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Sba Review 2010

Since 1992, methods of production and consumption were the focus of international discussions, especially through the famous principle n°8 of the Rio Declaration at the origin of the North/South oppositions and long discussions between States. On the occasion of the last sba review, our monthly dossier deals with sustainable consumption, a concept developed and promoted by UNEP, while the sba focus presents the highlights of the Cleaner Production (CP) project in Jordan, which was achieved successfully this month.

Water, the most fundamental ressource, can provide life, but it can also lead to death and disaster. Wastewater treatment, chemical pollutants emission, emerging pollutants, etc. seem to be the key issues for both North and South countries in order to ensure a certain quality of life to the population. Our monthly dossier deals with the substances (organic, chemical, bacteriological, etc.) spread by the water and their effect on both humans and environment.

The Middle-East is one of the most water scarce region in the world. Worldwide, the average water availability per person is close to 7'000 m3/person/year, whereas in Middle-East, only around 1'200 m3/person/year is available. With the population expected to grow with a rate around 3%, per capita availability is expected to halve by 2050.
The source of water varies from country to country. Some, like Turkey and Iraq rely mostly on surface water from large international rivers. Others, like the Arab States of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries depend almost entirely on groundwater and desalination, while others use a mixture of surface and groundwater. Most countries have mobilized almost all available surface water, and many major rivers do not reach the ocean. Some even have a largely negative water balance for tens of years.

The current environmental crisis requires urban areas to work towards a control of their ecological footprint. Even if the concept of sustainable city is still far from being obvious, the development of ecovillages (urban planning reconciled with sustainable development's principles) sets up innovative niches for the future housing's inventors. Reducing energy consumption, setting low impact modes of transport, reducing water consumption, limiting waste, etc. are goals and achievements fixed by the different ecovillages projects around the world.

In order to implement sustainable development in our societies, evaluation tools play a crucial role for decision-making. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has until now constituted the major indicator to measure the level of a country's economic development. Alternatives indicators, such as green GDP, are slowly emerging. These indicators take into account the negative impacts of human activities on the environment in order to enhance the traditional GDP.

Economic instruments (EIs) for environmental management are relatively new mechanisms in the international policy context. However, they are increasingly being considered for the management of natural resources and the environment. This is particularly so where regulatory approaches have failed to arrest on-going degradation or where the cost of traditional policy tools is proving prohibitive to government or society in general.

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