What is Sustainable Development?

The term development is generally used to denote growth or progress. However the term, particularly in last two centuries, has become synonym to economic growth in terms of gross domestic product or the per capita income of the nation. This definition has created a rat race amongst the nations to attain and retain development goals. These goals are often contradictory to the idea of preservation or sustenance of environment. In order to re-build the harmonious relationship between man and nature, world organizations like UN, has began the campaign to have a sustainable development.

The most frequently used definition of Sustainable development is from the Brundtland Report “Sustainable development is the development that meets the needs of the present (people) without compromising the ability of future generation to meet their own needs”. In other words it is improving the quality of life of the present generation without excessive use or abuse of natural resources, so that they can be preserved for the next generation.

The term was first coined in 1972 at the United Nations Conference on Human Environment at Stockholm. The most important piece of writing on Sustainable development is in the publication by the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) in 1987 titled ‘Our Common Future”. In 1992 at the Earth summit at Rio-de-Janerio, 170 countries signed many important documents on sustainable development pledging preservation of environment.

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