MNYMAK007: MAKANAKA MANYAWUSUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT SOCIOLOGY ESSAY 2In 1983 the world commission on environment and development convened by the United Nations was established in order to address growing concerns regarding to the deterioration of environment in resources the commission was chaired by Brundtland the former secretary general of the United Nations who end to unite countries in a pursuit of implementing a sustainable future the political spotlight on the environment resulted in the creation of the Brundtland report The Brundtland Report walks a fine line. On the one side its approach to sustainability reflects status quo, evoking the ideals of economic growth, appeasing the conservatives in power at the time, to ensure the ability of humankind to sustainably develop through a different type of growth, but within existing mechanisms. It defines sustainability as the ability of present generations to meet their needs without compromising the needs of future generations.
The definition in essence means sustainable development is the development by us the current generation that uses the available resources without affection the ability of future generations to meets their own needs using those resources. The Brundtland report on the other hand reflects the reform approach, asserting that existing mechanisms for interaction with the ecosystem require adjustment based on the political discourse and the opinions of interest groups at the time, it seems likely this approach was used pragmatically to argue the utility of sustainability through slight changes to existing mechanisms, allowing these now robust mechanisms to achieve sustainability.Implementing the Brundtland Report’s definitions on sustainability and sustainable development are problematic. The appeal of the hybrid status quo-reform perspective cloaks it in relentless ambiguity. As Appleton (2006, 13-14) argues, “needs” are defined in anthropocentric terms, which would not appease the likes of strong eco-centric sustainability critics because of the pragmatic value allocated to the instrumental use of nature. Furthermore, within the definition of sustainability and sustainable development there is much to discuss (Jacobs 1999, 22-24).
First, there are the technocratic questions related to operationalising the concepts. For instance, how are these ‘needs’ qualified and quantified? What exactly needs to be ‘sustained’ and what does not? What must be ‘developed’? (Appleton 2006, 12).Second, there are the political questions related to the fears environmentalists have regarding the vagueness and ambiguity of the concepts, which might be interpreted through a ‘green-washing’ mentality, while virtually nothing actually changes (Jacobs 1999, 24). These axiological questions seem to leave the Report with a politically appealing obscurity. The extent of the Report, and its mandates, leaves it floating in an ambitious ocean of vagueness. From issues as diverse as population, indigenous peoples, and urban development, the Report takes a haphazard stance (WCED 1987).
In doing so it might have bitten of more than it can chew. By attempting to appease the multitude of diverse interest groups around the extremely broad issue of sustainability and sustainable development, although the Report’s composite position seems quite appealing, it might be too broad and expansive, getting lost in the crowd of other interests, and eventually being left in the dust (Hopwood 2005, 40). Recourses to revise the type of growth or environmental protection, for instance, do not specify the means and ends of those changes (Jacobs 1999, 26). Such argumentation required, pinning down the means and ends, might have dampened the effectiveness of the Report, because the diversity of interest groups requires much double-handling of the issues to achieve the type of cooperation and participation outlined in the Report (WCED 1987, 4-5).
Any cooperation and participation must function within established mechanisms. In other words, the premises of social interaction and engagement with the environment have not been evaluated. For instance, the Report proclaims economic growth will lead to the removal of poverty through trickle-down economics (Appleton 2006, 15-16; WCED 1987, 4-5).
However, there is limited empirical evidence to suggest that the adjusted Keynesian economic river will not dry up on the way down, becoming a bare and cracked plain of miserable poverty (Appleton 2006, 15-16). The Brundtland report had many strengths, as well as weaknesses. The main strength of the report was its success in bringing environmental issues to the forefront of International political conversation.
The report also showed that issues usually discussed separately are interconnected and promoted the importance of this consideration. The recognition of this is what formed the basis for the emphasis on the need for preventative environmental policy- making at both an international and domestic level. Credit should also be given to the Brundtland report for its plea to integrate economics and ecology within decision and policy-making. The Brundtland report successfully brought together all states and people to talk collectively about environmental issues. The report did so by emphasizing the common interests of the states in solving global environmental and developmental problems Another strength of the Brundtland report was that it managed to place the environment and development issues high on the international political agenda. The report has just recently been discussed in the U.N.
