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Globalisation and the Crisis of Sustainable Development (No. 1)

USD 6.00 Publisher: TWN
ISBN: 983-9747-71-1
Year: 2001
No. of pages: 68
Size of book: 14.5cm x 21cm
Author: Martin Khor
About the Book

The process after the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, has largely failed to fulfill its promises and commitments. The Summit had placed the environment crisis at the top of the international agenda but today such a priority is fast vanishing. It had linked environment and development in a new paradigm of sustainable development, but the globalisation paradigm has far outstripped the former, resulting in more socio-economic inequities. Instead of a supposed North-South partnership in dealing with the environment and development, a widening gap exists.

This paper re-states the principles of the Rio Summit, in particular the principle of "Common but Differentiated Responsibility", and reviews the weaknesses and the problems of non-implementation of the Rio agreements. It gives examples of how globalisation has undermined sustainable development goals. The paper outlines proposals for dealing with some of the problems in the interface between globalisation and sustainable development . It also proposes some necessary reforms in policy, practice and institutions, at both international and local levels - towards a fair and sustainable global order.

About the Author

Martin Khor is an economist trained at Cambridge University. He is the Director of Third World Network, and the author of several books and articles on trade, development and environment issues. He is also the Honorary Secretary of the Consumers' Association of Penang in Malaysia and a board member of the International Forum on Globalisation. He was formerly a Vice Chairman of the UN Commission on Human Rights Expert Group on the Right to Development and a consultant in several research studies under the United Nations.


  1. The crisis of sustainable development

  2. The basic understanding at Rio

  3. Some basic weaknesses of UNCED

  4. The failures of the post-UNCED follow-up
    (a) Drop in aid volume
    (b) No progress (but the reverse) in technology transfer
    (c) Downgrading of environmental concerns in the North
    (d) Little improvement on environment in the South
    (e) Erosion of concern for development
    (f) Persistence of development problems in the South
    (g) Lack of strong institutional follow-up

  5. Effects of liberalisation and globalisation and the clash of paradigms
    (a) The undermining of the sustainable development paradigm by the free-market approach
    (b) Depletion of UN's role and the expanding powers of the WTO and Bretton Woods institutions
    (c) Failure to regulate big corporations and the move to widen their rights
    (d) The failure of political leadership

  6. IPRs, technology transfer and sustainable development
    (a) Technology transfer in the UNCED process
    (b) IPRs as obstacle to technology transfer
    (c) TRIPS and environment at the WTO

  7. "Trade and environment" and environmental standards

  8. Other aspects of globalisation and the environment
    (a) Globalisation and ecological detrioration
    (b) The rise of TNC power and the environmental implications
    (c) Liberalisation policies and their environmental implications
    (d) Regulating new technologies: The case of genetic engineering and biosafety
    (e) Lack of progress on sustainable agriculture
    (f) Mining activities

  9. Some proposals for sustainable development
    (a) Need for appropriate and democratic global governance
    (b) Rebuilding the role of the UN
    (c) Reforming the global economic system to benefit the South
    (d) Reviewing the Bretton Woods institutions and their policies
    (e) Reforming the WTO
    (f) Trade and development
    (g) Reviewing IPR regimes
    (h) Reforming the global finance system
    (i) Technology assessment and Precautionary Principle
    (j) International Environmental Governance
    (k) Seeking alternative development strategies


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This product was added to our catalog on Tuesday 10 January, 2012.

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