International Policy Declarations

Although international policy declarations are not legally binding, the may have a very strong political influence. Examples of international policy declarations include:

  • Agenda 21 (1992)

  • The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD, 2005)

Agenda 21 

Agenda 21 is the outcome of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, 1992) and together with the ‘Rio Declaration’ it provides a detailed roadmap how to achieve the goals of both environmental protection and sustainable development in the 21st century (hence “Agenda 21”). Agenda 21 contains about 40 chapters, including Chapter 16: “Environmentally sound management of modern biotechnology”.

Chapter 16 is based on two key considerations:

  1. Biotechnology can make a significant contribution to strengthening the sustainable production of food, feed and fibre, to addressing water shortage, to improving health care and to environmental protection

  2. Given the relatively limited experience with modern genetic modification and biosafety, there is a need for further development and implementation of internationally agreed principles on risk assessment and management.

Based on these considerations, Chapter 16 gives a detailed blue print for international action and collaboration for development of biotechnology aimed at:

  • Improving sustainable production of food, feed and renewable raw materials

  • Improving human health

  • Enhancing protection of the environment, as well as:

  • Further development and implementation of internationally agreed principles on risk assessment and management and application of the precautionary approach.

UNIDO is the task manager of Chapter 16.


The 2005 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) 

The 2005 High-level Plenary Meeting of the 60th Session of the General Assembly; (September 2005, Johannesburg, South Africa), also called the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). The WSSD reaffirmed the commitment to Agenda 21, the Rio Principles and Millennium Development Goals.

The WSSD concluded with commitments to improve the lives of people living in poverty and to reverse the degradation of the global environment in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation. As the WSSD Secretary General stated: “the greatest danger that we face is the growing gap between those who have access to knowledge and those who do not.”

The Political Declaration pledged to “assist one another to have access to financial resources, benefit from the opening of markets, ensure capacity building, use of modern technology to bring about development, and make sure that there is technology transfer, human resource development, education and training to banish forever underdevelopment.”