Magazine article UN Chronicle

Agenda '02

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Agenda '02

Article excerpt

Today's world situation is markedly different in many ways from that of the 1992 Earth Summit. Globalization--fuelled by government decisions to liberalize trade and capital markets, and accompanied by privatization and deregulation of economic activities and rapid development of information and communication. Technologies--has dramatically changed the global economic landscape. The annual output of the world economy grew from $31 trillion in 1990 to $42 trillion in 2000, compared to just $6.2 trillion in 1950, creating millions of new jobs and allowing people to consume more. For example, telephone connections g mew from 520 million in 1990 to 844 million in 1998, an increase of 62 percent.

Governments have used economic as well as regulatory inducements to improve the sustainability of consumption and production, such as: environmental taxes; pollution charges; tradable permits for pollution emissions and water use deposit-refund schemes for waste management; non-compliance fees and performance bonds; and voluntary codes of conduct.

Businesses have introduced cleaner and more eco-efficient production processes and have reduced pollution and other environmental impacts with eco-friendly design, packaging and labelling.

The public has become more aware of consumer responsibilities and options. In addition to a more widespread practice of the three "Rs"--reduce, reuse and recycle-there is a willingness to pay more for organic and environment-friendly products. …

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