Rio declaration on environment and development
The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development,
Having met at Rio de Janeiro from 3 to 14 June 1992,
Reaffirming the Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human
Environment, adopted at Stockholm on 16 June 1972, a/ and seeking to build upon
With the goal of establishing a new and equitable global partnership through
the creation of new levels of cooperation among States, key sectors of societies
Working towards international agreements which respect the interests of all
and protect the integrity of the global environmental and developmental system,
Recognizing the integral and interdependent nature of the Earth, our home,
Human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development. They
are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature.
States have, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the
principles of international law, the sovereign right to exploit their own resources
pursuant to their own environmental and developmental policies, and the responsibility
to ensure that activities within their jurisdiction or control do not cause
damage to the environment of other States or of areas beyond the limits of national
The right to development must be fulfilled so as to equitably meet developmental
and environmental needs of present and future generations.
In order to achieve sustainable development, environmental protection shall
constitute an integral part of the development process and cannot be considered
in isolation from it.
All States and all people shall cooperate in the essential task of eradicating
poverty as an indispensable requirement for sustainable development, in order
to decrease the disparities in standards of living and better meet the needs
of the majority of the people of the world.
The special situation and needs of developing countries, particularly the
least developed and those most environmentally vulnerable, shall be given special
priority. International actions in the field of environment and development
should also address the interests and needs of all countries.
States shall cooperate in a spirit of global partnership to conserve, protect
and restore the health and integrity of the Earth's ecosystem. In view of the
different contributions to global environmental degradation, States have common
but differentiated responsibilities. The developed countries acknowledge the
responsibility that they bear in the international pursuit of sustainable development
in view of the pressures their societies place on the global environment and
of the technologies and financial resources they command.
To achieve sustainable development and a higher quality of life for all people,
States should reduce and eliminate unsustainable patterns of production and
consumption and promote appropriate demographic policies.
States should cooperate to strengthen endogenous capacity-building for sustainable
development by improving scientific understanding through exchanges of scientific
and technological knowledge, and by enhancing the development, adaptation, diffusion
and transfer of technologies, including new and innovative technologies.
Environmental issues are best handled with the participation of all concerned
citizens, at the relevant level. At the national level, each individual shall
have appropriate access to information concerning the environment that is held
by public authorities, including information on hazardous materials and activities
in their communities, and the opportunity to participate in decision-making
processes. States shall facilitate and encourage public awareness and participation
by making information widely available. Effective access to judicial and administrative
proceedings, including redress and remedy, shall be provided.
States shall enact effective environmental legislation. Environmental standards,
management objectives and priorities should reflect the environmental and developmental
context to which they apply. Standards applied by some countries may be inappropriate
and of unwarranted economic and social cost to other countries, in particular
States should cooperate to promote a supportive and open international economic
system that would lead to economic growth and sustainable development in all
countries, to better address the problems of environmental degradation. Trade
policy measures for environmental purposes should not constitute a means of
arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination or a disguised restriction on international
trade. Unilateral actions to deal with environmental challenges outside the
jurisdiction of the importing country should be avoided. Environmental measures
addressing transboundary or global environmental problems should, as far as
possible, be based on an international consensus.
States shall develop national law regarding liability and compensation for
the victims of pollution and other environmental damage. States shall also cooperate
in an expeditious and more determined manner to develop further international
law regarding liability and compensation for adverse effects of environmental
damage caused by activities within their jurisdiction or control to areas beyond
States should effectively cooperate to discourage or prevent the relocation
and transfer to other States of any activities and substances that cause severe
environmental degradation or are found to be harmful to human health.
In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely
applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of
serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not
be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental
National authorities should endeavour to promote the internalization of environmental
costs and the use of economic instruments, taking into account the approach
that the polluter should, in principle, bear the cost of pollution, with due
regard to the public interest and without distorting international trade and
Environmental impact assessment, as a national instrument, shall be undertaken
for proposed activities that are likely to have a significant adverse impact
on the environment and are subject to a decision of a competent national authority.
States shall immediately notify other States of any natural disasters or other
emergencies that are likely to produce sudden harmful effects on the environment
of those States. Every effort shall be made by the international community to
help States so afflicted.
States shall provide prior and timely notification and relevant information
to potentially affected States on activities that may have a significant adverse
transboundary environmental effect and shall consult with those States at an
early stage and in good faith.
Women have a vital role in environmental management and development. Their
full participation is therefore essential to achieve sustainable development.
The creativity, ideals and courage of the youth of the world should be mobilized
to forge a global partnership in order to achieve sustainable development and
ensure a better future for all.
Indigenous people and their communities and other local communities have a
vital role in environmental management and development because of their knowledge
and traditional practices. States should recognize and duly support their identity,
culture and interests and enable their effective participation in the achievement
of sustainable development.
The environment and natural resources of people under oppression, domination
and occupation shall be protected.
Warfare is inherently destructive of sustainable development. States shall
therefore respect international law providing protection for the environment
in times of armed conflict and cooperate in its further development, as necessary.
Peace, development and environmental protection are interdependent and indivisible.
States shall resolve all their environmental disputes peacefully and by appropriate
means in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.
States and people shall cooperate in good faith and in a spirit of partnership
in the fulfilment of the principles embodied in this Declaration and in the
further development of international law in the field of sustainable development.
a/ Report of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, Stockholm,
5-16 June 1972 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.73.II.A.14 and corrigendum),
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