The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) marked the culmination of a process that had started in early 2001 with progress reports prepared by UN-system task managers on the implementation of Agenda 21 (the reports were compiled by the end of 2001 into a formal Report of the Secretary-General) and that involved four meetings of the Preparatory Committee. WSSD itself had 21,000 registered participants (9,000 government delegations including 104 heads of state and numerous ministers; 8,000 representatives of IGOs and NGOs; and 4,000 journalists). Presided by President T. Mbeki of South Africa, WSSD adopted two negotiated documents:

  • The Plan of Implementation (54 pages);
  • The Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development (4 pages)

In addition to the plenary, negotiation sessions and high-level round table discussions, WSSD provided the framework for exhibitions and over 500 side and parallel events at various sites. General world opinion was not impressed by the negotiated results of WSSD and its preparatory process (type-1 outcomes)

Positive opinions expressed on WSSD relate mostly to awareness raising on the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development and the broader involvement of NGOs and the business community in partnerships with governments and Inter-Governmental Organizations (IGOs) through tangible implementation initiatives (type-2 outcomes).

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