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close this bookWe the Peoples... Millennium Forum - Declaration and Agenda for Action (UN, 2000, 25 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentOUR VISION
View the documentTHE CHALLENGES
View the documentD. HUMAN RIGHTS


Sustainable development is the recognition that environment and development issues should be addressed in an integrated manner. Agenda 21 also promoted the concept of major groups wherein sectors of society, including local governments, are acknowledged as important players in bringing about sustainable development.

Eight years have passed since Rio, and there is a feeling of frustration by civil society over the slow progress or non-implementation of commitments by national and international bodies. The spirit of Rio is diminishing. The commitment of developed nations to allocate 0.7% of their GNP to overseas development assistance to developing nations has been met by very few countries. The transfer of environmentally sound technology from developed countries to developing countries is hampered by intellectual property rights demands. The balance between environment and development is tilted towards the environmental concerns favoured by the governments of developed countries.

The dominant patterns of production and consumption are being globalized, causing more environmental devastation of life-supporting ecosystems and massive loss of bio-diversity. The Brundtland Commission recommended that sustainable development be considered on an equal footing with economic, ecological and social development. Currently, globalization is giving priority to economic development at the expense of social development and ecological conservation. The effects of such unsustainable development has marginalized and impoverished many, including the owners and custodians of traditional knowledge and bio-diversity, indigenous peoples, older persons, farmers and women. Globalization must incorporate local sustainability. Due to the efforts of some civil society organizations (CSOs) together with some countries from the south and the north, the issue of bio-safety has occupied centre stage in the Convention on Biological Diversity. The adoption of the Bio-safety Protocol late last year is a major breakthrough in regulating the trans-border transfer of genetically modified organisms.

The Forum urges;

The United Nations

1. To strengthen its capacity to monitor governments and require their compliance with Agenda 21, their commitments in Rio, commitments made during the CSD meetings, the Copenhagen Declaration, and the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Convention on Climate Change.

2. To make a global assessment of unsustainable development and its impacts on environment, human settlements and social development, thereby building upon the studies made by UNDP, UNCTAD, and other UN agencies and CSOS. On the basis of these studies and policy proposals, it should play an active role in promoting a world solidarity fund and in regulating international financial institutions, trade bodies and corporations to ensure that they adhere to principles and programmes adopted in Rio and Copenhagen.

3. To forge stronger partnerships and broader cooperation with major groups, including local governments and those sectors that are actively involved in bringing about sustainable development, especially at the local levels. It should also coordinate and harmonize the policies and programmes of the various UN agencies and bodies to ensure that duplication is avoided and synergy is achieved.

4 To encourage its organs, especially UNEP and UNDP, to actively support the establishment of sustainability centres to advise local governments on the implementation of Agenda 21 in local communities through comprehensive, integrated development policies and strategies. Such centres to be part of international networks for the exchange of knowledge and experience.

A challenging task is to firmly protect the integrity of the United Nations, counter the erosion of its role and to further strengthen and augment international institutions capable of implementing and enforcing international standards, norms and law, leading toward the formation of a new political and economic order.

5. To support positive action for indigenous peoples and other groups who experience discrimination as a barrier to progress. Such groups include women, youth, children, older persons, people with disabilities, occupied peoples, refugees, minorities, displaced persons and migrants.

6. To establish a Global Habitat Conservation Fund to purchase comprehensive protection of threatened, critical ecological habitat world wide. The fund should accrue revenues from a nominal (0.5%-1.0%) royalty on worldwide fossil energy production - oil, natural gas, coal - collecting at least $5 billion to $ 10 billion annually.

7. To examine how it should restructure to implement the changes necessary to give clear priority to sustainable human development.

8. To encourage UNEP and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to create an appropriate legal framework for the protection of marine life.



· To comply with and implement the declarations, conventions, and treaties they have signed and meet the commitments they have made, including those in Agenda 21. They should ratify the important protocols of the Multilateral Environmental Agreements, including

· Agreements which set frameworks for the reduction of global warming (These should be ratified by 2002);

· the Biosafety Protocol; and

· the agreement by donor governments to allocate .7% GNP for official development assistance.

2. To examine their economic models of development for sustainability and strive to restructure away from export-oriented, import-dependent and debt-driven models, if these are unsustainable. To move toward patterns of production and consumption that are sustainable and centred on the health and wellbeing of peoples and the environment.

3. To assess negative environmental and social impacts of unsustainable development and focus on how these could be redressed. Their development programmes should promote sustainable development, such as the conservation of water resources, sustainable agriculture, development of renewable energy sources, and support for the sustainable development knowledge and practices of indigenous peoples, women, and farmers, while eliminating military and unsustainable infrastructure projects.

The Forum urges the United Nations: To develop more effective means not requiring the use of force to prevent the outbreak of war and other threats to the peace and security of people. This will require a far more institutionalized and analytical approach to the causes of war and the ways to prevent conflict Among other things, the Security Council must take more action to prevent conflict over raw materials and other basic resources.

4. To support the establishment of sustainable development training centres, owned, operated and managed by youth for youth. To support their involvement, especially youth from the South, in all fora and at all levels as integral partners and leaders in these processes, giving them ownership. To encourage the development of a global youth fund co-financed by donor governments and/or agencies and managed by the CSD NGO steering committee.

5. To endorse the Earth Charter in the UN General Assembly.

6. To establish and strengthen multi-stakeholder mechanisms such as National Councils for Sustainable Development (NCSDs) to facilitate the implementation of Earth Summit agreements.

7. To promote the establishment of micro credit facilities, especially for farmers and women, and to promote their access to forms of land tenure that facilitate access to and ownership of land.

4. To increase interactions between central and local government organisations for the common goal of improving living conditions in urban and rural settlements.

5. To adopt comprehensive, integrated development policies and strive to enable local communities to achieve self-sufficiency and management of local natural resources, achieving sustainability through land use control and through measures that reduce resource-intensive forced consumption.

6. To recognise and enshrine in legislation the right of self-determination of indigenous peoples, and their right to be guided by their own principles and perspectives, as expressed in their draft declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples that has been submitted to the UN.

Civil Society

1. To continue challenging the governments and international institutions to adhere to the agenda for sustainable and social development. It should also monitor the way governments are implementing Agenda 21 and the Copenhagen Declaration.

2. To broaden and strengthen the involvement and action of various sectors of civil society involved in developing and nurturing sustainable patterns of production and consumption. Documentation of best practices by civil society in the area of sustainable and social development should be shared.

3. To enhance networking between civil society organisations and movements. The diverse perspectives and experiences of different sectors - women, indigenous peoples, farmers, and others - should be widely disseminated and integrated in the formulation of development models in the local, national, and international levels.

The Forum urges Civil Society: To actively promote awareness of the fact that once basic needs have been met, human development is about being more, not having more. Fundamental changes in human values are the best means to transform the culture of consumerism.

4. To actively promote awareness of the fact that once basic needs have been met, human development is about being more, not having more. Fundamental changes in human values are the best means to transform the culture of consumerism.

5. To adopt and disseminate the Earth Charter as a tool for promotion of values and actions which will create sustainable development.

6. To ensure that an appropriate liaison be developed between the CSD/NGO Steering Committee and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Sports and Environment Commission to harmonise implementation of the IOC’s Agenda 21 for Sports and the Environment within the UN system.

7. To welcome the concept and support implementation of the Internet Global Environmental Fund proposed by Global Environmental Action, by which global citizens can participate in funding CSOs implementing sustainable development projects.