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.
To find out more about the Sustainable Development Goals, 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.
Sustainable development is in the news every day as the world copes with climate change, biodiversity loss, conflict and resource scarcity. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn and subscribe to our biweekly e-newsletter to stay connected to the global conversation.
Overseeing Agenda 2030—How to Avoid a Repeat of the Commission on Sustainable Development
The High-Level Political Forum is responsible for tracking and facilitating the implementation of Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals. Two things must happen if it is to be successful.Read More
Buildings and Construction: A Sleeping Giant for Climate Action
Today, the construction and operation of buildings is responsible for 40% of all energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Energy demand from this sector is expected to grow by another 50% by 2050.Read More
How Reforming Fossil Fuel Subsidies Can Go Wrong: A lesson from Ecuador
There must be a foundation of trust, along with a clear plan to protect vulnerable segments of the population and, ideally, to phase in the reforms gradually.Read More
The Power of Together: IISD Annual Report 2018-2019
Our 2018-2019 annual report The Power of Together showcases some of the ways we made an impact by bringing together unlikely suspects, sharing knowledge and experience between countries, and encouraging new ideas and unique approaches.Read More
Adaptation to Climate Change: Putting people first
When we talk about solving the climate crisis, we should have more than just a technical lens; we should also be talking about compassion, grief, fear and hope.Read More
Modelling for Sustainable Development: New decisions for a new age
This book provides a detailed overview of models used in designing projects and policies that integrate sustainable development considerations and objectives.Read More
How and Why the U.S. EPA Is Changing its Policy on Mercury
President Trump wants to loosen the US EPA's regulations on mercury. We explore what the proposed changes are, why they would be a mistake and how they could affect the lives of Americans and even Canadians.Read More
Sustainability and Second Life: The case for cobalt and lithium recycling
Adopting recycling in the mining sector and in supply chains is essential to ensure the transition to a low-carbon economy is responsible and sustainable for the longer term.Read More
Our Sustainable Development Holiday Reading List
Looking for a book or podcast on sustainable development to enjoy during the holidays? The IISD team has your holiday reading list ready.Read More
Making Winnipeg a Smart City With New Technologies
We asked four members of our Winnipeg team how they would tackle some of Winnipeg’s most pressing issues: This is what they came up with.Read More