Implementing water and sanitation programmes in peri-urban settlements Improving sanitation for urban poor
The 1980s saw considerable progress in development and application of low-cost water-supply and sanitation technology. Agenda 21 envisages continuation of this work, with particular emphasis on development of appropriate sanitation and waste disposal technologies for low-income high-density urban settlements.
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 implementation of water, sanitation and waste management programmes focused on the urban poor.
The challenge to reach all people with basic water supply and sanitation services represents only one important facet of a broader challenge to manage the world's increasingly threatened water resources; we cannot hope to meet the first goal without securing the second. And nowhere is the challenge more complex and demanding than in the megacities in the developing world which have to choose between drawing water from ever more distant sources or by dipping deeper into their limited groundwater sources. While freshwater supplies are rapidly dwindling, some 2 million tonnes of human excrement and an ever-increasing volume of untreated discharge from industry continue to pollute urban water resources every day.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.