Sustainable Development

International Legal Research

Information about Sustainable Development in free legal resources:

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IP Law

Sustainable Development

Definition and Origins

Sustainability and sustainable development were initially defined and promulgated in a report of the World Commission on Environment and Development, “Our Common Future” (1987). This report said (page 43) that sustainable development “is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It contains within it two key concepts: the concept of “needs,” in particular the essential needs of the worldÂ’s poor, to which priority should be given; and the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environmentÂ’s ability to meet present and future needs.”

Sustainable development and the Treaties of the European Union

Description of Sustainable development provided by the European Union Commission: The concept of sustainable development refers to a form of economic growth which satisfies society’s needs in terms of well-being in the short, medium and – above all – long term. It is founded on the assumption that development must meet today’s needs without jeopardising the prospects for growth of future generations. The principle of integrating environmental concerns into the formulation and implementation of other policies, which is essential if we are to achieve sustainable development, was confirmed in the Maastricht Treaty. In 1998 the Cardiff Summit laid the foundations for coordinated action on the Community plan to integrate these environmental concerns. Accordingly, the Commission presented a series of communications on the integration of the environment into, inter alia, the energy, transport, agriculture, internal market, development, industry, fisheries and economic policies. Some Council configurations also presented strategies for integrating the environment into their policies.

More about Sustainable development and the Treaties of the European Union

A European Union strategy for sustainable development was adopted in May 2001, and was given an external dimension by the global partnership for sustainable development which the Commission adopted in 2002. At the World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg in August-September 2002, new objectives, work programmes and timetables were approved in the areas of water, fisheries resources, oceans, chemicals, biodiversity, energy, sustainable production and consumption, and sustainable development strategies. The European Union committed itself to achieve objectives which go even further than those set in Johannesburg by the other participants. When the new European Commission took up its duties in November 2004, the European Union decided to review its sustainable development strategy in light of the numerous changes that had taken place since it was adopted in 2001.

Sustainable Development in 2011

United States views on international law (based on the document “Digest of U.S. Practice in International Law”): In 2011, the United States participated in the preparatory process for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (“Rio+20”), set to take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June 2012 coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio in 1992. Rio+20 is to focus on two themes: a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication and the institutional framework for sustainable development. Participants were invited to make submissions by November 1, 2011 for inclusion in a compilation to serve as the basis for preparation of a draft outcome document for the Conference in 2012. The United States made its submission on November 1, 2011. The United States submission, excerpted below, included the U.S. view that the United Nations Environment Program (“UNEP”) should be strengthened rather than creating a new institution to coordinate environmental programs and cooperation. The full text of the submission is available at (internet link) uncsd2012.org/rio20/index.php?page=view&type=510&nr=370&menu=20.

Developments

OUR VISION The United States welcomes the opportunity to join the global community and engage representatives from across society to chart a course for the future of sustainable development. At the upcoming United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) we aspire to explore ways to better integrate the economic, social, and environmental dimensions of sustainable development, building on the successes of the 1992 Earth Summit and the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development. Since we last convened, world population has risen to 7 billion and is expected to increase to 9 billion by 2050, with many still living on less than .00 a day. Rio+20 must prioritize resource productivity and efficiency as ways to promote sustainable development. At the same time, global institutions have shifted to recognize the rise, roles, and responsibilities of major emerging economies. Within this new landscape, we recognize that sustainable development is not a luxury; it is a necessity for countries at all stages of development.

The Obama Administration has set a strong foundation and trajectory for enhancing sustainability and building a green economy at home and abroad. the U.S. Global Development Policy recognizes that sustainable development offers a promise of long-term, inclusive, and enduring growth that builds on accountability, effectiveness, efficiency, coordination, and innovation. Rio+20 should seek to make governments around the world more transparent and accessible, to better engage citizens, and to build new networks across all sectors of the U.S. societies. The role of women and youth is also fundamental to securing a sustainable future.

