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Rio Declaration on Environment and Development

The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development describes each States' obligations for promoting the principle of sustainable development, and involves managing resources in a way that provides for the needs of those who use those resources, as well as providing for their protection, and to preserve mankind's future interests in them. This takes into account the fact that different States have differing abilities and methods for dealing with environmental problems, a concept now known as CBDR - Common But Differentiated Responsibilities. The Declaration identified 27 guiding principles on sustainable development, including:

  • Inter-generational equity, i.e. equity between the rights and needs of current and future generations;
  • Precautionary approach, i.e. lack of full scientific certainty of the causes and effects of environmental damage should not be a reason for delaying action to prevent such damage;
  • "Polluter Pays" principle, i.e. polluters should bear the cost of pollution, and the costs of environmental damage should be reflected in cost/benefit analyses of actions affecting the environment; and
  • Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR), i.e. the world community has a common responsibility for protecting the global environment, but the level of responsibility should be concomitant with the respective amount of pollution produced.

For more detailed information on the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, please visit: http://www.un.org/documents/ga/conf151/aconf15126-1annex1.htm.