At the WSSD, 10 years on from the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development it was clear that not changed very much. Over 20 thousand people attended the conference with the hope that finally an implementation framework could be put together to achieve the commitments made 10 years earlier. But again it seems the conference did not deliver. Much more could have been done.
If I could sum up the three areas where least progress was made it would be these:
- Climate change and the Kyoto Protocol was discussed at the WSSD with the key sticking point being the fact that the USA had not ratified the treaty. A wide group of countries including Costa Rica, Cuba, Iceland, the EU, Japan, Mexico, Argentina and Uganda – all who had ratified the protocol argued that the position of the US was unacceptable.
- The question of specific targets on renewable energy use and generation were a key point of discussion. This time opposition not only came from the US but also from Canada and Australia. Unfortunately once more the result was a very watered down implementation framework.
- Although there were some moves towards specific poverty eradication targets coming out of WSSD, civil society groups were left with the feeling that coordinated action steps, as well as a move to create a central fund to tackle poverty, were still lacking. This despite the fact that poverty eradication was defined at the conference as the “greatest global challenge”