Because of the interaction of ecological, economic and social factors, the disruption of ecosystems has economic and social consequences. There is a lack of knowledge regarding ecosystem functioning and ecological limits to economic and social activity (ie. carrying capacity) which has led to a greater acceptance of the precautionary principle and its use to guide policy and action.
This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities. Agenda 21 recommends ensuring implementation of programmes on sustainable livelihoods, agriculture and rural development, managing fragile ecosystems, water use in agriculture and integrated management of natural resources.