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Sustainable development is the organizing principle for meeting human development goals while simultaneously sustaining the ability of natural systems to provide the natural resources and ecosystem services upon which the economy and society depend. The desired result is a state of society where living conditions and resources are used to continue to meet human needs without undermining the integrity and stability of the natural system. Sustainable development can be defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations.

While the modern concept of sustainable development is derived mostly from the 1987 Brundtland Report, it is also rooted in earlier ideas about sustainable forest management and twentieth century environmental concerns. As the concept developed, it has shifted towards focus more on economic development, social development and environmental protection for future generations. It has been suggested that "the term 'sustainability' should be viewed as humanity's target goal of human-ecosystem equilibrium (homeostasis), while 'sustainable development' refers to the holistic approach and temporal processes that lead us to the end point of sustainability". Modern economies are endeavouring to reconcile ambitious economic development and obligations of preserving natural resources and ecosystems, as the two are usually seen as of conflicting nature. Instead of holding climate change commitments and other sustainability measures as a drug[vague] to economic development, turning and leveraging them into market opportunities will do greater good.[unbalanced opinion?] The economic development brought by such organized principles and practices in an economy is called Managed Sustainable Development (MSD).[attribution needed]

The concept of sustainable development has been,and still is,subject to criticism, including the question of what is to be sustained in sustainable development. It has been argued that there is no such thing as a sustainable use of a non-renewable resource, since any positive rate of exploitation will eventually lead to the exhaustion of earth's finite stock; this perspective renders the Industrial Revolution as a whole unsustainable. It has also been argued that the meaning of the concept has opportunistically been stretched from 'conservation management' to 'economic development', and that the Brundtland Report promoted nothing but a business as usual strategy for world development, with an ambiguous and insubstantial concept attached as a public relations slogan (see below).

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A starving female child during the Nigerian-Biafran war of the late 1960s.
Poverty is not having enough material possessions or income for a person's needs. Poverty may include social, economic, and political elements.

Absolute poverty is the complete lack of the means necessary to meet basic personal needs, such as food, clothing and shelter. The threshold at which absolute poverty is defined is always about the same, independent of the person's permanent location or era.

On the other hand, relative poverty occurs when a person cannot meet a minimum level of living standards, compared to others in the same time and place. Therefore, the threshold at which relative poverty is defined varies from one country to another, or from one society to another. For example, a person who cannot afford housing better than a small tent in an open field would be said to live in relative poverty if almost everyone else in that area lives in modern brick homes, but not if everyone else also lives in small tents in open fields (for example, in a nomadic tribe).

Governments and non-governmental organizations try to reduce poverty. Providing basic needs to people who are unable to earn a sufficient income can be hampered by constraints on government's ability to deliver services, such as corruption, tax avoidance, debt and loan conditionalities and by the brain drain of health care and educational professionals. Strategies of increasing income to make basic needs more affordable typically include welfare, economic freedoms and providing financial services. Read more...

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Dr. Akhtar Hameed Khan Sitara-e-Pakistan, Hilal-i-Imtiaz, Nishan-e-Imtiaz, (1914–1999) was a development activist and social scientist credited for pioneering microcredit and microfinance initiatives, farmers' cooperatives, and rural training programmes in the developing world. He also promoted rural development activities in Pakistan, Bangladesh and in other developing countries, and advocated community participation in development.

He is particularly known for his leading role in the establishment of a comprehensive project for rural development, Comilla Model (1959) that earned him Magsaysay Award from Philippines and honorary Doctorate of Law by Michigan State University. In 1980s he founded a bottom up community development initiative of Orangi Pilot Project in Karachi slums. He received wide international recognition and highest honours in Pakistan for these projects and a number of programs that were part of these projects, from microcredit to self-financed and from housing provision to family planning.

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Flag of the United Nations
The UN Environment Programme (or UNEP) coordinates United Nations environmental activities, assisting developing countries in implementing environmentally sound policies and encourages sustainable development through sound environmental practices. It was founded as a result of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in December 1972 and is headquartered in Gigiri, Nairobi, Kenya. UNEP also has six regional offices and various country offices.

Its activities cover a wide range of issues regarding the atmosphere, marine and terrestrial ecosystems. It has played a significant role in developing international environmental conventions, promoting environmental science and information and illustrating the way those can work in conjunction with policy, working on the development and implementation of policy with national governments and regional institution and working in conjunction with environmental Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).

UNEP has been active in funding and implementing environmentally related development projects. UNEP has aided in the development of guidelines and treaties on issues such as the international trade in potentially harmful chemicals, transboundary air pollution, and contamination of international waterways.

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The waste hierarchy

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Jeffrey Sachs
The end of extreme poverty is at hand, within our generation, but only if we grasp the historic opportunity in front of us.

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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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