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Pity the poor governments: trying to balance conflicting interests of farmers, trades unions and others on whom they depend for votes. They forget about the poor old planet which canít vote for senior stewards of its environment!

Meeting the needs of todayís generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
Our Common Future, Brundtland Report

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
Mark Twain
click picture to enlarge
Viola Caretti, Italy

MEA stands for Multilateral Environmental Agreement which is when many governments sign an agreement. A convention is when the agreement becomes a Law and thus binding (meaning everyone must obey it!)

The Montreal Protocol is an MEA agreed by governments in 1987 to halve Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) emissions by 1998 and phase them out completely by 2006. A variety of taxes, rules and education programmes were used to implement it. It recognised that rich nations cause more problems and must take a lead. Substitutes for CFCs were researched and a fund was set up to help developing countries change to substitutes. The result is an MEA that serves each nationís interest at a price each can afford. The Montreal Protocol is seen as a successful model for global environmental governance.

A major outcome of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil was a detailed agenda for the 21st Century known as Agenda 21. Governments signed it but it was a Ďvoluntary agreementí - which means there was no obligation for them to act upon all it contained. Its 40 chapter programme of action covers many aspects of environmental conservation and sustainable development from health to freshwater, oceans, poverty and waste disposal. It has become the guiding document for government management of the environment in most regions of the world: ministers meet every year at the UN Commission for Sustainable Development to check progress on its implementation. But Agenda 21 isnít complete. Young people identified many gaps, including: war, birth control, human rights, control of multinational corporations, refugees, nuclear disarmament, consumption control, media and renewable energy sources.

web site editor: webmaster@grida.no Last update: March 2000