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United Nations Conference on Environment & Development
Rio de Janerio, Brazil, 3 to 14 June 1992
AGENDA 21
CONTENTS
Chapter
1. Preamble

Paragraphs
1.1 - 1.6

SECTION I. SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC DIMENSIONS
2. International cooperation to accelerate sustainable development in developing countries and related
domestic policies
3. Combating poverty
4. Changing consumption patterns
5. Demographic dynamics and sustainability
6. Protecting and promoting human health conditions
7. Promoting sustainable human settlement development
8. Integrating environment and development in decision-making

2.1 - 2.43
3.1 - 3.12
4.1 - 4.27
5.1 - 5.66
6.1 - 6.46
7.1 - 7.80
8.1 - 8.54

SECTION II. CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT OF RESOURCES FOR DEVELOPMENT
9. Protection of the atmosphere
10. Integrated approach to the planning and management of land resources
11. Combating deforestation
12. Managing fragile ecosystems: combating desertification and drought
13. Managing fragile ecosystems: sustainable mountain development
14. Promoting sustainable agriculture and rural development
15. Conservation of biological diversity
16. Environmentally sound management of biotechnology
17. Protection of the oceans, all kinds of seas, including enclosed and semi-enclosed seas, and coastal
areas and the protection, rational use and development of their living resources
18. Protection of the quality and supply of freshwater resources: application of integrated approaches to
the development, management and use of water resources
19. Environmentally sound management of toxic chemicals, including prevention of illegal international
traffic in toxic and dangerous products
20. Environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes, in hazardous wastes
21. Environmentally sound management of solid wastes and sewage-related issues
22. Safe and environmentally sound management of radioactive wastes

9.1 - 9.35
10.1 - 10.18
11.1 - 11.40
12.1 - 12.63
13.1 - 13.24
14.1 - 14.104
15.1 - 15.11
16.1 - 16.46
17.1 - 17.136
18.1 - 18.90
19.1 - 19.76
20.1 - 20.46
21.1 - 21.49
22.1 - 22.9

SECTION III. STRENGTHENING THE ROLE OF MAJOR GROUPS
23. Preamble
24. Global action for women towards sustainable and equitable development
25. Children and youth in sustainable development
26. Recognizing and strengthening the role of indigenous people and their communities
27. Strengthening the role of non-governmental organizations: partners for sustainable development
28. Local authorities' initiatives in support of Agenda 21
29. Strengthening the role of workers and their trade unions
30. Strengthening the role of business and industry
31. Scientific and technological community

23.1 - 23.4
24.1 - 24.12
25.1 - 25.17
26.1 - 26.9
27.1 - 27.13
28.1 - 28.7
29.1 - 29.14
30.1 - 30.30
31.1 - 31.12

32. Strengthening the role of farmers

32.1 - 32.14

SECTION IV. MEANS OF IMPLEMENTATION
33. Financial resources and mechanisms
34. Transfer of environmentally sound technology, cooperation and capacity-building
35. Science for sustainable development
36. Promoting education, public awareness and training
37. National mechanisms and international cooperation for capacity-building in developing countries
38. International institutional arrangements
39. International legal instruments and mechanisms
40. Information for decision-making

33.1 - 33.21
34.1 - 34.29
35.1 - 35.25
36.1 - 36.27
37.1 - 37.13
38.1 - 38.45
39.1 - 39.10
40.1 - 40.30

*****
* Copyright © United Nations Division for Sustainable Development
* For section I (Social and economic dimensions), see A/CONF.151/26 (Vol. I); for section III (Strengthening
the role of major groups) and section IV (Means of implementation), see A.CONF/151/26 (Vol. III).
* For section II (Conservation and management of resources for development), see A/CONF.151/26 (Vol. II);
for section III (Strengthening the role of major groups) and section IV (Means of implementation), see
A/CONF.151/26 (Vol. III).
* For section I (Social and economic dimensions), see A/CONF.151/26 (Vol. I); for section II (Conservation
and management of resources for development), see A/CONF.151/26 (Vol. II).

Small Island Developing States Network (SIDSnet) has formatted this document for MS-Word from the original version available
for downloading from the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) at:

http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/agenda21.htm. Reproduction and dissemination of the document - in electronic and/or
printed format - is encouraged, provided acknowledgement is made of the role of the United Nations in making it available.

Agenda 21 - Chapter 1
PREAMBLE
1.1. Humanity stands at a defining moment in history. We are confronted with a perpetuation of disparities
between and within nations, a worsening of poverty, hunger, ill health and illiteracy, and the
continuing deterioration of the ecosystems on which we depend for our well-being. However,
integration of environment and development concerns and greater attention to them will lead to the
fulfilment of basic needs, improved living standards for all, better protected and managed ecosystems
and a safer, more prosperous future. No nation can achieve this on its own; but together we can - in a
global partnership for sustainable development.
1.2. This global partnership must build on the premises of General Assembly resolution 44/228 of 22
December 1989, which was adopted when the nations of the world called for the United Nations
Conference on Environment and Development, and on the acceptance of the need to take a balanced
and integrated approach to environment and development questions.

1.3. Agenda 21 addresses the pressing problems of today and also aims at preparing the world for the
challenges of the next century. It reflects a global consensus and political commitment at the highest
level on development and environment cooperation. Its successful implementation is first and foremost
the responsibility of Governments. National strategies, plans, policies and processes are crucial in
achieving this. International cooperation should support and supplement such national efforts. In this
context, the United Nations system has a key role to play. Other international, regional and subregional
organizations are also called upon to contribute to this effort. The broadest public participation and the
active involvement of the non-governmental organizations and other groups should also be
encouraged.
1.4. The developmental and environmental objectives of Agenda 21 will require a substantial flow of new
and additional financial resources to developing countries, in order to cover the incremental costs for
the actions they have to undertake to deal with global environmental problems and to accelerate
sustainable development. Financial resources are also required for strengthening the capacity of
international institutions for the implementation of Agenda 21. An indicative order-of-magnitude
assessment of costs is included in each of the programme areas. This assessment will need to be
examined and refined by the relevant implementing agencies and organizations.

1.5. In the implementation of the relevant programme areas identified in Agenda 21, special attention
should be given to the particular circumstances facing the economies in transition. It must also be
recognized that these countries are facing unprecedented challenges in transforming their economies,
in some cases in the midst of considerable social and political tension.
1.6. The programme areas that constitute Agenda 21 are described in terms of the basis for action,
objectives, activities and means of implementation. Agenda 21 is a dynamic programme. It will be
carried out by the various actors according to the different situations, capacities and priorities of
countries and regions in full respect of all the principles contained in the Rio Declaration on
Environment and Development. It could evolve over time in the light of changing needs and
circumstances. This process marks the beginning of a new global partnership for sustainable
development.
*****
* When the term "Governments" is used, it will be deemed to include the European Economic Community within its
areas of competence. Throughout Agenda 21 the term "environmentally sound" means "environmentally safe and
sound", in particular when applied to the terms "energy sources", "energy supplies", "energy systems" and "technology"
or "technologies".

Agenda 21 - Chapter 2
INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION TO ACCELERATE SUSTAINABLE
DEVELOPMENT IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES AND RELATED DOMESTIC
POLICIES
2.1. In order to meet the challenges of environment and development, States have decided to establish a
new global partnership. This partnership commits all States to engage in a continuous and constructive
dialogue, inspired by the need to achieve a more efficient and equitable world economy, keeping in
view the increasing interdependence of the community of nations and that sustainable development
should become a priority item on the agenda of the international community. It is recognized that, for
the success of this new partnership, it is important to overcome confrontation and to foster a climate of
genuine cooperation and solidarity. It is equally important to strengthen national and international
policies and multinational cooperation to adapt to the new realities.
2.2. Economic policies of individual countries and international economic relations both have great
relevance to sustainable development. The reactivation and acceleration of development requires both
a dynamic and a supportive international economic environment and determined policies at the
national level. It will be frustrated in the absence of either of these requirements. A supportive external
economic environment is crucial. The development process will not gather momentum if the global
economy lacks dynamism and stability and is beset with uncertainties. Neither will it gather
momentum if the developing countries are weighted down by external indebtedness, if development
finance is inadequate, if barriers restrict access to markets and if commodity prices and the terms of
trade of developing countries remain depressed. The record of the 1980s was essentially negative on
each of these counts and needs to be reversed. The policies and measures needed to create an
international environment that is strongly supportive of national development efforts are thus vital.
International cooperation in this area should be designed to complement and support - not to diminish
or subsume - sound domestic economic policies, in both developed and developing countries, if global
progress towards sustainable development is to be achieved.
2.3. The international economy should provide a supportive international climate for achieving
environment and development goals by:
PROGRAMME AREAS
A. Promoting sustainable development through trade Basis for action
2.5. An open, equitable, secure, non-discriminatory and predictable multilateral trading system that is
consistent with the goals of sustainable development and leads to the optimal distribution of global
production in accordance with comparative advantage is of benefit to all trading partners. Moreover,
improved market access for developing countries' exports in conjunction with sound macroeconomic
and environmental policies would have a positive environmental impact and therefore make an
important contribution towards sustainable development.
2.6. Experience has shown that sustainable development requires a commitment to sound economic
policies and management, an effective and predictable public administration, the integration of
environmental concerns into decision-making and progress towards democratic government, in the
light of country-specific conditions, which allows for full participation of all parties concerned. These
attributes are essential for the fulfilment of the policy directions and objectives listed below.
2.7. The commodity sector dominates the economies of many developing countries in terms of production,
employment and export earnings. An important feature of the world commodity economy in the 1980s
was the prevalence of very low and declining real prices for most commodities in international markets
and a resulting substantial contraction in commodity export earnings for many producing countries.
The ability of those countries to mobilize, through international trade, the resources needed to finance
investments required for sustainable development may be impaired by this development and by tariff

and non-tariff impediments, including tariff escalation, limiting their access to export markets. The
removal of existing distortions in international trade is essential. In particular, the achievement of this
objective requires that there be substantial and progressive reduction in the support and protection of
agriculture - covering internal regimes, market access and export subsidies - as well as of industry and
other sectors, in order to avoid inflicting large losses on the more efficient producers, especially in
developing countries. Thus, in agriculture, industry and other sectors, there is scope for initiatives
aimed at trade liberalization and at policies to make production more responsive to environment and
development needs. Trade liberalization should therefore be pursued on a global basis across economic
sectors so as to contribute to sustainable develop ment.
2.8. The international trading environment has been affected by a number of developments that have
created new challenges and opportunities and have made multilateral economic cooperation of even
greater importance. World trade has continued to grow faster than world output in recent years.
However, the expansion of world trade has been unevenly spread, and only a limited number of
developing countries have been capable of achieving appreciable growth in their exports. Protectionist
pressures and unilateral policy actions continue to endanger the functioning of an open multilateral
trading system, affecting particularly the export interests of developing countries. Economic
integration processes have intensified in recent years and should impart dynamism to global trade and
enhance the trade and development possibilities for developing countries. In recent years, a growing
number of these countries have adopted courageous policy reforms involving ambitious autonomous
trade liberalization, while far-reaching reforms and profound restructuring processes are taking place
in Central and Eastern European countries, paving the way for their integration into the world economy
and the international trading system. Increased attention is being devoted to enhancing the role of
enterprises and promoting competitive markets through adoption of competitive policies. The GSP has
proved to be a useful trade policy instrument, although its objectives will have to be fulfilled, and trade
facilitation strategies relating to electronic data interchange (EDI) have been effective in improving the
trading efficiency of the public and private sectors. The interactions between environment policies and
trade issues are manifold and have not yet been fully assessed. An early, balanced, comprehensive and
successful outcome of the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations would bring about further
liberalization and expansion of world trade, enhance the trade and development possibilities of
developing countries and provide greater security and predictability to the international trading system.
Objectives
2.9. In the years ahead, and taking into account the results of the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade
negotiations, Governments should continue to strive to meet the following objectives:
a.

To promote an open, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system that
will enable all countries - in particular, the developing countries - to improve their
economic structures and improve the standard of living of their populations through
sustained economic development;

b.

To improve access to markets for exports of developing countries;

c.

To improve the functioning of commodity markets and achieve sound, compatible and
consistent commodity policies at national and international levels with a view to
optimizing the contribution of the commodity sector to sustainable development, taking
into account environmental considerations;

d.

To promote and support policies, domestic and international, that make economic growth
and environmental protection mutually supportive.

Activities
(a) International and regional cooperation and coordination Promoting an international trading
system that takes account of the needs of developing countries
2.10.
Accordingly, the international community should:

a.

Halt and reverse protectionism in order to bring about further liberalization and
expansion of world trade, to the benefit of all countries, in particular the developing
countries;

b.

Provide for an equitable, secure, non-discriminatory and predictable international
trading system;

c.

Facilitate, in a timely way, the integration of all countries into the world economy
and the international trading system;

d.

Ensure that environment and trade policies are mutually supportive, with a view to
achieving sustainable development;

e.

Strengthen the international trade policies system through an early, balanced,
comprehensive and successful outcome of the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade
negotiations.

2.11.
The international community should aim at finding ways and means of achieving a better
functioning and enhanced transparency of commodity markets, greater diversification of the
commodity sector in developing economies within a macroeconomic framework that takes into
consideration a country's economic structure, resource endowments and market opportunities, and
better management of natural resources that takes into account the necessities of sustainable
development.
2.12.
Therefore, all countries should implement previous commitments to halt and reverse protectionism
and further expand market access, particularly in areas of interest to developing countries. This
improvement of market access will be facilitated by appropriate structural adjustment in developed
countries. Developing countries should continue the trade-policy reforms and structural adjustment
they have undertaken. It is thus urgent to achieve an improvement in market access conditions for
commodities, notably through the progressive removal of barriers that restrict imports, particularly
from developing countries, of commodity products in primary and processed forms, as well as the
substantial and progressive reduction of types of support that induce uncompetitive production, such as
production and export subsidies. (b) Management related activities Developing domestic policies that
maximize the benefits of trade liberalization for sustainable development
2.13.
For developing countries to benefit from the liberalization of trading systems, they should
implement the following policies, as appropriate:
a.

