In 2015, the United Nations unveiled its Sustainable Development Agenda, reflecting an international contribution to sustainable development among the member States for current and future generations is the greatest road ahead for decreasing poverty and enhancing people’s lives worldwide. At the same time, climate change began to significantly influence humanity’s conscience. With the melting of the polar ice caps, rising global sea levels, and increased fury of cataclysmic weather events, no country is immune to the consequences of climate change.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are plans for a better and improved future for everyone. Poverty, unemployment, climate change, inequality, environmental degradation, peace, and justice are worldwide concerns they address. With innovation and infrastructure, the international contribution to sustainable development and sustainable industrialisation may release vibrant and challenging economic forces that produce employment and wealth. They are crucial in introducing and promoting emerging innovations, enabling international trade, and resource efficiency. Strong international collaboration is required to guarantee that nations have the resources they need to recover from the epidemic, rebuild, and meet the Sustainable Development Goals.
Components of Sustainability
The new manmade environment and socioeconomic activities must be aligned with nature’s restrictions and opportunities if sustainability is achieved. Meeting current and future demands through a balance of three components is central to this concept: maintaining a healthy and fair society, environmental conservation, and local economic growth. These elements are intertwined and equally crucial in creating a long-term community. In the end, one component should not prosper at the price of another; therefore, balancing these components over the life of the General Plan is a critical problem. The three components of sustainability are explained below:
Environment Equity: Reduce the influence of human activities on the environmental systems that support the community to achieve environmental sustainability. The judicious use of land is an important part of environmental protection. Growth by the Land Use Diagram and policies outlined in the General Plan will have a lower environmental effect, contribute less to global climate change, reduce dependency on oil and other fossil fuels, and minimize natural resource usage.
Economy Equity: A sustainable economy is robust and resilient, ecologically conscious, and open to everyone in the community. When we look at international contributions for sustainable development, each nation’s economy must be diversified to provide stability through economic cycles to be sustainable. In both traditional and green business sectors, there must be employed for a qualified local workforce. It must continue to build base-level enterprises that export products and import income to produce tax revenue to support great public services for the community. The Economic Development Element of the General Plan contains strategies that create a sustainable economy, such as promoting a favourable atmosphere for economic development.
Social Equity: For this General Plan, social equality implies that all inhabitants have equal access to housing, transport, jobs, education, and leisure, as well as full participation in the community’s political and cultural life. Environmental conservation and economic vitality’s other two sustainability components are linked to social fairness. It is reliant on and supports a local, varied economy that offers a diverse variety of job and volunteer possibilities for people of all ages and abilities and a healthy environment with clean air and water, recreational activities, and protection from possible threats.
The Complexity of Growth and Equity
Due to industrialisation’s globalisation, a rising range of items is now accessible to many people worldwide. As a consequence of industrialization, a greater proportion of the world’s population today enjoys material affluence. A brief comparison of living conditions in various economies worldwide from the start of the century to today reveals tremendous progress.
Sustainable development requires a dynamic perspective since it encompasses the present and the future. The study of complex systems, which are characterized by nonlinear interactions between numerous constituents, is called complexity theory. According to a 1987 report by the World Commission on Environment and Development, nearly one million hectares of fertile dryland and more than 11 million hectares of forest are lost each year. The combustion of fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which contributes to slow global warming.
Direct observation and measurement of production complexity and capacities are challenging. The closeness of product space sectors is assumed to be related to their underlying capability needs being comparable. Proximity is significant since it indicates a country’s flexibility to adapt to and enter surrounding manufacturing industries. As a result, economic growth is a constant process in which countries attempt to improve their complex collection of skills to move into higher-productivity sectors, refining and increasing their capabilities until the next proximal sector becomes feasible.
Throughout history, the world’s vision and international contribution to sustainable development have shifted. Science has been building and assisting in developing the foundations for understanding the causes and effects of climate change and the importance of sustainable development. At the same time, international leaders’ commitments to this issue have shifted.
UN Environment Conference & Sustainable Development (1972)
Following the tragedy of the commons and growth-limits ideas, the globe began to arrange itself in terms of global politics. In Stockholm, Sweden, the first historical meeting on environmental issues was held in 1972.
Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit on Sustainable Development (1992)
Twenty years after the Stockholm Conference, the United Nations attempted to assist world leaders in rethinking economic development and developing ways to avoid the depletion of irreplaceable natural resources and degradation of the environment. The conference’s core message was that the essential adjustments will come from a shift in attitudes and conduct and a greater awareness of the environmental consequences of excessive consumption. Governments agreed that international and national initiatives and policies should be redirected to ensure that economic decisions take environmental implications into account.
It was also decided that harmful components such as gasoline and dangerous waste would be examined, and that future energy sources would be created. As significant challenges for achieving sustainable development, the need to redesign public transportation systems to minimize emissions and combat health problems in cities caused by filthy air was considered.
Rio20+ UN Conference on Sustainable Development (2012)
Rio de Janeiro hosted the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, often known as Rio+20. The world leaders resolved to start a process to draught a set of sustainable development goals (SDGs) based on the millennium development objectives established at the United Nations Conference in New York in 2000. The goal of these objectives was to achieve structured, integrated, and worldwide sustainable development.
Millennium Summit (2015)
The purpose of this three-day meeting in New York, USA, was to debate the United Nations’ position at the turn of the twenty-first century. The United Nations’ 189 member nations, the world’s greatest meeting of global leaders to that point, agreed on the need of assisting the world’s poorest countries in developing and achieving a better living by the year 2015.
