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Earth Summit

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The Earth Summit is the shorthand reference to the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. It was convened in Rio de Janeiro from 3 to 14 June, 1992.

Two major international agreements (legally binding on signatories) were agreed to at this conference. These were the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (the climate change framework or Climate Change Convention) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) also known as the Biodiversity Convention.

In addition to these treaties, the conference resulted in some non-binding documents, namely the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, Agenda 21 and the Forest Principles.

The Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was set up to assist with implementation and compliance of the agreements, especially the Rio Declaration and Agenda 21. The CSD remained in place until 2013, when it was replaces by a High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

Progress

Although the Earth Summit was a momentous event in terms of the level of agreements reached, in reality there have been many problems in implementing and enforcing compliance with the goals and legal requirements of the varying agreements. Both environmental degradation (including biodiversity loss and increased greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere) and poverty remain pressing issues over 20 years later.

Part of the problem lies in the significant debate that surrounded various of the agreements, leading to ongoing problems with implementation and interpretation by countries of their obligations.




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