Sustainable development is a pattern of resource use that aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present,but also for future generations. The term was used by the Brundtland Commission which coined what has become the most often-quoted definition of sustainable development as development that "meets theneeds of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Sustainable development ties together concern for the carrying capacity of natural systems with thesocial challenges facing humanity. As early as the 1970s "sustainability" was employed to describe an economy "in equilibrium with basic ecological support systems. Ecologists have pointed to TheLimits to Growth and presented the alternative of a "steady state economy" in order to address environmental concerns.
The field of sustainable development can be conceptually broken into threeconstituent parts:environmental sustainability, economic sustainability and sociopolitical sustainability.
The concept has included notions of weak sustainability, strong sustainability anddeep ecology.Sustainable development does not focus solely on environmental issues.
In 1987, the United Nations released the Brundtland Report, which defines sustainable development as 'development which meets theneeds of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
The United Nations 2005 World Summit Outcome Document refers to the "interdependent and mutuallyreinforcing pillars" of sustainable development as economic development, social development, and environmental protection.
Indigenous peoples have argued, through various international forums such asthe United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and the Convention on Biological Diversity, that there are four pillars of sustainable development, the fourth being cultural. The Universal...