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  1. 1

    Nature's medicinal bounty: don't throw it away.

    Akerele O

    WORLD HEALTH FORUM. 1993; 14(4):390-5.

    About 80% of the world's people depend largely on traditional plant-derived drugs for their primary health care (PHC). Medicinal plants serve as sources of direct therapeutic agents and raw materials for the manufacture of more complex compounds, as models for new synthetic products, and as taxonomic markers. Some essential plant-derived drugs are atropine, codeine, morphine, digitoxin/digoxin, and quinine/artemisinin. Use of indigenous medicinal plants reduces developing countries' reliance on drug imports. Costa Rica has set aside 25% of its land to preserve the forests, in part to provide plants and other materials for possible pharmaceutical and agricultural applications. The Napralert database at the University of Illinois establishes ethnomedical uses for about 9200 of 33,000 species of monocotyledons, dicotyledons, gymnosperms, lichens, pteridophytes, and bryophytes. Sales of crude plant drugs during 1985 in China equaled US$1400 million. Even though many people use medicinal plants, pharmaceutical firms in industrialized nations do not want to explore plants as sources of new drugs. Scientists in China, Germany, and Japan are doing so, however. Screening, chemical analysis, clinical trials, and regulatory measures are needed to ensure safety of herbal medicines. WHO has hosted interregional workshops to address methodologies for the selection and use of traditional medicines in national PHC programs. WHO, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, and the World Wide Fund for Nature developed guidelines for conservation of medicinal plants. Their 2-pronged strategy includes prevention of the disappearance of forests and associated species and the establishment of botanical gardens. WHO's Traditional Medicine Programme hopes that people will apply known and effective agroindustrial technologies to the cultivation and processing of medicinal plants and the production of herbal medicines and the creation of large-scale networks for the distribution of seeds and plants.
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  2. 2

    Conservation of West and Central African rainforests. Conservation de la foret dense en Afrique centrale et de l'Ouest.

    Cleaver K; Munasinghe M; Dyson M; Egli N; Peuker A; Wencelius F

    Washington, D.C., World Bank, 1992. xi, 353 p. (World Bank Environment Paper No. 1)

    This World Bank publication is a collection of selected papers presented at the Conference on Conservation of West and Central African Rainforests in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, in November 1990. These rainforests are very important to the stability of the regional and global environment, yet human activity is destroying them at a rate of 2 million hectares/year. Causes of forest destruction are commercial logging for export, conversion of forests into farmland, cutting of forests for fuelwood, and open-access land tenure systems. Other than an introduction and conclusion, this document is divided into 8 broad topics: country strategies, agricultural nexus, natural forestry management, biodiversity and conservation, forest peoples and products, economic values, fiscal issues, and institutional and private participation issues. Countries addressed in the country strategies section include Zaire, Cameroon, Sao Tome and Principe, and Nigeria. The forest peoples and products section has the most papers: wood products and residual from forestry operations in the Congo; Kutafuta Maisha: searching for life on Zaire's Ituri forest frontier; development in the Central African rainforest: concern for forest peoples; concern for Africa's forest peoples: a touchstone of a sustainable development policy; Tropical Forestry Action Plans and indigenous people: the case of Cameroon; forest people and people in the forest: investing in local community development; and women and the forest: use and conservation of forestry resources other than wood. Topics in the economic values section range from debt-for-nature swaps to environmental labeling. Forestry taxation and forest revenue systems are discussed under fiscal issues. The conclusion discusses saving Africa's rainforests.
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  3. 3

    Development, life-styles, population and environment in Latin America.

    United Nations. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean

    In: Population, resources, environment and development. Proceedings of the Expert Group on Population, Resources, Environment and Development, Geneva, 25-29 April 1983, [compiled by] United Nations. Department of International Economic and Social Affairs. New York, New York, United Nations, 1984. 403-32. (Population Studies No. 90; ST/ESA/SER.A/90; International Conference on Population, 1984)

    Relying on empirical work done by the Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLA), this paper illustrates how the demographic dynamics of Latin America in the last 2 decades and the environmental problems being faced by the people of the region are related to the specific productive structures and consumption patterns which, to different degrees depending on the country, prevailed during that time and are now even more widespread in Latin America. Analysis of the population/styles of development/life styles/environment relationships in Latin America provides some useful guidelines for future action in the field. The dominance of a development style in which transnational corporations play a key role demonstrates that many apparently local manifestations of the problems of population, resources, environment, and development have their cause elsewhere, in distant centers or decision making, or in a process triggered by someone else. A critical part of the interplay of these relationships in future years is likely to occur in the industrialized countries. This is so because of the global reach of many of their domestic and international policies and also because they act as centers which diffuse worldwide patterns and systems of production and consumption, transnational life styles, technologies, and so forth. What occurs in the developing countries is not likely to have such great influence worldwide, though in many instances it will be of critical importance for their domestic development. Everywhere, integrated/systems thinking, planning, policy, and decision making are a prerequisite for dealing with these interrelationships. In this context, different specific population policies will have a critical role to play. The remaining problem is that decision makers still need to learn how to think and act in an integrated and systematic manner. The gap between the desired schemes, models, and plans and the real world tends to be considerable. There are a number of things that could be undertaken internationally and by the UN system to fill the gap, and these are identified.
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  4. 4

    Population, resources and development.

    Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations [FAO]

    In: Population, resources, environment and development. Proceedings of the Expert Group on Population, Resources, Environment and Development, Geneva, 25-29 April 1983, [compiled by] United Nations. Department of International Economic and Social Affairs. New York, New York, United Nations, 1984. 267-92. (Population Studies No. 90; ST/ESA/SER.A/90; International Conference on Population, 1984)

    The 1st section of this paper devoted to population, resources, and development broadly delineates for countries the physiological limits of land to support human populations according to pressure on resources. Subsequent sections examine the impact which an abatement of population growth could have by the year 2000 on resources in general and on the performance of the agricultural sector of developing countries in particular, link poverty to malnutrition, and deal with 1 specific aspect of the relation between distribution and undernutrition. The purpose of the final section is to highlight certain issues of the "food-feed competition" which requires more attention in the future. The frailty of the balance between population and resources is a basic concern of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN. FAO's purpose is to promote agricultural and rural development and to contribute to the improvement of people's nutritional level. The significant characteristics of the FAO work on "potential population supporting capacity of lands" are the improved soil and climatic data from which it starts and the explicit specification of the assumptions made about technology, inputs, and nutritional intake requirements. Both the carrying capacity project and the results of "Agriculture: Toward 2000" have emphasized the importance of the role that technology will play in world agriculture in the future. Yet, technology is not free and its cost should be compared to alternative solutions. Moving people -- migration -- is an option that suggests itself in relation to the carrying capacity project. Changes in certain institutions, including land reform, size of the farm, market systems, pricing regimes are more suggestions that may arise with respect "Agriculture: Toward 2000" and to the food-feed competition. The ultimate question continues to be whether high agricultural technology is feasible on a world agricultural scale without dire environmental and other effects.
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  5. 5

    General overview. A. Population, resources, environment and development: highlights of the issues in the context of the World Population Plan of Action.

    United Nations. Department of International Economic and Social Affairs. Population Division

    In: Population, resources, environment and development. Proceedings of the Expert Group on Population, Resources, Environment and Development, Geneva, 25-29 April 1983, [compiled by] United Nations. Department of International Economic and Social Affairs. New York, New York, United Nations, 1984. 63-95. (Population Studies No. 90; ST/ESA/SER.A/90; International Conference on Population, 1984)

    The acceptance by the international community of the importance of the interrelations between population, resources, environment, and development has been in large measure an outgrowth of the search for development alternatives that would reduce the disparities between developed and developing countries and ameliorate poverty within countries. Possibly the most important task of the Expert Group on Population, Resources, Environment, and Development is to identify more clearly the role of population within these interrelationships, i.e., to identify through which mechanisms population characteristics condition and are conditioned by resource use, environmental effects, and the developmental structure. To a considerable extent the incidence of poverty forms the root cause of many of the problems derived from the interrelationships between population, resources, environment, and development in developing countries. Affluence appears to be the major cause of many of the environmental and resource problems in the developed countries. The first 2 sections are devoted to issues considered crucial in the alleviation of poverty. Lack of food, adequate nutrition, health care, education, gainful employment, old age security, and adequate per capita incomes perpetuate poverty of large numbers of people in developing countries and therefore also their production and consumption patterns, which undermine, through environmental and resource degradation, the very resources on which they depend for their livelihood. The discussion of environment as a provider of resources first considers supplies of minerals, energy, and water. Attention is then directed to the stock of agricultural land that can be expanded through fertilization and irrigation and which may be reduced as a result of desertification, deforestation, urbanization, salinization, and waterlogging. Another section focuses on the need for integrating population variables into development planning. In the formulation of longterm development objectives, population can no longer be regarded as an exogenous force, but rather becomes an endogenous variable which affects and is affected by development policies, programs, and plans.
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  6. 6

    Desertification: a question of linkages.

    Stiles D

    Mazingira. 1985; 8(4):32-3.

