Topic: The politics of Sustainable Development
Dozen of years after the second millennium, people are witnessing a world with a high level of complexities, trans-boundary issues at a level of dysfunction that seem not to cease. Today, humankind is said to have a tendency to produce what they do not necessarily consume, and consume what they do not produce; as well as produce far more information than the capacity of any individuals to absorb (Mebratu 1998, UNEP 2012). The urges for changes throughout historical milestones and evolutions have led to a new, global concept ‘Sustainable Development’. Associating with the theory of ‘Three pillar’ addressing the fundamentally systematic aspects of humanity, sustainable development is identified as a solution for global transformation (R10). It is stated by Prugh & Assadourian (2003) that sustainable development is about “collective values and related choices, and therefore a political issues, almost certainly the supreme political issue of our century”, which requests us to delve deep in to understanding the notion of the term and its related ideas, particularly in political realm. ‘Political issue’ could be understood as a complicated situation or matter in relation with politics and often correlates to discourses, which facilitate evolutionary forces to rise from subduing (Flanagan, 1999). This paper attempts to define sustainable development; addressing relevant values, discourses and discover how its impacts on policy and practice are. In the following parts, it is important to value the ontology of sustainable development as a ‘political issue’, or indeed a ‘supreme political issue’. Lastly, the paper is concluded by the recommendation for changes towards sustainable development. Understanding Sustainable Development
First of all, it is crucial to fully grasp the notion of sustainable development – a more or less vague terminology in global perspectives (Mebratu 1998). The most remarkable definition of this is probably the world-class statement from Our Common Future report in 1992, which defines the “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. There are a variety of interpretation of the term, among which IISD sees sustainable development as operation of the world systematically through space and time that contain systemic feedbacks, generation consideration and quality of life as a whole. Whereas, in defining the term, the three factors as the base for sustainability as ecological, economical and economic systems – which are also referred as the three pillars of development has been identified long time ago. Supporting to this ideas, Mitcham (1995) also sees sustainability as the inclusion of the three factors, which consider all living and non-living resource base; short-term and long-term evaluation of alternative decisions and actions. Related Values, Ideas, Discourses and Ethics of Sustainable Development
Based on how people understand about, sustainable development is also proved to associate with different values, ideas and discourses due to the high level of complexity and vagueness. The ambiguity of the concept has led to different interpretations both at international and national levels, which result in large political battle in adoption process (Mebratu 1998). These consequently conduct to varied impacts on policy and practices world widely, which will be present the next part of the paper. On the other hand, sustainability and its emergence have come along with ideas and approaches, especially innovative viewpoints on environment and ecology. The theory of ‘Limits of Growth’ takes in to account the logistic accommodation to resources, which implies the exhaustive use to meet a certain threshold in the capacity of development and calls for changes in production and consumption pattern (Mitcham 1995, Ekin 1993). There are contests around this matter on whether a...
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