What's the Rio Summit?

A viewer asked this question on 5/13/2000:


I am a University student and I need to write an essay on the following question:
"Discuss critically the political issues underpinning the Brundtland process, the Rio Summit, and the advocacy of sustainable development."

Do you have any keywords for me that I could use as a starting point fir this essay, or do you know where I could get such information from?

Thank you very much!

JesseGordon gave this response on 5/13/2000:

Here's a quick answer; you can follow up for more detail:

1) The Rio Summit was formally called the "United Nations Conference on Environment and Development," held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992. (There was a parallel "NGO Conference" of all the non-government organizations, which I attended).

2) The political issues there were about what the developed world would agree to do, in order to alleviate global warming, and assure that the developing world could "sustainably develop". (That's all code words for "Get the rich countries to give the poor countries money so they're more energy efficient).

3) "Sustainable development" is the real keyword. It means "build your economy in such a way that you don't deplete your resources." You can read my paper on the subject, written at the time, at .

4) I'm not sure what the "Brundtland process" is. Gro Harlem Brundtland was a key moderator of the Rio Conference (and the former President of Norway). She wrote the classic book on sustainable development, called "Our Common Future", but usually cited as ":The Brundtland Report."

5) The Rio Treaty is a "framework" treaty -- it sets the groundwork for future "protocols" that do the actual details. The Kyoto conference, which is in the news this month, is supposed to produce the "Kyoto Protocols" which actually set greenhouse gas emission levels, and so on. This "framework/protocol" method is supposed to be easier to pass politically because everyone readily agrees to a framework of goals without specifics, and then in the second round they negotiate the specifics. The same "framework/protocol" method was used for the Ozone Treaty, ending with the "Montreal Protocol" for ozone reduction.

Return to index