    Desertification threatens 35% of the earth's land surface and 19% of the world's population. Each year, 60,000 sq km of land are reduced to desert-like conditions. Of the world's drylands, 60% has already been affected by the desertification process. The direct cost of desertification in the form of loss in agricultural production has been estimated at US$26 billion/year. To halt and perhaps reverse the desertification process, the United Nations Conference on Desertification (UNCOD) formulated a comprehensive Plan of Action to Combat Desertification (PACD) in 1977. However, there has been little progress in implementing the 28 recommendations contained within the PACD. Less than US$50,000, none of it from developed countries, has been raised toward the US$90 billion needed over a 20-year period. Developed nations prefer to give assistance through bilateral aid agreements that allow them to secure secondary benefits such as contracts, employment, and political influence. Another problem involves policies within the affected countries. Environmental programs tend not to be awarded high priority because of their lack of quick visual evidence of results. Government leaders must be convinced that desertification is a steady process that is robbing their lands of productive capabilities and increasing economic dependence on outside sources of support. A national machinery and institutional support to coordinate national action must be established. This requires development of a national plan of action to combat desertification, in which a detailed assessment is made of a country's desertification problems, priority projects are identified, and the institutional support to organize and coordinate the national plan is outlined. The United Nations Environment Program is prepared to assist any developing country in the preparation of such plans.
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  7. 7

    The population growth and desertification crisis.

    Milas S

    Mazingira. 1985; 8(4):28-31.

    Desertification is a result of overexploitation of the land through overcultivation, overgrazing, deforestation, and poor irrigation practices. This process is a result of the growing imbalance between population, resources, environment, and development. The principle problem causing desertification is not population increase per se; rather, it is due to mismanagement of the land. However, rapidly increasing population densities in the drylands of Africa, Asia, and Latin America have upset the former balance upon which subsistence agriculture depended, including long fallow periods to allow the land to regain its fertility. Arable land for the world as a whole is projected to decrease from its 1975 level of .31 ha/person to .15 ha/person by the year 2000. Population increases in the remaining croplands are expected to produce further encroachment on rangelands and forests and increased ecologic degradation, in turn producing further population pressure, poverty, land degradation, and desertification. The basic need is for better resource utilization. Halting desertification requires the restoration of the balance between man and land. Development, good resource management, and use of appropriate technologic advances are key factors. There is also a crucial need for each country to relate its population policy to its resource base and development plans. Population increase cannot continue indefinitely without regard for the realities of resources, development, and the environment.
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  8. 8

    [Operational sequence for the implementation of a subregional food and nutrition strategy] Secuencia operativa para la implementacion de una estrategia subregional de alimentacion y nutricion.

    Salazar de Buckle T; Tantalean J

    In: Lineamientos de una estrategia Andina de alimentacion y nutricion [by] Junta del Acuerdo de Cartegena. Grupo de Politica Technologica. Proyectos Andinos de Desarollo Technologico en el Area de los Alimentos. Lima, Peru, Junta del Acuerdo de Cartagena, Grupo de Politica Technologica, Proyectos Andinos de Desarollo Technologico en el Area de los Alimentos, 1983. 143-74.

    This article outlines and diagrams a recommended operational sequence for implementation of food and nutrition strategy for the Andean region. The multisectorial strategy envisioned by the planners would involve the supply and demand for foods; basic health, environmental sanitation and educational services; and food information and technology. The integrated, multisectorial nature of the strategy requires policies, plans, and programming designed to facilitate harmonious development of all the necessary elements within the 5 Andean countries. The proposed methodology for operationalizing the strategy is based on a systems focus which covers all aspects of production, processing, distribution, final consumption, and technoeconomic policies for food and nutrition. Because the food and nutrition strategy is more than a production program, its design should identify interrelations between the availability and prices of foods, external commerce, industrial trends, food commerce and distribution, and food consumption in adquate quantities by the entire population. A basic service component for health should also be included for the Andean population because of its relationship to nutritional aspects. The suggested instrument for operationalizing the systems focus is the "Methodology for Evaluation andprogramming of Technological and Economic Development of Production and Consumption Systems" developed by the Andean Projects for Technological Development Food Group for the Group for Technological Policy of the Cartagena Accord. The methodology consists of a manual and a "Model of Numerical Experimentation", which permits identification of system components, calculation and evaluation of relevant aspects of each production factor, and design and selection of development alternatives. The Model of Numerical Experimentation" allows simulation of goals for satisfaction of needs, exports of final products, import substitution, different production technologies, commercial margins, subidies, customs duties, taxes and exchange rates and related variables. Various food production systems have already been studied using the methodology in each of the 5 Andean countries. It is recommended that implementation of aspects of the food and nutrition strategy involving food production and consumption proceed in 8 operational sequences: 1) characterization of the current industrial, agroindustrial, and fishing economy 2) identification and selection of basic foods and/or strategies 3) representation and quantification of each of the selected systems 4) evaluation of each system and intersystem relationship 5) identification and selection of systems of production of alternative foodstuffs 6) proposal for a national and regional food system 7) concerted development programming for the regional food system and 8) design of mechanisms of evaluation and follow-up.
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