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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."

Sustainability is the foundation for today’s leading global framework for international cooperation – the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Each of the 17 SDGs has specific targets to be achieved by 2030. The goals and targets are universal, meaning they apply to all countries around the world, not just poor countries. Reaching the goals requires action on all fronts – governments, businesses, civil society and people everywhere all have a role to play.

Discover how IISD's work relates to the Sustainable Development Goals using our interactive tool. See how Canadian cities are measuring up in our indicator portal. Or explore our SDG Knowledge Hub, an online resource center for the latest news, original commentary from our experts, guest articles from key actors in SDG implementation, and a calendar of upcoming events related to the 2030 Agenda.

  • Annual Report
    IISD's 2014 / 2015 Annual Report

    IISD's 2014 / 2015 Annual Report

    Fast Forward to Sustainable Development.In this critical year for sustainable development, IISD’s robust, integrated, and applied research is more...

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  • Speech
    Montréal et la nouvelle économie verte (discours)

    Montréal et la nouvelle économie verte (discours)

    Le président-directeur général de l’IISD, Scott Vaughan, discute de l’importance de Montréal (Canada) en tant que centre pour la nouvelle économie...

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  • Brochure
    IISD in Canada: Your partner in building a sustainable future (brochure)

    IISD in Canada: Your partner in building a sustainable future (brochure)

    Sustainability is no longer an issue left to policy-makers, environmental activists and scientific researchers.Leading businesses are becoming...

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  • Brochure
    Arctic Initiative: Empowering bottom-up transformations to sustainability (brochure)

    Arctic Initiative: Empowering bottom-up transformations to sustainability (brochure)

    IISD has identified the Arctic as an area of critical importance to our vision: equity and a healthy planet.We envision an Arctic that respects and...

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  • Annual Report
    Telling Our Stories, Writing Our Future 2013-14 IISD Annual Report

    Telling Our Stories, Writing Our Future 2013-14 IISD Annual Report

    IISD's 2013-2014 annual report tells some of the many stories of how we have successfully achieved sustainable development outcomes....

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  • 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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