Chapter 1: Preamble*
1.1. Humanity stands at a defining moment in history. We are confronted with
a perpetuation of disparities between and within nations, a worsening of poverty,
hunger, ill health and illiteracy, and the continuing deterioration of the ecosystems
on which we depend for our well-being. However, integration of environment and
development concerns and greater attention to them will lead to the fulfilment
of basic needs, improved living standards for all, better protected and managed
ecosystems and a safer, more prosperous future. No nation can achieve this on
its own; but together we can - in a global partnership for sustainable development.
1.2. This global partnership must build on the premises of General Assembly
resolution 44/228 of 22 December 1989, which was adopted when the nations of
the world called for the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development,
and on the acceptance of the need to take a balanced and integrated approach
to environnment and development questions.
1.3. Agenda 21 addresses the pressing problems of today and also aims at preparing
the world for the challenges of the next century. It reflects a global consensus
and political commitment at the highest level on development and environment
cooperation. Its successful implementation is first and foremost the responsibility
of Governments. National strategies, plans, policies and processes are crucial
in achieving this. International cooperation should support and supplement such
national efforts. In this context, the United Nations system has a key role
to play. Other international, regional and subregional organizations are also
called upon to contribute to this effort. The broadest public participation
and the active involvement of the non-governmental organizations and other groups
should also be encouraged.
1.4. The developmental and environmental objectives of Agenda 21 will require
a substantial flow of new and additional financial resources to developing countries,
in order to cover the incremental costs for the actions they have to undertake
to deal with global environmental problems and to accelerate sustainable development.
Financial resources are also required for strengthening the capacity of international
institutions for the implementation of Agenda 21. An indicative order-of-magnitude
assessment of costs is included in each of the programme areas. This assessment
will need to be examined and refined by the relevant implementing agencies and
1.5. In the implementation of the relevant programme areas identified in Agenda
21, special attention should be given to the particular circumstances facing
the economies in transition. It must also be recognized that these countries
are facing unprecedented challenges in transforming their economies, in some
cases in the midst of considerable social and political tension.
1.6. The programme areas that constitute Agenda 21 are described in terms of
the basis for action, objectives, activities and means of implementation. Agenda
21 is a dynamic programme. It will be carried out by the various actors according
to the different situations, capacities and priorities of countries and regions
in full respect of all the principles contained in the Rio Declaration on Environment
and Development. It could evolve over time in the light of changing needs and
circumstances. This process marks the beginning of a new global partnership
for sustainable development.
* When the term "Governments" is used, it will be deemed to include
the European Economic Community within its areas of competence. Throughout Agenda
21 the term "environmentally sound" means "environmentally safe
and sound", in particular when applied to the terms "energy sources",
"energy supplies", "energy systems" and "technology"