Biodiversity: Biodiversity Governance after Johannesburg
The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2002 marked the tenth anniversary of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), or the Rio Earth Summit. Johannesburg was an opportunity for the international community to review its progress in implementing the ambitious blueprint spelled out in Agenda 21 ten years earlier and to facilitate its implementation. The Johannesburg Summit therefore dealt with a wide array of old and new issues, ranging from the promotion of renewable energy, to AIDS in Africa, to sanitation; from over-fishing, to agricultural subsidies, to women’s reproductive rights. In fact, the WSSD was occasionally criticized in the popular media for taking on too many issues. Such is the messy business of sustainable development, which is, after all, fundamentally about integrating social, economic and environmental options into coherent actions to improve the lot of humankind. Despite this cacophony of issues and ideas, the United Nations (UN) put forward five key themes for the summit and its followup – water, energy, health, food and agriculture, and biodiversity, popularized by the acronym WEHAB.