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Is multilateralism the future? Sustainable development or globalisation as 'a comprehensive vision of the future of humanity'

Marc Pallemaerts

ULB Institutional Repository from ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles

Abstract: This paper provides an overall evaluation of the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), which took place in Johannesburg from 26 August to 4 September 2002, in a historical perspective, against the background of earlier major United Nations conferences and General Assembly resolutions on environment and development. It focuses on the political and institutional context of the WSSD and its preparatory process and explores its policy implications for future international cooperation on sustainable development in a globalizing world. Both the results of the formal intergovernmental negotiations and the new phenomenon of 'partnerships for sustainable development' between governments, international organizations, the private sector and other major groups are analysed. The Johannesburg Declaration and the WSSD Plan of Implementation are shown to contain little in the way of political vision, credible new commitments and innovative approaches, likely to reinvigorate the implementation of the objectives of sustainable development as formulated in Rio. Though ostensibly designed to give a new political impetus to multilateralism, the WSSD rather revealed the inadequacy of intergovernmental political governance structures to address the social and environmental consequences of economic globalization.

Keywords: Agenda 21; Biodiversity; Chemicals; Doha Development Agenda; Governance; Johannesburg Declaration; Major groups; Marine resources; Millennium Declaration; Multilateral environmental agreements; Multilateralism; Partnerships; Poverty eradication (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2003
Note: SCOPUS: cp.j
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Published in: Environment, development and sustainability (2003) v.5 n° 1-2,p.275-295

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