THE EARTH SUMMIT
In June 1992 the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, commonly known as the Earth Summit, convened for 12 days on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Earth Summit developed and legitimized a broad agenda for environmental, economic, and political change. The purposes of the conference were to identify long-term environmental reforms and to initiate processes for their implementation and supervision. Conventions were held to discuss and adopt documents on the environment. The major topics covered by these conventions included climate change, biodiversity, forest protection, Agenda 21 (a 900-page blueprint for environmental development), and the Rio Declaration (a six-page statement that called for integrating the environment with economic development). The Climate Convention and the Biodiversity Convention were legal agreements. The Earth Summit was an historic event of great significance. Not only did it make the environment a priority on the world's agenda, but delegates from 178 countries attended, including many prime ministers and presidents, making it the largest conference ever held.