Human beings entitled to healthy lives in harmony with nature

 

The following are extracts from the "Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development" adopted by world leaders at the Earth Summit yesterday.

We, the Heads of State and Government assembled at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 2 to 4 September 2002, declare our commitment to build a human and caring global society in pursuit of the goal of human dignity for all ...

If we do nothing, we risk the entrenchment of a global form of 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, seeing their representatives as nothing more than sounding brass or tinkling cymbals ...

Ten years ago at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, held in Rio de Janeiro, we agreed that the protection of the environment and social and economic development are the three inseparable pillars of sustainable development ... We acknowledge that the goals we set ourselves at the Rio Earth Summit have not been met ...

The most pressing challenges of our time remain poverty, underdevelopment, environmental degradation, and social and economic inequalities within and among countries ... the ever-increasing gap between the developed and developing worlds poses a major threat to global prosperity, security and stability ...

We recognise that democracy, rule of law, respect for human rights and freedoms, and the achievement of peace and security are essential for the full achievement of sustainable development.

Together, these objectives are indivisible and mutually reinforcing ...

Water is essential for life ... Adequate supplies of water and sanitation, given rapid rates of urbanisation and the needs of the rural poor, are therefore central to the achievement of the objective of sustainable development ...

Human beings are entitled to healthy and productive lives in harmony with nature ...

As a result of poverty, underdevelopment, inadequate shelter, adverse environmental conditions, the unavailability of affordable medicines and vaccines and weak health infrastructure, billions of people continue to be exposed to avoidable illnesses and suffer early death particularly from communicable diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and a variety of childhood illnesses ...

We accept that various energy uses lead to such environmental consequences as desertification, acidification, air pollution and climate change. We therefore commit ourselves to implementing all existing international agreements relating to these matters, as well as to continuing the search for a global long-term commitment to address climate change ...

We agree to protect and restore the integrity of our planet's ecological system, with special emphasis on preserving biological diversity and the natural processes that sustain all life on Earth, as well as addressing the process of desertification ...