Sumario: April 18, 2002: Speech by Poul Nielson, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid. "World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg" (WSSD) at the closing session of « Green Week » in Brussels
The recent Conferences in Doha and in Monterrey have cleared some of the issues, that could have been a stumbling block on the road to a successful Summit in Johannesburg, but many issues will remain on the table.
However, in order to turn Johannesburg into a success, perceptions and words will not be enough. Leadership will also be needed in terms of action. The Commission has expressed this clearly in its communication on the external dimension of sustainable development adopted in February, which complements the internal strategy adopted last year. The EU must lead by example, in key interrelated areas. I would like to stress the points that flow most prominently from this document:
We need to give high priority to fighting poverty. The Conference in Monterrey has prepared the way in that respect. The "Monterrey Consensus", as well as the commitments made by countries outside of that document, has put in place the elements of the partnership that Johannesburg has to develop and strengthen. The commitments contained in this document can also, overall, be considered in accordance with the EU's concept of a global partnership, encompassing the results of global meetings on sustainable development from Doha, to Monterrey, to Rome and finally to Johannesburg.
With respect to the mobilization of public financial resources, the EU has already committed itself at Barcelona to an increase of ODA from the current average of 0.33% GNP/ODA to the 0.39% GNP/ODA between now and 2006. This will translate into an extra € 8 billion per year by the year 2006 for development aid focusing on poverty reduction and sustainable development.
There are however some points on which Monterrey falls short of expectations. Let me point out a few major topics where action and initiative from the EU is needed and on which we will continue to work until and in Johannesburg to ensure an adequate solution: