In fear of falling behind developing countries sometimes push forward and move ahead too fast. This jeopardizes the whole development process and could take developing nations to a state of superficial development or unsustained development. This race for rapid progress goes on at the expense of the environment and natural resources. The strong emphasis on environmental programs and policies in the National Fourth Year Development Law has not resonated well with the current administration in Iran and since the economy is mostly government funded this has led to a serious neglect of environment standards and policies. In addition to the social and environmental damage, the serious economic loss cannot be overlooked. Degradation of natural resources leads to major economic challenges and can contribute to poverty and unemployment.
This is a lesson which industrialized nations learned through a process of several decades, however developing countries do not have that opportunity. Their youth are restless and expect to enjoy the benefits of economic development quickly .
I remember in 2002 at the Johannesburg Sustainable Development Summit , the Japanese Prime Minister Mr. Kouzomi spoke in the High Level Working Group that I headed. He mentioned how Japan had achieved a sustainable development policy through education, change in lifestyle and attitudes as well as stringent standards and serious regulation. Developing countries should learn from the experiences of Japan, he said. While acknowledging the significant achievements of Japan in this regard, I told him we in developing countries have a major problem and that is a shortage of time . There is a sense of urgency in these countries that pushes governments to take decisions which are not always sustainable.
This push for advancement and modernity has other consequences as well. I went to a MS immunology class last week with my notes and information on transparencies only to realize that the projection facilities for transparencies had been considered as obsolete and wereno longer available. Instead, only the PowerPoint option was available. I delivered the lecture without any visual technology that day and I later had to explain to our educational managers that even in most international conferences today the transparency option is still available. I had the traditional transparency technolgy back in class this week.
Too modern, too soon!