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Корепанова Т.Г. Sustainable Development.doc
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A Short Story of Sustainable Development as a Policy Concept

The report by the United Nation’s Brundtland Commission (1987) marked the beginning of the sustainable development concept. The Commission’s report started the process of making sustainable development an important issue on the world stage.

The Commission identified a number of “common challenges” facing the earth: population and human resources, food security, species and ecosystems, energy, industrial development and urbanization. In the context of these challenges they discussed international environmental problems, what successes had been registered in trying to address those problems, the scope and nature of the environmental problems still facing the world community, and the role of the world’s economic system in developing solutions to these problems.

The Commission presented and defined the phrase, sustainable development. “Sustainable development requires meeting the major needs of all and extending to all the opportunity to satisfy their aspirations for a better life”. Sustainable development, as a concept, has two primary pillars: economic development and the consumptive use of the world’s natural resources in ways that are sustainable.

The Commission outlined a series of “strategic imperatives” or “critical objectives”, inherent in their concept of sustainable development. These included:

reviving growth;

changing the quality of growth;

meeting essential needs for jobs, food, energy, water and sanitation;

ensuring a sustainable level of population;

conserving and enhancing the resource base;

reorienting technology and managing risk, and

merging environment and economics in decision-making

The Earth Summit

The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development was held from 3 June through 14 June in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. One hundred and fifty nations sent representatives, 1,400 non-governmental organizations were in attendance.

The major accomplishments of UNCED centered around the creation of United Nation’s organizations. The most important of these bodies is the Sustainable Development Commission that was given the task of furthering the work of creating sustainable development policies and procedures throughout the world.

The Summit also adopted the Rio Declaration that includes 27 principles. These principles are especially significant since they represent a series of difficult –to – reach compromises between industrialized and developing countries. Much of the developing world feels that the industrialized countries have used up the world’s environmental resources in the pursuit of development and now wish to protect what environment resources are remaining at the expense of the possibility of economically improving the lot of poor nations. These principles, then, provide a framework for the world’s diplomats in their efforts to improve both environmental and economic conditions around the world. The Rio principles included:

a state’s sovereign right to exploit its own resources in accordance with its own policies, without harming the environment elsewhere; the right to development; environmental protection as an integral part of development; sustainable development that requires reducing “unsustainable patterns of production and consumption” and that promotes “appropriate demographic policies”; access to information and citizen participation… and the polluter pays principles, including the internalization of costs and the use of economic instruments.


  1. The Report by the United Nation’s Brundtland Commission.

    1. Identification of acute matters facing the mankind.

    2. The definition of sustainable development.

  2. The Earth Summit.


2.2. The principles outlined by the Earth Summit.

  1. Match the terms with their definitions.




keeping sm/sth safe so that he/she it is not harmed

or damaged




your aim or purpose




a strong desire to do smth




the act of using, eating, etc. smth




the chance or right to use or have smth




the range of subjects that are being discussed or considered




something new and difficult that forces you to make a lot of efforts




a problem or subject for discussion

3. Summarize the context of the text.

Text 3

1. Read the text and focus on the following points:

· the definition of sustainable development

· the definition of sustainability

· three constituent parts of sustainable development and their concerns