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future generations. Our nation will protect its environment, its natural
resource base, and the functions and viability of natural systems on which
all life depends.72
For MDCs like the United States, incorporating sustainable development
also means refocusing the activities of its bilateral aid agency, the United
States Agency for International Development (USAID). In Chapter 3, we
discussed the important role that USAID plays in promoting family planning
programs. USAID also supports numerous “environmental” projects in developing nations, including pollution prevention in India and Chile, biodiversity protection in Madagascar and Peru, and the training of energy
professionals in Nigeria and Ecuador.73 One of the two strategic environmental goals is “Promoting sustainable economic growth locally, nationally,
and regionally by addressing environmental, economic, and developmental
practices that impede development and are unsustainable.”74 Among others,
Canadian and German aid agencies also incorporate environmental emphases
in their aid programs.
USAID’s underlying assumptions are very similar to those presented in the
Bruntland Commission’s report. They believe that poverty can be alleviated
by economic growth and that if poverty is eliminated, environmental quality
will improve. This account does not consider how growth is distributed or the
degree of inequality between rich and poor. A summary of USAID’s premise
Environmental problems are caused by the way people use resources. . . .
Environmental damage often is driven by poverty and food insecurity
. . . [which] force individuals and communities to choose short-term
exploitation over long-term management. . . . Economic growth cannot
be sustained if the natural resources that fuel growth are irresponsibly
depleted. Conversely, protection of the environment and careful stewardship of natural resources will not be possible where poverty is pervasive.
This is the conundrum and the opportunity of sustainable development.75
The focus on the degrading activities of the poor shifts attention away from
the degrading a...
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This note was uploaded on 10/25/2010 for the course SOSCI INBA6610 taught by Professor Prescott during the Fall '08 term at University of the West Indies at St. Augustine.
- Fall '08
- The Land