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close this bookSustaining the Future: Economic, Social, and Environmental Change in Sub-Saharan Africa (UNU, 1996, 365 pages)
close this folderPreface
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View the documentBackground
View the documentRegional environmental futures
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Background

The quest for sustainable development has in recent years become a key concern for the developing regions of the world. Issues pertaining to the ecosystem's capacity to tolerate and respond to population growth and other human-induced stresses have become essential for the sustainable management of natural resources. Each year significant amounts of agricultural land are converted to urban land uses or lost owing to erosion' posing serious threats to local and global food security. At the same time, critical resources, such as water, become increasingly scarce and polluted. Physical and anthropogenic processes are intricately interlinked, but it can be argued that the present environment is largely a result of the interactions between man, natural resources, and technology in the socio-economic and cultural development process.

Finding and disseminating solutions to these problems is not only a matter of technology, but requires a multidisciplinary approach with inputs from both natural and social sciences, besides the cooperation of all sectors of the international community. Environmental considerations can no longer be separated from issues related to social and economic development, population, trade, food security, and the international system as a whole.