Applying sustainable development

Operationalising sustainable development principles

The following are the Principles of International Environmental Law as reflected in the Rio Declaration (1992): (1) Polluter Pays Principle (2) Principle of Prevention Principle of Good Neighbourliness and International Cooperation (3) Precautionary Principle (4) Principle of Good Governance, including Participatory Democracy (5) Principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibility (6) Principle of Sovereignty over Natural Resources and the Responsibility not to cause Environmental Damage.


These are the words of European Commissioner for Environment, Margot Wallström, speaking in Berlin (10 February 2000): "We must move from words to action to give concrete meaning to the word. A strategy for sustainable development must include the following main steps : firstly, we should identify the issues. The second step is to set ourselves objectives. Thirdly, we need to identify the areas for action. Furthermore sustainable development requires new mechanisms for arriving at decisions that are more coherent. Finally, and this is not the least of all tasks, we have to involve citizens, business and the different social groups in a dialogue on sustainable development. Sustainable development can only be achieved with them, not against them. Of course, these five steps have to be further operationalised. However, they constitute a way forward for moving from the general principle of sustainable development to concrete action."

Type Classification:
C: Cross-sectoral strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 1: No PovertyGOAL 2: Zero HungerGOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 4: Quality EducationGOAL 5: Gender EqualityGOAL 6: Clean Water and SanitationGOAL 7: Affordable and Clean EnergyGOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and InfrastructureGOAL 10: Reduced InequalityGOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesGOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and ProductionGOAL 13: Climate ActionGOAL 14: Life Below WaterGOAL 15: Life on LandGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong InstitutionsGOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal