Sustainable Development

What is sustainable development? Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

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 cooperationthe 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In June 2022, environmental leaders from around the world met to take stock of where we've been and where we are heading, with the goal of galvanizing momentum for the UN Decade of Action for achieving the SDGs.

These conferences are major milestones in sustainable development governance. But their real test comes from the work that happens every day, from individuals and local communities to international organizations and beyond.

At IISD, we are honoured to be part of the community working towards a world where people and the planet thrive.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The 17 SDGs were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, with 169 targets to reach by 2030 or sooner. The goals and targets are universal, meaning they apply to all countries around the world.

Learn more Explore the SDG Knowledge Hub
Sustainable development goals on poles outside of the SDG summit

A Visual History of Sustainable Development

Achieving the ambition of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and the SDGs requires action on all frontsgovernments, businesses, civil society, and people everywhere all have a role to play.

To find out more about where things stand ahead of the 2030 deadline, explore our SDG Knowledge Huban online resource centre 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.

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Sustainable development is in the news every day as the world copes with our triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution. Be the first to hear what's new and learn about the latest research, events, and more.

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