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Important milestones in sustainable development


The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, Rio de Janeiro, 3 to 14 June 1992.





Click here for a copy of Agenda 21

Rio Earth Summit

June 1992 saw the first truly global conference on environmental issues. Over 30,000 delegates attended the conference and this included more than 100 heads of state. It brought together governments, environmental groups, businesses and individuals from all over the world.

The conference led to agreements on:

  • retaining the biodiversity of the planet;

  • reducing climate change;

  • management of the worlds forests and rainforests;

  • a declaration on environment and economic development;

  • a plan for governments to implement actions to address a wide range of environmental issues. This was known as Agenda 21. It still influences local and national sustainable development policies today.

Agenda 21 committed governments to seek ways to move towards a more sustainable future. This looked at social developments, such as reducing poverty, improving education and strengthening the representation of different groups such as youth, women and indigenous peoples.

It also tackled environmental issues by looking at how making improvements at a local level can have an effect on a global scale. For example, individuals reducing their energy consumption can have an effect nationally and globally on emissions of carbon dioxide.


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