Conference held in Rio de Janeiro (June 3–14, 1992) to reconcile worldwide economic development with environmental protection. It was the largest gathering of world leaders in history, with 117 heads of state and representatives of 178 countries. Biodiversity, global warming, sustainable development, and preservation of tropical rain forests were among the topics discussed. Five international agreements were signed amid tensions between the industrialized countries of the North and the poorer developing states of the South, who were reluctant to accept environmental restrictions without increased Northern economic aid. Follow-up meetings were held in 1997 at the UN General Assembly in New York and in 2002 in Johannesburg, S.Af. Seealso Rio Treaty.
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