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The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio 20, came to an end a year ago. For more than 40 years, ever since the United Nations convened the first environmental conference in Stockholm in 1972, the international community has raised its collective voice for conservation, protection, and promotion of the environment. This article examines the text of the declaratory outcomes produced by three monumental international conferences in the field, and identifies the progression and regression of the environmental, social, and economic pillars of sustainable development. The transition of focus from environmental protection to sustainable development and to a green economy in these conferences accompanied the substantive and quantitative changes in the balance between the three pillars, which have transformed the theory of sustainable development and the impetus to realize it in practice. The author presents a host of questions on the meaning of this transformation and responds as to whether it satisfies the international community's original consensus on the concept of sustainable development.European Energy and Environmental Law Review