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ustainable development is maintaining a delicate balance between the human need to improve lifestyles and feeling of well-being on one hand, and preserving natural resources and ecosystems, on which we and future generations depend.

  • According to the WCED, this is "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." Sustainable development implies economic growth together with the protection of environmental quality, each reinforcing the other. The essence of this form of development is a stable relationship between human activities and the natural world, which does not diminish the prospects for future generations to enjoy a quality of life at least as good as our own. Many observers believe that participatory democracy, undominated by vested interests, is a prerequisite for achieving sustainable development (Source: Mintzer, 1992).
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  • The guiding rules are that people must share with each other and care for the Earth. Humanity must take no more from nature than nature can replenish. This in turn means adopting lifestyles and development paths that respect and work within nature's limits. It can be done without rejecting the many benefits that modern technology has brought, provided that technology also works within those limits (Source: Caring for the Earth, IUCN, p8.)
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  • There are over 100 definitions of sustainability and sustainable development, but the best known is the World Commission on Environment and Development's. This suggests that development is sustainable where it "meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
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  • The term refers to achieving economic and social development in ways that do not exhaust a country's natural resources. See, also, Ashford (1995) and The World Commission on Environment and Development (1987). In the Commission's words: "... sustainable development is ... a process of change in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development, and institutional change are made consistent with the future as well as present needs".
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  • Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainable development respects the limited capacity of an ecosystem to absorb the impact of human activities.
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  • SD is development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Some people also believe that the concept of sustainable development should include preserving the environment for other species as well as for people.
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  • Is development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Some people also believe that the concept of sustainable development should include preserving the environment for other species as well as for people.
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Contributions to this section are welcome! Please send an email to Hari Srinivas at - hsrinivas@gdrc.org
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Contact: Hari Srinivas - hsrinivas@gdrc.org