Bali PrepCom ends without agreement, NGOs walk out

Down to Earth No 53-54  August 2002

June's preparatory meeting in Bali for the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg (PrepCom IV -WSSD) ended in deadlock with a draft Plan of Action still full of disputed text. Among the most contentious issues were trade and finance - a group of countries led by the US refused to include text that committed them to concrete action on debt, financial contributions and fair trade.

NGOs attending the meeting expressed concern about the disproportionate influence of powerful private corporations - who, for example, successfully promoted such concepts as "sustainable mining". They also warned against the IFIs' emphasis on private sector finance in such crucial sectors as water, energy, health, agriculture and biodiversity (the 5 priority areas of the Plan of Action).

A group of mining-affected community representatives, environmentalists and sustainable development activists decided, after several days, to boycott the rest of the Bali PrepCom. In a press release the group said the PrepCom was "a sham whereby people's organisations are drawn into meetings in which they have very little official recognition and clearly no influence as the outcome of the Chairman's text." The involvement of these organisations, said the group, "becomes an instrument for the G-8 and TNCs to cover their crimes and plunder and legitimize their destructive operations in developing countries."

(Source: TWN Alert on WSSD process 4/Jul/02; No Tears for the WSSD, News Release 4/Jun/02; JATAM 28/Jun/02)


WSSD info

For official information on the WSSD, including the draft Plan of Action, visit For civil society comment visit the Indonesian People's Forum site at and