To rally countries to work and pursue sustainable development together, the UN decided to establish the Brundtland Commission. Gro Harlem Brundtland was the former Prime Minister of Norway and was chosen due to her strong background in the science and public health. The Brundtland Commission officially dissolved in December 1987 after releasing the Brundtland Report, also known as Our Common Future, in October 1987. The organization Center for Our Common Future was started in April 1988 to take the place of the Commission.
Definition of Sustainable Development:
“Sustainable Development means that meets the needs of the present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
The concept of sustainable development was introduced in early 1980’s (in particular through the publication of the World Conservation Strategy by IUCN, UNEP and WWF, 1980), in order to reconcile conservation and development objectives. Since then, it has evoked much discussion.
The aim of sustainable development is to balance our economic, environmental and social needs, allowing prosperity for now and future generations. Sustainable development consists of a long-term, integrated approach to developing and achieving a healthy community by jointly addressing economic, environmental, and social issues, whilst avoiding the over consumption of key natural resources.
Sustainable development encourages us to conserve and enhance our resource base, by gradually changing the ways in which we develop and use technologies. Countries must be allowed to meet their basic needs of employment, food, energy, water and sanitation.
If this is to be done in a sustainable manner, then there is a definite need for a sustainable level of population. Economic growth should be supported and developing nations should be allowed a growth of equal quality to the developed nations. These include social progress and equality, environmental protection, conservation of natural resources and stable economic growth. Everybody has the right to a healthy, clean and safe environment. Everybody has the right to a healthy, clean and safe environment.
This can be achieved by reducing pollution, poverty, poor housing and unemployment. No one, in this age, or in the future should be treated unfairly. Global environmental threats, such as climate change and poor air quality must be reduced to protect human and environmental health. The use of non-renewable resources such as fossil fuels should not be stopped overnight, but they must be used efficiently and the development of alternatives should be encouraged to help phase them out.
Everybody has the right to a good standard of living, with better job opportunities. Economic prosperity is required if our country is to prosper and our businesses must therefore offer a high standard of products that consumers throughout the world want, at the prices they are prepared to pay. For this, we need a workforce equipped with suitable skills and education within a framework to support them.
The Three Pillars of Sustainability
In 2005, the World Summit on Social Development identified three core areas that contribute to the philosophy and social science of sustainable development. These “pillars” in many national standards and certification schemes, form the backbone of tackling the core areas that the world now faces.
- Economic Development
This is the issue that proves the most problematic as most people disagree on political ideology what is and is not economically sound, and how it will affect businesses and by extension, jobs and employability. It is also about providing incentives for businesses and other organisations to adhere to sustainability guidelines beyond their normal legislative requirements. Also, to encourage and foster incentives for the average person to do their bit where and when they can; one person can rarely achieve much, but taken as a group, effects in some areas are cumulative. The supply and demand market is consumerist in nature and modern life requires a lot of resources every single day. Economic development is about giving people what they want without compromising quality of life, especially in the developing world, and reducing the financial burden and “red tape” of doing the right thing.
There are many facets to this pillar. Most importantly is awareness of and legislation protection of the health of people from pollution and other harmful activities of business and other organisations. It is also about maintaining access to basic resources without compromising the quality of life. The biggest hot topic for many people right now is sustainable housing and how we can better build the homes we live in from sustainable material. The final element is education - encouraging people to participate in environmental sustainability and teaching them about the effects of environmental protection as well as warning of the dangers if we cannot achieve our goals.
We all know what we need to do to protect the environment, whether that is recycling, reducing our power consumption by switching electronic devices off rather than using standby, by walking short journeys instead of taking the bus. Businesses are regulated to prevent pollution and to keep their own carbon emissions low. There are incentives to installing renewable power sources in our homes and businesses. Environmental protection is the third pillar and to many, the primary concern of the future of humanity. It defines how we should study and protect ecosystems, air quality, integrity and sustainability of our resources and focusing on the elements that place stress on the environment. It also worry how technology will drive our greener future; the EPA recognized that developing technology is key to this sustainability, and protecting the environment of the future from potential damage that technological advances could potentially bring.