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Wednesday, 4 September, 2002, 09:45 GMT 10:45 UK
Summit conclusions at a glance
Oil refinery
The Kyoto treaty on global warming has been revived
As the World Summit on Sustainable Development draws to a close, BBC News Online looks at what has been achieved.

Water and sanitation:
Governments agreed to halve the number of people lacking clean drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015.

The deal was welcomed by development charities as an important step towards preventing millions of deaths from preventable diseases.

Around the world, about 1.1 billion people lack access to adequate drinking water, according to the United Nations.

A woman collects water at a Johannesburg settlement
Clean water will save millions of lives

It is estimated that half the people in 25 countries in sub-Saharan Africa will not have access to drinkable water by 2025.

Bringing proper sanitation would significantly reduce diseases such as cholera.


Governments agreed to take action to help the poor gain access to affordable energy but failed to agree on specific targets to boost the share of global energy produced from renewable "green" sources such as solar or wind power.

The European Union wanted targets but the United States and some other oil-producing countries opposed them.

A woman cooks using a solar oven
Some want 10% of energy to come from renewable sources such as the sun
The summit's action plan calls on countries to "substantially increase" the global share of renewable energy.

Environmental groups accused the EU of capitulating to American demands. A spokesman for Greenpeace said the agreement was "worse than we could have imagined".

The summit also saw wrangling over the meaning of the term "renewable", with some countries arguing that nuclear power and lucrative hydro-electric schemes should be included under this banner.

Several smaller proposals on energy were agreed:

  • Promotion of energy-efficient technologies

  • Removal of lead from petrol

  • Reduction in the practice of flaring and venting of gas during crude oil production

  • Improving the competitiveness of clean energy sources by creating a level playing field in the market.

    Global warming:
    The Kyoto treaty on global warming got a new lease of life at the summit when Russia announced that it would ratify the treaty.

    Russia's backing means that enough big producers of greenhouse gases have signed up to bring the treaty into effect.

    The treaty received a massive blow when the US said it would not ratify it.

    Natural resources and biodiversity:
    Governments agreed to cut significantly by 2010 the rate at which rare animals and plants are becoming extinct.

    Fred O'Regan bottle-feeds a four-month-old White Rhinoceros
    Environmentalist fear a retreat from promises to protect species

    The plan does not set specific targets and the wording does not inhibit countries from pursuing development projects.

    The Worldwide Fund for Nature said the plan "will not provide significant movement forwards... in some cases it actually constitutes a step backwards".

    Negotiators ironed out a row over the wording of a key paragraph which gave precedence to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) over environmental regulations.

    The text was revised to say that nations will "continue to enhance the mutual supportiveness of trade, environment and development," omitting a clause which added "while ensuring WTO consistency".

    It also states the willingness of rich countries to reach an agreement by 1 January 2005 within the WTO for "substantial improvements in market access" for food exports from developing countries.

    Human rights and governance:
    The summit plan emphasises the need to fight corruption and promote democracy and the rule of law. But it does not make aid conditional on good governance.

    The plan recognises that access to healthcare should be consistent with basic human rights and "cultural and religious values" - a point that had been hotly debated.

    The wording was aimed at fighting practices such as female circumcision or genital mutilation, which takes place largely in African countries.

    Activists said the US, the Vatican and some developing countries had tried to oppose it - if enforced, it would allow women to opt for abortions in countries where they are outlawed.

  • Key stories



    See also:

    28 Aug 02 | Africa
    28 Aug 02 | Africa
    29 Aug 02 | Business
    28 Aug 02 | Africa
    27 Aug 02 | Africa
    12 Aug 02 | Americas
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