Sustainable Development

Sustainable Development

The concept of sustainable development, which had its origins in the concept of a society capable of managing its natural resources so as they could last as much as possible, was introduced in the World Conservation Strategy (IUCN, 1980).

The ultimate goal is to gain progress for the Human Society in a way in which the current use of resources and services, which are provided by natural and human systems, do not critically affect their future availability. In the simplest sense, the developmental paths chosen have to make available livelihood elements for future generations without the limitations that current generations could cause if they exceed the limits of their renewal.

This concept was adopted by the Commission on Environment and Development, established by the UN in 1983, which was integrated into its Report, known as the Brundtland Report (1987). It was eventually adopted by the Rio Conference (UNCED, 1992).

This conference directed the development concept to a process of change, in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development and institutional changes were harmonized so that the current and future potential of human progress were adequate to meet the needs and aspirations of future generations. Sustainable development must integrate human and social dimensions, environmental and economic, and their interconnections.

Political decisions should consider these three factors, assuming the issues raised in the Report on the limits to growth, as highlighted by the Club of Rome in its report that had the same name, released in 1972.

It is also important to highlight that the Global Environmental Change, in particular global warming, works against achieving sustainability. This forces decision makers, both official and private, to adopt an ethics of climate change. When communities or individuals in their progress start threatening the sustainability of natural and human resources and services, they must stop their activities.

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