Magazine article UN Chronicle

The Spirit of Rio

Magazine article UN Chronicle

The Spirit of Rio

Article excerpt

Since the Earth Summit in 1992, tile "Spirit of Rio" lives on through the actions of Governments, international organizations, major groups, and individuals around the world.

The Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) can justifiably be called the steward of the "Rio Spirit" and of sustainable development. CSD has not only managed to mobilize the interest and active involvement of Governments and the United Nations system, including the development banks, but has also captured the attention of non-governmental groups and the public-at-large.

The response to Agenda 21 and the work of the Commission has been encouraging with a multitude of public and private initiatives aimed at implementing the results of the Earth Summit. CSD has gotten this response because of the urgency of its subject matter and the open and transparent way it has conducted its business. The effort to be inclusive has generated support for the Commission and commitment to its work programme. The main issues facing countries in their development agendas are being urgently addressed by the Commission as it attempts to integrate economic, social and environmental concerns.

Inspired by the Earth Summit and encouraged by the work of the Commission, people and organizations all over the world have translated Agenda 21 into practical action in local communities. The following examples are illustrative of the range of action that has been undertaken.

In early 1994, the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries launched a "Clean, Green and Profitable" programme to assist selected industries in Zimbabwe in developing their managerial and technical capacity to improve environmental performance. The initial focus is on working with management to develop commitment and corporate strategies to improve performance, and on environmental and "housekeeping" audits to seek immediate opportunities to reduce inputs of materials, water and energy, and outputs of wastes.

In Metro Manila, Philippines, a quiet revolution is going on with the Metro Manila Resource Recovery Programme, which is supported by three groups: the Clean and Green Foundation, the Metro Manila Linis-Ganda, and the Department of Environment, River Rehabilitation Secretariat. They have organized junk shop owners into environmental cooperatives registered with the Cooperative Development Authority. There is an orderly system where eco-aides collect and buy materials and the junk shop owners sort out the material and sell it to factories and other buyers. …

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