Avoiding unsustainable consumption patterns in developing countries
A vast global 'middle class' is expected to be created by continued economic growth and globalization. What will be the environmental impacts of 3 000-4 000 million consumers, with rising incomes, who all want to live an affluent lifestyle? What will happen as their success contrasts increasingly with the lot of the very poor? Since some planetary resources may be too limited to support this increased consumption, how will the resulting tensions be resolved? If developing countries are to seek to achieve sustainable consumption patterns in their development process, they will require enhanced technological and other assistance from industrialized countries. Such patterns would guarantee the provision of basic needs of the poor, while avoiding those unsustainable patterns, currently existing particularly in industrialized countries, which are generally recognized as unduly hazardous to the environment, inefficient and wasteful.
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.
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