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Entries tagged with ‘Sustainable Development’

“Our Common Future” UN Brundtland Commission Report

The first internationally commissioned document to declare issues of environmental concern and human development as an ‘interlocking crises’.

Following from the UN Conference on the Human Environment, the report highlighted the need to recognise the interdependence of nations and the need for a multilateral approach in solving global development issues.

The concept of ‘sustainable development’ was defined famously as:

“Sustainable development is 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.”

This definition has been under close scrutiny since the report’s publication, providing the basis for political and environmental discourse to this day.

Entry submitted by Gyto Pugh

UN Conference on Environment and Development

Thirteen years after the Vienna Conference, one of the key issues at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, , also known as the Rio Summit or Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro from 3-14th June, 1992, was taken from the unresolved agenda of ‘Vienna’: technology cooperation and the access of developing countries to the industrialized world’s advanced technology.

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The Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS, formerly ‘Third World Academy of Science’) founded

TWAS, the academy of sciences for the developing world, is an autonomous international organization, founded in 1983 in Trieste, Italy, by a distinguished group of scientists from the South under the leadership of the late Nobel laureate Abdus Salam of Pakistan. Its principal aim is to promote scientific capacity and excellence for sustainable development in the South. It was officially launched by the secretary-general of the United Nations in 1985.

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UN Conference on the Human Environment, Stockholm

This landmark conference involved the first debate on environment and development and the first call for international cooperation to manage the future of the Earth.  The conference demonstrated international recognition of concern for the environment as related to major threats facing the planet: war, overpopulation, hunger, pollution, and depletion of natural resources.  Prime Minister Indira Ghandi of India was the only head of state to address this conference.

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Dudley Seers ‘The Meaning of Development’

Dudley Seers, first Director of IDS, argued that “the focus on national income as a target for achieving poverty reduction avoided the real problems of development” and recommended “redefining how development was measured”. In this paper, he offered policy recommendations to incorporate more socially-relevant measures to better address development problems, focusing on education, population growth, and political independence. Read the full article »

Book: Spaceship Earth by Barbara Ward

Barbara Ward was a British economist, writer and adviser to policy-makers in the UK, US, and elsewhere who pioneered thinking on the overlap between environment and development – seeing a connection between wealth distribution and the conservation of planetary resources. Her 1966 book ‘Spaceship Earth’ revealed her as an early advocate of ‘sustainable development’ and a ‘new international economic order’ before these terms became widely used, highlighting questions of national self-determination, the spread of regional economic blocs as steps towards the global unity, and the role of the UN. 

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