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).
Reaching the goals requires action on all fronts—governments, businesses, civil society, and people everywhere all have a role to play.
To find out more about the Sustainable Development Goals, explore our SDG Knowledge Hub—an online resource center for daily 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.
IISD's focus areas
IISD is guided by five priorities that we deem ripe for transformation, where shifts in policy have the potential to change the nature of the game within this decade.
Build the capacity to act together on sustainability.
Address the causes of climate change and adapt to its impact.
Foster fair and sustainable economies.
Deliver insights that spark action on sustainable development.
Support the sustainable management of our natural resources.
Data Dashboard Visualizes SDG Status Across the World
New platform and indicator report highlight the importance of robust data reporting in policy-making.
WTO Negotiations on Fisheries Subsidies: What's the state of play?
With only a few months to conclude WTO talks on fisheries subsidies, this update is an overview of the draft text circulated by the Chair of negotiations.
What Trump's EPA Rollbacks Show Us About the Importance of Co-Benefits
A recent ruling on how the EPA regulates mercury could have wide-ranging impacts on U.S. citizens and the environment.
Fisheries Subsidies Video Series
As part of its work to support a meaningful WTO agreement to discipline harmful fisheries subsidies, the IISD has produced a series of six videos to summarize the key issues to be resolved across the WTO fisheries subsidies negotiations.
Potential Implementation Steps of a WTO Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies
As members of the WTO negotiate new rules to curb harmful fisheries subsidies, this policy brief examines the potential steps governments could take to implement successful subsidy reform that promotes more sustainable fisheries.
Mapping India's Energy Subsidies 2020: Fossil fuels, renewables and electric vehicles
How have India’s energy subsidy policies changed? What have been the most significant developments in India’s dynamic energy policy environment? And is public support aligned with India’s desired energy future?
Down to Earth Podcast
This podcast asks questions about the sustainability challenges facing our planet today and then tracks down experts to help answer them.
How to Deal with Climate Change Without Getting Depressed
This episode explores the impacts of climate change on mental health, and what we can do about it.
How to Turn Fast Fashion into Sustainable Fashion
This episode is about sustainability in the clothing industry and how years of over-consumption and unsafe manufacturing has led to a counter-industry striving to do better.
How Farmers in Zanzibar Are Tackling Climate Change From the Ground Up
This episode reveals how farmers on a small island off Tanzania are finding creative ways to regenerate the local ecosystem and adapt to climate change.