The series of United Nations conferences and summits on key issues of development, notably those concerned with environment and development (UNCED 1992), with small island developing states (SIDS 1994), population (ICPD 1994), human settlements (Habitat II 1996) and food security (WFS 1996), all explicitly addressed the role of natural resource conservation and environmental quality in achieving broadly-based development goals. A high degree of international consensus now exists on the principles and frameworks for action, although the practicalities of implementation remain an immense challenge.
This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities.
Agenda 21 indicates that the Economic and Social Council, in the context of its Charter role vis-Ã -vis the General Assembly and the ongoing restructuring and revitalization of the UN in the economic, social and related fields, would assist the General Assembly through overseeing system-wide coordination, overview on the implementation of Agenda 21 and making recommendations in this regard. In addition, the Council would undertake the task of directing system-wide coordination and integration of environmental and developmental aspects in the UN' policies and programmes and make appropriate recommendations to the General Assembly, specialized agencies concerned and member states. Appropriate steps should be taken to obtain regular reports from specialized agencies on their plans and programmes related to the implementation of Agenda 21, pursuant to Article 64 of the Charter of the UN.