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Report of the ESCAP/UNDP Expert Group Meeting on Population, Environment and Sustainable Development: 13-18 May 1991, Jomtien, Thailand.
Bangkok, Thailand, United Nations, Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific [ESCAP], 1991. iv, 41 p. (Asian Population Studies Series No. 106)The 1991 meeting of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific considered the following topics: the interrelationships between population and natural resources, between population and the environment and poverty, and between population growth and consumption patterns, technological changes and sustainable development; the social aspects of the population-environment nexus (the effect of social norms and cultural practices); public awareness and community participation in population and environmental issues; and integration of population, environment, and development policies. The organization of the meeting is indicated. Recommendations were made. The papers on land, water, and air were devoted to a potential analytical model and the nature of the interlocking relationship between population, environment, and development. Dynamic balance was critical. 1 paper was presented on population growth and distribution, agricultural production and rural poverty; the practice of a simpler life style was the future challenge of the world. Several papers focused on urbanization trends and distribution and urban management policies. Only 1 paper discussed rural-urban income and consumption inequality and the consequences; some evidence suggests that increased income and equity is associated with improved resource management. Carrying capacity was an issue. The technological change paper reported that current technology contributed to overproduction and overconsumption and was environmentally unfriendly. The social norms paper referred to economic conditions that turned people away from sound environmental, cultural norms and practices. A concept paper emphasized women's contribution to humanism which goes beyond feminism; another presented an analytical summary of problems. 2 papers on public awareness pointed out the failures and the Indonesian experience with media. 1 paper provided a perspective on policy and 2 on the methodology of integration. The recommendations provided broad goals and specific objectives, a holistic and conceptual framework for research, information support, policies, resources for integration, and implementation arrangements. All activities must be guided by 1) unity of mankind, 2) harmony between population and natural resources, and 3) improvement in the human condition.
LAND USE POLICY. 1990 Oct; 7(4):337-50.The conflict between population and land in China results from high population density, declining availability of arable land, decrease in cropland, overgrazing, inability to afford imported grain, and expansion of land use for urbanization. Unwise decisions have been made. These decisions have resulted in land degradation, soil erosion, deforestation, degradation of grasslands, waste of land for freight storage or waste disposal due to low grain prices, and nonagricultural constructions on croplands. Ineffective land management problems are identified as: 1) the lack of an economic means of guiding land use and land is not valued; the lack of any mechanism to ensure economic land use including public lands which are not accounted for with rent; 2) the lack of integration of departments into the decision making structure and too many departments making decisions about the same land; 3) the lack of choice in land use which results in higher government departments being unaware of local conditions, and the lack of appropriate investment which results in short-term exploitation; and 4) surveys are inadequate for decision making. The strategies suggested for improvement in land use management include low resources expenditure in production and appropriate goods consumption. The goal is to sustain subsistence with gradual improvement through development. Land resources must be conserved and the environment protected. The solutions to depend on food imports or reduce the nutritional level deny the equally plausible solution to generate a higher level of input. The profit motive and scientific agricultural practices could accomplish this end. Reclamation for cropland is possible for 8 million hectares of wasteland in wide areas in Sanjiang Plain and 3.4 million hectares in small pockets in Eastern Monsoon China. Traditional agriculture must be transformed and an optimum scale of land operation established. Land tenure reform is necessary. Regional conditions must prevail as the guiding principles. Several implementation strategies are suggested: controlling population growth and establishing a balance between expenditure and land productivity, expanding and conserving forest areas, increasing agricultural investment, reforming land tenure, adjusting land product prices, strengthening land administration, developing other industries, and reforming economic and political systems.