What is Sustainable Development

What is Sustainable Development?

There are many definitions of sustainable development, including this landmark one which first appeared in 1987:


"Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."


from the World Commission on Environment and Development’s (the Brundtland Commission) report, Our Common Future (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987).

The Long and the Short of It

People concerned about sustainable development suggest that meeting the needs of the future depends on how well we balance social, economic, and environmental objectives or needs when making decisions today. Some of these needs are itemized around the puzzle diagram.

Many of these objectives may seem to conflict with each other in the short term. For example, industrial growth might conflict with preserving natural resources. Yet, in the long term, responsible use of natural resources now will help ensure that there are resources available for sustained industrial growth far into the future.

(Source: World Bank)

Photo gallery Opening ceremony of consultative WG 
14 June 2011
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