January 28, 2003
The Road from Johannesburg: Understanding Outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development
Ten years after the landmark United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, world leaders and sustainability experts and advocates gathered in Johannesburg, South Africa for the World Summit on Sustainable Development. Three simultaneous meetings of government officials, business representatives, and citizen groups attracted close to 65,000 participants. What were the outcomes of the Summit? How was the process different than Rio? Will there be another Summit?
On January 28, 2003, the Environmental Law Institute co-sponsored a seminar hosted by the Georgetown International Environmental Law Review which explored the outcome of this historic world gathering. Following the opening address, given by Mr. Nitin Desai, Secretary-General of the World Summit on Sustainable Development and Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs at the United Nations, was a discussion and Q&A period with a panel of experts. This panel included, Daniel Magraw (Center for International Environmental Law), John Pendergrass (ELI), Jeffrey Barber (Integrative Strategies Forum), Hilary French (Worldwatch Institute) and Brett Pomainville (Department of State). Issues that were considered include the legitimacy of the assumption that no “new law” was to be created at the Summit, the potential of privatization of international environmental law and the unanswered questions surrounding the 300 Type II Partnerships launched at the Summit.