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Item #d97may95

Progress since Rio is under review by the United Nations and by the Earth Council, a group formed by environmental and development organizations after the 1992 Earth Summit to encourage links between governments and the public. In late March 1997, the Earth Council brought together about 500 representatives of governments, environmental groups and the private sector for a conference called Rio+5, to review successes and failures in achieving the goals of the Earth Summit. Those goals include action on climate change and forest loss, as well as toxic chemicals, toxic waste and radioactive waste.

Leading up to the meeting, the Earth Council released two documents. (See REPORTS/EARTH SUMMIT REVIEW, this Global Climate Change Digest issue--May 1997.) One concludes that there has been little progress since Rio, with some exceptions at the local level; the other attacks public funding subsidies that promote unsustainable development.

According to Intl. Environ. Rptr. (p. 301, Apr. 2), the Rio+5 meeting concluded in chaos March 19, with participants rejecting the meeting's final document that listed policy recommendations for implementing the Earth Summit agenda. Participants agreed in general that the world has failed to meet the goals of the Earth Summit, a fact they blame primarily on the developed countries. But they rejected the final report because it failed to fully reflect the criticisms aired at meeting workshops.

The United Nations has been preparing for a special session of the U.N. General Assembly on development and the environment, to be held in June. But negotiations of the U.N. Commission on Sustainable Development, held in April, could not reach much agreement on a text to be presented to the General Assembly in June summarizing progress since Rio. (See Intl. Environ. Rptr., pp. 349-350, Apr. 16, 1997; pp. 413-414, Apr. 30.) At the April negotiations, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan proposed guidelines for focusing the work of the commission (see REPORTS/EARTH SUMMIT REVIEW, this Global Climate Change Digest issue--May 1997). Environmental groups were again critical of the lack commitment to sustainable development.

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