The World Conservation Strategy aims to foster ‘sustainable development through the conservation of living resources’. While this is an admirable goal, the definition of conservation given in the Strategy document seems too imprecise to be operational.
The framers of the Strategy hope to convince developers and others that conservation is needed if development is to be sustained, contending that in the absence of conservation, development may be short-lived and uncertain. Possibly in order to give it greater political appeal, the Strategy takes a Man-centred approach to conservation. Nevertheless little attention is given to the ultimate ends of Mankind, that is, the type of issues raised by Daly (1980).
However, even if more immediate goals of mankind are considered, there is a strong case for conservation. In order to achieve living-resource conservation, the World Conservation Strategy suggests that it is necessary: (1) to maintain essential ecological processes and life-support systems; (2) to preserve genetic diversity; and (3) to ensure the sustainable utilization of species and ecosystems. Detailed recommendations are made for achieving each of these three conditions.