The need to protect the environment has presented critical global challenges that require immediate responses. The linked environmental, economic, social and political issues all falling under the sustainable development framework require a delicate balancing act between competing interests whilst at the same time taking decisive strides towards protecting scarce resources that are becoming even scarcer by the day. This paper will talk about the main difference between the Stockholm Declaration and the Rio Summit — mainly that the Rio Summit solidifies the linkage between development and the environment, acknowledging that the two concepts are inextricably intertwined. Environmental considerations have to be incorporated in the development process, and human development should be considered in environmental protection mechanisms.
It is illuminating to compare Principle 1 of the Stockholm declaration with Principle 1 of the Rio Declaration. The former reads as follows: “Man has the fundamental right to freedom, equality and adequate conditions of life, in an environment of a quality that permits a life of dignity and well being, and he bears a solemn responsibility to protect and improve the environment for present and future generations.” In contrast, the Rio Declaration reads as follows: “Human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development”, and that, “They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature.”…
A rights-based approach is important because it makes the State duty-bearers, or imposes and obligation on them to ensure that environmental rights of their citizens and other human beings are guaranteed and protected. There are critics, however, who feel that there was a dilution in focus on environmental protection from Stockholm to Rio, and even all the way to Johannesburg. To quote the Center for International Environmental Law, “Whereas Stockholm brought to light transboundary and global environmental issues, Rio and Johannesburg incorporated a development dimension that required analysis not only of environmental issues but also of economic and social issues. (2012, p.2)” As further observed by CIEL: While integration of these issues is key to effective environment and development outcomes, this change in focus has, to a large extent, over?burdened the agenda resulting from the last two summits, posing significant strains on the ability of international institutions and other governance arrangements to effectively address the broad array of issues involved in the umbrella concept of sustainable development.&nbsp.&nbsp.At the same time, the international agenda that emerged in relation to sustainable development appears to have prioritized the economic aspects over the social and environmental dimensions.&nbsp.&nbsp.In this regard, there is a real risk that Rio+20’s green economy theme could eclipse thE other dimensions of sustainable development, as well as the need for reforms in institutional governance.&nbsp. (2012, p. 2) However, this paper argues that talking about the economy in relation to environmental protection is important. The first is because scarcity is a vital concept of sustainable

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