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Earth Summit

Five years on from the Brundtland Report, the UN General Assembly asked for a report on progress made towards sustainable development and held the Rio Earth Summit. Taking place over 12 days in June 1992 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the Earth Summit was the largest environmental conference ever held, attracting over 30,000 people including more than 100 heads of states. The objectives of the conference were to build upon the hopes and achievements of the Brundtland Report, in order to respond to pressing global environmental problems and to agree major treaties on biodiversity, climate change and forest management.

The biggest challenges faced at the Rio Earth Summit involved finance, consumption rates and population growth. The developed nations demanded environmental sustainability while the developing nations argued that they should be given the chance to catch up socially and economically with the developed world.

Five separate agreements were made at the Rio Earth Summit. These included:

  • The Convention on Biological Diversity;
  • The Framework Convention on Climate change;
  • Principles of Forest Management;
  • The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development; and
  • Agenda 21 (a "blueprint" for sustainable development).

Together these agreements covered every aspect of sustainable development deemed to be relevant. These agreements committed countries, including the UK, to be more sustainable whilst creating guidelines for a more sustainable future. These agreements and their guidelines are still adhered to today and are influencing many political and business decisions.