Conventions & Agreements
Long-term development that meets the demands of current and future generations in terms of economic, social, and environmental advantages. The World Commission on Environment and Development defined it in 1987 as “development that fulfils current demands without jeopardizing future generations’ ability to satisfy their own needs.” International contribution to sustainable development has also added a list of conventions & Agreements as necessary steps taken.
Agenda 21 (1992)
Agenda 21 is a global, national, and local action plan to be implemented by the United Nations System, nations, and major groups in every area where humans influence the environment.
At the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from June 3 to 14, 1992, more than 178 governments endorsed Agenda 21. Governments of the nations adopted the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and the Statement of Principles for the Sustainable Management of Forests.
Johannesburg Declaration (2002)
The world’s people renewed their commitment to sustainable development during the World Summit on Sustainable Development, held in Johannesburg, South Africa, from September 2 to 4, 2002. Hundreds of thousands of people attended to debate ways to enhance people’s lives, protect natural resources, and address global issues such as food and water scarcity, as well as the need for energy and economic changes. For the first time, businesses joined governments and non-governmental organizations at this summit.
New York & The New Sustainable goals (2015)
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was endorsed by the 193-member United Nations General Assembly in New York in 2015. This agenda lays forth a strategy for people and the earth to flourish in a peaceful and prosperous future.
The world’s leaders understood that poverty eradication was the greatest global challenge to long-term development. They added that all nations and stakeholders need to work together to accomplish the new plan. There are 17 sustainable development goals and 169 targets in this program. These objectives and goals are linked to the social, environmental, and economic aspects of long-term development.
A transboundary problem is a large-scale environmental issue that spans many countries. In other words, it’s an environmental problem that began in one nation and now affects (or impacts) another.
For a variety of reasons, transboundary concerns pose particular obstacles. When an environmental problem in one country spreads to another, it can lead to conflict. On the other hand, neighbouring nations frequently confront comparable issues in terms of the causes of environmental change in a shared natural region as well as the consequences for people and livelihoods. However, because laws and regulations differ on both sides of a border and there are many institutional parties with distinct motivations and mandates, cooperative environmental management and policymaking to address issues of mutual interest are hard.
For example, in the instance of eutrophication in the Dnipro River Basin (a transboundary issue impacting many aquatic systems), nutrients may be released primarily by one nation in an area, but the impacts are felt by other countries. Damage to the natural environment (e.g., algal blooms) and/or harm to human wellbeing might be the result (e.g., health problems).
Due to problems in the joint management of diminishing water resources, transboundary rivers and water catchments throughout the world are becoming more potential causes of conflict. Water contamination might intensify cooperative management efforts in particular areas. There are 263 international transboundary river basins in the world, 59 of which are in Africa and five of which are in Kenya.
Action Plan for Implementing Sustainable Development
All UN Member nations sanctioned the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015. This agenda provides a common roadmap for peace, harmony, and prosperity for people in every nation and our planet today and in the future. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are designed, and these goals represent an urgent call to action for all nations. It’s high time that developed and developing nations work together as global partners. As an International contribution to sustainable development, each nation should understand that eradicating poverty and other forms of deprivation in mankind must be combined with joint efforts to enhance a better life. Health and education decrease inequality and boost economic growth while combating climate change and protecting the vast ecosystem.
The Sustainable Development Goals, which succeeded the Millennium Development Goals in 2015, have the ultimate goal of eradicating poverty, protecting the environment, and ensuring everyone’s prosperity. Each goal comprises a set of precise objectives that must be accomplished by 2030.
Countries have agreed to emphasize improvement for those who are the most disadvantaged. The SDG Index compares current development with a baseline assessment for 149 nations. Every country is implementing sustainable development goals in its ways, keeping vulnerability and economic conditions hand in hand.
India has had a significant influence on the development of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To help accelerate this goal, the Government of India’s leading think tank, NITI Aayog, has produced a proposed Three-Year Action Agenda spanning the years 2017-18 to 2019-20. The organization mapped the 17 goals and 169 targets to Nodal Central Ministries, Centrally Sponsored Schemes, and important government activities in great detail. Most sub-national governments have done a similar mapping of the SDGs and objectives to their individual states’ departments and programs.
The term sustainable development in the phrase refers to global aims for humanity. The term “SDGs” must also be understood in a normative sense. In that respect, the SDGs might be considered global objectives: ambitions for humanity. The SDGs are massive, and the methods for accomplishing them are extremely difficult.
It is critical to recognize the moral validity of growth as stated in articulating these goals since this should serve as motivation to strive toward them. The fact that the procedures are complicated and laden with several economic, social, political, cultural, and technical challenges should not dissuade us from taking steps to attain these objectives.
The goal has been established, and the objective’s concept serves as a vital incentive for action. However, the goal’s complexity should not be a disincentive to action. That is an extremely important message and justifies using the term “sustainable” in the context of “sustainable development” in the normative meaning. Of course, the phrase in its descriptive sense is significant and useful, but it must be confined to formulating and analyzing courses of action, policies, and processes that would be used to attain those goals.
Local conditions and the capacity of all stakeholders would decide these “means” of sustainable development. However, a commitment to sustainability is an essential normative tool that must be guided by global concerns about human well-being.
The discussion of sustainable development must be placed within the perspective of global ethics, which is defined as an “ethical inquiry into what the proper norms and values should be for connections between people worldwide.”
Dr. Emily Greenfield is a highly accomplished environmentalist with over 30 years of experience in writing, reviewing, and publishing content on various environmental topics. Hailing from the United States, she has dedicated her career to raising awareness about environmental issues and promoting sustainable practices.