Sustainable Development

Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (Brundtland Commission, 1987).

What is sustainable development?

Sustainable development is the management and conservation of the natural resource base and the orientation of technological and institutional change in such a manner as to ensure the attainment and continued satisfaction of human needs for present and future generations. Such sustainable development (in agriculture, forestry and fisheries) conserves land, water, plant and animal resources, is environmentally non-degrading, technically appropriate, economically viable and socially acceptable. (FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, 1995). In order to achieve sustainable development, a balance between environmental integrity, social development and economic development must be found. Fundamental to the concept of sustainable development is the recognition that the global environment that sustains all life on Earth is not an unlimited reservoir of resources to be exploited with abandon by humanity.

UN Programmes and Efforts for Sustainable Development

A major outcome of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janiero, 1992, was entitled Agenda 21. This document calls for governments, civil society, the private sector, industry, scientists, educators, communities to embrace the principles of sustainable development and participate in their implementation. Chapter 17 of Agenda 21 handles the sustainable development of the oceans and coasts. Furthermore, the United Nations formed the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) to promote and coordinate sustainable development activities and programs throughout the UN system and among its member states.

UN-Oceans is the interagency coordination mechanism on oceans and coastal issues within the UN System, currently coordinated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

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