Through his leadership of the seminal Stockholm Conference in 1972 the protection of the environment became an important issue supported by leaders of the developing world. The conference resulted in the founding of the UNEP (United Nations Environment Program).
Maurice Strong was the organizer and Secretary General of the Earth Summit in1992 inRio de Janeirowhich focused on climate change and the preservation of biodiversity and resulted in the ratification of theUnited Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The conclusion of his opening speech voiced his strong appeal for concerted action:
Our essential unity as peoples of the Earth must transcend the differences and difficulties which still divide us. You are called upon to rise to your historic responsibility as custodians of the planet in taking the decisions here that will unite rich and poor, North, South, East and West, in a new global partnership to ensure our common future. The road beyond Rio will be a long and difficult one; but it will also be a journey of renewed hope, of excitement, challenge and opportunity, leading as we move into the 21st century to the dawning of a new world in which the hopes and aspirations of all the world's children for a more secure and hospitable future can be fulfilled. This unprecedented responsibility is in your hands. "
In addition to his continuing work in Canada and the UN, Maurice Strong is actively involved in China where he advises the authorities and corporations about sustainable production. He is on the staff of Beijing University and, among other functions, chairs the Institute for Research on Security and Sustainability for North-East Asia.