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Sustainable Development

Discover here some relevant sites dedicated to the Johannesburg Summit
(August-September 2002) on Sustainable Development


Earth Summit at Rio
In June 1992, delegates from 150 countries met in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) for an Earth Summit with a view to signing the famous UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Check the Greenhouse Effect / The objective of this Convention was - and still is - to provide for the maintenance of the gas factor of the atmosphere's greenhouse effect at such a level that no "dangerous" climate change could appear, thereby preserving the climate system for current and future generations.

169 countries have ratified the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development
By 21 December 1993, such progress had been made that the Convention was ratified by the fiftieth Signatory State and was to be able to come into force ninety days later. Since then, 169 countries (including the European Union) have ratified it.

They commit themselves to
- To proceed with an inventory of their greenhouse gas emissions.
- To devise national programmes aiming to stabilise or reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- To encourage scientific and technical research into the climate system and to sustain the development and dissemination of the appropriate technologies.
To promote educational and awareness programmes on the subject of climate change.

Few additionnal Obligations
The Convention designated the industrialised countries as the principal contributors of greenhouse gas emissions, both today and yesterday.
It also assigned a pioneering role to them with regard to measures to be taken and imposed on them a number of additional obligations such as :

- To ensure that their net greenhouse gas emissions in 2000 did not exceed those of 1990.
- To provide greater financial and technical support to developing countries to enable the latter to meet their obligations in the matter.
- Financially to support the developing countries that were particularly threatened by the consequences of climate change so that they could adapt themselves accordingly.

United Nations site for Sustainable Development

The UN site for Sustainable Development is only a part of United Nations official website.
Focus on Agenda 21 a comprehensive and huge plan (300 pages) of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the United Nations System, Governments, and Major Groups in every area in which human impacts on the environment.
Also eveything you need to know about UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD).
Two years after Rio, in April 1994, the first global conference on sustainable development and the implementation of Agenda 21 - the Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States - was convened in Barbados. The conference highlighted the economic and ecological vulnerabilities of small island developing States (SIDS) and, through the adoption of the Barbados Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, it set forth specific policies, actions and measures to be taken at the national, regional and international levels in support of the sustainable development of SIDS.

At the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992, forests were among the most controversial issues being considered. The prevailing North-South polarization concerning forests did not permit agreements beyond the text of the "Non-legally Binding Authoritative Statement of Principles for a Global Consensus on the Management, Conservation and Sustainable Development of All Types of Forests," the so-called "Forest Principles," and Chapter 11 of Agenda 21 "Combatting Deforestation."
By contrast, the "Post-Rio" period 1992-1995 was one of confidence building and emerging North-South partnerships, enabling the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), at its third session in pril 1995, to establish the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF), to continue the intergovernmental forest policy dialogue.

See also the preparations of the Rio+10, The World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held in Johannesburg in 2002 (unknown date yet)

The Earth Council

The Earth Council is an international non-governmental organization (NGO) that was created in September 1992 to promote and advance the implementation of the Earth Summit agreements.
It is led by a body of 18 Members, drawn from the world's political, business, scientific and non-governmental communities. Sixteen eminent world leaders serve as Honorary Members, and an 18 member Earth Council Institute functions as an advisory board.

Three fundamental objectives have guided the work of the Earth Council since its inception:

1/ to promote awareness for the needed transition to more sustainable and equitable patterns of development
2/ to encourage public participation in decision-making processes at all levels of government
3/ to build bridges of understanding and cooperation between important actors of civil society and governments worldwide

The 1992 Earth Summit recommended the active participation of citizens along with governments in implementation of the Rio agreements. Since then, more than 70 countries have established some form of a multi-stakeholder participatory body, referred to here as National Councils for Sustainable Development (NCSDs), to promote and implement sustainable development at the national level.
See the page dedicated to these national councils and be suprised to see how many countries, after Rio 1992, have created their own council : click here.
Discover the OmCED (International Ombusdman Center for the Environment and Development) created by both the Earth Council and the World Conservation Union (IUCN) for the prevention and resolution of conflicts pertaining to environment, natural resources and sustainable development with an international or a trans-boundary dimension, click here.

Development Education Program

The Development Education Program (DEP) team designs tools and resources to help teachers and students, principally at the secondary school level, study -- and think critically about -- the often complex social, economic, and environmental issues of sustainable development affecting their countries, their regions, and the world.

They work in partnership with educators, governments, and teaching institutions to determine specific development education needs, design, develop and disseminate tools and resources for teachers that meet those needs including print-based materials, audio and video materials, CD-ROM and our website, facilitate the exchange of ideas, information, expertise, resources, and best practice, and
build education networks within and between countries that help ensure widespread understanding of and commitment to sustainable development.

The World Bank, established in 1945, is an international institution owned by the governments of 180 member countries.

Its central purpose is to promote economic and social programs in developing nations by helping raise productivity so that people may live better and fuller lives

The Development Education Program is part of the World Bank Institute (WBI). The World Bank Institute is the learning arm of the World Bank and helps member countries achieve the goals of equitable and sustainable development by helping them design and implement better policies and programs. To this end, WBI facilitates a learning dialogue on development through structured exchanges of ideas and experiences among people around the world. In addition to its traditional learning products and publications, WBI is also exploring new learning approaches made possible by emerging technologies.

There are a lot of usefull tools in this site to explore the world of Sustainable Development (Learning Modules, for instance), good basic information such as (Gross National Product, GNP), a complete glossary