Portal:Sustainable development

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The sustainable development portal

Environment Equitable Sustainable Bearable (Social ecology) Viable (Environmental economics) Economic SocialSustainable development.svg
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Scheme of sustainable development:
at the confluence of three preoccupations. Clickable.

Sustainable development has been defined as balancing the fulfillment of human needs with the protection of the natural environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but in the indefinite future. The term was used by the Brundtland Commission which coined what has become the most often-quoted definition of sustainable development as development that "meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

The field of sustainable development can be conceptually divided into four general dimensions: social, economic, environmental and institutional. The first three dimensions address key principles of sustainability, while the final dimension addresses key institutional policy and capacity issues.

More about sustainable development and sustainability...


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National GDP per capita ranges from wealthier states in the north and south to poorer states in the east.
The economy of Africa consists of the trade, industry, and resources of the peoples of Africa. As of July 2005, approximately 887 million people were living in 54 different states. Africa is by far the world's poorest inhabited continent, and it is, on average, poorer than it was 25 years ago. Of the 175 countries reviewed in the United Nations' Human Development Report 2003, 25 African nations ranked lowest.

Africa's current poverty is rooted, in part, in its history. The transition from colonialism has been shaky and uncertain. Since mid-20th century the Cold War and increased corruption and despotism have contributed to Africa's poor economy. While China and India have grown rapidly and Latin America has experienced moderate growth, lifting millions above subsistence living, Africa has stagnated and even regressed in terms of foreign trade, investment, and per capita income. This poverty has widespread effects, including low life expectancy, violence, and instability, which in turn perpetuate the continent's poverty. Over the decades, attempts to improve the economy of Africa have met with little success.

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A boy from an East Cipinang trash dump slum shows his find, Jakarta Indonesia.
Credit: Jonathan McIntosh

Child poverty concerns poverty of people under the age of 18.

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The world.
The World Bank Group (WBG) is a family of five international organizations responsible for providing finance and advice to countries for the purposes of economic development and eliminating poverty. The Bank came into formal existence on 27 December 1945 following international ratification of the Bretton Woods agreements, which emerged from the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference (1 July - 22 July 1944). Commencing operations on 25 June 1946, it approved its first loan on 9 May 1947 ($250m to France for postwar reconstruction, in real terms the largest loan issued by the Bank to date). Its five agencies are: International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD); International Finance Corporation (IFC); International Development Association (IDA); Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). The term "World Bank" generally refers to the IBRD and IDA, whereas the World Bank Group is used to refer to the institutions collectively.

The World Bank's (i.e. the IBRD and IDA's) activities are focused on developing countries, in fields such as human development (e.g. education, health), agriculture and rural development (e.g. irrigation, rural services), environmental protection (e.g. pollution reduction, establishing and enforcing regulations), infrastructure (e.g. roads, urban regeneration, electricity), and governance (e.g. anti-corruption, legal institutions development).

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Dr. James E. Hansen
James E. Hansen (born March 29, 1941, in Denison, Iowa) heads the NASA Institute for Space Studies in New York City, a division of Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD, Earth Sciences Directorate. Dr. Hansen is an adjunct professor in the Earth and Environmental Sciences department at Columbia University. He is best known for his testimony on climate change to congressional committees in the 1980s that helped raise broad awareness of the global warming issue. He was a vocal critic of the George W. Bush administration's stance on climate change.

Hansen has focused on planetary research that involves trying to understand the climate change on earth that will result from anthropogenic changes of the atmospheric composition. One of his research interests is radiative transfer in planetary atmospheres, especially interpreting remote sounding of the earth's atmosphere and surface from satellites. Such data, appropriately analyzed, may provide one of the most effective ways to monitor and study global change on the earth. Dr. Hansen also is interested in the development and application of global numerical models for the purpose of understanding current climate trends and projecting humans' potential impacts on climate.

Current events

Did you know...

The waste hierarchy


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Amory Lovins
What we thought of as isolated pathologies, scarcities of work or hope or security or satisfaction, are not isolated at all, in fact they're intimately related, they're all caused by the same thing, namely the interlocking waste of resources, of money, and of people.

Main topics

Sustainable development

Development: Development studies • Economic development • Energy development • Fair trade • Human Development Index • Informal economy • Information and communication technologies for development • International development • Least developed countries • Make Poverty History • Microfinance • Multilateral development banks • Poverty • World Bank Group

Sustainability: Anaerobic digestion • Appropriate technology • Biodegradable plastic • Carbon negative fuel • Ecological economics • Ecological modernization  • Economics of biodiversity • Ecovillage • Energy conservation • Environmental design • Energy development • Environmental technology • Environmental law • Low-carbon economy • Permaculture • Population  • Recycling • Renewable energy • Social sustainability • Sustainable agriculture • Sustainable city • Sustainable design  • Sustainable tourism  • Sustainable transport  • Waste management • Water

Enercon E-66 wind energy converter in Egeln/Germany.

Human/World Population: Human overpopulation • Optimum population • Overshoot (ecology) • Population ageing • Population density • Population pyramid  • Tragedy of the commons   List of countries by population:  List of countries by population growth rate • List of countries by population density • List of sovereign states and dependent territories by birth rate



Related categories

Sustainable development
Development: Country classifications (Least Developed Countries) • Development charities • Development specialists • Development studies • Economic development (Informal economy, Microfinance, Poverty)  • Energy development • Fair trade • Foreign aid by country • Human Development Index • International development • Make Poverty History • Multilateral development banks • Rural community development • Supranational banks (World Bank) • Water supply and sanitation by country  United Nations Headquarters view from the East River.

Sustainability: Advocates • Alternative energy • Anaerobic digestion • Appropriate technology • Biodegradable plastics • Biofuels • Carbon diet • Economics of sustainability • Ecovillages • Energy conservation • Environmental design • Low-carbon economy • Permaculture • Recycling • Renewable energy • Sustainable agriculture • Sustainable technologies • Waste management • Water;• Sustainable Habitats •

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