Create a domestic environment supportive of an optimal balance between
production for the domestic and export markets and remove biases against
exports and discourage inefficient import-substitution;

b.

Promote the policy framework and the infrastructure required to improve
the efficiency of export and import trade as well as the functioning of
domestic markets.

2.14.
The following policies should be adopted by developing countries with respect to commodities
consistent with market efficiency:
a.

Expand processing, distribution and imp rove marketing practices and the
competitiveness of the commodity sector;

b.

Diversify in order to reduce dependence on commodity exports;

c.

Reflect efficient and sustainable use of factors of production in the
formation of commodity prices, including the reflection of environmental,
social and resources costs.

(c) Data and information
Encouraging data collection and research
2.15.
GATT, UNCTAD and other relevant institutions should continue to collect appropriate trade data
and information. The Secretary-General of the United Nations is requested to strengthen the Trade
Control Measures Information System managed by UNCTAD.
Improving international cooperation in commodity trade and the diversification of the sector
2.16.
With regard to commodity trade, Governments should, directly or through appropriate
international organizations, where appropriate:
a.

Seek optimal functioning of commodity markets, inter alia,
through improved market transparency involving exchanges of
views and information on investment plans, prospects and markets
for individual commodities. Substantive negotiations between
producers and consumers should be pursued with a view to
achieving viable and more efficient international agreements that
take into account market trends, or arrangements, as well as study
groups. In this regard, particular attention should be paid to the
agreements on cocoa, coffee, sugar and tropical timber. The
importance of international commodity agreements and
arrangements is underlined. Occupational health and safety
matters, technology transfer and services associated with the
production, marketing and promotion of commodities, as well as
environmental considerations, should be taken into account;

b.

Continue to apply compensation mechanisms for shortfalls in
commodity export earnings of developing countries in order to
encourage diversification efforts;

c.

Provide assistance to developing countries upon request in the
design and implementation of commodity policies and the
gathering and utilization of information on commodity markets;

d.

Support the efforts of developing countries to promote the policy
framework and infrastructure required to improve the efficiency of
export and import trade;

e.

Support the diversification initiatives of the developing countries at
the national, regional and international levels.

Means of implementation
a.

Financing and cost evaluation

2.17.
The Conference secretariat has estimated the average total annual cost (1993-2000) of
implementing the activities in this programme area to be about $8.8 billion from the international
community on grant or concessional terms. These are indicative and order-of-magnitude estimates only
and have not been reviewed by Governments. Actual costs and financial terms, including any that are
non-concessional, will depend upon, inter alia, the specific strategies and programmes Governments
decide upon for implementation.
b.

Capacity-building 2.18. The above-mentioned technical cooperation activities aim at strengthening
national capabilities for design and implementation of commodity policy, use and management of
national resources and the gathering and utilization of information on commodity markets.

B. Making trade and environment mutually supportive Basis for action
2.19.
Environment and trade policies should be mutually supportive. An open, multilateral trading
system makes possible a more efficient allocation and use of resources and thereby contributes to an
increase in production and incomes and to lessening demands on the environment. It thus provides
additional resources needed for economic growth and development and improved environmental
protection. A sound environment, on the other hand, provides the ecological and other resources
needed to sustain growth and underpin a continuing expansion of trade. An open, multilateral trading
system, supported by the adoption of sound environmental policies, would have a positive impact on
the environment and contribute to sustainable development.
2.20.
International cooperation in the environmental field is growing, and in a number of cases trade
provisions in multilateral environment agreements have played a role in tackling global environmental
challenges. Trade measures have thus been used in certain specific instances, where considered
necessary, to enhance the effectiveness of environmental regulations for the protection of the
environment. Such regulations should address the root causes of environmental degradation so as not
to result in unjustified restrictions on trade. The challenge is to ensure that trade and environment
policies are consistent and reinforce the process of sustainable development. However, account should
be taken of the fact that environmental standards valid for developed countries may have unwarranted
social and economic costs in developing countries.
Objectives
2.21.
Governments should strive to meet the following objectives, through relevant multilateral forums,
including GATT, UNCTAD and other international organizations:
a.

To make international trade and environment policies mutually supportive in favour of
sustainable development;

b.

To clarify the role of GATT, UNCTAD and other international organizations in dealing
with trade and environment -related issues, including, where relevant, conciliation
procedure and dispute settlement;

c.

To encourage international productivity and competitiveness and encourage a
constructive role on the part of industry in dealing with environment and development
issues.

Activities
Developing an environment/trade and development agenda
2.22.
Governments should encourage GATT, UNCTAD and other relevant international and regional
economic institutions to examine, in accordance with their respective mandates and competences, the
following propositions and principles:
a. Elaborate adequate studies for the better understanding of the relationship between trade
and environment for the promotion of sustainable development;
b. Promote a dialogue between trade, development and environment communities;
c. In those cases when trade measures related to environment are used, ensure transparency
and compatibility with international obligations;
d. Deal with the root causes of environment and development problems in a manner that
avoids the adoption of environmental measures resulting in unjustified restrictions on
trade;
e. Seek to avoid the use of trade restrictions or distortions as a means to offset differences in
cost arising from differences in environmental standards and regulations, since their
application could lead to trade distortions and increase protectionist tendencies;
f. Ensure that environment -related regulations or standards, including those related to
health and safety standards, do not constitute a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable
discrimination or a disguised restriction on trade;

g.

h.
i.

j.
k.

l.

Ensure that special factors affecting environment and trade policies in t he developing
countries are borne in mind in the application of environmental standards, as well as in
the use of any trade measures. It is worth noting that standards that are valid in the most
advanced countries may be inappropriate and of unwarranted social cost for the
developing countries;
Encourage participation of developing countries in multilateral agreements through such
mechanisms as special transitional rules;
Avoid unilateral actions to deal with environmental challenges outside the jurisdiction of
the importing country. Environmental measures addressing transborder or global
environmental problems should, as far as possible, be based on an international
consensus. Domestic measures targeted to achieve certain environmental objectives may
need trade measures to render them effective. Should trade policy measures be found
necessary for the enforcement of environmental policies, certain principles and rules
should apply. These could include, inter alia, the principle of non-discrimination; the
principle that the trade measure chosen should be the least trade-restrictive necessary to
achieve the objectives; an obligation to ensure transparency in the use of trade measures
related to the environment and to provide adequate notification of national regulations;
and the need to give consideration to the special conditions and developmental
requirements of developing countries as they move towards internationally agreed
environmental objectives;
Develop more precision, where necessary, and clarify the relationship between GATT
provisions and some of the multilateral measures adopted in the environment area;
Ensure public input in the formation, negotiation and implementation of trade policies as
a means of fostering increased transparency in the light of country-specific conditions;
Ensure that environmental policies provide the appropriate legal and institutional
framework to respond to new needs for the protection of the environment that may result
from changes in production and trade specialization.
C. Providing adequate financial resources to developing countries

Basis for action
2.23.
Investment is critical to the ability of developing countries to achieve needed economic growth to
improve the welfare of their populations and to meet their basic needs in a sustainable manner, all
without deteriorating or depleting the resource base that underpins development. Sustainable
development requires increased investment, for which domestic and external financial resources are
needed. Foreign private investment and the return of flight capital, which depend on a healthy
investment climate, are an important source of financial resources. Many developing countries have
experienced a decade-long situation of negative net transfer of financial resources, during which their
financial receipts were exceeded by payments they had to make, in particular for debt-servicing. As a
result, domestically mobilized resources had to be transferred abroad instead of being invested locally
in order to promote sustainable economic development.
2.24.
For many developing countries, the reactivation of development will not take place without an
early and durable solution to the problems of external indebtedness, taking into account the fact that,
for many developing countries, external debt burdens are a significant problem. The burden of debtservice payments on those countries has imposed severe constraints on their ability to accelerate
growth and eradicate poverty and has led to a contraction in imports, investment and consumption.
External indebtedness has emerged as a main factor in the economic stalemate in the developing
countries. Continued vigorous implementation of the evolving international debt strategy is aimed at
restoring debtor countries' external financial viability, and the resumption of their growth and
development would assist in achieving sustainable growth and development. In this context, additional
financial resources in favour of developing countries and the efficient utilization of such resources are
essential.

Objectives
2.25.
The specific requirements for the implementation of the sectoral and cross-sectoral programmes
included in Agenda 21 are dealt with in the relevant programme areas and in chapter 33 (Financial
resources and mechanisms).
Activities
(a) Meeting international targets of official development assistance funding
2.26.
As discussed in chapter 33, new and additional resources should be provided to support Agenda
21 programmes.
(b) Addressing the debt issue
2.27.
In regard to the external debt incurred with commercial banks, the progress being made under the
strengthened debt strategy is recognized and a more rapid implementation of this strategy is
encouraged. Some countries have already benefited from the combination of sound adjustment policies
and commercial bank debt reduction or equivalent measures. The international community
encourages:
a.

Other countries with heavy debts to banks to negotiate similar commercial bank debt
reduction with their creditors;

b.

The parties to such a negotiation to take due account of both the medium-term debt
reduction and new money requirements of the debtor country;

c.

Multilateral institutions actively engaged in the strengthened international debt strategy to
continue to support debt-reduction packages related to commercial bank debt with a view
to ensuring that the magnitude of such financing is consonant with the evolving debt
strategy;

d.

Creditor banks to participate in debt and debt -service reduction;

e.

Strengthened policies to attract direct investment, avoid unsustainable levels of debt and
foster the return of flight capital.

2.28.
With regard to debt owed to official bilateral creditors, the recent measures taken by the Paris
Club with regard to more generous terms of relief to the poorest most indebted countries are
welcomed. Ongoing efforts to implement these "Trinidad terms" measures in a manner commensurate
with the payments capacity of those countries and in a way that gives additional support to their
economic reform efforts are welcomed. The substantial bilateral debt reduction undertaken by some
creditor countries is also welcomed, and others which are in a position to do so are encouraged to take
similar action.
2.29.
The actions of low-income countries with substantial debt burdens which continue, at great cost,
to service their debt and safeguard their creditworthiness are commended. Particular attention should
be paid to their resource needs. Other debt-distressed developing countries which are making great
efforts to continue to service their debt and meet their external financial obligations also deserve due
attention.
2.30.
In connection with multilateral debt, it is urged that serious attention be given to continuing to
work towards growth-oriented solutions to the problem of developing countries with serious debtservicing problems, including those whose debt is mainly to official creditors or to multilateral
financial institutions. Particularly in the case of low-income countries in the process of economic
reform, the support of the multilateral financial institutions in the form of new disbursements and the
use of their concessional funds is welcomed. The use of support groups should be continued in
providing resources to clear arrears of countries embarking upon vigorous economic reform

programmes supported by IMF and t he World Bank. Measures by the multilateral financial institutions
such as the refinancing of interest on non-concessional loans with IDA reflows - "fifth dimension" are noted with appreciation.
Means of implementation
Financing and cost evaluation*
D. Encouraging economic policies conducive to sustainable development
Basis for action
2.31.
The unfavourable external environment facing developing countries makes domestic resource
mobilization and efficient allocation and utilization of domestically mobilized resources all the more
important for the promotion of sustainable development. In a number of countries, policies are
necessary to correct misdirected public spending, large budget deficits and other macroeconomic
imbalances, restrictive policies and distortions in the areas of exchange rates, investment and finance,
and obstacles to entrepreneurship. In developed countries, continuing policy reform and adjustment,
including appropriate savings rates, would help generate resources to support the transition to
sustainable development both domestically and in developing countries.
*****
* See chap. 33 (Financial resources and mechanisms).
*****
2.32.
Good management that fosters the association of effective, efficient, honest, equitable and
accountable public administration with individual rights and opportunities is an essential element for
sustainable, broadly based development and sound economic performance at all development levels.
All countries should increase their efforts to eradicate mismanagement of public and private affairs,
including corruption, taking into account the factors responsible for, and agents involved in, this
phenomenon.
2.33.
Many indebted developing countries are undergoing structural adjustment programmes relating to
debt rescheduling or new loans. While such programmes are necessary for improving the balance in
fiscal budgets and balance-of-payments accounts, in some cases they have resulted in adverse social
and environmental effects, such as cuts in allocations for health care, education and environmental
protection. It is important to ensure that structural adjustment programmes do not have negative
impacts on the environment and social development so that such programmes can be more in line with
the objectives of sustainable development.
Objectives
2.34.
It is necessary to establish, in the light of the country-specific conditions, economic policy reforms
that promote the efficient planning and utilization of resources for sustainable development through
sound economic and social policies, foster entrepreneurship and the incorporation of social and
environmental costs in resource pricing, and remove sources of distortion in the area of trade and
investment.

Activities
(a) Management-related activities
Promoting sound economic policies
2.35. The industrialized countries and other countries in a position to do so should strengthen their efforts:
a. To encourage a stable and predictable international economic environment, particularly with
regard to monetary stability, real rates of interest and fluctuations in key exchange rates;

b.
c.

d.

To stimulate savings and reduce fiscal deficits;
To ensure that the processes of policy coordination take into account the interests and concerns of
the developing countries, including the need to promote positive action to support the efforts of
the least developed countries to halt their marginalization in the world economy;
To undertake appropriate national macroeconomic and structural policies aimed at promoting noninflationary growth, narrowing their major external imbalances and increasing the adjustment
capacity of their economies.

2.36.
Developing countries should consider strengthening their efforts to implement sound economic
policies:
a.

That maintain the monetary and fiscal discipline required to promote price stability and external
balance;

b.

That result in realistic exchange rates;

c.

That raise domestic savings and investment, as well as improve returns to investment.

2.37.
More specifically, all countries should develop policies that improve efficiency in the allocation of
resources and take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the changing global economic
environment. In particular, wherever appropriate, and taking into account national strategies and
objectives, countries should:
a.

Remove the barriers to progress caused by bureaucratic inefficiencies, administrative strains,
unnecessary controls and the neglect of market conditions;

b.

Promote transparency in administration and decision-making;

c.

