The Rio Declaration was produced at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) with the goal of “establishing a new and equitable global partnership through the creation of new levels of cooperation among States, key sectors of societies and people, working towards international agreements which respect the interests of all and protect the integrity of the global environmental and developmental system [Emphasis added]” (438). The following clip (1:14) is a TIME 360 Video depicting pollution in Rio today, 24 years after the declaration was signed.
The clip shows Fundao Canal, which flows into Guanabara Bay, the sailing venue for the 2016 Olympics. Water contamination in Rio was a particular area of concern prior to the games, with one source warning that athletes need only ingest three teaspoons of water to become “violently ill”.
Does this video clip prove that no progress was made as a result of the Rio Declaration? No. It illustrates the trend of social problems, such as environmental degradation, becoming increasingly articulated in global terms and lifted up to the global agenda of major IGOs and INGOs. But it also prompts the question: if less powerful countries lack the infrastructure to follow through on these international agreements, how will that interact with the process of globalization?