The globalization of environmental governance has been accompanied by pressure to try new and innovative procedures, including expanding the range and role of the non-state actors involved. Thus, while states continue to serve as the primary repositories of authority in relation to environmental management Young a , there are increased calls for more participatory practices so as to enhance both the legitimacy and democratic nature of the way in which society engages with the promotion of sustainable development.
At the same time, sub-national, regional and local engagement also acts as a pressure for the development of new forms of governance, not least so that regional variations, capacity and needs can be taken into account in development plans. There is a clear relationship between the type and mode of governance and the success of efforts to promote sustainable development.
The structure of the book This book is divided into three parts. Part I presents a theoretical and conceptual exploration of sustainable development. Part II looks at the multilevel engagement with sustainable development, including international efforts and the involvement of the sub-national, local level. Part III looks at the promotion of sustainable development in different social, political and economic contexts. Part I Chapter 2 provides the conceptual framework that informs the discussions in the rest of the book.
It explores the variations in meaning and subsequent disputes over the value of the concept, and pays particular attention to the authoritative Brundtland formulation. The elaboration of a unifying or precise definition of the concept is less important than understanding the political, economic and social challenges presented by efforts to promote sustainable development in practice.
The ladder of sustainable development, as elaborated by Baker et al. Part II Chapter 3 explores the rationale behind, significance of and theoretical explanations for the construction of a global regime for the promotion of sustainable development. It aims to develop a historically informed, critical awareness of the significant role played by the UN. It looks at how the understanding that the promotion of sustainable development is a global challenge has been stimulated by and, in turn, has stimulated a new era of global environmental governance.
This will familiarize the reader with historical developments at the global level and their institutional expressions. Chapter 4 provides the reader with an understanding of the links between the promotion of sustainable development and the resolution of certain, critical, global environmental problems. The Rio Earth Summit led to two binding conventions, on climate change and on biological diversity. Both conventions are examined in some detail, as they raise a number of key issues that are of concern for this book. In relation to climate change, these include the marked imbalance in resource use between the industrialized world and the Third World, and hence the differences in the burden each is placing on the limited carrying capacity of the environment.
It also gives an ideal opportunity to explore the way in which the principles of sustainable development help shape the concrete responses taken to particular environmental problems. In relation to biodiversity, there are growing disputes between the interests of the biotechnology industry of the industrialized world and Third World countries over who should have access to and use of plant and animal genetic resources.
Efforts both to manage climate change and to conserve biodiversity throw into sharp relief the tension between economic development and environmental protection, both within the developing world and also within the high-consumption societies of the West. Chapter 5 explores the tensions involved in global regimes seeking to facilitate bottom-up engagement with sustainable development. The promotion of sustainable development is being encouraged by top-down, global environmental management regimes.
This chapter begins with an outline of the aims and objectives of LA It then goes on to explore the experiences within several countries in organizing LA This will include short case studies of countries from both the industrialized world and the Third World. The extent to which LA21 contributes to new forms of participatory governance that help to promote sustainable development, and the structural challenges involved in that undertaking, is critically assessed. Part III Chapter 6 outlines efforts to promote sustainable development in highconsumption societies.
The EU provides an important exemplar of efforts to translate into practice the declaratory statements issued after the Rio Earth Summit. The extent to which EU practice is in keeping with the spirit and principles of Rio is examined. The discussion points to the need for new patterns of sustainable consumption and sustainable production. In the EU context, social actors play a key role in the shift to sustainable consumption; firms and industry, including business interest associations, play a vital role in shifting to more sustainable forms of production.
This turns attention to an exploration of the relationship between sustainable development and ecological modernization. Chapter 7 looks at the promotion of sustainable development in the Third World. The issues raised stand in contrast to the challenges facing high-consumption societies. Protection of the environment and achieving necessary economic development are closely linked with the need to address issues of global justice, poverty and equity in resource use and in the terms of global trade.
An additional aim of the chapter is to infuse gender awareness into the study of sustainable development. Chapter 8 focuses attention on the challenges involved in the countries in transition in Eastern and Central Europe. It asks, within the context of marketization and democratization, what the prospects are for the promotion of sustainable development in transition countries. This question is explored through the lens of the May Eastern enlargement of the EU. The conclusion of the book returns to the conceptual and theoretical issues raised in the introduction. It argues that this model has a limited understanding of progress, prioritizes growth and fails to recognize the relationship between economic, social and ecological systems.
The sustainable development model represents a new approach towards development and the steering of social change. The Brundtland formulation of sustainable development has attained authoritative status. Sustainable development and the environment Barry, J. Lafferty, W. Paehlke, R. Redclift, M. Environmental governance Gupta, J. Kooiman, J. Young, O. Sustainable development as a contested political concept. Ladder of sustainable development; strong and weak sustainable development.
Normative principles of sustainable development. Rejection of the principle of sustainable development. This chapter explores the Brundtland understanding of sustainable development. It focuses on the Brundtland formulation because it has achieved authoritative status. In this chapter the historical origins of the concept of sustainable development are outlined. The Brundtland formulation is then explored in detail. The key normative principles that are associated with the concept are discussed. Finally, attention is turned to the rejection of the model of sustainable development by certain Green theorists and environmental activists.
