B2.1.1 Earth Summit


The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development was held in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992. This conference, commonly referred to as the Earth Summit, was unprecedented for a UN conference, in terms of both its size and the scope of its concerns. At its close, Maurice Strong, the Conference Secretary-General, called the Summit a “historic moment for humanity”.

One important output from the Earth Summit was the creation of a Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Convention entered into force on 21 March 1994. Under the Convention, governments must:

  • Gather and share information on greenhouse gas emissions, national policies and best practices.
  • Launch national strategies for addressing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to expected impacts.
  • Provide financial and technological support to developing countries.
  • Co-operate in preparing for adaptation to the impacts of climate change.


The Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was created to monitor and report on implementation of the Earth Summit agreements.

The role of the Commission as a high level forum on sustainable development, includes:

  • to review progress at the international, regional and national levels in the implementation of recommendations and commitments contained in the final documents of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), namely: Agenda 21; and the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development;
  • to elaborate policy guidance and options for future activities to follow up the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation and achieve sustainable development;
  • to promote dialogue and build partnerships for sustainable development with governments, the international community and the major groups identified in Agenda 21 as key actors outside the central government who have a major role to play in the transition towards sustainable development. These Major Groups include women, youth, indigenous peoples, non-governmental organizations, local authorities, workers and trade unions, business and industry, the scientific community, and farmers.


Source: United Nations;  http://www.un.org/