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23.1 Introduction
23.2 Development
The Apparent
The Real The General The Specific
23.3 SustainableDevelopment: Conceptualisation
Concept of Sustainable Development
The Convergent View
23.3.3 Principles of Sustainable Development
23.4 SustainableDevelopment:The DivergentView
23.4.1 The Perspective of Developed World
23.4.2 The Perspective of the Developing World
23 Working List of SustainableDevelopment
23.7 Exercises


The present unit discusses the evolution of the concept of development present methods by which it is indicated or measured. The different and opposite views adopted by the developed and developing nations are also discussed. Initially idea of industrial development was aggressively propagated to root out all evils of the society, but the methods' and policies adopted for it turned out to be wasteful and to the very existence of mankind. With the rising awareness of this disaster, the world
together to discuss and several action plans to mitigate this problem. Today, the concept of sustainable development has become integrated in the policies of every area of
development as the very human survival depends on it. Therefore it is imperative to understand and adopt the concept.


'Development' as a concept and aspect of state policy has a feel good effect on a modern mind. The magic mantra of development is thought to be the living spirit behind every human success in the field of industry, agriculture, transport communication, space, health, hygiene, culture and entertainment, etc. Along all these, also infuses a sense of triumph in controlling and near of society and

environment in shortest possible time. is accepted by everybody as the secular and rational way of conducting the affairs of the state in the general good, irrespective of the differences of gender, class, colour, caste and creed. Development is thought to be the only way out from all the ills that have over centuries and it is also,expected to mitigate the wrongs that have befallen to a class, section, region and individual either intentionally or otherwise. It would not be an exaggeration in saying that there are perhaps no other ideas like 'Development' that has gained unprecedented popularity, success and acceptance on a global scale with so little resistance, It is considered to be a game playing where there are all winners losers. Therefore, it is a venture worth pursuing.

The annals of history are full of anecdotes and incidents that speak in volumes the idea of development as the concept on a global scale after it in the domination of a particular set of values over other value systems and ways of livelihood. It can be unprecedented, as it continues to enjoy such an enviable position for such a long on such a large scale and so little resistance against it. It is perhaps only concept so far that has brought the totality of both and society the folds of one single assemblage. It succeeded in building a global ensemble
that even religions failed to do.

he Apparent

Development a effect mind. It is as the panacea for all our social evils and is celebrated as reason for justifying each and every action of every individual and institution. Moreover, it is also considered the sole legitimiser of all our deeds.

The of become so pervasive most thinkers attribute lack of it as the root cause of all the socio-cultural, politico-economic, psychological and problems most of the regions communities are facing world over. Though, such a mind-set had dawned on beings along with the graduation of
I capitalist development as the First World System for over the past three centuries, yet its
acceptance as the fiindamental Principle of State Policy and Ideology of a particular came into force in the of the speech delivered by President, Harry S. Truman, at end of World War in 1945. Truman gave new meanings lo development and hereafter, it was accepted as the goal of state policy and incorporated the same as the basis of the philosophy and ideology of the state. This also
I coincided with the formal of so-called 'Development Decades', formation of 'Development Communities', launching of 'Development Projects' world over. From then onwards, development was used as a potent weapon in carrying war against poverty, exploitation, criminality and all other social evils and above all in the ultimate triumph of human over nature and its mighty also in the consolidation of the "New Global Hegemonies'. This also brought an to the old ideology logic Britanica that had prevailed since the days of Spanish 1588. It was replaced by pax Americana.
I The ethos and ethics of new hegemony were so and total that development was considered not only the or end-point the evolution of human beings in the field of economics, politics and but also of their dreams and imaginations. The concept has emerged so ensembling that one could hardly imagine a world and stage in the evolution

of history that is not woven around development. To put the spirit of the age in one sentence, 'Development is being'. Thus, it is accepted uncritically and any reservation against it is considered non-compliance disagreement with the ruling social ethos and global hegemony. Consequently lack of development is interpreted as serious handicap and disability. Communities and nations that are unable to break open the deadlock of stagnation are considered a threat to both peace and human dignity. Moreover, lack of development is synonymous to less choice, curtailment of freedom and serious violation of rights too.

