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    The UN role in ecological security and sustainable development.


    Development. 1989; (4):52-5.

    The Brundtland Commission on Environment and Development has contributed the critical concept of sustainable development. The objective at present for developing countries is to deal with the limits of the global life support system's capacity to absorb the impact of human activity. In each country and in a cooperative global effort, attention must be given to the impact of global warming for the survival of mankind. Development must follow the priority of human survival. Carbon dioxide emissions which have a substantial impact on global warming need to be limited or held constant. It has been suggested that sharp limits would require a sharp reduction in economic growth for both developing and developed countries. A collective effort is needed which aims to increase energy efficiency globally, to reduce destructive energy sources, and to develop alternative energy generation and technology. Scientific cooperation is needed for understanding the impact of weather changes on agricultural patterns and animal life. Notwithstanding the problem of safe technologies, population growth must also be curbed. Migration flows already reflect the income disparities. The gap between rich and poor must be narrowed. A mandate has been proposed for expansion of the UN Security Council to include environmental crises, and to replace the mandate of the Trusteeship Council with maintenance of the global environment. A constraint is the lack of representation of Third World countries in economic summits. The Group of 5 or 7 is concerned with the coordination of the economies for their respective countries. International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank issues can be de facto vetoed by the Group of 5 or 7. Longterm economic and political sense dictates a more cooperative arrangement in the UN with developing countries, such as occurs within the IMF. There is a lack of accountability to any body of the global economy and the priority access of giant corporations. National, cultural, and religious continuity is desired. Nongovernmental organizations must be included in the UN network and regional bodies. With the decline in world detente, regional and indigenous conflicts will emerge. The question is how prepared is the UN or the world to make the necessary changes.
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