Humanity is rediscovering the need for a harmonious relationship with the Earth. Through Agenda 21, the global action plan for sustainable development into the 21st century, we have recognized the need for an integrated approach to planning and managing our land resources. To do otherwise would risk further deterioration of our soils, catastrophic climate change, and tragic losses in natural beauty and biodiversity. It would seriously threaten the sustainability of the entire planet.
On Solid Ground describes how the tools of science and technology can be used to find solutions to global land management problems. The key is "integrated land management", which draws on the knowledge derived from the physical and social sciences and blends it with the wisdom of local communities, indigenous peoples, women, and others whose survival strategies have been based on a close connection to their mother Earth. The strength of this approach lies in the way it brings together solutions to human, economic, and environmental problems.
On Solid Ground urges the abandonment of narrowly focused perspectives and a shift to more holistic approaches of land management.
The United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development was established in 1992 by the General Assembly of the United Nations and, since 1993, has been serviced by the UNCTAD secretariat. Through assembled panels of experts, the Commission examines and provides advice on current issues in science and technology, with a focus on the developing world. The Commission's Panel on Integrated Land Management was convened to explore how science and technology could contribute to the overall discussion of land management as part of the review by the Commission on Sustainable Development of the follow-up to the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development.