Environmental management cannot be separated from the improved management of human society. The global human ecosystem is threatened by grave imbalances in productivity and in the distribution of goods and services. A significant proportion of humanity still lives in dire poverty, and projected trends are for increasing discrepancies between those that benefit from economic and technological development, and those that do not. This unsustainable progression of extremes of wealth and poverty threatens the stability of the whole human system, and with it the global environment.
We live in a world of accelerating global change, where internationally-coordinated environmental stewardship is lagging behind economic and social development. It is a world where environmental gains through new technology and policies are overtaken by the pace and scale of population growth and economic development. The globalization of the economy and society is accompanied by the globalization of resource management and environmental problems but the institutional response to this is lagging behind.