A CHALLENGE BEFORE STATE: UNDERTAKING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
AUTHOR: SHAILJA SINGH and SHIVAM HAZARI, BA L.L.B. HONS. 8TH SEM (DR. H. S. GOUR CENTRAL UNIVERSITY, SAGAR (M.P.)
Since the Brundtland Commission published its landmark report in 1987, we have come a long way in our reflections on sustainable development.
In the last 45 years, significant progress has been made. Most state and national governments have begun to incorporate sustainable development into their planning and policy. Pro-active businesses across the globe have brought sustainability to their products and processes. Local initiatives have had success in informing citizens of the importance of participating in reducing waste, renewing urban spaces and other programs.
In spite of this a key question remains whether we have made enough progress, or taken the warnings seriously enough to allow us to grasp and confront our biggest, most pressing problem.
Unfortunately the answer is no. we are lacking we didn’t made that progress and state need to work much harder than ever before. State need to take it as challenge and put their best by fulfilling their responsibility and also general public need to go beyond exchanging opinions – no matter how fiercely they are held – and look at the facts and figures. We also need to move beyond jargon.
KEY WORDS: Sustainable Development, Informing Citizen, Present Generation, Future Generation.
Since the Brundtland Commission published its landmark report in 1987, we have come a long way in our reflections on sustainable development. Sustainable development speaks that our actions must take into account effects on the environment, economy and society, and that what we do today should not compromise the well-being of future generations.
In the last 27 years, significant progress has been made. Most state and national governments have begun to incorporate sustainable development into their planning and policy. Pro-active businesses across the globe have brought sustainability to their products and processes. Local initiatives have had success in informing citizens of the importance of participating in reducing waste, renewing urban spaces and other programs.
Many laws, reforms, conferences, meetings were taken place in future for the discussions relating to environment, economy, society and its sustainable development. At the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), governments made a commitment to adopting national strategies for sustainable development. The strategies for sustainable development called for at Rio are foreseen as highly participatory instruments intended “to ensure socially responsible economic development while protecting the resource base and the environment for the benefit of future generations”. The OECD’s “Shaping the 21st Century” (1996) calls for the formulation and implementation of such strategies in every country by 2005 — one of the seven International Development Goals (IDGs) — and for development co-operation agencies to support such processes in developing countries. The 1997 Special Session of the UN General Assembly set a target date of 2002 for introducing strategies.
Understanding of the pressing problems of unsustainable development has improved since UNCED. More is now known of environmental degradation, and social and economic marginalisation. But responses have not been concerted. There have been success stories, but they are fragmented. There have been improvements in meeting some environmental, social, or economic needs, but often in ways which cause other problems. Traditional approaches to ‘sustainable development’ are often overlooked by policy-makers.
Moving towards sustainable development presents tremendous challenges. Important structural changes are needed to the ways societies manage their economic, social and environmental affairs. Different countries may settle for different solutions, but all will have to make hard choices. Strategies for sustainable development are about making and implementing such choices, in a realistic, effective and lasting way.
State have its greater responsibility in making everything correct, state is taking the problem of sustainable development as challenge before it and working harder but still due to some lacking point it’s not able to correct the things properly.
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: THE CONCEPT
The term “sustainable development” was used at the time of Cocoyoc declaration on environment and development in the early 1970s. Since then it has become the trademark of international organisations dedicated to achieving environmentally benign or beneficial development. Sustainable development means an integration of developmental and environmental imperatives. To be sustainable, development must possess both economical and ecological sustainability. It indicates the way in which developmental planning should be approached.
Sustainable development is essentially a policy and strategy for continued economic and social development without detriment to the environment and natural resources on the quality of which continued activity and further development depend. Therefore, while thinking of the development measures the need of the present and the ability of the future to meet its own needs and requirements have to be kept in view. State and its people owe a duty to future generations and for the bright today, a bleak tomorrow cannot be countenanced.
