From the Earth Summit to Rio+20

The Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro from 3-14 June 1992, was the first conference to address environment and development in an integrated manner. It was unprecedented for a UN conference both in terms of its size and the range of issues discussed. The summit led to the adoption of the Agenda 21, a wide-ranging blueprint for action to achieve sustainable development worldwide, and heavily influenced subsequent UN conferences and processes.  

As a 10-year follow-up, the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) took place in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 26 August to 4 September 2002. It adopted the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, which aimed at reinforcing and further promoting the outcomes of the Earth Summit.   

The Rio+20 Conference took place in Brazil on 20-22 June 2012 to mark the 20th anniversary of the Earth Summit and the 10th anniversary of the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. World leaders, along with thousands of participants from governments, the private sector, NGOs and other groups, came together to shape how we can reduce poverty, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection. The conference agreed on an outcome document entitled “The Future We Want”.

Regional contributions to the Johannesburg and Rio+20 Conferences were formulated through Regional Preparatory Conferences in 2001 and 2011. UNECE participated actively in the Rio+20 Conference, in particular by showcasing how UNECE is working to make the Green Economy concept operational in its programmes of work.