The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development

The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development is a set of principles that recognize the importance of preserving the environment and set forth international guidelines for doing so.  They were compiled at the United Nations Conference for Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and are found in the report of this conference.  The Rio Declaration serves as some of the standards by which UN Member countries create domestic and international environmental policies and by which they form agreements or organizations with one another, as it pertains to the environment and conservation.


Goal: The goal of the Rio Declaration is to work towards the following objectives;

[…] establishing a new and equitable global partnership through the creation of new levels of cooperation among States, key societies and people,

Working towards international agreements which respect the interests of all and protect the integrity of the global environment and developmental system,


Relevant Clauses[1]


Principle 1

Human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development.  They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature.


Principle 3

The right to development must be fulfilled so as to equitably meet developmental and environmental needs of present and future generations.


Principle 6

The special situation and needs of developing countries, particularly the least developed and those most environmentally vulnerable, shall be given special priority […]


Principle 7

States shall cooperate in a spirit of global partnership to conserve, protect and restore the health and integrity of the Earth’s ecosystem […] 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 global environment and of the technologies and financial resources they command.


Principle 8

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.


Principle 10

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 […] and the opportunity to participate in decision-making processes  […]


Principle 11

                States shall enact effective environmental

              legislation […]


Principle 13

States shall develop national law regarding liability and compensation for the victims of pollution and other environmental damage […]


Principle 14

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.


Principle 16

                […] the polluter should, in principle, bear the

               cost of pollution […]


Principle 22

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.


Principle 23

The environment and natural resources of people under oppression, domination and occupation shall be protected.


Principle 25

                Peace, development and environmental protection

              are interdependent and indivisible.


[1]United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (1992). Rio Declaration on Environment and Development. Retrieved October 10, 2013, from United Nations: