From June 3-13, 1992, the United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The governments that participated in that conference adopted a declaration that reaffirmed the Declaration of the Conference of the United Nations on the Human Environment, approved in Stockholm on June 16 1972. The governments that took part centered the Rio summit gathering on the objective of a new and equitable world alliance by means of the creating of new levels of cooperation between countries, the key sectors of the societies and the people.
The result was a declaration which in addition to recognizing the integral and interdependent nature of the Earth, our home, contains 27 principles concerning a responsible use and taking advantage of her.
20 years after Rio 1992, it is impossible not to ask the question: what has happened over the years since? Well, at Rio +20 the theme of sustainability is no longer one exclusive to international organisms and the academic world.
Following Rio 1992, the Kyoto Protocol (Agreement on Climate Change) came into being in 1997, with the intention of controlling greenhouse emissions. Sadly, the mechanism has not been able to have the impact hoped for and, to the contrary, those emissions have constantly increased. It has not been possible to reduce the use of coal and oil as fuels that maintain industrial activity. With regard to the use and growing of forests, the forest surface of the earth decreased by 5% between 1990 and 2010. In 1990 there were 4.2 thousand million hectares of forest, while in 2010 the figure drops to 4 thousand million.
Río +20 has a lot to evaluate, discuss and propose. The countries, intermediate groups and economic producers should work together for a real achieving of a sustainable development. As an intermediary group, the Latin American Council of Churches (CLAI) will give the best of itself to keeping our Latin American and Caribbean brothers and sisters informed as to the issues dealt with, agreements reached and declarations made during the sessions, which we hope will result in the adopting of concrete international policies, so that growth and development face together the future that awaits us all.
Bastián Torres Durán is a young Chilean journalist, who along with
Photo: Rio +20 CLAI Youth Ministry