?Don?t re-negotiate, just implement!?

On Monday morning 26 August 2002, the first plenary session of the World Summit on Sustainable Development heard three inspiring speeches by South African President Thabo Mbeki (elected President of the Summit), Nitin Desai (Johannesburg Summit Secretary-General) and Klaus Töpfer (Director of the UN Environmental Programme). Mbeki thanked the UN using the plural word ?us? instead of ?me?. This illustrated the need for solidarity as opposed to ?global apartheid?. He called the assembly ?to respond with all seriousness and a sense of urgency to adopt a meaningful Plan of Implementation?. Desai said that the Rio Summit (1992) provided the ?road map? but now a ?route plan? of implementation was needed, as well as to ?ratchet up? the influence of Civil Society. Picking up on Mbeki?s reference to Africa as ?the cradle of humanity,? Töpfer called for ?globalisation with a human face.? The vision sketched by the speakers for solidarity and definite implementation, raised some hopes. Reasons for cynicism surrounding the Summit are largely due to the poor participation of those countries with enormous economic weight. ?There is every need for us,? said the President ?to demonstrate to the billions of people we lead that we are committed to the vision and practice of human solidarity, that we do not accept that human society should be constructed on the basis of a savage principle of the survival of the fittest.?