development.

In adopting the Johannesburg commitment, we reaffirm our commitment to uphold the Rio principles and fully implement Agenda 21, all of which constitute a central part of our global agreement.

We recognize that democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights and freedoms, and achievement of peace and security are essential for the full achievement of sustainable development. Together, these objectives are indivisible and mutually reinforcing.

The Johannesburg commitment has reaffirmed that despite our diversity, a constructive partnership for change is possible.

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