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New York, New York, United Nations, 1989. xi, 126 p. (ST/ESA/213; E/CN.5/1989/2)The introductory section of this report on the world social situation describes the existing setting for social development, slow economic growth and scarce resources worldwide during the 1980s, and principal themes. The report was prepared by the Office for Development Research and Policy Analysis of the Department of International Economic and Social Affairs of the UN Secretariat, with contributions from the Center for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs of the UN Office in Vienna. It explores the changing structure of the family; the advancement of women; food consumption and supply; inequality and poverty; new technologies and their social impact; threats to the environment; social development, security, and disarmament; international cooperation against drug abuse, international terrorism, and AIDS; migrants and refugees; and changing perceptions regarding social development issues. An annex considers the changing social situation in Africa.
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.
In: Preserving the global environment: the challenge of shared leadership, edited by Jessica T. Mathews. New York, New York/London, England, W. W. Norton, 1991. 39-77.The thesis that human population growth will eventually destroy the equilibrium of the world ecosystem, because environmental strain is a nonlinear effect of the linear growth, is embellished with discussions of technology and resulting pollution, population dynamics, birth and death rates, effects of expanded education, causes of urbanization, time constraints and destabilizing effects of partial development and the debt crisis. It is suggested that the terms renewable and nonrenewable resources are paradoxical, since the nonrenewable resoureces such as minerals will always exist, while renewable ecosystems and species are limited. The competitive economy actually accelerates destruction of biological resoureces because it overvalues rare species when they have crossed the equilibrium threshold and are in decline. Technological outputs are proportional to population numbers: therefore adverse effects of population should be considered in billions, not percent increase even though it is declining. Even the United Nations does not have predictions of the effects of added billions, taking into account improved survival and decreased infant mortality. Rapid urbanization of developing countries and their debt crisis have resulted from political necessity from the point of view of governments in power, rather than mere demographics. Recommendations are suggested for U.S. policy based on these points such as enlightened political leadership, foreign aid, and scientific investment with the health of the world ecosystem in mind rather than spectacle and local political ideology.