Rationalizing use of non-renewable resources Improving exhaustible resource productivity
UNESCO's programme includes the following: applying modern technologies to the use of non-renewable resources and provide training in earth sciences.
It is necessary to work toward halving the present global non-renewable material flows, including minerals, fresh water and non-renewable energy carriers. A political commitment to a tenfold increase in the average resource productivity of the presently industrialized countries is a prerequisite for meeting the goal of long-term global sustainability. The technical potential for such a goal over 50 years is enormous. Deliberate actions by governments and other actors are needed to provide the right incentives for change.
Resource efficiencies on their own cannot be called sustainable because they cannot be sustained indefinitely. This is partly because each ensuing step towards greater efficiency becomes more expensive and thus more difficult to implement, and partly because despite all energy improvements, billions of tonnes of raw materials are still turned into emissions and unrecoverable wastes. This amount is not being reduced. Furthermore, much of the growth depends on exports to the rest of the world, particularly the developing world who are copying high consumption practices. The earth's carrying capacity will be undermined even if only the currently rich industrial countries achieve such a high level of resource consumption as some of their individual members have attained.
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.
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