Secretary-General Kofi Annan addresses the 19th Special Session of the UN General Assembly. Razali Ismail of Malaysia sits to the right.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan (left) addresses the 19th Special Session of the UN General Assembly. Razali Ismail (Malaysia), Chairman of the Special Session, is seated at the right. 23 June 1997, New York, United States.

19th Special Session of the General Assembly to Review and Appraise
the Implementation of Agenda 21, New York, 23-27 June 1997

Background

A five-year review of progress on Agenda 21

In 1997, five years had passed since the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, the landmark conference which had brought together more than 100 heads of state in an attempt to begin resolving the problems posed by socio-economic development on the environment. At that 1992 summit, world leaders had signed the UN Convention on Climate Change and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, and approved and adopted the Rio Declaration and Agenda 21.

It was agreed in 1992 that a five year review of progress made since the Earth Summit would be held in 1997 by the UN General Assembly in a special session. And so, in June 1997, the 19th Special Session of the General Assembly (also known as 'Rio+5') met, and reviewed progress made by countries, international organizations and civil society in taking up the challenge of meeting the goals of Agenda 21 in the five years subsequent to the Rio Earth Summit.