Sustainable Development: An Overview

The Concept of Sustainable Development

The term ‘Sustainable Development’ was created in 1987 by the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED). The creation Sustainable Development is a concept in which human society lives in such a way it meets its own present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to come to meet their own needs. Sustainable development is achieved when there is a healthy balance between environment sustainability, social sustainability and economic sustainability. Environment sustainability focuses on continued environmental quality. Social sustainability focuses on human rights, equality, cultural identity, cultural diversity, and rights and equality of people belonging to different races and religions. Economic sustainability focuses on the maintenance of human, natural and social capital which is needed for proper standards of living and income. A balance between all three, ensuring that no other factor is imbalanced or ignored, is what brings about true sustainable development. According to the concept of sustainable development, the regeneration or creation of a resource must be greater than its degeneration or usage. Sustainable development ensures that biodiversity is maintained and preserved.

A few examples of methods and activities which can contribute to sustainable development are:

  • Crop rotation
  • Using wind energy
  • Using solar energy
  • Creating green spaces

Components of Sustainable Development:

As mentioned previously, sustainable development has three components: Environmental sustainability, Social sustainability and Economical sustainability. A few ways they can be achieved are:

Environmental Sustainability:

  • Practice the 3Rs- Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
  • Reduction of emissions released into the environment
  • Reduction or elimination of substances toxic to the environment

Social Sustainability:

  • Ensuring health and safety of local populace
  • Helping out disadvantaged or sidelined communities to progress
  • Improving the basic quality of life everyone should have
  • Ensuring that there is no negative effect or impact on small communities, tribal groups and the like

Economical Sustainability:

  • Creating new markets
  • Creating new sale growth opportunities
  • Improving efficiency
  • Reducing the quantity of raw materials required
  • Implementing cost reduction techniques of various kinds

 Goals for Sustainable Development:

UN Sustainable Goals

In 2015, the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This agenda consists of seventeen sustainable development goals to be met by the year 2030. They are:

  1. No poverty– Extreme poverty for everyone will be eradicated
  2. Zero hunger– End hunger, end malnutrition and make food available to everyone
  3. Good health and well-being– Ensuring healthy lives and well-being of people across all age groups
  4. Quality education– Ensure that all children have access to free and quality primary and secondary education
  5. Gender equality– Empower women and girls and ensure they have fair and equal rights
  6. Clean water and sanitization– Ensuring clean and accessible drinking water to everyone
  7. Affordable and clean energy– Ensure universal access to affordable, modern energy and increase amount of renewable energy in use
  8. Decent work and economic growth– Creating job opportunities and decent jobs, along with achieving higher levels of economic productivity
  9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure– Developing reliable and sustainable infrastructure for all
  10. Reduced inequalities– Empower and promote inclusion of everyone
  11. Sustainable cities and communities– Ensure access of everyone to decent and affordable transport along with improving living conditions of the poor
  12. Responsible production and consumption– Implement sustainable management of resources and promoting the 3Rs
  13. Climate action– Ensure that climate change measures are brought to the forefront
  14. Life below water– Ensure the conservation of marine life and resources and ensure their sustainability
  15. Life on land– Ensure restoration and conservation of biodiversity, ecosystems and degraded land
  16. Peace and justice– Reduce all sorts of violence, end all sorts of violence and injustice towards children and ensure equal access to justice for everyone
  17. Partnerships for the goal– Strengthen support and co-operation among all countries at the international, national or regional level