Agenda 21 is a implemented action plan of the United Nations with regard to sustainable development. It is a product of the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is a directional for future sustainability of the world. Agenda 21 addresses the critical issues we face as a global community: continuing damage to ecosystems, the worsening of poverty, hunger and ill health, increasing world population and illiteracy. Agenda 21 is composed of 40 chapters that identify each challenge and propose simple realistic solutions towards sustainable development which is: meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Section One: Social and Economic Dimensions
Preamble to Agenda 21: No nation can secure its future alone, but all countries can assure themselves of a safer, more prosperous future by dealing with environment and development issues together in global partnership.
International Cooperation: In order to encourage investment, nations need to eradicate corruption and ensure effective, efficient, honest, equitable and accountable public administrations, along with individual rights and opportunities. They need to provide price stability, realistic foreign exchange rates and efficient tax systems, and to foster the development of private business.
Combatting Poverty: Poverty is caused by hunger, illiteracy, inadequate medical care, unemployment and population pressures. The poor need access to basic education and health care, safe water and sanitation, and to resources, especially land.
Changing Consumption Patterns: New concepts of wealth and prosperity which are more in harmony with the Earth's carrying capacity need to be developed, particularly in the industrialized countries. Individuals need to accept that they have choices when making decisions about their own consumption patterns.
Population and Sustaiability: The world's population is expected to exceed 8 billion by the year 2020. Countries need to know their national population carrying capacity and deal with the combination of population growth, health of the ecosystem, technologies and access to resources.
Protecting and Promoting Health: Every year in the developing world, nearly 15 million children under 15 die from infection and malnutrition. Human health depends on a healthy environment, clean water supply, sanitary waste disposal, adequate shelter and healthy food. The overall goal is health for all by the year 2000.
Sustainable Human settlements: By the year 2000, half the world's population will be living in cities. Governments should reduce migration to the big cities by improving rural living and see that the homeless get access to land, credit and low-cost building materials.
Making Decisions for Sustainable Development: There is a tendency to treat the environment as a "free good" and to pass the cost of environmental damage to other parts of society, other countries or future generations. Nations and corporate enterprises should integrate environmental protection and restoration costs in their decision-making.
Section Two: Conservation and Management of Resources
Protecting the Atmosphere: Our atmosphere is under increasing pressure from greenhouse gases that threaten to change the climates and chemicals that reduce the ozone layer. Greater energy efficiency out of existing power stations is needed as well as developing renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, hydro, ocean and human power, while reducing reliance on non-renewable sources of energy such as fossil fuels.
Managing Land Sustainability: Increasing demand for land and its natural resources is creating competition and conflicts. Sustainable use and management of land should include landscape ecological planning, traditional...
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