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The Rio Declaration

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The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development came to being in 1992 after a meeting in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil that was attended by member nations of the United Nations. In 1993, poor countries managed to include in the Declaration of Vienna Human Rights Conference that the right to development is a “Universal and inalienable right and an integral part of fundamental human rights”. This essay seeks to make the case for the argument by the poor countries.

A Right to Social and Economic Development

In my own humble opinion, developing countries have a point when they insisted that the right to development is a basic human right. These countries bear the brunt of extreme poverty due to various reasns; some of which they have control of and some of which they don’t. One aspect of which they don’t have control of is the protectionist policies in the in the form of subsidies in the markets of most developed countries. International financial institutions on the other hand arm twist these poor countries into liberalizing their markets thereby allowing cheap imports into their countries that have the catastrophic effect of killing the indigenous industries.

The environment and development are inextricably linked. Developing countries will never meaningfully participate in a climate agreement that is global and one that flouts their development needs. Developing countries have weak negotiating, administrative, financial and technical abilities. This has a negative effect on cooperation between them and the developeed countries. Poor nations should be given technical and financial assistance to catalyze development and improve their environmental agencies. When one takes into consideration that the United States alone is responsible for a quarter of the world’s green house gases, which is believed to accelerate global warming, and that poor countries suffer the most as a result of global warming. This is the least that rich countries such as the United States can do.


Even though I personally believe that people in poor nations have a right to enjoy the full benefits of development, they too have an important part to play. These countries need to clean up corruption that is especially rampant and their leaders should embrace democratic ideals to improve transparency.

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