Principles for international action

From the three previous sections and from the discussion in Chapter 8, four distinct principles can be identified to form the basis of international action. They are all contained in the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development (see box below) agreed by over 160 countries at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (the Earth Summit) held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. They can also be identified in one form or another in the FCCC (see box on pages 291-2 in Chapter 10). The Principles (with references to the Principles of the Rio Declaration and the Articles of the FCCC) are:

• The Precautionary Principle (Principle 15)

• The Principle of Sustainable Development (Principles 1 and 7)

• The Polluter-Pays Principle (Principle 16)

• The Principle of Equity - International and Intergenerational (Principles 3 and 5).

In the next chapter we shall consider how these principles can be applied.

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