23 May 2009

Sustainable Development


Environment is fundamental element of sustainable development
It is a multidisciplinary theory
It is a polycentric ideology

What sustainable development wants?

To integrate environmental policies and development strategies
To view environmental quality and economic development as mutually independent and reinforcing factors.
To review the needs and limitations.

The word Sustainable Development was first used in World Conservation Strategy Report in 1980 calling for a strategy for the sustainable utilization of species and ecosystems. It became a public agenda after the publication of 'Our Common Future' which defined sustainable development at an operational level and covered urban challenge exhaustively. After 1987 the notion sustainable development became common to all development practitioner and policy maker. In 1992, World summit on Sustainable Development was held in Rio de Jenerio, Brazil after when it became imperative to every nation to follow, formulate and implement the principles and agenda of sustainable development. The root of the sustainable development can be found in the development practices of 1950-70.

By sustainable development sometimes we mean that there is no need of development especially economic development. It seems that sustainable development is panacea to all human evils, economic scarcities and environment deterioration.
To have the answer to these questions let us indulge on some of the issues that was the basics to the concept of sustainable development.
1) To integrate environmental planning with development strategies; breaking the notion that environmental preservation be achieved at the cost of economic development
2) To view environmental quality and economic development as mutually interdependent and reinforcing forces
3) To review the needs and limitations

Needs of sustainable development:

Needs of the world’s poor (i.e. related to rural poor)
Social and cultural needs
Needs ecologically boundary

Limitations of sustainable development:

1. Resources in the earth
2. Technological limitations
3. sociopolitical organizations
4. To ensure intra and inter generations equity in resource use (poverty and distribution i.e. intra, and protection and conservation i.e. inter)

In this light the term sustainable development was defined in number of ways;
1) Sustainable development is the development that is likely to achieve lasting satisfaction of human needs and improvement of the quality of life- Robert Allen, 1980
2) The sustainable society is one that lives within the self perpetuating limits of its environment that society is not a no growth society it is rather a society that recognizes the limits of growth and looks for alternative ways for growing- J, comer 1979

Some propositions on development:

Development is an imperative (i.e. essential, urgent) to face poverty. Poor countries are to be supported by rich countries.
Development is a means to improve the quality of life of people (development + wealth)
a) development is means not an end
b) development and wealth do not always transfer or translated to human welfare

Development is for future as well as present generation. Therefore it must be sustainable. (future-conservation/ protection, present-redistribution/ poverty reduction)
A Planning and implementation strategy for sustainable development requires linking together a wide range of specialized skills. (links-other sectors, their knowledge experiences and expertise) (specialized skills-technology, economist for growth)
Effective planning and implementation in population and sustainable development requires broader people participation. (Institutional set up, agencies-political, cultural, governmental, superstitional, NGO’s, INGO’s, LBO, CBO)

In this light, following dimensions of sustainable development can be explained:

Social dimension
Economic dimension
Environmental dimension
Technological dimension
Institutional dimension

Technology should be explained horizontally i.e. parallely. Institutional setup covers all the capacity (knowledge and skills) and controller factor. So for the sustainable development, it should be placed vertically.


1. Self reliant development: resource, local initiatives
2. Cost effective: productivity in present and future, environmental quality must be maintained
3. People centered development: anthropological approach, indigenous knowledge, technology, people’s experience
4. Issue centered development: health, appropriate technology, education, security and food, self sufficiency
5. Poverty reduction strategy: an dependent phenomenon, not an independent concept ( a result output)

-WCED,1987(World commission on environment development)

1. Population and development:
- A world population of about 1 billion at the outset of the 19th century grown to about 1.6 billion by the beginning of the 20th century
- In the mid of 20th century (in 1959) 3 billion population was accounted which reached 6 billion in 1999.
- In 2000 to 2005 only 237.77 million people has been added in Asia and 383.047 in the world

Growth rate 1950/ 60 2.14%
2000 1.14%
2006 1.17%

2. Urbanization / urban challenges:

Global proportion of urban population increased from 13% in 1900 to 29% I 1950. In 2005 -49%
In 2050 -50 %( projected)
Rate of urbanization 1950-2005 0.94%
2005-2030 0.83%

Asia 1950-2005 1.57%
2005-2030 1.23%

3. Energy:
- In 2005 500 EJ or 5*10^20 Joule energy was consumed with 86.5% supported by fossil fuels

Energy consumption in 2005- 500MJ with 86.5% from fossil source. For 2005, oil- 37%, coal- 25%, gas- 23%, nuclear- 6%, biomass- 4%, micro hydropower- 3%, solar heat- .5%, wind- .3%, geothermal- .2%, biofuel- .2%, solar photovoltaic- .04%

4. food security:

85.2 million are hungry
2 billion lack food
Source-FAO 2003

5. Industry

Rate of industrialization 1950- 2005 0.94%
2005- 2030 083%

Developing countries 0.9%

Affection- Air pollution
Water pollution
Misbalance in ecosystem etc,

CO2 emission by industries

a) Fuel and power production industries -95%
b) Mineral industries -4%
c) Chemical industries -1%
d) Vegetable, food production -0%
e) Metal production and processing -0%
f) Paper, pulp and board industries -0%
g) Waste disposal and recycling -0%

Source: environment agency, 2008, UK

6. Species of ecosystem

-80% species have been lost,
-among the remaining 20%, 10% will be endangered, 10% will remain till 2030
-1/5 of the worlds tropical rain forest destroyed in between 1960- 1990
-In 1990 tropical deforestation was 55,630 to 120,000 km2/yr
Source: FAO, 2003


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