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The Concept of Sustainable Development

The Concept of Sustainable Development

By Iván Marcos Fernández

The guarantee of a balance of the environment in terms of resources and economic activity are fundamental objectives of Sustainable Development that has in the rigidity in the application of the norms and the transformation of development models two of the obstacles that prevent meet both goals.

In 1987, the World Conservation Strategy used for the first time the concept of Sustainable Development, which was later also mentioned in the famous Brudland Report of 1984, carried out by a series of experts on environmental issues. The term in question refers to an economic growth capable of satisfying the needs of our societies in terms of well-being, short, medium and long term. On the other hand, it establishes the hypothesis that development must respond to the needs of the present without compromising the capacity of future generations.

The guarantee of a balance of the environment in terms of resources and economic activity are fundamental objectives of Sustainable Development that has in the rigidity in the application of the norms and the transformation of the development models two of the obstacles that prevent meet both goals.


The term does not have a unique definition, essentially due to the accuracy of the definition. Currently, the theme of development moves multiple forms and definitions (endogenous, local, sustainable development, on a human scale) that make the objectives to be achieved by the various social agents very different, which some theorists suggest that sustainable development would consist in sustaining natural resources (Carpenter, 1991), sustain consumption levels (Redclift, 1987) or achieve the sustainability of all resources: Human capital, physical capital and environmental resources (Bojo, 1990).


Sustainable development expresses two very clear ideas: the rational use of natural resources and the protection of the world ecosystem in the figures of citizens (respect for the environment, change of habits), science (knowledge and solutions) and public powers (legislation and cooperation with other countries).

The concept has great appeal for the media and for society as a whole, since it is a very general idea in all opinion groups, and the fact that it has a supportive tinge ("not to destroy the planet for future generations ") has oversized this concept that has been added to the marketing machine (aspect much studied by Miren Etxezarreta *)

Sustainable Development is articulated based on 3 variables:

1. Resource management (soil conservation and quality, air quality and control)
2. Mobility management (physical arrangement, traffic management)
3. Production and services (industrial waste management, ecological accounting)

The importance of the concept in terms of its meaning and the application by the different agents of society that the V program of the European Environment Agency (EEA) that spanned from 1993 to 2000 enunciated a fairly clear title the orientation of the environmental policies to be developed in the coming years at the European level; "Towards a sustainable development".

* Majadahonda - Madrid

References
* Professor at the Department of Applied Economics at the Autonomous University of Barcelona.


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