In fact, the idea that, for the benefit of future generations, present generations should be modest in their exploitation of natural resources has found wide spread international approval since the Maltese Proposal at the UN General Assembly of 1967, which contended that there was a common heritage of mankind and that this also required legal protection by the international community. This whole concept is based on the idea that natural resources and thus these resources can only be exploited with adequate consideration of the “rights” of future generations.
HISTORY OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
Sustainable development is a household name. International organisations such as the United Nations make policy recommendations with sustainable development in mind and politicians are increasingly under pressure to deliver economic growth without compromising the health of the environment.
Yet this idea of sustainable development is a relatively new one. In fact, the concept came to inter-national prominence very recently: in 1972 at the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm.
Growing Awareness of Sustainable Development
The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in 1972 recognised that the rapidly expanding human population survived off a finite pool of resources. Without careful management, resources such as food, energy and water could be exhausted, leading to obvious global crises.
The conference also led to the establishment of many national environmental protection agencies and, most importantly, momentum behind the movement that included politicians, government agencies and international organisations. Eight years later, the International Union for the Conservation of Resources published the World Conservation Strategy, a document which stressed the inter-dependence of development and environmental protection.
1987: The Brundtland Report
The interconnectedness of culture, economy and the environment is at the forefront of sustainable development as we know it today. Though the concept was presented in the World Conservation Strategy, these ideas were solidified in 1987 in Our Common Future, published by the Brundtland Commission.
Also called the Brundtland Report after the chairman of the Commission, the report was a ‘global agenda for change’ and acknowledged the complexity of sustainable development. Particularly, it stressed that human beings are at the centre of environmental concerns because the activities of people and the activities of the environment affect each other and therefore must be considered together. This idea forms the basis of preferred policy legislation today – legislation that is mutually beneficial to humanity and the environment.
In addition to this, Our Common Future de-fined sustainable development as: ‘Development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.’ This simple statement emphasizes the importance of considering the needs of future generations and is the most commonly used definition of the term today.
The First Earth Summit in Rio
The UN Conference on Development and the Environment, otherwise known as the Earth Summit, took place in 1992. The conference was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and created a second wave of momentum for the sustainable development movement.
The theme of this important conference was ‘harmony with nature’ and several key events took place. Firstly, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development was issued. This document stated that it is a nation’s right to pursue social and economic progress but that this progress must be pursued through sustainable methods.
Members of the Conference also set global targets for sustainable patterns of consumption and production. These included slowing the loss of biodiversity, increasing access to clean water, and conducting further research into renewable energy. Collectively, these targets and ideas are called Agenda 21 – that is, an agenda for the environment and development in the 21st century.
Sustainable Development at Present
A United Nations Conference on Development and the Environment is held every decade to assess the progress and global implementation of sustainable development. In 2002, the World Summit on Sustainable Development took place in Johannesburg, South Africa and in 2012, it returned to Rio de Janeiro.
Since its conception, sustainable development has made a lasting impact on the world, but there is still much to do. The last 45 years have seen an unprecedented demand for natural re-sources and biodiversity continues to decline. Extreme poverty persists and the gap between rich and poor widens – but there are things that state can do to help.
THE CHALLENGE OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
“Fulfilling people’s needs of the present and future generations” according to the Brundtland report requires actions that are of the short, medium and long term. ‘Future generations’ may be practically understood to define a context of three generations; a scope people usually have the experience and affinity to comprehend.
Three generations cover a period of about 50 years. Considering the almost unavoidable growth of the world population, the desired growth of welfare per capita in North and South (RIO 21) and the desired (or ‘necessary’) reduction of environmental pressure from local up to global scales, sustainable development that fulfils people’s needs will require radical improvements in eco-efficiency (depending on assumptions and on specific need ranging from a factor of 5 up to 50). This requirement demands fundamental renewal in (technological) systems to provide for human needs.
Since fundamental system renewal takes several decades to move from ‘concept to market’, it is imperative that we initiate renewing innovations in the shortest possible time to allow sufficient time to meet this challenge.
