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Over the course of the last fifteen years, the concept of sustainable development has become essential to the development of most countries. Although researchers note that sustainable development as a term is often difficult to define, most scholars appear to agree that sustainable development specifically refers to “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. What this effectively suggests is that governments need to find cohesive and cooperative methods to meet their immediate needs while ensuring that the long-term needs of the country can be met.
Although the concept of sustainable development is one that appears to have marked implications for both the short- and long-term survival of a country, the reality is that the development and implementation of policy toward the end of sustainable development has proven to be an elusive goal. While numerous nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) such as the United Nations and the European Union have put forth initiatives toward the goal of sustainable development, these initiatives have done little to improve environmental outcomes for many countries. As such, this investigation considers what steps should be taken to ensure sustainable development in the international community. By developing a policy and examining the barriers to successful implementation, it will be possible to demonstrate both the difficulties of achieving sustainable development as well as the actions that need to be taken to ensure a positive outcome.
Sustainable Development Policies
Examining the potential policies that could improve the viability of sustainable development initiatives, it seems reasonable to assume that the World Trade Organization (WTO) should become actively involved in the process. Specifically, the WTO should set definitive standards of sustainable development for every member country. Issues of sustainable development are, but not limited to, the following:
Once these standards have been set a regulatory committee should be developed to monitor the progress of each country. If a specific country fails to meet the objectives outlined by the WTO, the organization should then have the authority to impose trade sanctions until the country complies with the regulations. While this proposal appears to provide a salient solution to a serious problem, there are a number of barriers to successful implementation.
Sustainable Development and Ecologically
Sustainable development is a term first coined in 1987 to describe the continuing ability of human beings to meet their present needs without compromising the possibility of existence for future generations. Led by the United Nations, the idea of sustainable development includes aspects of economics, politics, social development, and environmental concerns.
Ecologically, sustainable development deals with the relationships that human beings have with the environment. The availability of clean air, water, adequate food and shelter must be balanced between preserving their existence and providing for the growing number of people on the planet. Sustainability depends upon a consumption of renewable resources that is equal to the planet’s ability to replenish those resources.
One of the major areas of sustainable development in the industrialized world is that of transportation. Personal vehicles, otherwise known as automobiles, are responsible for large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. By encouraging public transportation, walking, and increasing the cost to own an automobile, the United States government is seeking to lower emissions.
Sustainability theories are dependent upon the idea of managing three types of capital: economic, social, and natural. The depletion of natural resources, for example, cannot be reverse, and may lead to a tipping point that makes current levels of existence unsustainable in the future.