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Home > UNESCO Events at the World Summit on Sustainable Development - Updated: 18-09-2002 11:55 am
From 26 August to 4 September 2002 Synoptic calendar  

Consolidated UNESCO Exhibition

From 18 August to 8 September, UNESCO presented a consolidated intersectoral exhibition at Johannesburg, covering some 50 m2 in a large marquee in the Ubuntu village.

The aim was to present a coherent overview of UNESCO’s activities in the fields of education, science, culture and communication as related to sustainable development and the main themes of the World Summit.

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Cultural Diversity, Biological Diversity and Sustainable Development - Round Table

This two-hour round table was organized jointly by UNESCO and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and took place at the Sandton Convention Center on 3 September. Participants included Heads of State, Nobel Prize laureates, and other distinguished personalities.

Following introductory speeches, the round table included short interventions from five Heads of State from different regions of the world, comments by invited panelists, questions and comments from the floor, synthesis by the moderator of the round table and closure.

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Cultural Diversity in Dialogue – Round Table

Preceding the Sandton Convention Center round table was a side event on ‘Cultural Diversity in Dialogue: A Guarantee for the Sustainability of Development’. The event also took the form of a round table, and was held on 2 September at the Park Hyatt Hotel.

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Educating for a Sustainable Future – Parallel Event

A parallel event on ‘Educating for a Sustainable Future: Action, Commitments and Partnerships’ was held on 2-3 September at the Summer Place (located in Zone 1). The event was organized jointly by UNESCO and the Government of South Africa’s Ministry of Education, in co-operation with the NGO UNESCO Liaison Committee (which groups 350 professional NGOs competent in the fields of education, science, culture and communication and accredited to UNESCO).

The objectives of the parallel event were fourfold: to take up education at all levels and in all its forms as indispensable for achieving sustainable development; to draw political attention at the highest levels to the vital role of education in building a sustainable future; to provide an opportunity for those at the World Summit interested in education to come together to pave the way for future action, including the WSSD Plan of Implementation; to emphasize partnerships and commitments to future action, consistent with the purpose of the Summit.

Several Heads of State and Government took part. Other participants included members of government delegations, officials from UN bodies and representatives of NGOs having access to Zone 1. Business leaders from several multinational companies also took part.

Several new were presented and discussed, including a South African adaptation of UNESCO’s multimedia teacher education programme ‘Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future’ (TLSF) (2 September) and the UNESCO/EI Toolkit for the basic TLSF.

New Type 2 partnerships were also launched during the event: Using social marketing to address the challenge of communicating the message of sustainability to a mass audience (2 September); Reorienting higher education towards sustainability (3 September); FAO/UNESCO-EFA (Education for All) Flagship Programme on Education for Rural People (3 September)

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Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS) - Online Launching

On 3 September, a launching ceremony was organized for the three-volume publication ‘Knowledge for Sustainable Development’, and for the inauguration online of EOLSS.

The Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems is a sophisticated expert system for scientists, engineers and technologists, economists, educators, researchers, students, conservationists, industrialists, law and policy makers and planners in the public and private sectors, development officials in government and non-government organizations dealing with sustainable development problems. It can be used to obtain the state-of-the-art in subject domains, identify relevant knowledge principles and practices and likely future perspectives, and suggest additional sources of relevant material. Thus, the EOLSS may be regarded as a source of organized integrated knowledge and not just a provider of raw information and data.

The EOLSS body of knowledge lies in about 20 major subject categories and is spanned by about 200 subject themes covering various issues and dimensions of sustainable development, environment, global stability, peace, poverty eradication, equity and security. Each theme is on average equivalent to one print volume of 500 standard pages. Among the themes are overviews of sustainable development practice in such counties as Brazil, Canada, China, Japan, Russian Federation and the United States of America . Some themes are so large and elaborate that they may be regarded as encyclopedias on the respective subjects. The integration of the body of knowledge that includes about 50,000 illustrations and 20,000 data tables is achieved through about 200,000 cross reference links within the body of knowledge.

The inaugural edition of the encyclopedia and a set of three print volumes (‘Knowledge for sustainable development – An Insight into the Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems’) were to be released during the WSSD. The web-based encyclopedia will start with about 150 themes and will mature to its full size through regular updates.

In accordance with UNESCO’s commitment to the transfer and sharing of knowledge, free access to the online encyclopedia will be provided for those universities in the least developed countries that have a demonstrated commitment to sustainable development and for disadvantaged individuals worldwide.

