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Sustainable Development at Risk: Ignoring the Past

Joseph H. Hulse
Foundation Books, IDRC

Available formats

Dr Hulse is the very embodiment of humanistic science and scientific humanism… Whatever he writes has the stamp of authority and credibility because it comes from his personal experience. 
— M.S. Swaminathan

Over the past half-century, the idea of sustainable development has drastically evolved and rooted itself in the lexicon of international development. But what is it, really? Are development agencies truly committed to long-term sustainable solutions to development issues? Are we learning from our past successes and failures? This book takes a historical perspective on these questions. 

The analysis begins with the Atlantic Charter, the creation of the United Nations, its family of agencies, and the international development banks. It reviews recommendations from international commissions and conferences, from World Bank and UNDP Human Development Reports. It comments on governmental policies, human and industrial actions detrimental to the planet’s environment and natural resources. It studies the patterns by which biotechnologies essential to human survival and health have progressed over the past 6000 years, and the consequences of uncontrolled urban growth on food and health security. The author hopes that this book will be “informative and helpful to all who care about human suffering and degradation of the Earth’s environment and resources, in particular to men and women who are newcomers to international, governmental, and nongovernmental aid and assistance programs.”

The author

Professor Joseph H. Hulse has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in academia and in the field of international development. He is currently Visiting Professor at the University of Manchester, the Central Food Technological Research Institute in Mysore, India, and the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation in Tamil Nadu, India. Prof. Hulse chairs the International Committee on Integrated Food Systems for Sustainable Food Security and, for 15 years, chaired the International Commission on the Application of Science to Agriculture, Food and Forestry, a commission composed of eight of the world's most eminent biological scientists plus scientists from 25 national academies of science, including the UK Royal Society and the National Academies of Science in the USA and the former Soviet Union. From 1970 to 1987, Prof. Hulse worked for IDRC as both Director and Vice-President responsible for the Centre’s program of research. Before joining IDRC, he worked for the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN and was Director of Research for Maple Leaf Mills, Canada. Prof. Hulse has served on numerous international boards and committees and has received many honours for his work. In 1998, he became the first non-Indian to receive the Conservation of the Environment Award, bestowed by the Rotary Clubs and Earthcare Society of India. He has also recently been elected Fellow for Life of the National Academy of Sciences of India.