South Africa Assesses World Summit Outcomes, One Year Later

The first World Summit on Sustainable Development was held one year ago this week in Johannesburg, South Africa. Now, on the anniversary of that event, the South African government is assessing how much progress has been made in the interim. With respect to one of the conference’s goals — halving the number of people without potable water by 2015 — South Africa is well on its way, with 100 percent of people expected to have clean water by 2008. Unfortunately, other goals articulated at the conference are not being met, in South Africa or elsewhere. Plans to launch a world poverty fund, for example, have faltered from lack of funding and support from wealthy nations, and seem likely to remain a pipedream. South African environmental leaders said the best way to turn the WSSD goals into reality would be to make their importance and impact known to the people and create popular support for achieving them.