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Integrated Global Observing Strategy Partnership (IGOS-P) - Presentation

A side event was organized on 30 August at the Forum for Science, Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Development, to present the status and plans of the 14-member IGOS-P for global environmental observation, with its focus on six principal themes : oceans, atmospheric chemistry, carbon cycle, water cycle, geohazards, coastal areas.

The IGOS-P currently comprises 14 members:
  • Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS), which unites major space agencies with Earth observation satellite programmes and major user entities
  • Global Observing Systems: GCOS, GTOS, GOOS, GAW
  • International Group of Funding Agencies (IGFA) for Global Change Research
  • International Global Climate Research Programmes (WCPR, IGBP)

An illustrated brochure on IGOS-P is being made available for visitors at several different locations in Johannesburg, including the UNESCO Exhibition stand in Ubuntu village. In addition, an exhibit on IGOS is being displayed at the CEOS stand.

A leitmotiv is reaffirmation of the need for timely, quality and long-term information as a basis for sound decision-making. Also recognition of the need for specific action for integrated satellite and ground measurements to monitor the Earth and contributing to preserving its environment for future generations. A conclusion is that there is no sustainable development without adequate information about the state of the Earth and its environment.

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International Year of Freshwater 2003 – Press Conference

Together with UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA), UNESCO has been designated as a lead agency for the International Year of Freshwater 2003. As part of the preparations for the International Year, a multi-media, multi-screen presentation and interactive computer stand was among the exhibits in the Water Dome.

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MAB Video within BASD-UNDP - Virtual Exhibition

A seven-minute video on the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme and the World Network of Biosphere Reserves formed part of the Virtual Exhibition organized by Business Action for Sustainable Development (BASD) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The BASD-UNDP Virtual Exhibition had been specially conceived for the Johannesburg summit. It displayed a multitude of sustainable development projects being pursued all over the world. It also brought summit proceedings to a global audience – in real time, via the internet. Screens at the summit provided simulcasting of the Virtual Exhibition for delegates and other participants in summit activities.

The seven-minute video ‘Biosphere Reserves: Partnerships for People and Nature’ includes an interview with the Director of UNESCO’s Division of Ecological Sciences (Peter Bridgewater) , and describes some of the principal partnerships that are involved in putting the biosphere reserve concept into practice. Examples from the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (currently comprising 408 sites in 94 countries) are used to illustrate some of the functions and zoning patterns of biosphere reserves. Also, partnerships between people and nature in specific situations, as reflected through activities in such fields as ecotourism, ecojobs, traditional knowledge and education.

‘Biosphere Reserves’ also features in the compilation of partnership initiatives posted on the BASD website.

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Oceans 2020 and Oceans Alliance – Events

Most of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) events took taking place at the Water Dome’s Ocean Pavilion. Amongst the planned activities were:
  • 28 August: Side event on the Global Ocean Observing System, with specific focus on Africa.
  • 29 August: Launch of the book ‘Oceans 2020: Science, Trends and Sustainability’.
  • 2 September: High Level Event: ‘Uniting for the Oceans: People, Oceans, Stewardship’, convened by a consortium of UN agencies and NGOs (UNEP, GPA, UNESCO-IOC, Wildlife Conservation Society, Oceana and others). This event brought together high political figures and celebrities. The Type 2 Partnership proposals related to the Ocean was presented. More information can be found at:

An IOC exhibit at the Ocean Pavilion was set up from 28 August to 3 September. It included a display of posters, and distribution of a 32-page booklet ‘One Planet, One Ocean’, which represented a commitment of the 129 Member States of IOC to the sustainable development of oceans and coasts. During the period of the exhibition, several presentations and product demonstrations were scheduled related to the IOC programmes.

Also accessible to visitors in the Ocean Pavilion was the recently launched UN Atlas of the Oceans, an internet portal which presents a wealth of information on oceans and coastal areas.

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Renewable Energies - Exhibition

The South Africa Pavilion provided the venue for an exhibition on ‘Renewable Energies for Sustainable Development’.

Jointly organized by UNESCO and the World Solar Commission, other institutions co-operating in the exhibition included the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO), the European Commission, the Institute of Energy and Environment for French-speaking Countries (IEPF), the French Agency for Environment and Energy Development (ADEME), the Centre for Renewable Energy Development (CDER) in Morocco, the British national organization DULAS and the German organization Blue Sun Energy.

