International Monetary Fund
Published Date:
June 2000
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Goal: Implement national strategies for sustainable development by 2005 so as to reverse the loss of environmental resources by 2015

In the early 1990s about 17 million hectares of tropical forests—four Switzerlands—were cleared annually. If this continues, 5-10% of tropical forest species will face extinction in the next 30 years

Many of the world’s poor depend directly on the environment-agriculture, forestry and fisheries—for their livelihoods. The poor are also most likely to be hurt by air and water pollution and unsustainable practices for food production. Better environmental management can improve their lives, increase their productivity and build momentum towards sustainable development.

Little progress in improving water supplies

Population with access to an improved water resource (%)

Almost 20 percent of the world’s people depend on unimproved water supplies to meet their daily needs. Urban populations are better served than rural, but even piped water from municipal supplies may be contaminated by disease-bearing organisms and industrial pollutants. Those without access to safe water supplies must struggle daily to meet their needs and face the constant danger of water-borne disease.

“We should live here on Earth as though we were intending to stay for good.

Active partnerships for sustainable development in the Philippines

After the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, the Philippines was the first country to establish a council for sustainable development, with partners from government, civil society and private business. The phase-out of leaded gasoline in April 2000 provided a rallying point. The Philippine Agenda 21 is the country’s blueprint for sustainable development. Key businesses have implemented sustainable production initiatives—reusing by-products, controlling pollution and including environmental provisions in collective bargaining agreements with labour unions.

Without human interference, large parts of the world would be covered with forests. Through unsustainable harvesting and degradation, the world has lost millions of acres of forests and with them the economically important wood and non-wood products they supply. Lost forests can no longer conserve soil and water resources, preserve biodiversity, mitigate climate change or protect natural and cultural heritage.

Forests–a disappearing resource

Thousand square kilometers, 1997

Energy efficiency generally improves with economic growth…

Energy use (kilograms of oil equivalent) per unit of GDP (1995 dollars), 1998

… but greenhouse gases also increase

Industrial CO2 emissions (metric tons per capita), 1998

Higher income countries make more efficient use of energy but produce larger total emissions. And as poor countries develop, they become more energy-efficient—using the same quantity of energy, they can produce more goods and services. But total energy savings from efficiency gains are more than offset by growth in total consumption. So, if they follow the model of the high-income countries today, their total energy use will continue to grow—and with it their emissions of greenhouse gases. Fortunately, the policies to reduce global greenhouse gases overlap with those to reduce local pollution and increase energy efficiency. This applies both to rich countries—the biggest emitters of carbon dioxide—and to developing countries.

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