The Real

Unfortunately everything was not nice and fair with development. Lack of appreciation and intolerance towards other ways of life, value systems and material existence combined with the backing of state power transformed development being a simple doctrine of economic prosperity into a tyrant, a violator of dignity and ecological balance. Irawati the noted ecologist, had said "The injustice done by idealists, patriots, saints and crusaders are far greater than those done by the worst tyrants". It is also true in case of development. The nobel laureate Sen, in his book, "Development as Freedom" has that development is often considered a precondition for freedom, empowerment and democracy. These were also the re-echoed at the Rio Earth Summit on Environment in 1992. The conference sent a warning to these words:

"World scientists and politicians have remained pre-occupied and kept the also with the dangers of nuclear wars and 'Auschwitz' and kept silence to other dangers. The new dangers that have threatened the humanity are the ones that have come from the very process of on going development. "Human beings and the natural world are on a collision".

once the halcyon days were over, the dark side of development more
. General

Today, means pax at the cost of pax There is enough evidence to prove that the twin significant 'accomplislunents' and omnipresent curses of various ongoing development projects at the global level are; i) pollution leading to ecological disaster and ii) alienation and annihilations of mankind. The saga of ongoing development and its various accompanying projects are responsible for as the last stage in human civilisation. Exterminism is occurring not only through the use of nuclear bombs and discharge of active materials but also through various acts of development that are responsible for global warming, depletion of ozone, various types of environmental pollution leading to poisoning of water, soil, air and other food items. If these processes are not arrested then exterminism due ecological crises including increase in the level of ultraviolet radiation will disaster to both the environment humanity and will be the last stage in is enough evidence to prove that due to increase in the level of house gases, ultraviolet

radiations along with of to cure diseases, excessive consumption of fertilisers and pesticides to increase agriculture production etc. have brought in genetic deformities in a segment of the organic world and extinction of species. Moreover, the global powers are using their policies of development to get access to other economies, cultures, resources, and ultimately sovereignty of the weak individual, nations. Today, has as a powerful concept that is continuously creating reinforcing a permanent wedge between the haves and have-nots. It is a policy of the to construct and reconstruct the new colonies to suit its own interests.

The Specific

There is one particular aspect that has less conspicuous about development so far. It is related to the ways it excelled universal and generalised alienation of human beings, of life body space of each every living being. the ruling development, beings, the creators of are lost into oblivion created by commodities. Today beings are bereft of both life and identity while the produced by have both. In midst of universal of there still individuals social groups. Development has created a permanent wedge not only between the
in developed and developing world but also between male females,
and black, natives and rural, agriculture industsial workers, etc. Though succeeded in uniting the world one global system yet it has been only divisions between citizens of country and
. another and among the people within one country. beings divided and
on the bases of race, caste, creed, religion, language, gender in the past. are divided and differentiated on
the basis of of their and differences in their ability to control the knowledge that are essential for Development has become a cultural divide between the developed and the countries, developed backward True to the logic of development, prosperity and affluence of a few is possible at the cost of the well-being of over-whelming of population, countries. Once again, it is imperative to the logic of development that good quality of life to a at the cost of low quality of Iife and standard of living of a vast majority. The gains of a few are at the of bringing in colossal global degradation. Moreover, it is also noticed
that prosperity place at the cost of culture, values and peace of
mind. development, the core of project, seems to have lost any purpose. pattern of on-going shows the basic goals of
lost its way, aims of qualitative uppermost priority of every venture of the of too out to be
, delusion to of people world over, The worst victims of it are the inhabitants in the,
post-colonial countries. We are in the age of with ethics and
peace. brief, has out of its progressive potentials. It has become
both the environment. there is need to an alternative,

I ---

23.3.1 of Sustainable Development

The continuing antagonistic relationships pax and and development and environment had been the main concern of thinkers for a long time. other words: How to give a face economic development? How to be green in our thinking? How to maximise our happiness, peace, freedom and well-being without destroying etc.? These have been important issues before thinkers for a long time. sustainable development, in fact, is mainly concerned with the question. Or to put it in one sentence how to sustain the present level of well-being and make it available
'to all.

origin of concept Development is credited to Report prepared under the auspices of the United Nations' World on and Development. Sustainable Development, according to the means:

that the needs of the present without the ability of to meet their own needs, improved living
for all, better protected and managed and a

The conclusions of the conference were based the realisation that:

activities cannot precede longer under of
as usual. it is no longer tenable to us and measured, the
development policy. The old concept of we growth' with its reliance on an ever increasing energy and other natural materials, cannot be and must yield to an imaginative pursuit ofeconomic ends thnt are less resource intensive, The way we undervalue nature and services to
natural assets degradation often means we are improving ourselves imagining that our economies are growing. The approach requires
a concerted at remoulding and steering wants the direction of environmentally benign while
reducing throughput per unit product including services

The gravity of situation was well appreciated by the world community it was realised that no individual, and nation, however rich or that may be, can mitigate the brought in by the ongoing process of development. It was also felt
we can come together in a global for sustainable development".

