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Sustainable Development

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Sustainable development has been defined in many ways, but the most frequently quoted definition is from Our Common Future, also known as the Brundtland Report:

"Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It contains within it two key concepts:

  • the concept of needs, in particular the essential needs of the world's poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and

  • the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment's ability to meet present and future needs."

  • Speech
    Accountability and the Post-2015 Agenda (Speech)

    Accountability and the Post-2015 Agenda (Speech)

    IISD President Scott Vaughan's speech at the President of the 68th Session of the United Nation’s General Assembly’s Interactive Dialogue “Elements...

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  • Speech
    The Challenge of Extreme Events and their Impacts (Speech)

    The Challenge of Extreme Events and their Impacts (Speech)

    IISD President Scott Vaughan's keynote speech at the Canadian Climate Forum's Symposium on Extreme Weather and Adaptation held in Ottawa, ON on...

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  • Commentary
    Sustainable Development in Greenland: Perspectives from a preliminary stakeholder consultation

    Sustainable Development in Greenland: Perspectives from a preliminary stakeholder consultation

    How Greenlandic policy-makers are planning for sustainable investment in their country's natural resources.

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  • Paper
    Towards More Transparent and Effective Policies in the Arctic (Speech notes)

    Towards More Transparent and Effective Policies in the Arctic (Speech notes)

    In this speech, given at the Arctic Circle Inaugural Meeting on October 12-14, 2013, in Reykjavik, IISD Vice-President Mark Halle argues that the...

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  • Commentary
    Safeguarding the Arctic

    Safeguarding the Arctic

    IISD President Scott Vaughan comments on the relationship between sustainable development and emerging sovereignty issues in the Arctic.He suggests...

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  • Annual Report
    Collaboration and Innovation: The Future of Leadership for Sustainable Development — 2012-13 IISD Annual Report

    Collaboration and Innovation: The Future of Leadership for Sustainable Development — 2012-13 IISD Annual Report

    IISD's 2012-2013 annual report reflects the institute's focus on building capacity to accelerate the advancement of our work to meet goals and...

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  • Paper
    Governing Sustainability Globally

    Governing Sustainability Globally

    IISD Vice-President (International) Mark Halle spoke at a panel discussion at Carnegie Tsinghua, alongside Zhang Haibin, professor at Peking...

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  • Commentary
    Chinese NGOs in Africa: An essential link for the future

    Chinese NGOs in Africa: An essential link for the future

    China's engagement with Africa has to date been a story of government-to-government relations.The appearance of China`s first generation of...

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  • Book
    The Future of Sustainable Development: Rethinking sustainable development after Rio+20 and implications for UNEP

    The Future of Sustainable Development: Rethinking sustainable development after Rio+20 and implications for UNEP

    The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) in June 2012—commonly referred to as Rio+20—left many perplexed. If a number of...

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  • Report
    Solutions for Improved Human Well-Being

    Solutions for Improved Human Well-Being

    The 2011-2012 IISD Annual Report highlights the institute's efforts over the past year to meet the core challenge of its strategic plan—to find...

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