The chapter forms the basic conceptual building block necessary for understanding the rest of this book. For this reason, it is indicated when discussions in this chapter are relevant to the issues addressed in the other chapters that follow. It was not until the s and the s, however, that a significant segment of public opinion expressed such unease. These decades were marked by the intensification of anxiety about the environment, particularly the health hazards caused by industrial pollution.
This led, in turn, to environmental critiques of conventional, growth-orientated, economic development. Initially, this concern led to calls, in some quarters, for zero-growth strategies, especially following the publication of the Club of Rome report, The Limits to Growth Meadows et al. The report, undertaken by a group of young scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, concluded that, if present trends in population growth, food production, resource use and pollution continued, the carrying capacity of the planet would be exceeded within the next years.
The result would be ecosystem collapse, famine and war.
It was also seen to present an overly pessimistic view of the rate of resource depletion on a global scale. This presents the enormous challenge of sorting out when and what type of growth is, or is not, acceptable Paehlke It aimed at achieving sustainable development through the conservation of living resources. However, its focus was rather limited, primarily addressing ecological sustainability, as opposed to linking sustainability to wider social and economic issues.
The establishment of the WCED and its links with the emerging system of international environmental management, or governance, are discussed more fully in Chapter 3. The Brundtland Report makes four key links in the economy — society — environment chain Box 2. A good example of environmental linkages is provided when deforestation leads to soil erosion, which, in turn, can cause silting of rivers and lakes. Environmental and economic problems are linked with social and political factors, as seen, for example, when rapid population growth leads to stresses on the physical environment.
These, in turn, can be related to the position of women in society. Improvements in the social, political, economic and educational position of women in society generally tends to lead to a reduction in the birth rate and a slowdown in population growth. These linkages operate not only within, but also between, nations — many links operate globally. For example, the highly subsidized agriculture of the North erodes the viability of agriculture in the developing countries, as do the terms of international trade. These linkages raise a whole series of issues, which are addressed throughout this book.
While Chapter 4 deals with matters related to climate change, the gender dimension is discussed in Chapter 7 and issues of trade and the environment are examined in Chapter 8. Box 2. Environmental stresses and patterns of economic development are linked with one another. Source: adapted from WCED 37— This differs from the previous IUCN approach, mentioned above, which linked the environment with conservation, not with development. However, in most cultures fundamental needs are similar, and include subsistence, protection, affection, understanding, participation, creation, leisure, identity and freedom Pepper The industrialized world consumes in excess of these basic needs, because it understands development primarily in terms of ever increasing material consumption.
It challenges the industrialized world to keep consumption patterns within the bounds of what is ecologically possible and set at levels to which all can reasonably aspire. This change allows necessary development in the South. Growth must be revived in developing countries because that is where the links between economic growth, the alleviation of poverty, and environmental conditions operate most directly.
Yet developing countries are part of an interdependent world economy: their prospects also depend on the levels and patterns of growth in industrialized nations. WCED 51 The second focus on limitations, imposed by the state of technology and social organization, presents an optimistic view of our common future. It is optimistic because it presents a vision of the future that contains within it the promise of progress, opened up through technological development and societal change. The Brundtland conception of sustainable development does not assume that growth is both possible and desirable in all circumstances.
There is a danger in this ecosystem approach, however, in that it sustains what is of instrumental value for human beings and does not protect nature for its own sake. Such an approach has strong anthropocentric underpinnings, a matter discussed later in this chapter. A similar anthropocentric approach underlies two other, related concepts. Ecological footprint refers to the impact of a community on natural resources and ecosystems, taking account of the land area and the natural capital on which the community draws to sustain its population and production structure Wackernagel and Rees The term is particularly useful for looking at the environmental impact of urban development.
The more populous and richer a city, the larger its ecological footprint, in terms both of its demands on resources and the size of the area from which those resources are drawn. Many cities not only appropriate resources and carrying capacity from their own rural and resource regions but also from other locations, including globally Roseland The concept of ecological footprint has been used in national environmental planning in the Netherlands and forms part of the range of new tools of environmental policy that have developed in recent decades, including environmental assessment and lifecycle analysis Dresner Brundtland hoped that agreement on what type of growth is or is not acceptable, and under what circumstances, could be reached through the development of mutual understanding, through dialogue and through the negotiation of new, and the strengthening of existing, international environmental conventions and agreements.
This, in turn, requires new patterns of, and institutions for, global environmental governance — a development discussed in Chapter 3. The Brundtland formulation presents an optimistic view, especially in relation to the capacity of humankind to engage collectively and constructively in bringing about a sustainable future. It also places strong emphasis on, and hope in, technological development.
However, Brundtland envisages building a common future on more fundamental processes of change, which involve not just technological and institutional but also social and economic, as well as cultural and lifestyle changes. Sustainable development is a process of change in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investment, the orientation of technological development, and institutional change are all in harmony and enhance both current and future potential to meet human needs and aspirations.
This allows the concept to provide a framework for the integration of environmental policies and development strategies into a new development paradigm — one that breaks with the perception that environmental protection can be achieved only at the expense of economic development. The new development paradigm contains many features Box 2. Meeting essential needs for jobs, food, energy, water and sanitation. Merging environmental and economic considerations in decision making.
