Intensification (reintroduction?) of the concept of social responsibility

Particularly in such unstable locations as marginal areas, the acts of individuals may have a damaging effect on the entire community and its basis for livelihood. In former times such a occurrence was usually excluded by tribal rules and norms, but due to the weakening and degeneration of the old order there is now a lack of sufficient protection.
Here a revival of the old customs is urgently necessary; this, however, will hardly be possible without the participation of the population in self-help groups. The concept of social responsibility must start from a broad base: A code of land use must restrict the proprieter's usufructuary rights to ecologically and socially sustainable levels. Private interests involving resources belonging to the community may not be pursued without limitation. The participation of all households in measures of erosion fighting and water management must be ensured. Forestry use must be adapted to existing possibilities. These areas are to a large extent still uncharted territory.
All of these strategies will be sufficiently effective only when implemented as a package.
Overall, sustainability requires a broad approach like that of the regional development concept (or of sectoral projects that extend beyond the limits of the sector). In marginal locations, regional development as an approach is compulsory for the preservation of sustainability. The sectoral approach has no place here.
Author's address: Prof. Dr. Dr. Dr. h. c. F. Kuhnen, Institut fur Rurale Entwicklung, Universitat Gottingen, Biisgenweg 2, 3400 Gottingen.