UNCED Collection



The UNCED collection is a set of documents produced by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, also known as the Earth Summit, and various preparatory activities that led to the conference. UNCED took place from 3-14 June 1992 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Delegations from 178 countries, heads of state of more than 100 countries, and representatives of more than 1,000 non-governmental organizations or NGOs attended the meetings. Four preparatory committees or "prepcoms" met in the two years prior to UNCED to produce the texts of major UNCED agreements.

The following five major agreements are associated with UNCED:

Although negotiated through a separate process, the Climate Convention is often viewed as one of the UNCED agreements. The convention was opened for signature at Rio, and its negotiations were deliberately concluded in time to be ready for UNCED.

The document collection includes draft versions of the agreements, reports by experts, and a variety of other inputs to the negotiating process. The collection also has a subset from the 100 national environmental reports submitted to UNCED and speeches of national leaders at the conference.

Historically, UNCED is a descendant of the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment. That meeting in Stockholm, Sweden, was the first major modern international gathering on human activities in relationship to the environment. The conference produced a set of principles in the Stockholm Declaration and led to the founding of the United Nations Environment Programme.

Archival/Access Information

CIESIN maintains a collection of UNCED documents, including those from the four prepcoms and final versions of the major agreements.

A CD-ROM including all official documents and a complete collection of national reports is available from the United Nations. The CD was produced by the International Development Research Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

The final UNCED documents in English, French, and Spanish are available through a gopher server at the United Nations.

The Institute for Global Communications (IGC) maintains a set of UNCED documents, some in compressed formats, in an anonymous ftp server at the following address: igc.org in the pub/unced directory.

Related Datasets

The Earth Negotiations Bulletin includes detailed daily summaries of UNCED prepcom 4, the conference itself, and numerous related international conferences and negotiations.

The United Nations Environment Programme Register of International Treaties and Other Agreements in the Field of the Environment includes summaries of 152 multilateral treaties, their objectives, provisions, important dates, and countries for which the treaty is in force.

World Treaties for the Protection of the Environment (1992) is a collection of full treaty texts originally prepared as a book for UNCED by the Istituto per L'Ambiente of Milan, Italy.

The Multilateral Treaties Collection, an on-line source of treaty texts from the Fletcher School of International Diplomacy, Tufts University, provides the full text of a number of environmental agreements.

The report of the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment includes the Stockholm Declaration, recommendations for action, an action plan, a set of resolutions on follow-up to the conference, and a list of acronyms used.

Datasets from other organizations containing environmental, earth science, and global change information can be located through the Consortium for International Earth Science Information Network's (CIESIN) Gateway.


A Guide to UNCED: Process and Documentation by Shanna Halpern (1992) provides an excellent summary of UNCED and the various negotiating processes. Haas, Levy and Parsons also review the major agreements from UNCED in Appraising the Earth Summit.

The CIESIN Thematic Guide to Political Institutions and Global Environmental Change includes a section on UNCED.

Follow-up on official UN implementation of Agenda 21 and the non-binding UNCED agreements has formally been assigned to the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, an institution organized as a result of UNCED. The commission can be contacted via e-mail at the following address: dpcsd@igc.apc.org. The e-mail address is maintained by the following individual:

Lowell Flanders
1 United Nations Plaza, Room DC1-868
New York NY 10017

Tel: 1-212-963-0251
Fax: 1-212-963-2180 or -0377
(Department for Policy Coordination & Sustainable Development)

The Framework Convention on Climate Change interim secretariat can be contacted at the following address:

The Interim Secretariat of the Framework Convention on Climate Change
16 Ave Jean Trembley, CH-1209

Tel: 1-41-22-798-8400
Fax: 1-41-22-788-3823

e-mail: unfccc@igc.apc.org

Janos Pasztor (e-mail: jpasztor@igc.apc.org) is senior information systems officer for the secretariat.