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1.9. The problems are already severe enough in developing countries. But in the absence of resolute action, they will tend to attain formidable dimensions in the decades ahead. The very growth of population, when not accompanied by adequate economic development, brings out the prospect of rising unemployment, further impoverishing the countryside and swelling the drift to the towns and creating human problems of the deepest intensity. They can only aggravate the serious social and political tensions that even now prevail in these societies. There can indeed be little doubt about the urgent need for corrective action.
1.10. These issues are elaborated upon in succeeding chapters of this report. To the extent that some of the advanced environmental consequences of the process of development could be avoided by better planning and regulation, the developing countries have an opportunity to profit from the experience of the advanced countries. The importance of establishing adequate safeguards and standards in project planning and preparation is thus underlined. These standards must necessarily be those that are appropriate to the specific conditions of these countries and be capable of being observed within the resources available to them. All this reflects the vital importance of data and of research. It also raises the question of the instruments by which environmental policies could be implemented, particularly in situations where decisions are undertaken by private investors, whether domestic or foreign, in the context of market forces.
1.11. Environmental issues may come to exercise a growing influence on international economic relations. They are not only a formidable competitor for developed countries' resources (which in some instances might have been channelled towards development assistance), but they are also a factor which, to an ever increasing degree, could influence the pattern of world trade, the international distribution of industry, the competitive position of different groups of countries, their comparative costs of production, etc. Environmental actions by developed countries may have a profound and manifold impact on the growth and external economic relations of developing countries.
1.12. Some environmental actions by developed countries (restrictions on the importation and use of certain commodities, imposition of environmental regulations, standards and other non-tariff barriers on imports as well as increased production costs reflected in higher export prices) are likely to have a negative effect on developing countries' export possibilities and their terms of trade. Recycling of raw materials may also tend to diminish the volume of primary commodities consumed and imported into developed countries.
1.13. In some fields, environmental issues open up new possibilities for developing countries. The structural changes in production and trade, as well as the geographical relocation of productive enterprises which might be necessitated by environmental considerations, should provide new opportunities for meeting some of the developmental needs of the developing nations. This relates first of all to the relationship between natural and synthetic products and the reopening of certain markets to exports of natural products. In some cases, developing countries might have a possibility of increasing the inflow of foreign capital and of creating new industries. If such opportunities are to be fully realized, they will require new and concerted measures on the part of developed and developing countries in the fields of international trade and investment, as well as in the control of private foreign enterprises.