Vision Statement for the World Summit on Sustainable Development

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Vision Statement for the World Summit on Sustainable Development

Vision statement

By: Paula J. Dobriansky

Date: May 23, 2002

Source: U.S. Department of State, Office of the Spokesman. "Vision Statement for the World Summit on Sustainable Development." May 23, 2002. 〈〉 (accessed February 19, 2006).

About the Author: As the Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs, Paula J. Dobriansky is in charge of coordinating the United States's foreign relations in regard to a number of issues, including: democracy, human rights, and labor on a global level; the environment, oceans, and science; the control of narcotics and law enforcement; population, refugees, migration to the United States; and women's issues.


The purpose of the U.S. Department of State is to attempt to provide the citizens of the United States, and the world at large, with a safer, more democratic environment, and with an atmosphere that encourages prosperity through globalization, diplomacy, and national defense policies. As a part of an overall initiative, their goal is to help ensure that basic human needs are met around the world, including sufficient food, clean water for drinking and hygiene, the availability of energy, a safe and maintainable living environment, and health services. This includes the department's participation in global summits designed to provide a forum for representatives from various nations to discuss the state of the world and ways in which they can cooperate to improve conditions in less fortunate or less developed regions. The Vision Statement for the World Summit on Sustainable Development was released as a precursor to the World Summit held in Johannesburg, South Africa, from August 26 to September 4, 2002, as an outline of U.S. expectations for the event.


Media Note

Office of the Spokesman

Washington, DC

May 23, 2002


In a speech today, Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky identified U.S. objectives for the World Summit on Sustainable Development. The United States intends to work in partnership with governments, the private sector and NGOs to achieve sustainable development initiatives to reduce the number of people living without safe drinking water; enhance access to clean energy, reduce hunger and increase agricultural productivity; ensure universal access to basic education; stem AIDS and reduce TB and malaria; and manage and conserve forests and oceans.

As the United States Delegation heads to the preparatory conference in Indonesia, it offers to the international community the U.S. vision for how we can work together to build prosperity. Following is the text released today by Under Secretary Dobriansky that sets out that vision.

Vision Statement
       World Summit on Sustainable Development
          Working Together to Build Properity

We believe sustainable development begins at home and is supported by effective domestic policies, and international partnerships. Self-governing people prepared to participate in an open world marketplace are the very foundation of sustainable development. President Bush has emphasized that the hopes of all people, no matter where they live, lie in greater political and economic freedom, the rule of law, and good governance. These fundamental principles will generate and harness the human and financial resources needed to promote economic growth, a vibrant civil society, and environmental protection. Democracy and respect for human rights empower people to take charge of their own destinies. We pledge strong support for efforts to promote peace, security, and stability, and to enhance democracy, respect for human rights, open and transparent governance, and the rule of law.

We endorse and continue to support national efforts to improve transparency and domestic governance, and to fight against corruption because we share, together with our partners, a strong commitment to the reality that only open, law-based societies that foster private investment, enterprise and entrepreneurship can unleash our human potential to build lasting and widely-shared prosperity. We also believe investment in basic health, education, and the environment is vital to advance social development and give every person, especially children, a chance at sharing in the benefits of economic growth.

We recognize poverty remains a global problem of huge proportions that demands our action. Following the successful outcomes of the Doha Trade Ministerial, the Monterrey Conference on Financing for Development and the World Food Summit, the World Summit on Sustainable Development can take practical measures to enhance human productivity, reduce poverty and foster economic growth and opportunity together with environmental quality. We can strive together for freer and more open societies, thriving economies, healthy environments, and help developing countries integrate fully into the global economy to reap the benefits from international trade, investment, and cooperative partnerships.

We will work effectively to address the challenges of sustainable development in partnership with governments, the private sector, NGOs, and other elements of civil society. We invite developed and developing nations alike to join us to:

  • Open our economies and societies to growth;
  • Provide freedom, security, and hope for present and future generations;
  • Provide all our people with the opportunity for healthy and productive lives;
  • Serve as good stewards of our natural resources and our environment.