Stabilizing population size relative to available resources. Dealing with demographic problems in the context of poverty elimination and education. Reducing agricultural subsidies and protection in the North. Supporting subsistence farmers. Linking agricultural production with conservation. Shifting the terms of trade in favour of small farmers. Addressing inequality in access to and distribution of food. Introducing land reform.
Halting the destruction of tropical forests. Building up a network of protected areas. Establishing an international species convention. Funding biodiversity preservation. Conserving and enhancing the natural resource base. Providing for substantially increased primary energy use by the Third World. Ensuring that economic growth is less energy-intensive. Developing alternative energy systems.
Promoting the ecological modernization of industry. Accepting environmental responsibility, especially by transnational corporations. Agreeing tighter control over the export of hazardous material and waste. Ensuring a continuing flow of wealth from industry to meet essential human needs. Reorienting technology and the management of risk. Addressing the problems caused by population shifts from the countryside. Developing settlement strategies to guide urbanization. Ensuring that urban development is matched by the provision of adequate services.
Source: adapted from WCED While the Brundtland model provides a set of guidelines, it is not detailed enough to determine actual policies. These have to be worked out in practice, through, for example, international negotiations. However, as will be seen, a distinction needs to be drawn between what Brundtland argues ought to be the case and what is actually the case in practice, as actors, including governments, at the international, national or sub-national levels, have engaged with the promotion of sustainable development — a gap revealed in several of the following chapters.
Several factors combined to help the Brundtland formulation become the dominant concept in international discussions of the environment and development. First, the formulation offered a way of reconciling what had hitherto appeared to be conflicting societal goals. Second, it came at a time when the problem of environmental deterioration, especially of pollution, was high on the political agenda.
This followed the discovery of the ozone hole above Antarctica and the Chernobyl nuclear accident. Third, Brundtland supported developing countries in their pursuit of the goals of economic and social improvement. However, as will become clear throughout this book, many actors, while adopting a commitment to sustainable development, have not embraced the full agenda of change that was envisaged by Brundtland. It presents sustainable development as a model of social change. It adopts a global focus. It constructs a three-pillar approach: reconciliation of the social, economic and ecological dimensions of change.
It takes a positive attitude towards development: environmental protection and economic development can be mutually compatible goals and may even support each other. It argues that the state of technology and social organization limits development: progress in these areas can open up new development possibilities. It recognizes that there are ultimate biophysical limits to growth. It takes explicit account of the needs of the poor, especially in the Third World. It recognizes that the planetary ecosystem cannot sustain the extension of the high consumption rates enjoyed in industrialized countries upward to the global level.
It holds that the consumption patterns of the North are driven by wants, not needs.
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It thus challenges the North to reduce its consumption to within the boundaries set by ecological limits and by considerations of equity and justice. It acknowledges the responsibility of present generations to future generations. It calls for new models of environmental governance, ranging across all levels, from the local to the global.
It has achieved authoritative status in international environmental and development discourse and international environmental governance structures and legal frameworks. It is beyond the scope of this chapter to explore this range. Environmental sustainability: preservation of natural environmental systems and processes, or addressing environmental issues to maintain social institutions and processes. Sustainable society: living within boundaries established by ecological limits, but linked with ideas of social equity and justice.
Sustainable development: maintaining a positive process of social change. Source: adapted from Meadowcroft A sustainable yield is a harvest rate that can, in principle, be maintained indefinitely. It has come under particular criticism from environmentalists. They argue that the concept is too narrow in its focus. Its use in calculating sustainability yields from specific fishing stocks ignores the potential for human management to actually disrupt the delicate and poorly understood balances that operate across the marine ecosystem as a whole Young Environmental sustainability is a more ambiguous concept.
It can refer to two separate ideas. The second is the need to address environmental issues if social institutions and processes are to be maintained Meadowcroft The use of the term, however, has not been straightforward. From these examples, it can be seen that the broadening of the concept of sustainable development, coupled with its popularity, has given rise to ambiguity and lack of consistency in the use of the term.
Attempts to overcome this problem have led to the elaboration of sustainable development indicators, discussed in Chapter 3. The lack of clarity has also been politically advantageous, because it has allowed groups with different and often conflicting interests to reach some common ground upon which concrete policies can be developed.
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More important, the search for a unitary and precise meaning of sustainable development may well rest on a mistaken view of the nature and function of political concepts Lafferty This makes sustainable development an essentially contested concept Lafferty In liberal democracies the debates around these contested concepts form an essential component of the political struggle over the direction of social and economic development — that is, of change Lafferty Substantive political arguments are part of the dynamics of democratic politics and the process of conscious steering of societal change.
Such arguments are important as they can stimulate creative thinking and practice. The ladder offers a useful heuristic device for understanding the variety of policy imperatives that are associated with different approaches to the promotion of sustainable development. These approaches can be adopted by governments, by organizations or by individual Green thinkers or activists. Each column in Table 2. Reading across the ladder identifies the political scenarios and policy implications associated with each rung. The ladder also tracks the connection between these positions and particular philosophical beliefs about nature and about the relationship between human beings and the natural world.
