Magazine article UN Chronicle

Preparatory Committee Narrows Options for 'Agenda 21.' (United Nations Preparatory Committee for the UN Conference on the Environment and Development)

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Preparatory Committee Narrows Options for 'Agenda 21.' (United Nations Preparatory Committee for the UN Conference on the Environment and Development)

Article excerpt

Proposals to achieve environmentally sound, sustainable economic development in all countries--known collectively as "Agenda 21"--were thoroughly discussed by the Preparatory Committee for the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) as its third substantive session (12 August-4 September, Geneva).

The Conference, informally known as the "Earth Summit", is to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 1 to 12 June 1992. Its main objective is to devise ways to change human economic behaviour so that the natural environment of the planet is conserved.

During the session, the Preparatory Committee agreed on a framework for "Agenda 21", which is to be adopted in Rio de Janeiro, as a comprehensive blueprint for action into the twenty-first century. The Committee narrowed options for programmes within the document aimed at ensuring sustainable development in all areas where economic activity has an impact on the natural environment.

Agreement was also reached on a text--the "Earth Charter" or "Rio Declaration on Sustainable Development"--that will form the basis for commitment by States to Conference goals. While it will not establish any strict legal obligations, it will be morally binding on signatory States.

A provisional agenda for the "Earth Summit", together with rules of procedure and an organizational plan of work, was approved at the session.

On specific issues, the Committee decided that a human settlements dimension should be included in all relevant sectoral programmes and that strengthened implementation of the UN Global Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000 should be formed as a major element of "Agenda 21". …

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