We recognize that sustainable development offers pathways out of short-term disruptions, such as financial shocks, and long-term challenges, such as climate change. We are also committed to spurring developments in science and innovation through the use of incentive systems; investments in education, the workforce, and basic research; and promoting innovative, open, and competitive markets, supported by strong protection for intellectual property rights and transparent, science-based, regulatory approaches and standards. Respect for international obligations as we chart a future course for sustainable development is also critical.

At Rio+20, the global community should re-energize action on sustainable development through a concise, political statement that focuses on actionable high-level messages. Each conference participant should also come to Rio with their own “compendium of commitments” that describes in detail how the individual groups or coalitions of participants will undertake action to help build a sustainable future. The meeting itself should be a marketplace of ideas, and we look forward to presentations, side events, and the launch of networks and initiatives during the civil society days and the Conference that advance inclusive action on sustainable development.

In this submission, we highlight three key messages that speak to the evolving sustainable development agenda:

Details

THE INSTITUTIONAL ENVIRONMENT: MODERNIZING GLOBAL COOPERATION Making New Connections: Linking Governments, Communities, and Businesses for Action The second theme of Rio+20, Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development (IFSD), speaks to how participants in the Conference and broader networks of stakeholders can achieve the goals of sustainable development.…

… Governments should strive to create the enabling environments to allow innovation to flourish and to spur greater investment in the development and application of ground breaking technologies to solve global challenges. This February [2012], the United States will host a conference on “Rio+2.0: Bridging Connection Technologies and Sustainable Development” as one way to identify strategic opportunities to generate solutions to specific challenges.

The world’s youth have an enormous stake in the outcomes of Rio+20 and can play a powerful role in defining the next generation of sustainable development using the technologies of the future. There is also a strong case for the inclusion of women as a vital source of economic growth. Every individual has the opportunity to be a contributing and valued member of the global marketplace—globally, we must support removing barriers that have prevented youth and women from being full participants in the economy and unlocking their potential as drivers of economic growth.

Transforming Traditional Institutions At the 1992 Earth Summit, leaders recognized the importance of transparent, participatory decision-making at the national level. These dialogues focused on brick-and-mortar institutions. Today, technology is making it easier for governments to share information with the public and for the public to hold decision makers accountable to realize the promise of Principle 10 through diverse and diffuse networks. The Rio+20 Conference is an opportunity to further enhance these efforts – for all participants to share best practices on good national governance and explore cooperative actions to deepen implementation through formal institutions and informal networks.

The United Nations system needs to identify a focal point to efficiently bring together the environmental, economic, and social elements of sustainable development. We see an opportunity to reform and modernize existing institutions, such as the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), in a manner that engages the entire United Nations system and provides the United Nations with cohesive, government-driven policy guidance on sustainable development, a vehicle for engaging civil society, non-government, and private sector stakeholders, and a coordination mechanism to track overall progress.

More about the Issue

Strengthening International Environmental Governance (IEG) We agree that the United Nations needs a body through which governments can cooperate to recommend environmental policies, promote best practices, and build national capacity for governance, monitoring, and assessment. That institution – the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) – already exists and at Rio+20 we need to work together to strengthen it within the United Nations system to assure a viable environmental pillar that can meet 21st century demands. We do not believe that alternative proposals for a new statutory institution on the environment will strengthen environmental governance or solve any of the problems that we all recognize persist. We think the more effective course is to focus intellectual and financial resources on strengthening existing institutions that have already proven their worth and avoid the distraction of trying to set up something new and untested.

At Rio+20, we want to pursue reforms to increase UNEP’s stature and capacity to contribute to sustainable development commensurate with the importance we attach to these issues. Reforms might include seeking universal membership in UNEP, under appropriately-altered governance structures; enhancing UNEP’s leadership within the United Nations system on implementation and science; and strengthening UNEP’s ability to assist countries committed to good governance and science-based decision-making in a manner that creates positive spillover into the economic and social domains of development. These reforms can also improve UNEP’s operational efficiency by streamlining administrative arrangements of key multilateral environment agreements.