Improving eco-efficiency, which will remain an essential element of sustainable development, is unlikely to suffice in the long run for at least two reasons: The report on sustainable development ‘Our common future’ identifies three leading interconnected principles briefly summarised as follows: environmental efficiency, inter and intra generational social justice and participation in decision-making.
Although the assumed growth of welfare includes rebound effects, this cannot be prolonged endlessly. Also eco-efficient growth will in the long run meet the earth limits.
Systems renewal therefore is a concept integrating technological, cultural and structural elements.
Dimensions of change
Three interacting dimensions can be distinguished in the process of change to more sustainable patterns of development.
Interwovenness of ‘culture–structure–technology’
Improvements in eco-efficiency should help fulfil people’s needs better, from simple items up to complex technological systems. Achieving this goal will require intensive interacting changes in culture, (institutional) structure and technology (Culture refers to justifying nature, conditions and volume of societal needs to be fulfilled: sufficiency.
Structure refers to the ability of the economic and institutional organisation to fulfil justified needs: effectiveness. _ Technology provides the technical means to fulfil needs: efficiency.
Approaches: optimisation–improvement and redesign–renewal
Improvements in eco-efficiency must fit with the time frames for decision-making and action that are accepted in firms and governments, as well as within the current situation. This reflects an approach that fosters transitions along three parallel tracks
1. System optimisation which involves changes in operational processes through quality management, maintenance, auditing, efficiency drives etc., at time scales up to 5 years and with an expected effect on eco efficiency ranging up to a factor of.
2. System improvements that leave fundamental structures and technologies unchanged but produce incremental changes through revision, reorganisation, redesign at time scales from 5 to 20 years and with an expected effect on eco-efficiency ranging from a factor of 1.5 up to 5.4
3. Systems renewal through jump-like changes that grow out of long-term research and affect structure, culture and technology fundamentally at time scales of over 20 years. Such drastic renewal of technology demands redefinition of existing technology development approaches and development of new ones at a scale that can produce increases in eco-efficiency by a factor of 5–50, with a ‘factor 20’ as a target (to begin with for developed countries) . The time scales of these approaches correspond to the time scope of actions as well as to the time scope of their results.
These approaches are complimentary. With the first two time has to be gained to develop the third one.
The ambition of systems renewal can only be realised through co-operation between relevant stake holders who can be grouped as: Governmental bodies Science and technology.
NGO’s including consumers and local communities.
These parties act in their own arena and keep accounts in their own currency. To ensure broad participation in the process of systems renewal stakeholders should each be able to recognise the possibility to profit in their arena. At the same time the parties should trust the balance of positions.
In the process of system renewal the specific responsibilities, attitudes and term of action have to be taken into account.
Interaction among these dimensions of change results in different characterisations of actions and involved actors.
In industrialised countries like The Netherlands, system optimisation and system improvement are well covered by existing policies and policy instruments. The challenge is to initiate a process of systems renewal. The ‘future generations concept’ implies the necessity to achieve systems renewal within 20–50 years. The development of a fundamental system renewal takes several decades to move from ‘concept to market’. This time frame is far beyond terms that are usual in business.
Given these characteristics, initiating processes of systems renewal will entail coping with questions and dilemmas such as:
How to handle the uncertainties involved in long-term trends and risks, including variations in risk perceptions that are based on different appreciation of normative and scientific analyses and future expectations?
What new roles and forms of co-operation between market, science and technology, government and NGOs will be demanded and how will they bring the specific strengths, weaknesses and responsibilities of these groups into account?
How to involve interested actors and stakeholders?
Bridging between the drive of competition and the necessity of co-operation. Arrangements crossing (economic) sectoral borders.
In systems renewal all aspects of sustainability: physical, economic and social are at stake from a principal point of view as well as from the practical interest of viability of new means, products and processes. This requires transparency and participation in the process architecture.
The rules for the architecture of innovation processes for renewal ranging from small scale up to supranational may be designed by combining the experiences gained up to now. Integration of different domains of knowledge (disciplines, sectors, institutions) proves to be essential to obtain viable results and broadly supported development processes. The architecture should bridge a number of sincere dilemmas and describe the necessary attitudes of actors and stakeholders to initiate substantial innovation processes.
