Bali, 7 June 2002
Vice-Chairs’ Summary of the Informal Meetings on Partnerships for Sustainable Development
1. During the fourth Preparatory Committee of the World Summit on Sustainable Development
(WSSD) two informal meetings on Partnerships for Sustainable Development were held ‘type
2’outcomes). The meetings provided participants a forum to exchange further views on the
guiding principles for partnerships for sustainable development which are intended to
contribute to implementing Agenda 21, the Millennium Declaration Goals and the
intergovernmentally agreed outcomes of the Johannesburg Summit.
They also gave interested parties an opportunity to inform about partnerships which they
are undertaking. The informal meetings were attended by representatives of governments,
international organisations and major groups. Discussions showed a considerable interest
to engage in partnerships for sustainable development, and participants expressed the
hope for wider participation, particularly by developing countries.
2. Based on the discussions during the first informal meeting, the Vice-Chairs circulated
an explanatory note with guiding principles for partnerships for sustainable development.
Participants welcomed the note as a useful basis to engage in such partnerships. A
slightly revised version, taking into account comments made during the second informal
meeting, is attached to this summary.
Observations on the guiding principles for partnerships for sustainable development
3. Participants asked for further elaboration of the guidelines for partnerships issued
by the Vice-Chairs at the end of the third Preparatory Committee meeting. They stressed
that partnerships for sustainable development are not intended to substitute strong
commitments by governments in the intergovernmentally agreed outcomes of the Summit,
rather they should reinforce the implementation of these commitments through concrete
4. Several participants expressed the view that partnerships for sustainable development
should allow for a wider participation of stakeholders, involve them through a bottom-up
approach and focus on the strengths and assets of each partner instead of being donor-
driven. They would thus contribute to increasing the quality of implementation of Agenda
21. Other participants expressed concerns that these partnerships might lead to a shift
in funding at the expense of existing programmes and projects and stressed the need for
partnerships to mobilize additional resources.
5. It was generally understood that partnerships for sustainable development are of a
voluntary, self-organizing nature. The framework for their elaboration should therefore
be flexible enough to allow for creativity and innovative ideas. On the other hand, there
were strong calls to establish parameters for such partnerships that would ensure
integration of the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable
development in their design and implementation, as well as monitoring of progress in
their implementation after the Johannesburg Summit.
6. Participants highlighted the need for a multi-stakeholder approach, based on mutual
respect and shared responsibility of all partners involved. Ownership of the partnership
process and its outcomes should be shared among all partners, and all partners should be
equally accountable. It was pointed out that capacity-building efforts should be
undertaken to support potentially weaker partners.
7. The importance of getting the community level involved in the design and
implementation of partnerships was stressed by several participants, as the successful
implementation of sustainable development has to be achieved to a considerable extent at
the local level. The impact of partnerships to be recognized by the Summit should however
extend beyond the local and national levels; these partnerships should not replace
existing bilateral channels of development cooperation.
8. There was agreement that the partnerships should ideally be elaborated as a genuine
contribution to the outcome of the World Summit on Sustainable Development and that in
case of on-going initiatives and processes, there would have to be a significant added
value in the context of the Summit for such partnerships to qualify for recognition by
Potential areas for partnerships for sustainable development
9. Several participants informed about partnership proposals in a wide range of areas,
including freshwater, energy, sustainable urbanisation and sustainable agriculture. Other
participants indicated that they need more time to develop their ideas for partnerships
for sustainable development and would welcome an opportunity to explore them with
potential partners. Areas mentioned include chemicals, science, education and training,
forests, information and communication technologies, sustainable mountain development,
oceans and fisheries, sustainable consumption and production patterns, and technology
Follow-up process after the Johannesburg Summit
10. Participants agreed that the Commission on Sustainable Development should serve as a
focal point for discussion of partnerships for sustainable development. They stressed
that the Johannesburg Summit should not be the end-date for the submission of
partnerships and expressed the expectation that many more partnerships for sustainable
development would be developed as part of the follow-up process. Some highlighted the
need for a participatory approach in designing a mechanism for assessing progress in the
implementation of partnerships. Others felt that reporting requirements should be kept as
simple as possible, given the wide range in size and characteristics of partnerships.
Several participants asked the Summit Secretariat and the UN system to propose for
consideration ways and means to support partnerships for sustainable development,
including through the establishment of a clearinghouse mechanism, by giving quality
guidance for partnerships and by helping to provide a regular assessment of on-going
Information on the selection of partnerships to be recognized by the WSSD
11. All interested partners are invited to submit their proposals for partnerships for
sustainable development to the Summit Secretariat (email firstname.lastname@example.org), at the latest by
mid-August, using the information sheet attached to the Chairman’s explanatory note
available at the official United Nations website for the Johannesburg Summit
(www.johannesburgsummit.org). Submissions will be posted to this website. The Bureau of
the Preparatory Committee, with the assistance of the Summit Secretariat, will review the
information provided by the partners and determine whether the guiding principles for
partnerships have been observed.