The second Earth Summit, held in 2002 and attended by more than 22,000 people from all over the world, focused on sustainable development. Most agreements reached at the 2002 Earth Summit were not national treaties, but involved partnerships between communities, businesses, and government—like this wind farm, which makes energy on the Danish island of Samso entirely self-sufficient.

Photograph by Andrew Henderson, National Geographic
  • On August 26, 2002, the World Summit on Sustainable Development was convened in Johannesburg, South Africa. The was the second “Earth Summit,” following the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992. The conference is most often nicknamed “Rio+10.” (The 2012 Earth Summit, held in Rio again, is nicknamed “Rio+20”.)
    The focus of Rio+10 was sustainable development. Sustainable development is the process of human construction, growth, and consumption that can be maintained with minimal damage to the natural environment
    The outcomes of Rio+10 were unlike other international agreements. Most agreements did not involve treaties between nations, but were instead programs developed between businesses, environmental coalitions, and community groups.
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    business Noun

    sale of goods and services, or a place where such sales take place.

    community Noun

    group of organisms or a social group interacting in a specific region under similar environmental conditions.

    conference Noun

    meeting for discussion.

    construction Noun

    arrangement of different parts.

    consumption Noun

    process of using goods and services.

    convene Verb

    to assemble or come together.

    environment Noun

    conditions that surround and influence an organism or community.

    environmental coalition Noun

    group of people or organizations who are united in defense of the environment or an environmental issue.

    maintain Verb

    to continue, keep up, or support.

    minimal Adjective

    the lowest or least.

    nation Noun

    political unit made of people who share a common territory.

    Encyclopedic Entry: nation
    outcome Noun


    summit Noun

    meeting or conference of top leaders.

    sustainable development Noun

    human construction, growth, and consumption that can be maintained with minimal damage to the natural environment.

    treaty Noun

    official agreement between groups of people.