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April 20, 2017

Essay : Sustainable Development - Relevance in Today's World

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Sustainable Development - Relevance in Today's World

  • Define sustainable development. 
  • The goals and objectives are mentioned by the World Commission on Environment and Sustainable Development. 
  • The goals for the sustainable development adopted by the UN. 
  • The criticism against the sustain.
  • India's stance regarding the sustainable development.
  • Sustainable development is regarded as a process, not as a product.
"We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children". 
Chief Seattle
Sustainable development can be defined as a dynamic process designed to €1) meet today's need without compromising the ability of fixture generations to fulfil their own needs. However, the concept of sustainable development moves beyond environment.

The term sustainable development was coined by Eva Balfour and Wes Jackson. The concept was developed by World Commission on Environment and Sustainable Development, commonly known as the Brundtland Commission in 1987, under the chairmanship of Gro Harlem Brundtland of Norway. The commission document was titled 'Our Common Future'.

The commission highlighted its goals and objectives which are still relevant today. It strived to achieve, long-term environmental strategies for achieving sustainable development; greater co-operation among developing countries and between countries at different stages of economical and social development so that they lead to the achievement of common and mutually supportive objectives that take account of the interrelationships between people, resources, environment and development.

It also aimed to discover ways and means by which the international community can deal more effectively with environment concerns, share perceptions of long-term environmental issues and the appropriate efforts needed to deal successfully with the problems of protecting and enhancing the environment, a long-term agenda for action during the coming decades and aspirational goals for the world community.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the UN as the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development came into force on 1st January, 2016. These goals are the efforts uniting all the nations on a universal level to mobilise efforts to end all forms of poverty, inequality and global environment issues, which ensuring that the benefits sloop downs and touches all.

Though the goals are not internationally binding, all countries are free to take ownership of planning and establish national framework for achievement of these goals. As the implementation and success of these goals rely on the national process and plans, each country has a vital role to play. All stakeholders i.e. the government, civil society, private sector and others are expected to contribute to the realisation of the new agenda.

The concept of sustainable development has however met through constant criticism as it has been accused by many government and business of `cosmetic environmentalism' under an umbrella of the concept. Some people or groups are of view that the term 'sustainable development' was used as an alibi rather than as guidance for stronger action.

Another criticism of the concept has been that, its political acceptability will be actualised only when the particular country is able to respond its social and economic problems first.

India is a typical case in this context. In the climate talks, we have been classified as a developing country and there is no binding target on us as compared to the industrialised countries. Similarly, in the WTO talks in the Doha round and Bali round we have resisted the pressure by West to open our economy and compromise on public procurement policy.

Sustainable development, therefore, also calls for a more nuanced and balanced view thereby ensuring development of all the sectors and not just be biased for environmental sustainability.

In brief, sustainable development needs democratic thinking, but it can also help strengthen democratic institutions through consensus-based public participation. It therefore can be concluded that, sustainable development be considered a 'means' and not an 'end' in itself. Therefore, it is a `process' and not a 'product."

The key sine-qua-non for its success implies participation among all the stakeholder at an equal pedestal with genuine debate and discussion. The concept requires democratic thinking with high regard for the environment. As the fourth law of ecology states that some things should be left to the wisdom of nature. In the same context Rainer Maria Rilke has said, "If we surrendered to earth's intelligence, we could rise up rooted like trees".

Difficult Words with Meanings :
  • Decades a period of ten years
  • Alibi a claim or piece of evidence
  • Actualised turn into action or fact
  • Procurement act of obtaining or getting by effort, care or the use of special means
  • Nuanced very slight difference in expression, meaning. response, tone etc
  • Sine-qua-non an essential condition or a thing that is absolutely necessary. 
 shared by Nisheeta Mirchandani
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