Below is the text of Mr Major’s statement at the launch of the Rio Documents on Tuesday 25th January 1994.
When I, and 117 other Heads of Government, put our names to the Rio agreements in June 1992, we all knew it was just a beginning. The environmental challenges the world faces are immense. We all knew that signatures in Rio would mean nothing unless they resulted in action at home.
Today we are launching four documents which take the Rio process forward.
Sustainable development is a jargon expression. But the problem it addresses is real. It is about meeting the global environmental challenges we face -
They may sound remote to many people. But they're not. And much of sustainable development is very real to people. It is about ensuring the good quality of the air we breathe in our cities, the water we drink, maintaining the countryside we all enjoy. All this does not mean calling a halt to economic growth -
It is a huge task. A task too big for government alone. The report has been drawn up only after long consultation with business, voluntary bodies and local authorities. John Gummer will be explaining how we propose to involve them all in taking the strategy forward and how we plan to involve individual citizens.
But government also requires advice. We are often operating in uncharted territory. We are learning as we go along. The environment requires us to think on a longer time scale than Ministers and civil servants often need to. It requires us to think beyond the normal pigeon-
For that reason I am establishing a panel of people with long and distinguished track records in science, business and the environment to aid the Government in this task:
I am delighted that Sir Crispin, Lord Selborne and Sir John can be with us today.
The task of the Panel is to give independent advice on issues of strategic importance to the Government as a whole. In particular:-
* to keep in view general sustainability issues at home and abroad
• to identify key threats and opportunities; and
• to monitor progress and consider priorities.
I am grateful to them. There are few tasks more important than securing the well-