Implementing a unified and comprehensive plan for the conservation of earth's living resources, and recommending actions to be taken by national government and conservation groups during the 1980s, including protection of endangered elements of the ecosystem; preventing pollution; establishing wild reserves of land, seas, plants and animals; and improving the national and international managerial capacity of governments and conservation groups.
The World Conservation Strategy was prepared in the late 1970s by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) with the help of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It was produced by broad-based discussion and negotiation between public agencies, private organizations and experts from over 100 countries. It has the backing and support of UNESCO and FAO. Its successor is the Strategy for Sustainable Living Caring for the Earth, published in 1991.
World Conservation has its basis in numerous efforts to save particular endangered species of plant and animal life, and in local efforts to preserve particular parts of the ecosystem. It involves the collaboration of governments, non-governmental groups and scientists and was launched simultaneously in thirty capital cities around the world. It must win the support of governments and industry in all parts of the world, and be shown to support the long-term interest of industrial and agricultural development in both poor and rich nations. It requires a reduction in demand for forest products through public education programmes and pricing policies, financial and technical assistance to the developing world, and educational programmes to marshall the force of public opinion.
Living resources essential for human survival and sustainable development are increasingly being destroyed or depleted. At the same time human demand for these resources is growing fast, the combined result of population growth, urbanization and industrialization. Even when conservation strategies are sought, it takes a great deal of time to plan, educate, train, research and organize action, and often a long time for the biosphere to respond. National and international efforts are ill-organized and fragmented and have little influence on the development process. A world strategy for the conservation of earth's living resources is needed now.
A world plan will not solve the globe's environmental crisis. It is individual people and basic local villages and communities who actually cut trees, pollute streams, demand consumer goods, and protect their own employment and livelihood.