23.3.2 The Convergent View

There is unanimity of opinions among scholars about material achievements beings made in last three Among these the of the century are spectacular. But, has been possible at social and environmental costs.

Scholars always expressed their apprehensions about the short-term material . prosperity warned people at large about the impending dangers and future crises. are differences of opinions among scholars and philosophers on the approaches to be adopted for attaining development. People have taken positions ranging spiritual and moral to crass materialist. Gandhi, for'example, was in favour of taking
a moralist position when he said, "the earth has enough to satisfy the human needs but next to nothing to satisfy greed of even one individual". His was based on the broader principles of non-violence and According to him, the western approach to development has placed over over nature and technology over experience. It is the root cause of our moral decline and also unsustainable development. Gandhi was for the moral justification of every action and according to him western model of technology-induced development, which is primarily based on the principle of human greed, is as well as violence against and nature.

At the extreme were that advocated the philosophy of "being is having". According to the advocates of this pliilosophy the teclmological revolutions particularly in the last centuries endowed the with all the possible comforts and possibilities. Today, we are satisfied, confident and also enjoy greater freedom than our ancestors did three hundred years ago, Modern succeeded in mastering both time and space with every incremental doses of new teclmology. Technology has transformed our being. new being is based on more choices and more freedom.

There were other views in between two extremes. However, among the pioneers that made sincere and serious in this direction were a group of scholars in Rome, in 1972. This was popularly known as the "Club of Rome". Their views were later on published in a book by Meadows entitled "Limits to Growth". These scholars have about of an on going pattern of and if the pattern ofpresent limitless growth continues, then tliere are likely to be'problems of its They studied the limits to in global population, agriculture, resource use and industry and showed as how these factors interact with each other and how they exert pressure on the Iimited resource base of our planet. The report Concluded that even under the most optimistic about the blessing of advanced technology, the world is incapable of supporting and sustaining present rates of economic and population growth on the one hand and resource depletion and ecological crises on the other. They warned that if the present trend of consumption continues, the resources on our planet would not last beyond a few decades from now. Therefore, also suggested some way out of the impending impasse, which according to them lies in tackling all the problems together instead of adopting a piecemeal approach. Subsequently, United Nations' Conference on thetheme of
and Development held at Stockholm in the same year also expressed concerns about
the patterns of the ongoing development, The conference made a specific mention of
patterns of the way the ongoing development tremendous stress on our
on the one hand and the widened the gap the developed and the developing countries on the other.

23.3.3 Principles of Sustainable Development

The outcome of the realisation of this grave situation was the Agenda 21: Green Paths to
the Future or Rio Declaration, 1992. Though there are many highlights of the declaration,

the quintessence of it is presented in the underlying twenty seven principles:

Human beings are at the centre of concern of Sustainable Development. They are entitled to a healthyand productive life in harmony with nature.

State has the sovereign rights to use their resources for development in accordance with Charter of the United Nations and the principles of international laws. It is also responsibility of state to control any damage to the environment.

to development must be by inter-generational
protection should constitute integral of development process in
order to achieve Sustainable Development.

Eradication of poverty is an indispensable requirement for Sustainable Development. Cooperation between the states and individual can be more effective in improving the standard of living of the people.

Least developed countries are. also vulnerable. International must pay special attention and give priority in order to address needs these countries.

States shall cooperate in a spirit of global partnership to conserve restore
and integrity of earth's ecosystem. Developed countries should shoulder greater responsibilities because their activities exert greater pressure the global environment.

To attain Sustainable Development, it is the responsibility of the states to reduce eliminate of production and without an
'ever-increasinghigher quality of life to all people.

States should cooperate to strengthen endogenous capacity-building for sustainable development building proper scientific for enhancing, adaptation, and transfer of including innovations in technology.

