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Chapter Three: Policy Responses - Africa

Social policies

Poverty alleviation is the overriding goal and priority. Improving the health, income, education and living conditions of the poor majority remains the top policy imperative for ensuring the political stability and social sustainability needed to move toward greater economic and environmental sustainability. While adopting the innovative approach of Agenda 21 for integrating environment and development, a third crucial element must be added to make Agenda 21 more applicable and operational in most African sub-regions. This critical missing link is equity. Greater equity is needed throughout the region in the distribution of the opportunities and benefits of national economic development and international aid programmes. At present, too few national and international aid programmes reach or benefit the poor majority (SARDC, IUCN and SADC 1994).

SADC has developed a new policy and strategy for environmental and natural resources management for equitable and sustainable development. Its main aim is to support economically, socially and environmentally sustainable forms of development (SADC 1994). Although environmental sustainability is the starting point of the new policy, the equally important economic and social sustainability concerns are given high priority.


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