General Assembly and most nations have been obliged to take a stand on the main issues raised in the reportThe Brundtland report may be seen as creating a framework for further political agendas that focused on sustainability the Brundtland report highlighted three fundamental components to sustainable development which are environmental protection economic growth and social equity the Brundtland report define sustainable development as the development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs it contains within two key concepts which are the concept of needs in particular the essential needs of the world’s poor to which priority should be given and the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organisation on the environments ability to meet present and future needs.The concept of sustainable development as defined by the Brundtland Report entails the satisfaction of human needs and aspirations in the major objective of development the essential needs a vast numbers of people in developing countries for food shelter clothing and jobs are not being met and beyond their basic needs these people have legitimate aspirations to improved quality of life. The problem with this part of the definition is problematic because it judges and conceptualizes sustainable development in terms of western practices. It proposes that sustainable development involves meeting the needs of present generations with compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs and it then goes on to stipulate what these needs are giving little regard to what the people in the developing countries view to be their basic needs. The concept of sustainable development according to the Brundtland report also entails that people have living standards that go Beyond the basic minimum and are sustainable only if conception started everywhere have regard for long-term sustainability. It also argues that meeting essential needs to be part of achieving full growth potential and sustainable development which clearly requires economic growth in places where such these are not being met.
elsewhere it can be consistent with economic growth provided the content of growth reflects the broad principles of sustainability in an exploration of othersThe definition of sustainable development provided by the Brundtland report also argues that an expansion in numbers can increase the pressure on resources and slow the rise in living standards. In areas where deprivation is widespread the main issues are not about population size but the distribution of development. sustainable development can only promote the pursuit of demographic developments when they are in harmony with the changing productive potential of the ecosystem. The Brundtland report argues that over-population is one of the factors that slow development in conjunction with unequal distribution of development.
The Brundtland report of sustainable development also says that the society may in many ways compromise its ability to meet their essential needs of his people in the future by over exploiting resources. Poverty reduces people’s capacity to use resources in sustainable manner it intensifies pressure on the environment and most absolute poverty is in developing countries. This statement in the brundtland report is accurate to an extent. The problem with this view is that it makes it seem as though it is the poor people in the developing countries who are over exploiting the resources when in actual fact it is the rich people. Taking the Amazon rainforest for example, the reason why the size of the forest is being reduced is not because of the Amazonia people but it is because of business tycoons and multinational corporations that ae deforesting and the Brundtland report does not mention this. One of the main weaknesses of the brundtland report is that it puts emphasis on the developing world to promote sustainable development when more emphasis should be put on the developed countries because they developed at the expense of future generations.
Brundtland report made seven important strategic proposals that can implemented promote sustainable development and these include reviving growth changing, the quality of growth, meeting essential needs for jobs food energy water and sanitation ensuring a sustainable over-population, conserving and enhancing the resource base, reorienting technology and managing skills that facilitate merging of environment and economics in decision-making. Driving growth and sustainable development has to address the problem of large numbers of people number of people who live in absolute poverty and are unable to satisfy even the most basic of their needs. Sustainable development requires more than growth, it requires a change in the content of growth so as to make it less material and energy intensive and more equitable in its impact. These changes are required in all countries as part of a package of measures to maintain the stock of ecological capital, to improve distribution of income and to reduce the degree of vulnerability to economic crises. At the moment of all these tasks or require the reorientation of Technology, the killing between humans and nature first. The capacity of Technology Innovation needs to be greatly enhance in developing countries so that they can respond more effectively to the challenges of sustainable development.
Second the orientation of technology development must be changed Pay great attention to environmental factors the common theme throughout the strategy for sustainable development. There is a need to integrate economic and ecological considerations in decision-making, there after all integrated in the workings of the natural environment. The Brundtland report lay in its economic requests and goals for developing countries an important aim which was to provide guidance to get sustainable development. The Brundtland report suggested that national annual income rise was not realistic for any country but those in the north as they have the most developed economies.
The fact is that these countries deal with both environmental and financial problems it’s quite a difficult compared to the developed countries. There is a lack of consideration and knowledge of what is an appropriate economic task of developing countries this is what resulted in the far-fetched ideas present-day. However, a deeper knowledge of what constitutes reasonable actions that are suited specifically to countries that can be easily implemented all the weakness in the report. The lack of knowledge surrounding the third world slips our recognition of how each country differs in terms of environmental issues. Critics have noted that a weakness of the report is being its inability to adequately cover all the issues it seems to the report is too broad and expansive to outline successfully all the important elements and it’s writing its incorporation of so many different elements maybe to a piece the multitude of diverse interest groups at the time. However, by cutting down its subject to pull the report we have been able to provide better information on certain areas.Sustainability also evokes the ideals of economic growth and appeases the conservatives in power at that time.