Environment should be the concern of everyone and issues related to it should be through the participation of concerned citizens at relevant levels. However, it is the responsibility of the state to provide relevant information and encourage awareness among the public including the dangers of hazardous materials and possible remedies for the same.

Every state shall enact effective legislations.It should also judge the relevance I
of the discriminatory legislation adopted by certain countries particularly against the poorer

Economic should be linked with Sustainable Development. States should ensure that the global system, the world market relations and policies
that against the poor countries, should be changed in order to achieve
Sustainable Development.

States shall laws to punish those who are responsible for environmental and and male provisions to adequately the victims of degradation. .

States shall actively discourage the transfer of substances that are found to be harmful to human beings cause degradation.

Every state will have to measures to protect their depending upon their capabilities. However, of scientific lalow-how and technical lag shall not be as an excuse to activities that are a to the environment and result in irreversible

The national authorities should of costs as part
of the total production costs.

Environmental shall an integral part of the national economic policy.

In case of natural disasters, it is responsibility of state to share the information with other states that are to be affected by such disasters. The international
should forward to help the states affected.

Sharing of infonnation regarding environmental issues states shall be basis of building goodwill and faith the states.

Environmental management, sustainable development and empowerment are interdependent. should become of all the

all over the world has greater responsibilities to implement sustainable because it is mainly their generation, is going to be immediate and sufferer ecological disasters.

to protect one's identity be basis of sustainable development. It is particularly applicable to indigenous Every state take appropriate measuresto indigenous and practices and involve these
in success of sustainable development.
people should include end of domination, occupation and of people their by oppressors. Restoration of rights over the and natural resources should be part of the concept of
and development are antithetical to each other. Every state should ensure that take place the environment in case of wars.

Peace, development and environmental protection are interdependent and indivisible.

States resolve all their 'environmental disputes through means in
with of the Nations.

Finally it appeals to every and state to cooperate and develop partnerships based on good faith order to achieve sustainable

This was one of the most serious and concerted efforts on the part of the world community to demarcate the development agenda for the century. It was a significant and bold decision in certain respects as it succeeded in forging unanimity among the heterogeneous community of nations.

There were more than 160 countries that had participated in the proceedings of the conference and thkre were definitely at least more than 480 agenda items circulation at the venue of the conference. There were 160 proposals, tabled by the official representatives of the respective states. Then there was another set of 160 proposals were overtly or covertly expressed through the voice of dissent in respective states. There was yet another set of 160 proposals that were articulated by the Non Governmental Organisations
of every country. So, it was decidedly one of the most difficult tasks before the to arrive at a consensus on such a contentious issue.

However, the most significant line of discord between the perspectives of developed and developing countries on sustainable development.

The Perspective of the World

The developed countries continue to hold their privileged position and were to compromise on anything because they were of the opinion this will prove detrimental to maintain high standard of living in these countries. In fact the increasing populations among poorer countries as a serious threat to the global environment. They approach sustainable development the point of view of restoring pollution
for a healthy living.

The Perspective of the Developing World

As opposed to this, the perspective of developing countries showed a diametrically opposite picture. According to this view, the hegemonic control of the developed world over the trade, environment, resources, economy, technology, and politics, etc., is the single most important threat to the global environment, peace development. They need a safe and protected environment because it is the basis of their individual and social
survival. It was felt that with increasing destruction of due to ongoing ,
developed projects mostly launched by the developed world, there have been phenomenal
increase in the incidents of poverty, starvation and hunger in the post colonial countries.
There is an apprehension among the developing countries that in the of liberalisation, ,
globalisation and privatisation, world capitalism is out to reconstruct the colonies. But this time the new colonies are not only restricted to the geographical spaces but also cover
the processes of colonisation of organism and life itself. The environment and the indigenous communities inhabiting the postcolonial countries are also under the threat in new

patent for of adequate technology available with them. Thus, question of environment and sustainable development in case of the developing countries is intricately to retaining their freedom, identity and existence.


Apart from the above issues, the other contentious issue was: How to measure sustainable development? Or in other words, what are indicators of sustainable development? Once again, it was difficult to at a consensus on the nature as well as number of indicators be selected for measuring sustainable development. The Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific under the auspices of the United Nations prepared .a working list of of Sustainable Development. It was done under the Programme of work on Indicators of Sustainable Development of the on Sustainable
Development (CSD).