Sustainable Development in 2011

United States views on international law (based on the document “Digest of U.S. Practice in International Law”): Informing Decisions, Catalyzing Action, and Measuring Progress Efforts to help countries obtain and provide environmental information to their citizens and global experts are important contributions to Rio+20. For sustainable development to take hold, policies must be based on sound science and reliable data. With advances in technology, it is now quicker and less costly to collect, monitor, assess, and disseminate data. Countries need to have the capacity to monitor the environment and to integrate that data with economic and social development plans. The United States is cooperating internationally through other fora to share environmental information and promote the use of compatible data systems so that we can better identify where we are achieving sustainable outcomes and where work still remains to be done.

In this vein, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), if structured correctly, could be a useful means to assess progress, catalyze action, and enhance integration among all three pillars of sustainable development. Any goals that we might set should go beyond measuring traditional assistance and towards data-driven and evidence-based tracking of intermediate and end outcomes that are realized through all sources of investment in the green economy. We believe the concept of sustainable development goals is worthy of consideration at Rio+20, and that the discussions at Rio+20 can inform ongoing and future deliberations about the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as we approach 2015.

Concept of Sustainable Development

An introductory definition of Sustainable Development is provided here: term coined by Brundtland Commission Report 1987, defined as development which can “ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”

Sustainable Development (in the Human Development Area)

In this context, Sustainable Development means:

one of the major modern models of social progress, according to which the most important task is to ensure continuity of development. Sustainable development, including economic, environmental, demographic, and other components are not only aimed at meeting the needs of all living, but also to ensure them.

Sustainable Development in 2013

United States views on international law [1] in relation to Sustainable Development: The Millenium Development Goals (“MDGs”), established by nearly 200 countries in 2000, have a target date of 2015. As that year approaches, discussion has turned to establishing an agenda for post-2015 development. Secretary Kerry addressed the Millennium Development Goals High-Level Meeting on September 25, 2013 in New York on the subject of the post-2015 development agenda. His remarks are available at (Secretary of State website) state.gov/secretary/remarks/2013/09/214723.htm. On December 3, 2013, Dr. Kerri-Ann Jones, Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, addressed the UNEP North American Major Groups and Stakeholders consultation in Washington, D.C. on the subject of the global post2015 development agenda. Her remarks, excerpted below, are available in full at (Secretary of State website) state.gov/e/oes/rls/remarks/2013/218680.htm.

Some Aspects of Sustainable Development

…Today, we are on the other side of Rio+20 and the discussion is all about the post-2015 agenda. “The Future We Want,” the negotiated outcome document from the Rio conference, is a very important piece of that discussion. Also important is the effort underway by governments, organizations, and individuals to review the progress made on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and where progress has been uneven. The world has met two MDGs — reducing poverty by 50 percent and halving the proportion of people with no safe drinking water — well ahead of the 2015 deadline. Progress on many MDGs, however, is lagging, and fragile and postconflict states are unlikely to achieve any MDGs. A lot of the goals in these states were not met.

Developments

So we are at a crossroads. Actually, not just a crossroads, but a convergence. We have the MDGs and all the work to date now converging with the [Sustainable Development Goals or] SDG discussion. Ensuring that the global post-2015 development agenda reflects our existing goals of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, combating disease, achieving gender equality, and environmental sustainability. The agenda ahead is a large and important one and is going to require extensive civil society participation.

Details

We should take full advantage of the time from now to 2015 to achieve the MDGs. As we look forward, the United States envisions a future agenda where eradicating extreme poverty is central; an agenda that genuinely integrates the three aspects of sustainable development— economic, social, and environmental; and an agenda that recognizes that environment is critical to sustainable development—and to lasting poverty reduction. We would like to see a truly integrated agenda.

