5. Summary

The notion of sustainability in its different meanings is discussed. They all see it as a process towards the goal of managing the resource base in a way that does not limit its use by future generations. In order to assess the interst and capability of the very inhomogeneous land-cultivating households, it is suggested that they be classified into socio-economic categories of land cultivators; their characteristics are outlined briefly, and their number and acreage estimated for Pakistan.

The categories are then assessed as to the degree to which they are interested in sustainability and, because of their situation, are able to think in these terms. The socioeconomic categories are rated. The result is that only about 1/5 of all cultivating households with 2/5 of the cultivated area satisfactory takes aspects of sustainability into account, while the majority has other interests or is too poor to consider aspects beyond its immediate survival.

The large number of cultivating households of a great variety makes it imposible to leave to the government the goal of achieving sustainability. Indeed, governments must set standards and control them. But the most important aspect of an 'Environmental Management System' are self-help groups of villagers assumming the double function of (developing and controlling environmental consciousness among the villagers and calling for (government action in cases that are beyond the villagers' technical and financial possibilities. It is of great importance to train, per village, two persons as subject matter specialists in environmental care so that technical competence is always available in the Village. This frees from government. These associations are an important task for the village youth.