Table 1 : CSD Indicator Framework


Sub-theme Indicator

Poverty Percent of Population Living below

, Gini Index of Income Inequality
Unemployment Rate

Gender Equality Ratio of Average Wage to Male Wage
Health Nutritional Status Status of Children .
Mortality Mortality Rate Under 5 Years Old
Life Expectancy at

Percent of Population with Adequate Sewage
Disposal Facilities
Drinking Water Population with Access to Safe Drinking Water
Healthcgre Delivery Percent of with Access to I-Ie'alth
Care Facilities
Against InfectiousChildhood Diseases
Contraceptive Prevalence Rate

Education Education Level Reaching Grade 5 of Primary Education

Achievement Level

Adult Literacy


Living Conditions
Floor Area per Person

per 100,000 Population

Population Change
Population Growth Rate

of Urban Formal and Informal Settlements

- -


Climate Change

Ozone Layer Depletion

of Greenhouse Gases

of Ozone Depleting Substances


Air Quality



Ambient Concentration of Air Pollutants Urban

Arable and Permanent Crop Land Area

Use of Fertilizers

Use of Agricultural Pesticides

Forest Area as a Percent of Area

Wood Harvesting
Urbanization Area of Formal Informal Settlements .

Oceans, Seas Coastal Algae Concentration in Coastal Waters

and Coasts Percent of Total Population Living in Coastal Areas

Fisheries Annual Catch by Major Species

Fresh Water

Water Quantity Annual Withdrawal of Ground and Surface Water as a Percent of Total Available Water


Water Quality Ecosystem Species

BOD in Water Bodies

of Faecal in Freshwater

Area of Selected Key

Protected Area as a % of Total Area

Abundance of Selected Key Species

Management of Radioactive Waste

Waste Recycling and Reuse

Distance Travelled per Capita by Mode of Transport

Theme Sub-theme

Strategic National Sustainable Development Strategy
Framework of SD

Co-operation of Ratified Global Agreements

Information Access of Internet Subscribers per Inhabitants

Communication Main Telephone Lines per Inhabitants

Science and Technology Expenditure on Research and as a
Percent of GDP

Disaster Preparedness Economic and Human Loss Due to Natural Disasters and Response

It is evident the list of indicators suggested above that sustainable development is possible only through a holistic multi-pronged approach. Any single approach that was suggested by many scholars falls short of what is minimum for the maintenance of quality of life and prosperity of Take for example the Economic Approach to Sustainable Development propounded by ernphasises on generating maximum flow of income while maintaining the stock of assets. The underlying assumption of this approach is to improve the economic efficiency of the resources that are scarcely available. takes other associated factors as given. As opposed to this the Ecological Approach emphasises on the stability of biological and physical systems and above all the sustainability of a global ecosystem, of etc. This approach too gives peripheral importance to other intervening factors. There is yet another approach popularly known as the Socio-Cultural Approach which emphasises on the maintenance of socio-cultural systems including reduction of destructive conflicts. According to the protagonists of this approach preservation of cultural diversity across the globe is a prerequisite for sustainable development. again this approach too failed to comprehend the issue in its totality.

A critical look at all these approaches therefore, "instead of one we talk of a set of because technology does undergo change over generation". Thus, considering all these points, the list of indicators suggested by United Nations' Economic and Social appear to be acceptable than any other approach.


"Sustainable Development" has become a catchword because it is directly to the survival of beings, their and the very environment of which they are an inseparable part. In the name of so-called development there are large-scale deforestations, atmospheric changes such as thinning of life saving layer, loss of bio-diversity, growing volumes of wastes that are becoining unmanageable day by day. Moreover, actions have caused poisoning of the life supporting systems of our environment namely: soil, air, water and organism. What is more surprising than all these, is that the gains made at such a social and environmental costs are restricted to a miniscule minority of the world population. Large section of world's population continues to live in perpetual poverty, and starvation. Millions of people world over are dying every year for
of basic necessities of their life. Coexistence of opulence and squalor at one and the same time is also breeding new form of social tensions and violence. one of the extreme of violence, is essentially an activity of the victims of unilateral global hegemony. Therefore, sustainable development, if properly, holds the key to with social justice and environmental conservation. This is also the key to safe future for the


1) What do you by development?
2) How did the concept of sustainable originate?
3) How do the perspectives of the developed and developing world differ regarding the
of sustainable development?
4) What 'are the indicators of sustainable development?


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