Forging a Path to Sustainable Development
Edited by Philip Lawn
Chapter 1: Globalisation, economic transition, and the environment: an introduction
This book focuses on three critical issues requiring resolution to achieve the broader goal of sustainable development – namely, the degenerative forces of globalisation, ecological sustainability requirements, and the ongoing process of economic transition. I will soon explain why these issues are so important when it comes to achieving sustainable development. For now, let me say a few things about sustainable development itself. The concept of sustainable development first gained notoriety following the release of the Brundtland Report by the World Commission on Environment and Development in the 1980s (WCED, 1987). However, it was not until the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and the widespread promotion of the United Nations’ Agenda 21 that sustainable development became firmly established as a desirable policy objective. Despite its general acceptance, sustainable development continues to mean different things to different people. There are multiple reasons for this. Firstly, sustainable development is used in many contexts, for different purposes, and by people from varying cultural backgrounds and disciplinary schools of thought. Secondly, the sustainable development concept has evolved rapidly over a relatively short period of time.