Summary on Sustainable Development

Published on 28 Jun 2012
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Summary

The international community is preparing to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the first Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, with a new United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in the same city.

The 1992 Rio Summit raised true awareness and showed the commitment of the international community to sustainable development. It resulted in various documents:  

-    A declaration based on 27 principles emphasizing the links between development and environmental conservation,
-    An action plan called Agenda 21 for the concrete implementation of the principles of the declaration,
-    The Principles of Forest Management,
-    The Convention on Biological Diversity,
-    The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change,
-    A framework convention to combat desertification in countries severely affected by drought and/or desertification, in particular, in Africa, and such that the scope was expanded to include land degradation in the larger sense.

Ten years later, another conference was held in Johannesburg to take stock of the advances made in sustainable development since 1992, to reaffirm the political drivers in this sense and to update the actions to be implemented. It was also the occasion to reaffirm the need to reach the Millennium Development Goals that were then announced.

This Report has the objective of showing the progress of the DRC with regard to sustainable development over the past 20 years. It also presents the expectations of the country, as the Rio+20 Conference should allow the policy commitment in this field to be renewed and to open up new possibilities, notably for the development of the green economy and the strengthening of the institutional framework for sustainable development.

Key Elements of the Report

  • The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is one of the largest countries in Africa, extending over 2,345,409 km².
  • Rainfall is abundant and the DRC has 52% of the continent’s total fresh water reserves.
  • It has an extensive hydrographical network, which is dense and well distributed over its territory. It is dominated by the Congo Basin, with this river stretching 4,670 km long at a flow of 30,000 m3 per second at the mouth, making it the second largest in the world after the Amazon.
  • Forests cover 155 million hectares of national territory, making the DRC one of the most forested countries in the world, with more than half of the forest in the Congo Basin.
  • The DRC is ranked fifth in the world for animal and plant diversity.
  • It has the greatest biodiversity in Africa with more than 10,000 higher plant species, 480 species of mammals (including all large African animals), 565 species of birds, 1,000 species of fish, 350 species of reptiles, 220 species of amphibians and more than 10,000 flowering plants, of which 3,000 are endemic.
  • The DRC has five natural sites recognized as World Heritage Sites, which is more than all other African countries combined.
  • The DRC has put a protected air network in place, covering about 11% of the national territory (compared to 9% in 1998), in which almost all of the diverse ecosystems of the country are represented).
  • DRC response to Rio and Johannesburg Summit Objectives (development of a legal framework, implementation of an institutional framework and planning).

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