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Joahannesburg Summit 2002
Basic Information


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Q. What is the Johannesburg Summit?

The Johannesburg Summit - the World Summit on Sustainable Development - will be one of the largest and most important international meetings ever held. It will focus on the interface between human society and the environment. This United Nations event will bring together thousands of participants - including Heads of State and Government, other government delegates, business leaders and representatives of civil society - to promote concrete commitments to implement sustainable development.

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Q. When and where will the Summit be held?

The Summit will take place from 26 August to 4 September at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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Q. Who will be attending the Summit?

The Summit will be attended by Heads of State and Government, other government delegates and representatives from the Major Groups identified in Agenda 21 (the action plan agreed at the Rio Earth Summit): women, local authorities, farmers, the science and technology community, business, youth, workers and indigenous people and NGOs.

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Q. How many people are expected to attend?

It is not yet known how many people will attend the actual Summit. However, for logistical purposes, the South African hosts have estimated that approximately 60,000 people might be in Johannesburg at the time of the Summit, including the official delegates to the Summit itself and a significant number of additional people attending events associated with the Summit, such as the civil society Global Forum and the Ubuntu village and exhibition. There is also expected to be a significant media presence.

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Q. I am interested in attending the Summit. How can I become involved?

Participation in the official Summit is limited to government delegates and representatives of accredited major group organisations. Registration information for major group representatives can be found by clicking here.

Accredited members of the press can also attend to cover the event. For more information, click here.

If you do not belong to one of these organisations, you cannot attend the Summit itself - but you might like to consider becoming involved in one of the activities associated with the Summit. These are being co-ordinated by the Johannesburg World Summit Company, JOWSCO, which is managing the logistical aspects of the Summit and associated events on behalf of the host South African government. Visit the JOWSCO website for more information: www.joburgsummit2002.com

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Q. What is the outcome of the Summit likely to be?

There are expected to be three main outcomes from the Summit:
  • A political declaration, where Heads of State and Government commit to taking the action needed to make sustainable development a reality
  • A plan of implementation, negotiated by governments, which sets out in more detail the action that needs to be taken in specific areas
  • Commitments by governments and all other stakeholders to a broad range of partnership activities that will implement sustainable development at the national, regional and international level
The format of these outcomes was negotiated and determined at the preparatory committee meetings for the summit.

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Q. How will the Summit make sure that governments stick to their commitments?

It is expected that the outcomes of the Summit will include specific time-bound criteria and reporting measures to ensure that the actions that governments promise are implemented.

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Q. Who is responsible for organising the Summit?

The World Summit on Sustainable Development is a United Nations Conference. Within the UN, the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) has acted as the Preparatory Committee for the Summit - the central organising body - and is responsible for all negotiations leading up to Johannesburg. The CSD had four preparatory meetings for the Summit during 2001-2002, known as PrepComs.

The preparatory committee was headed by a Bureau which consists of two representatives from each region of the world (10 members in total). The Chairman of the Bureau is Dr. Emil Salim from Indonesia. For full list of Bureau members, click here.

Overall responsibility for the Summit within the United Nations lies with Mr. Nitin Desai who was appointed Secretary-General for the Johannesburg Summit by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Mr. Desai is also the UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs.

In addition to the political organisation of the Summit set out above, there are a number of logistical organisational matters (such as accommodation and local transport) that are being handled by the South African Government as the host country. The Johannesburg World Summit Company (JOWSCO) has been established by the South African government to manage these logistical preparations. Visit the JOWSCO website for more information on South Africa's logistical preparations for the Summit.

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Q. Who provides the overall political leadership for the Summit?

The Preparatory Committee, headed by the Bureau, has made all decisions relating to the substantive and organisational matters relating to the Summit.

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Q. How are logistical preparations for the Summit being handled?

Logistical preparations for the Summit within South Africa such as accommodation and local transport are being managed by the Johannesburg World Summit Company (JOWSCO), on behalf of the Government of South Africa. For more information, visit JOWSCO's website.

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Q. What will make the Johannesburg Summit different from other UN conferences?

The Summit will build on the results of many previous conferences, but the difference in Johannesburg will be the emphasis on action and partnership initiatives that can, for example, bring water and energy to those who lack it, conserve biodiversity, alleviate poverty and protect the environment, in order to build a more secure future.

The direct involvement of representatives from civil society and business is also a departure from standard UN conferences which focus on decisions made by governments alone.

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24 August 2006