Sustainable development has been defined in many ways, but the most frequently quoted definition is from Our Common Future, also known as the Brundtland Report:
"Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
This can only be achieved by designing policies and delivery arrangements which create a balance between economic, social and environmental concerns.
Achieving sustainability means:
- The needs of everyone in the community are met and people feel safe, healthy and ultimately happy.
- Our environment is appreciated, protected and enhanced and damage to the environment is avoided.
- Our economy is vibrant, employment opportunities are improved and our working lives are more rewarding.
There have been some key milestone conferences and events that trace the course of sustainable development, which are summarised in the 'From Rio to Rickerscote: the global perspective' section.
There are lots of interesting websites where you can learn more about sustainable development. Here are four useful places to start:
- Sustainable Development in Government
- Forum for the Future
- United Nations World Environment Programme
- International Institute for Sustainable Development