The philosophical underpinning The varieties of approaches to sustainable development are an indication of differing beliefs about the natural world held in different societies, cultures and historical settings and at the individual level. In contrast, ecocentrics hold the view that nature has intrinsic value. It is aimed at creating a partnership, based on reciprocity, between human beings and nature. These two different perspectives have important implications for the design and implementation of policies. The ecocentric approach focuses on the community level and espouses small-scale, locally based technology.
The objective is to maintain social and communal well-being and not merely the harmonious use of natural resources Baker et al. When speaking about sustainable development, making too sharp a distinction between the anthropocentric and ecocentric positions on nature is not wise, however. This is because the main motivation behind any conception or theory of sustainable development is human interest in human welfare Dobson This is certainly true of the Brundtland formulation. With its emphasis on human needs, promoting sustainable development is, in this formulation, a way in which to ensure that development a human activity is sustainable over time.
While this may involve the protection of the natural resource base, the rationale for this protection is essentially a human-centric one: it is protected because it is necessary for our well-being. Nevertheless, ranging attitudes towards nature along a continuum from anthropocentric to ecocentric is useful. At one extreme, nature is seen only in relation to its use to human beings. Moving along the continuum, sustainable development becomes a challenge to devise a more environmentally friendly approach to planning and resource management.
Reaching the other extreme, so deep is the Green philosophy that sustainable development is viewed as managerial interference with nature and her natural cycles. Grouping the different policy imperatives in the ladder At the foot of the ladder is the pollution control approach. It is not that the environment is given no consideration, but rather there is an underlying assumption that, given the freedom to innovate, human ingenuity, especially expressed through technology, can solve any environmental problem Simon and Kahn A good example of this approach is found in the so-called Heidelberg Appeal, released by a group of business interests during the Rio Earth Summit.
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In evidence of the capacity of human beings to manage their environment, supporters of the pollution control approach point to the empirical claim that pollution typically arises in the early stages of industrial development, followed by a stage when pollution is no longer regarded as an acceptable side effect of economic growth and when pollution control policies are introduced Arrow et al.
However, this theory ignores the fact that high-pollution activities can be displaced from the industrialized to the developing world, thereby reducing pollution in one place but not at the overall, global level. Japan provides a good example of such behaviour, as it has the aluminium needed for its industrial production smelted elsewhere and uses the forest resources of other countries to provide the packing needed for the consumer goods it produces, while maintaining high levels of forest protection at home. The price is based on what people would be willing to pay to protect that natural capital.
Because decisions are based on ability to pay, less weight is given to the interests of the poor and the future. It is hard to see how [money] is a good measuring rod when comparing the preferences of Americans and Bangladeshis, or people today and people a hundred years from now. Dresner The object of policies to promote weak sustainable development remains economic growth, but environmental costs are taken into consideration through, for example, accounting procedures.
This is possible because the environment is considered to be a measurable resource. Weak sustainable development has a growing influence on international agencies, including the World Bank, discussed in Chapter 7. It has led to the development of environmental management and of many new environmental policy tools, including Environmental Impact Assessment, and of adjustments to the market to take account of market failure through fees, taxes and tradable permits.
Whereas Pearce asserts that economic development is a precondition for environmental protection, strong sustainable development asserts that environmental protection is a precondition for economic development Baker et al. Or should they be invested in other forms of capital, such as human capital, through investment in education Dresner ? Weak sustainability assumes almost total substitutability by technology, whereas strong sustainability assumes some substitutability but imposes strict limits on how much human capital can compensate for running down natural capital. For example, while there may be uncertainties about the science, climate change brings high economic, social and ecological risks, so governments should take action now, lest it be too late to address the problem adequately in years to come.
Promoting this form of sustainable development requires strong state intervention government to be combined with new forms of participation governance. For example, governments need to ensure adequate market regulation and develop new energy and transport policies to deal with climate change. The involvement of consumers, economic interests and local communities is also needed to bring about changes in consumption patterns and to ensure that society makes more use of environmentally friendly transport modes.
Thus the stronger form of sustainable development does not give market forces free rein to determine behaviour. Strong sustainable development also seeks a shift from quantitative growth, where growth is seen as an end in itself and a measure only in material terms, to qualitative development, where quality of life is prioritized.
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This has led several Green economists to develop alternative indicators for the traditional GNP measure of human welfare. It includes calculations for depletion of natural capital, the cost of pollution and social issues such as unemployment and inequality Daly and Cobb This position can be said to promote sustainable development only in so far as it rejects the overall objective of economic growth. The weak form of sustainable development cannot perpetuate itself indefinitely, as it permits the draw-down of natural resources in order to support production.
The stronger form of sustainable development permits growth only under certain limited conditions: when it is designed to deal with necessary development, as in the Third World, and when it is balanced by reduction in growth elsewhere. Strong forms view development over the long term and at the global level. The top rung of the ladder represents the ideal approach to sustainable development. It offers a profounder vision aimed at structural change in society, the economy and political systems. Some who hold this position reject the idea of sustainable development as formulated by Brundtland, but have gone on to modify the Brundtland position by injecting it with more radical, socialist considerations Pepper Within deep ecology, there is a rejection of the assumption that human beings can and ought to manage the environment Katz et al.
