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  • Published on: 6 Sep 2011
  • Submitted by: United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)
  • More information

Rio twenty years ago: NGLS interview with Andrey Vasilyev
In this interview, NGLS speaks with Andrey Vasilyev, Deputy Executive Secretary for UNECE, about his experience in Rio in 1992 during the United Conference on Environment and Development. Mr. Vasilyev is featured in the photograph on the right, next to the first Chair of the Commission on Sustainable Development, Ambassador Razali Ismail of Malaysia.

NGLS: Can you tell us about your experience from Rio? In what capacity did you attend the (Rio) meeting in 1992?

Andrey Vasilyev: I attended as a negotiator for my government in the preparatory process of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, even before it was called United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. Later, just before the Conference, I joined the UNCED Secretariat as a consultant to elaborate proposals on the terms of reference of the future UN Commission on Sustainable Development and subsequently joined its Secretariat. At that time, sustainable development wasn?t entirely accepted by everyone. Some were excited, but some developing countries thought of the concept as an excuse for rich countries to continue with their levels of over consumption, preserving the resources of the poorer nations for future generations. That is why the Conference wasn?t called a ?conference on sustainable development? but instead a ?conference on environment and development.?

In the years prior to Rio, and the first years after, there was a lot of excitement and expectations, but unfortunately, after a few years, practical implementation proved to be much more challenging and to some extent things started to go round in circles.

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