Strong laws and legal institutions are essential to the pursuit of sustainable development. The 1992 Rio Declaration and Agenda 21, which launched the concept of sustainable development to the world stage, emphasized the need for changes to legal and institutional frameworks, and increased attention to the development and implementation of international law on sustainable development. Since then, sustainable development has been embraced as an objective in the international policy-making process and negotiations, however, the recognition of the important role of law and legal institutions has been lagging behind in the international discourse. In the effort to fill implementation gaps and improve integration of economic, social and environmental objectives, it will be important to highlight areas where laws and legal institutions have made significant progress and can inspire and re-invigorate the Rio+20 outcomes.
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