Sustainable development: what is it?
In 1987, the World Commission on Environment and Development, called Brundtland Commission (named after its chair), gave a definition of sustainable development which is now recognized worldwide. This is a development that "can meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
Future generations, like current generations, have a right to an intact environment. Sustainable development is not, however, synonymous with environmental protection. Economic prosperity, as well as the protection of the natural bases of life, are necessary for the satisfaction of our material and immaterial needs. Only a united society will be able to distribute economic goods equitably, to preserve the values of our societies and to make measured use of natural resources. Sustainable development presupposes equal treatment of its three components: the environment, the economy and the social.
Sustainable development has three dimensions (environmental, economic and social). Respect the needs of future generations and solidarity with the poor countries are the other key elements of this concept.