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Updated: Feb 22, 2022



The Earth Summit held at Rio de Janeiro, the capital of Brazil, in June 1992 was another landmark international meet on the environment. Officially the UN Conference for Environment and Development (UNCED), it was attended by representatives from 178 countries and 115 heads of government. It was held to highlight the consequences reckless development, which, among other things, had led to the destruction of large parts of the rainforests in Brazil, and to devise strategies to combat the ecological disaster. Key issues the key issues at the summit included greenhouse gas emissions, forests, population, technology transfer and finance. There were also, in fact, issues that divided the North and the South, or the developed countries and the developing countries. Greenhouse gas emission:

The North wanted a shift from coal and wood for energy to stabilize by 2000 the levels of emission of carbon dioxide at 1990 levels. On the other hand, the South blamed the rich nations for excessive use of fossil fuels that was leading to high emissions, and wanted the countries to cut down on the consumption. Forests: The North wanted forests to be made a common heritage of the world through legally binding convention to restrict deforestation in tropical countries rich in biodiversity. However, the South insisted that such a step would violate national sovereignty. Population: The North wanted population control in the South as a measure to check deforestation and pollution, while the South blamed the developed countries for consuming over 50 per cent of the world's energy Technology transfer: Asserting that technology development was commercial activity, the North wanted countries that wanted to use it to pay up, but the South insisted that environment - friendly technology had to be transferred cheaply. ARE a Finance:

The issue was who would pay for cleaning up the mess caused by pollution. -The North wanted the costs to be shared among all countries, while the South wanted the “polluter must pay principle to be followed. Outcome the major outcomes of the Earth Summit of 1992 were the Rio Declaration, the Convention on Climate Change, and the Declaration on Forest Conservation,

Agenda 21 and the Biodiversity Treaty Rio Declaration: The Rio Declaration, also called the Earth Charter, is a statement of principles that set out the rights and obligations of all nations in relation to the environment. It is only morally binding, not legally binding.

Convention on Climate Change:

The Convention on Climate Change, also known as the Climate Convention, was a commitment, signed by 150 countries, including the USA, to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide. It is legally binding on the signatories. However, it neither fixes any deadline for reducing the emissions nor calls for any immediate change in fuel used. It merely states that the ultimate objective of the agreement was to stabilize the concentrations of greenhouse gases at a level that would prevent dangerous interference with the climate system. It is worded in broad and general terms, thereby providing the signatories flexibility in implementation strategies. Environmental Law Declaration on Forest Conservation: It contains principles for the conservation of forests across the world. It was adopted at the summit, but it is not a legally binding convention.

The Rio Declaration On Environment And Development, 1992. This U.N. Conference which adopted the Rio Declaration had met at Rio de Janeiro from 3rd to 14th June, 1992 to re-affirm the Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, adopted at Stockholm on 16th June 1972, with the goal of establishing a new and equitable global partnership among States and working towards international agreements keeping in view the integral and interdependent nature of the Earth. The Rio Declaration proclaims through as many as 27 principles which are more or less similar to that of the principles declared under the Stockholm Declaration of 1972. The following are the 27 principles proclaimed by the Rio Declaration of 1992.

Principle 1- Human beings are at the center of concerns for sustainable development. They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature.

Principle 2:-States have in accordançe with the Charter of the United Nations and the principle of international law, the sovereign right to exploit their resources pursuant to own environmental own and developmental policies, and the responsibility to ensure that 'activities of other States or of areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction.

Principle 3 The right to development must be fulfilled so as to equitably meet developmental and environmental heeds of preșent and future generations.

Principle 4:In order to achieve sustainable development, environmental protection shall constitute an integral part of the development process can not be considered in isolation from it.

Prinçiple 5:- All States and all people shall cooperate in the essential and task of eradicating poverty as an indispensable requirement for sustainable development, in order to decrease the disparities in standards of living and better meet the needs of the majority of the people of the world.

Principle 6:– The special situation and heeds of developing countries, particularly the least developed and vulnerable, shall be given special priority. International actions in the field of environment and development should also address the interests and needs of all countries. those most environmentally

Principle 7:- States shall cooperate in a spirit of global partnership to conserve, protect and restore the health and integrity of the Earth's ecosystem. In view of the different contributions to global environmental degradation, states have common but differentiated responsibilities. The developed countries acknowledge the responsibilities that they bear in the international pursuit of sustainable development in view of the pressures their societies place on the global environment and of the technologies and financial resources they command.

