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GEO-3: GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT OUTLOOK  
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The Commission on Sustainable Development

The establishment of the CSD in December 1992 was a direct outcome of the Summit. Although the goal of sustainable development was established in the 1980s, it was not until Rio that an international body was assigned the mandate to oversee and help the international community achieve this goal (see box). Although this was a major step, the Commission has been criticized for being a weak response to problems of institutional capacity, and has encountered apathy from high-level government ministers (Long 2000). The integration of economic, social and environmental policies - a requirement of sustainable development spelled out by the Brundtland Commission - continues to challenge institutions at all levels.

Mandate of the Commission on Sustainable Development

The CSD, which was established in December 1992 under the UN Economic and Social Council, is composed of 53 members elected for terms of office of three years. The Commission meets annually for a period of two to three weeks, meeting first in June 1993. Broadly, the role of the Commission is to:

  • review progress at the international, regional and national levels in the implementation of recommendations and commitments contained in the final documents of UNCED - Agenda 21, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and the Forest Principles;
  • elaborate policy guidance and options for future activities as a follow-up to UNCED and to achieve sustainable development; and
  • promote dialogue and build partnerships for sustainable development with governments, the international community and the major groups identified in Agenda 21 as key actors outside central government which have a major role to play in the transition towards sustainable development.
Source: UN 2001