An international waste convention: measures for achieving sustainable development

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Waste is a by-product of economic growth. Consequently, economic growth presents challenges for sustainable resource management and development because continued economic growth implies continued growth in waste outputs. Poor management of waste results in the inappropriate depletion of natural resources and potentially adverse effects on the environment, health and the economy. It is unsustainable. This paper begins by outlining the magnitude of and the current response to the growth in the quantity of waste outputs. This is followed by a consideration of why the international response to date, including the Rio Declaration and Agenda 21, fails to address the issue adequately. The paper concludes with a discussion on why and how an international treaty or other measure could advance sustainable development by providing an appropriate framework within which to address the problem.

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