Message from Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations (1997 - 2007):
"If the world succeeds in making a transition to truly sustainable development, all of us will owe no small debt of gratitude to Maurice Strong, whose prescience and dynamic presence on the International stage have played a key role in convincing governments and grassroots alike to embrace the principle - if not yet the practice - of adopting a new, long-term, custodial approach to the global environment.
But if the world fails to transform its relationship with the planet and its bounty of natural resources - alas, the oft predicted environmental catastrophe does come to pass - no one will be able to say that Maurice Strong was part of the problem, or that he was ever less than fully committed to the goal of reconciling environment and development, ecology and economy, and the needs of the present with the needs of future generations.
It would be a mistake to think of Maurice solely as one of the world's leading environmentalists. His main cause has been people.
Whether he was helping to put the environment on the international agenda in the 1970s, orchestrating the landmark Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 or assisting me to reform the United Nations to face the challenges of a new era in world affairs, his wish has been to see men and women in all countries leading peaceful lives of dignity, security freedom and opportunity, in harmony with nature and themselves.
In his long career, he has struggled against powerful and entrenched interests, from business to bureaucracies. He has made allies out of former antagonists.
And he has compiled a solid record of achievement in both the public service and the private sector.
I have worked with him for many years and have always valued his advice, enjoyed his friendship and admired his commitment for international co-operation and to multilateralism's main instrument, the United Nations.
I have no doubt that internet users will find in this website the same qualities that have made Maurice Strong a unique and important force in our lives; they, may also, not least, derive some hope for our shared future. "
Canada's Business News Network interviews Maurice Strong. The interview covers a wide range of issues, including the outcome of the recent UN climate talks in Copenhagen, how to get binding government commitments to a climate declaration, doomsdayers, the opportunities for business in a low carbon economy, and development of tar sands in Canada, Strong calls for a strong people-centred movement to shift government inaction to tackle climate change. Read extracts of the interview Watch Video
This study, by former Swedish Ambassador Lars-Göran Engfeldt presents a chronological history and a behind-the-scenes analysis of the origins and evolution of the international system that today governs sustainable development. Known as the “Stockholm-Rio-Johannesburg process”, the study begins in 1967 when Sweden proposed that the United Nations General Assembly convene a conference on the environment. This led to the pioneering 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm which was followed by the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro and culminated with the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. For more information: click here
Sonia Bridi from TV Globo interviews Maurice Strong on a wide range of topics, including, the first Earth Summit in 1992, environmental issues, population growth and consumption, the aspirations of newly-industrialised nations and impending resource conflicts.
Maurice Strong was one of the personalities awarded this year with the "João Pedro Cardoso", the principal environmental honour, granted by the Government of the State of São Paulo in Brazil.
Thousands of school children from 117 countries are collaborating to solve the world's biggest environmental problems. The best schools projects from around the world were recognised and announced at Rio+20.
The change of course called for at Rio in 1992 requires radical changes in our current economic system. This will need to be led by those countries, mostly Western, which have dominated the world economy during the period in which our cumulative damage to the Earth’s life-support systems. Rio+20 must support the increase in the status of UNEP to that of a specialized agency. This could lead to the establishment of a World Environment Organization.
Maurice Strong calls for the need to create much greater public interest and awareness in Rio+20 as an event in itself. This is what helped to attract unprecedented numbers of world leaders, media and non-governmental organizations to the Earth Summit in 1992. But time is short and the resources available to the Secretariat and others preparing for Rio+20 are meager.
Maurice Strong, Senior Advisor to the 2012 Rio+20 Summit, was named as the first recipient of the inaugural World Green Tourism Award in recognition of his pivotal role in shaping the global sustainable development agenda, and in recognising the potential of Travel & Tourism to make a contribution to mainstream green growth transformation.
Following the near collapse of the UN climate negotiations and the seeming paralysis of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), the whole idea of solving the world's environmental problems through multilateral negotiations seems to be in crisis. But, argue Maurice Strong and Felix Dodds, another recent development holds out the promise of reversing the trend.
Guardian reporter, Alex Kirby contrast the first Rio Summit, with the one planned for next year. He says that Rio+20 faces problems more acute than Strong confronted. Sustainability may have caught on in some of the world's boardrooms, may fascinate pundits and commentators, but will need sharp elbows to get media attention.
Earth Summit (Rio) 1992
Earth Council 1992
Kyoto Conference 1997
United Nations Reform 1997
Earth Charter 2000
Johannesburg Summit 2002
Maurice Strong/IUCN Environmental Dialogue 2009