Since the start of industrialisation, the globe has seen more rapid technological breakthroughs, causing a rapid pace of development that is outpacing the earth’s natural resources. Here is where the importance of sustainable development comes in.
What is Sustainable Development?
Sustainable development is defined as development that meets current needs without jeopardising future generations/ ability to meet their own. In other words, it is a systematic strategy for economic growth that primarily focuses on ensuring a quality environment for future generations. Now the question which arises is, why is sustainable development important?
Need for Sustainable Development
Well, the entire past is a living example of the degradation of environmental health for tapping into economic growth. All of this has resulted in the earth facing the consequences of climate change, global warming, all sorts of pollution etc.
Consequently, if nothing is done to check this, the earth will be left to burn due to the irreversible damages. Hence, it is important to look forward to sustainable development as it is the need of an hour. By gradually modifying the methods in which we produce and use technologies, it conserves and strengthens our resource base.
Sustainable Development Goals
Now, speaking of the goals of sustainable development, The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 as a universal call. Its goals were to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity. The 17 SDGs are interconnected; they recognise that actions taken in one area have an impact on outcomes in others and that development must strike a balance between social, economic, and environmental sustainability. Countries have committed to putting the needs of the poorest people first.
Listed below are the 17 goals in a summarised and concise form:
- Eradicate poverty and starvation, ensuring a healthful life.
- Universalize access to essential services such as water, sanitation and sustainable energy.
- Support the era of development opportunities through inclusive education and reasonable work.
- Foster invention and resilient infrastructure, developing communities and towns able to create and consume sustainably.
- Reduce inequality in the world.
- Care for the environment combating environmental change and conserving the oceans and land ecosystems.
- Promote alliance between various social agents to create an environment of peace and sustainable development.
What prevents sustainable development from happening?
There are barriers to combating the implementation of sustainable development. These barriers are, according to a UK essay and other materials, the following:
Economic and financial barriers
Economists have noted that the dominant development model prioritises economic expansion over people’s rights and welfare, as well as environmental processes and restrictions. This necessitates a paradigm shift from treating the environment as a component of the economy to treating the economy as a component of the environment; strategically, this means the economy must be changed to ensure that environmental services are preserved.
There is a scarcity of innovation-oriented research in the educational sector. This indicates that there has to be a stronger link between research institutes and the economy, which would also help to solve the problem of knowledge transfer to real-world applications.
The world’s largest societal hurdles to attaining sustainable development are population increase and unsustainable consumption and production practices among the wealthy. Sustainability will not be possible without a fundamental shift in human behaviour. Other societal hurdles include the following:
The poor’s marginalisation and entrenched disparities, there is a lack of understanding regarding sustainable development. Environmental challenges have fractured civil society among politicians and the general population. Inadequate interaction between the government and civil society. Incentives for the business sector to achieve sustainable development are insufficient.
Inadequate economic, social, and environmental methodologies for policies, programmes, and projects are the main impediment to sustainable development implementation.
Poor monitoring and evaluation systems: A fundamental issue is a lack of specified targets (globally, nationally, and locally), measurement, and data to assess progress, resulting in a scarcity of information for decision-makers.
It is recommended that the monitoring and assessment of sustainable development strategies be strengthened to generate a dynamic improvement process that will improve their effectiveness. Governments should dig deeper and analyse the socioeconomic implications of development programmes rather than focusing solely on the result.
Institutional hurdles, resulting from a lack of institutional expertise in operating all of the democratic system’s mechanisms, have hampered long-term progress in many developing countries.
Examples of Sustainable Development
Wind Energy, Solar Energy, Crop Rotation, Water efficient fixtures, Green Spaces etc are the few examples of sustainable development.
FAQs on Importance of Sustainable Development
Q.1. What is the role of citizens in making the earth a cleaner and better place to live in?
Answer. Citizens have a critical role not only in terms of effort and action toward achieving the goals but also in terms of tracking progress toward those goals. To make the earth a cleaner and better place to live in, citizens can use reduce, reuse and recycle practices. They can use technologies that respect the environment and people, participate in socio-political actions for sustainability, contribute to education etc.
Q.2. Name the three types of sustainable development.
Answer. The three types of sustainable development are as follows:
- Economic viability
- Environmental protection
- Social equity