More

This is an exciting time, but it is very challenging to integrate perspectives. We know that this is an ambitious undertaking. It is a very important undertaking and meetings like this are foundational. Efforts to end extreme poverty must be at the core of the post-2015 development agenda. President Obama embraced this vision in his 2013 State of the Union speech when he said that “the United States will join with our allies to eradicate such extreme poverty in the next two decades.” ((link resource) (President’s Subdomain) whitehouse.gov/speech/sotu-2013)

More

The U.S. was active at Rio+20 and the “Future We Want” echoes what President Obama said in his speech. As Diallo was saying, integrating the specificity of each group’s interests will not be easy. We have to remember how concerned people were going into Rio+20 about how groups might come together. Good progress was made then, and now we have a chance to take this to the next level. Having talked a bit about our aspirations in the post-2015 development agenda context, I’d like to switch gears and talk about the practical side. First, the post-2015 development agenda process; second, the U.S. government process for post-2015, and third, civil society and private sector engagement—across all different interests and sectors.

Sustainable Development in 2013 (Continuation)

United States views on international law [1] in relation to Sustainable Development: First, let me briefly describe some of the post-2015 process so far. There are many different processes and initiatives that are underway as inputs to post-2015, some of which resulted from the Rio+20 outcome. I will discuss two: 1) UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons (HLP); and 2) Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (OWG-SDGs).

More about Sustainable Development

In May, the High-Level Panel came out with its report on the post-2015 development agenda, which included 12 illustrative universal goals and targets. For the U.S., John Podesta served on the panel. The report is comprehensive. From the U.S. perspective, we feel it’s a pretty good report and is a good starting point. We support many of the report’s key themes including, focusing on finishing the work of the MDGs, keeping poverty at the front and center while integrating economic growth and environmental sustainability. Also, we support the report’s emphasis on making sure that members of historically marginalized and at-risk groups, such as persons with disabilities and indigenous persons are not left behind. There’s been a lot of discussion so far, but the report pulls it all together in a positive way and provides good insight into how to do it.

Development

The Open Working Group on SDGs has met five times since its first session in March 2013. The November meeting took place last week. There are 30 member seats, each seat shared by groups of countries. So many countries wanted to join the OWG so they had to share seats. This is a good sign as it shows the incredible amount of interest in the process, but it also shows the complexity. The United States shares a seat with Canada and Israel. Ambassador Elizabeth Cousens up in New York is the lead U.S. representative on the group.

Details

During their meetings, member states are stock taking and generating ideas on potential SDGs. The remaining three Open Working Group meetings—in December, January and February—will include issues important to many of us—including my Bureau. Issues include climate, oceans, the Small Island Developing States, biodiversity, forests, sustainable cities, and sustainable consumption and production. Earlier this year, the Open Working Group discussed water and sanitation, desertification, land degradation and drought, food security and nutrition, and health.

More

The Open Working Group on SDGs has a few remaining meetings. These are not official negotiations, but it is an important formative period for all of us. The Group will produce a report before next September. The Secretary General is expected to produce a synthesis report (taking into account the OWG-SDGs synthesis report, the Expert Committee on Financing Report, the results of global consultations, and the HLP report) for the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly. There will be a UN intergovernmental negotiation process for post-2015 beginning officially in late 2014. Negotiations will conclude with a summit of Heads of State in September 2015—where countries will adopt the post-2015 development agenda.

Sustainable Development

In relation to the international law practice and Sustainable Development in this world legal Encyclopedia, please see the following section:

Diplomatic Relations, Succession, Continuity of States, Statehood Issues

About this subject:

Executive Branch Authority Over Foreign State Recognition and Passport Issuance

Literature Review on Sustainable Development

In the Encyclopedia of Public Administration and Public Policy, [1] Sungdae Lim, Richard C. Feiock and Stephen C. Adams provide the following summary about the topic of Sustainable Development: This entry aims at identifying what sustainable development means and how it functions. Our discussion starts from the distinct as well as connecting point between sustainability and sustainable development. Since the basic characteristic of sustainable development is described as a triangulation among environment, economy, and social equity, debates and views on the notion are structured in that way as well. In the field of public administration, not many studies have done rigorous empirical tests to determine how sustainable development works; but, meaningful contributions have been made from researching mechanisms of local sustainability initiatives. We conclude that the “sustainability” of sustainable development as an idea in good standing will depend upon its successful implementation, and so implementing sustainable development will prove less contentious than defining it.

