ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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An Assessment of the Rio Summit on Sustainable Development

Rio+20 may not have achieved as much as was hoped for in addressing the environmental challenges of the world. But the summit was not a failure that many have portrayed it to be. An analysis of the main outcomes, especially of the new "sustainable development goals", brings out the complex nature of the outcome and the challenges in the follow-up.

The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, more popularly known as Rio+20 commemorating the 20th anniversary of the 1992 Earth Summit, ended with expressions of deep disappointment from broad sections of members of the media and the environmental non-governmental organi­sations who saw little new commitments to action in the final text that was adopted by the heads of state and government and their senior official.

This was understandable as much had been expected from the Rio+20 summit, the biggest international gathering of world leaders this year. There was unhappiness and frustration that the hundred heads of state and government who came to Rio de Janeiro were unable or not asked to take decisive actions. There was a sense that the speeches, round tables and panel discussions at the huge Rio Centro conference venue were part of a ceremonial function for the political leaders, while the tough decisions required by the crises were avoided or postponed.

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