As the management of the environment, albeit to different degrees, is an underlying assumption of all efforts to promote sustainable development, it thus rejects the sustainable development project. The environmental groups Earth First! So far, in the discussion of the ladder of sustainable development, the different approaches towards nature and the natural world have been sketched along a continuum.
The sustainable development project is rejected at either extreme, but for exactly opposite reasons: for the pollution control approach, promoting sustainable development is seen as threatening economic growth by taking environmental considerations too much into account; at the opposite extreme, deep ecologists argue that sustainable development displaces considerations of nature, thus taking the environment too little into account Jagers Occupying the middle ground are a range of different understandings of sustainable development; each in turn can be associated with different policy imperatives.
Implicit in the discussion so far has been that there is a link between the promotion of sustainable development and certain ideas about what constitutes right conduct morals. Mention has been made, for example, of links with issues of justice and equity. These moral ideas have begun to permeate the discourse on sustainable development and, as a result, the promotion of sustainable development has now come to be associated with certain norms, or authoritative standards, of behaviour.
To complete the discussion of the concept of sustainable development, these normative principles are explored in greater depth. The normative principles of sustainable development As international engagement with the concept of sustainable development progressed onwards from the time of the Brundtland Report, the term began to be associated with a number of normative principles.
In Brundtland, they were primarily associated with meeting human needs, especially the development needs of the poor and the protection of environmental resources, including global environmental systems such as the climate system. However, Brundtland also introduced other normative aspects into the discussion, and this opened the way for a range of normative principles to come to be associated with the term Box 2. Inter-generational equity. Intra-generational equity. Gender equality. Common but differentiated responsibilities The Stockholm Declaration see Chapter 3 proclaimed the responsibility of governments to protect and improve the environment for present and future generations.
After the Stockholm Conference, several states recognized in their constitutions or laws the right of their citizens to an adequate environment as well as the obligation of the state to protect the environment. This idea of environmental responsibility was further elaborated by the Brundtland Report, which called upon all governments to take responsibility for the environment, because the promotion of sustainable development involves guarding the common fate of humanity. However, in pursuing this responsibility, account has to be taken of the fact that not all countries have contributed in the same way, or to the same extent, to the current environmental crisis.
Moreover, countries have different capacities to take effective action to deal with, or prevent further, environmental deterioration. The principle acknowledges that industrial countries have been the main contributor to environmental problems through their patterns of resource exploitation, production and high consumption. It also recognizes the unequally borne economic effects of implementing international environmental laws and agreements. In short, the use of the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities is driven by equity considerations. This was not an entirely new development.
Prior to the Rio Earth Summit, differential obligations had already appeared in several international legal conventions and agreements, such as the Convention on the Long-range Transport of Air Pollution and the Montreal Protocol on Ozone Depleting Substances The use of differential obligations was especially marked during the s. Differential obligations can take several forms. The Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement designed to address climate change, obliges industrialized countries to reduce their carbon emissions according to a negotiated scale, while developing countries have, as yet, no reduction targets to meet.
Countries can also be given different time scales for implementing their obligations, as well as compensation, funding and resources to help with implementation. The negotiations leading up to the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol starting in , for example, will see a review of current agreements. While drawing upon considerations of equity, the use of the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities has a strong functional logic.
It is often used as a means of ensuring that developing countries sign up to and continue to participate in international environmental management regimes, such as the climate change regime mentioned above. Developing countries may be more motivated to implement conventions that acknowledge their vulnerability in the face of an environmental crisis that they did not primarily cause. When international conventions are faced with pervasive, multi-causal problems that traverse national boundaries, such participation is highly valued Iles The use of the principle thus helps to ensure that efforts to promote sustainable development have a more global reach.
Acrimonious debates also took place over whether the principle should be included in the Johannesburg Declaration released at the end of the World Summit on Sustainable Development WSSD , discussed in Chapter 3. The fact that the United States failed in its repeated attempts to have the phrase omitted from the declaration has been portrayed as perhaps the greatest achievement of the WSSD Iles There is nevertheless a problematic side to the use of the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.
Developing countries, particularly during negotiations on international environmental treaties, often argue that environmental protection measures can interfere with their economic development strategies. The use of the principle may thus help perpetuate the perception that a trade-off exists between the environment and development, despite the fact that the model of sustainable development is designed to break such a perception. There is also the possibility that differential obligations can reinforce environmental degradation by permitting Third World countries to continue polluting, destroying habitats or overusing their resources.
Thus care needs to be taken in the way in which the principle is put into practice if it is to help promote sustainable development at the global level. Inter-generational equity: refers to equity between generations, that is, including the needs of future generations in the design and implementation of current policies.
WCED 5—6 Intra-generational equity This highlights the importance of meeting the basic needs of present generations, given the widely uneven pattern of global development. Present concern about equity acknowledges the inequity in resource use between the North and the South, the rich and the poor, while at the same time seeing poverty as both a cause and a consequence of unsustainable behaviour. Poverty can lead to the over-exploitation of the resources of a local environment to satisfy immediate needs.
