Updated 10 June, 2003

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World Summit on Sustainable Development


Over the last decade, there has been progress on putting the principles of sustainable development into action, but many fundamental challenges remain. The impacts of globalisation - increasingly the central context for international decision-making - were not addressed at all in Rio. For both rich and poor countries, much more is needed to place sustainable development as a central policy objective at every level, and to implement the plans agreed previously. Poor countries require access to resources, technology, markets to develop and good governance systems. Rich countries will need to show real commitment to changing unsustainable patterns of consumption and production and moving towards far greater efficiency in resource use. Civil society and private sector action is central to these needs, and means to integrate it, into what was once a government-heavy agenda, are sorely needed.

This is a challenge for society as a whole, but governments must create the climate in which real change is possible. The UN is convening a World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg, South Africa, September 2002. The Johannesburg Summit offers a major opportunity to develop understanding of these issues, and have a mature debate on practical ways to achieve progress.

For more information on WSSD, go to the IIED web site

The Future is Now

In preparation for the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg in September 2002, IIED is launching a new series, The Future is Now, to learn from the past and to inform the future. The series will be comprised of four issues. We hope it will give the reader an overview of what was accomplished at Rio and the challenges that remain and must be tackled at Johannesburg.


Download volume 1 (full document ) 1,110 KB (large file)

View the contents

WSSD Briefing Papers

A set of WSSD Briefing Papers are published by IIED in collaboration with the Regional and International Networking Group (RING).

For more information as well as a full set of Briefing Papers, go to the IIED web site

Download selected briefing papers:

Left-click on the icon to open the PDF file,
Right-click to download the file

National Strategies for Sustainable Development. Strategies For Sustainable Development:
Meeting The Challenge

46 KB

Drylands management

41 KB

Sustainability and trade

41 KB

Poverty and environment

40 KB
Ecological debt 43 KB
Food and Agriculture - the impact of
41 KB

Local Agenda 21s

44 KB


44 KB

Mining and Sustainable Development

40 KB

Health and Sustainable Development

44 KB


For more information on the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, including links to other sites, click here.

Sommet Mondial sur le Développement Durable

For a French Language web site on the 2002 Johannesburg Summit go to: http://www.sommetjohannesburg.org/


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