Reinforcing values supporting sustainable development

This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities.

An example is promotion by governments and private-sector organizations of more positive attitudes towards sustainable consumption through education, public awareness programmes and other means such as positive advertising of products and services that utilize environmentally sound technologies or encourage sustainable production and consumption patterns.

(1) Lofty ideals and noble principles have been identified and eloquently articulated by the international community over past years and constitute the targets and goals of many development programmes. However shared values are more than just the end for which humanity is striving. They must also constitute the means, or the basic for policies and the measures taken to implement them. If such values are integrated into development plans this will strengthen commitment to their implementation and enable people to identify with them and believe in them. The real question is how such values can be integrated and implemented.

(2) Sustainability requires a new standard of enough for all without excess and wastefulness. It demands that first the basic needs of all be met and additional goods shared with some measure of equity. This standard questions wasteful, conspicuous, and disproportionate affluence and points to mechanisms of sharing and redistribution. A just and sustainable society cannot tolerate the perpetuation of human misery. Traditional economic growth, enriching primarily those with more than enough, has failed to narrow the gap between rich and poor, and can no longer be trusted to overcome poverty. Sustainability requires an infusion of new values into the workings of the political economy.

Facilitated by:
Researching value systems
Sustainable development
Type Classification:
D: Detailed strategies