Poverty can also lead to the growth of urban slums, which lack adequate infrastructure, especially for sewage and waste disposal, resulting in both health and environmental hazards. There is thus a relationship between poverty and exposure to the negative consequences of environmental degradation, such as polluted water. Such concerns led to the development of the environmental justice movement, particularly in the US. This movement primarily addresses the negative impacts of environmental degradation on human health Martinez-Alier The concerns of the environmental justice movement, however, are narrower than those raised in the sustainable development agenda.
The broader remit of the latter encompasses issues not just of health, but of environmental protection, and the maintenance of biodiversity as well as issues of global equity and justice of access to, and use of, resources. This links the promotion of sustainable development with questions of power and the removal of the disparities in economic and political relationships between the North and South.
For Brundtland, there is a strong functional relationship between social justice and sustainable development, because poverty is a major cause of environmental deterioration and the reduction in poverty is a precondition for environmentally sound development WCED The relationship between social and economic justice and physical sustainability is not just functional — that is, it does not merely serve a particular practical and efficiency purpose — but it is also normative — that is, it is based upon ethical considerations Langhelle Making the link between poverty and environmental harm is not to deny that many Third World communities have devised sustainable coping strategies to deal with resource use problems.
In addition, it is not only the poor who overuse environmental resources but the rich as well, so that the alleviation of poverty does not necessarily lead to the end of environmental degradation. Poverty relief needs to be combined with other policies if environmental degradation is to be halted Dobson The philosopher Edmund Burke —99 also wrote about the idea of inter-generational partnership Ball Promoting sustainable development requires foreclosing as few future options as possible WCED This poses a problem, however, as it is unclear how far into the future these obligations stretch.
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As such, considerations of inter-generational equity require considerable extension of the time scale of current planning and policymaking models and practices. Other theorists have argued that the principle of inter-generational equity brings with it more stringent requirements. He argues that it: would be odd for those who argue for the sustaining of ecological processes to put the wants of the present generation of human beings which might threaten those processes ahead of the needs of future generations of human beings who depend upon them.
Dobson 46 It has also been argued that once the interests of future generations are taken into account, then concern for many features and aspects of the non-human natural world can be generated. This would include concern for other species, which may be essential prerequisites for future generations to meet their needs. The principle of participation Rationale There are both normative and functional reasons why participation is an essential condition for the promotion of sustainable development.
Promoting sustainable development involves making difficult decisions about, for example, reducing consumption levels, or introducing taxes on goods that have a negative environmental impact, or prohibiting or placing restrictions on certain forms of behaviour, such as on the ways of disposing of household waste. These include the value one attributes to nature, for example, whether one wishes to promote nature preservation, or conservation or the unrestricted use of natural resources.
Given these value differences, agreement on the objectives of policy is unlikely unless these objectives are reached through participatory practices. To this functional reason is added the argument that participation is the only approach to policy making that can incorporate the needs of all segments of society, future generations and other species Dryzek ; Pepper This claim is somewhat contentious, however, and is discussed below when some of the problems associated with participation are explored. Participation is also seen as leading to better social choices Fiorino , because it is seen as increasing the evidence base for decisions.
Participation, grounded on both normative and functional rationales, is important because it helps deal with the fact that, in liberal societies, reasonable people disagree about ideals or values. If public authorities do not allow explicit discussion about these competing ideals, they undermine the legitimacy of the process of policy making, foster misunderstanding and lead to unwillingness to abide by policy decisions Bell The importance of participation was recognized at the Rio Earth Summit and was made most explicit in Agenda Since the Brundtland Report was published, the environmental movement has been single-minded in seeking more direct involvement of the public in governmental decision making regarding the environment Paehlke Indeed, participation is seen as a defining characteristic of sustainable development.
A statement by World Humanity Action Trust, an NGO affiliated to the UN, typifies this position, arguing that action by governments alone will not solve the problems underlying the global failure to implement sustainable development. For this group, local and national participation remains at the heart of an integrated policy for the implementation of sustainable development World Humanity Action Trust However, beyond this weak understanding, there is little agreement on what participation actually means Fiorino Elite participation refers to either expert or interest-group participation in policy making.
This form of participation is normal in modern liberal democracies. Many environmental groups and Green political theorists are not content with elite participation, seeking instead another form, which is referred to as democratic participation. This is where people take part in policy making as citizens, not as experts or interest advocates. Civil society. Curtin However, not all countries have developed civil societies and the ability of citizens to participate effectively in policy making varies widely. In Chapter 5 examples are discussed of where civil society remains underdeveloped and where there have been few chances to participate in environmental policy-making processes.
Similarly, Chapter 8 examines how the weak nature of civil society in the transition states of the former communist bloc acts as a barrier to the promotion of sustainable development. This conception stresses the importance of on-going dialogue between citizens. This contrasts with the more traditional forms of sporadic, passive, procedural participation, such as voting.
The former is seen as the key to democratizing decision-making processes, because it requires greater transparency — that is, citizens have access to information held by public authorities. This form of participation is not aimed at giving a voice to individual preferences or interests for their own sake. Participation is not just a means of legitimizing existing sustainable development policies. Thus the call for participation is not just a plea for increased public discourse within the context of existing political and administrative structures and constraints, nor is it merely about the utilization of existing institutions and structures of the state and of public administration.
