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Major opportunities for sustainability

The Brundtland Report defines, ‘sustainable development’ as ‘development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising on the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs.’ The report emphasizes that sustainable development means an integration of economics and ecology in decision making at all levels.

The Caring for the Earth document defines ‘sustainability’ as ‘a characteristic or state that can be maintained indefinitely’ whereas ‘development’ is defined as ‘the increasing capacity to meet human needs and to improve the quality of human life.’ This means that sustainable development would imply improving the quality of human life within the carrying capacity of the supporting ecosystems.

The concept of sustainable development rejects the old notion that development and environment are antithesis of each other. On the contrary, it emphasizes that development and environment are synthesis of each other. Both are complimentary and mutually supportive.

Sustainable Development is a process in which development can be sustained for generations. It means improving the quality of human life while at the same time living in harmony with nature and maintaining the carrying capacity of the life supporting ecosystem. Development means increasing the society’s ability to meet human needs. Economic growth is an important component but cannot be a goal in itself. The real aim must be to improve the quality of human existence to ensure people to enjoy long, healthy and fulfilling lives.

Sustainable development focuses at integration of development and environmental imperatives. It modifies the previously unqualified development concept. To be sustainable, development must possess both economic and ecological sustainability. The concept of sustainable development indicates the way in which development planning should be approached.