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Sustainable development

Sustainable development, according to one definition, demands that we seek ways of living, working and being that enable all people of the world to lead healthy, fulfilling, and economically secure lives without destroying the environment and without endangering the future welfare of people and the planet.

The precise meaning of sustainable development has been widely debated. For example, two years after the Brundtland Commission's Report "Our Common Future" (1987) popularised the term, over 140 definitions of sustainable development had been catalogued.

The UNEP position is:

The intensified and unsustainable demand for land, water marine and coastal resources resulting from the expansion of agriculture and uncontrolled urbanisation lead to increased degradation of natural ecosystems and erode the life supporting systems that uphold human civilisation. Caring for natural resources and promoting their sustainable use is an essential response of the world community to ensure its own survival and well being. (source: Sustainable Management and Use of Natural Resources (http://www.unep.org/unep/sub1.htm))

Many people reject the term sustainable development as an overall term in favor of sustainability, and reserve sustainable development only for specific development activities.

Sustainable development is one of the issues addressed by international environmental law.

See: Restorative Development Initiative, Earth Summit 2002

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