Sustainable development is development
that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability
of future generations to meet their own needs.
When human beings strive for enhanced life conditions
without diminishing the meaning of life itself - namely our children's
future - we call this development sustainable.
Sustainable development is often thought to have
three components: environment, society, and economy. The well-being
of these three areas is intertwined, not separate.
McKeown, R. (2002). The ESD
Toolkit 2.0. Web-published document. www.esdtoolkit.org
For instance Johnston E. (2004).
Sustainable development program tall order.
Held in Rio in 1992, the UN Conference
on Environment and Development, also referred to as the World Summit,
lists 27 principles of sustainability in its declaration:
Principle 1. Human beings are at the centre
of concerns for sustainable development. They are entitled to
a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature.
Principle 2. States have, in accordance
with the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of international
law, the sovereign right to exploit their own resources pursuant
to their own environmental and developmental policies, and the
responsibility to ensure that activities within their jurisdiction
or control do not cause damage to the environment of other States
or of areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction.
Principle 3. The right to development must
be fulfilled so as to equitably meet developmental and environmental
needs of present and future generations.
Principle 4. In order to achieve sustainable
development, environmental protection shall constitute an integral
part of the development process and cannot be considered in isolation
Principle 5. All States and all people
shall cooperate in the essential task of eradicating poverty as
an indispensable requirement for sustainable development, in order
to decrease the disparities in standards of living and better
meet the needs of the majority of the people of the world.
Principle 6. The special situation and
needs of developing countries, particularly the least developed
and those most environmentally vulnerable, shall be given special
priority. International actions in the field of environment and
development should also address the interests and needs of all
Principle 7. States shall cooperate in
a spirit of global partnership to conserve, protect and restore
the health and integrity of the Earth's ecosystem. In view of
the different contributions to global environmental degradation,
States have common but differentiated responsibilities. The developed
countries acknowledge the responsibility that they bear in the
international pursuit of sustainable development in view of the
pressures their societies place on the global environment and
of the technologies and financial resources they command.
Principle 8. To achieve sustainable development
and a higher quality of life for all people, States should reduce
and eliminate unsustainable patterns of production and consumption
and promote appropriate demographic policies.
Principle 9. States should cooperate to
strengthen endogenous capacity-building for sustainable development
by improving scientific understanding through exchanges of scientific
and technological knowledge, and by enhancing the development,
adaptation, diffusion and transfer of technologies, including
new and innovative technologies.
Principle 10. Environmental issues are
best handled with the participation of all concerned citizens,
at the relevant level. At the national level, each individual
shall have appropriate access to information concerning the environment
that is held by public authorities, including information on hazardous
materials and activities in their communities, and the opportunity
to participate in decision-making processes. States shall facilitate
and encourage public awareness and participation by making information
widely available. Effective access to judicial and administrative
proceedings, including redress and remedy, shall be provided.
Principle 11. States shall enact effective
environmental legislation. Environmental standards, management
objectives and priorities should reflect the environmental and
developmental context to which they apply. Standards applied by
some countries may be inappropriate and of unwarranted economic
and social cost to other countries, in particular developing countries.
Principle 12. States should cooperate to
promote a supportive and open international economic system that
would lead to economic growth and sustainable development in all
countries, to better address the problems of environmental degradation.
Trade policy measures for environmental purposes should not constitute
a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination or a disguised
restriction on international trade. Unilateral actions to deal
with environmental challenges outside the jurisdiction of the
importing country should be avoided. Environmental measures addressing
transboundary or global environmental problems should, as far
as possible, be based on an international consensus.
Principle 13. States shall develop national
law regarding liability and compensation for the victims of pollution
and other environmental damage. States shall also cooperate in
an expeditious and more determined manner to develop further international
law regarding liability and compensation for adverse effects of
environmental damage caused by activities within their jurisdiction
or control to areas beyond their jurisdiction.
Principle 14. States should effectively
cooperate to discourage or prevent the relocation and transfer
to other States of any activities and substances that cause severe
environmental degradation or are found to be harmful to human
Principle 15. In order to protect the environment,
the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according
to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible
damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as
a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental
Principle 16. National authorities should
endeavour to promote the internalization of environmental costs
and the use of economic instruments, taking into account the approach
that the polluter should, in principle, bear the cost of pollution,
with due regard to the public interest and without distorting
international trade and investment.
Principle 17. Environmental impact assessment,
as a national instrument, shall be undertaken for proposed activities
that are likely to have a significant adverse impact on the environment
and are subject to a decision of a competent national authority.
Principle 18. States shall immediately
notify other States of any natural disasters or other emergencies
that are likely to produce sudden harmful effects on the environment
of those States. Every effort shall be made by the international
community to help States so afflicted.
Principle 19. States shall provide prior
and timely notification and relevant information to potentially
affected States on activities that may have a significant adverse
transboundary environmental effect and shall consult with those
States at an early stage and in good faith.
Principle 20. Women have a vital role in
environmental management and development. Their full participation
is therefore essential to achieve sustainable development.
Principle 21. The creativity, ideals and
courage of the youth of the world should be mobilized to forge
a global partnership in order to achieve sustainable development
and ensure a better future for all.
Principle 22. Indigenous people and their
communities and other local communities have a vital role in environmental
management and development because of their knowledge and traditional
practices. States should recognize and duly support their identity,
culture and interests and enable their effective participation
in the achievement of sustainable development.
Principle 23. The environment and natural
resources of people under oppression, domination and occupation
shall be protected.
Principle 24. Warfare is inherently destructive
of sustainable development. States shall therefore respect international
law providing protection for the environment in times of armed
conflict and cooperate in its further development, as necessary.
Principle 25. Peace, development and environmental
protection are interdependent and indivisible.
Principle 26. States shall resolve all
their environmental disputes peacefully and by appropriate means
in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.
Principle 27. States and people shall cooperate
in good faith and in a spirit of partnership in the fulfilment
of the principles embodied in this Declaration and in the further
development of international law in the field of sustainable development.
UN Conference on Environment
and Development (1992)
The Great Law of the Hau de no sau nee (Six Nations
Iroquois Confederation) says that in every deliberation we must
consider the impact on the seventh generation.
The Hau de no sau nee Address
to the Western World. Geneva, Switzerland, Autumn 1977.
What is sustainable development? At its heart is
the simple idea of ensuring a better quality of life for everyone,
now and for generations to come.
In the light of the Fifth Environmental Action Programme
the features of sustainability are:
The European Community Programme of policy and action in relation
to the environment and sustainable development (2005). Also known
as The Fifth EC Environmental Action Programme. Read
What is Sustainability? Sustainability
means to equally consider environmental aspects, social and economic
aspects. Thus, future-oriented management means: We have to leave
our children and grandchildren an intact ecological, social and
economic system. The one cannot be achieved without the other!