Trends in inequality, resource consumption and depletion, environmental degradation, population growth and ill-health are closely interrelated (McMichael, 1995; Dasgupta, 1995; see Section 14.3) and will strongly interact with potential climate change impacts (Petersen et al., 1998). Such problems cannot be effectively addressed solely by implementing improved intersectoral (energy, agriculture) or public health technologies. Cross-sectoral policies that promote ecologically sustainable development and address underlying driving forces will be essential.
Agenda 21 and the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development describe a comprehensive approach to ecologically sustainable development incorporating cross-sectoral policies. Economic sectors, such as industry, agriculture, energy, transport and tourism, must take responsibility for the impact of their activities on social and ecological systems. National and local strategies for sustainable development should be completed in all countries, in accordance with Local Agenda 21 principles. The empowerment and the full and equal participation of women in all spheres of society, including the decision-making process, are necessary (UN, 1996). Rich countries should fulfil their commitments to reach the United Nations target of 0.7 per cent of gross national product devoted to international development assistance as soon as possible (UN, 1997).
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