Systems renewal, experiences and conditions
An essential element to direct development processes is a broadly shared future orientation such as the commitment to reconstruct and rebuild Europe that was manifest in the post (Second World War) war period. At a global scale, ‘Our common future’  and Agenda 21 have provided this kind of orientation. Unfortunately, this orientation has not been sufficiently concrete to identify and initiate the necessary governmental sustainable development challenges in terms of eco-efficiency oriented policies (even Kyoto is very modest in its ambitions when compared with the nature of the problem). In the private sphere, however, actors like the WBCSD and the ‘Factor X’ Institute have acknowledged the necessity of jump-like improvements in eco-efficiency. In The Netherlands, experience (see
Appendix A) with innovation processes that open options for radical renewal in technology systems over the long term can be initiated and managed. Systems innovation has been thoroughly investigated and practised by the Dutch National Council on Agricultural
Research and their efforts illustrate that the development of shared visions and ambitions is possible.
Back casting from need to means and from future to present has proved to be a very helpful instrument. It should be noted, that while these Dutch experiences were inspired by national policies, they each retain a ‘stand alone’ character specific to the case. This is not
the case in a New Zealand foresight program , however, in which a back casting approach was used to produce national development policies for the medium term (15 years). It also appears possible to fit presentations ‘Towards an agenda for European Agricultural research’ in a frame corresponding to the STD approach.
Organising broad co-operation across borders between economic sectors and between private parties, public parties and science and technology is essential to obtain commitments sufficient to sustain long lasting, viable action and research and development programs. Such cooperation has been successfully organised in the UK foresight programs and in the Portuguese program ‘Industria Y Tecnologi’ and appears in almost all other projects. In Sweden a 21st century program based on back casting from an orientation on Sustainable
Sweden is being set up. Altogether the conclusion is that useful experiences are gained.
Consciousness, knowledge and skills are essential human capacities in the process of sustainable development. Education is one of the key factors in building these capacities. A more specific focus can be derived for the different operational approaches as identified before. In particular, leadership in systems renewal requires trans-disciplinary skills and knowledge of processes of human change on top of existing disciplinary knowledge and skill especially in higher educations.
Integration of sustainability in education is increasingly being programmed in a number of universities and high schools. Examples are the Association for Global
Sustainability, a co-operation between MIT (Massachusetts Institute for Technology), the ETH in Zu¨rich and the University of Tokyo—and another example is the ‘Education in sustainable development’—program at Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands.
Starting a process of systems renewal is regarded to be highly imperative. To this end the following conditions have to be fulfilled:
1. Recognition by public and private parties of the need to develop long-term societal and entrepreneurial strategies in the light of ‘rapidly’ changing conditions.
2. Consistent efforts to facilitate the development of long-term (±50 years) global and robust future orientations at different levels of government through broad participation.
3. Effort by relevant authorities to frame domains of needs and to demonstrate that fulfilling these needs through available and foreseen technologies will cause severe (future) ecological and social tensions at relevant regional scales.
4. Development of mechanisms and instruments for co-operation among private organisations, science and technology, NGOs and governments that can foster the articulation of strategies for sustainable development and the development sustainable technologies within this framework through the combined efforts of the stake holders.
5. The development of mechanisms and instruments that cover long-term private economic risks and ascertain the commitment and involvement of private parties in the development of new technologies.
Renewal, improvement and optimisation
Broadly shared future orientations serve primarily as a source for a back casting procedure to design innovation paths for the development of sustainable technologies or policy programs (systems renewal).
Integral and partial processes, flexibility
A heavily co-ordinated top–down procedure may well result in a killing bureaucratic system. The expression ‘future orientation’ ‘rather than ‘view’ or ‘picture’ not to say ‘blue print’ is meant to indicate that the orientation should be a rough one giving room for specific interpretations and flexible adaptation. Like the WCED report ‘Our common future’ (1987) gives an orientation on development. Another illustration is the common goal in the post war period in Western Europe: rebuild and reconstruct Europe. Future orientations may well be developed through top–down as well as bottom–up approaches. The bottom–up approach delivers indications on the desired terms of reference for higher levels, but has the disadvantage of lacking in insight into the effects of neighbouring orientations. The top–down approach indicates the systems borders and may be essential to gain an overview of the dominant robust trends in society and governance. The conclusion is that top–down and bottom–up approaches are complimentary and may be applied without heavy formal coordination.
