In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach is widely applied by States according to their possibilities. Where there is a threat of serious or irreversible damage, the lack of full scientific certainty shall not be invoked to justify the postponement of cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation. These early judgments preceded what environmental historians now discover to be a much more traumatic event, the American “Dust Bowl” of the 1930s. The Sears deserts in March (1949) raised accusations of widespread anthropogenic degradation. He and others believed they had evidence of widespread environmental degradation in the arid regions of the Old World, the cause of which, as in the Midwestern states, was also considered mismanagement. With these stories in mind, E. P. Stebbing, a forester, identified the causes of degradation in British West Africa as shortened agricultural wastelands, changing agriculture and overgrazing (Stebbing 1935). An Anglo-French forestry commission visited the Niger-Nigeria border in 1936-7, and its findings were much more cautious. They viewed the degradation as site-specific and treatable. However, one member of this commission, the influential French botanist Auguste Aubréville, stuck to the hypothesis of “desert progress” and first used the term “desertification” in 1949 (Warren 1996).
The International Council on Mining and Metals, itself an offshoot of the MMSD, has committed to working with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) to create a supplement to the mining and metals sector (MMSS) (GRI, 2014). The MMSS presents a tailor-made version of the GRI Sustainability Reporting Guidelines, which details reporting principles, management approach disclosures and performance indicators for economic, environmental and social issues for the preparation of sustainability reports by organizations of all sizes, their industry or location. The additional feedback and performance indicators, designed specifically for the mining and metals sector, capture the most important topics for large mining companies. The GRI Implementation Manual recommends 150 SD indicators based on 18 criteria, with explanations on how to apply, prepare and interpret them (GRI, 2013). Agenda 21 calls for a change in existing patterns of production and consumption and for industrialized countries to play a leading role in this process. National programmes should promote and promote efficient production and minimisation of waste in industry, sustainable production and consumption patterns, environmental levies such as the taxation of non-environmentally friendly goods, the use of eco-labels on appliances and public awareness of energy efficiency and recycling. Right now, a nation`s wealth is measured by its financial situation, and the more money, the better. Agenda 21 promotes the attitude that a nation`s wealth should also constitute the full value of its natural resources. Agenda 21 also encourages countries to take into account the costs of environmental degradation.
In addition, in order to reduce the risk of damage, environmental assessments should be carried out and, in the event of deterioration, those responsible should bear the costs. The outcome of the UNCED Summit, also known as the Earth Summit, was Agenda 21 – an environmental action plan; the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development – a set of principles that define the rights and obligations of States; Forest Management Principles – a set of principles that underpin sustainable forest management worldwide; the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – an agreement on the Convention on Climate Change that later led to the Kyoto Protocol and the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCAC). Agenda 21 calls on governments, businesses and NGOs to implement afforestation, reforestation, sustainable land use and water resources management programmes. Governments are encouraged to develop educational programmes on the environmentally sustainable management of resources. All these new processes highlight that planning goes beyond traditional approaches such as impact assessment or strategic planning based on trend projections and functional separation. What they have in common is the desire to plan from a community base integrated into market objectives and other levels of government, including the new global agendas that have emerged from Rio, Kyoto and beyond. Agenda 21 is a non-binding United Nations plan of action for sustainable development.  It is a product of the Earth Summit (United Nations Conference on Environment and Development) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992. It is a programme of action for the United Nations, other multilateral organizations and individual governments around the world that can be implemented at the local, national and global levels. .