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Virtual Exhibit boosted by UN support

14 August 2002 - The United Nations officially endorsed the Virtual Exhibit today in a video statement from Earth Summit Secretary-General, Nitin Desai.

Hailing the Virtual Exhibit (VE) as a unique, online showcase of sustainable development initiatives from around the world, Mr Desai said he was confident the VE would “bring the world to Johannesburg and take Johannesburg to the world.”

“What we did ten years ago at (the first Earth Summit) in Rio was to engender a lot of action at the local level,” he says in the video statement. “What the Virtual Exhibit will do is bring this same energy to Johannesburg and show what people all over the world are doing for sustainable development.”

Mr Desai adds the VE will be instrumental in showing that sustainable development is an issue of concern “for the entire community” – governments, NGOs, companies and local communities alike. His video statement can be seen in full on the Virtual Exhibit website:

The United Nations is a partner in the Virtual Exhibit with BASD – Business Action for Sustainable Development.

With only two weeks until the start of the Johannesburg Summit, the Virtual Exhibit has already exceeded all expectations, attracting over 200 video entries from sustainable projects all over the world.

During the summit, the videos will be webcast over the internet ( and broadcast on screens throughout Johannesburg.

Many companies have submitted videos detailing the work they are doing for a sustainable future. The entries from NGOs, governments and local communities have also been substantial.

Organisers of the VE describe the concept as an “online exhibit of sustainable development best practices for the internet age”.

The UN have embraced the project as a means of making the Summit - its aims, proceedings and outcomes – accessible to a global audience via the internet.

VE organisers say the projects featured on the VE support the Summit’s call to action - to champion working examples of sustainable development partnerships between business, governments and the NGO community. The Summit is expected to move the global agenda forward from the 90’s assumption that only governments are responsible for poverty alleviation and stimulating development in the south.

To help fund the exhibit, the UN Foundation and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) have committed substantial resources to match sponsorship provided by companies, associations, and others.