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Portal:Sustainable development

The sustainable development portal

Wind powers 5 MW wind turbines on a wind farm 28 km off the coast of Belgium.

Sustainable development is the organizing principle for meeting human development goals while at the same time 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 resource use continue to meet human needs without undermining the integrity and stability of the natural system. Sustainable development can be classified as development that meet 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 to 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". The modern economies are endeavouring to reconcile ambitious economic development and obligations of preserving the natural resources and ecosystem, the two are traditionally seen as of conflicting nature. Instead of holding climate change commitments and other sustainability measures as a drug to economic development, turning and leveraging them into market opportunities will do greater good. The economic development brought by such organized principles and practices in an economy is called Managed Sustainable Development (MSD).

The concept of sustainable development has been—and still is—subject to criticism. What, exactly, 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 infinite stock.

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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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The Brundtland Commission, formally the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED), known by the name of its Chair Gro Harlem Brundtland, was convened by the United Nations in 1983. The commission was created to address growing concern "about the accelerating deterioration of the human environment and natural resources and the consequences of that deterioration for economic and social development." In establishing the commission, the UN General Assembly recognized that environmental problems were global in nature and determined that it was in the common interest of all nations to establish policies for sustainable development.

The Brundtland Commission was recognized for developing the broad political concept of sustainable development and published its report Our Common Future in April 1987. The Brundtland Commission provided the momentum for the 1992 Earth Summit / UNCED and for Agenda 21.

The 1983 the General Assembly passed Resolution — "Process of preparation of the Environmental Perspective to the Year 2000 and Beyond" — establishing the Commission.

Selected biography

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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The waste hierarchy

  • ...that according to market researcher Mintel on green marketing patterns, only 12% of the U.S. population can be identified as True Greens, consumers who seek out and regularly buy so-called green products?

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All of humanity now has the option to "make it" successfully and sustainably, by virtue of our having minds, discovering principles and being able to employ these principles to do more with less.

Main topics

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

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

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

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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