Encourage the private sector and foster entrepreneurship by improving institutional facilities for
enterprise creation and market entry. The essential objective would be to simplify or remove the
restrictions, regulations and formalities that make it more complicated, costly and time-consuming
to set up and operate enterprises in many developing countries;

d.

Promote and support the investment and infrastructure required for sustainable economic growth
and diversification on an environmentally sound and sustainable basis;

e.

Provide scope for appropriate economic instruments, including market mechanisms, in harmony
with the objectives of sustainable development and fulfilment of basic needs;

f.

Promote the operation of effective tax systems and financial sectors;

g.

Provide opportunities for small-scale enterprises, both farm and non-farm, and for the indigenous
population and local communities to contribute fully to the attainment of sustainable development;

h.

Remove biases against exports and in favour of inefficient import substitution and establish
policies that allow them to benefit fully from the flows of foreign investment, within the
framework of national, social, economic and developmental goals;

i.

Promote the creation of a domestic economic environment supportive of an optimal balance
between production for the domestic and export markets.

(b) International and regional cooperation and coordination
2.38.
Governments of developed countries and those of other countries in a position to do so should,
directly or through appropriate international and regional organizations and international lending
institutions, enhance their efforts to provide developing countries with increased technical assistance
for the following:
a.

Capacity-building in the nation's design and implementation of economic policies, upon request;

b.

Design and operation of efficient tax systems, accounting systems and financial sectors;

(c) Promotion of entrepreneurship.
2.39.
International financial and development institutions should further review their policies and
programmes in the light of the objective of sustainable development.
2.40.
Stronger economic cooperation among developing countries has long been accepted as an
important component of efforts to promote economic growth and technological capabilities and to
accelerate development in the developing world. Therefore, the efforts of the developing countries to
promote economic cooperation among themselves should be enhanced and continue to be supported
by the international community.
Means of implementation
(a) Financing and cost evaluation

2.41.
The Conference secretariat has estimated the average total annual cost (1993-2000) of
implementing the activities in this programme area to be about $50 million from the international
community on grant or concessional terms. These are indicative and order-of-magnitude estimates
only and have not been reviewed by Governments. Actual costs and financial terms, including any that
are non-concessional, will depend upon, inter alia, the specific strategies and programmes
Governments decide upon for implementation.
(b) Capacity-building

2.42.
The above-mentioned policy changes in developing countries involve substantial national efforts
for capacity-building in the areas of public administration, central banking, tax administration, savings
institutions and financial markets.
2.43.
Particular efforts in the implementation of the four programme areas identified in this chapter are
warranted in view of the especially acute environmental and developmental problems of the least
developed countries.

Agenda 21 - Chapter 3
COMBATING POVERTY
PROGRAMME AREA
Enabling the poor to achieve sustainable livelihoods
Basis for action
3.1. Poverty is a complex multidimensional problem with origins in both the national and international
domains. No uniform solution can be found for global application. Rather, country-specific
programmes to tackle poverty and international efforts supporting national efforts, as well as the
parallel process of creating a supportive international environment, are crucial for a solution to this
problem. The eradication of poverty and hunger, greater equity in income distribution and human
resource development remain major challenges everywhere. The struggle against poverty is the shared
responsibility of all countries.
3.2. While managing resources sustainably, an environmental policy that focuses mainly on the
conservation and protection of resources must take due account of those who depend on the resources
for their livelihoods. Otherwise it could have an adverse impact both on poverty and on chances for
long-term success in resource and environmental conservation. Equally, a development policy that
focuses mainly on increasing the production of goods without addressing the sustainability of the
resources on which production is based will sooner or later run into declining productivity, which
could also have an adverse impact on poverty. A specific anti-poverty strategy is therefore one of the
basic conditions for ensuring sustainable development. An effective strategy for tackling the problems
of poverty, development and environment simultaneously should begin by focusing on resources,
production and people and should cover demographic issues, enhanced health care and education, the
rights of women, the role of youth and of indigenous people and local communities and a democratic
participation process in association with improved governance.
3.3. Integral to such action is, together with international support, the promotion of economic growth in
developing countries that is both sustained and sustainable and direct action in eradicating poverty by
strengthening employment and income-generating programmes.
Objectives
3.4. The long-term objective of enabling all people to achieve sustainable livelihoods should provide an
integrating factor that allows policies to address issues of development, sustainable resource
management and poverty eradication simultaneously. The objectives of this programme area are:
a.

To provide all persons urgently with the opportunity to earn a sustainable livelihood;

b.

To implement policies and strategies that promote adequate levels of funding and focus on
integrated human development policies, including income generation, increased local control
of resources, local institution-strengthening and capacity-building and greater involvement of
non-governmental organizations and local levels of government as delivery mechanisms;

c.

To develop for all poverty-stricken areas integrated strategies and programmes of sound and
sustainable management of the environment, resource mobilization, poverty eradication and
alleviation, employment and income generation;

d.

To create a focus in national development plans and budgets on investment in human capital,
with special policies and programmes directed at rural areas, the urban poor, women and
children. Activities

3.5. Activities that will contribute to the integrated promotion of sustainable livelihoods and environmental
protection cover a variety of sectoral interventions involving a range of actors, from local to global,
and are essential at every level, especially the community and local levels. Enabling actions will be
necessary at the national and international levels, taking full account of regional and subregional

conditions to support a locally driven and country-specific approach. In general design, the
programmes should:
a.

Focus on the empowerment of local and community groups through the principle of
delegating authority, accountability and resources to the most appropriate level to ensure that
the programme will be geographically and ecologically specific;

b.

Contain immediate measures to enable those groups to alleviate poverty and to develop
sustainability;

c.

Contain a long-term strategy aimed at establishing the best possible conditions for sustainable
local, regional and national development that would eliminate poverty and reduce the
inequalities between various population groups. It should assist the most disadvantaged
groups - in particular, women, children and youth within those groups - and refugees. The
groups will include poor smallholders, pastoralists, artisans, fishing communities, landless
people, indigenous communities, migrants and the urban informal sector.

3.6. The focus here is on specific cross-cutting measures - in particular, in the areas of basic education,
primary/maternal health care, and the advancement of women.
(a) Empowering communities
3.7. Sustainable development must be achieved at every level of society. Peoples' organizations, women's
groups and non-governmental organizations are important sources of innovation and action at the local
level and have a strong interest and proven ability to promote sustainable livelihoods. Governments, in
cooperation with appropriate international and non-governmental organizations, should support a
community-driven approach to sustainability, which would include, inter alia:
a.

Empowering women through full participation in decision-making;

b.

Respecting the cultural integrity and the rights of indigenous people and their communities;

c.

Promoting or establishing grass-roots mechanisms to allow for the sharing of experience and
knowledge between communities;

d.

Giving communities a large measure of participation in the sustainable management and
protection of the local natural resources in order to enhance their productive capacity;

e.

Establishing a network of community-based learning centres for capacity-building and
sustainable development.

(b) Management-related activities
3.8. Governments, with the assistance of and in cooperation with appropriate international, nongovernmental and local community organizations, should establish measures that will directly or
indirectly:
a.

Generate remunerative employment and productive occupational opportunities compatible
with country-specific factor endowments, on a scale sufficient to take care of prospective
increases in the labour force and to cover backlogs;

b.

With international support, where necessary, develop adequate infrastructure, marketing
systems, technology systems, credit systems and the like and the human resources needed to
support the above actions and to achieve a widening of options for resource-poor people. High
priority should be given to basic education and professional training;

c.

Provide substantial increases in economically efficient resource productivity and measures to
ensure that the local population benefits in adequate measure from resource use;

d.

Empower community organizations and people to enable them to achieve sustainable
livelihoods;

e.

Set up an effective primary health care and maternal health care system accessible to all;

f.

Consider strengthening/developing legal frameworks for land management, access to land
resources and land ownership - in particular, for women - and for the protection of tenants;

g.

Rehabilitate degraded resources, to the extent practicable, and introduce policy measures to
promote sustainable use of resources for basic human needs;

h.

Establish new community-based mechanisms and strengthen existing mechanisms to enable
communities to gain sustained access to resources needed by the poor to overcome their
poverty;

i.

Imp lement mechanisms for popular participation - particularly by poor people, especially
women - in local community groups, to promote sustainable development;

j.

Implement, as a matter of urgency, in accordance with country-specific conditions and legal
systems, measures to ensure that women and men have the same right to decide freely and
responsibly on the number and spacing of their children and have access to the information,
education and means, as appropriate, to enable them to exercise this right in keep ing with
their freedom, dignity and personally held values, taking into account ethical and cultural
considerations. Governments should take active steps to implement programmes to establish
and strengthen preventive and curative health facilities, which include women-centred,
women-managed, safe and effective reproductive health care and affordable, accessible
services, as appropriate, for the responsible planning of family size, in keeping with freedom,
dignity and personally held values, taking into account ethical and cultural considerations.
Programmes should focus on providing comprehensive health care, including pre-natal care,
education and information on health and responsible parenthood and should provide the
opportunity for all women to breast-feed fully, at least during the first four months postpartum. Programmes should fully support women's productive and reproductive roles and
well-being, with special attention to the need for providing equal and improved health care for
all children and the need to reduce the risk of maternal and child mortality and sickness;

k.

Adopt integrated policies aiming at sustainability in the management of urban centres;

l.

Undertake activities aimed at the promotion of food security and, where appropriate, food
self-sufficiency within the context of sustainable agriculture;

m. Support research on and integration of traditional methods of production that have been
shown to be environmentally sustainable;
n.

Actively seek to recognize and integrate informal-sector activities into the economy by
removing regulations and hindrances that discriminate against activities in those sectors;

o.

Consider making available lines of credit and other facilities for the informal sector and
improved access to land for the landless poor so that they can acquire the means of production
and reliable access to natural resources. In many instances special considerations for women
are required. Strict feasibility appraisals are needed for borrowers to avoid debt crises;

p.

Provide the poor with access to fresh water and sanitation;

q.

Provide the poor with access to primary education.

(c) Data, information and evaluation

3.9. Governments should improve the collection of information on target groups and target areas in order
to facilitate the design of focused programmes and activities, consistent with the target-group needs
and aspirations. Evaluation of such programmes should be gender-specific, since women are a
particularly disadvantaged group.
(d) International and regional cooperation and coordination
3.10.
The United Nations system, through its relevant organs, organizations and bodies, in cooperation
with Member States and with appropriate international and non-governmental organizations, should
make poverty alleviation a major priority and should:
a.

Assist Governments, when requested, in the formulation and implementation of national
action programmes on poverty alleviation and sustainable development. Action-oriented
activities of relevance to the above objectives, such as poverty eradication, projects and
programmes supplemented where relevant by food aid, and support and special emphasis on
employment and income generation, should be given particular attention in this regard;

b.

Promote technical cooperation among developing countries for poverty eradication activities;

c.

Strengthen existing structures in the United Nations system for coordination of action relating
to poverty eradication, including the establishment of a focal point for information exchange
and the formulation and implementation of replicable pilot projects to combat poverty;

d.

In the follow-up of the implementation of Agenda 21, give high priority to the review of the
progress made in eradicating poverty;

e.

Examine the international economic framework, including resource flows and structural
adjustment programmes, to ensure that social and environmental concerns are addressed, and
in this connection, conduct a review of the policies of international organizations, bodies and
agencies, including financial institutions, to ensure the continued provision of basic services
to the poor and needy;

f.

Promote international cooperation to address the root causes of poverty. The development
process will not gather momentum if developing countries are weighted down by external
indebtedness, if development finance is inadequate, if barriers restrict access to markets and if
commodity prices and the terms of trade in developing countries remain depressed.

Means of implementation
(a) Financing and cost evaluation
3.11.
The secretariat of the Conference has estimated the average total annual cost (1993-2000) of
implementing the activities of this programme to be about $30 billion, including about $15 billion
from the international community on grant or concessional terms. These are indicative and order-ofmagnitude estimates only and have not been reviewed by Governments. This estimate overlaps
estimates in other parts of Agenda 21. Actual costs and financial terms, including any that are nonconcessional, will depend upon, inter alia, the specific strategies and programmes Governments decide
upon for implementation.
(b) Capacity-building
3.12.
National capacity-building for implementation of the above activities is crucial and should be
given high priority. It is particularly important to focus capacity-building at the local community level
in order to support a community-driven approach to sustainability and to establish and strengthen
mechanisms to allow sharing of experience and knowledge between community groups at national and
international levels. Requirements for such activities are considerable and are related to the various
relevant sectors of Agenda 21 calling for requisite international, financial and technological support.

Agenda 21 - Chapter 4
CHANGING CONSUMPTION PATTERNS
4.1. This chapter contains the following programme areas:
a.

Focusing on unsustainable patterns of production and consumption;

b.

Developing national policies and strategies to encourage changes in unsustainable
consumption patterns.

4.2. Since the issue of changing consumption patterns is very broad, it is addressed in several parts of
Agenda 21, notably those dealing with energy, transportation and wastes, and in the chapters on
economic instruments and the transfer of technology. The present chapter should also be read in
conjunction with chapter 5 (Demographic dynamics and sustainability).

PROGRAMME AREAS
A. Focusing on unsustainable patterns of production and consumption
Basis for action
4.3. Poverty and environmental degradation are closely interrelated. While poverty results in certain kinds
of environmental stress, the major cause of the continued deterioration of the global environment is the
unsustainable pattern of consumption and production, particularly in industrialized countries, which is
a matter of grave concern, aggravating poverty and imbalances.
4.4. Measures to be undertaken at the international level for the protection and enhancement of the
environment must take fully into account the current imbalances in the global patterns of consumption
and production.
4.5. Special attention should be paid to the demand for natural resources generated by unsustainable
consumption and to the efficient use of those resources consistent with the goal of minimizing
depletion and reducing pollution. Although consumption patterns are very high in certain parts of the
world, the basic consumer needs of a large section of humanity are not being met. This results in
excessive demands and unsustainable lifestyles among the richer segments, which place immense
stress on the environment. The poorer segments, meanwhile, are unable to meet food, health care,
shelter and educational needs. Changing consumption patterns will require a multipronged strategy
focusing on demand, meeting the basic needs of the poor, and reducing wastage and the use of finite
resources in the production process.
4.6. Growing recognition of the importance of addressing consumption has also not yet been matched by
an understanding of its implications. Some economists are questioning traditional concepts of
economic growth and underlining the importance of pursuing economic objectives that take account of
the full value of natural resource capital. More needs to be known about the role of consumption in
relation to economic growth and population dynamics in order to formulate coherent international and
national policies.