To this end, we will work to advance through concrete actions the following goals:

  • Reduce the number of people living without safe drinking water and provide integrated, watershed approaches to manage water and land resources;
  • Enhance access to and adoption, where appropriate, of clean energy, including renewables, from village to metropolis;
  • Stem the global pandemic of AIDS, and drastically reduce tuberculosis and malaria;
  • Ensure universal access to basic education, and eliminate gender disparities;
  • Reduce hunger and increase sustainable agricultural productivity in the developing world without further degradation of forests and fragile lands; and
  • Manage and conserve our forests and the vital resources of our oceans.

In partnership, we will work to unite governments, the private sector and civil society to strengthen democratic institutions of governance, open markets, and to mobilize and use all development resources more effectively. These resources include domestic savings, trade and investment, traditional aid and private philanthropy, capacity building programs, and efforts to promote the spread of environmentally sensitive industrial, agricultural, educational and scientific technologies. Our shared commitment will be to provide all people with the opportunities to lead healthy, productive, and fulfilling lives.


Prior to the start of the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002, the United States Department of State outlined their agenda for the meeting, which was designed to promote self-sufficiency and a rise from poverty in underdeveloped nations, while preserving natural resources that have been steadily depleted due to pollution and industry, including the Earth's forests, bodies of water, and atmosphere. The meeting was intended to be a follow up to the Earth Summit that was held in Brazil in 1992, where a plan had been initiated to improve the quality of life on a global scale, and to further the participating governments' unified efforts to help promote prosperity in disadvantaged parts of the world. This global development is considered sustainable only if it meets the needs of the current population without jeopardizing the needs of future generations. Resources must not be used to the point of extinction, and progress must not endanger the future of the planet and its inhabitants. One of the more prosperous nations involved in the Summit, the United States provided a strong framework of ideas to be included during the meetings and panels that took place over the ten days in Johannesburg.

As outlined by Dobriansky, the focus of the Summit was divided into a number of areas, including the need for sufficient food, drinkable water, reliable sources of energy, medical care, basic education, equal treatment regardless of gender, and the preservation of the world's natural resources. The plan included the stance that people must be able to work toward self-improvement in order to best benefit from assistance from outside sources. From there, the governments participating in the Summit would be able to move forward to encourage open societies and increased economic growth by opening themselves to free trade and providing educational programs designed to foster democratic behavior and improved understanding of the global economy. These specific goals contributed to the formation of the Type 2 partnership initiatives at the Summit, which consisted of organization between governments, non-governmental organizations, and businesses to achieve specific, quantitative improvements regarding certain of these pre-determined needs. These initiatives were also intended to encourage the success of the earlier Type 1 initiatives, which were based on government-negotiated goals. Emphasis was placed on making significant progress toward the elimination of poverty by 2015, with attention paid to availability of food and clean water, sanitation, and education regarding proper hygiene, and the aim to reduce the number of people living without these basic human conditions by half.

Healthcare and the need to concentrate on slowing or eliminating the spread of serious disease through impoverished parts of the world received equally high emphasis. In addition to the global spread of AIDS, the prevalence of tuberculosis in less developed nations caused concern, and both underlined the need not only for medical supplies and treatment, but education regarding the transmission of these illnesses that have either been contained or slowed in more prosperous countries. The South Pacific region was targeted as particularly in need of sufficient health care in the years immediately following the Summit.

In an effort to not only improve the lives of the current global population but to ensure that the planet's resources will continue to sustain future generations, Under Secretary Dobriansky concluded her agenda for the Summit by mentioning the need to preserve both the forests and the oceans as a vital part of the planet's natural balance. She called for the cooperation of governments around the globe in using those resources more wisely and with an eye toward preservation. This translated into the ongoing agreement at the Summit that governments needed to work together in order to prevent illegal logging and the destruction of the forests, as well as the allocation of funding to help promote the diversity of the ecosystems around the world. The depletion of the planet's resources and the subsequent alteration of the atmosphere and weather patterns served as a reminder that, without the maintenance of the planet, all other initiatives to improve the quality of life among the population would prove pointless.


Web sites

Earth Summit 〈〉 (accessed February 23, 2006).

"Johannesburg Summit 2002" Johannesburg, 2002. 〈〉 (accessed February 23, 2006).

"World Summit on Sustainable Development.", 2002. 〈〉 (accessed February 23, 2006).

U.S. Department of State. 〈〉 (accessed February 19, 2006).

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Vision Statement for the World Summit on Sustainable Development

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