Important Websites

summary of key documents

This section provides an overview of key documents that will help you understand the UN Commission on Sustainable Development and other processes that the MGCY is involved.

Agenda 21

There are two major features of this agreement:

Social, economic and environmental development must be seen as interdependent; and
It was formulated in negotiations involving an unprecedented number of people and organisations, an intensification of the process of global democratization seen as essential for the 21st century.

Agenda 21 sees sustainable development as a way to reverse both poverty and environmental degradation. A major theme is to eradicate poverty by giving poor people more access to the resources they need to live sustainably, including information and skills. It calls for all stakeholders to develop national strategies for sustainable development in an ongoing process of consultation and global democratization from local to international levels from 1993/4 – 1997.

Agenda 21 is a huge document, with 40 chapters in 4 sections. It deals with:

Social and economic dimensions – developing countries, poverty, consumption patterns, population, health, integrating environment and development.
Conservation and management of resources – atmosphere, land, forests, deserts, agriculture, biodiversity, biotechnology, oceans, fresh water, hazardous materials, and waste.
Strengthening the role of major groups – women, children and youth, indigenous peoples, non-governmental organizations, local authorities, workers, business and industry, farmers, scientists and technologists.
Means of implementation – finance, technology transfer, science, education, capacity-building, international institutions, legal measures, and information.

To read the original document click here.


The Rio Declaration

The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development was a document produce at the 1992 Earth Summit. The 27 principles included in the Declaration strive to guide development worldwide.

Besides strengthening environmental protection and providing mechanism for conflict resolution, key principles also state:

Principle 3: The right to development must be fulfilled so as to equitably meet developmental and environmental needs of present and future generations.
Principle 4: 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.
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, including information on hazardous materials and activities in their communities, and the opportunity to participate in decision-making processes…"
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, including information on hazardous materials and activities in their communities, and the opportunity to participate in decision-making processes…"
Principle 21: 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.

To read the original document click here.


Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development

The Johannesburg Declaration was adopted in the 2002 Earth Summit. The Declaration is very similar to the Rio Declaration, but seeks to propose new mechanisms for international cooperation and multilateralism.

The document also gives specific attention to the challenges that hider development, which include: chronic hunger; malnutrition; foreign occupation; armed conflict; organized crime; corruption; natural disasters; hatred; and endemic, communicable and chronic diseases, in particular HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

To read the original document click here.


Johannesburg Plan of Implementation

The Johannesburg Plan of Implementation or JPOI builds on the achievement of past Earth Summits. It sets out new commitments and priorities for poverty eradication, health, trade, education, science within the context of sustainable development. The plan also pays particular attention to regional development and Small Island Developing States.

The Johannesburg Plan of Implementation recognizes the need to increase official development assistance, and to facilitate greater flows of foreign direct investment to support the sustainable development activities, including the development of infrastructure, of developing countries, and enhance the benefits that developing countries can draw from foreign direct investment.

To read the original document click here.


Millennium Declaration

The Millennium Declaration was adopted in 2002 to develop a concrete action plan for the world to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and to reverse the grinding poverty, hunger and disease affecting billions of people. During the Summit, Heads of State agreed to work towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals.


Millennium Development Goals

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are the world's time-bound and quantified targets for addressing extreme poverty, while promoting gender equality, education, and environmental sustainability. They are also basic human rights-the rights of each person on the planet to health, education, shelter, and security. The deadline to meet the MDGs is 2015.

The MDGs are:

To read more information about the MDGs and their specific targets click here.