United Nations Environment Programme environment for development

A Brief History of Sustainable Development

In the early days of the United Nations, the issues of sustainability and environment were not at the forefront of the international agenda. It was through the outcome of the 1972 Stockholm Conference that sustainable development began to move to the centre of the discourse. Twenty years late, the landmark Rio summit recognized the three pillars of sustainable development and the notion that you cannot, however impressive your economic indicators, progress unless you take the social and the environmental dimensions into account.

In 2012, at the Rio+20 meeting, Heads of State and Governments renewed their commitment to ensure the promotion of an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable future for our planet. Far-reaching decisions were adopted to strengthen the environmental dimension of sustainable development. The Rio+20 outcome document – The Future We Want – demanded a new vision and a responsive framework for after 2015, in which business as usual was replaced by an ambitious, integrated and transformational agenda for action.

The follow-up to that historic moment has seen an intense period of global negotiations, which culminated  last September in the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Agenda, with Sustainable Development Goals at its core.

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High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF)

11-20 July, UN Headquarters, New York - #17days17goals