Finance issues key to sustainability summit success

24 July 2002

Preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) drew to a close in Bali, Indonesia, amidst claims from NGOs that powerful countries were blocking progress and promoting a corporate trade agenda. The inability to reach a meaningful conclusion at this preparatory conference has cast doubt over what will be achieved at the Johannesburg Summit that will begin on 26 August.

A US government-led negotiating block was much-criticised for its resistance to text that would commit it to specific actions, targets, timetables, or funding and to remove references to instruments agreed at the Rio summit in 1992.

As host, Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri expressed concern over the current rate of exploitation of natural resources, adding that the answer lay in the richer countries providing “funding resources to secure [the] plans and development programs” of developing countries since “we witness how these nations still depend much on their struggle to build the future on natural resources”. But Northern governments were reluctant to address these questions directly, preferring to stick to the language and commitments on trade and finance agreed at the Doha and Monterrey summits.

Third World Network issued a statement complaining that “for most of the preparatory process, there has been a marked absence of groups who work on issues relating to debt, trade and finance and groups monitoring the international financial institutions”. They commented that “it is critical that trade and finance groups begin monitoring the WSSD process and advocate for better language on trade and finance issues to be inserted into the Draft Plan of Action”.

Details of 11 Bali issues

TWN statement

TWN sign-on campaign against corporate takeover of WSSD

The Bretton Woods Project is collaborating with the Heinrich Boell Foundation on a report responding to the World Bank’s World Development Report. To appear in late August at www.worldsummit2002.org

Overview of Bali meetings

Briefing for Earth Summit 2002, Edited by Felix Dodds

Official WSSD website