For many, it is about creating new structures and new processes for governing society. In this argument, participation is a route to achieving new ways of governing society, not merely an end goal in itself. These new forms of governance are the focus of attention in Chapter 3. Problems with participation It is important not to assume that the involvement of civil society, including local and environmental interests, in policy formulation and implementation will necessarily ensure the promotion of sustainable development. However, the assumption that democracy and enhanced environmental protection are mutually reinforcing is open to question Lafferty and Meadowcroft a.
There are good reasons for believing that the relationship between democracy and good environmental practice is far from straightforward. The rise of Nimbyism Not in my back yard-ism provides a good example. Nimbyism is a disparaging term used to describe those who participate in policy making to protect their own narrow interests. This can include, for example, objecting to a particular road development scheme or factory location because it can threaten the value of their property. Participation, for example, opens up the potential for demagogic behaviour and political extremism.
This problem does not just operate at the level of the individual. The development strategy of one region, for example, may deprive another of a resource on which its prosperity has traditionally depended. Likewise, a region may wish to accept levels of environmental risk that its neighbours or national authorities find unacceptable Lafferty and Meadowcroft b. Participation also throws up another problem — who decides what groups or individuals participate and on what basis they participate in policy making?
In such circumstances, should consultation rights be given to avowedly anti-environmental interests? Opening up policy making to groups, including environmental organizations, also means setting up new arrangements that bypass conventional democratic institutions and processes, including processes of accountability and control. This raises the thorny issue of whether or not these new arrangements have democratic legitimacy. Decision making at all levels is allegedly something that happens through elected representatives and through assemblies. However, many of the groups that seek access to the policymaking process are not representative, nor are they accountable.
To ensure that participation and the new governance models it is promoting remain accountable and democratic, such arrangements have to be tightly linked into the democratic systems of government, by, for example, making sure that their influence is secured through the formal political process Blowers There is still need for action to be backed by legal authority and, if necessary, coercive sanctions Lafferty and Meadowcroft b. At a minimum, it breaches the principles of inter-generational and intra-generational equity.
This means that account has to be taken of the fact that environmental degradation affects men and women differently. This arises from the different societal tasks men and women have, from their different roles in relation to reproduction and from the differences in access to and distribution of power. This opens the space for a female-sensitive identification of needs.
In addition, by drawing upon the insights, experience and knowledge that women can bring to the problem, it can help to identify a wider range of policy solutions. The links between women and the environment are explored by feminist environmentalism, a position discussed in Chapter 7. Attention is also paid to a somewhat different position, namely the argument that women and men differ in their relation to nature, in their historical contribution to the environmental crisis and in the type of responsibility they have for overcoming the legacy of past behaviour.
This ecofeminist argument is also discussed in more detail in Chapter 7. Conclusion The popularization of the discourse on sustainable development following the publication of the Brundtland Report should be understood in the broader context of growing ecological awareness, widening disparities between the North and the South, especially the debt burden that has trapped many developing countries in poverty, and the rising opposition to the negative consequences of economic growth in some advanced capitalist nations.
However, not all environmentalists have endorsed the concept of sustainable development. Some reject the project on philosophical grounds, claiming that its underlying motives are too anthropocentric; by others, it is rejected on political grounds, either because it is not radical enough, or because it is far too radical altogether. The Brundtland approach is built upon a belief in the common heritage of humankind, trust in our technology, and optimism about our willingness to engage collectively in the protection of our common future. These normative principles have widened the scope of those to whom environmental obligations are owed beyond states and beyond present generations.
They also place obligations upon the individual, especially as a consumer. This points to the task of the next chapter, which is to discuss the governance dimensions of sustainable development. Promoting sustainable development is about the construction of a new development paradigm, framed within the ecological limits of the planet. More important, it is also a mistaken endeavour in that it misunderstands the function of political concepts.
The policy imperatives associated with promoting sustainable development can be seen in terms of a ladder, ranging from a weak to an ideal form. At either end of the continuum, the sustainable development project is rejected, but for entirely opposite reasons. Environmental economics is distinguished from ecological economics in that ecological economics emphasizes the economy as a subsystem of the ecosystem with its focus upon preserving natural capital.
Central to environmental economics is the concept of market failure. Market failure means that markets fail to allocate resources efficiently. As stated by Hanley, Shogren, and White :  "A market failure occurs when the market does not allocate scarce resources to generate the greatest social welfare. A wedge exists between what a private person does given market prices and what society might want him or her to do to protect the environment. Such a wedge implies wastefulness or economic inefficiency; resources can be reallocated to make at least one person better off without making anyone else worse off.
An externality exists when a person makes a choice that affects other people in a way that is not accounted for in the market price. An externality can be positive or negative, but is usually associated with negative externalities in environmental economics. For instance, water seepage in residential buildings occurring in upper floors affect the lower floors. As a result, pollution may occur in excess of the 'socially efficient' level, which is the level that would exist if the market was required to account for the pollution.
A classic definition influenced by Kenneth Arrow and James Meade is provided by Heller and Starrett , who define an externality as "a situation in which the private economy lacks sufficient incentives to create a potential market in some good and the nonexistence of this market results in losses of Pareto efficiency ". When it is too costly to exclude some people from access to an environmental resource, the resource is either called a common property resource when there is rivalry for the resource, such that one person's use of the resource reduces others' opportunity to use the resource or a public good when use of the resource is non-rivalrous.