Communication between relevant parties, however, is essential. The different levels of exploration may be regarded as a sequence of divergent and convergent processes.
Exploration of the renewal of needs systems has taught us that need systems are interwoven with sectoral and geographical systems. In sustainable development, these systems as such, depending on their scale and level can benefit from systems renewal. For example, the need for shelter that has to be fulfilled in a geographical defined area (region) by means of, among others, ‘construction facilities’.
For a wide application of system renewal some severe barriers have to be overcome.
Lack of ability and/or will of private enterprises to develop strategic long-term planning.
Lack of abilities and/or will of governmental bodies to face the consequences and impossibilities of long-term continuation of traditional economic growth in view of the growing world population and over exploitation of the environment at large.
Non-eco-efficient and non-renewal approach in constructing physical infrastructural hardware (main ports, air ports, motor ways, rail road’s etc.) that block development of new eco-efficient technologies and policies.
Putting systems renewal into practice in the STD research program surfaced tensions between participants’ standard practices and the requirements of the systems renewal process. The most relevant tensions highlighted in the STD experience include the following:
Process and products: One drawback of systems renewal is that it requires a continuous process in the direction set by terms of reference. Decision makers who have to invest in this process usually demand a concrete and recognisable description of the results of the process to defend their interest in it. Especially in the early phases of development such fixation on a concrete model or goal for the process can block creativity in developing new options. This makes funding these phases that are essential for obtaining new options a hard job.
Disciplinary status ↔ transdisciplinary effectiveness:
Systems renewal demands fusing knowledge across disciplines, sectors and institutions. The status of such interdisciplinary work remains low, however, in scientific publications and in peer evaluations for funding research programs.
Political competencies ↔ formal representation democracy ↔ participation:
In the existing political culture, tensions may arise between the participatory decision-making that takes place in systems renewal and formal democratic institutions. In participatory processes, governors may accept obligations to the participating parties. In the set-up of a future orientation, for example, the government should commit to facilitating the set-up without claiming more influence than other participating partners. In the political arena, however, the governor has to defend the result exclusively from his point of view. Situations in which representatives, who never participated in the process, demand conflicting changes in the outcome are especially destructive.
SYSTEMS RENEWAL IN GOVERNMENTAL PRACTISES
Policies that promote systems renewal differ essentially from more traditional environmental policies that point to systems optimisation and systems improvement.
The degree of uncertainty, the scope of action, the accentuation in the sequence from production process to need fulfilment result in essentially differing driving forces and the effect of administrative incentives implies a different role and attitude from the government.
Compared with system optimisation and system improvement, systems renewal is characterised by a long time scale, a high rate of uncertainty, high levels of complexity, the involvement of many actors, and strong interactions among ‘culture–structure–technology’.
Consequently this demands a different governmental, approach that will shape conditions for sustainable development.
Technology forcing by setting (future) standards may lead to systems optimisation and improvement up to middle long terms, it will not evoke private parties to undertake the risky development of systems renewal. Government can forbid private parties to act irresponsibly, but cannot command them to take the future risks of development.
Against this background, governmental parties have to play an active role in coping new questions and dilemmas, as mentioned in Section 1. This requires a changing and a more active role for the government with respect to:
- Taking responsibility for development of shared future orientations, as a basis for setting up long-term systems renewal programs.
- Sharing risk with private parties and science and technology in long-term systems renewal development programs.
- Participation in and organising of co-operation between relevant stake holders.
- Developing structures and opportunities that facilitate the participation of non-industrial stakeholders.
In time and intensity, these changes may run parallel to the subsequent changes in systems from optimisation on the short term up to renewal at the long term.
