By Invitation

Assessing the Earth Summit's legacy

Despite daunting challenges, the 1992 summit produced many landmark principles and agreements on the protection of the environment, the importance of which has grown with time

I will never forget the date - June 14, 1992 - for as long as I live. On that day, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, popularly known as the Earth Summit, came to a successful conclusion in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

In March 1990, the UN elected me as chairman of the preparatory committee (prep com) for the Earth Summit. The prep com met five times between March 1990 and April 1992. At the Earth Summit in June 1992, I was elected to chair the main committee. This challenging but important assignment took 27 months to accomplish.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 15, 2019, with the headline 'Assessing the Earth Summit's legacy'. Print Edition | Subscribe