In either case of non-exclusion, market allocation is likely to be inefficient. These challenges have long been recognized. Hardin 's concept of the tragedy of the commons popularized the challenges involved in non-exclusion and common property. The basic problem is that if people ignore the scarcity value of the commons, they can end up expending too much effort, over harvesting a resource e.
Hardin theorizes that in the absence of restrictions, users of an open-access resource will use it more than if they had to pay for it and had exclusive rights, leading to environmental degradation. See, however, Ostrom 's work on how people using real common property resources have worked to establish self-governing rules to reduce the risk of the tragedy of the commons. The mitigation of climate change effects is an example of a public good, where the social benefits are not reflected completely in the market price.
This is a public good since the risks of climate change are both non-rival and non-excludable. Such efforts are non-rival since climate mitigation provided to one does not reduce the level of mitigation that anyone else enjoys. They are non-excludable actions as they will have global consequences from which no one can be excluded.
A country's incentive to invest in carbon abatement is reduced because it can " free ride " off the efforts of other countries. Over a century ago, Swedish economist Knut Wicksell first discussed how public goods can be under-provided by the market because people might conceal their preferences for the good, but still enjoy the benefits without paying for them.
Assessing the economic value of the environment is a major topic within the field. Use and indirect use are tangible benefits accruing from natural resources or ecosystem services see the nature section of ecological economics. Non-use values include existence, option, and bequest values. For example, some people may value the existence of a diverse set of species, regardless of the effect of the loss of a species on ecosystem services. The existence of these species may have an option value, as there may be the possibility of using it for some human purpose. For example, certain plants may be researched for drugs.
Individuals may value the ability to leave a pristine environment to their children. Use and indirect use values can often be inferred from revealed behavior, such as the cost of taking recreational trips or using hedonic methods in which values are estimated based on observed prices. Non-use values are usually estimated using stated preference methods such as contingent valuation or choice modelling. Contingent valuation typically takes the form of surveys in which people are asked how much they would pay to observe and recreate in the environment willingness to pay or their willingness to accept WTA compensation for the destruction of the environmental good.
Hedonic pricing examines the effect the environment has on economic decisions through housing prices, traveling expenses, and payments to visit parks. Environmental economics is related to ecological economics but there are differences. Most environmental economists have been trained as economists. They apply the tools of economics to address environmental problems, many of which are related to so-called market failures—circumstances wherein the " invisible hand " of economics is unreliable.
Most ecological economists have been trained as ecologists, but have expanded the scope of their work to consider the impacts of humans and their economic activity on ecological systems and services, and vice versa. This field takes as its premise that economics is a strict subfield of ecology. Ecological economics is sometimes described as taking a more pluralistic approach to environmental problems and focuses more explicitly on long-term environmental sustainability and issues of scale. Environmental economics is viewed as more pragmatic in a price system ; ecological economics as more idealistic in its attempts not to use money as a primary arbiter of decisions.
These two groups of specialists sometimes have conflicting views which may be traced to the different philosophical underpinnings. Another context in which externalities apply is when globalization permits one player in a market who is unconcerned with biodiversity to undercut prices of another who is - creating a race to the bottom in regulations and conservation.
This, in turn, may cause loss of natural capital with consequent erosion, water purity problems, diseases, desertification, and other outcomes which are not efficient in an economic sense. This concern is related to the subfield of sustainable development and its political relation, the anti-globalization movement. Environmental economics was once distinct from resource economics.
Natural resource economics as a subfield began when the main concern of researchers was the optimal commercial exploitation of natural resource stocks. But resource managers and policy-makers eventually began to pay attention to the broader importance of natural resources e. It is now difficult to distinguish "environmental" and "natural resource" economics as separate fields as the two became associated with sustainability.
Many of the more radical green economists split off to work on an alternate political economy. Environmental economics was a major influence on the theories of natural capitalism and environmental finance , which could be said to be two sub-branches of environmental economics concerned with resource conservation in production, and the value of biodiversity to humans, respectively. The theory of natural capitalism Hawken, Lovins, Lovins goes further than traditional environmental economics by envisioning a world where natural services are considered on par with physical capital. The more radical Green economists reject neoclassical economics in favour of a new political economy beyond capitalism or communism that gives a greater emphasis to the interaction of the human economy and the natural environment, acknowledging that "economy is three-fifths of ecology" - Mike Nickerson.
These more radical approaches would imply changes to money supply and likely also a bioregional democracy so that political, economic, and ecological "environmental limits" were all aligned, and not subject to the arbitrage normally possible under capitalism. An emerging sub-field of environmental economics studies its intersection with development economics. Dubbed "envirodevonomics" by Michael Greenstone and B. Kelsey Jack in their paper "Envirodevonomics: A Research Agenda for a Young Field," the sub-field is primarily interested in studying "why environmental quality [is] so poor in developing countries.
In the field of law and economics , environmental law is studied from an economic perspective. The economic analysis of environmental law studies instruments such as zoning, expropriation, licensing, third party liability, safety regulation, mandatory insurance, and criminal sanctions. A book by Michael Faure surveys this literature. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Not to be confused with Ecological economics. Index Outline Category.