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Monday, 7 September 2020

Sustainable Development


Sustainable development: 1

Key Features of Sustainable Development. 1

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): 2

Approaches to sustainability and development: 3

Neo-liberal/ free market approach: 3

Reformist and interventionist approaches: 3

Radical approaches: 3

Sustainable development:

Sustainability can be defined as the practice of maintaining world processes of productivity indefinitely—natural or human-made—by replacing resources used with resources of equal or greater value without degrading or endangering natural biotic systems. Sustainable development ties together concern for the carrying capacity of natural systems with the social, political, and economic challenges faced by humanity (Kahle and Gurel-Atay 2014). In 1980 the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) published a world conservation strategy that included one of the first references to sustainable development as a global priority and introduced the term "sustainable development" (Sachs 2015). Two years later, the United Nations World Charter for Nature raised five principles of conservation by which human conduct affecting nature is to be guided and judged. In 1987 the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development released the report Our Common Future, commonly called the Brundtland Report. The report included what is now one of the most widely recognised definitions of sustainable development.

Alternatively Sustainable development is defined as a development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It contains within it two key concepts:

·          The concept of 'needs', in particular, the essential needs of the world's poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and

·          The idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment's ability to meet present and future needs.

[World Commission on Environment and Development, Our Common Future (1987)]


Key Features of Sustainable Development

Sustainable development can be achieved if we follow the following points,

·          Restricting human being from over-exploitation of the environmental resources both at individual level and as a corporate.

·          Technological development should be input effective and not input utilizing. Therefore, ensuring technology that minimises the use of finite resources and maximises the output.

·          The rate of consumption should not surpass the rate of salvation.

·          For renewable resources, the rate of consumption should not surpass the rate of production of renewable substitutes.

·          Minimisation of all kinds of pollutants and safer disposal of waste.

·          Sensible use of Natural Resources.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.

The SDGs are:

1.       Complete eradication of poverty

2.       No hunger

3.       Good health and well-being

4.       Quality education and life-long learning opportunity for all

5.       Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girl

6.       Ensure availability and sustainable management of water for all

7.       Ensure the availability of reliable, affordable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

8.       Promote sustained inclusive and sustainable economic growth. Full and productive and descent work for all.

9.       Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation

10.   Reduce inequality within and among countries

11.   Make cities and human settlement inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable for all

12.   Ensure sustainable production and consumption pattern

13.   Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impact

14.   Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development

15.   Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial eco-systems, sustainably mange forest, combat desertification, halt reverse land degradation and halt bio-diversity loss.

16.   Promote inclusive and peaceful societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all, and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

17.   Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development.

(Accessed from https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/sustainable-development-goals.html)


The 17 SDGs are integrated—that is, they recognize that action in one area will affect outcomes in others, and that development must balance social, economic and environmental sustainability.

Through the pledge to Leave No One Behind, countries have committed to fast-track progress for those furthest behind first. That is why the SDGs are designed to bring the world to several life-changing ‘zeros’, including zero poverty, hunger, AIDS and discrimination against women and girls.

Everyone is needed to reach these ambitious targets. The creativity, knowhow, technology and financial resources from all of society is necessary to achieve the SDGs in every context.

Approaches to sustainability and development:

Sustainable development is based on environmental theories of economic development. Based on them the policies and programmes of the development of a state is often decided. These theories range from welfare state  models of economic activity to radical approach that suggests to overthrow the capitalist system and live life according to ecological principles. There are several trends, here we will discuss broadly three major categories of development approach that address the issues of sustainability. These are:

·          Free-market/neo-liberal

·          Reformist and interventionist

·          Radical

Neo-liberal/ free market approach:

Proponents of the free market believe that trade is not the cause of environmental degradation and that capitalism encourages the rational use of resources under conditions of free market competition and the specialisation of production through comparative advantage (Ricardo 1973). For free-marketers, economic globalisation is an opportunity to rationalise the use of resources. Restrictions on trade would merely lead to economic decline, which would in turn devastate environment and human societies. Because, degradation of economic growth would mean that people will less care about environment and will try to meet their immediate need without thinking about the environmental sustainability. As scholars like Gouldson and Murphy (1997) show, free-market principle suggest that trade and environment conservation is in a win-win situation, as profit generated can be channelized into environmental conservation.

They believe in converting common properties like sea to be converted into the concept of private properties so that over-exploitation can be stopped.

Reformist and interventionist approaches:

Reformist approach provides incentives or penalties for consumers and producers to move towards environmentally friendly economic behaviour. This may be in the form of financial instruments such as subsidies (reward) or taxation (punishment). Interventionist approaches attempt to achieve environmentally friendly development by making legislation changes. Taxes and subsidies are used to alter the economic behaviour and development approaches by manipulating markets. It is a strict form of control involving legal penalties for ‘dirty’ producers.

Radical approaches:

Radical approaches like ‘deep green’, eco-centric’ and ‘deep ecology’ suggest that western consumption patterns are environmentally unsustainable and undesirable. Driven by capitalism’s imperative for continuously expanding demand rather than any relation to meeting human needs, ‘consumptive growth doesn’t make people happier […] people would actually be better off, Greens argue, if they consumed less and concentrated more on genuine well-being: on personal development, on relationships with others and social belonging’ (Jacobs 1997: 50).

 Further reading: 





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