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Sustainable Development in Central Asia

Central Asia is startlingly varied in climate, economic activity and cultural tradition, but its unique environmental situation as the most deeply inland part of the world has also given it a geographical, historical and economic unity. Recognition of the coherence and significance of Central Asia as a region is made newly inevitable and urgent by the global environmental crisis. The Central Asian environment is particularly vulnerable to drought and soil erosion, if not carefully managed. Lifestyles have evolved here which are exceptionally well-adapted to natural conditions - nomadic and transhumant pastoralism, agriculture based on irrigation - but they have been put under increasing pressure by industrialisation and intensive agriculture imposed by outsiders. This book is the result of a pioneering conference held in Ulaan Baatar in September 1994. The first Conference on the Sustainable Development of Central Asia brought together government officials, development professionals, academics, activists and religious representatives from Central, South and East Asia and the West. The full range of perspectives from this diverse group is presented here on how Central Asia can find paths of development which really serve its long term interests, and what the rest of the world can learn from Central Asians about living in harmony with the environment.
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