ROLE OF STATE JUDICIARY IN PROTECTING ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
Judiciary is also a part of state and it is continuously making laws and working hard not only for protecting environment but also in promoting sustainable development in fact judiciary in India has created new “environmental jurisprudence”.
The tide of judicial considerations in environment litigation in India symbolizes the anxiety of courts in finding out appropriate remedies for environment maladies. The adherence to the principle of sustainable development is now a constitutional requirement. How much damage to the ecology has been done has got to be decided on the facts of each case. Therefore courts are required to balance development needs with the protection of the environment and ecology it is the duty of the state under our Constitution to devise and implement a coherent and co-ordinated programme to meet its obligation of sustainable development based on inter-generational equity.
On the wake of the 21st century it is neither feasible nor practicable to have negative approach to the development process of the country or of the society, but that does not mean, without any consideration for the Environment. The society shall have to prosper, but not at the cost of the environment and n the similar vein, the environment shall have to be protected but not at the cost of development of society.
The problem of environmental degradation is a social problem. Considering the growing awareness and the impact of this problem on the society in regard there-to, law courts should also rise upto to the occasion to deal with the situation as it demands in the present day context. Law courts have a social duty since it is a part of the society and as such, must always function having due regard to the present day problems which the society faces. It is now well settled principle of law that socio-economic conditions of the country cannot be ignored by a court of law because the benefit of the society ought to be the prime consideration of law courts. Thus, the courts must take cognizance of the environmental problem.
The judiciary in India has played a very important role in the environmental protection and has applied the principles of sustainable development while deciding the cases. There are number of cases on this point and, therefore, it will necessary to study and analyse a few important cases in his area. It is also worthwhile to mention here that most of the environmental cases have come before the courts through “Public Interest Litigation” (PIL).
WHY CHALLENGES OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT ARE CHALLENGES OF STATE
Sustainable development is a duty of every state because under chapter-4 of our Indian constitution and likewise in constitution of every other country state is bounded with some form of duties and liabilities and to fulfil them is there responsibility.
As per our Indian constitution in directive principle of state policy state is responsible for the economic prosperity and equality, social upbringing, educational upliftment, cultural satisfaction and indiscrimination or environment protection.
Out of which Article 47, article 48, Article48 -A are some of the important articles fulfilment of which is important for present as well as future generation. Or fulfilment of which in present will result in better future and carelessness can be result in liability of state.
According to article 47 state have duty to raise the level of nutrition and standard of living and to improve public health.
Under article 48-A state have duty of protection and improvement of environment and safeguarding of forest and wildlife. In same chapter under article 38 it is state only which is responsible for the promotion of welfare of the people-
In that it was said that state shall strive to promote the welfare of the people by securing and protecting as effectively as it may a social order in which justice, social, economic and political, shall inform all the institution of the national life.
Secondly state shall in particular, strive to minimise the inequalities in income and endeavour to eliminate inequalities in status facility and opportunities, not only amongst individual but also amongst groups of people residing in different areas.
Under article 39 of the same chapter of our Indian constitution state is provided with certain principles or policy.
These all are the duties of state for fulfilling the needs of present generation but if not used properly and sustainably than I future state will become responsible and liable for future generation. in this way in doing sustainable development state will become responsible for present generation and on not following it to future generation.
We have made enough progress, or taken the warnings seriously enough to allow us to grasp and confront our biggest, most pressing problem but still there is much more improvement needed.
State very much responsibility and in both the cases that is in following and not following the concept of sustainable development state have challenges in front of it. In following it too state has to take keen and proper measures for satisfaction and social order of present time.
Unfortunately the answer is no. we are lacking we didn’t made that progress and state need to work much harder than ever before. State need to take it as challenge and put their best by fulfilling their responsibility and also general public need to go beyond exchanging opinions – no matter how fiercely they are held – and look at the facts and figures. We also need to move beyond jargon. After all, it is this kind of inclusive and broad-based dialogue that will produce the most widely-supported decisions and strongest results.
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