All about sustainable development (Technorati / hbp.usm)

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http://bearbee88.blogspot.com/2007/08/sustainable-development.html

Sustainable development

DEFINITION
~Sustainable development:balancing the fulfillment of human needs with the protection of the natural environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but in the indefinite future.
~The term was used by the Brundtland Commission – “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

4 types of sustainable environment

1.environmental sustainability
2.economic sustainability
3.social sustainability and
4.political sustainability

Scope and definitions
~not focus solely on environmental issues: economic, environmental and social. In support of this, several United Nations texts, most recently the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document, refer to the “interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars” of sustainable development as economic development, social development, and environmental protection..
~The Universal Declaration:”…cultural diversity is as necessary for humankind as biodiversity is for nature”; “one of the roots of development understood not simply in terms of economic growth, but also as a means to achieve a more satisfactory intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual existence”.
Greening development:
~differentiated from Sustainable development
~prioritizes what its proponents consider to be environmental sustainability over economic and cultural considerations.
~provides a context in which to improve overall sustainability where cutting edge Green development is unattainable.
~ An environmentally ideal plant that is shut down due to bankruptcy is obviously less sustainable than one that is maintainable by the indigenous community, even if it is somewhat less effective from an environmental standpoint.
The Division for Sustainable Development lists the following areas as coming within the scope of Sustainable Development:
Agriculture
Atmosphere
Biodiversity
Biotechnology
Capacity-building
Climate Change
Consumption and Production Patterns
Demographics
Desertification and Drought
Disaster Reduction and Management
Education and Awareness
Energy
Finance
Forests
Fresh Water
Health
Human Settlements
Indicators
Industry
Information for Decision Making and Participation
Integrated Decision Making
International Law
International Cooperation for Enabling Environment
Institutional Arrangements
Land management
Major Groups
Mountains
National Sustainable Development Strategies
Oceans and Seas
Poverty
Sanitation
Science
Small Islands
Sustainable tourism
Technology
Toxic Chemicals
Trade and Environment
Transport
Waste (Hazardous)
Waste (Radioactive)
Waste (Solid)
Water

Sustainable Development is an ambiguous concept has included notions of weak sustainability, strong sustainability and deep ecology. Different conceptions also reveal a strong tension between ecocentrism and anthropocentrism. Thus, the concept remains weakly defined and contains a large amount of debate as to its precise definition.

Criticism of the term
Many environmentalists have criticized some interpertations of the term “sustainable development” as an oxymoron, claiming that economic policies based on concepts of growth and continued depletion of resources cannot be sustainable, since that term implies resources remain constant. Some people prefer the term “developing sustainability”, as it does not imply that something needs to be created.

Environmental sustainability
~Environmental sustainability is defined as the ability of the environment to continue to function properly indefinitely.
~This involves meeting the present needs of humans without endangering the welfare of future generations.
~The goal of environmental sustainability is to minimize environmental degradation, and to halt and reverse the processes they lead to.
An “unsustainable situation” occurs when natural capital (the sum total of nature’s resources) is used up faster than it can be replenished. Sustainability requires that human activity only uses nature’s resources at a rate at which they can be replenished naturally. Theoretically, the long term result of environmental degradation would be local environments that are no longer able to sustain human populations to any degree. Such degradation on a global scale could imply extinction for humanity.
Category: Sustainable development
On the strength of its parliamentary, analytical and technical co-operation work, the Division for Sustainable Development provides targeted advisory services at the request of individual governments. These services support specific policy initiatives and the requisite institutional development and capacity-building.
Moreover, the Division formulates, implements and executes multidisciplinary programmes and projects dealing with key aspects of sustainable development. As countries take increasing responsibility for project execution, the technical support is specifically designed to accelerate the formulation of policies for sustainable development and provide substantive support for their implementation at national and international levels.
The Division’s technical expertise enables it to support developing countries and countries with economies in transition in their realization of sustainable development. Within the Division for Sustainable Development, special expertise is available in a wide range of issues in the fields of Energy, Transport and Atmosphere, as well as Water and Natural Resources.
Please see capacity building projects in indicators of sustainable development.

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Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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