Earth Summit: Meaning and Development

The Earth Summit, also known as the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 1992, with participation from 172 countries. 108 heads of state, 2,400 members from various NGOs, and up to 10,000 journalists attended the Earth Summit, which was an unparalleled gathering of representatives.

A parallel NGO forum with 17,000 additional NGO delegates offered suggestions to the Earth Summit. Global attitudes towards the environment have changed, as seen by the enormous interest and participation of states and NGOs in the Earth Summit. Human activity was harming the environment, according to scientific evidence obtained in the second half of the 20th century.

What is Earth Summit

The Earth Summit, also known as the Rio Summit or Rio Conference, was the name of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), which took place from June 3 to June 14, 1992. Determining a thorough agenda and a novel approach for international action on environment and development concerns in the twenty-first century was the aim of the Rio Summit. After the Cold War, the Earth Summit was established to encourage member governments to work together worldwide on development issues. The Earth Summit was established to provide a forum for member states to work together on sustainability-related challenges that were too large for any one of them to manage alone. Since its inception, many additional organisations working in the sustainability field, including non-governmental organisations, have developed in a way that is similar to the topics covered in these conferences (NGOs).

What is Rio Earth Summit

The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, which was held in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1972, was commemorated by the Earth Summit on its twentieth anniversary. The 1972 summit was the first time an environmental meeting of this caliber resulted in the adoption of the Stockholm Declaration and Plan of Action.

Development of Earth Summit

A key result of the meeting was a deal on the Climate Change Convention, which later gave rise to the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. A further commitment was made to "not engage in any actions on the territory of indigenous peoples that would degrade the environment or be culturally incorrect."

At the Earth Summit, the Convention on Biological Diversity was made available for signature, and it represented a first step towards redefining policies in a way that did not innately support the destruction of natural ecoregions and alleged uneconomic growth. At this conference, the idea for World Oceans Day was first put forth, and it has been celebrated ever since.

The proposed Convention on Biological Diversity was not signed by the United States, despite President George H. W. Bush signing the Earth Summit's Convention on Climate. EPA Administrator William K. Reilly acknowledges that the United States' goals at the conference were challenging to negotiate and that the agency's international results were mixed.

The Local Government Honours Award, given in recognition of outstanding regional environmental initiatives, was given to twelve cities. These included Kitakyushu in Japan for incorporating an international education and training component into its municipal pollution control programme, Sudbury in Canada for its ambitious programme to repair environmental damage caused by the nearby mining industry, and Austin in the United States for its green building strategy.

Impact and Issues

The Earth Summit of 1992 resulted in a number of long-term reports and implementation plans that are still used as guidelines for global environmental action, including the Kyoto Protocol and the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Earth Summit 2002). Agenda 21, the Statement of Forest Principles, and the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development were all products of the 1992 Earth Summit. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biological Diversity were both established as a result of the Earth Summit (UNFCCC).

The rights and obligations of states in the fields of environmental protection and sustainable development are outlined in the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, a set of guiding principles. According to the Rio Declaration, countries have the right to use natural resources inside their borders as long as their actions don't have an adverse impact on the environment in neighbouring countries.

Additionally, it demands that all local, state, and federal governments create and carry out strategies to save the environment and natural resources for future generations. Sustainable management of forests was urged in the Declaration of Forest Principles. A compromise was reached to create the non-binding declaration after rich nations declined to foot the bill for developing countries' preservation of national forests.

In order to protect the environment through sustainable development, international organisations, national governments, local governments, and NGOs must collaborate under Agenda 21. Four categories make up this document: Social and Economic Aspects, Conservation and Management of Resources for Development, Enhancing the Participation of Main Organisations, and Methods of Implementation The primary organisation in charge of carrying out Agenda 21 is the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development.

Both developed and developing countries are responsible for environmental deterioration, according to Agenda 21. Environmental rules are frequently laxer in less developed countries, which also prioritise economic growth. Developed countries have more stringent environmental restrictions, but their manufacturing and consumption patterns still pollute the environment.


The major purpose of "Earth Summit" is to ensure sustainable development, which could be achieved by everyone on the globe, whether they were at the local, national, regional, or international level. It also recognized the necessity of integrating and balancing economic, social, and environmental issues in order to meet human needs, as well as the viability of such an integrated approach. This concept was revolutionary for its time and sparked a contentious debate about how to ensure sustainability for development both inside governments and between governments and their citizens.

Frequently Asked Question

Q1. How Many countries participate in the earth summit?

Ans. At the time of the 1992 Earth Summit, there were 117 heads of state and ambassadors from 178 different countries present, making it the greatest gathering of world leaders ever.

Q2. Which country held Earth summit2?

Ans. South Africa hosted the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development from August 26 to September 4, 2002. Ten years after the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, it was called to explore sustainable development organisations. (Thus, it was also referred to as "Rio+10" informally.)

Q3. Who did found the earth summit?

Ans. The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), often known as the Earth Summit, was launched by United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali on June 3, 1992. Fernando Collor de Mello, President of Brazil, was chosen to lead the conference.

Q4. What is the first earth summit?

Ans. The first international Earth Summit, held in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, brought together more than 100 heads of state to discuss pressing issues relating to environmental conservation and socioeconomic growth.

Q5. When was the last Earth summit held?

Ans. In 1992, the first summit was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Rio de Janeiro also played host to the 2012 Rio+20 Earth Summit.

Updated on: 09-May-2023


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