The World Commission on Environment and Development, in its report (the Brundtland Report), considered sustainable development to be a process of change that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
In most industrial countries, environmentally sound development is now a key concept. For most developing countries, the central concern is still development; to them the environment is at best a subsidiary dimension of development.
Ekins (1992) analyses sustainable development by looking at sustainability and development and their interaction. On sustainability he says that in order for economic activity...to be environmentally sustainable, certain conditions need to be adhered to concerning the use of renewable and nonrenewable resources, the emission of wastes and associated environmental impacts. These conditions can be defined. The first principle of sustainable development is that these conditions have absolute priority over GNP growth.
Ekins states further that development and GNP growth are not the same thing: "Development is a qualitative improvement, an achievement of potential. GNP growth is a quantitative increase. There are many examples of GNP growth resulting from, or in, maldevelopment." Therefore, the second principle of sustainable development is that "people and societies must be the subjects of their development, its creators and implementors, based on their knowledge and resources, rather than its objects or even its victims." (Ekins, 1992).
Both poverty and affluence have caused environmental impacts in the past and are likely to do so in the future unless increased awareness of the environment is converted into initiatives that address sustainable development from a global point of view.
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