Geospatial information for sustainable development: A case study in coastal East Africa

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Sustainable development, as defi ned in “Our Common Future: The Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development [1],” is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” In 1999, the U.S. National Research Council added a specifi c environmental dimension defi ning sustainable development as “the reconciliation of society’s developmental goals with its environmental limits over the long term [2].” Therefore sustainable development is a long-term goal whose implementation is refl ected in a variety of action programs, of which Agenda 21-the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, adopted by world leaders in the 1992 U.N. Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is the most prominent. The themes of sustainable development under consideration include biodiversity, deforestation, urbanization, environmental pollution, food production, freshwater supply, health and disease, coastal development, rural development, and climate change, among others. Chapter 40 of the Agenda 21 stresses the need for more and different types of data to be collected to track the status and trends of the Earth’s ecosystems, natural resources, pollution, and socioeconomic variables for informed decision-making. The implementations of Agenda 21 was reaffi rmed at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), held in 2002 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The WSSD conference supported practical, resultoriented programs to alleviate poverty, environmental degradation, food insuffi - ciency, and natural resource mismanagement.

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English Remote Sensing of Coastal Environments

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