Transitions to a Sustainable Future
Edited by Valentina Bosetti, Reyer Gerlagh and Stefan P. Schleicher
Modelling Sustainable Development 08/05/2009 14.47 Chap. 04 p. 45 4. Implementing the EU Sustainability Indicators1 Christoph Böhringer and Andreas Löschel 4.1 INTRODUCTION In 1987, the report of the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED or Brundtland Commission) defined sustainable development (hereafter: SD) as: development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. (WCED, 1987) In June 1992, the Rio Earth Summit concluded that: the right to development must be fulfilled so as to equitably meet developmental and environmental needs of present and future generations. (UNCED, 1992a, Principle 3) SD has meanwhile become one of the most prominent catchwords on the world’s policy agenda. Nearly all governments and multinational firms have committed themselves to the overall concept of SD. The ubiquity of SD as a yardstick for human activities is reflected in the growing importance of Sustainability Impact Assessment (hereafter: SIA) of governmental policies. Initially, the assessment of SD impacts concentrated on trade policy reforms (see, for example, Kirkpatrick and Lee, 1999, for the SIA of the World Trade Organization’s Millennium Round proposal). More recently, SIA has been extended to other policy areas. Taking a lead role, the European Union (EU) meanwhile requires: careful assessment of the full effects of [any larger] policy proposal … [that] must include estimates of its economic, environmental and societal inputs inside and outside the EU. (EC, 2001) The argument behind this is that SIA can improve the SD coherence of policy initiatives...
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