The continued poverty of the majority of the planet's inhabitants and excessive consumption by the minority are the two major causes of environmental degradation. The present course is unsustainable and postponing action is no longer an option. Inspired political leadership and intense cooperation across all regions and sectors will be needed to put both existing and new policy instruments to work.
Further research is needed on the socio-economic causes of environmental deterioration and the interlinkages within and among environmental and sustainability issues in order to define the priority issues and suggest ways of addressing them. Multisectoral approaches are needed at national level, with planning carefully tailored to local or regional circumstances as appropriate. Stakeholders need to be involved from the start when formulating and introducing integrated policies.
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.
2. The poor of the developing countries must be provided with the land, fuel and food they need for survival. If these basic needs are not met, no principles and no laws will be able to halt deforestation and soil degradation, indeed they will accelerate. A few generations will ensure their own survival, while jeopardizing that of their children and grandchildren.
3. The costs of environmental damage in Asia are already staggeringly high and if the region fails to implement better policies it will pay even more dearly for environmental negligence. Without conscious shifts in environmental policy, most of Asia will become dirtier, noisier, more congested, more eroded, less forested and less biologically diverse.
4. Success in combating environmental degradation is dependent on the full participation of all actors in society, an aware and educated population, respect for ethical and spiritual values and cultural diversity, and protection of indigenous knowledge.