Agenda 21 is a discretional action plan developed by the United Nations and national governments at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992.

It is not a binding, discretional implemented action plan of the United Nations with reference to sustainable development. It is an action agenda for the United Nations, other multilateral organisations, and individual governments round the globe which will be executed at local, national, and international levels.

Agenda 21, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and the Statement of principles for the Sustainable Management of Forests were adopted by more than 178 Governments at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 3 to 14 June 1992.[1]

The number 21 in Agenda 21 refers to the 21st century. It has been proclaimed and modified at subsequent United Nations conferences.

At the Summit, governmental leaders around the globe agreed on the need to become more sustainable to meet today’s needs without sacrificing the future. Agenda 21 presents a vision showing how all levels of government especially in the developing world can take discretional action to combat poverty and pollution, conserve natural resources and develop in a sustainable manner. 178 countries including India, have adopted the Agenda.

Agenda 21 is thus a comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organisations of the United Nations, Governments, and major groups in every area in which human life impacts the environment.

The Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was created in December 1992 to ensure effective follow-up of UNCED, to monitor and report on implementation of the agreements at the local, national, regional and international levels. It was agreed that a five year review of Earth Summit progress would be made in 1997 by the United Nations General Assembly meeting in special session.[2]

The full implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the Commitments to the Rio principles, were strongly reaffirmed at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) held in Johannesburg, South Africa from 26 August to 4 September 2002.[3]

Agenda 21 is not a treaty or a legally binding document and does not in any way infringe upon the sovereignty of any country, state or local government. It is about 300 pages document divided into 40 chapters that have been grouped into the following four sections.

Section I– Social and Economic Dimensions

It is directed towards combating poverty, especially in the developing nations, changing consumption patterns, promoting health, achieving a more sustainable population and sustainable settlement in decision making.

Section II – Conservation and Management of Resources for Development

It covers atmospheric protection, combating deforestation, protecting fragile environments, conservation of biological diversity or biodiversity, control of pollution and the management of biotechnology and radioactive wastes.

Section III – Strengthening the Role of Major Groups

This Sections consist of the roles of children and youth, women, NGO’s local authorities, business and workers and strengthening the role of indigenous people, their communities and the farmers.

Section IV – Means of Implementation

Implementation of Agenda 21 includes science, technology transfer, education, international institutions and financial mechanisms.


It is a dynamic program. Agenda 21 has been carried out by several actors according to different situations, capacities, and priorities of nations and regions in full respect of all the principles contained in the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development. Agenda 21 could evolve over time in the light of changing needs and circumstances.

This process marks the beginning of a new global partnership for sustainable development.


[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

Do follow me on FacebookTwitter  Youtube and Instagram.

The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems at

We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.

We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge

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