The Founex preparations for the UN Conference on the Human Environment (UNCHE) contributed to transcending the environment/development dichotomy in the framing of international environmental policy.
(9) The earlier UNCHE framework was organized around the more traditional tripartite administrative framework of environmental assessment (evaluation and review, research, monitoring, information exchange), environmental management (goal setting and planning, international consultation and agreements), and supporting measures (education and training, public information, organization, financing, technical cooperation).
At UNCED, problems were delimited in terms of the interacting array of social forces that caused them, and thus policies were designed to address the social causes--in contrast to the UNCHE approach, which devised a standard set of monitoring and administrative reforms for problems that were addressed individually and outside of their social context.
The 1972 UNCHE and the 1992 UNCED directly addressed the subject of environmental protection, but special UN conferences devoted to different aspects of human impact on the environment became commonplace in the 1970s.
The most productive, in terms of their administrative accomplishments, have been UNCHE, the 1974 World Food Conference, UNCED, and the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development.
The 1972 UNCHE, held in Sweden, was the first major global environmental conference.
UNCHE, for instance, was held at a fortuitous moment.
Most assessments of conference successes remain impressionistic and anecdotal, although some conferences generated new doctrinal consensus or new institutions to help advance the conference goals (such as UNCHE, with the UN Environment Programme [UNEP]; the 1974 World Food Conference, with the World Food Programme and the International Fund for Agricultural Development [I FAD]; the 1994 World Population Conference, with its strong endorsement of new population policy albeit without strong institutional support; and UNCED, with its support for the new doctrine of sustainable development but still with a weak Commission on Sustainable Development).