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Geneva, Switzerland, UNCED, Secretariat, 1992 Apr. , 116 p. (E.92.I.15)The UN Conference on Environmental and Development Preparatory Committee (UNCED) agreed on an action plan of global partnership for sustainable development and environmental protection entitled Agenda 21 to be adopted at the June 1992 UNCED in Rio de Janeiro. The priority actions are a call for action to achieve a prospering, just, and habitable world. These actions also promote a fertile, shared, and clean planet via extensive and responsible public participation at local, national, and global levels. Since most environmental problems originate with the failures and inadequacies of the current development process, the 1st action centers around revitalizing growth with sustainability including international policies to accelerate sustainable development in developing countries and integration of environment and development in decision making. The 2nd action is achieving sustainable living by attacking poverty, changing consumption patterns, and recognizing and acting on the links between population dynamics and sustainability, and providing basic health needs to preserve human health. The 3rd action addresses human settlements including urban water supplies, solid wastes management, and urban pollution and health. The 4th and 7th action plans incorporate the most subtopics. The 4th action plan calls for efficient resource use ranging from land resource planning and management to sustainable agriculture and rural development. The 7th plan is a call for individuals and groups to participate and be responsible for sustainable development. The major identified groups are women, children and youth, indigenous people, nongovernmental organizations, farmers, local authorities, trade unions, business and industry, and the scientific and technological community. The 5th plan addresses global and regional resources including protection of the atmosphere, the oceans and seas, and sustainable use of living marine resources. The 6th plan deals with management of toxic and hazardous chemicals and radioactive wastes.
In: The global possible: resources, development, and the new century, edited by Robert Repetto. New Haven, Connecticut, Yale University Press, 1985. 255-98. (World Resources Institute Book)Everyone uses fresh water. Water is the most used substance by industry. Even though industry only makes up 5-10% of current worldwide water use, it contributes a disproportionate amount of toxic contaminants to the water supply. The most important socioeconomic factors of municipal water demand are household income and size. Agricultural demand is the single largest demand for water. In the US, it makes up 83% of annual total water consumption. Water demand has resulted in some of the world's biggest construction and weather modification projects which greatly alter basic ecosystems. Multinational institutions such as the World Bank and the International Development Association support most of these projects in developing countries. We have abused water perhaps more than any other resource. These abuses have caused considerable adverse effects. For example, after farmers in Africa and Asia began irrigating fields, many people fell ill with schistomosiasis. Other waterborne diseases include typhoid fever and diarrheal diseases. Investments in water supplies as well as in wastewater treatment are needed to improve public health. The largest consumers of fresh water in the world are those countries with the largest populations (49% of the world's population) and largest total land area (32% of the this area): China, India, the US, and the USSR. These 4 countries have 61-70% of the world's total irrigated land, but China and India have most of it (54%). Most US water expenditures are for water pollution control. The US has a very efficient agricultural system but the efficiency is technical rather than economic. Most water expenditures in the USSR and India are for irrigation. China spends most of its water resource funds on irrigation and drainage systems. All countries in the world should conduct a rational analysis of fresh water uses, implement rational water pricing policies to conserve water use, and stabilize water supplies such as capturing surface runoff.