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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Fair trade is an organized social movement and market-based approach to alleviating global poverty and promoting sustainability. The movement promotes the payment of a fair price as well as social and environmental standards in areas related to the production of a wide variety of goods. It focuses in particular on exports from developing countries to developed countries, most notably handicrafts, coffee, cocoa, sugar, tea, bananas, honey, cotton, wine, fresh fruit, and so on.

Fair trade's strategic intent is to deliberately work with marginalised producers and workers in order to help them move from a position of vulnerability to security and economic self-sufficiency. It also aims at empowering them to become stakeholders in their own organizations and actively play a wider role in the global arena to achieve greater equity in international trade.

Fair trade proponents include a wide array of international religious, development aid, social and environmental organizations such as Oxfam, Amnesty International, and Caritas International.

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Farmers carrying out their own research into tungro disease on rice.
Credit: User:APB-CMX

Participatory technology development is an approach to learning and innovation that is used in international development as part of projects and programmes relating to sustainable agriculture.

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Flag of the United Nations
The United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was established in December 1992 by General Assembly Resolution A/RES/47/191 as a functional commission of the UN Economic and Social Council, implementing a recommendation in Chapter 38 of Agenda 21, the landmark global agreement reached at the June 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment & Development / Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro.

CSD 1, the Organizational Session of the CSD was held in June 1993. The Organizational Session focused on a broad range of organizational and administrative issues, reflected in topics of the Commission's documents: budget implications of draft decisions; establishing a provisional agenda & a multi-year programme of work; national reporting on implementation of Agenda 21; information exchange - UN system & donors; UNCED follow up - international organizations & UN coordination; coordination of development data; progress in environmentally sound technology transfer; initial financial commitments & flows; government information on financial commitments; urgent & major emergent issues; UNCTAD & Agenda 21 implementation; UNEP & Agenda 21 implementation; issues relating to future work of CSD; guidelines for national reporting; multi-year programme of work; financial commitments & financial flows; and integrating sustainable development in the UN System.

Selected biography

Jeffrey Sachs
Jeffrey David Sachs (born November 5, 1954, in Detroit, Michigan) is an American economist known for his work as an economic advisor to governments in Latin America, Eastern Europe, the former Yugoslavia, the former Soviet Union, Asia, and Africa. He is currently a professor and director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. He is also Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. From 2002 to 2006, he was Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Director of the UN Millennium Project. He proposed shock therapy (though he himself hates the term) as a solution to the economic crises of Bolivia, Poland, and Russia. He is also known for his work with international agencies on problems of poverty reduction, debt cancellation, and disease control—especially HIV/AIDS, for the developing world. He is the only academic to have been repeatedly ranked among the world's most influential people by Time magazine. He has been appointed the 2007 lecturer for the BBC Reith Lectures.

Current events

Did you know...

The waste hierarchy

  • ...that in 2001, about 1.1 billion people had extreme poverty consumption levels below $1 a day and 2.7 billion lived on less than $2 a day?


Selected quote

James Hansen
A global tipping point will be reached in 10 years [ 2016 ] if levels of greenhouse gases like methane and CO2 are not reduced. Global warming at this point becomes unstoppable.

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

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