The General Assembly, in order to achieve a just balance among the economic, social, and environmental needs of present and future generations, to promote harmony with nature and the Earth, and noting that Earth Day is observed each year in many countries, decided to designate 22 April as International Mother Earth Day through resolution A/RES/63/278, adopted in 2009.

It invites all Member States, the organizations of the United Nations system, international, regional and subregional organizations, civil society, non-governmental organizations and relevant stakeholders to observe and raise awareness of International Mother Earth Day, as appropriate.

The 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm marked the beginning of a global awareness of the interdependence between people, other living species and our planet, as well as the establishment of World Environment Day on 5 June and the UN Environment Programme.

In 1992, Agenda 21, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and the Statement of principles for the Sustainable Management of Forests were adopted by more than 178 Governments at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 3 to 14 June 1992.

In 2005, the General Assembly declared 2008 as the International Year of Planet Earth, convinced that education in Earth sciences provide humankind with tools for the sustainable use of natural resources and for building the scientific infrastructure essential for sustainable development.

In 2012, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development - or Rio+20 - took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It resulted in a focused political outcome document which contains clear and practical measures for implementing sustainable development.

In Rio, Member States decided to launch a process to develop a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will build upon the Millennium Development Goals and converge with the post 2015 development agenda.