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Setting the Stage for the Earth Summit: Brazil 1992

March 1992

Citation: 22 ELR 10190

Issue: 3

Author: Thomas L. Adams and Jose Martinez-Aragon

Editors' Summary: From June 1 to June 12, 1992, the United Nations (U.N.) Conference on Environment and Development, commonly referred to as the Earth Summit, is scheduled to meet in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This conference has been hailed as a "constitutional convention" for the global environment. Conference organizers estimate that 15,000 representatives from more than 150 nations will participate. Issues on the agenda include such high-profile topics as climate change, forest conservation, and biodiversity. The authors discuss the background of the conference, beginning with the U.N. Conference on the Human Environment held in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1972. They review the U.N. preparatory committee meetings that have been held in preparation for the Rio conference, and review the principle items on the agenda. The authors next analyze the subjects of contention among the countries and regions that are expected to be the main players at the conference and in future international negotiations on global environmental problems. The authors conclude that it is still too early to predict the outcome of the conference. Although the negotiations leading up to the conference indicate that there is much disagreement on fundamental issues, the amount of public attention generated by the preparations for the conference at least raise hopes that the Earth Summit will produce some positive steps toward a new environmental world order.

Mr. Adams is a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of Dechert Price & Rhoads. From 1970 to 1972, he served as an appellate attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice, Land and Natural Resources Division. From 1972 to 1974, he worked as the minority counsel for the Subcommittee on Environment and Consumer Affairs of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee. He served as Deputy General Counsel in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from 1983 to 1986. In 1986, he was appointed by the President to be the Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Monitoring at EPA. Mr. Adams received his J.D. in 1970 from Vanderbuilt Law School and his B.A. in 1963 from the University of Virginia.

Mr. Martinez-Aragon is currently working in the Legal Unit of the Directorate General for the Environment, at the Commission of the European Communities. He has lectured on European Economic Community environmental law at Pace University in New York and in the Faculty of Law of Barcelona, Spain. Mr. Martinez-Aragon received his J.D. in 1985 from the University of Barcelona, his LL.M in 1987 from Yale Law School, his LL.M. Environmental Law in 1988 from Pace Law School, and his J.S.D. Candidate in 1989 from Stanford Law School.

The opinions expressed in this Article are solely those of the authors and do not represent the official views of the Commission of the European Communities or Dechert Price & Rhoads.

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