Voluntary Partnerships not Enough

September 1, 2002

Voluntary Type 2 Partnerships announced by the Australian Government at the WSSD Summit today will not compensate for the Government's general opposition to creating international Type 1 Agreements that promote sustainability, key Australian environment groups said today.

"The priority for the Australian Government at this Summit should be the creation of strong, international agreements with binding targets and timetables to protect the environment and tackle poverty", said Australian Conservation Foundation executive director, Don Henry.

"Yet, time and time again at this Summit, we are seeing Australia join with the US to oppose the establishment of legally-binding targets and timetables on renewable energy."

Friends of the Earth (Australia) spokesperson, Kel Dummett, said that any voluntary partnerships announced by the Australian Government will only be welcomed if they are within a context of international agreements with meaningful targets and timelines and where there has been consultation with potential NGO partners.

"Voluntary partnerships announced by the Australian Government are not a substitute for the strong high level agreements governments must create at this summit."

"You don't need to come half way around the world to announce some voluntary partnerships. If that's the best the Government can do it might as well have stayed home", Mr Dummett said.

Environs Australia spokesperson Stephen Ray, said that voluntary partnerships are a terrific concept and would be supported provided that they were primarily initiated by the community and supported by international agreements with strong targets and timelines.

"We are concerned by press reports that suggest that Australia will use WSSD as a forum to relaunch some previously announced projects", he said.

"All Voluntary partnerships announced by the Government should be new projects with commitment to proper funding for their implementation."

For further information contact:

Kel Dummett
Friends of the Earth
Ph: 07 2401 5395

Don Henry
Australian Conservation Foundation
Ph: 09 61 418 501 395

Stephen Ray
Environs Australia
Ph: +61 411 729 006

Media Backgrounder

Joint Position on WSSD Partnerships

Position

The primary role of Governments is to secure Type 1 outcomes of substance.

The WSSD Summit is designed to be a forum for creating internationally binding targets and timetables that help accelerate the implementation of sustainability.

We support Type 2 Partnerships outcomes from the WSSD, provided they are primarily driven by NGOs and are supported by Type 1 frameworks. Type 2 partnerships developed by the Australia Commonwealth Government are only welcomed where there is a commitment to meaningful targets and schedules through the Type 1 process and where there has been consultation with potential partners and NGOs

Any attempt to undermine the Type 2 process by re-launching existing programs under a Type 2 process by re-launching existing programs under a Type 2 banner without any additional funding is totally rejected.

Background

The summit will have 2 types of outcomes.

Those that are negotiated between national governments and have targets, schedules and frameworks are known as Type 1 outcomes. These have two components:
political commitments, and
implementation plans

Type 2 partnerships are initiated primarily by Non-Government Organisations, have international influence and should be supported by a rigorous Type 1 framework.