The report does this so as to ensure the liability of humankind to sustainably develop while keeping with the already established views on economics and government. (Hopwood, Mellor and O’Brien, 2005).In some ways, this approach was seen as threatening as the commission used environmental threats as a lever in promoting cooperation.
The report suggested that economic growth in the Third World was a global issue and thus in the interest of all: specifically, in terms of economics, politics and security. However, the views and suggestions surrounding the development of the Third world had its weaknesses. (Bergesen, 1988) The greatest weakness of the developing countries, an important aim of the commission was to provide guidance to the Brundtland report, lay in its economic requests and goals for achievement of sustainable development.
The suggested national annual income rise was not realistic for any countries but those in the North. The economic goals were unrealistic for developing countries and the report ignored the fact that these countries deal with both environmental and financial problems with greater difficulty compared to developed countries. A lack of consideration and knowledge of what is an appropriate economic ask of developing countries, is what resulted in these ‘far-fetched’ ideas. In the present day however, a deeper knowledge of what constitutes reasonable actions that are suited to specific countries may be more easily implemented. Although a weakness in the report, the lack of knowledge surrounding the Third World led to a greater recognition of how each country differs in terms of environmental issues. Critiques have also noted a weakness of the report as being its inability to adequately cover all the issues it aims to.
The report is too broad and expansive interest groups at the time, however by cutting down its subject pool, the report may have to outline successfully all the important elements in its writing. Its incorporation of so many different elements may be to appease the multitude of diverse been able to provide better information on certain areas.Although nothing much came of the report at the time of publication, The World Commission on Environment and Development’s document is still very valid today as it shows clearly the main characteristics and roots of unsustainable development. Since the Brundtland report’s creation, many changes have occurred in the sustainable development field.
Looked at globally, sustainable development endeavours are identified by commitments, plans and tools that have been implemented to create a better future. The number of engaged countries and organisations is more impressive than the depth of each commitment. Improvement is still needed, however the occurrence of such events as the Brundtland report have aided in shaping a path forward to improve sustainable development discussions and policy making. (Bass, 2007) The effective implementation of a report today would require further research and consideration due to increases in energy use, pollution and environmental degradation The world’s political and environmental landscape has changed significantly since the Brundtland report was created.
However, we still argue about the concept and practice of sustainable development. (Appleton, 2006) Those seeking to implement change and a sustainable future for all should look back on documents such as the Brundtland report and learn from the strengths and weaknesses behind the ideas they pose. Merchant argues that the Brundtland report is homocentric and utilitarian in approach meaning that it focuses on human needs and benefits paying little attention to the needs of the environment.
The differences in the understanding of sustainable development make me understand that sustainable development is a complex matter and people have different well informed views on it. Development of community is vital but it does not have to be at the expense of the natural environment and future generations. The biggest problem with the brundtland report is its emphasis on a growth oriented industrial model of development which emphasized the scientific knowledge of the west and did not appreciate the fact that research funded by the industrialized nations and multinational corporations always prioritize the interest of the developed countries and not those of the developing countries or even the environment. The report proposed that the propels be critiqued using three main criteria which were improving the lives of people both qualitatively and quantitatively protecting of the ecological and cultural heritage of the region and helping the growth but it did not aim for higher economic well-being for all.She goes on to say that the best approach to sustainable development is eccentric which entails viewing the human being and nature as one and not viewing humans as superior to nature. She proposes methods to ensure sustainable development such as sustainable agriculture which is an ecologically based form of farm management. it involves using biological processes to maintain and improve the soil.
She also proposes biological control which allows the processes of nature take their course. Biological control assumes that are only one part of an interrelated complex ecological system. She proposes restoration ecology which basically is about restoring ecosystems to their pristine states before they disturbed by human behaviour.
In conclusion I believe that promoting development in the third should be as much about the people as possible. Currently development in the third world is about fulfilling the interest of the multinational corporations. The brundtland report might have been written with good intention but it failed to address the root problem in development which is the exclusion of the affected parties BIBLIGRAPHYAppleton, A. 2006. Sustainability: A practitioner’s reflection, Technology in Society, 28:1 3-18 Bass, S., 2007.
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