ASSIGNMENT ONPrinciples of Sustainable Development ASSIGNMENT FOR Department of Law and justice Southeast university ASSIGNMENT BY Department: Law and justice Batch: Section: Principles of Sustainable Development
Many governments and individuals have pondered what sustainable development meansbeyond a simple one-sentence definition. The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development fleshes out the definition by listing 18 principles of sustainability.• People are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature.• Development today must not undermine the development and environment needs ofpresent and future generations.• Nations have the sovereign right to exploit their own resources, but without causingenvironmental damage beyond their borders.• Na tions shall develop international laws to provide compensation for damage thatactivities under their control cause to areas beyond their borders.• Nations shall use the precautionary approach to protect the environment. Wherethere are threats of serious or irreversible damage, scientific uncertainty shall not beused to postpone cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.• In order to achieve sustainable development, environmental protection shallconstitute an integral part of the development process, and cannot be considered inisolation from it. Eradicating poverty and reducing disparities in living standards indifferent parts of the world are essential to achieve sustainable development andmeet the needs of the majority of people.• Nations shall cooperate to conserve, protect and restore the health and integrity ofthe Earths ecosystem. The developed countries acknowledge the responsibility thatthey bear in the international pursuit of sustainable development in view of thepressures their societies place on the global environment and of the technologies andfinancial resources they command.• Nations should reduce and eliminate unsustainable patterns of production andconsumption, and promote appropriate demographic policies.• Environmental issues are best handled with the participation of all concernedcitizens. Nations shall facilitate and encourage public awareness and participation bymaking environmental information widely available.• Nations shall enact effective environmental laws, and develop national law regardingliability for the victims of pollution and other environmental damage. Where theyhave authority, nations shall assess the environmental impact of proposed activitiesthat are likely to have a significant adverse impact.• Nations should cooperate to promote an open international economic system that will
lead to economic growth and sustainable development in all countries. Environmentalpolicies should not be used as an unjustifiable means of restricting internationaltrade.• The polluter should, in principle, bear the cost of pollution.• Nations shall warn one another of natural disasters or activities that may haveharmful transboundary impacts.• Sustainable development requires better scientific understanding of the problems.Nations should share knowledge and innovative technologies to achieve the goal ofsustainability.• The full participation of women is essential to achieve sustainable development. Thecreativity, ideals and courage of youth and the knowledge of indigenous people areneeded too. Nations should recognize and support the identity, culture and interestsof indigenous people.• Warfare is inherently destructive of sustainable development, and Nations shallrespect international laws protecting the environment in times of armed conflict, andshall cooperate in their further establishment.ISSUES"Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present withoutcompromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs… As such itrequires the promotion of values that encourage consumption standards that are withinthe bounds of the ecologically possible and to which all could reasonably aspire."(Our Common Future, WCED, 1987)In the late 1980s the concept "sustainable development" was introduced into theenvironmental debate as an expression of the interdependence between the three systemsidentified as basic to development: the economic system, the social system, and thebiophysical system.This interdependence is illustrated by figure1. The economy exists entirely withinsociety, because all parts of the human economy require interaction among people.Society in turn, exists entirely within the biophysical system. Although human activity isre-shaping the environment at an ever-increasing rate, society and its economic systemscan never exist independent of the biophysical environment.The most common way of illustrating sustainable development is the "threespheres/pillars" diagram (figure 2). True sustainable development is then developmentthat meets the "triple bottom line" where all three systems interact on an equal basis. Thismodel can be useful in showing where the interrelationships exist; for example, theinterrelated activities that lie within the biophysical and socio-economic domains.
Figure 1: The interdependence model Figure 2: The spheres of sustainable developmentTo achieve a harmonious relationship between these "spheres" of development certainprinciples have to be followed within each sphere. A set of universal principles has beenidentified through international consensus. To this principles specific to the developmentpriorities of South Africa and those of the Southern African Development Communityhave been added.We should accept that it is highly unlikely that all of these principles can be upheld at alltimes, as they may have conflicting requirements. Most of the time, decision-makers willhave to make trade-offs and otherwise try to balance the different requirements to find asolution that is the optimum one for the greater good. These decisions need to be flexibleand should be regularly reviewed against agreed-upon indicators, to keep the threesystems in dynamic balance and ensure that the one sphere is not developed at theexpense of the others.Supporting the process of sustainable development is a set of institutional, technology,infrastructure and value system enablers.For an explanation of each aspect, simply click on the relevant image.