Development and sustainability in India

10 October 2018

Sustainable development is defined as the development which caters to the need of present without compromising the needs of future generation.

It ensures continuing growth and progress for human kind while arresting and changing those processes which has irreversible damage to environment, biodiversity, flora and fauna etc. Overall it exposes a concern which basically focuses on human need rather than human want.The term sustainable development and sustainability came into picture in 1987 from the report named “Our Common Future” published under UN sponsored World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED). Drivers behind the concept of sustainable development are divided into three parts namely Pre Stockholm (covering the time span until the Stockholm Conference on Environment and Development i.e before 1972), Stockholm to WCED (1972-1987) and Post WCED (after 1987).Thomas Robert Mathews (1766-1834)proposed “Theory of Limits” foreseeing the limits to development due to scarcity of resources. Many disastrous effects of industrial revolution came up by 1798.

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Apart from from this poverty, diseases, increasing population and pollution were already existent problems that needed remedial solution. All these factors together contributed towards need of sustainable growth,Importance of managing environment and use of environment assessment as a management tool was recognized in UN Conference on Human Environment in 1972. This represents a remarkable stepping stone towards concept of sustainable development. In that duration, in Rome, a group of extinguished scientists and concerned citizens gathered to discuss and find solutions of the global environmental crisis which was expanding rapidly. This group came to be known as Club of Rome and it published a report on the “State of Natural Environment”. This report showed that industial growth was going to exceed the limits of ecological balance if it continued the kind of economic growth as witnessed in 1960 & 1970.Later in 1972, UN Conference on Human Environment terminology like “Environment & Development”, “Development without Destruction” and “Environmentally Sound Development” came into picture.

Finally term “Eco Development” appeared in UN Environment Programme Review in 1978. By this time the need of Environment and Development ideas to go hand in hand was recognized internationally. International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) worked closely with World Wildlife Fund and launched the “World Conservation Strategy” themed Living Resource Conservation for Sustaianable Development in 1980. This was a major step to integrate the environment and development concept under the roof of Conservation.The theme was brought into light a few years later by WCED also known as Brundtland Comission. In 1984, UN setup an idependent group of 22 people from member states of developed and developing countries. And in 1987, WCED published their report entitled “Our Common Future”.

Two key points of Brundtland Comission are:1. The concept of “needs” emphasizing essential needs of poors to which priority should be given.2. The limitations imposed on environment to meet present and future needs by technology and social organizations.By, this the commission underlines the strong link between improvement of environment, allevation of poverty and social eqitability through sustainable economic growth. Since the publication of this report, Sustainable development became the core element of environmental discussion and lead to worldwide acceptance and interpretations. By 1994, more than 80 varying definitions sharing the same concept of WCED’s definition were developedAfter WCED, UN Conference on Environment ; Development (UNCED)also called “Rio Conference” or “Earth Summit” played major role in widespread of sustainable development.

UNCED led production of to major international document such as Rio declaration, Agenda 21 and Convention on desertification, climate change and biodiversity.In 1972, at UN Conference on Human Environment at Stockholm, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi emphasized that poverty eradication is an integral part to achieve the goal of environment sategy for the world. She insisted that concept of interrelatedness of a shared planet, of global citizenship and of spaceship earth cannot be restricted to environmental issues alone. They are equally applicable to inter connected responsibilities of environmental protection and human development.Environmentally sound and sustainable development has been the result of Earth Summit and has now become an inseparable part of socio economic fora. Problem of sustainable development roots to pattern of resource use, their distribution and ownership, thus an allround sustainable development policy should be framed considering politics as well as state regulations, There have been a number of important international conferences in which the steps towards sustainable development have been discussed at high regime of government. And now the policy of Sustainable development has been globally accepted and practiced.

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