Rio Earth Summit - 30 years on: Imperial and UN experts reflect on landmark meet


Brazil from space

Imperial's Global Development Hub hosted a seminar to reflect on the Rio Earth Summit, which took place 30 years ago, and progress since.

The Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992 marked a major landmark for international environmental action.

The aim was ‘to produce a broad agenda and a new blueprint for international action on environmental and development issues that would help guide international cooperation and development policy in the twenty-first century’.

It was agreed that sustainable development was possible for all and member states should strive towards it.

The seminar, hosted by Imperial's Global Development Hub in partnership with the Grantham Institute brought together leading climate and environment experts including: Dr Barron Joseph Orr, Lead Scientist for the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Ms Jyoti Mathur-Filipp, Director of Implementation and Support Division at the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity and Dr Youssef Nassef, Director of the Adaptation Division, UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), Chair, World Adaptation Science Programme.

The event was chaired by Dr Bonnie Waring, from the Grantham Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.

Progress towards UN goals

Dr Waring explained that the Earth Summit gave way to three UN conventions; Framework Convention on Climate Change, Convention on Biological diversity and the Convention to combat desertification. 

Dr Waring said: "Over these past three decades, progress towards the goals initially laid out by each of the conventions has been inconsistent. For some of the goals we've fallen far short of the targets the international community laid out.

"However at the same time there have been technological, economic and cultural advances that have reshaped the playing-field and it holds out the hope that we can still find a way to transition our global economy and society to have a more sustainable relationship with our planet and our resources."

Find out more about the work of Imperial's Global Development Hub


Stephen Johns

Stephen Johns
Communications Division

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