The sustainable development portal
|Scheme of sustainable development:
at the confluence of three preoccupations. Clickable.
Sustainable development has been defined as balancing the fulfillment of human needs with the protection of the natural environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but in the indefinite future. The term was used by the Brundtland Commission which coined what has become the most often-quoted definition of sustainable development as development that "meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
The field of sustainable development can be conceptually divided into four general dimensions: social, economic, environmental and institutional. The first three dimensions address key principles of sustainability, while the final dimension addresses key institutional policy and capacity issues.
The economy of Africa
consists of the trade
, and resources of the peoples of Africa
. As of July 2005, approximately 887 million people
were living in 54 different states
. Africa is by far the world's poorest inhabited continent, and it is, on average, poorer than it was 25 years ago. Of the 175 countries reviewed in the United Nations
' Human Development Report
2003, 25 African nations ranked lowest.
Africa's current poverty is rooted, in part, in its history. The transition from colonialism has been shaky and uncertain. Since mid-20th century the Cold War and increased corruption and despotism have contributed to Africa's poor economy. While China and India have grown rapidly and Latin America has experienced moderate growth, lifting millions above subsistence living, Africa has stagnated and even regressed in terms of foreign trade, investment, and per capita income. This poverty has widespread effects, including low life expectancy, violence, and instability, which in turn perpetuate the continent's poverty. Over the decades, attempts to improve the economy of Africa have met with little success.
The Foundation for International Community Assistance (FINCA International) is a non-profit, microfinance organization, founded by John Hatch in 1984. Sometimes referred to as the "World Bank for the Poor" and a "poverty vaccine for the planet," FINCA is the innovator of the village banking methodology in microcredit and is widely regarded as one of the pioneers of modern day microfinance. With its headquarters in Washington, DC, FINCA has 21 affiliated host-country institutions (affiliates), in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. Along with Grameen Bank and Accion International, FINCA is considered to be one of the most influential microfinance organizations in the world.
Pioneered by FINCA, village banking is arguably the world’s most widely-imitated microfinance methodology. A village bank is an informal self-help support group of 20-30 members, predominantly female heads-of-household. Among US-based non-profit agencies alone there are at least 31 microfinance institutions (MFIs) that have collectively created over 400 village banking programs in at least 90 countries. And in many of these countries there are host-country MFIs—sometimes dozens—that are village banking practitioners as well.
Richard Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller
(July 12, 1895 – July 1, 1983) was an American visionary
, and inventor
Throughout his life, Fuller was concerned with the question "Does humanity have a chance to survive lastingly and successfully on planet Earth, and if so, how?" Considering himself an average individual without special monetary means or academic degree, he chose to devote his life to this question, trying to find out what an individual like him could do to improve humanity's condition that large organizations, governments, or private enterprises inherently could not do.
Pursuing this lifelong experiment, Fuller wrote twenty-eight books, coining and popularizing terms such as "spaceship earth", ephemeralization, and synergetics. He also worked in the development of numerous inventions, chiefly in the fields of design and architecture, the best known of which is the geodesic dome. Carbon molecules known as buckyballs were named for their resemblance to a geodesic sphere.
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