Objectives

4.7. Action is needed to meet the following broad objectives:
a.

To promote patterns of consumption and production that reduce environmental stress and will
meet the basic needs of humanity;

b.

To develop a better understanding of the role of consumption and how to bring about more
sustainable consumption patterns.

Activities
(a) Management-related activities
Adopting an international approach to achieving sustainable consumption patterns
4.8. In principle, countries should be guided by the following basic objectives in their efforts to address
consumption and lifestyles in the context of environment and development:
a.

All countries should strive to promote sustainable consumption patterns;

b.

Developed countries should take the lead in achieving sustainable consumption patterns;

c.

Developing countries should seek to achieve sustainable consumption patterns in their
development process, guaranteeing the provision of basic needs for the poor, while
avoiding those unsustainable patterns, particularly in industrialized countries, generally
recognized as unduly hazardous to the environment, inefficient and wasteful, in their
development processes. This requires enhanced technological and other assistance from
industrialized countries.

4.9. In the follow-up of the implementation of Agenda 21 the review of progress made in achieving
sustainable consumption patterns should be given high priority.
(b) Data and information
Undertaking research on consumption
4.10.
In order to support this broad strategy, Governments, and/or private research and policy institutes,
with the assistance of regional and international economic and environmental organizations, should
make a concerted effort to:
a.

Expand or promote databases on production and consumption and develop methodologies
for analysing them;

b.

Assess the relationship between production and consumption, environment, technological
adaptation and innovation, economic growth and development, and demographic factors;

c.

Examine the impact of ongoing changes in the structure of modern industrial economies
away from material-intensive economic growth;

d.

Consider how economies can grow and prosper while reducing the use of energy and
materials and the production of harmful materials;

e.

Identify balanced patterns of consumption worldwide which the Earth can support in the
long term.

Developing new concepts of sustainable economic growth and prosperity
4.11.
Consideration should also be given to the present concepts of economic growth and the need for
new concepts of wealth and prosperity which allow higher standards of living through changed
lifestyles and are less dependent on the Earth's finite resources and more in harmony with the Earth's

carrying capacity. This should be reflected in the evolution of new systems of national accounts and
other indicators of sustainable development.
(c) International cooperation and coordination
4.12.
While international review processes exist for examining economic, development and
demographic factors, more attention needs to be paid to issues related to consumption and production
patterns and sustainable lifestyles and environment.
4.13.
In the follow-up of the implementation of Agenda 21, reviewing the role and impact of
unsustainable production and consumption patterns and lifestyles and their relation to sustainable
development should be given high priority.
Financing and cost evaluation
4.14.
The Conference secretariat has estimated that implementation of this programme is not likely to
require significant new financial resources.
B. Developing national policies and strategies to encourage changes in unsustainable consumption
patterns
Basis for action
4.15.
Achieving the goals of environmental quality and sustainable development will require efficiency
in production and changes in consumption patterns in order to emphasize optimization of resource use
and minimization of waste. In many instances, this will require reorientation of existing production
and consumption patterns that have developed in industrial societies and are in turn emulated in much
of the world.
4.16.
Progress can be made by strengthening positive trends and directions that are emerging, as part of
a process aimed at achieving significant changes in the consumption patterns of industries,
Governments, households and individuals.
Objectives
4.17.
In the years ahead, Governments, working with appropriate organizations, should strive to meet
the following broad objectives:
a.

To promote efficiency in production processes and reduce wasteful consumption in the
process of economic growth, taking into account the development needs of developing
countries;

b.

To develop a domestic policy framework that will encourage a shift to more sustainable
patterns of production and consumption;

c.

To reinforce both values that encourage sustainable production and consumption patterns
and policies that encourage the transfer of environmentally sound technologies to
developing countries.

Activities
(a) Encouraging greater efficiency in the use of energy and resources
4.18.
Reducing the amount of energy and materials used per unit in the production of goods and
services can contribute both to the alleviation of environmental stress and to greater economic and
industrial productivity and competitiveness. Governments, in cooperation with industry, should
therefore intensify efforts to use energy and resources in an economically efficient and
environmentally sound manner by:

a.

Encouraging the dissemination of existing environmentally sound technologies;

b.

Promoting research and development in environmentally sound technologies;

c.

Assisting developing countries to use these technologies efficiently and to develop
technologies suited to their particular circumstances;

d.

Encouraging the environmentally sound use of new and renewable sources of
energy;

e.

Encouraging the environmentally sound and sustainable use of renewable natural
resources.

(b) Minimizing the generation of wastes
4.19.
At the same time, society needs to develop effective ways of dealing with the problem of
disposing of mounting levels of waste products and materials. Governments, together with industry,
households and the public, should make a concerted effort to reduce the generation of wastes and
waste products by:
a.

Encouraging recycling in industrial processes and at the consumed level;

b.

Reducing wasteful packaging of products;

c.

Encouraging the introduction of more environmentally sound products.

(c) Assisting individuals and households to make environmentally sound purchasing decisions
4.20.
The recent emergence in many countries of a more environmentally conscious consumer public,
combined with increased interest on the part of some industries in providing environmentally sound
consumer products, is a significant development that should be encouraged. Governments and
international organizations, together with the private sector, should develop criteria and methodologies
for the assessment of environmental impacts and resource requirements throughout the full life cycle
of products and processes. Results of those assessments should be transformed into clear indicators in
order to inform consumers and decision makers.
4.21.
Governments, in cooperation with industry and other relevant groups, should encourage expansion
of environmental labelling and other environmentally related product information programmes
designed to assist consumers to make informed choices.
4.22.
They should also encourage the emergence of an informed consumer public and assist individuals
and households to make environmentally informed choices by:
a.

Providing information on the consequences of consumption choices and behaviour
so as to encourage demand for environmentally sound products and use of products;

b.

Making consumers aware of the health and environmental impact of products,
through such means as consumer legislation and environmental labelling;

c.

Encouraging specific consumer-oriented programmes, such as recycling and
deposit/refund systems.

(d) Exercising leadership through government purchasing
4.23.
Governments themselves also play a role in consumption, particularly in countries where the
public sector plays a large role in the economy and can have a considerable influence on both
corporate decisions and public perceptions. They should therefore review the purchasing policies of
their agencies and departments so that they may improve, where possible, the environmental content
of government procurement policies, without prejudice to international trade principles.

(e) Moving towards environmentally sound pricing
4.24.
Without the stimulus of prices and market signals that make clear to producers and consumers the
environmental costs of the consumption of energy, materials and natural resources and the generation
of wastes, significant changes in consumption and production patterns seem unlikely to occur in the
near future.
4.25.
Some progress has begun in the use of appropriate economic instruments to influence consumer
behaviour. These instruments include environmental charges and taxes, deposit/refund systems, etc.
This process should be encouraged in the light of country-specific conditions.
(f) Reinforcing values that support sustainable consumption
4.26.
Governments and private-sector organizations should promote more positive attitudes towards
sustainable consumption through education, public awareness programmes and other means, such as
positive advertising of products and services that utilize environmentally sound technologies or
encourage sustainable production and consumption patterns. In the review of the implementation of
Agenda 21, an assessment of the progress achieved in developing these national policies and strategies
should be given due consideration.
Means of implementation
4.27.
This programme is concerned primarily with changes in unsustainable patterns of consumption
and production and values that encourage sustainable consumption patterns and lifestyles. It requires
the combined efforts of Governments, consumers and producers. Particular attention should be paid to
the significant role played by women and households as consumers and the potential impacts of their
combined purchasing power on the economy.

Agenda 21 - Chapter 5
DEMOGRAPHIC DYNAMICS AND SUSTAINABILITY
5.1. This chapter contains the following programme areas:
a.

Developing and disseminating knowledge concerning the links between demographic trends and
factors and sustainable development;

b.

Formulating integrated national policies for environment and development, taking into account
demographic trends and factors;

c.

Implementing integrated, environment and development programmes at the local level, taking into
account demographic trends and factors.
PROGRAMME AREAS

A. Developing and disseminating knowledge concerning the links between demographic trends and
factors and sustainable development
Basis for action
5.2. Demographic trends and factors and sustainable development have a synergistic relationship.
5.3. The growth of world population and production combined with unsustainable consumption patterns
places increasingly severe stress on the life-supporting capacities of our planet. These interactive
processes affect the use of land, water, air, energy and other resources. Rapidly growing cities, unless
well-managed, face major environmental problems. The increase in both the number and size of cities
calls for greater attention to issues of local government and municipal management. The human
dimensions are key elements to consider in this intricate set of relationships and they should be
adequately taken into consideration in comprehensive policies for sustainable development. Such
policies should address the linkages of demographic trends and factors, resource use, appropriate
technology dissemination, and development. Population policy should also recognize the role played
by human beings in environmental and development concerns. There is a need to increase awareness
of this issue among decision makers at all levels and to provide both better information on which to
base national and international policies and a framework against which to interpret this information.
5.4. There is a need to develop strategies to mitigate both the adverse impact on the environment of human
activities and the adverse impact of environmental change on human populations. The world's
population is expected to exceed 8 billion by the year 2020. Sixty per cent of the world's population
already live in coastal areas, while 65 per cent of cities with populations above 2.5 million are located
along the world coasts; several of them are already at or below the present sea level.
Objectives
5.5. The following objectives should be achieved as soon as practicable:
a.

To incorporate demographic trends and factors in the global analysis of environment and
development issues;

b.

To develop a better understanding of the relationships among demographic dynamics,
technology, cultural behaviour, natural resources and life support systems;

c.

To assess human vulnerability in ecologically sensitive areas and centres of population to
determine the priorities for action at all levels, taking full account of community defined
needs.

Activities
Research on the interaction between demographic trends and factors and sustainable development

5.6. Relevant international, regional and national institutions should consider undertaking the following
activities:
a.

Identifying the interactions between demographic processes, natural resources and life support
systems, bearing in mind regional and subregional variations deriving from, inter alia,
different levels of development;

b.

Integrating demographic trends and factors into the ongoing study of environmental change,
using the expertise of international, regional and national research networks and of local
communities, first, to study the human dimensions of environmental change and, second, to
identify vulnerable areas;

c.

Identifying priority areas for action and developing strategies and programmes to mitigate the
adverse impact of environmental change on human populations, and vice versa.

Means of implementation
(a) Financing and cost evaluation
5.7. The Conference secretariat has estimated the average total annual cost (1993-2000) of implementing
the activities of this programme to be about $10 million from the international community on grant or
concessional terms. These are indicative and order-of-magnitude estimates only and have not been
reviewed by Governments. Actual costs and financial terms, including any that are non-concessional,
will depend upon, inter alia, the specific strategies and programmes Governments decide upon for
implementation.
(b) Strengthening research programmes that integrate population, environment and development
5.8. In order to integrate demographic analysis into a broader social science perspective on environment
and development, interdisciplinary research should be increased. International institutions and
networks of experts should enhance their scientific capacity, taking full account of community
experience and knowledge, and should disseminate the experience gained in multidisciplinary
approaches and in linking theory to action.
5.9. Better modelling capabilities should be developed, identifying the range of possible outcomes of
current human activities, especially the interrelated impact of demographic trends and factors, per
capita resource use and wealth distribution, as well as the major migration flows that may be expected
with increasing climatic events and cumulative environmental change that may destroy people's local
livelihoods.
(c) Developing information and public awareness
5.10.
Socio-demographic information should be developed in a suitable format for interfacing with
physical, biological and socio-economic data. Compatible spatial and temporal scales, cross-country
and time-series information, as well as global behavioural indicators should be developed, learning
from local communities' perceptions and attitudes.
5.11.
Awareness should be increased at all levels concerning the need to optimize the sustainable use of
resources through efficient resource management, taking into account the development needs of the
populations of developing countries.
5.12.
Awareness should be increased of the fundamental linkages between improving the status of
women and demographic dynamics, particularly through women's access to education, primary and
reproductive health care programmes, economic independence and their effective, equitable
participation in all levels of decision-making.

