Almost twenty years after the Earth Summit in Rio 1992 the stock-taking of global achievements for sustainable development leaves a bleak picture. Environmental degradation and depletion of natural resources have worsened and are likely to cause conflicts and insecurity for future generations. Widespread poverty as well as constrained development possibilities exist especially where the poorest countries and communities suffer the most from the global demand on resources and adverse environmental impacts. The development paths of the North and South remain alarmingly unsustainable well beyond the carrying capacity of the planet and do so at an increasing pace. The world, especially political actors in industrialised as well as in industrialising nations, has failed to deliver sufficiently on securing sustainable livelihoods for all within safe planetary boundaries. Even in view of the combined environmental, economic and food crisis, so far there is no sufficient political ambition in sight to address them adequately.
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