You are on page 1of 9

Unit 9

Environment and Sustainability

o Sustainable Development: An Observation
o Environment and Sustainable Development:
Nepalese Perspective
o Concept of Steady State Economy
Sustainable Development: Concept &
• A development pattern which ensures economic,
environmental and social wellbeing.

• The resource-use approach where consumption does

not exceed its renewable or regenerative capacity

• Development that meets the need of present

generations without compromising the capacity of
future generations to meet their own needs.

• Sustainable development is the development strategy

that is to be achieved through the creation of
sustainable livelihoods.

• The policy-making process that recognizes and

addresses the fundamental nature of ecological

• Improving the quality of human life while living within

Sustainable Development: Concepts &
Sustainable Development is concerned mainly
about three dimensions of development:
Economic development: Maximum flow of
income that could be achieved by
maintaining or increasing the stock of the
Ecological development: Stability of
biophysical systems that are the basis of
human survival, protection of biodiversity
Social development: Seeks to maintain the
stability of social and cultural systems
including the reduction in conflicts, use of
less destructive developmental tools
 Can be achieved through the intra-generational and
intergenerational equity
Varying priorities of Sustainable
The WCED popularized the concept through its
report “Our Common Future” in 1987.
Focused on the following eight global issues
to ‘achieve’ the development that is
sustainable i.e. sustainable development

• Population and Human Resources

• Industry
• Food Security
• Species and Ecosystems
• the urban challenge
• managing the commons
• energy
• conflict and environmental degradation.
Varying Priorities of Sustainable
The IUCN report 1991- Caring for the Earth
lists nine different areas of Sustainable

• Respecting and caring for the community of

• Improving the quality of human life
• Conserving the earth’s vitality and diversity
• Minimizing the depletion of Non-renewable
• Keeping within the earth’s Carrying Capacity
• Changing personal attitudes and practices
• Enabling communities to care for their own
• Providing a national framework for
Sustainable Development and Nepal
• National Conservation Strategy 1988 argues
that the heavy reliance of the Nepalese
population on the environmental resources
should be considered while undertaking
developmental activities that are aimed at
improving the quality of life of the people in
the country.

• The Rio Conference 1992- (also called UN

Conference on Environment and
Development) established the UN
Commission on Sustainable Development of
which Nepal is a signatory. It requires Nepal
to adopt Sustainable Development
strategies in its development policies.
Difficulties associated
Although defined by many national and
international policy documents, the concept of
Sustainable Development is considered to be
ambiguous, manipulative and contradictory

• Difficult to measure but efforts have been made

to measure it on the basis of mainly three
aspects of human development (called Human
Development Indicators). These are
 Life expectancy
 Literacy
 Gross Domestic Product per capita.

• What should be the priority? Needs or Wants?

• Whose needs shall we consider? That of people
living in Nepal, the US, Indonesia or Zimbabwe?
• How do we identify the needs and priorities of
the future generations?
The concept of Steady State Economy
• A non-growing economy: the economy expands
sideways rather than rising upwards

• The current stock of natural and man-made

capital will remain the same in foreseeable
future: investment focuses on retaining the stock
of capital

• Economic development (e.g. better education,

employment opportunities and health services)
rather than economic growth or increased GDP

• More equitable society- reduced difference

between the rich and the poor

• Stable or mildly fluctuating size of population and

per capita consumption
Relevance of the concept of Steady State
It is not possible to have a limitless economic
growth because the raw materials, the waste
assimilative capacity of the earth and the
technology have limits. THEREFORE, economic
growth is not ‘the ultimate solution’.

Would we have to give up our personal freedoms in

a steady state economy?
• Will require some modifications (not reductions)
on the consumption and investments habits,
particularly in those nations that enjoy higher
levels of consumption and investments
• ‘Rich’ nations should invest more on cleaner
technologies and equitable benefit sharing
mechanisms (instead of economic growth) for
themselves and for poorer countries.
• More equitable distribution of wealth within the
poorer countries