5.13.
Results of research concerned with sustainable development issues should be disseminated
through technical reports, scientific journals, the media, workshops, forums or other means so that the
information can be used by decision makers at all levels and increase public awareness.
(d) Developing and/or enhancing institutional capacity and collaboration
5.14.
Collaboration and exchange of information should be increased between research institutions and
international, regional and national agencies and all other sectors (including the private sector, local
communities, non-governmental organizations and scientific institutions) from both the industrialized
and developing countries, as appropriate.
5.15.
Efforts should be intensified to enhance the capacities of national and local governments, the
private sector and non-governmental organizations in developing countries to meet the growing needs
for improved management of rapidly growing urban areas.
B. Formulating integrated national policies for environment and development, taking into account
demographic trends and factors
Basis for action
5.16.
Existing plans for sustainable development have generally recognized demographic trends and
factors as elements that have a critical influence on consumption patterns, production, lifestyles and
long-term sustainability. But in future, more attention will have to be given to these issues in general
policy formulation and the design of development plans. To do this, all countries will have to improve
their own capacities to assess the environment and development implications of their demographic
trends and factors. They will also need to formulate and implement policies and action programmes
where appropriate. Policies should be designed to address the consequences of population growth built
into population momentum, while at the same time incorporating measures to bring about
demographic transition. They should combine environmental concerns and population issues within a
holistic view of development whose primary goals include the alleviation of poverty; secure
livelihoods; good health; quality of life; improvement of the status and income of women and their
access to schooling and professional training, as well as fulfilment of their personal aspirations; and
empowerment of individuals and communities. Recognizing that large increases in the size and
number of cities will occur in developing countries under any likely population scenario, greater
attention should be given to preparing for the needs, in particular of women and children, for improved
municipal management and local government.
Objective
5.17.
Full integration of population concerns into national planning, policy and decision-making
processes should continue. Population policies and programmes should be considered, with full
recognition of women's rights.
Activities
5.18.
Governments and other relevant actors could, inter alia, undertake the following activities, with
appropriate assistance from aid agencies, and report on their status of implementation to the
International Conference on Population and Development to be held in 1994, especially to its
committee on population and environment.
(a) Assessing the implications of national demographic trends and factors
5.19.
The relationships between demographic trends and factors and environmental change and between
environmental degradation and the components of demographic change should be analysed.
5.20.
Research should be conducted on how environmental factors interact with socio-economic factors
as a cause of migration.
5.21.
Vulnerable population groups (such as rural landless workers, ethnic minorities, refugees,
migrants, displaced people, women heads of household) whose changes in demographic structure may

have specific impacts on sustainable development should be identified.
5.22.
An assessment should be made of the implications of the age structure of the population on
resource demand and dependency burdens, ranging from educational expenses for the young to health
care and support for the elderly, and on household income generation.
5.23.
An assessment should also be made of national population carrying capacity in the context of
satisfaction of human needs and sustainable development, and special attention should be given to
critical resources, such as water and land, and environmental factors, such as ecosystem health and
biodiversity.
5.24.
The impact of national demographic trends and factors on the traditional livelihoods of indigenous
groups and local communities, including changes in traditional land use because of internal population
pressures, should be studied.
(b) Building and strengthening a national information base
5.25.
National databases on demographic trends and factors and environment should be built and/or
strengthened, disaggregating data by ecological region (ecosystem approach), and
population/environment profiles should be established by region.
5.26.
Methodologies and instruments should be developed to identify areas where sustainability is, or
may be, threatened by the environmental effects of demographic trends and factors, incorporating both
current and projected demographic data linked to natural environmental processes.
5.27.
Case-studies of local level responses by different groups to demographic dynamics should be
developed, particularly in areas subject to environmental stress and in deteriorating urban centres.
5.28.
Population data should be disaggregated by, inter alia, sex and age in order to take into account the
implications of the gender division of labour for the use and management of natural resources.
(c) Incorporating demographic features into policies and plans
5.29.
In formulating human settlements policies, account should be taken of resource needs, waste
production and ecosystem health.
5.30.
5.30. The direct and induced effects of demographic changes on environment and development
programmes should, where appropriate, be integrated, and the impact on demographic features
assessed.
5.31.
5.31. National population policy goals and programmes that are consistent with national
environment and development plans for sustainability and in keeping with the freedom, dignity and
personally held values of individuals should be established and implemented.
5.32.
5.32. Appropriate socio-economic policies for the young and the elderly, both in terms of family
and state support systems, should be developed.
5.33.
5.33. Policies and programmes should be developed for handling the various types of migrations
that result from or induce environmental disruptions, with special attention to women and vulnerable
groups.
5.34.
5.34. Demographic concerns, including concerns for environmental migrants and displaced
people, should be incorporated in the programmes for sustainable development of relevant
international and regional institutions.

5.35.
5.35. National reviews should be conducted and the integration of population policies in national
development and environment strategies should be monitored nationally.
Means of implementation
(a) Financing and cost evaluation
5.36.
The Conference secretariat has estimated the average total annual cost (1993-2000) of
implementing the activities of this programme to be about $90 million from the international
community on grant or concessional terms. These are indicative and order-of-magnitude estimates
only and have not been reviewed by Governments. Actual costs and financial terms, including any that
are non-concessional, will depend upon, inter alia, the specific strategies and programmes
Governments decide upon for implementation.
(b) Raising awareness of demographic and sustainable develop ment interactions
5.37.
Understanding of the interactions between demographic trends and factors and sustainable
development should be increased in all sectors of society. Stress should be placed on local and national
action. Demographic and sustainable development education should be coordinated and integrated in
both the formal and non-formal education sectors. Particular attention should be given to population
literacy programmes, notably for women. Special emphasis should be placed on the linkage between
these programmes, primary environmental care and the provision of primary health care and services.
(c) Strengthening institutions
5.38.
The capacity of national, regional and local structures to deal with issues relating to demographic
trends and factors and sustainable development should be enhanced. This would involve strengthening
the relevant bodies responsible for population issues to enable them to elaborate policies consistent
with the national prospects for sustainable development. Cooperation among government, national
research institutions, non-governmental organizations and local communities in assessing problems
and evaluating policies should also be enhanced.
5.39.
The capacity of the relevant United Nations organs, organizations and bodies, international and
regional intergovernmental bodies, non-governmental organizations and local communities should, as
appropriate, be enhanced to help countries develop sustainable development policies on request and, as
appropriate, provide assistance to environmental migrants and displaced people.
5.40.
Inter-agency support for national sustainable development policies and programmes should be
improved through better coordination of population and environment activities.
(d) Promoting human resource development
5.41.
The international and regional scientific institutions should assist Governments, upon request, to
include concerns regarding the population/environment interactions at the global, ecosystem and
micro-levels in the training of demographers and population and environment specialists. Training
should include research on linkages and ways to design integrated strategies.
C. Implementing integrated environment and development programmes at the local level, taking into
account demographic trends and factors
Basis for action
5.42.
Population programmes are more effective when implemented together with appropriate crosssectoral policies. To attain sustainability at the local level, a new framework is needed that integrates
demographic trends and factors with such factors as ecosystem health, technology and human
settlements, and with socio-economic structures and access to resources. Population programmes
should be consistent with socio-economic and environmental planning. Integrated sustainable

development programmes should closely correlate action on demographic trends and factors with
resource management activities and development goals that meet the needs of the people concerned.
Objective
5.43.
Population programmes should be implemented along with natural resource management and
development programmes at the local level that will ensure sustainable use of natural resources,
improve the quality of life of the people and enhance environmental quality.
Activities
5.44.
Governments and local communities, including community-based women's organizations and
national non-governmental organizations, consistent with national plans, objectives, strategies and
priorities, could, inter alia, undertake the activities set out below with the assistance and cooperation of
international organizations, as appropriate. Governments could share their experience in the
implementation of Agenda 21 at the International Conference on Population and Development, to be
held in 1994, especially its committee on population and environment.
(a) Developing a framework for action
5.45.
An effective consultative process should be established and implemented with concerned groups
of society where the formulation and decision-making of all components of the programmes are based
on a nationwide consultative process drawing on community meetings, regional workshops and
national seminars, as appropriate. This process should ensure that views of women and men on needs,
perspective and constraints are equally well reflected in the design of programmes, and that solutions
are rooted in specific experience. The poor and underprivileged should be priority groups in this
process.
5.46.
Nationally determined policies for integrated and multifaceted programmes, with special attention
to women, to the poorest people living in critical areas and to other vulnerable groups should be
implemented, ensuring the involvement of groups with a special potential to act as agents for change
and sustainable development. Special emphasis should be placed on those programmes that achieve
multiple objectives, encouraging sustainable economic development, and mitigating adverse impacts
of demographic trends and factors, and avoiding long-term environmental damage. Food security,
access to secure tenure, basic shelter, and essential infrastructure, education, family welfare, women's
reproductive health, family credit schemes, reforestation programmes, primary environmental care,
women's employment should, as appropriate, be included among other factors.
5.47.
An analytical framework should be develop ed to identify complementary elements of sustainable
development policies as well as the national mechanisms to monitor and evaluate their effects on
population dynamics.
5.48.
Special attention should be given to the critical role of women in population/environment
programmes and in achieving sustainable development. Projects should take advantage of
opportunities to link social, economic and environmental gains for women and their families.
Empowerment of women is essential and should be assured through education, training and policies to
accord and improve women's right and access to assets, human and civil rights, labour-saving
measures, job opportunities and participation in decision-making. Population/environment
programmes must enable women to mobilize themselves to alleviate their burden and improve their
capacity to participate in and benefit from socio-economic development. Specific measures should be
undertaken to close the gap between female and male illiteracy rates.
(b) Supporting programmes that promote changes in demographic trends and factors towards sustainability
5.49.
Reproductive health programmes and services, should, as appropriate, be developed and enhanced
to reduce maternal and infant mortality from all causes and enable women and men to fulfil their

personal aspirations in terms of family size, in a way in keeping with their freedom and dignity and
personally held values.
5.50.
Governments should take active steps to implement, as a matter of urgency, in accordance with
country-specific conditions and legal systems, measures to ensure that women and men have the same
right to decide freely and responsibly on the number and spacing of their children, to have access to
the information, education and means, as appropriate, to enable them to exercis e this right in keeping
with their freedom, dignity and personally held values taking into account ethical and cultural
considerations.
5.51.
Governments should take active steps to implement programmes to establish and strengthen
preventive and curative health facilities that include women-centred, women-managed, safe and
effective reproductive health care and affordable, accessible services, as appropriate, for the
responsible planning of family size, in keeping with freedom, dignity and personally held values and
taking into account ethical and cultural considerations. Programmes should focus on providing
comprehensive health care, including pre-natal care, education and information on health and
responsible parenthood and should provide the opportunity for all women to breast-feed fully, at least
during the first four months post-partum. Programmes should fully support women's productive and
reproductive roles and well being, with special attention to the need for providing equal and improved
health care for all children and the need to reduce the risk of maternal and child mortality and sickness.
5.52.
Consistent with national priorities, culturally based information and education programmes that
transmit reproductive health messages to men and women that are easily understood should be
developed.
(c) Creating appropriate institutional conditions
5.53.
Constituencies and institutional conditions to facilitate the implementation of demographic
activities should, as appropriate, be fostered. This requires support and commitment from political,
indigenous, religious and traditional authorities, the private sector and the national scientific
community. In developing these appropriate institutional conditions, countries should closely involve
established national machinery for women.
5.54.
Population assistance should be coordinated with bilateral and multilateral donors to ensure that
population needs and requirements of all developing countries are addressed, fully respecting the
overall coordinating responsibility and the choice and strategies of the recipient countries.
5.55.
Coordination should be improved at local and international levels. Working practices should be
enhanced in order to make optimum use of resources, draw on collective experience and improve the
implementation of programmes. UNFPA and other relevant agencies should strengthen the
coordination of international cooperation activities with recipient and donor countries in order to
ensure that adequate funding is available to respond to growing needs.
5.56.
Proposals should be developed for local, national and international population/environment
programmes in line with specific needs for achieving sustainability. Where appropriate, institutional
changes must be implemented so that old-age security does not entirely depend on input from family
members.
Means of implementation
(a) Financing and cost evaluation
5.57.
The Conference secretariat has estimated the average total annual cost (1993-2000) of
implementing the activities of this programme to be about $7 billion, including about $3.5 billion from
the international community on grant or concessional terms. These are indicative and order-ofmagnitude estimates only and have not been reviewed by Governments. Actual costs and financial

terms, including any that are non-concessional, will depend upon, inter alia, the specific strategies and
programmes Governments decide upon for implementation.
(b) Research
5.58.
Research should be undertaken with a view to developing specific action programmes; it will be
necessary to establish priorities between proposed areas of research.
5.59.
Socio-demographic research should be conducted on how populations respond to a changing
environment.
5.60.
Understanding of socio-cultural and political factors that can positively influence acceptance of
appropriate population policy instruments should be improved.
5.61.
Surveys of changes in needs for appropriate services relating to responsible planning of family
size, reflecting variations among different socio-economic groups and variations in different
geographical regions should be undertaken.
(c) Human resource development and capacity-building
5.62.
The areas of human resource development and capacity-building, with particular attention to the
education and training of women, are areas of critical importance and are a very high priority in the
implementation of population programmes.
5.63.
Workshops to help programme and projects managers to link population programmes to other
development and environmental goals should be conducted.
5.64.
Educational materials, including guides/workbooks for planners and decision makers and other
actors of population/environment/development programmes, should be developed.
5.65.
Cooperation should be developed between Governments, scientific institutions and nongovernmental organizations within the region, and similar institutions outside the region. Cooperation
with local organizations should be fostered in ordered to raise awareness, engage in demonstration
projects and report on the experience gained.
5.66.
The recommendations contained in this chapter should in no way prejudice discussions at the
International Conference on Population and Development in 1994, which will be the appropriate
forum for dealing with population and development issues, taking into account the recommendations
of the International Conference on Population, held in Mexico City in 1984, 1/ and the Forwardlooking Strategies for the Advancement of Women, 2/ adopted by the World Conference to Review
and Appraise the Achievements of the United Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace,
held in Nairobi in 1985.
Notes
1/ Report of the International Conference on Population, Mexico City, 6-14 August 1984 (United Nations
publication, Sales No. E.84.XIII.8), chap. I.
2/ Report of the World Conference to Review and Appraise the Achievements of the United Nations
Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace, Nairobi, 15-26 July 1985 (United Nations
publication, Sales No. E.84.IV.10), chap. I, sect. A.

Agenda 21 – Chapter 6
PROTECTING AND PROMOTING HUMAN HEALTH
6.1. Health and development are intimately interconnected. Both insufficient development leading to
poverty and inappropriate development resulting in overconsumption, coupled with an expanding
world population, can result in severe environmental health p roblems in both developing and
developed nations. Action items under Agenda 21 must address the primary health needs of the
world's population, since they are integral to the achievement of the goals of sustainable development
and primary environmental care. The linkage of health, environmental and socio-economic
improvements requires intersectoral efforts. Such efforts, involving education, housing, public works
and community groups, including businesses, schools and universities and religious, civic and cultural
organizations, are aimed at enabling people in their communities to ensure sustainable development.
Particularly relevant is the inclusion of prevention programmes rather than relying solely on
remediation and treatment. Countries ought to develop plans for priority actions, drawing on the
programme areas in this chapter, which are based on cooperative planning by the various levels of
government, non-governmental organizations and local communities. An appropriate international
organization, such as WHO, should coordinate these activities.
6.2. The following programme areas are contained in this chapter:
a.

Meeting primary health care needs, particularly in rural areas;

b.

Control of communicable diseases;

c.

Protecting vulnerable groups;

d.

Meeting the urban health challenge;

e.

