Role of the Multilateral Agencies after the Earth Summit

  • Maurice Williams


The 1992 Earth Summit provided a vision of the seriously threatening environmental problems which the world would face if it continued on its current path of conventional economic development. The Conference highlighted a range of adverse effects that economic activities have had on local ecosystems — from loss of forests and plant and animal species to the pollution of air and water and land. Also alarming is the danger that increasing emissions of carbon dioxide and other ‘greenhouse’ gases could produce significant and possibly catastrophic changes in the global climate. Both industrialisation and poverty are factors in environmental degradation. The developed countries have contributed disproportionately to worldwide emissions of carbon dioxide and they consume the lion’s share of the world’s natural resources. Developing countries have contributed a lesser share of greenhouse emissions, although this will change as their accelerating development efforts place increasing demands on finite resources to provide for their expanding populations. Overly-affluent consumption in the rich countries and the pressures of poverty and increasing populations on natural resource depletion in the poor countries combine to create an ominous threat to world ecosystems.


United Nations Environment Programme Environmental Strategy Global Environment Facility Technical Cooperation World Development Report 
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    World Bank, World Development Report 1992, ‘Development and the Environment’ (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992).Google Scholar

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© North South Roundtable 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maurice Williams

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