Environmental management has emerged as an important element of governance in practically every nation. This was not the case before the United Nations convened the 1972 Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm. After Stockholm, nations learned to build environmental ministries and work across sectors nationally, and discovered how difficult it is to reshape entrenched national practices in order to curb pollution and conserve natural resources. With growing experience and knowledge, nations came to realize that no one government alone could safeguard the environment, and that international cooperation would need to be enhanced.
Nicholas A. Robinson, Befogged Vision: International Environmental Governance A Decade After Rio, 27 Wm. & Mary Envtl. L. & Pol'y Rev. 299 (2002), available at http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/lawfaculty/372/.