Resources for:
  Governments
  Scientists
  Journalists
  Civil Society
  Business Persons
  Children and Youth

Thematic Areas


 
 Printable Version
 

I - STUDIES ON INTERRELATIONSHIPS

3. The group of experts shared the conviction expressed in the report of the Secretary-General to the Economic and Social Council 1/ that it is increasingly evident that development efforts tend to produce basic systemic effects resulting from strong interactions between population, resources, environment and development.

4. The group fully supported the conclusion in the report that a conceptual framework has to be developed in stages. Flexibility is a sine qua non. The framework has to be open to change; it has to be enlarged or refined as the study proceeds. The group recognized the importance of the considerations to be taken into account in the study which were listed in the report. Thus it felt that the conceptual framework should be amenable to specific, quantitative and empirical analysis, be applicable at disaggregate -- specifically regional and national levels, be sensitive to the implications of risk and uncertainty, and take account of the long-term consequences of changes; the empirical investigations should also be made at the level of households, local communities and geographic regions, such as a river basin or island. The framework should aim at identifying critical interrelationships between population, resources and environment in regard to principal development issues, with the goal of presenting recommendations and guidelines for action by Governments and by the United Nations system. The group stressed that attempts at global modelling should be avoided. Instead of formulating a single aggregate mathematical model, different models should be used for different tasks such as selecting variables and analysing interrelationships. The conceptual framework should be based on a "system approaches elucidating interrelationships between variables in the socioeconomic and natural systems. The group emphasized the need for inclusion of parameters concerning management and technology.

5. The group concluded that the efforts which have been initiated to develop a conceptual framework should be intensified, and a suitable study commenced. The study should highlight techniques for optimizing the whole interactive system, as against particular sectors, and defining points of leverage where coordinated inter--sectoral action could induce positive accumulative development process. It should be submitted for consideration by the group of experts, suitably expanded by the inclusion of experts in relevant fields such as ecology and technology. A conceptual framework should then be prepared by the group, using the dynamic interaction method. Such a framework would also assist in identifying principal development issues for study, issues in regard to which critical interdependencies and important points of leverage could be expected to be found.

6. The group was of the firm opinion that studies of interrelationships geared to principal development issues should start concurrently, and not await the development of a conceptual framework. Facts should be gathered from various global, regional and national sources, an enlarged data base being of great importance. Earthwatch should contribute suitable data, and its assessment function would benefit from an enlarged data base. Critical interdependencies and points of leverage could be identified through dynamic interaction on a high level between decision-makers and natural and social scientists. The group considered three issues - food systems, soil management and energy systems - as being of the highest importance in the field of development. They were interlinked, and the studies should in a more advanced stage focus on interrelationships between them. Other principal development issues where study of the interrelationships should be fruitful are: forestry, water management, health, industrialization, management of marine resources and communications systems.