in: The world today, Volume 58, Issue 8/9, p. 4-18
ISSN: 0043-9134 (print)
Discusses background to and prospects for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, Aug.-Sept. 2002; 7 articles. Contents: We will have to do better, by Duncan Brack; Strange new alliances, by Fanny Calder; Poverty is all, by Alex Kirby; Tools for growth, by Bob Scholes; Thirsty world, by David Knighton; Double challenge, by John V. Mitchell; Gene wars go south, by Robert Falkner.
This adaptation of the Preface to The Vulnerable Planet (Korean edition, no date) addresses the 1992 Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) Earth Summit international agreement to strive for sustainable development, focusing on the lack of consensus between those parties defining sustainable development as continued economic development & those viewing it as protecting the environment. Rather than suggesting concession by either party, an ecological critique of development is encouraged. It is argued that what has been named development in the past & present is truly maldevelopment, & people & nature should be considered more important than profit & production. Ecological damage caused by economic growth in South Korea illustrates the point. T. Shimane
Sustainable development (SD) is defined as "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." This definition is articulated in Our Common Future, a political manifesto published in 1987 by the United Nations' World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED). SD promises to resolve in a positive-sum manner the most daunting economic, environmental, political, and social challenges the world is currently facing. However, it has also become a much contested concept, mainly due to the comprehensiveness, ambiguity, and optimism inherent in its underlying assumptions. Ongoing debates within the literature deal with how to define, operationalize, and measure SD; how economic development and environmental protection are conceptualized as mutually supportive; how "nature" is treated in the literature; equity and overconsumption challenges to SD; and the governance, social learning, and normative transformations required to achieve SD. Reaching some consensus on definitions and operationalization of the multiple aspects of SD will lead to standards by which to assess development and environmental policies. Among the most urgent issues that must be addressed in future research are the roles and influence of the relatively new participants in governance, such as intergovernmental/nongovernmental organizations and corporations; the new modes of governance including public-private and private-private partnerships and network governance; and the impacts of implementing compatible and contradictory policies on the various levels and across policy areas.
This report notes progress in a number of areas while, at the same time, acknowledging that significant further efforts will beneeded to advance implementation of the intergovernmentally agreed goals outlined in the MSI, as well as those set forth in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).