Reducing health risks from environmental pollution and hazards.
PROGRAMME AREAS

A. Meeting primary health care needs, particularly in rural areas Basis for action
6.3. Health ultimately depends on the ability to manage successfully the interaction between the physical,
spiritual, biological and economic/social environment. Sound development is not possible without a
healthy population; yet most developmental activities affect the environment to some degree, which in
turn causes or exacerbates many health problems. Conversely, it is the very lack of development that
adversely affects the health condition of many people, which can be alleviated only through
development. The health sector cannot meet basic needs and objectives on its own; it is dependent on
social, economic and spiritual development, while directly contributing to such development. It is also
dependent on a healthy environment, including the provision of a safe water supply and sanitation and
the promotion of a safe food supply and proper nutrition. Particular attention should be directed
towards food safety, with priority placed on the elimination of food contamination; comprehensive and
sustainable water policies to ensure safe drinking water and sanitation to preclude both microbial and
chemical contamination; and promotion of health education, immunization and provision of essential
drugs. Education and appropriate services regarding responsible planning of family size, with respect
for cultural, religious and social aspects, in keeping with freedom, dignity and personally held values
and taking into account ethical and cultural considerations, also contribute to these intersectoral
activities.
Objectives
6.4. Within the overall strategy to achieve health for all by the year 2000, the objectives are to meet the
basic health needs of rural peri-urban and urban populations; to provide the necessary specialized
environmental health services; and to coordinate the involvement of citizens, the health sector, the
health-related sectors and relevant non-health sectors (business, social, educational and religious

institutions) in solutions to health problems. As a matter of priority, health service coverage should be
achieved for population groups in greatest need, particularly those living in rural areas.
Activities
6.5. National Governments and local authorities, with the support of relevant non-governmental
organizations and international organizations, in the light of countries' specific conditions and needs,
should strengthen their health sector programmes, with special attention to rural needs, to:
(a) Build basic health infrastructures, monitoring and planning systems:
i.

Develop and strengthen primary health care systems that are practical, community-based,
scientifically sound, socially acceptable and appropriate to their needs and that meet basic
health needs for clean water, safe food and sanitation;

ii.

Support the use and strengthening of mechanisms that improve coordination between health
and related sectors at all appropriate levels of government, and in communities and relevant
organizations;

iii.

Develop and implement rational and affordable approaches to the establishment and
maintenance of health facilities;

iv.

Ensure and, where appropriate, increase provision of social services support;

v.

Develop strategies, including reliable health indicators, to monitor the progress and evaluate
the effectiveness of health programmes;

vi.

Explore ways to finance the health system based on the assessment of the resources needed
and identify the various financing alternatives;

vii.

Promote health education in schools, information exchange, technical support and training;

viii.
ix.
x.
xi.

Support initiatives for self-management of services by vulnerable groups;
Integrate traditional knowledge and experience into national health systems, as appropriate;
Promote the provisions for necessary logistics for outreach activities, particularly in rural
areas;
Promote and strengthen community-based rehabilitation activities for the rural handicapped.

(b) Support research and methodology development:
i.

Establish mechanisms for sustained community involvement in environmental health
activities, including optimization of the appropriate use of community financial and human
resources;

ii.

Conduct environmental health research, including behaviour research and research on ways to
increase coverage and ensure greater utilization of services by peripheral, underserved and
vulnerable populations, as appropriate to good prevention services and health care;

iii.

Conduct research into traditional knowledge of prevention and curative health practices.

Means of implementation
(a) Financing and cost evaluation
6.6. The Conference secretariat has estimated the average total annual cost (1993-2000) of implementing
the activities of this programme to be about $40 billion, including about $5 billion from the

international community on grant or concessional terms. These are indicative and order-of-magnitude
estimates only and have not been reviewed by Governments. Actual costs and financial terms,
including any that are non-concessional, will depend upon, inter alia, the specific strategies and
programmes Governments decide upon for implementation.

(b) Scientific and technological means
6.7. New approaches to planning and managing health care systems and facilities should be tested, and
research on ways of integrating appropriate technologies into health infrastructures supported. The
development of scientifically sound health technology should enhance adaptability to local needs and
maintainability by community resources, including the maintenance and repair of equipment used in
health care. Programmes to facilitate the transfer and sharing of information and expertise should be
developed, including communication methods and educational materials.

(c) Human resource development
6.8. Intersectoral approaches to the reform of health personnel development should be strengthened to
ensure its relevance to the "Health for All" strategies. Efforts to enhance managerial skills at the
district level should be supported, with the aim of ensuring the systematic development and efficient
operation of the basic health system. Intensive, short, practical training programmes with emphasis on
skills in effective communication, community organization and facilitation of behaviour change
should be developed in order to prepare the local personnel of all sectors involved in social
development for carrying out their respective roles. In cooperation with the education sector, special
health education programmes should be developed focusing on the role of women in the health-care
system.
(d) Capacity-building
6.9. Governments should consider adopting enabling and facilitating strategies to promote the participation
of communities in meeting their own needs, in addition to providing direct support to the provision of
health-care services. A major focus should be the preparation of community-based health and healthrelated workers to assume an active role in community health education, with emphasis on team work,
social mobilization and the support of other development workers. National programmes should cover
district health systems in urban, peri-urban and rural areas, the delivery of health programmes at the
district level, and the development and support of referral services.

B. Control of communicable diseases
Basis for action
6.10.
Advances in the development of vaccines and chemotherapeutic agents have brought many
communicable diseases under control. However, there remain many important communicable diseases
for which environmental control measures are indispensable, especially in the field of water supply
and sanitation. Such diseases include cholera, diarrhoeal diseases, leishmaniasis, malaria and
schistosomiasis. In all such instances, the environmental measures, either as an integral part of primary
health care or undertaken outside the health sector, form an indispensable component of overall
disease control strategies, together with health and hygiene education, and in some cases, are the only
component.
6.11.
With HIV infection levels estimated to increase to 30-40 million by the year 2000, the socioeconomic impact of the pandemic is expected to be devastating for all countries, and increasingly for
women and children. While direct health costs will be substantial, they will be dwarfed by the indirect
costs of the pandemic - mainly costs associated with the loss of income and decreased productivity of

the workforce. The pandemic will inhibit growth of the service and industrial sectors and significantly
increase the costs of human capacity-building and retraining. The agricultural sector is particularly
affected where production is labour-intensive.

Objectives
6.12.
A number of goals have been formulated through extensive consultations in various international
forums attended by virtually all Governments, relevant United Nations organizations (including WHO,
UNICEF, UNFPA, UNESCO, UNDP and the World Bank) and a number of non-governmental
organizations. Goals (including but not limited to those listed below) are recommended for
implementation by all countries where they are applicable, with appropriate adaptation to the specific
situation of each country in terms of phasing, standards, priorities and availability of resources, with
respect for cultural, religious and social aspects, in keeping with freedom, dignity and personally held
values and taking into account ethical considerations. Additional goals that are particularly relevant to
a country's specific situation should be added in the country's national plan of action (Plan of Action
for Implementing the World Declaration on the Survival, Protection and Development of Children in
the 1990s). 1/ Such national level action plans should be coordinated and monitored from within the
public health sector. Some major goals are:
a.

By the year 2000, to eliminate guinea worm disease (dracunculiasis);

b.

By the year 2000, eradicate polio;

c.

By the year 2000, to effectively control onchocerciasis (river blindness) and leprosy;

d.

By 1995, to reduce measles deaths by 95 per cent and reduce measles cases by 90 per cent
compared with pre-immunization levels;

e.

By continued efforts, to provide health and hygiene education and to ensure universal access
to safe drinking water and universal access to sanitary measures of excreta disposal, thereby
markedly reducing waterborne diseases such as cholera and schistosomiasis and reducing:
i.
ii.

By the year 2000, the number of deaths from childhood diarrhoea in developing
countries by 50 to 70 per cent;
By the year 2000, the incidence of childhood diarrhoea in developing countries by at
least 25 to 50 per cent;

f.

By the year 2000, to initiate comprehensive programmes to reduce mortality from acute
respiratory infections in children under five years by at least one third, particularly in
countries with high infant mortality;

g.

By the year 2000, to provide 95 per cent of the world's child population with access to
appropriate care for acute respiratory infections within the community and at first referral
level;

h.

By the year 2000, to institute anti-malaria programmes in all countries where malaria presents
a significant health problem and maintain the transmission-free status of areas freed from
endemic malaria;

i.

By the year 2000, to implement control programmes in countries where major human
parasitic infections are endemic and achieve an overall reduction in the prevalence of
schistosomiasis and of other trematode infections by 40 per cent and 25 per cent, respectively,
from a 1984 baseline, as well as a marked reduction in incidence, prevalence and intensity of
filarial infections;

j.

To mobilize and unify national and international efforts against AIDS to prevent infection and
to reduce the personal and social impact of HIV infection;

k.

To contain the resurgence of tuberculosis, with particular emphasis on multiple antibiotic
resistant forms;

l.

To accelerate research on improved vaccines and implement to the fullest extent possible the
use of vaccines in the prevention of disease.

Activities
6.13.
Each national Government, in accordance with national plans for public health, priorities and
objectives, should consider developing a national health action plan with appropriate international
assistance and support, including, at a minimum, the following components:
a.

National public health systems:
i.

Programmes to identify environmental hazards in the causation of communicable
diseases;

ii.

Monitoring systems of epidemiological data to ensure adequate forecasting of the
introduction, spread or aggravation of communicable diseases;

iii.

Intervention programmes, including measures consistent with the principles of the
global AIDS strategy;

iv.

Vaccines for the prevention of communicable diseases;

b.

Public information and health education: Provide education and disseminate information on
the risks of endemic communicable diseases and build awareness on environmental methods
for control of communicable diseases to enable communities to play a role in the control of
communicable diseases;

c.

Intersectoral cooperation and coordination:
i.
ii.

Second experienced health professionals to relevant sectors, such as planning,
housing and agriculture;
Develop guidelines for effective coordination in the areas of professional training,
assessment of risks and development of control technology;

d.

Control of environmental factors that influence the spread of communicable diseases: Apply
methods for the prevention and control of communicable diseases, including water supply and
sanitation control, water pollution control, food quality control, integrated vector control,
garbage collection and disposal and environmentally sound irrigation practices;

e.

Primary health care system:
i.

f.

Strengthen prevention programmes, with particular emphasis on adequate and
balanced nutrition;

ii.

Strengthen early diagnostic programmes and improve capacities for early
preventative/treatment action;

iii.

Reduce the vulnerability to HIV infection of women and their offspring;

Support for research and methodology development:

g.

i.

Intensify and expand multidisciplinary research, including focused efforts on the
mitigation and environmental control of tropical diseases;

ii.

Carry out intervention studies to provide a solid epidemiological basis for control
policies and to evaluate the efficiency of alternative approaches;

iii.

Undertake studies in the population and among health workers to determine the
influence of cultural, behavioural and social factors on control policies;

Development and dissemination of technology:
i.

Develop new technologies for the effective control of communicable diseases;

ii.

Promote studies to determine how to optimally disseminate results from research;

iii.

Ensure technical assistance, including the sharing of knowledge and know-how.

Means of implementation
(a) Financing and cost evaluation
6.14.
The Conference secretariat has estimated the average total annual cost (1993-2000) of
implementing the activities of this programme to be about $4 billion, including about $900 million
from the international community on grant or concessional terms. These are indicative and order-ofmagnitude estimates only and have not been reviewed by Governments. Actual costs and financial
terms, including any that are non-concessional, will depend upon, inter alia, the specific strategies and
programmes Governments decide upon for implementation.
(b) Scientific and technological means
6.15.
Efforts to prevent and control diseases should include investigations of the epidemiological, social
and economic bases for the development of more effective national strategies for the integrated control
of communicable diseases. Cost-effective methods of environmental control should be adapted to local
developmental conditions.
(c) Human resource development
6.16.
National and regional training institutions should promote broad intersectoral approaches to
prevention and control of communicable diseases, including training in epidemiology and community
prevention and control, immunology, molecular biology and the application of new vaccines. Health
education materials should be developed for use by community workers and for the education of
mothers for the prevention and treatment of diarrhoeal diseases in the home.
(d) Capacity-building
6.17.
The health sector should develop adequate data on the distribution of communicable diseases, as
well as the institutional capacity to respond and collaborate with other sectors for prevention,
mitigation and correction of communicable disease hazards through environmental protection. The
advocacy at policy- and decision-making levels should be gained, professional and societal support
mobilized, and communities organized in developing self-reliance.