During the exhibition, presentations were made of new equipment and educational tools developed by UNESCO’s Division of Basic and Engineering Sciences within the Global Renewable Energy Education and Training (GREET) programme. These materials included an innovative training platform dedicated to national and regional training activities and seminars on renewable energy, a mobile solar library for rural areas that also includes TV and video recorder (educational equipment to be complemented later by a computerized system with internet facilities) as well as learning and teaching materials. Also on display as part of the exhibition were models and prototypes of various ways of renewable energy use, as well as several applications related to the use of renewable energy for sustainable development in developing countries, in such fields as rural electrification, health (refrigeration of vaccines and solar electrification of rural health centres), water desalination and water pumping.

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Traditional and Scientific Knowledge - Side Event

‘Linking traditional and scientific knowledge for sustainable development’ was a Type-2 Partnership event led by UNESCO’s new intersectoral initiative on Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems (LINKS)

The launch took place on 29 August as part of Session 4 of the Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation in the ICSU Pavilion in Ubuntu Village. The session was co-organized by UNESCO, the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the Tebtebba Foundation (indigenous NGO), in co-operation with the International Chamber of Commerce .

The day’s programme included welcoming addresses and presentation and discussion of the partnership proposal on ‘Traditional Knowledge, Scientific Knowledge: a renewed basis for joint action’. Subsequent contributions by representatives of indigenous peoples and others were grouped in three themes : Local and indigenous knowledge for environmental assessment; Countering the erosion of knowledge, revitalizing transmission; Keepers of traditional knowledge, issues of protection and sharing.

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Waterberg Biosphere Reserve - Field Visit

On 5-6 September, the South African MAB National Committee organized a field visit to Waterberg Biosphere Reserve in Limpopo Province. Some 50 delegates had the opportunity to see at first hand how the biosphere reserve concept was being put into practice in one of the sites contributing to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (currently comprising 408 sites in 94 countries)

Biosphere reserves are both a concept and a tool, which bring together different stakeholder groups in seeking ways to reconcile the conservation of biological diversity with the needs of sustainable development.

The visit to Waterberg presented an occasion to demonstrate and discuss such perspectives as alleviating poverty and improving local livelihoods (through ecotourism, ecojobs, artisanal crafts, etc), zoning land and water areas for different purposes, bringing together different interest groups to tackle conflicts in resource use, articulating scientific research with local community needs, and using biosphere reserves as field sites for environmental education for city children.
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Water for Peace

A side-event entitled “From Potential Conflict to Cooperation Potential: Water for Peace” was held in the Water Dome on Tuesday 3 September, organized by UNESCO (IHP/WWAP/PC-CP) and Green Cross International.

The side event sought to raise awareness about the risks of water conflicts and the tools available to achieve water security. Presentations on practical projects and research from Green Cross/ UNESCO “PC-CP: Water for Peace” programme were followed by a moderated debate and Q&A on how to make transboundary watercourses vehicles for peace.
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World Heritage - Workshop

From 19-23 August, a regional workshop on ‘African Heritage and Sustainable Development’ was held at Sterkfontein World Heritage site near Pretoria. The workshop was being organized by the South African Department of the Environment and Tourism in co-operation with UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre, IUCN and ICOMOS.

Participants included policy makers and senior government officials from African States Parties to the World Heritage Convention and representatives from collaborating regional and international organizations. Among its main objectives, the workshop aimed to improve co-ordination and support for World Heritage sites and to boost co-operation at the regional level, including transboundary collaboration.

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World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) - Events

The WWAP Pavilion in the Water Dome provided the focus for a series of activities and displays on the United Nations system-wide effort to assess the world’s water resources.

In co-operation with 22 other UN bodies, UNESCO is taking the lead in developing the tools and skills needed to achieve a better understanding of the basic processes, management practices and policies that will help improve the supply and quality of global freshwater resources.

As part of this World Water Assessment Programme, a wide-ranging assessment of freshwater resources is underway, which will culminate in the publication of the first World Water Development Report (WWDR) in March 2003. The report is addressing eleven major challenges: Meeting basic needs; Securing the food supply; Protecting the environment; Sharing water resources; Managing risks; Valuing water; Governing water wisely; Water and industry; Water and energy; Ensuring the knowledge base; Water for cities.

The WWAP Pavilion displayed posters on the WWAP and WWDR pilot studies as well as distributing literature from the different agencies and programmes taking part in the WWAP. Also in the Water Dome, a half-day side event on the WWAP was held on 3 September: topics addressed include a status report on WWAP/WWDR, accounts of national efforts with examples of WWDR pilot studies, possibilities of support from UN agencies to future national efforts, and launching of the African Water Development Report by UN-ECA.

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Start Date 25-08-2002 10:00 pm -
End Date 03-09-2002 10:00 pm -
Event Location Johannesburg
Document 1 wssd_coe.doc
Document 2 johannesburg-unesco-eventsflyer.pdf


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