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World Conservation Strategy

World Conservation Strategy

The World Conservation Strategy (WCS): Living Resource Conservation for Sustainable Development is contained in a report published in 1980 and prepared by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (now called IUCNThe World Conservation Union ). Assistance and collaboration was received from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO ).

The three main objectives of the WCS are: (1) to maintain essential ecological processes and life-support systems on which human survival and development depend. Items of concern include soil regeneration and protection, the recycling of nutrients, and protection of water quality ; (2) to preserve genetic diversity on which depend the functioning of many of the above processes and life-support systems, the breeding programs necessary for the protection and improvement of cultivated plants, domesticated animals, and microorganisms ,as well as much scientific and medical advance, technical innovation, and the security of the many industries that use living resources; (3) to ensure the sustainable utilization of species and ecosystems which support millions of rural communities as well as major industries.

The WCS believes humans must recognize that the world's natural resources are limited, with limited capacities to support life, and must consider the needs of future generations . The object, then, is to conserve the natural resources, sustain development, and to support all life. Humans have great capacities for the creation of wants or needs and also have great powers of destruction and annihilation. Human action has global consequences, and thus global responsibilities are crucial. The aim of the WCS is to provide an intellectual framework as well as practical implementation guidelines for achieving its three primary objectives.

The WCS has been endorsed by numerous leaders, organizations, and governments, and has formed the basis for preparation of National Conservation Strategies in over fifty countries.

The World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC) mission is to support conservation and sustainable development by providing information on the world's biodiversity . It is a joint venture between the three main cooperators of WCS, IUCN, UNEP, and WWF.

The WCS has been supplemented and restated in a document called Caring for The Earth: A Strategy for Sustainable Living, published in 1991. This document restates current thinking about conservation and development and suggests practical actions. It establishes targets for change and urges a concerted effort in personal, national, and international relations. It stresses measuring achievements against the objectives of actions.

The WCS of 1980 and the 1991 update have done much to bring attention to the need for sustainable management of the world's natural resources. It outlines problems, suggests needed changes, and stresses the need to quantitate the progress in meeting the needs of a sustainable world.

See also Environmental education; Environmental ethics; Environmental monitoring; Sustainable biosphere

[William E. Larson ]



Caring for the Earth: A Strategy for Sustainable Living. Gland, Switzerland: IUCNThe World Conservtion Union, 1991.

World Conservation Strategy. Gland, Switzerland: International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, 1980.

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