What Is “Sustainable Development”?

What Is “Sustainable Development”?

You may have mentioned some of the words: evolution, change, mobility, openness, economic development, equity, development, open communities, participative politics, progressive politics, political empowerment, socioeconomic development, technological advancements, innovation, knowledge economy, knowledge creation, internet and computer technology. These words clearly describe what the development in technology is. This process has been going on for quite a while. There has been some kind of evolution and transformational change in almost all the spheres of life. However, most of these changes have been relatively small and some exceptions like the shift in education system or healthcare have resulted in significant changes.


The current scenario of development is described in the current world map in which developed countries usually dominate the top most spots. It shows that the gap between developing and developed countries usually ranges between thirty to forty percent. Developed countries tend to be based on the concept of surplus production whereas developing countries are based on the concept of internal markets for certain raw materials. The developing countries normally use technologies such as cheap labor, improved infrastructure, and cheaper raw materials.

What is referred to as development is very broad. Development is nothing but the progress of a society towards achieving its goals and objectives. Everyone agrees on the fact that the goals of development should include economic, social, cultural, and political aspects. A sustainable development focuses on the use of natural resources in the most sustainable way possible. A sustainable development approach considers three important factors when deciding how to use natural resources: preservation of the biodiversity, and use of the natural resources sustainably.

According to the World Bank, ‘growth without development is no development’. Although this statement sounds like a scientific principle, it has actually provided an avenue for people to understand the importance of economic growth. Economists, politicians, and other policy makers use the term ‘sustainable development’ in order to provide a language for economic growth that is grounded in the principles of sustainable economics.

The natural resources that are used for economic development should be conserved. Economists distinguish between potential, practical, and future value. Potential refers to what a potential economy could produce given its current conditions and resources. Practical refers to the expected benefits of an investment given its current and historical conditions. Future value refers to what an individual or a developing country could obtain after achieving certain specific objectives.

Developing nations normally rely heavily on imported goods in order to increase their manufacturing capabilities and improve their competitiveness in the global market. The demand for manufactured goods from other countries is always increasing and they become a major component of GDP. But developing countries tend to purchase raw materials in large quantities, thereby depleting the sources of natural resources. Sustainability of the current resources is therefore essential for the long term sustainability of an economy.

Growth in a developing country should not depend only on its domestic market but should also take into consideration its external environment. Emphasis should be placed on promoting and encouraging development through trade and technology liberalization. Economic aid is another aspect that should be considered for developing countries with limited financial means.

There are multiple development approaches that have been applied successfully in the past and these include different techniques such as community development, inter-regional cooperation, and sustainable development. These different development approaches are aimed at promoting development through economic development. Each of these approaches is meant to have a variety of impacts on the individuals who will be affected by development. A mix of these methods should be used in order to achieve sustainable development.

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