JOHANNESBURG – World leaders from about 100 countries Wednesday adopted an implementation plan and a political declaration in winding up a 10-day U.N. summit on the environment and development.
The Plan of Implementation maps out specific measures to be taken in areas such as eradication of poverty, globalization and health, while the political declaration expresses the leaders’ commitments to achieve sustainable development.
During working- and ministerial-level meetings, participants wrangled to draft the plan as countries were divided on key issues such as finance and trade, sanitation, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on curbing global warming, and increasing renewable energy sources.
Meanwhile, concerns have been mounting that world leaders may fail to adopt the declaration with the summit nearing its end and countries calling for numerous changes to the initial draft.
Host South Africa released the second draft at an informal ministerial meeting of a small group of countries Wednesday afternoon, where the attendants reached a basic accord.
A total of 192 countries and territories were represented in the U.N. World Summit on Sustainable Development, believed to be the largest-ever international gathering.
The initial draft of the political statement, “The Johannesburg Commitment on Sustainable Development,” comprised six pages and 69 points, which critics say is far too unwieldy to be effective.
The new draft has been condensed to four pages and 32 points.
The declaration was initially to be released Aug. 27, the second day of the summit, but it was delayed because countries were struggling to reach a consensus on the implementation plan.
The participants endorsed the plan shortly after 1 a.m. Wednesday after trying to reach an agreement on contentious issues related to women’s health. But they were unable to discuss the political declaration because the main meeting ended half an hour later.
The government leaders’ meeting is the culmination of working- and ministerial-level meetings that began Aug. 26.
U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan said Wednesday the success of the summit depends on the actions each country takes after the summit ends, based on commitments made at the summit.
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