C. Protecting vulnerable groups
Basis for action
6.18.
In addition to meeting basic health needs, specific emphasis has to be given to protecting and
educating vulnerable groups, particularly infants, youth, women, indigenous people and the very poor

as a prerequisite for sustainable development. Special attention should also be paid to the health needs
of the elderly and disabled population.
6.19.
Infants and children. Approximately one third of the world's population are children under 15
years old. At least 15 million of these children die annually from such preventable causes as birth
trauma, birth asphyxia, acute respiratory infections, malnutrition, communicable diseases and
diarrhoea. The health of children is affected more severely than other population groups by
malnutrition and adverse environmental factors, and many children risk exploitation as cheap labour or
in prostitution.
6.20.
Youth. As has been the historical experience of all countries, youth are particularly vulnerable to
the problems associated with economic development, which often weakens traditional forms of social
support essential for the healthy development, of young people. Urbanization and changes in social
mores have increased substance abuse, unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases,
including AIDS. Currently more than half of all people alive are under the age of 25, and four of every
five live in developing countries. Therefore it is important to ensure that historical experience is not
replicated.
6.21.
Women. In developing countries, the health status of women remains relatively low, and during
the 1980s poverty, malnutrition and general ill-health in women were even rising. Most women in
developing countries still do not have adequate basic educational opportunities and they lack the
means of promoting their health, responsibly controlling their reproductive life and improving their
socio-economic status. Particular attention should be given to the provision of pre-natal care to ensure
healthy babies.
6.22.
Indigenous people and their communities. Indigenous people had their communities make up a
significant percentage of global population. The outcomes of their experience have tended to be very
similar in that the basis of their relationship with traditional lands has been fundamentally changed.
They tend to feature disproportionately in unemployment, lack of housing, poverty and poor health. In
many countries the number of indigenous people is growing faster than the general population.
Therefore it is important to target health initiatives for indigenous people.
Objectives
6.23.
The general objectives of protecting vulnerable groups are to ensure that all such individuals
should be allowed to develop to their full potential (including healthy physical, mental and spiritual
development); to ensure t hat young people can develop, establish and maintain healthy lives; to allow
women to perform their key role in society; and to support indigenous people through educational,
economic and technical opportunities.
6.24.
Specific major goals for child survival, development and protection were agreed upon at the
World Summit for Children and remain valid also for Agenda 21. Supporting and sectoral goals cover
women's health and education, nutrition, child health, water and sanitation, basic education and
children in difficult circumstances.
6.25.
Governments should take active steps to implement, as a matter of urgency, in accordance with
country specific conditions and legal systems, measures to ensure that women and men have the same
right to decide freely and responsibly on the number and spacing of their children, to have access to
the information, education and means, as appropriate, to enable them to exercise this right in keeping
with their freedom, dignity and personally held values, taking into account ethical and cultural
considerations.
6.26.
Governments should take active steps to implement programmes to establish and strengthen
preventive and curative health facilities which include women-centred, women-managed, safe and
effective reproductive health care and affordable, accessible services, as appropriate, for the
responsible planning of family size, in keeping with freedom, dignity and personally held values and

taking into account ethical and cultural considerations. Programmes should focus on providing
comprehensive health care, including pre-natal care, education and information on health and
responsible parenthood and should provide the opportunity for all women to breast-feed fully, at least
during the first four months post-partum. Programmes should fully support women's productive and
reproductive roles and well being, with special attention to the need for providing equal and improved
health care for all children and the need to reduce the risk of maternal and child mortality and sickness.
Activities
6.27.
National Governments, in cooperation with local and non-governmental organizations, should
initiate or enhance programmes in the following areas:
a.

Infants and children:
i.

Strengthen basic health-care services for children in the context of primary healthcare delivery, including prenatal care, breast-feeding, immunization and nutrition
programmes;

ii.

Undertake widespread adult education on the use of oral rehydration therapy for
diarrhoea, treatment of respiratory infections and prevention of communicable
diseases;

iii.

Promote the creation, amendment and enforcement of a legal framework protecting
children from sexual and workplace exploitation;

iv.

Protect children from the effects of environmental and occupational toxic
compounds;

b.

Youth: Strengthen services for youth in health, education and social sectors in order to
provide better information, education, counselling and treatment for specific health problems,
including drug abuse;

c.

Women:

d.

i.

Involve women's groups in decision-making at the national and community levels to
identify health risks and incorporate health issues in national action programmes on
women and development;

ii.

Provide concrete incentives to encourage and maintain attendance of women of all
ages at school and adult education courses, including health education and training in
primary, home and maternal health care;

iii.

Carry out baseline surveys and knowledge, attitude and practice studies on the health
and nutrition of women throughout their life cycle, especially as related to the impact
of environmental degradation and adequate resources;

Indigenous people and their communities:
i.
ii.

Strengthen, through resources and self-management, preventative and curative health
services;
Integrate traditional knowledge and experience into health systems.

Means of implementation
(a) Financing and cost evaluation
6.28.
The Conference secretariat has estimated the average total annual cost (1993-2000) of
implementing the activities of this programme to be about $3.7 billion, including about $400 billion

from the international community on grant or concessional terms. These are indicative and order-ofmagnitude estimates only and have not been reviewed by Governments. Actual costs and financial
terms, including any that are non-concessional, will depend upon, inter alia, the specific strategies and
programmes Governments decide upon for implementation.
(b) Scientific and technological means
6.29.
Educational, health and research institutions should be strengthened to provide support to improve
the health of vulnerable groups. Social research on the specific problems of these groups should be
expanded and methods for implementing flexible pragmatic solutions explored, with emphasis on
preventive measures. Technical support should be provided to Governments, institutions and nongovernmental organizations for youth, women and indigenous people in the health sector.
(c) Human resources development
6.30.
The development of human resources for the health of children, youth and women should include
reinforcement of educational instit utions, promotion of interactive methods of education for health and
increased use of mass media in disseminating information to the target groups. This requires the
training of more community health workers, nurses, midwives, physicians, social scientists and
educators, the education of mothers, families and communities and the strengthening of ministries of
education, health, population etc.
(d) Capacity-building
6.31.
Governments should promote, where necessary: (i) the organization of national, intercountry and
interregional symposia and other meetings for the exchange of information among agencies and
groups concerned with the health of children, youth, women and indigenous people, and (ii) women's
organizations, youth groups and indigenous people's organizations to facilitate health and consult them
on the creation, amendment and enforcement of legal frameworks to ensure a healthy environment for
children, youth, women and indigenous peoples.
D. Meeting the urban health challenge
Basis for action
6.32.
For hundreds of millions of people, the poor living conditions in urban and peri-urban areas are
destroying lives, health, and social and moral values. Urban growth has outstripped society's capacity
to meet human needs, leaving hundreds of millions of people with inadequate incomes, diets, housing
and services. Urban growth exposes populations to serious environmental hazards and has outstripped
the capacity of municipal and local governments to provide the environmental health services that the
people need. All too often, urban development is associated with destructive effects on the physical
environment and the resource base needed for sustainable development. Environmental pollution in
urban areas is associated with excess morbidity and mortality. Overcrowding and inadequate housing
contribute to respiratory diseases, tuberculosis, meningitis and other diseases. In urban environments,
many factors that affect human health are outside the health sector. Improvements in urban health
therefore will depend on coordinated action by all levels of government, health care providers,
businesses, religious groups, social and educational institutions and citizens.
Objectives
6.33.
The health and well-being of all urban dwellers must be improved so that they can contribute to
economic and social development. The global objective is to achieve a 10 to 40 per cent improvement
in health indicators by the year 2000. The same rate of improvement should be achieved for
environmental, housing and health service indicators. These include the development of quantitative
objectives for infant mortality, maternal mortality, percentage of low birth weight newborns and
specific indicators (e.g. tuberculosis as an indicator of crowded housing, diarrhoeal diseases as

indicators of inadequate water and sanitation, rates of industrial and transportation accidents that
indicate possible opportunities for prevention of injury, and social problems such as drug abuse,
violence and crime that indicate underlying social disorders).
Activities
6.34.
Local authorities, with the appropriate support of national Governments and international
organizations should be encouraged to take effective measures to initiate or strengthen the following
activities:
a.

Develop and implement municipal and local health plans:
i.

Establish or strengthen intersectoral committees at both the political and technical
level, including active collaboration on linkages with scientific, cultural, religious,
medical, business, social and other city institutions, using networking arrangements;

ii.

Adopt or strengthen municipal or local "enabling strategies" that emphasize "doing
with" rather than "doing for" and create supportive environments for health;

iii.

Ensure that public health education in schools, workplace, mass media etc. is
provided or strengthened;

iv.

Encourage communities to develop personal skills and awareness of primary health
care;

v.

Promote and strengthen community-based rehabilitation activities for the urban and
peri-urban disabled and the elderly;

b.

Survey, where necessary, the existing health, social and environmental conditions in cities,
including documentation of intra-urban differences;

c.

Strengthen environmental health services:
i.
ii.

d.

Adopt health impact and environmental impact assessment procedures;
Provide basic and in-service training for new and existing personnel;

Establish and maintain city networks for collaboration and exchange of models of good
practice.

Means of implementation
(a) Financing and cost evaluation
6.35.
The Conference secretariat has estimated the average total annual cost (1993-2000) of
implementing the activities of this programme to be about $222 million, including about $22 million
from the international community on grant or concessional terms. These are indicative and order-ofmagnitude estimates only and have not been reviewed by Governments. Actual costs and financial
terms, including any that are non-concessional, will depend upon, inter alia, the specific strategies and
programmes Governments decide upon for implementation.
(b) Scientific and technological means
6.36.
Decision-making models should be further developed and more widely used to assess the costs
and the health and environment impacts of alternative technologies and strategies. Improvement in
urban development and management requires better national and municipal statistics based on
practical, standardized indicators. Development of methods is a priority for the measurement of intra-

urban and intra-district variations in health status and environmental conditions, and for the
application of this information in planning and management.
(c) Human resources development
6.37.
Programmes must supply the orientation and basic training of municipal staff required for the
healthy city processes. Basic and in-service training of environmental health personnel will also be
needed.
(d) Capacity-building
6.38.
The programme is aimed towards improved planning and management capabilities in the
municipal and local government and its partners in central Government, the private sector and
universities. Capacity development should be focused on obtaining sufficient information, improving
coordination mechanisms linking all the key actors, and making better use of available instruments and
resources for implementation.

E. Reducing health risks from environmental pollution and hazards
Basis for action
6.39.
In many locations around the world the general environment (air, water and land), workplaces and
even individual dwellings are so badly polluted that the health of hundreds of millions of people is
adversely affected. This is, inter alia, due to past and present developments in consumption and
production patterns and lifestyles, in energy production and use, in industry, in transportation etc., with
little or no regard for environmental protection. There have been notable improvements in some
countries, but deterioration of the environment continues. The ability of countries to tackle pollution
and health problems is greatly restrained because of lack of resources. Pollution control and health
protection measures have often not kept pace with economic development. Considerable developmentrelated environmental health hazards exist in the newly industrializing countries. Furthermore, the
recent analysis of WHO has clearly established the interdependence among the factors of health,
environment and development and has revealed that most countries are lacking such integration as
would lead to an effective pollution control mechanism. 2/ Without prejudice to such criteria as may
be agreed upon by the international community, or to standards which will have to be determined
nationally, it will be essential in all cases to consider the systems of values prevailing in each country
and the extent of the applicability of standards that are valid for the most advanced countries but may
be inappropriate and of unwarranted social cost for the developing countries.
Objectives
6.40.
The overall objective is to minimize hazards and maintain the environment to a degree that human
health and safety is not impaired or endangered and yet encourage development to proceed. Specific
programme objectives are:
a.

By the year 2000, to incorporate appropriate environmental and health safeguards as part
of national development programmes in all countries;

b.

By the year 2000, to establish, as appropriate, adequate national infrastructure and
programmes for providing environmental injury, hazard surveillance and the basis for
abatement in all countries;

c.

By the year 2000, to establish, as appropriate, integrated programmes for tackling
pollution at the source and at the disposal site, with a focus on abatement actions in all
countries;

d.

To identify and compile, as appropriate, the necessary statistical information on health
effects to support cost/benefit analysis, including environmental health impact assessment
for pollution control, prevention and abatement measures.

Activities
6.41.
Nationally determined action programmes, with international assistance, support and coordination,
where necessary, in this area should include:
a.

Urban air pollution:
i.

ii.
b.

Develop air pollution control capacities in large cities, emphasizing
enforcement programmes and using monitoring networks, as appropriate;

Indoor air pollution:
i.

ii.

c.

Develop appropriate pollution control technology on the basis of risk
assessment and epidemiological research for the introduction of
environmentally sound production processes and suitable safe mass
transport;

Support research and develop programmes for applying prevention and
control methods to reducing indoor air pollution, including the provision of
economic incentives for the installation of appropriate technology;
Develop and implement health education campaigns, particularly in
developing countries, to reduce the health impact of domestic use of
biomass and coal;

Water pollution:
i.
ii.

Develop appropriate water pollution control technologies on the basis of
health risk assessment;
Develop water pollution control capacities in large cities;

d.

Pesticides: Develop mechanisms to control the distribution and use of pesticides in
order to minimize the risks to human health by transportation, storage, application
and residual effects of pesticides used in agriculture and preservation of wood;

e.

Solid waste:
i.
ii.

Develop appropriate solid waste disposal technologies on the basis of health
risk assessment;
Develop appropriate solid waste disposal capacities in large cities;

f.

Human settlements: Develop programmes for improving health conditions in human
settlements, in particular within slums and non-tenured settlements, on the basis of
health risk assessment;

g.

Noise: Develop criteria for maximum permitted safe noise exposure levels and
promote noise assessment and control as part of environmental health programmes;

h.

Ionizing and non-ionizing radiation: Develop and implement appropriate national
legislation, standards and enforcement procedures on the basis of existing
international guidelines;

i.

ii.

i.

Effects of ultraviolet radiation: Undertake, as a matter of urgency, research
on the effects on human health of the increasing ultraviolet radiation
reaching the earth's surface as a consequence of depletion of the
stratospheric ozone layer;
On the basis of the outcome of this research, consider taking appropriate
remedial measures to mitigate the above-mentioned effects on human
beings;

Industry and energy production:
i.

Establish environmental health impact assessment procedures for the
planning and development of new industries and energy facilities;

ii.

Incorporate appropriate health risk analysis in all national programmes for
pollution control and management, with particular emphasis on toxic
compounds such as lead;

iii.

Establish industrial hygiene programmes in all major industries for the
surveillance of workers' exposure to health hazards;

iv.

Promote the introduction of environmentally sound technologies within the
industry and energy sectors;

j.

Monitoring and assessment: Establish, as appropriate, adequate environmental
monitoring capacities for the surveillance of environmental quality and the health
status of populations;

k.

Injury monitoring and reduction:
i.

l.

Support, as appropriate, the development of systems to monitor the
incidence and cause of injury to allow well-targeted intervention/prevention
strategies;

ii.

Develop, in accordance with national plans, strategies in all sectors
(industry, traffic and others) consistent with t he WHO safe cities and safe
communities programmes, to reduce the frequency and severity of injury;

iii.

Emphasize preventive strategies to reduce occupationally derived diseases
and diseases caused by environmental and occupational toxins to enhance
worker safety;

Research promotion and methodology development:
i.

ii.

Support the development of new methods for the quantitative assessment of
health benefits and cost associated with different pollution control
strategies;
Develop and carry out interdisciplinary research on the combined health
effects of exposure to multiple environmental hazards, including
epidemiological investigations of long-term exposures to low levels of
pollutants and the use of biological markers capable of estimating human
exposures, adverse effects and susceptibility to environmental agents.

