Promoting environmentally sustainable development Supporting sustainable development Encouraging ecologically sustainable development
Sustainable development represents an intended approach which should provide solutions to the development problems within all the dimensions of social systems and their environments. From a political perspective, this calls for a political system that secures effective citizen participation in decision-making. From an economic perspective, this calls for a system that is able to generate surpluses on a self-reliant and self-sustained basis. From an ethical perspective, this calls for a social system that provides solutions to the tensions that arise from disharmonious development. From an environmental perspective, this calls for a production system that respects obligation to preserve the ecological basis for development. From a conceptual perspective, this calls for a technological system that can search continuously for new solutions. From an institutional perspective, this calls for an administrative system that is flexible and has the capacity for self-correction. From a global perspective, this calls for an international system that fosters sustainable and enduring patterns of trade and finance.
At the dawn of this new century, we have at our disposal the human and material resources to achieve sustainable development, not as an abstract concept but as a concrete reality. The unprecedented developments in production and information technologies, the emergence of a younger generation with a clear sense of optimism, solidarity and values, women increasingly aware and with an enhanced and active role in society - all point to the emergence of a new consciousness. We can decrease poverty by half by 2015 without degrading the environment, we can ensure environmental security through early warning, we can better integrate environmental consideration in economic policy, we can better coordinate legal instruments and we can realize a vision of a world without slums. We commit ourselves to realizing this common vision.
The Centre for Our Common Future, promotes initiatives outlined in the report of the World Commission on Environment and Development through a network of 250 partner organizations concerned to ensure that concepts and actions designed to ensure the challenges of sustainable development are seriously followed-up.
In the broad manner in which it is defined and without operational indicators and measurements, sustainable development may be seen as just another "motherhood and apple pie" objective that inhibits critical examination. For the concept to be operationally useful it must be more than just an expression of social values or political preferences disguised in scientific language. It should be definable such that individuals and groups with widely differing values, political preferences, or assumptions about human nature, could agree whether the criteria are being met in a concrete development program.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.