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SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

Understanding sustainable development

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Understanding sustainable development

Introduction

This module explores the emerging concept of ‘sustainable development’ which is now central to the programmes of many governments, businesses, educational institutions and non-government organisations around the world. The module takes an historical approach tracing the widening understanding of sustainable development from the 1980s up to the present day. This history includes landmark international events such as: the 1987 Brundtland Report, the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janiero, the 1997 Rio+5 Conference and the 2000 Millennium Summit in New York, and the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.

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Global Sustainable Development Report 2019

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Global Sustainable Development Report 2019

Global Sustainable Development Report 2019

Introduction

Mandate

In July 2016, Member States agreed on the scope, frequency and methodology for the Global Sustainable Development Report going forward. The agreement is reflected in Paragraph 22 of the HLPF Ministerial Declaration, and made operational through the associated Annex.

Scope

The text recalls paragraph 83 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and stresses that the Global Sustainable Development Report is one important component of the follow-up and review process for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Global Sustainable Development Report will inform the high-level political forum, and shall strengthen the science-policy interface and provide a strong evidence-based instrument to support policymakers in promoting poverty eradication and sustainable development. It will be available for a wide range of stakeholders, including business and civil society as well as the wide public. The Report should incorporate scientific evidence in a multidisciplinary manner, considering all three dimensions of sustainable development, in order to reflect the universal, indivisible and integrated nature of the 2030 Agenda. With its universal scope, the Report should also consider the regional dimension, as well as countries in special situations. The Report will provide guidance on the state of global sustainable development from a scientific perspective, which will help address the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, provide lessons learned, while focusing on challenges, address new and emerging issues and highlight emerging trends and actions. The Report should also focus on an integrated approach and examine policy options with a view to sustaining the balance between the three dimensions of sustainable development. These policy options should be in line with the 2030 Agenda to inform its implementation.

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Global Sustainable Transport Conference

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Recognizing the fundamental role of sustainable transport in fighting climate change and achieving the sustainable future we want, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon will convene the first ever global conference on sustainable transport, on 26 and 27 November 2016 in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. In resolution 70/197 titled “Towards comprehensive cooperation among all modes of transport for promoting sustainable multimodal transit corridors”, the General Assembly welcomed the initiative of the Secretary-General to convene the Conference.

The Conference will build on the intergovernmental discussions on sustainable transport. The outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), held in 2012, stresses that transportation and mobility are central to sustainable development. It recognizes the need to promote an integrated approach to policymaking at the national, regional and local levels for transport services and systems to advance sustainable development.

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Sustainability

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Sustainability

Sustainability is the capacity to endure. In ecology the word describes how biological systems remain diverse and productive over time. For humans it is the potential for long-term maintenance of well being, which in turn depends on the maintenance of the natural world and natural resources.[1]

Sustainability has become a wide-ranging term that can be applied to almost every facet of life on Earth, from local to a global scale and over various time periods. Long-lived and healthy wetlands and forests are examples of sustainable biological systems. Invisible chemical cycles redistribute water, oxygen, nitrogen and carbon through the world's living and non-living systems, and have sustained life since the beginning of time. As the earth’s human population has increased, natural ecosystems have declined and changes in the balance of natural cycles has had a negative impact on both humans and other living systems.[2] Paul Hawken has written that "Sustainability is about stabilizing the currently disruptive relationship between earth’s two most complex systems—human culture and the living world.”[3]

Ways of living more sustainably can take many forms from reorganising living conditions (e.g., ecovillages, eco-municipalities and sustainable cities), reappraising economic sectors (permaculture, green building, sustainable agriculture), or work practices (sustainable architecture), using science to develop new technologies (green technologies, renewable energy), to adjustments in individual lifestyles that conserve natural resources.

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