Rio charts an uncertain path to sustainable development

The optimists' expectations of the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro on 3-14 June have long since been dashed. The preparations have been marred by bitter arguments over transfers of cash and technology to the developing world, and by a last-minute decision by the USA not to sign a new Convention on Biological Diversity. Hopes of a positive outcome are now focussed on the process of national sustainable development plans and their review by new international machinery which the conference is expected to set in motion.

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