Glossary

  • Sustainable development

    Sustainable development (also called durable development) is defined in the 1987 Brundtland Report “Our Common Future” by the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development as:

    “…Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This notion includes two inherent concepts: that of “needs”, in particular with respect to the basic requirements of the most needy, for whom it is important to give the highest priority; and the concept of limitations that the state of our technologies and social organisation impose on the environment's capacity to meet both present and future needs.”

    In other words, sustainable development implies leveraging values (responsibility, participation and sharing, discussion, partnerships, innovation, longevity, reversibility, precaution and prevention as well as solidarity in social, geographical and trans-generational terms) to create a dualistic and cooperative approach:

    * In space: every inhabitant of our planet has the same human rights to Earth's resources.
    * In time: we have the right to use the planet's resources, but at the same time we have an obligation to ensure its longevity for future generations.

    Ecologists and other representatives of various political organisations consider the term “durable development” as an oxymoron, and prefer to use the term “sustainable” instead.

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