The Earth Summit 1992:
Rio Declaration on Environment and Development
(Rio de Janeiro, 3-14 June 1992)
The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development,
Having met at Rio de Janeiro from 3 to 14 June 1992,
Reaffirming the Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment,
adopted at Stockholm on 16 June 1972, and seeking to build upon it,
With the goal of establishing a new and equitable global partnership through the creation
of new levels of cooperation among States, key sectors of societies and people,
Working towards international agreements which respect the interests of all and protect
the integrity of the global environmental and developmental system,
Recognizing the integral and interdependent nature of the Earth, our home,
Human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development. They are
entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature.
States have, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of
international law, the sovereign right to exploit their own resources pursuant to their
own environmental and developmental policies, and the responsibility to ensure that
activities within their jurisdiction or control do not cause damage to the environment of
other States or of areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction.
The right to development must be fulfilled so as to equitably meet developmental and
environmental needs of present and future generations.
In order to achieve sustainable development, environmental protection shall constitute
an integral part of the development process and cannot be considered in isolation from it.
All States and all people shall cooperate in the essential task of eradicating poverty
as an indispensable requirement for sustainable development, in order to decrease the
disparities in standards of living and better meet the needs of the majority of the people
of the world.
The special situation and needs of developing countries, particularly the least
developed and those most environmentally vulnerable, shall be given special priority.
International actions in the field of environment and development should also address the
interests and needs of all countries.
States shall cooperate in a spirit of global partnership to conserve, protect and
restore the health and integrity of the Earth's ecosystem. In view of the different
contributions to global environmental degradation, States have common but differentiated
responsibilities. The developed countries acknowledge the responsibility that they bear in
the international pursuit of sustainable development in view of the pressures their
societies place on the global environment and of the technologies and financial resources
To achieve sustainable development and a higher quality of life for all people, States
should reduce and eliminate unsustainable patterns of production and consumption and
promote appropriate demographic policies.
States should cooperate to strengthen endogenous capacity-building for sustainable
development by improving scientific understanding through exchanges of scientific and
technological knowledge, and by enhancing the development, adaptation, diffusion and
transfer of technologies, including new and innovative technologies.
Environmental issues are best handled with the participation of all concerned citizens,
at the relevant level. At the national level, each individual shall have appropriate
access to information concerning the environment that is held by public authorities,
including information on hazardous materials and activities in their communities, and the
opportunity to participate in decision-making processes. States shall facilitate and
encourage public awareness and participation by making information widely available.
Effective access to judicial and administrative proceedings, including redress and remedy,
shall be provided.
States shall enact effective environmental legislation. Environmental standards,
management objectives and priorities should reflect the environmental and developmental
context to which they apply. Standards applied by some countries may be inappropriate and
of unwarranted economic and social cost to other countries, in particular developing
States should cooperate to promote a supportive and open international economic system
that would lead to economic growth and sustainable development in all countries, to better
address the problems of environmental degradation. Trade policy measures for environmental
purposes should not constitute a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination or a
disguised restriction on international trade. Unilateral actions to deal with
environmental challenges outside the jurisdiction of the importing country should be
avoided. Environmental measures addressing transboundary or global environmental problems
should, as far as possible, be based on an international consensus.
States shall develop national law regarding liability and compensation for the victims
of pollution and other environmental damage. States shall also cooperate in an expeditious
and more determined manner to develop further international law regarding liability and
compensation for adverse effects of environmental damage caused by activities within their
jurisdiction or control to areas beyond their jurisdiction.
States should effectively cooperate to discourage or prevent the relocation and
transfer to other States of any activities and substances that cause severe environmental
degradation or are found to be harmful to human health.
In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied
by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or
irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for
postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.
National authorities should endeavour to promote the internalization of environmental
costs and the use of economic instruments, taking into account the approach that the
polluter should, in principle, bear the cost of pollution, with due regard to the public
interest and without distorting international trade and investment.
Environmental impact assessment, as a national instrument, shall be undertaken for
proposed activities that are likely to have a significant adverse impact on the
environment and are subject to a decision of a competent national authority.
States shall immediately notify other States of any natural disasters or other
emergencies that are likely to produce sudden harmful effects on the environment of those
States. Every effort shall be made by the international community to help States so
States shall provide prior and timely notification and relevant information to
potentially affected States on activities that may have a significant adverse
transboundary environmental effect and shall consult with those States at an early stage
and in good faith.
Women have a vital role in environmental management and development. Their full
participation is therefore essential to achieve sustainable development.
The creativity, ideals and courage of the youth of the world should be mobilized to
forge a global partnership in order to achieve sustainable development and ensure a better
future for all.
Indigenous people and their communities and other local communities have a vital role
in environmental management and development because of their knowledge and traditional
practices. States should recognize and duly support their identity, culture and interests
and enable their effective participation in the achievement of sustainable development.
The environment and natural resources of people under oppression, domination and
occupation shall be protected.
Warfare is inherently destructive of sustainable development. States shall therefore
respect international law providing protection for the environment in times of armed
conflict and cooperate in its further development, as necessary.
Peace, development and environmental protection are interdependent and indivisible.
States shall resolve all their environmental disputes peacefully and by appropriate
means in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.
States and people shall cooperate in good faith and in a spirit of partnership in the
fulfilment of the principles embodied in this Declaration and in the further development
of international law in the field of sustainable development.
(This document has been made available in electronic format
by the United Nations.)