Democracy, rule of law, transparent and accountable governance and administration, including combating and eliminating corruption - a global phenomenon, affecting both developed and developing countries - are indispensable foundations for the realization of people-centred sustainable development. Human rights and fundamental freedoms, with the right to development as an integral part, must be promoted and protected.
It follows that environmental protection and economic development are complementary rather than antagonistic processes, where economic growth and development must take place, and be maintained over time, within the limits set by ecology in the broadest sense - by the interrelations of human beings and their works, the biosphere and the physical and chemical laws that govern it.
2. If development is to have meaning, it must be long-term; it must be sustainable. More and more frequently, however, concern is being expressed that present patterns of development, in rich countries and poor, cannot be sustained indefinitely, and perhaps for not much longer. Many people have come to believe that the world cannot continue on its present path. So much damage and stress are being inflicted on the environment that its capacity to sustain productive activities and eventually life itself is being undermined. Views such as these are widely held throughout the world, but it would be a mistake to assume that perceptions of environmental problems are identical in the industrialized and developing countries. They are not.
3. While similar points apply to the modern sectors of developing countries, the most fundamental environmental problems in the developing countries are seen as consequences of poverty, not of affluence. A rapidly growing population puts pressure on a country's natural resources. The ever increasing demand for food and firewood, for example, results in the destruction of forests, degradation of the soil and depletion of water supplies. Thus the basis for future growth is eroded. Issues of economic development consequently cannot be separated from environmental issues. Poverty and the environment are closely linked, not least because it is the poorest members of society that typically suffer most from environmental deterioration.
4. Despite these differences in perception, there is broad agreement that attempts by people to improve their economic well-being have resulted occasionally in huge disasters (the explosion of a chemical plant at Bhopal, the nuclear explosion at Chernobyl) and more frequently in gradual destruction of the resources on which material betterment depends (desertification in the Sahel, flooding in the Indo-Gangetic plain). There is also broad agreement that the situation in the third world is sufficiently different from that in the industrialized countries that it would be a mistake to adopt identical technical standards for - say - air and water pollution throughout the globe. Environmental problems may be present in all countries, but the appropriate response will differ from one country to another. Environmental standards are needed, but in many cases they should be specific to each country.
5. Sustainable development is a vague concept, but it is as powerful as many other vague concepts such as liberty, equality and justice. 6. Creating global sustainable is the responsibility of our generation and can be achieved only with the concerted efforts of the European Union and the United States.
6. For a community to be truly sustainable, it must adopt a three-pronged approach that considers economic, environmental and cultural resources. Communities must consider these needs not only in the short term, but also in the long term.
7. So many of today's environmental problems are really economic problems in disguise. Getting the economics right lies at the heart of any sustainable solutions agenda.
8. A change of our current course is needed - with all its political, administrative, economic, technical, and behavioral consequences: This includes changes of our individual lifestyles and consumption patterns. As far as sustainable development for the whole planet is concerned, at least as much, and in the short term certainly more, will be gained from a change on the part of the rich minority than from a reduction of birthrates in poor countries.
2. Sustainable development is one of those ideas that everybody supports, but no-one really knows what it means in practice.