Developing sustainable development policy
Synonyms: Greening government policy
Description: Developing policies to halt and reverse the two major harbingers of unsustainable development -- massive resource degradation and population growth. These include cross-sectoral issues (particularly trade, financial mechanisms, structural adjustment and technology transfer) and sectoral issues (including biodiversity, forests, agriculture and pesticides).
Context: At the Earth Summit in Rio (1992), the phrase "sustainable development" became a vital instrument in focusing attention on the need for better environmental stewardship. The concept of sustainability, however goes well beyond the protection of natural resources. It also encompasses human welfare in the broadest sense, including education, health, equality of opportunity, and political and civil rights.
Implementation: The Society for Development Alternatives recommends a seven-point programme to which all future development action be directly assigned above all other priorities: (a) satisfying the basic needs of every citizen; (b) fulfilling the potential of children; (c) raising the status and self-determination of women; (d) creating meaningful work and living wages for all; (e) enlarging the possibilities for social advancement; (f) enhancing the personal security of old people; (g) facilitating access to the means of family planning.
Claim: Too often, action to achieve objectives for sustainable development in one policy area hinders progress in another, while solutions to problems often lie in the hands of policy makers in other sectors or at other levels of government. This is a major cause of many long-term unsustainable trends. In addition the absence of a coherent long-term perspective means that there is too much focus on short-term costs and too little focus on the prospect of longer term "win-win" situations.
References: Gallopin, Gilberto; Winograd, Mauel and Gomez, Isabel A: Ambiente y Desarrollo en AmÃ©rica Latina y el Caribe: problemas, oportunidades, y prioridadesRobinson, Nicholas A: Agenda 21 and the UNCED ProceedingsCarew-Reid, Jeremy, IIED and IUCN: Strategies for National Sustainable Development: a handbook on their preparation and implementationPearce, David; Markandya, Anil and Barbier, Edward B: Blueprint for a Green EconomyHolmberg, Johan; Bass, Stephen and Timberlake, Lloyd: Defending the Future: a guide to sustainable developmentvan den Bergh, Jeroen and van der Straaten, Jan: Towards Sustainable Development: concepts, methods and policyPearce, David; Barbier, Edward B and Markandya, Anil: Sustainable Development: economics and environment in the third worldNational Commission on the Environment: Towards Sustainable DevelopmentHolmberg, Johan: Policies for a Small Planet: from the International Institute of Environment and DevelopmentMacDonnell, Lawrence and Bates, Sarah: Natural Resource Policy and Law: trends and directionsWorld Wide Fund for Nature: CSD 1995: making UNCED workWorld Bank: Making Development Sustainable: the World Bank Group and the environment
Subjects: Government Environment Development Sustainable developmentPolicy
Type Classification: C: Cross-sectoral strategies