Evaluation – both ex post and ex ante – is part of the Rio model of governance,
which emerged from the UN Earth Summit of 1992. This chapter provides a general
overview of the Rio governance model that stands behind the strategic concept
of Sustainable Development. This model of environmental governance has
been remarkably successful as a knowledge-based model of steering – not based
on power and legal obligation. However, we urgently need further improvements.
The chapter therefore makes a number of suggestions as to how to strengthen the
Rio model of governance. It also looks at whether evaluation should use only a
top-down perspective - the implementation of Agenda 21 or of national SD
strategies – or should also adopt a bottom-up perspective focusing on forces that
are independent from but supportive to the strategy of SD (e.g. high energy prices
or changes in WTO rules).
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