Means of implementation
(a) Financing and cost evaluation

6.42.
The Conference secretariat has estimated the average total annual cost (1993-2000) of
implementing the activities of this programme to be about $3 billion, including about $115 million
from the international community on grant or concessional terms. These are indicative and order-ofmagnitude estimates only and have not been reviewed by Governments. Actual costs and financial
terms, including any that are non-concessional, will depend upon, inter alia, the specific strategies and
programmes Governments decide upon for implementation.
(b) Scientific and technological means
6.43.
Although technology to prevent or abate pollution is readily available for a large number of
problems, for programme and policy development countries should undertake research within an
intersectoral framework. Such efforts should include collaboration with the business sector. Cost/effect
analysis and environmental impact assessment methods should be developed through cooperative
international programmes and applied to the setting of priorities and strategies in relation to health and
development.
6.44.
In the activities listed in paragraph 6.41 (a) to (m) above, developing country efforts should be
facilitated by access to and transfer of technology, know-how and information, from the repositories of
such knowledge and technologies, in conformity with chapter 34.
(c) Human resource development
6.45.
Comprehensive national strategies should be designed to overcome the lack of qualified human
resources, which is a major impediment to progress in dealing with environmental health hazards.
Training should include environmental and health officials at all levels from managers to inspect ors.
More emphasis needs to be placed on including the subject of environmental health in the curricula of
secondary schools and universities and on educating the public.
(d) Capacity-building
6.46.
Each country should develop the knowledge and practical skills to foresee and identify
environmental health hazards, and the capacity to reduce the risks. Basic capacity requirements must
include knowledge about environmental health problems and awareness on the part of leaders, citizens
and specialists; operational mechanisms for intersectoral and intergovernmental cooperation in
development planning and management and in combating pollution; arrangements for involving
private and community interests in dealing with social issues; delegation of authority and distribution
of resources to intermediate and local levels of government to provide front-line capabilities to meet
environmental health needs.
Notes
1/ A/45/625, annex.
2/ Report of the WHO Commission on Health and Environment (Geneva, forthcoming).

Agenda 21 – Chapter 7
PROMOTING SUSTAINABLE HUMAN SETTLEMENT DEVELOPMENT
7.1. In industrialized countries, the consumption patterns of cities are severely stressing the global
ecosystem, while settlements in the developing world need more raw material, energy, and economic
development simply to overcome basic economic and social problems. Human settlement conditions
in many parts of the world, particularly the developing countries, are deteriorating mainly as a result of
the low levels of investment in the sector attributable to the overall resource constraints in these
countries. In the low-income countries for which recent data are available, an average of only 5.6 per
cent of central government expenditure went to housing, amenities, social security and welfare. 1/
Expenditure by international support and finance organizations is equally low. For example, only 1 per
cent of the United Nations system's total grant-financed expenditures in 1988 went to human
settlements, 2/ while in 1991, loans from the World Bank and the International Development
Association (IDA) for urban development and water supply and sewerage amounted to 5.5 and 5.4 per
cent, respectively, of their total lending. 3/
7.2. On the other hand, available information indicates that technical cooperation activities in the human
settlement sector generate considerable public and private sector investment. For example, every
dollar of UNDP technical cooperation expenditure on human settlements in 1988 generated a followup investment of $122, t he highest of all UNDP sectors of assistance. 4/
7.3. This is the foundation of the "enabling approach" advocated for the human settlement sector. External
assistance will help to generate the internal resources needed to improve the living and working
environments of all people by the year 2000 and beyond, including the growing number of
unemployed - the no-income group. At the same time the environmental implications of urban
development should be recognized and addressed in an integrated fashion by all countries, with high
priority being given to the needs of the urban and rural poor, the unemployed and the growing number
of people without any source of income.
Human settlement objective
7.4. The overall human settlement objective is to improve the social, economic and environmental quality
of human settlements and the living and working environments of all people, in particular the urban
and rural poor. Such improvement should be based on technical cooperation activities, partnerships
among the public, private and community sectors and participation in the decision-making process by
community groups and special interest groups such as women, indigenous people, the elderly and the
disabled. These approaches should form the core principles of national settlement strategies. In
developing these strategies, countries will need to set priorities among the eight programme areas in
this chapter in accordance with their national plans and objectives, taking fully into account their
social and cultural capabilities. Furthermore, countries should make appropriate provision to monitor
the impact of their strategies on marginalized and disenfranchised groups, with particular reference to
the needs of women.
7.5. The programme areas included in this chapter are:
a.

Providing adequate shelter for all;

b.

Improving human settlement management;

c.

Promoting sustainable land-use planning and management;

d.

Promoting the integrated provision of environmental infrastructure: water, sanitation,
drainage and solid-waste management;

e.

Promoting sustainable energy and transport systems in human settlements;

f.

Promoting human settlement planning and management in disaster-prone areas;

g.

Promoting sustainable construction industry activities;

h.

Promoting human resource development and capacity-building for human settlement
development.
PROGRAMME AREAS
A. Providing adequate shelter for all

Basis for action
7.6. Access to safe and healthy shelter is essential to a person's physical, psychological, social and
economic well-being and should be a fundamental part of national and international action. The right
to adequate housing as a basic human right is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Despite this, it is estimated
that at the present time, at least 1 billion people do not have access to safe and healthy shelter and that
if appropriate action is not taken, this number will increase dramatically by the end of the century and
beyond.
7.7. A major global programme to address this problem is the Global Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000,
adopted by the General Assembly in December 1988 (resolution 43/181, annex). Despite its
widespread endorsement, the Strategy needs a much greater level of political and financial support to
enable it to reach its goal of facilitating adequate shelter for all by the end of the century and beyond.
Objective
7.8. The objective is to achieve adequate shelter for rapidly growing populations and for the currently
deprived urban and rural poor through an enabling approach to shelter development and improvement
that is environmentally sound.
Activities
7.9. The following activities should be undertaken:
a.

As a first step towards the goal of providing adequate shelter for all, all countries should take
immediate measures to provide shelter to their homeless poor, while the international
community and financial institutions should undertake actions to support the efforts of the
developing countries to provide shelter to the poor;

b.

All countries should adopt and/or strengthen national shelter strategies, with targets based, as
appropriate, on the principles and recommendations contained in the Global Strategy for
Shelter to the Year 2000. People should be protected by law against unfair eviction from their
homes or land;

c.

All countries should, as appropriate, support the shelter efforts of the urban and rural poor, the
unemployed and the no-income group by adopting and/or adapting existing codes and
regulations, to facilitate their access to land, finance and low-cost building materials and by
actively promoting the regularization and upgrading of informal settlements and urban slums
as an expedient measure and pragmatic solution to the urban shelter deficit;

d.

All countries should, as appropriate, facilitate access of urban and rural poor to shelter by
adopting and utilizing housing and finance schemes and new innovative mechanisms adapted
to their circumstances;

e.

All countries should support and develop environmentally compatible shelter strategies at
national, state/provincial and municipal levels through partnerships among the private, public
and community sectors and with the support of community-based organizations;

f.

All countries, especially developing ones, should, as appropriate, formulate and implement
programmes to reduce the impact of the phenomenon of rural to urban drift by improving
rural living conditions;

g.

All countries, where appropriate, should develop and implement resettlement programmes
that address the specific problems of displaced populations in their respective countries;

h.

All countries should, as appropriate, document and monitor the implementation of their
national shelter strategies by using, inter alia, the monitoring guidelines adopted by the
Commission on Human Settlements and the shelter performance indicators being produced
jointly by the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) and the World Bank;

i.

Bilateral and multilateral cooperation should be strengthened in order to support the
implementation of the national shelter strategies of developing countries;

j.

Global progress reports covering national action and the support activities of international
organizations and bilateral donors should be produced and disseminated on a biennial basis,
as requested in the Global Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000.

Means of implementation
(a) Financing and cost evaluation
7.10.
The Conference secretariat has estimated the average total annual cost (1993-2000) of
implementing the activities of this programme to be about $75 billion, including about $10 billion
from the international community on grant or concessional terms. These are indicative and order-ofmagnitude estimates only and have not been reviewed by Governments. Actual costs and financial
terms, including any that are non-concessional, will depend upon, inter alia, the specific strategies and
programmes Governments decide upon for implementation.
(b) Scientific and technological means
7.11.
The requirements under this heading are addressed in each of the other programme areas included
in the present chapter.
(c) Human resource development and capacity-building
7.12.
Developed countries and funding agencies should provide specific assistance to developing
countries in adopting an enabling approach to the provision of shelter for all, including the no-income
group, and covering research institutions and training activities for government officials, professionals,
communities and non-governmental organizations and by strengthening local capacity for the
development of appropriate technologies.

B. Improving human settlement management
Basis for action
7.13.
By the turn of the century, the majority of the world's population will be living in cities. While
urban settlements, particularly in developing countries, are showing many of the symptoms of the
global environment and development crisis, they nevertheless generate 60 per cent of gross national
product and, if properly managed, can develop the capacity to sustain their productivity, improve the
living conditions of their residents and manage natural resources in a sustainable way.
7.14.
Some metropolitan areas extend over the boundaries of several political and/or administrative
entities (counties and municipalities) even though they conform to a continuous urban system. In many

cases this political heterogeneity hinders the implementation of comprehensive environmental
management programmes.
Objective
7.15.
The objective is to ensure sustainable management of all urban settlements, particularly in
developing countries, in order to enhance their ability to improve the living conditions of residents,
especially the marginalized and disenfranchised, thereby contributing to the achievement of national
economic development goals.
Activities
(a) Improving urban management
7.16.
One existing framework for strengthening management is in the United Nations Development
Programme/World Bank/United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) Urban Management
Programme (UMP), a concerted global effort to assist developing countries in addressing urban
management issues. Its coverage should be extended to all interested countries during the period 19932000. All countries should, as appropriate and in accordance with national plans, objectives and
priorities and with the assistance of non-governmental organizations and representatives of local
authorities, undertake the following activities at the national, state/provincial and local levels, with the
assistance of relevant programmes and support agencies:
a.

Adopting and applying urban management guidelines in the areas of land management,
urban environmental management, infrastructure management and municipal finance and
administration;

b.

Accelerating efforts to reduce urban poverty through a number of actions, including:
i.

c.

ii.

Providing specific assistance to the poorest of the urban poor through, inter alia,
the creation of social infrastructure in order to reduce hunger and homelessness,
and the provision of adequate community services;

iii.

Encouraging the establishment of indigenous community-based organizations,
private voluntary organizations and other forms of non-governmental entities
that can contribute to the efforts to reduce poverty and improve the quality of
life for low-income families;

Adopting innovative city planning strategies to address environmental and social issues
by:
i.

ii.
d.

Generating employment for the urban poor, particularly women, through the
provision, improvement and maintenance of urban infrastructure and services
and the support of economic activities in the informal sector, such as repairs,
recycling, services and small commerce;

Reducing subsidies on, and recovering the full costs of, environmental and other
services of high standard (e.g. water supply, sanitation, waste collection, roads,
telecommunications) provided to higher income neighbourhoods;
Improving the level of infrastructure and service provision in poorer urban
areas;

Developing local strategies for improving the quality of life and the environment,
integrating decisions on land use and land management, investing in the public and
private sectors and mobilizing human and material resources, thereby promoting
employment generation that is environmentally sound and protective of human health.

(b) Strengthening urban data systems
7.17.
During the period 1993-2000 all countries should undertake, with the active participation of the
business sector as appropriate, pilot projects in selected cities for the collection, analysis and
subsequent dissemination of urban data, including environmental impact analysis, at the local,
state/provincial, national and international levels and the establishment of city data management
capabilities. 5/ United Nations organizations, such as Habitat, UNEP and UNDP, could provide
technical advice and model data management systems.
(c) Encouraging int ermediate city development
7.18.
In order to relieve pressure on large urban agglomerations of developing countries, policies and
strategies should be implemented towards the development of intermediate cities that create
employment opportunities for unemployed labour in the rural areas and support rural-based economic
activities, although sound urban management is essential to ensure that urban sprawl does not expand
resource degradation over an ever wider land area and increase pressures to convert open space and
agricultural/buffer lands for development.
7.19.
Therefore all countries should, as appropriate, conduct reviews of urbanization processes and
policies in order to assess the environmental impacts of growth and apply urban planning and
management approaches specifically suited to the needs, resource capabilities and characteristics of
their growing intermediate-sized cities. As appropriate, they should also concentrate on activities
aimed at facilitating the transition from rural to urban lifestyles and settlement patterns and at
promoting the development of small-scale economic activities, particularly the production of food, to
support local income generation and the production of intermediate goods and services for rural
hinterlands.
7.20.
All cities, particularly those characterized by severe sustainable development problems, should, in
accordance with national laws, rules and regulations, develop and strengthen programmes aimed at
addressing such problems and guiding their development along a sustainable path. Some international
initiatives in support of such efforts, as in the Sustainable Cities Programme of Habitat and the
Healthy Cities Programme of WHO, should be intensified. Additional initiatives involving the World
Bank, the regional development banks and bilateral agencies, as well as other interested stakeholders,
particularly international and national representatives of local authorities, should be strengthened and
coordinated. Individual cities should, as appropriate:
a.

Institutionalize a participatory approach to sustainable urban development, based on
a continuous dialogue between the actors involved in urban development (the public
sector, private sector and communities), especially women and indigenous people;

b.

Improve the urban environment by promoting social organization and environmental
awareness through the participation of local communities in the identification of
public services needs, the provision of urban infrastructure, the enhancement of
public amenities and the protection and/or rehabilitation of older buildings, historic
precincts and other cultural artifacts. In addition, "green works" programmes should
be activated to create self-sustaining human development activities and both formal
and informal employment opportunities for low-income urban residents;

c.

Strengthen the capacities of their local governing bodies to deal more effectively
with the broad range of developmental and environmental challenges associated with
rapid and sound urban growth through comprehensive approaches to planning that
recognize the individual needs of cities and are based on ecologically sound urban
design practices;

d.

Participate in international "sustainable city networks" to exchange experiences and
mobilize national and international technical and financial support;



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