Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
Hon. President of the Federative Republic of Brazil
Volume 4 - Environment and Sustainable Development

In its forty-five years of existence, the Group of77 has grown today to a coalition of 130 countries, representing the majority of U.N. membership as well as the majority of the global population. It is a tribute to the historical validity of the conception, purposes and endeavours of the Group, which have withstood the test of time. The essential rationale for the G-77 was, and remains, to strive for a wider participation of developing countries in global economic decision-making and for inserting a development dimension in international institutions and policies within the framework of the United Nations system.

International negotiations on sustainable development and environmental governance have been driven by greater perception of the international community on the risks posed by global warming, loss of biodiversity, desertification, deforestation and other threats to the environment. The fundamental objective of the G-77 in environmental negotiations has been to integrate development with environment so that a process of positive synergy can emerge. I am convinced that this is possible and that the only equitable and practical modality to bring this about is to achieve a new global compact between the North and the South.

The historic United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, held in Rio de Janeiro on June 1992, recognized the devastating consequences of the inequitable relationship between the world's rich and poor nations and set guidelines for a new paradigm of international cooperation and global partnership on the basis of the fundamental concept of sustainable development as the only rational and equitable procedure for devising an equitable and just socio-economic order.

Foremost among the outcomes of the Rio Conference was the recognition that poverty constitutes the greatest threat to the environment, and the eradication of poverty constitutes our greatest challenge. Such principle was reflected in the conventions on biodiversity, climate change and desertification signed in Rio. Almost two decades later, as we approach the Rio+20 Conference, the need to fully integrate environmental concerns with the imperatives of economic growth and development remains a unfulfilled task. Although recognizing the environment as a fundamental component of any development process, the G-77 is right in highlighting the need to grant the economic and social pillars of sustainable development the same attention devoted to the environmental pillar.

The developing world is convinced that it shares responsibilities in the preservation of the environment and wants to work in partnership with the developed world. We all know that the historical responsibilities for this crisis is not the same among us, but that will not elude the fact that that tackling the environmental crisis is a common responsibility. Nevertheless, this common responsibility is also differentiated for developing and developed countries in terms of what needs to be done and resources available to address these challenges.

Sustainable development not only requires a transfer of clean technology and substantial resources to developing countries so as to make it possible for them to grow and to preserve and avoid damage to the environment at the same time, but also a change in the unsustainable patterns of consumption, production and trade in developed countries, which harm the environment.

The international community has increasingly come to the realization that what is at stake is not a business as usual North-South stalemate. We have entered a new global development phase in which development must be environmentally sound in order to preserve this planet for future generations. The XXI century cannot find us divided in face of this global challenge that threatens planetary survival.

As amply demonstrated in this volume, the Group of 77 has made a substantial contribution in rethinking the relationship between development and environment, which has led to the re-appraisal of many tenets of the conventional wisdom about development. I am pleased to commend the publication of this volume that will contribute to a greater understanding of the global South action in meeting the challenges of environment and sustainable development.

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
Honorable President of the Federative Republic of Brazil
The present publication is the fourth volume of a continuing series entitled The Group of 77 at the United Nations. The other three previously published volumes are, respectively, The Collected Documents of the Group of 77: Special Anniversary Edition, 1964-2005; South-South Cooperation; and The North-South Dialogue.

For the first time, this volume brings together a selection of policy statements, common position papers and other major documents by the Group of 77 relating to environment and sustainable development. In gathering materials for this volume, an editorial decision was made on the selection of documents to be included in this volume given the fact that the relevant documentation compiled proved to be too large to accommodate in a single volume. For that reason, documents issued by the Group of 77 in the context of the three UN conventions on biodiversity, climate change and desertification could not be included in the present volume. Other related materials, such as the Group’s activities pertaining to the World Conference on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg in 2002 and the initial preparatory work for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development to be held in Brazil in 2012, will be published in forthcoming volumes in this series.

This volume is divided into four chapters as follows:
  • Chapter I contains the founding documents and platform of the Group of 77.
  • Chapter II contains a selection of documents dating from 1987 when concerns and pronouncements about the state of the environment first emerged in the official discourse of the Group of 77.
  • Chapter III presents materials on environment and sustainable development as articulated by the Group of 77 in the UN Conference on Environment and Sustainable Development held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States held in Bridgetown, Barbados in 1994 and the UN Conference on Human Settlements held in Istanbul, Turkey in 1996.
  • Chapter IV focuses on global environmental governance and sustainable development within the context of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development.
Also included in this volume are two annexes:
  • Annex I provides a list of acronyms found in the documents compiled in this volume.
  • Annex II contains a list of the Member States of the Group of 77.
As in previous volumes in this series, typographical errors and minor editorial inconsistencies in the original texts were corrected. However, apart from these technical changes, the documents are presented in their original form as issued by the Group of 77 on the dates indicated. In some cases, documents were obtained from the UN official records as noted in the text.

In compiling this documentary record, I am most indebted to the staff members of the Executive Secretariat of the Group of 77 in New York for their invaluable contribution and continued support in the publication of the series.

Finally, the views expressed in this Series do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations.

Mourad Ahmia
New York
Available at the following Major Libraries
UN Library
UN Headquarters, New York

Call No.: Ref 382(049) C698
US Congress Library
Washington D.C.

Call No.: HF1413 .G714b
New York Public Library
New York City

Call No.: JFF 08-781 v. 4
Available for purchase at the following Major Bookstores
Book Launching Ceremonies for the series scheduled for 2011/2012
  • Algiers (Algeria)
  • Brasília (Brazil)
  • Buenos Aires (Argentina)
  • New York (USA)
  • Paris (France)
  • Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
  • Shanghai (China)