Editorials

World summit on sustainable development

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.325.7361.399 (Published 24 August 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:399

Importance of health in economic development makes it a priority

  1. Gro Harlem Brundtland, director general
  1. World Health Organization, 1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland

    News p 405

    The world summit on sustainable development in Johannesburg will take place in a region where the excess mortality attributable to hunger and disease may exceed 300 000 in the next six months.1 Although most press comment contrasts the conditions in countries affected by famine with those that can be expected at the Sandton convention centre, the famine brings home the core message of sustainable development: it is about people and their survival.

    Sustainable development is, of course, about climate change and rising sea levels. It is about the loss of biodiversity and spreading deserts. But it is also about providing food, shelter, and health to everybody on this planet in such a way that future generations can do the same.

    It is no secret that preparations for the summit have been difficult. Reaching consensus on such a wide and interlinked range of issues, in a way that meets the needs and aspirations of countries north and south, will not be easy. Clear …

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