The 1992 Rio Declaration on Environment and Development defines the rights of the people to be involved in the development of their economies, and the responsibilities of human beings to safeguard the common environment. The declaration builds upon the basic ideas concerning the attitudes of individuals and nations towards the environment and development, first identified at the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (1972).
The Rio Declaration states that long term economic progress is only ensured if it is linked with the protection of the environment. If this is to be achieved, then nations must establish a new global partnership involving governments, their people and the key sectors of society. Together human society must assemble international agreements that protect the global environment with responsible development.
There are a number of principles to the Rio Declaration.
- People are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature.
- Development today must not threaten the needs of present and future generations.
- Nations have the right to exploit their own resources, but without causing environmental damage beyond their borders.
- Environmental protection shall constitute an integral part of the development process.
- Eradicating poverty and reducing disparities in living standards in different parts of the world are essential if we are to achieve sustainable development whilst meeting the needs of the majority of the people.
- Environmental issues are best handled with the participation of all concerned citizens.
- The polluter should, in principle, bear the cost of pollution.
- Sustainable development requires better scientific understanding of the problems. Nations should share knowledge and technologies to achieve the goal of sustainability.