Sustainable Development in International Economic Law

In international economic law, sustainable development includes the following legal areas, with coverage in this world legal encyclopedia:

    li> The Principles of Precaution and Sustainability
  • The Role of Environmental Processes and Production Methods
  • Climate Change Mitigation and Renewable Energy
  • Soil as a Common Concern: Toward Disciplines on Sustainable Land Management
  • Environmental Taxes
  • New Disciplines on Energy Law
  • Trade, Environment and the Law of the Sea
  • Integrating Trade, Investment and Climate Change

Resources

See Also

  • Foregin Policy
  • Foreign Affairs

Resources

See Also

  • Environment
  • Transnational Scientific Issues
  • Land Pollution
  • Air Pollution
  • Sustainable Development

Resources

See Also

  • International Economic Law
  • Economy
  • Foreign Direct Investment
  • Economic Law

Resources

Notes and References

  1. Entry about Sustainable Development in the Encyclopedia of Public Administration and Public Policy (2015, Routledge, Oxford, United Kingdom)

See Also

Further Reading

  • Global Encyclopedia of Public Administration, Public Policy, and Governance (2018, Springer International Publishing, Germany)

Resources

Notes

  1. Sustainable Development in the Digest of United States Practice in International Law

Resources

Notes

  1. Sustainable Development in the Digest of United States Practice in International Law

Resources

See Also

Further Reading

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Hierarchical Display of Sustainable development

Economics > Economic policy > Economic policy > Development policy
Environment > Environmental policy > Climate change policy > Clean development mechanism
Environment > Environmental policy > Environmental policy
Social Questions > Social affairs > Leisure > Tourism > Equitable tourism
Transport > Transport policy > Transport policy > Sustainable mobility
Production, Technology And Research > Technology and technical regulations > Technology > Choice of technology > Clean technology
International Organisations > United Nations > UN programmes and funds > UN Conference on Environment and Development
Agriculture, Forestry And Fisheries > Agricultural policy > Agricultural policy > Sustainable agriculture
Production, Technology And Research > Technology and technical regulations > Technology > Choice of technology > Soft technology
Agriculture, Forestry And Fisheries > Fisheries > Fisheries policy > Sustainable fisheries
Environment > Environmental policy > Environmental policy > Green economy
Business And Competition > Business organisation > Business policy > Corporate social responsibility
Agriculture, Forestry And Fisheries > Agricultural policy > Common agricultural policy > Farm development plan > Agri-environmental plan
Economics > Economic policy > Economic policy > Circular economy

Sustainable development

Concept of Sustainable development

See the dictionary definition of Sustainable development.

Characteristics of Sustainable development

Resources

Translation of Sustainable development

Thesaurus of Sustainable development

Economics > Economic policy > Economic policy > Development policy > Sustainable development
Environment > Environmental policy > Climate change policy > Clean development mechanism > Sustainable development
Environment > Environmental policy > Environmental policy > Sustainable development
Social Questions > Social affairs > Leisure > Tourism > Equitable tourism > Sustainable development
Transport > Transport policy > Transport policy > Sustainable mobility > Sustainable development
Production, Technology And Research > Technology and technical regulations > Technology > Choice of technology > Clean technology > Sustainable development
International Organisations > United Nations > UN programmes and funds > UN Conference on Environment and Development > Sustainable development
Agriculture, Forestry And Fisheries > Agricultural policy > Agricultural policy > Sustainable agriculture > Sustainable development
Production, Technology And Research > Technology and technical regulations > Technology > Choice of technology > Soft technology > Sustainable development
Agriculture, Forestry And Fisheries > Fisheries > Fisheries policy > Sustainable fisheries > Sustainable development
Environment > Environmental policy > Environmental policy > Green economy > Sustainable development
Business And Competition > Business organisation > Business policy > Corporate social responsibility > Sustainable development
Agriculture, Forestry And Fisheries > Agricultural policy > Common agricultural policy > Farm development plan > Agri-environmental plan > Sustainable development
Economics > Economic policy > Economic policy > Circular economy > Sustainable development

See also

  • Bio-economy
  • Bioeconomy
  • Eco-development

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