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Note to the reader from UNU

The United Nations University's (UNU) programme area on Sustaining Global Life-support Systems responds to the priorities identified in Agenda 21 emanating from the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1992. Within the programme area on Sustaining Global Life-support Systems, UNU's programme on Integrated Studies of Ecosystems aggregates issues of environmentally sustainable development from the entry point of the capacity of ecosystems and their ability to support, resist, or recuperate from the long-term impact of major transformations.

UNU's projects within this programme approach issues from three perspectives: one focus is on integrated studies of fragile ecosystems and other vulnerable regions in given geographical zones. A second set of projects covers improved methods of measuring and monitoring sustainability and environmental management. A third is sectoral studies of critical resources such as forests, biodiversity resources, waters, and oceans.

As part of its activities concerned with oceans as a critical resource, UNU undertakes a number of projects in the field of marine affairs: a major objective of which is to promote sustainable development in the oceans at policy level. Together with the International Ocean Institute (IOI), UNU has continued to involve itself in a number of Pacem in Maribus Conferences, concerned with ascertaining feasible mechanisms for promoting peace and sustainable development in the oceans. This book represents a collection of papers presented at the PIM XIX Conference held in Lisbon, Portugal.

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