As the experienced author notes, the 178-nation Rio Conference on Environment and Development did not turn into the anticipated "great shoot-out in the eco-corral," but a more complicated process involving both important forward steps and missed opportunities. This insightful, behind-the-headlines analysis of what transpired puts the record of the Rio conference into a useful perspective by asking: Where was the international community in dealing with these global issues before Rio, and in what direction does it need to go? Four issues are examined: managing the population explosion, financing environmental activities, lawmaking on such subjects as desertification and biological diversity, and institution-building, as in the case of a Commission on Sustainable Development to be put under the aegis of the U.N. Economic and Social Council. In each case, Gardner explores constructive and realistic new directions to be taken after Rio that could bring about more effective international action in managing the global environment.
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