Principle 8:To achieve sustainable development and a higher quality of life for their- people, States should reduce and eliminate unsustainable patterns of production and consumption and promote appropriate demographic policies.

Principle 9:- Stątes should cooperate to strengthen endogenous capacity-building for sustainable development by improving scientific understanding through changés of scientific and technological knowledge, and by enhancing the development, adaptation, diffusion and transfer of technologies,' including new and innovative technologies.

Principle 10:- Environment! issues are participation of all concerned citizens, at the relevant level. At the national level, each individual shall have appropriate access to information concerning the environment that is held by public authorities, including information on hazardous materials and activities in their communities, and the opportunity to participate in decision-making processes. States shall facilitate and encourage public awareness and- participation by making information - widely available. Effective access to judicial and administrative proçeedings, including redress and remedy, shall be best handled with the provided.

Principle 11:-States shall enact effective environmental legislation.? Environmental standards, management objectives, and priorities should reflect the environmental and developmental context to which they apply. Standards applied by some countries may be inapproprſate and of unwarranted economic and social cost to other countries, In particular developing countries.

Principle 12:- States should cooperate to promote a supportive and open international economic system that would lead to economic growth and sustainable development in all countries, to better address the problems of environmental degradation. Trade policy measures for environmental purposes should not -constitute a means of arbitrarý or unjustifiable discrimination or a disguised restriction on international trade: Unilateral actions to deal with environmental challenges outside the jurisdiction of the importing country should be avoided. Environmental measures addressing transboundary or global environmental problems should, as far as possible, be based on an international consensus.

Principle 13- States shall develop national law regarding liability and compensation for the victims of pollution and other environmental damage. States shall also cooperate in an expeditious and more determined manner to develop further international law regarding liability and compensation for adverse effects of environmental damage caused by activities within their jurisdiction or control to areas beyond their jurisdiction.

Principle 14:-States should effectively cooperate to discourage or prevent the relocation and transfer to other States of any activities and substances that cause severe environmental degradation or are found to be harmful to human health.

Principle 15-In order to protect the environment, .the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities] Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of- full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation

Principle 16:- National authorities should endeavor to promote the internalization of environmental instruments, taking into account the approach that the polluter should, in principle, bear the cost of pollution, with due regard to the public interest and without distorting international trade and investment. costs and the use of economic

Principle 17- Environmental impact assessment, instrument, shall be undertaken for proposed activities that are likely to have a significant adverse impact on the environment and are subject to a decision of a competent national authority.

Principle 18 States shall immediately notify other States of any natural disasters or other emergencies that are likely to produce sudden harmful effects on the environment of those States. Every effort shall be made by the international community to help States so afflicted.

should be mobilizėd to forge a global partnership in order to achieve

Principle 21: The creativity, ideals and courage of the youth of the world significant adverse transboundary environmental effect and shall development. Their full participation is therefore essential to achievę Principle 20 Women have a vital role in environmental management and

Principle 19 : States shall provide prior and timely notification and relevant information to potentially affected States on activities that may consult with those States at an early stage and in good faith. Environmental Law 163 have sustainable development. sustainable development and ensure a better future for all. Principle 22:- Indigenous people and their communities, and other local communities, have a vital rolė in environmental management and development because of their knowledge and traditional practices. States should recognize and duly support their identity, culture, and interests and enable their effective participation in \the achievement of sustainable development. Principle 23:- The environment and natural resources of people under oppression, domination, and occupation shall be protected.

Principle 24 Warfare is inherently destructive of sustainable development. States shall therefore respect international law providing protection for the environment in times of armed conflict and cooperate in its further development, as necessary.

Principle 25:- Peace, development and environment protection are interdependent and indivisible.

Principle 26 States shall resolve all their environmental disputes peacefully and by appropriate means in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.

Principle 27:- States and people shall cooperate in good faith and in a spirit of partnership in the fulfillment of the principle embodied in this Declaration and in the further development of international law in the field of sustainable development.


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