What is sustainable development

Sustainable development

Sustainable Development. 1. term from the environmental and resource economics of growth theory.

Economic theory

1. Importance: Since the 1987 report of the “Brundtland Commission” of the United Nations, one of the most popular terms in the public environmental debate. Describes an improvement in social welfare ("development"), which should not only apply to the present but also to all future generations ("sustainability").

2. Content: Study Commission "Protection of Man and the Environment" (1994) names four basic rules:
(1) The rate of depletion of renewable resources should not exceed their rate of regeneration (maintenance of ecological performance).
(2) Substance inputs into the environment must be based on the resilience of the environmental media serving as sinks in all their functions.
(3) Non-renewable resources should only be used to the extent that a physically and functionally equivalent replacement in the form of renewable resources or higher productivity of the non-renewable resources is created.
(4) The duration of anthropogenic inputs or interventions in the environment must be in a balanced relationship with the time it takes for the environment to react.

3. Criticism: The concept of sustainable development is interpreted in extremely different ways. In particular, there is disagreement about which indicators should be used to measure social welfare. Traditional economic theoretical literature only considers the goal of per capita consumption to be maintained over the long term. More recently, however, more emphasis has been placed on the integration of ecological aspects and intra- and intergenerational justice. The terms used in the discussion from n.E. differ especially with regard to the assumptions about the substitutability of natural resources and reproducible capital.

4. The Inclusion of sustainable development in the policy of the European Union the third pillar of the Lisbon strategy (“most competitive economic area” by 2010) was decided by the EU heads of state and government in Gothenburg in June 2001. In order to achieve sustainability, according to the Gothenburg decision, competitiveness must take into account the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and ecological.

Development policy

Development policy paradigm of the 1990s, which was considered a consensus formula for balancing interests between North and South. This term has found widespread acceptance in the political arena, although operationalization causes difficulties. The Brundtland report focuses on the needs of the poor that must be met as a matter of priority, taking ecological limits into account. Growth should take place in such a way that future generations can still meet their needs.

Starting points for economic policy measures are seen in the containment of population growth and in the improvement of education, health and nutrition (formation of human capital).

See also development policy.