In 1992, the United Nations held its Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It was at this Conference, which came to be known as the Earth Summit, that more than a 178 governments adopted Agenda 21, a program of action for sustainable development for the 21st Century. Recognizing that economic development and environmental protection are not mutually exclusive ideas, Agenda 21 outlined measures that combat poverty while conserving natural resources.
Ten years later, at the Johannesburg Summit, a plan of implementation was agreed upon by participating countries, along with a commitment to achieve theMillennium Development Goals by 2015. In 2009, the UN General Assembly adopted a Resolution agreeing to have a United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) in 2012, also referred to as “Rio+20”. The three objectives of this summit are to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assess the remaining implementation gaps of commitments that have already been agreed upon, and to address emerging challenges. The Conference will focus on two main themes, establishing a green economy within the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication and creating an institutional framework for sustainable development.
The Rio+20 Summit, taking place in May 2012, and the Worldwatch Institute’s State of the World 2012publication, will focus on what needs to be done to achieve these goals. Nourishing the Planet will look in to how the food and agriculture sector can contribute to the green economy and address potential challenges to the creation of sustainable economies.